BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Bubble, Bubble Oil and Trouble - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6757.

Because of the number of comments, this is a new thread. The previous thread was http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6754.

Update 2:30 pm EDT: Original leak on the pipe has been sealed, but there are two major leaks on the stack now. One is at the bottom of the new "cap" and the other is on both sides of the BOP just underneath the flex joint. Lots of hydrates above the leaks.

Update 1:00 pm EDT: Chuck Watson has an update on the potential for a tropical storm, added to the end of this post.

I rather suspect that we will know a lot more about the behavior of the sediments and matter at the bottom of the Gulf within the next year or so than we have learned in the past hundred years. I am looking at the view from the Skandi ROV 2 at 10 am on Monday, and it is looking at a patch of mud that is bubbling a little, though over a relatively significant area (that of the camera illumination). There is no trace of oil venting and flowing upwards (and a fish just swam by) so there will be, no doubt, some samples taken, and, over time, we will learn what is the cause.

There were other views, from different ROVs that seemed to show clouds of something, but the definition was poor, and it was not clear that this was not mud that the ROV itself had stirred up. This has been the case several times today, in watching the video, though there were, in the seep area, shots of small drops of oil heading up to the sea surface.

Given the debate that is developing between BP and the panel that advises Secretary Chu and Admiral Allen, the redirection of the thought process to include another attempt at a top kill, brings in a whole pile of new matter to be used in those discussions.

As the day continued there has been clarification of the remarks that both Admiral Allen and Kent Wells have made in the past, as well as an update on the relief well progress, and the resurrection of the idea of possibly doing a top kill. The test has been allowed to be continued another 24 hours, and it has been determined that the anomaly on the BOP is a slight leak on the flexible joint.

Looking at the Kent Wells conference at 5 pm, he began by reporting on the status of the relief well:

Our first relief well, the total depth is at 17862, that’s our casing point. We’re four feet horizontally from the Macondo well at 2.8 degrees and we’re looking directly at the Macondo well. So we’re absolutely perfectly positioned. The team is feeling very good about how they’ve set this well up.

They’re now in the process of what we call opening the hole. So they’re drilling the hole a little bit bigger diameter and then on Wednesday, Thursday we’ll run casing and cement is in place and there’s some testing to do followed by the drill out and ranging runs

The pressure in the well itself has risen to over 6810 psi and is rising at about 1 psi per hour. This lower pressure than the pressures originally estimated makes it possible to reconsider the top kill option. This is where, by feeding mud into the top of the well through the kill line, while the well is shut-in, the mud fills up the well. (The oil and gas are pushed back into the formation). Then should they be able to fill the well up with this mud, the weight of the full column of it, down the well, would be high enough to balance the pressure of the oil in the formation. At this point, rather than the well being shut in by the cap, it becomes killed by the mud pressure on the flow.

There is no longer any concern about pumping the mud in at any high rate of pressure, since the flow is already stopped. Instead the mud flow and pressure can be set to a slightly higher pressure than currently is in the well, and then slowly increase the flow to fill the well, without bringing the pressure to such a high level as to further compromise the well integrity. The injection would be followed with cement, to seal the well at the top of the underground part. This would later be followed by the well intersection by the relief well, and an injection of cement at the bottom of the well.

There are three areas where concern has been raised over the possibility of oil escaping the well below the sea bed and migrating back up to the surface. This is why the ROVs are located around the well monitoring the sea bed itself. There are, as noted earlier, patches where the sea bed is evidently bubbling (in that you can see where the bubbles pop out of the mud). But there is no sign of gas or oil then slowly rising to the sea surface from the bubble action. It may, therefore be something like a field of clams sitting below the surface and aspirating and then spitting out some of the sea water. This action is not at the moment of concern, BP has checked the fluid coming out of the sediment and it is running at around 15% methane, which could just arise (according to Mr Wells) from biodegradation in the mud below the sea bed.

There is a natural seep some two miles from the site. This hydrocarbon flow has been tested and is not related to the Deepwater Spill. And so the only other area of concern is a very small leak coming out from the seal in the flexible joint (which, if you remember was straightened before the new cap was installed). The leak, at the moment is very small, and not of that much concern. However, if the leak starts to get bigger, and then turn into a stream, it may pick up some of the sand that is reported as being a concern from being in the BOP assembly. This will then, at the pressures anticipated, be enough to erode out the leak to an unacceptable size within a couple of hours. For now, however, it is very small, and not continuous flow, and so can be viewed with less concern, relative to other issues.

The leak was detected in a flange between the top of the well and the rams that regulate flow up the main bore.

Video footage is showing some hydrate build up on the outside of the stack and scientists believe a small amount of oil and natural gas is leaking out.

Allen said the leak is not expected to hurt performance of the device and is not seen as a threat to its structural integrity.

Update 1:00 pm EDT by Oil Drum staff member Chuck Watson

The strong tropical disturbance that is currently just north of Puerto Rico has the potential to become the next hurricane of the season as it moves into the Bahamas and south Florida. The "Official" forecast (red line in the graphic) shows it just reaching hurricane force before landfall. The HWRF model, which is a newer model that is increasingly trusted by the community (bright yellow line) keeps it as a strong tropical storm after exiting Florida. Most of these tracks would create problems for cleanup operations (although, as discussed, a direct hit by a wet tropical storm or minimal hurricane could be beneficial). If the storm spins up into a strong tropical storm, and looks to cross Florida as forecast, expect the Oil/Gas industry to start preparations and shut-ins late Thursday and Friday. It's a long way out, with lots of uncertainties, but this one might be our next disruptive event for the Gulf.

"looking at a patch of mud that is bubbling a little, though over a relatively significant area (that of the camera illumination). There is no trace of oil venting and flowing upwards"

would you please take a look at this new video of 'bursts', perhaps it is bubbling and then venting -- lighting is on the dark side.

That looks like something different than either A. Thruster interference or B. the small amount of residual flow that has been seen to date.

But I am most certainly not an expert.

so not from the ROV and not the residual flow. then what?

I agree it looks different than all of the other videos. It is flowing and billowing as if it is leaving a small area near the bottom and rapidly expanding and rising. It is not swirling around in many different directions.

Perhaps it is the bubbles they found "a few hundred meters" from the well. They listed it as a "cause of concern."


That is a very poor quality video of the ROV stirring up the bottom.

Did you get a chance to watch to the end. Probably not... it is pretty long.
To make it quicker:
Start getting going at 3:15 in.
Then again at 4:40, 8:20, 9:45, and 10:20.

Not the doom you're looking for. Sorry to disappoint.

Could some of the bottom activity we keep seeing from the ROV's be shallow water flow? Original paper is at http://hydro.geosc.psu.edu/Odp/12_14web.pdf. Graphics are on page 5.
Overpressure and Fluid Flow Processes in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico: Slope Stability, Seeps, and Shallow Water Flow
"...Shallow water flow results when geopressured sands are drilled in areas of low formation strength(Pelletier et al., 1999; Ostermeier et al., 2000) (Figure 4). It is common in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico with the greatest risk of its occurrence in the zone where there has been recent sedimentation in front of the Mississippi delta (Figure 5). We propose that the shallow flow problem represents the coupling of rapid sedimentation and flow focusing. To understand how to drill these zones, it is critical to test the flow focusing model and to strengthen the predictive model..."

Flow around drill pipe

Doubtful Shallow water flows are a primarily sub-surface phenomena associated with sandy horizons. Not typically a surficial issue.

Actually this is a problem. In the past, shallow geopressured brine sands have flowed brine around well bores to the surface -- the good news is that these tend to deplete rapidly - small pockets. Biggest problem is destablization of the near-surface sediment around the well bore resulting in buckled casing on loss of sediment support -- many DW wells have been abandoned after drilling these shallow hazards, then respud from a new location - incurring large cost over-runs. DW operators do detailed analysis of the shallow flow-prone zones pre-drill to avoid the worst hazards and in recent times, shallow casing and drilling strategies are generally able to mitigate these problems.

Here are some references:

Well, I interpreted the original comment to not be asking about this particular well, and the speculated emergence of bubbles from the seafloor and around the well head. Yes, shallow water flows can be an issue, typically during drilling. But at this well, I think not.

Fair enough.

On the drilling permit it says "exercise caution while drilling due to indications of shallow gas and possible water flow." That isn't shallow water flow?
Drilling Permit

Yes, that would be a reference to possible shallow water flow. It may be boilerplate, or it may be in reference to some real features seen in the shallow hazards material bp needed to submit (and MMS review) in order to receive the permit. One issue here is that such pre-well information (while ostensibly public) has not been made available. Would also include an assessment of shallow hydrate risks as well. But the main reason I think shallow water is not an issue for this well is 1) to my knowledge, no one's seen any indication of water flow, only bubbles, and 2) it is typically an issue while drilling, not later. I don't think any shallow gas zones were encountered either.

Hey Mud Sales guys...what are the chances that 400 barrels of hazmat disposed hole cleaner combines to make a snot lighter then even seawater...foamy matrix pulling even more pressure off the bottom plug and maybe even a phase change with negative testing...might have invented some nice new fancy mix of chemicals that will be used to insulate a future chinese moon base!

BP is really brave to hire cajuns, historically speaking.

According to a briefing transcript on the #oildrum IRC channel (that I tragically forgot to save before closing), Kent Wells said BP is "100%" in favor of doing a static kill if they get permission from the government. Decision in a few days.

"A few days" is pretty fuzzy but this seems somewhat crazy to me, given the weather unknowns. If the tropical wave starts rotating and heads for the GOM, how could they possibly do a static kill till after it's over, in which case well conditions could have changed.

I was just going from memory regarding the time frame, Snake. I believe he was referring to getting a decision within a few days, not necessarily beginning the procedure. It's obviously something that both sides are seriously considering, and obviously something that we're days away from knowing whether they'll try it.

I don't think well conditions would change. Even a Cat 5 wouldn't impact the seafloor 5000 feet down. So they could just leave it shut in and wait. However, there ARE those blasted little leaks. I may not be an oilman, but I've plenty of experience with high pressure hydraulic systems. Leaks are so predictable that it could be stated as a Newtonian Law: Any leak will tend to worsen exponentially unless acted upon by an external fix!

That's what I meant. A hurricane wouldn't have any effect on the well directly.

Seems like a killed well would be safer to leave in a hurricane than a pressurized capped one. With the potential tropical weather, there is no point in trying to hook up for production. The well is not flowing in its current state, but the high pressure across the BOP stack creates a risk that needs close monitoring. With a static kill, the well will be quiescent even if the BOP mysteriously tips over. Physics, rather than engineering, keeps the oil in the hole.

Of course. But if they're going to decide in a few days and the tropical wave gets cyclonic and heads into the Gulf, they'll have to put the kill off till afterwards.

that's true. heard it on the conference call. last question of the briefing i think. the guy from platts?



You misstated what he said. Wells said they would not ask for approval unless the data held and the team agreed it was the best path forward. In other words if they get to the point of asking Allen for approval that means they would want to do it. Duh. And if he then says yes, the chance is 100% that they would,unless weather is a problem.

Yes, the actual transcript, now available, is clearer on that.

Well, Gary, the odds I can give you, if it’s approved to do so its 100 percent chance we’ll go ahead with it. I think we’ll have covered all of the risk analysis, all of the issues with the procedures and stuff. We do a good job of doing all of the challenging the different scenarios et cetera before we ultimately go for final approval. So I think if we get approval, then we will be looking to move forward with it and I guess the one caveat I’d put on that is you know if weather were to get in our way as we do move in toward the hurricane season, we pay careful attention to the weather in everything we do.

and, part of an answer to an earlier question on the static kill - looks like this is where the "day or two" to decision came from.

So, it’s clearly worthy of us going through all the analysis we are and we’ll see where that gets us to in the next day or two on our decision to go forward.

What Wells is diplomatically saying is "..if it's approved..it's (a) 100 percent chance we'll go ahead". What he is thinking is "those FDGBS are wasting time when there is a storm brewing. FDGBS!!!!"

He says, "We do a good job of doing all the challenging the different scenarios before we ultimately go for final approval.

What he is thinking is why can't those FDGBS shit or get off the pot?

[delete: duplicated someone else's comment]

Perhaps this has been mentioned, but I've most of this thread and didn't see it.
Static kill will required significant over pressure, perhaps 1000psi. The reason is that the mud needs to go in at a minimum flow rate. Otherwise you have the heavy mud "falling" through the lighter oil (think lava lamp blobs to the bottom). To get the mud in fast enough to keep up with falling mud, the oil must be pushed back into the field.

The oil in the field is in a porous layer of rock/sand. Oil flows through it, but not quickly. When the well blew out, the flow rate was so high it depleted the pressure near the well bore (at the bottom of the hole). Now that it's capped, this under-pressure is coming back slowly as the oil flows into the depleted region. Likewise, pushing the oil back into the field at the minimum flow rate needs to overcome that viscosity with a significant over pressure. The question is can the BOP and flex joint etc. take this additional pressure?

I like this Static Kill procedure, and hope that it works. If there is an additional seep sourced through this well, Killing it from the top and bottom should stop that too. If the oil is coming up outside the well casing, that will have to be addressed after we kill the main well bore.

JTFish, I don't think we're disagreeing. My only point was that BP rejected the advice of its engineers, and it did so pretty clearly on the basis of cost considerations.

If you are saying the engineers are so out of touch with the real world conditions, that their warnings and opinions are meaningless, or red herrings, then that presents a whole new set of problems. But the fact remains, BP dismissed the warnings of its own engineers and Haliburton's analysis, with regard to the item that failed and caused the blowout. That may not be significant when you're pumping cement, but it is when the law kicks in.

Same with the CBL. I hear again and again that it's a worthless test, so no need to follow the regulations requiring that test. That may be true in the field, but after a disaster, in the courtroom, it is very significant.

I don't pretend to know what the answers are. But I do know enough to ask basic questions that I know will be important and will have to be answered going forward, even if they may be inconsequential in the field. Engineers' warnings were ignored. Tests were skipped. Tests procedures were varried, results were ignored. Regulations were ignored. With all due respect, your explanation won't cut it in the court room. I don't mean that in a belitting way. I understand your point. I do not dispute it.

But the disconnect between the engineering advice and the field practice, between the regs and the actual practices, is a problem in itself. And I do think the lack of clear procedures and standards are also part of that problem, not based on my expertise in O/G, but based on how many different views there are out there on what is acceptable practice, and based on how BP/TO applied/skirted them in this case.

Thanks for taking the time to write your very informative response, and for the important and interesting points you make. I would love to hear more from someone with you expertise on the casing design and how it impacted cementing. I've done a bit of concrete work in other contexts (pouring a dam's spillways, nuclear waste storage containers) so it is an area i have a particular interest in (but not corresponding knowledge/education).

Syncro, my apologies for being short.

I'm having a problem with the cost considerations. I know what you mean, but it just isn't adding up to me. I have never, ever seen a decision like leaving centralizers off a casing string because of cost considerations. Certainly not at a major oil company. It would never enter the mind of the guys offshore to do that, and frankly it would never enter the mind of any of the Drilling Managers onshore that I have worked with over the years.

Now if they were worried about getting the casing stuck because of the lost circulation zones they were passing in order to land the casing in the wellhead, then sure I can see leaving some jewelery off. That happens all the time.

Regarding ignoring the engineers recommendations, going back a few years that was almost the norm. You would have a fine upstanding young engineer with no practical experience who would regularly be told - very nicely - to go stand in the corner while the real decisions were made. No hard feelings, but drilling engineering developed plans, and drilling operations got the holes dug.

Now it feels rather more like all those engineers have finally got their revenge, and the holes are dug by engineering. Or at least looking at the casing and cementing programs for Mocando that's about what it looks like from here. And the fine upstanding engineering team at BP are encouraging the fine upstanding engineering folk at Halliburton to create fine and upstanding simulation programs, and now a couple of generations of engineers later those simulations are now mistaken for reality. I'm not actually nearly as cynical about that as I sound, some of my best friends have petroleum engineering degrees, but its too easy to mistake theory for reality, as I'm sure you've seen in your other projects.

So let's turn this around for a moment. As you mention, there is a disconnect between engineering and good field practice. To the point we are seeing deviations from good field practice like the Macando disaster. How do we get the engineering back in line to reflect the best practices in the field?

Regarding the CBL, I don't think its a regulation under normal circumstances. Its another one of those things that look great on paper, but don't work well in reality often enough that their usefulness is severely compromised. When it works, its great, but is it working today? How do you know for sure?

I do agree with you about the pressure testing, particularly the inflow test. I also feel that a lot of warning signs that the well was seriously unhappy were ignored by folks who certainly knew better and were tested regularly on their knowledge at well control school. I think the level of distraction from having the 'brass' on board that day has not been explored nearly thoroughly enough.

I understand my explanation won't cut it in a court room. All my uncles are lawyers. But that isn't necessarily relevant to making this business safer for those involved and all the innocent bystanders. That is a big difference that has been too easily confused.

On the casing design, I really don't like these interminable liner strings. I would much rather have an intermediate casing string all the way to the mud line, and preferably more than one. I really don't like cementing only the shoe and a few hundred feet above it, much prefer to cement back up into the previous casing shoe. There is a good reason for liners on an exploration well in that you can run more casing strings which allows for better formation isolation when you hit the inevitable problems, but you have to weigh up the trade-offs carefully. When you have a lot of liners, the upper part of the hole has a HUGE annulus between the drill pipe and the casing, and the casing is likely to be weaker than an intermediate string would be. Like 6 5/8 drill pipe inside 13 5/8 or even 16" casing. That is room for a huge amount of gas that you then have to circulate out if you have a kick.

Further, it discourages circulating bottoms up or making full circulations to condition mud properly. The drill pipe/casing annulus is SO big that bottoms-up takes forever. Contrast that with a relatively narrow intermediate casing to the mud line. Fast bottoms up, very strong casing for pressure control from deep formations, easy to cement back to the mudline or near mudline using a DV tool, and faster annular flow rates for better kick control and cuttings removal. Its a tradeoff, but its too easy to come up with an elegant solution from an engineering standpoint that maybe isn't quite so nice when things get ugly.

Also, liners can leak at the liner hanger and if you haven't cemented up as far as the liner hanger that can cause problems too. That is a very significant risk which was finally mentioned in testimony, but I heard it for the first time today.


No time for a reply worthy of your post at the moment. Thank you, you are adding a lot of new insight not expressed before. If indeed Guide legitimately made the call on the basis of the centralizers hanging up, that makes some sense.

But the burden of the design risk is then transferred to the task of aking sure the cement job is good given all of the engineering red flags. I don't think they did that very thoroughly. Additionally, when your design people flag it, Haliburton flags it and there is no test to prove 100% good cement, how do you explain displacing the riser without a second barrier in place? And without close monitoring of the returns? There's a clear breakdown here somewhere in dealing with (perhaps communicating) known risks in a logical and safe manner. Cost cutting is the one thing that does link the different decisions together. That does not necessarily prove it, but it is strong circunstantial evidence.

One last thing. We did not have the case of the junior engineer coming up with a design that more senior engineers made workable in the real world. We have a junior engineer coming up with a design that a senior engineer thought was too risky, he flagged it and showed it was inconsistent with BP's own risk model. It's a little different.

Thanks and hope to read many more of your outstanding posts.

If indeed Guide legitimately made the call on the basis of the centralizers hanging up, that makes some sense.

Therein lies the rub. No way to get inside his head, but the cost-cutting bit sounds odd.

But the burden of the design risk is then transferred to the task of aking sure the cement job is good given all of the engineering red flags. I don't think they did that very thoroughly.

You get no argument from me. I think this aspect was handled dreadfully. By people who were paid and trained to know better. But obviously didn't. That ties into my point about the dilution of authority, accountability and responsiblity offshore compared to prior times. Best practices in the field by people who have their stuff together are stunningly absent. Otherwise this wouldn't have happened. Both BP and Transocean get copies of the program and all changes or at least that's the way it happens anywhere I've worked.

Additionally, when your design people flag it, Haliburton flags it and there is no test to prove 100% good cement, how do you explain displacing the riser without a second barrier in place? And without close monitoring of the returns?

Negligent? Complacent? Both? But please be aware that without testing for inflow properly, a good CBL does not prove you have a good cement job. It just proves you have a good CBL. In fact, a good inflow test just proves you have no inflow. At that point in time at least. Eternal vigilance and all that. Which didn't happen adequately.

There's a clear breakdown here somewhere in dealing with (perhaps communicating) known risks in a logical and safe manner. Cost cutting is the one thing that does link the different decisions together. That does not necessarily prove it, but it is strong circumstantial evidence.

Yes, but there is also a clear breakdown in competent leadership offshore. There should have been two leaders out there who should have taken charge and got the job done. One from BP and one from Transocean. Somehow, still not clearly identified, that didn't happen. The absolute crux of the matter was controlling that final kick. Drilling teams on exploration wells control unpredictable kicks all the time. Probably the most important single skill they have. Everything else up to that point was just the leadup, bad though some of that design/execution was.

One last thing. We did not have the case of the junior engineer coming up with a design that more senior engineers made workable in the real world. We have a junior engineer coming up with a design that a senior engineer thought was too risky, he flagged it and showed it was inconsistent with BP's own risk model. It's a little different.

It is a little different. A Drilling Supervisor is often a Drilling Engineer with a bucketful of practical rig experience. I would love to see detailed bios on the guys involved in this one.

Just a little side note. Years ago, BP (BP themselves rather than Amoco or Arco) had an excellent training program for their drilling teams including offshore drilling supervisors and engineers. They had a number of company operated drilling rigs where the rig itself was staffed completely by BP personnel. Sea Quest, Sea Conquest, Sea Explorer, as well as the joint venture Sedco/BP 711. They put many of their engineering and drilling operations teams through their own custom training. The guys were sharp before being let loose on an unsuspecting drilling contractor. I guess that doesn't happen any more. Pity. You also got two beers per day. I wonder if we're any safer today without the beers and the company operated rigs.

You get no argument from me. I think this aspect was handled dreadfully. By people who were paid and trained to know better. But obviously didn't. That ties into my point about the dilution of authority, accountability and responsibility offshore compared to prior times. Best practices in the field by people who have their stuff together are stunningly absent.

I also would like to see detailed bios on the chain that blew this all to hell. In the construction field I've noticed that as a huge chunk of upper management exits the field the performance by the new guys taking charge is incredibly uneven at least across the small sample size I have been exposed to. Time will sort it out and the most ill suited will depart but what havoc their poor decisions will end up causing down the road will remain to be seen.

The human dynamic that blew up Macondo will likely be the core stuff of MBA case studies by the bushel. Cost considerations and time considerations though often equated are not always one and the same in a manager's eyes. The emails about the centralizers seemed to focus on the probable minimum of a ten hour delay installing the additional centralizers would cause. A fifty day late well with up and coming managers...like you said we just can't get in that guys head.

You know Luke, that is a very, very interesting thought. I've been hearing so much about cost cutting I wasn't thinking about being behind the time/depth curve.

Its entirely possible that drilling management felt threatened by the timeline and were trying to get caught up some rather than thinking directly about money. You have to meet or beat the time/depth curve.

Typically money is not directly the issue as the guys offshore (even the drilling contractor and service company reps) seldom have any idea what contract price has been negotiated for various services, but the timeline certainly is. There is a big difference in perception if not in reality. Pretty dumb after making a significant discovery, if for no other reason.

A fifty day late well with up and coming managers...like you said we just can't get in that guys head.

We can get into his e-mail though. And in it he stressed the 10 hours. I can see if he said, no, lets go with 12 cerntalizers instead of 21 to minimize the hang-up issue. But instead he went with 6 because that's all they had on the rig. He did not want to wait the 10 hours minimum to get more. He wanted to get it done. It is not conclusive, but it is pretty strong circumstantial evid.

So you and JTF say time line matters more than money? Well, then the thing that links the questionable actions and decisions is that they all saved time. I was assuming time is money. Like close to $1,000,000 a day. It was not the cost of the centralizers, but the cost of the delay. It sounds like from what you guys say, the company uses time deadlines to capture that instead of cost specifics.

Last thing I forgot. The regs require CBL if a pressure test produces unexplained returns. When they got unexplained returns on the first pressure test, instead of moving to the CBL like the regs require, these guys instead went for a second pressure test. That's cheating right there. And it may have cost them their lives.

Also, the chief drilling engineer opened his mouth a little to much and said that they would normally wait until they were ready to produce and then do a CBL to make sure the cement was good. There was also a reference in a TO file that said they would fix the cement job later. So it sounds like they rely on CBL to test cement integrity when they produce the well. There was no explanation as to why they would not trust a CBL test results before displacing the riser (with no secondary barrier in place). If its good enough for production, why wasn't it good enough for displacing the riser? A rhetorical question, but maybe it has an answer.

Finally, like JTF, i place responsibility for these problems on-shore, not off-shore.


I was assuming time is money. Like close to $1,000,000 a day. It was not the cost of the centralizers, but the cost of the delay

The 10 hours has been bothering me, too, but I'm reading it differently, as a chunk of time they could not afford to lose, regardless of cost. This is the kind of corner cutting I see on construction projects when a contractor or sub needs to get a crew off a slow job in order to keep from losing the first draw on another job.

A million dollar a day cost for another delay is not small potatoes, but I keep hearing how common it is on wells like this, so why not just bite the bullet? If the decisions were being made onshore, was this a small-minded cost accountant moment, or was it a tactical risk to keep something much more valuable in BP's grasp?

Do the emails and arguments about the centralizers (and cement and mud displacement) seem consistent with avoiding a 1 or 2 percent increase in drilling costs? Or was there a much bigger potential loss looming? I seem to remember a discussion here a month ago about BP needing to move the DH and get started on a new hole or lose a lease worth billions. Anyone else have info on that?

Of course, if there is a bigger scenario in play here, these time or cost saving decisions may seem less petty, but I think most of us agree they were still stunningly foolish.

A million dollar a day cost for another delay is not small potatoes, but I keep hearing how common it is on wells like this, so why not just bite the bullet? If the decisions were being made onshore, was this a small-minded cost accountant moment, or was it a tactical risk to keep something much more valuable in BP's grasp?

Excellent question, Brat. Seems like nobody has asked where the DWH was supposed to go next. Sometimes operators face a ticking clock with the MMS (BOEM) requiring a well to spud by a certain date or the lease is relinquished. I can imagine a scenario where a lease block near a known discovery needs a well to hold the block before expiry.

In this scenario, the financial motivation for getting to the new location would be much larger than a few millions of dollars.

Where was the DWH slated to go next?

Seems like nobody has asked where the DWH was supposed to go next.

They were supposed to go drill another well for BP by March 8, according to NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/us/27rig.html I came across mention of which well this was, before, but I can't find the link now. Will post if I find it.

Suffice it to say, therefore, that it wasn't just a matter of the Macondo well being behind schedule, but the holding up of another BP well, with all the logistics and presumably various contractors already lined up etc, that made it very expensive with every day that Macondo was delayed.

Syncro, I think we may have some crossed understanding here.

If I'm getting this correctly, in testimony today the outgoing BP well site leader said that all the centralizers were on the rig, in fact the extras came out in the chopper that took him home.

I recall the 10 hour reference was on the time to attach the centralizers to the casing, but that sounds like an awful long time to hang 15 extra centralizers.

The companies do use time/depth curves to capture costs vs specific dollar amounts. Pretty much everyone on board knows where they are on the curve every day. For some odd reason I didn't twig to that earlier. Duh.

Still not convinced on the CBL or centralizer issue. I think focus or equal emphasis on those is a distraction from the really big systemic issues elsewhere that have to be fixed. I do understand that in litigation that doesn't matter. Perhaps consider the centralizer and CBL issues as a symptom of a broader problem rather than a cause - the disconnect between engineering and operations is obvious.

Starting with silly cement jobs. Testimony today was that last liner job was 209 sacks which according to the program only yielded something like 50bbls of slurry. Now imagine pumping that three and a half miles down the drillpipe and casing string where its picking up crap from the inside of the pipes, then expecting it to clean the annulus properly while coming up the outside of the casing picking up more crap to contaminate it all the time its moving.

Cement is cheap. Use lots.

The optimal time to run a CBL is another can of worms. You need the cement to have set up enough to bond, otherwise it behaves the same as drilling mud. A temp survey can be useful as it picks up the heat of hydration of the cement. Also consider the effect of foamed cement on a CBL...

Thanks, JTF, and Oilfield Brat.

I realize the centralizers and cement are just one aspect of a much bigger picture. This particular event is significant to me because it involves documentary evidence of BP rejecting engineering advice and going with a riskier alternative that saves time, and doing so with language like "who cares" and "hopefully it will work" thrown it. But mainly because there it was in black and white. And the cement ended up failing, 11 are dead, and look where we are.

Also, Guide came up in the testimony yesterday, and it sounds like he failed to report a leaking BOP to MMS in addition to nixing the centralizers.

Thanks again for your comments. You both share insights that most of us lack and it really helps to hear from people who know what's going on from the inside. Thanks for sharing.

It also made it a lot clearer for me. After looking up centralisers,before, I was struggling to understand how they could take 40 mins to install one! Now I understand that it was the delay due to helicoptering them out. That still leaves me a big sticking point. Why the blazes were they not on the rig? There were only 6 on the rig, for all that casing? Surely they order up the right number of centralisers for the quantity of casing on board, I would go for the largest number plus a percentage of spare. They cannot be all that expensive compared to the other stuff they use and can always move onto the next job if not used. Why did they need to get them. The descriptions I read suggested number of risers per amount of pipeline. Why were they not on rig?



From http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/safety_fell_to...

I saw Ronald Sepulvado say they were on the rig, but I don't think the video is on the web site yet.

Testimony on Monday indicated additional centralizers were sent to the rig, but, like the lockdown sleeve and the cement bond log equipment, were never used.

It remains unclear as to why the additional centralizers weren't installed, and some attorneys' questions Tuesday suggest they may have been the wrong type.

Thanks for the link. They seem to have been flown there but not used. The question is why were they not there in the first place? The pipe they were to be used on was there so why not an appropriate number of centralisers? To have only 6 in stock hardly seems adequate. The wrong type seems to be a red herring, what was the guy in charge of ensuring the materials for the operation were in place doing? You have x feet of type y pipe on board, x feet of type y pipe needs z off type y centralisers maximum so you make sure that you have z off type y plus spare in your store!



I'm unclear on why the centralizers weren't there to start with.

Company man testified they had enough stuff to run either a long string to the wellhead, or a liner/tieback combo. You would expect that order to cover the maximum expected number of centralizers plus spares, just like you order more casing than you are going to need so you have spares in case of damage.

Also helps to have extra joints of casing to help with spacing out equipment. Casing is usually slightly different lengths so you can pick the combination of joints you want to get the spacing you require... Useless trivia.

There was an email in the pile where someone apologized to someone else about planning being behind operations and needing to catch up. Perhaps this is a symptom.

6 Ps



BP has what, 92,000 employees of which 64,000 are in the US?

I am REALLY interested to know if this is a systemic problem, or if the rot is isolated to a small operating unit managing some GOM exploration rigs.

This matters. I don't want to believe its a company-wide issue, seems very hard to believe the whole thing is rotten, although clearly the refining side is completely screwed up.

If its a local unit with bad management, identify that and cut it out.

Regardless, BP as the company is responsible and on the hook financially. I just hope some of the other players get their turn as it looks like more than just BP is culpable at this point.

You wanta know whether this is systemic rot? This might be a good place to start http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/07/AR201006...

Then of course, there's their damning track record on the refinery side. http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/2085/

The combination of evidence to date does not suggest rogue employees either within the refinery or the drilling end of the business. The pattern appears consistent and therefore likely to be systemic and company-wide.

What I find most damning is this from WaPo, especially the highlighted part:

The reports detailing the firm's Alaska investigations -- conducted by outside lawyers and an internal BP committee in 2001, 2004 and 2007 -- were provided to ProPublica by a person close to the company who thinks it has not done enough to fix its shortcomings.

A 2001 report noted that BP had neglected key equipment needed for an emergency shutdown, including safety shutoff valves and gas and fire detectors similar to those that could have helped prevent the fire and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the gulf.

A 2004 inquiry found a pattern of the company intimidating workers who raised safety or environmental concerns. It said managers shaved maintenance costs by using aging equipment for as long as possible. Accidents resulted, including the 200,000-gallon Prudhoe Bay pipeline spill in 2006 -- the largest spill on Alaska's North Slope -- which was blamed on a corroded pipeline.

Similar problems surfaced at BP facilities in California and Texas.

So, running equipment 'for as long as possible' (aka till they fail, basically), if this was the corporate policy or culture, seems crazy but consistent with what we are finding out about shaving costs on centralizers. It also means that such catastrophes as the oil refinery explosion or the DWH blowout or the Alaska pipeline leakages were NOT accidents, but fully preventable and predictable consequences. The DWH blowout was an 'accident' waiting to pick a time, place, and victims.

Thanks Hiver. Interesting and discouraging reading. I knew the refining business was completely screwed up, and was somewhat aware of pipeline problems in Alaska, but the rest is news.

How much of the rot is failed acquisitions, and how much is pre-existing core BP? I had a quick look around and didn't see anything on it. Has the North Slope pipeline operation always been BP? Was Texas City BP originally or was it part of an acquisition?

Regardless, it looks like BP is too big to survive in its current incarnation. Some forced divestiture might be in order to someone with a better record of managing really big companies. Exxon Mobil springs to mind...

Texas City was an Amoco acquisition (circa 1998)

Syncro, the appreciation is all mine. Thanks for all your work in wrestling the truth out of this mess.

Mr. jones the fish: An excellent post. The part about about having a new engineer on the job.... that happened(s) in the real world of construction, in my ancient day. Very nicely told to go sit in the corner. I did it! The engineer's retribution is at hand, to be sure. How then, shall we then do things, construct things, drill things, mine things? How shall we then live with such disconnects?

A most interesting question indeed. Perhaps elegant is sometimes the enemy of good enough?

I think we would have all been satisfied if the engineering and operations at Macando were 'good enough'. My first reaction when I saw the casing diagram was 'My, my, isn't that elegant?'. Same thought on the dainty cement jobs. Too elegant for words! :)

I think experience breeds respect for real world conditions as opposed to the theoretical ideal. It takes time to learn that. There is no substitute for miles under your feet, wheels or boat in most vocations.

The operational mistakes are a slightly different issue, but one should always engineer for a realistic worst case based on your risk management assessment. Help out the guys that are going to use the product of your engineering skills as much as possible. Whether that's a well program or an airplane or a telephone. Clearly that didn't happen at Macando, so the ops guys were on a much sharper knife edge than they ever imagined.

My two cents, but I've always tried to design stuff that is roughneck-resistant and easy to understand and operate - bearing in particular mind how much damage can be caused by its failure.

"Roughneck resistant" is quite a complement to the roughnecks! The usual engineering term of art is "idiot-proof".

LOL! I have never met anything that is truly roughneck-proof!


yep judd...you're crazy. Just teasing. It's a difficult concept to visualize because there really isn't an everyday situation to compare it too. Let's assume you've completely filled the csg with you ball bearings. The shut in well head pressure would be the same as if they weren't there. The pressure is transmitted by the fluid. The fluid phase would still be continuous from the reservoir to the well head. There would be a little loss from the friction affect but insignificant. But the ball bearings would be resting on each other. They would add nothing the effective pressure at the bottom of the well. Here's another way to visualize: two 10' tall glass columns next to each other. One filled with your bearings and water and the other with just water. The pressure gauge at the base of each reads the same. They both have the same 10' water head.

Now if you were to grind those bearings into a fine powder and mix that with the mud and have that powder stay in suspension then now you've got a heavy effective mud weight and thus increase bottom hole pressure. And that's exactly how a heavy kill pill is made. Except instead of steel they'll use powered barite (very dense and cheap) to weight the mud.

To add to this fine explanation, the bentonite in mud acts as a gel. When static, the gel holds the barite particles (the added "weight") right where they are. When in motion, it doesn't matter; the turbulence will suspend the particles, or if laminar flow, the gel actually holds and remains "gel."

I think that's about right. Gel properties of mud are very important and are what make drilling mud so useful and effective. It works both moving and still.

For an opposite case of rheology, watch some YouTube videos of people running across pools of water-corn starch mixtures. There, it is the exact opposite of a gel: when near-motionless, heavier stuff sinks; it's only under flow that it stiffens up. You can pump jello, but if you tried to pump corn starch mix your pump would seize up and self-destruct (or blow a breaker.)

(edit: I should add that actual gel chemicals are added to assist the natural gel-like nature of the bentonite in drilling mud.)

I, like many people, cannot seem to follow what BP is doing in their ever changing strategy to stop this leak.
Okay, here is how it looks to the lay public:
1. The top kill is attempted but abandoned because too much mud is lost out the riser pipe. If it had worked, though, the top kill would have been sufficient to back up the flow to the reservoir and allow cementing of the well.
2. Drilling is continued on two relief wells. These will allow a 13,000 foot column of heavy mud to be pumped into the well casing. This will stop the flow of oil and allow cement to be pumped into the well; permanently sealing the leak.
3. Now that the flow of oil has been stopped at the containment cap, BP announces they are considering a static kill plan. This is similar to the top kill but does not require as much pressure (flow?) as the top kill because oil and gas are no longer moving. Heavy mud will back the oil down to the reservoir and allow the well to be cemented.
4. Okay, here is where I get lost. BP further states that, once the static kill plan is completed, it will make the implementation of the bottom kill through the relief well that much easier???

What happened to the top kill (which looks very similar to the static kill) being able to back everything into the reservoir and cementing following? I distinctly recall BP saying that, if the top kill was successful, the relief wells would not be required.


T11:Wells gave more details today on this. It is posted on BP web site. Also he said he would put together an animation about both procedures.
He stated that the RW will first have to drill into the annulus and kill flow if there. Then it will have to drill into the casing to kill there.
If the static kill were to stop the floe in the casing it makes the RW job much easier and perhaps less risky as only the annular kill might be needed.

BTW, I had surmised they might not do static kill until casing is set in RW to make sure there are no issues. He said they would wait, which means no static kill until the beginning of next week or so if I understood him. Also, he said they still need some equipment and will have to reconfigure the Q4000. I am assuming that they will get going on that if they ask for and get approval on Thursday. I do not know if the 5 day time-table for the static kill included the lead time to do the equipment changes. I assume Wells will go over the static kill/RW time-table in his animated briefing. I hope that will be Thursday or Friday. Rockman might give you more details for you

Traveller -- You actually have pretty good handle on it with a couple of little tweaks. On #2 I don’t think they’ll try to fill the entire 13,000’ with cmt. It’s difficult to pump cmt much than a couple of thousands of feet up. Just a guess at this point but if they do the bottom kill they’ll eventually re-enter the well from the top and do a more or less conventional plug back of the well. But they might pump cmt into the bottom of the well from the RW.

#4: I haven’t heard that was the plan. Doesn’t make sense to me either. If the well is killed then a RW cut would seem to add some risk. Perhaps the story got a little mixed up. Early on there was a comment that shutting in the well with the new cap could make the bottom kill easier. But that would just be shutting the well in and not killing it. That would be an easy misunderstanding. We tend to throw around oil field terms without clarification at times.

The initial top kill failed because the hole in the BOP leaked too much mud out. The new cap is preventing that from happening this time. At least if they don’t bust it open when they pressure up.

Rockman & Diverdan
Thank you for your replies. It does clear things up quite a bit.
Diverdan, after I read your post where you spoke of the annulus, I studied a diagram of the casing someone had posted. Okay, so the inner liner of the well is that innermost piece of pipe from the mudline to the reservoir, 9 7/8" in diameter and tapering to 7" at the bottom? And by stopping flow, are you saying that, while there is no flow to the wellhead through the 9 7/8" pipe, there may be flow in the annulus between it and the next pipe? Where would it be going? Would this explain the reasoning behind a top kill and a bottom kill?

Try looking thru these slides especailly 4-6. there was a video aniomation from the same day .

If the leak is coming in the annulus outside the 7" liner they can intersect and pump there with the releif well. The static kill would come down through the casing. It sounds like the two pronged approach may increase the chance of success and because they can introduce mud from the top at a low pressure that can also increase the probability of success without increasing hole damage risk.
I believe they will not try this unless they feel good about it. I do not the think the mistakes on the Macondo well means that BP, guided by the best people in industry and government are gong to do something that is not thought through and does not have contingencies in place.

Have you noticed how "the Plan" always seems to get changed during the execution? The FDGBs (AKA the "Office Weenies") in Washington DC get fixated on an idea (specifically that the relief wells are the ultimate solution) so Wells plays along in public while trying coax the Weenies to accept a new, faster, safer alternative. He is at the mercy of the Weenies as they have total legal control over his current and future business, so he grovels in public while pleading in private.

However, with a little help from his friends on TOD, Wells is turning the polling results in BP's favor vs. the Government. That forces the Weenies to run for cover by making it look like BP is the risktaker while they are the prudent sophisticates. Wells is actually running a "surge" in his insurgency against the government. It's going quite well, Thank You!!

Hey, guys! It's entirely possible that some of the barite down your hole could have come from a deposit I helped map and stake out in New Mexico back in 1980 or 81. Just realized that.

ould be pinkie. I think back then most of the bar was domestic. But I think most is imported now. I think.

No need to answer quickly, if at all...lightening the mood around here. :)

Has anyone here figured out how much Blue Bell IC it would take to kill the well? I realize mud is heavier. Would it even be possible though? I would guess BBIC is heavier than water.

Anyway, if this becomes a viable option and looks like BP will use this method, please give me insider information so I can buy some stock. Thanks :)

Hmmmmm, BBIC as a mud substitute comes across as sacrilegious or maybe a cardinal sin. I could imagine BBIC used as a catalyst, accelerator, etc. Excessive use may result in negative side effects.

I think a better question would be how many golf balls. If you have been following along, we first need to clog the well, then we can stop the flow. The golf balls have a higher specific gravity then water, let alone oil, as I and many, many others have proven whenever I have been in the vicinity of a water hazard. So we could fill the well with golf balls. Dropping them down the well wouldn't do any damage to the casing etc. You don't see Tiger Woods' iron break, even when he really wails on the ball do you?

The ball is nicely compressible in the sense it can be distorted on impact, but has a liquid center so its center at least, is not very compressible. It has elastomeric properties not compressibility so much.

So as you build up the column of balls, they distort to fill in the intersticial spaces. Put enough pressure (thousands of psi) and they likely would form a very nice elastomeric plug at the bottom of the hole. Voila! Problem solved. Now where could we get all those golf balls? I know, we'll ask the American public to send in their old cut or scuffed golf balls to Save the Gulf!!!

Think anybody would like to help out doing a golf ball collection drive to save the dolphins and turtles??? Sounds like a nice Eagle Scout project to me.

delete ...duplicated somehow...must've been a sign from God?

ROCK, clearest mud I've ever seen. You've a fallback career as an HS science teacher ?- ) Of course I found teaching some of the hardest work I ever got paid for, and I've commercial fished, logged and have logged better than a couple decades in heavy construction. Don't think middle/high school teaching was much of fit in my case. Keep the good stuff coming.

You've a fallback career as an HS science teacher ?- )

Oh, I fully second that!! Rockman makes science both understandable, interesting, and FUN!



I realise that when the balls rest at the bottom that the pressure at the top will be the same. However what i was thinking of is as the oil flows up the pipe as the small balls travel down then the small balls are not falling to the bottom at a very fast rate at all. But they are moving down the pipe and although the oil flows around them they are acting like a series of heavy pistons that are moving down the pipe where the oil has to travel around the pistons. So before this by now super heavy piston reaches the bottom of the well you begin pumping mud as you close the oil flow moving up the pipe. The pressure without mud would collapse as the steel moves down the pipe and you can pump mud without extra pressure. Does this make me less crazy?

As a variation why not send a whole lot of steel powder down the well in the form of large balls which are glued together in an oil soluable cement like a light wax? While of course allowing oil to flow out of the well head as you add the wax balls. That could be a winner because once the balls reach the bottom they will be crushed flat by the balls from above and there is no way the oil can travel upwards thru them. I want my patent!!

Variation 3. Just send lead balls down. A mile of lead will be crushed totally flat up to the top 50 metres or so. Or just put the steel powder in thin lead bags for the economy version!

Sorry for the late reply bbfellow

bbfellow on July 20, 2010 - 4:13pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top
Hmmmm ... those shorting BP stock gaming the system?

I was CEO of a small publicly-held broadband company until a few years ago (through the dot-com bust and the teco meltdown and recovery.) In these periods the shorts were the bane on my existance (becuase shorting was a very good play for many companies in the sector.) The gambits/scams that have been played by the shorts have been pretty unbelievably bold at times. Typically, hard for these memes impact anything very radically on anything but the small-caps and pinks UNLESS the meme gets to be a really big this scale. BP's situation certainly has the potential.

Wonder what the current short position in BP looks like? Naked shorts? Beachmommy, what's do you see?

Shorting BP right now seems dangerous to me unless there are shorts that haven't yet cover their position and someone needs to manipulate the stock lower so they can cover at a lower price. Pretty dumb, but I've seen it in the small caps before.

Comments can no longer be added to this story.
I 'm sorry I just got a chance to peek in, but I will tell you I would not EVER do a naked short, short against the box back when it was adventageous for tax purposes OR I'd hedge my short with an option strategy.

I have a Bloomberg and not a quotron we don't have all the access to naked shorts in the fixed income side. When I get back to work I will call the equity side and find out what the float, current short and naked short is on their subscription but in the interim I pulled this off the net....not vetted but here ya go:

BP Plc $ 35.20
BP -0.55

Short Interest (Shares Short) 15,103,900
Days To Cover (Short Interest Ratio) 0.2
Short Percent of Float 0.31 %
Short Interest - Prior 25,708,000
Short % Increase / Decrease -41.25 %
Short Squeeze Ranking™ -0

% From 52-Wk High ($ 62.38 ) -43.57 %
% From 52-Wk Low ($ 26.75 ) 31.59 %
% From 200-Day MA ($ 51.88 ) -32.15 %
% From 50-Day MA ($ 36.97 ) -4.79 %
Price % Change (52-Week) -29.81 %

Shares Float 3,130,000,000
Total Shares Outstanding 3,130,726,833
% Owned by Insiders 0.17 %
% Owned by Institutions 11.40 %
Market Cap. $ 110,389,422,877
Trading Volume - Today 40,414,658
Trading Volume - Average 91,220,200
Trading Volume - Today vs. Average 72.60 %

Thanks, my investment bankers were BearStreans (used to very strong in the telcom sector) so I've lost my best sources ;-(

No problem, I trade bonds now but still have access to all info on the equity side, but no quotron anymore. Anytime you need info and I am around I'll be happy to help you out:)

bb, I used to have the "select" account at Smith Barney and access to all their analysis etc. but figured out this site was good enough for what I needed most of the time:

Interesting bio, I bet I ran into you at a Supercomm or equivalent. Remember Riverstone? Loved their booths (and booth babes).

Wiley~I hope you read my answer to your post about the chart from BBERG the other day........and am LMAO about the boothbabes, I love it because that's what can be key to a woman in my job sector having a "leg up" on the men we compete with and there are only a handful of women in that sector to begin with.

Heh he, I tried to get into a local exhibition, a while ago. The organisers had decided they needed 'babes' on the gate. Babe was so, er, challenged between hairline and chin that I gave up trying to get in. One less potential customer for all those companies who had paid to exhibit.


Am I wrong to assume that this latest 'top kill' solution being tabled by BP is merely their latest attempt to permanently choke off any way to calculate an accurate flow rate? Correct me if I'm wrong, but seepage can't be quantified? Might BP be more willing to take their chances with long-term sea floor cracks, fizzures and seepage?

I'll bet that with known pressure readings, known physical characteristics of the well and known physical assays of the hydrocarbon mix, a reasonably accurate estimate can be made with cap still on.

I think BP's love affair with the three ram stack had more to do with ending the PR nightmare of oil gushing and less to do with hiding the flow rate.

"I'll bet that with known pressure readings, known physical characteristics of the well and known physical assays of the hydrocarbon mix, a reasonably accurate estimate can be made with cap still on."

I'm not sure 'reasonably accurate' would suffice in court of law when assessing per barrel damages against 4th largest corporation and an all-star defense team of lawyers. Containment/capture is likely only legally defensible flow rate, IMO. If BP can cement that top first, I suspect any hope of a provable flow rate will be buried or left to seep forever.

Allen responded to a question about knowing the flow rate if the well remains shut in at his 7/19 briefing.

Erika Bolstad: And one final thing. Are you – are you concerned that if you don't return, to ever return to surface containment, that it might be difficult to ever determine the flow rate on this well?

Admiral Allen: Well, I think there are lots of ways to determine the flow rate, and I know there's some question if we don't open it up, will you ever know if that 35,000 to 60,000 flow rate is – is accurate. I think we – I think we're going to know enough about this well from the pressure readings and everything else that by the time we're done, we're going to have a good basis to do that.

Admiral Allen: Well, I think there are lots of ways to determine the flow rate, and I know there's some question if we don't open it up, will you ever know if that 35,000 to 60,000 flow rate is – is accurate. I think we – I think we're going to know enough about this well from the pressure readings and everything else that by the time we're done, we're going to have a good basis to do that.

What he said. It's just physics, and just math.

Two subjects I was never good at, btw.

Allen was asked a similar question today ... he's bringing the Flow Rate Technical Group back to see if they'll have the needed info'

Male: With the capping taking place, have you been able to get a, provide flow rate figured out?

Admiral Thad Allen: We’re actually having that discussion right now. There’s a lot of discussion about if we don’t open the cap again for whatever reason, we will be able to revise the flow rate which is now is, you know, is, 35,000, 60,000 barrels a day. I’ve asked our flow rate technical team to come back and give me their assessment with all the different pressure readings that are available to us, the temperature readings and everything else. Do we have enough data or parameters that would allow us to narrow that range or get a more accurate flow rate? And from that we’ll have to develop some options moving forward. That’s a little bit of a dilemma to have a cap in the oil going out and then needing to understand for a lot of reasons, as you all know, to get an exact rate of a flow reading as we can.

7/20 Allen briefing

Now Thad Allen says the seep 3 km away is linked to another facility... not Macondo.
- Operational Update July 20

UC Berkley Engineering Prof/former Shell exec Robert Bea disagrees.

He said so yesterday:

BP seabed survey BEFORE drilling of Macondo well showed NO indications of seep 3 km away

The seep due east two kilometers is very very likely to be a known pre-existing seep. Robert Bea, who is definately an all around good guy, but who also originally blamed the blow-out on hydrate-cement issues, is (like very many people), probably just not aware of the fact that there are hundreds of known seeps in the Gulf. It would not necessarily be on BP shallow-hazard survey if they did not survey that location, and even if it was, not necessarily something that folks would know about.

Since a seep of any significant size would potentially deplete a reservoir, why wouldn't an oil company want to know about them before they drill? Drilling is expensive - too expensive to drill often in areas where there's no (or not much) oil.

I'm not sure I understand why they wouldn't want to know.

I would want to know, but for the reason that a seep proves the existence of oil. Natural seeps are small and would take a very long time to deplete a normal reservoir. Didn't you ever see Jed Clampett shoot that hole in the ground? :)

I did, but he moved to Beverly and it made me forget all about it. :)

Don't see many seeps you can expose with a shotgun blast, dang it. Could use one of those on my property - and the subsequent move to richified digs. :)

There target reservoir is 13,000 feet below the seafloor. Not likely to be affected by any surface seeps. Plus, the geophysical manifestation of the prospect provides the confidence that that pool is trapped. Active venting, if it was seen, and could be tied to a reservoir, would only increase the confidence that the reservoir is hydrocarbon charged. Why they might not be interested in this seep (in addition the depth) is its distance from the prospect. Seep floor features are generally mapped to discern the hazards they may pose to the drilling, particularly the shallow drilling, where well control is most difficult should something capable of flow be encountered.

Seeps by definition are very slow, and probably dribble for centuries or millennia. If they were significant compared to the reservoir, the reservoir would already be depleted.

PS, thanks for your measured reply to my comments in a previous thread about illness. I didn't mean to imply that the people with symptoms are crazy.

The seeps are typically from a modest sized pocket of hydrocarbons trapped under a shallow layer, and not in communication with the deep resource they are drilling for.

hat -- the seeps are leaking oil from shallow reservoirs that are never considered commercial. But your right about companies wanting to know if they are close to a potential drill site. Seeps are classified as shallow drilling hazards and are avoided with a passion.

not too important, but I disagree. I believe most seeps are deeply sourced, tied to large faults, or related to flow up the flanks of salt domes.. But this seep is not at all associated with that reservoir given the distance and nature of this structure as I understand it.

This report produced by authors employed at Exxon suggests the oil that flows through seeps is often from a source that is common with oil in nearby reservoirs. The report includes several examples in which oil samples from seeps were compared with oil samples from nearby reservoirs for identifying biomarkers. The oil in the samples were found to be a match.

There is a lot of other information and figures in the report including a depiction of how oil seeps along salt formations from reservoirs to the seafloor.

Hydrocarbon Systems Analysis of the Northern Gulf of Mexico:
Delineation of Hydrocarbon Migration Pathways Using Seeps and Seismic Imaging
Kenneth C. Hood1, L. M. Wenger2, O. P. Gross3, S.C. Harrison4
Search and Discovery Article #40061 (2002)

"Our approach involved development of a regional geologic framework through interpretation of 2-D and 3-D seismic data, identification and mapping of potential source intervals, and delineation of likely migration pathways to reservoirs and seismic-amplitude anomalies. Hydrocarbon compositions from more than 2000 reservoired oils, 600 reservoired natural gases, and 3000 hydrocarbon-bearing, sea-bottom dropcores help constrain such source-rock characteristics as organic-matter type, depositional facies, level of maturation and, to some extent, age."

It should be easy enough to see if it is preexisting or not. A preexisting seep would probably have tubeworms and clams that thrive on the hydrocarbons. These would be clearly visible if a rover paid a visit to the site.

Thank you sonofagun! I saw long white worm things that seemed to quickly ooze in and out of the silt area a rov was looking at today. Didn't say anything cuz thought I'd be considered nuts.

The links are to articles that include photos of deep sea Gulf of Mexico tubeworms and other chemosynthetic creatures. You can compare the photos to what you saw in the ROV video.

Cold, Dark and Teeming With Life
New York Times
Published: June 21, 2010

"The world’s richest known concentration of these remarkable communities is in the Gulf of Mexico. The life forms include tube worms up to eight feet long. Some of the creatures appear old enough, scientists say, to predate the arrival of Columbus in the New World."

"Today, scientists have identified roughly one hundred sites in the gulf where cold-seep communities of clams, mussels and tube worms flourish in the sunless depths. And they have accumulated evidence of many more — hundreds by some estimates, thousands by others..."

Chemosynthetic Communities in the Gulf of Mexico
Minerals Management Service
US Department of the Interior

"The MMS has supported over a dozen deep-sea-related efforts including scientific workshops, deep-sea information reviews, and six multi-million-dollar shipboard investigations. The first comprehensive field study of the deep sea in the Gulf of Mexico (the "Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Slope Study") was commissioned by MMS in 1983. This study concentrated on the geologic features, water masses, chemistry, and biological communities of the northern Gulf from depths of 300 meters down to the abyss."

Lair of the "Ice Worm"
Department of Oceanography
Texas A&M University
Quarterdeck Volume 5, Number 3, December 1997
Ian MacDonald and Samantha Joye

"The mound where Fisher and Santos discovered the worms was made of gas hydrate, an ice-like substance that forms under pressure when methane or other hydrocarbons are caged in a lattice of water molecules. (For more information about gas hydrates see "Gas hydrate gardens of the Gulf of Mexico") Hydrate is common on the Gulf of Mexico continental slope and the discovery of the worms, informally known as "ice worms," demonstrates existence of a previously unknown ecological niche."

Thank you for the links pcwick. What I saw looked just like the tubeworms in the first link, except they were white. Don't know if they're really that color or if it's the bright lighting from the rov.

Here is a quote from the MMS report cited above.

"All Gulf seep species studied to date have a very slow growth rate. Some of the larger tube-worms may be centuries old and are believed to be the oldest living animals on earth. This stands in stark contrast to the hydrothermal vent animals which recolonize and grow rapidly following cataclysmic events..."

Whether or not the seep is DUE TO the Macondo well blowout, there may be a reasonably easy way of finding out. If they open up the well, and the seep disappears or reduces significantly, then it shows the 2 are likely to be related.

I'd imagine even natural seepage may be aggravated by any increased flow/pressure from ruptured shallow casings, so even if it's not directly CAUSED by the BP blowout, it could still be a contributory factor. This factor can range from 0% (totally unrelated) to 100% (totally caused by the BP blowout) and everything in between. So any correlation (and degree of correlation) between shutting in the well and seepage would be really useful information.

Which is one powerful reason why BP is so adamant in keeping the well shut, IMHO.

From AP

WASHINGTON — The federal government's oil spill chief[Allen] says seepage detected two miles from BP's oil cap is coming from another well.

There are two wells within two miles of BP's blowout, one that has been abandoned and another that is not in production.

There around 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf, and an Associated Press investigation showed this month that they're not checked for leaks.


Doggone it, for the first time ever, someone asked me a direct question and I missed the time to answer it. So I'm going to repost it here because, well, I do like to flap my yap when I actually understand something on TOD.

GreyZone said:

To Pinkfud,

Previously you were discussing the structure of the production sands in the Mississippi Canyon complex. You stated that given the folding and other changes in that structure that you didn't think that seepage could go very far before finding its way out. A question from the non-geology majors then might be exactly how large are these structures/folds? Are we talking tens of feet? Hundreds of feet? Half a mile? Miles? The size of these "domes and diapirs" should give some clue as to the likely radius of most probable seeps, correct? Obviously that can't give a black and white answer, but shouldn't we be able to get some notion of the maximum range from the well where the most probable well-related seeps should occur? Such as 50% probability that well-related seeps will be no more than X feet (X may be small or large) from the well? Or 90% probability that well-related seeps will be within Y feet of the well?

And knowing this, couldn't there then be a planned assessment and scan of said area to look for seeps? Of course I wouldn't expect the bastards at BP to do such a scan deliberately. It should obviously be an independent 3rd party. Unfortunately, Obama seems content to bow to yet another bunch of corporate thugs.

The answer is all of the above. The finest structures are the turbidites. I've examined turbidites where the folding would be measured in millimeters. At the other end of the scale, salt sheets and domes can cover many miles. Avery Island LA, where the Tabasco place is, is a salt dome. Thing is, all of these structures interact. If salt pushes up through the sediments, that forms slopes that will give rise to more turbidites. Honestly, if you gave me a detailed stratigraphic section that passes 100 feet from MC252B and asked for a flow prediction, I would complain that I need log data from the well itself to have any chance of accuracy. Only then could I extrapolate the 2D section to a general idea of the 3D reality. Since there doesn't appear to be a dome or diapir associated with MC252B, (which could create a longer path), I would give the probabilities as follows:

50% that no related seep will be found farther away than 500 meters, 99% farther than a kilometer. And I think that would be conservative - so if it turns out I'm wrong, you can flame me :)

Also, I believe Rockman said a fault, though unlikely in the shallow section, would negate this prediction. That's very true. But I think the shallow section is too soft for a fault to actually create an open path of any distance.

BTW, If there IS a stratigraphic log of the well, I'd like to get my hands on it.

Thank you, Pinkfud, and to Rockman as well for the replies. They are much appreciated.

What bothers me then is that it appears to be a simple exercise for BP to demonstrate that there is very low probability of any seep other than those close to the well being related to the well. One wonders why this sort of explanation is not forthcoming, but having seen how BP has acted in the past, particularly with the Texas City refinery disaster, I am not surprised that their default mode is silence.

Sorry for the repost, but this was posted at the tail end of the last thread.

What about thermal expansion of the casing? We had a well flowing for almost 90 days of warm oil, and presumably the well casing and surrounding rock had reached pretty much a thermal equilibrium consistent with warm oil flowing in the well. Now we have have the well shut in, and presumably the temperature along the casing is approaching the natural geothermal gradient. While the bottom of the pipe is not seeing much of a temperature change, the top of the pipe should be going back to the temperature of the surrounding rock . . . and as a result it is cooling down . . . a LOT.

Some back of the envelope calcs: If we have a coefficient of thermal expansion of 12 E-06 per deg C (Reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coefficient_of_thermal_expansion ) and 13000 feet of pipe that sees, on average a 50 deg C temperature swing, we would get . . . (insert sound of old-timey hand-cranked calculator here) 7.8 feet of thermal expansion!

Holy moly . . . how do the folks in the oil patch DEAL with that kind of expansion? ? ? What is it that moves due to thermal expansion? What is the weakest part of the casing string?

Here is a little diagram that illustrates some of the details of the well:

I was going to respond to this post in the last thread but it was shut down.

Nice diagram BTW, good snag.

In your thermal expansion calcs, you didn't happen to allow for the fact that the thermal change is not going to affect the entire length of the casing/piping the same. There will be a gradient that will reflect whatever ambient temperature that section of piping sits at.

I don't know specifically what it is for the GOM, but generally it works out to about 1°C/30m. Some ancient mountainous areas are 1°C/75m, seismically active and volcanic regions would be higher.

I agree, nice diagram, James.
Speaking of diagrams, does anyone have a response to the video of the Shell presentation (July 9th) comparing their well design with the one used at Macondo?

Link to BP's "plan" Took a little more time to download than solid text of 53 pgs, probably due to a graphic in it? Sec 7 is the fun one. Sects 12 and 13 may answer some questions about what happens to mud, tailings, etc. There's a chart there for that. This is a "public" version and some stuff is not in it, like (I think) their assessment of the geology of the area into which they were drilling. Is it possible to get the complete plan, as opposed to the PUBLIC INFORMATION version?


It does not matter, as long as the expansion is linear with temperature (which is a good assumption as long as you aren't approaching phase change boundaries in the steel).

Look at it another way . . . according to a Halliburton document presented at a house hearing located at http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100614/Halliburton.EC.Staff.... the temperature at the bottom of the well is 210 F. Seems to me that a reasonable assumption is that the casing, after 80-odd days of flowing 210 degree oil will be at 210 degrees.

Now we know the temperature at the top is around 40 degrees. So the well will try to get to an average temperature of (210 + 40)/2 - 125 F.

If the well's average temperature goes from 210 F to 125 F, the average temperature change will be (210 - 125) * (5/9) = 47 degrees C.

The fact that the temperature swings the most at the top of the well really doesn't matter if you are trying to estimate the total thermal expansion.

It just surprises me that even normal wells - especially deep ones with hot oil - don't experience casing-to-cement separations due to thermal expansion once production starts or stops.

In high speed rail, steel rail is welded solid in a several km long straight line, without dilatation gaps. It seems that rail can simply take the stress and remains straight enough for going routinely 150mph (France, no accident in 30 years) or in some places 200mph, at temperatures varying from well below freezing to +50C.


As to laying railroad rails (either continuous-weld or traditional pieces), they try to lay the track in very hot weather where the rail is near max expansion so when it cools & contracts, it is easier to control it staying in gauge (distance between the rails) where if the track is layed in cool/cold temps, when it heats up, the rails will spread & go out of gauge too wide & cause a derailment. Little tid-bits one learns while reading train/railroad books ;-)


Do you have a link to the source of that diagram? Thanks.

Just go to nola.com and click the oil spill header. Several diagrams are there, but there are errors on this one and others. I think Rocky and few other found about 5 errors, but they rated this diagram a B.

On my browser (Safari running on a Mac), I can do a right click on the image and pull down the menu item 'copy image address'. When I do that, I get http://phoenixrisingfromthegulf.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/screen-shot-...

You can probably do the same on your browser, I'll bet.

That's from the Times-Pic, in a story that ran back in May.

Mash here.

They have a number of nice graphics like that to help us noobs understand more about what's going on.

The basic principal is the spring.

Apply a load and it stretches or compresses depending on the load.

Presumably the casing string has been cemented in place (except for a portion near the bottom). Production of oil causes the upper portion of the casing to increase in temperature. This would normally cause the steel to elongate, if it were not cemented in place. Because it is cemented in place the steel develops a compressive stress proportional to the supposed elongation due to the temperature change divided by the total length and multiplied by the modulus of elasticity.

When it cools that stress is removed.

Yes, I know. Imagine the force necessary to compress a steel pipe 13000 feet long over 7 feet. Is the bond between the pipe and the cement strong enough? Somehow, I doubt it. The pipe would buckle if it were allowed to, but the walls of the well would probably prevent that if the rock was strong enough. There might be a section of well casing that is crumpled like a beer can that is stomped on from the top.

Or maybe the upper part of the well - the part that is in the 1000-ft deep section of mud - just moves up and down as the pipe heats and cools. Maybe that is what the markers on the side of the pipe below the old BOP are all about near the mud line. Or maybe that is what the mound of mud near the mud line is caused by.

Surely somebody has thought about this and made provisions for it.

From the previous thread, comment by Cheryl Rofer:

"The link asserts that there are crude oil aerosols but gives no information on air sampling that shows aerosols. They're unlikely to exist very far from the coast. The symptoms described, as Gobbet points out, can be caused by many things.

The likelihood that gulf coast residents could be reporting similar symptoms as some kind of group psychosomatic response is very unlikely.

On the contrary; mass hysteria is well known to produce mass symptoms. Wikipedia gives some examples.

People say many things in Congressional hearings, too, that may or may not be backed up by fact.

It's certainly up to you to choose what you want to believe, oldhat1. I'm just pointing out some of what might be needed to make a substantive case."

I found the EPA data here:


It does show a slightly elevated level of VOCs in certain areas in LA, which I think would explain some of the symptoms reported by gulf coast residents. It also has the particulate data you referred to.

As I'm sure you know, a lack of data doesn't prove or disprove anything. It's merely a lack of data. Also note that I wasn't making a case for anything, I was politely asking questions of those I thought could give me a considered answer regarding my concerns.

With regard to mass hysteria - I would reassert that those suffering would show other psychological signs since it is a psychological manifestation.

I would assert that the assumption of mass hysteria without supporting factual data is just as faulty as any other argument not supported by substantiating data.

Regardless, I BELIEVE the residents on the gulf coast when they report physical symptoms, and I don't automatically assign their claims to some kind of psychological manifestation - i.e., all in their heads. Doctors tend to do this when they can't explain what's wrong, as they have done to women for years because they had a complete lack of understanding about how a woman's body functions.

I don't claim to know the answers. I have never represented myself to be an expert in this area. But I think there is a logical and verifyable explanation for what gulf coast residents are experiencing other than some faulty fall back position that it must all be in their heads.

After reviewing EPA data I was pointed to by another kindly poster in the other thread, I have concluded that the most likely culprit is low level VOCs. Not mass hysteria, a la pre-dark age nonsense.

"Until the seventeenth century, hysteria was regarded as of uterine origin (from the Greek ὑστέρα "hystera" = uterus) in the Western world. Hysteria referred to a medical condition, thought to be particular to women, caused by disturbances of the uterus. The term hysteria was coined by Hippocrates, who thought that suffocation and madness arose in women whose uteri had become too light and dry from lack of sexual intercourse and, as a result, wandered upward, compressing the heart, lungs, and diaphragm. The belief was that hysterical symptoms would emanate from the part of the body in which the wandering uterus lodged itself.[1] Originally defined as "a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus" ("Hysterical")."


I don't believe gases pose no threat whatsoever, and I will continue to watch the EPA data. I assume, since they're collecting this data, it's why they're watching the situation themselves.

I assume the primary cause of these ailments are the extensive advertisements by various lawyers. Take away the cash - cure the symptoms. I've seen it many times in the past, more localized around New Orleans with various refinery and chemical accident. The occurrence of symptoms is more related to reading the MSDS sheet rather than physical proximity.

It's funny that you would say that. I have never personally seen an advertisement by a lawyer regarding any of these issues, and if I had read the MSDS before posting I would not have been embarrassed by posting non-factual data.

So, where do you get the idea that everyone who has ever experienced a symptom from this must be watching legal advertising and perusing MSDS?

Granted, I don't live on the gulf coast and am not reporting symptoms, but I used to live in Texas. Texas arrogance would say that's close enough. ;)

If you were current on your conspiracy data, you would know that BP has gotten the reputation as a cheap skate who doesn't pay $$$ to anyone, including the fishermen who are basically working for them for free to get their payments for not being able to shrimp/fish the gulf.

Check out Kindra, who has gotten quite a following:


For every expert who says there's no problem, there's another expert who says we're all gonna die (check the "we're all gonna die" videos by scientists on the Project Gulf Impact channel). Is it any wonder why we laymen are so confused and have to ask questions here?

Ya think?

I tend to agree with you deadman, at least where I live....obviously LA has had far more nasty chit wash up than we have and in fact we have only had 2 events, one was small dime size to medium salad plate size tarballs and one was nasty tar that washed up and melted and looked like a giant dog crapped all over parts of the beach, but just 2 weeks after the explosion ppl here could smell the oil, and I never smelled anything. The only time I experienced any smell, headache was the weekend after we got hit hard on June 23rd and I was at the public beach. I left after a few hours because of the headache and went out to the beach by the house and it was gone, then a friend mentioned the heavy equipment (close to 20 front end loaders etc) all over the small area of the public beach picking up the bagged oil and I realized it wasn't the oil, it was the fumes from the heavy equipment that I was smelling and giving me the headache. Also, I noticed you could be on the beach for hours and nobody mentioned anything but as soon as anyone mentioned a scent, others mysteriously could smell it too-just a little experiment I tried to see what would happen.

I can't comment on what you've experienced locally. You were there and I believe you.

I can comment about human variance, however. Some people are more sensitive than others and there is variation between any specific human. It's one of the reasons why doctors have so much difficulty prescribing drugs. One works in one patient, doesn't work in the next. One drug level works in one patient, doesn't work in the next.

I would suspect that asthmatics, for example, would be more sensitive than others.

I have a great difficulty disregarding ALL reports. Surely you must believe that some of them are honest in their assessment. They have no reason to lie about their experience.

As I have said above, BP has a reputation as a cheapskate (and many like me would say that contributed to the oil leak in the first place), so I tend to discount dreams of loads of $$$ as motivation.

If reports are always as you describe, we would have far more reports from people about every hazard on the planet (and none that are real).

One comment I'd like to make regarding individual variability is regarding lifestyle choices.

Smokers are vastly more susceptible to damage due to airborne exposure than non-smokers. By smoking you destroy the natural defenses of the lungs against all sorts of things. Studies have shown it compromises your immune system as well. In the case of asbestos exposure the risk of cancer in some studies has been shown to be 50 times higher.

People in the Gulf are rightly concerned about exposure to benzene. It is interesting to note that the number one cause of exposure to benzene in the US is.. smoking. Even second hand smoke has been shown to elevate blood benzene levels.

Good point. I'm a 30-year pipe smoker, which is just wonderful because I also have coal miners' black lung. Yeah, I spent a decade getting all black before I decided to go to college. Now I'm an old f**t with a nasty cough and still hanging onto that pipe. What can I say.

I'll say hello...as a many year smoker, surfer, diver, runner on beach, Laguna California whose lung disease came (partly) from being exposed to the highest levels of acid rain/fog ever recorded on the planet up until that time (Winter '82 through Spring '83), from leaks at the Huntington refinery combined with a very stagnant marine layer --- I say hello and we're all in this together.

Thanks OH~I appreciate your input and understanding that I am ONLY speaking about here on Pensacola Beach and the experiment I had to work on just to see what the response would be.

I have no doubt that those working near the DWH or in LA off and onshore would be exposed to a far greater level than we are here, and so the symptoms they have could very well be real, I am in no way qualified to answer that one and would defer to Cheryl, I just wanted to mention my observations from what is going on here and that the stress level is EXTREME, partially due to those who believe everything they read, conflicting reports, loss of income and loss of hope etc. I also agree that human variance does account for some that are more sensitive than others.

There is a difference between a stroll on the beach and going out and working all day on a boat breathing the stuff or living on a shoreline and not being able to escape the vapors for days.

I live and grew up is SE LA and have family along the MS coast. For a while there it was saturation coverage by the lawyers on the radio. Some law firm had Erin Brockovitch trolling for clients at "townhalls". I remember when there was a butadiene tank car accident and fire in NO east, the news reporter read off the MSDS for exposure and the next day calls came flooding in about exactly matching symptoms. Later during the court battle, it was shown to be physically impossible for the vast majority of the complaintants have been exposed to any fumes.

This area is saturated with petty fraudsters and chiselers. The same folks who are cheating BP right now, probably did so after Katrina, and are probably scoring disability while also working for cash to avoid taxes. There are a lot of people injured in one way or another but there is an almost irresistible temptation to exaggerate to get some free money. I am not unsympathetic to those who are damaged but I maintain a very skeptical eye. I've got family with legitimate claims, but for all I know they bumped them up to get a little more. Boat owners are complaining that their income from oil spill ops will be deleted from their eventual loss of income settlements despite the obvious logical fallacy. After Katrina the local news radio WWL was dubbed "whiners whiners and losers" because of all the call in complainers who apparently couldn't wipe their own noses without government assistance.

There's nothing wrong with skepticism as long as there's also an eye to legitimate claims.

I know the world is full of fraudsters. Unfortunately, it's also full of people who have been terribly wronged. It's just so freaking hard to sort the two out so the right people get paid, and the fraudsters don't.

Based on what I'm hearing, BP isn't going to be paying much to anyone. Of course, at $4300 per gallon in penalties and a massive oil spill on their hands, I'm not sure they can afford to. ;)

I kind of think there's justice in that. They were so cheap they couldn't pay the $$$ to cap off the well right, so now they have to pay up the wazoo for their $$$ saving mistakes.


And while the Gov't stuffs it's pockets,what does the "small" man do?
Seems his words are starting to ring true.
With only 43% of stimulus money spent, how long do you think they will hold on to this money.Do you think any of it will go to Social Security Disability?

The little guy is always the one who gets hurt. He doesn't have the voice in Washington that big corporations who pay big campaign contributions do.

I don't know what the hell the disabled are going to do. The environment in Washington regarding SS or SSDI is toxic. As always, they blame the little guy for spending everything when we've all paid in for who knows how many years only to have our money looted by the PTB in Washington to "lower the deficit" which really means spend until their tongues hang out. But we still get the blame.

Some things are oh so predictable.

BTW, while BP is getting drained, those same PTB will be profiting hugely by shorting their stock, buying up the clean-up companies, and arranging to have their buddies at Wackenhut provide security for the Gulf. It never changes. It's all a racket. We're not invited.

But, doesn't mean I don't think BP should pay for what they've done. Their actions affect the little guy, too. Who knows how many jobs will be lost because of their cheapskate screw up...

I have originated auto loans. I have friends that are MD's working for Medicaid dollars. 50% of disability is unwarranted in our anecdotal professional observations. Please tell me you see less abuse, you know I prefer good news, but I must have the truth.

What do you do about the 50% who are actually disabled? Give them the finger because of the 50% who aren't?

I've got PTSD that's an absolute nightmare to live with. I can barely function at times. To someone not fully familiar with PTSD, I could look healthy and able to do anything a normal person can do.

They would be very, very wrong.

So because some guy suspects I'm healthy, cut off my disability? Is that a solution?

Note: I paid for my disability with years and years of payments from working - just like you. The only difference is you're lucky enough not to end up disabled. The roll of the dice and all that. Just between you and me, I would have preferred your outcome. Mine really, really, really sucks.

Not only do I get the discrimination because I have a "mental illness" caused by horrific events in my life, but I have all the people who suspect I'm faking because they see me now and again without the worst symtoms.

When you're actually disabled, you really can't win. And you get blamed for all the people who game the system (which is not OUR fault!).

What we need is a better way to tell the difference.

No sir, I have been there. I totally feel for you and I wish you got double. I was there. 1990-1991 Desert Storm. If I can help let me know. God bless you man.

I'm sorry for your experiences (both the original and the later ones), oldhat, and also sorry that you have a number of new co-sufferers:

Emotional toll for some survivors of Deepwater Horizon oil rig blast

Peace and healing to all of you.

If 50% of disability is unwarranted, then there are a lot of doctors out there cheating the government.

People don't get on disability without the help of several doctors, none of whom work for free. Once on disability they provide a steady stream of income for said doctors.

Once a doctor team a certifies someone for long enough, most of the good ones do not want to countermand without solid evidence or lawyers come after them. 80% of the doctors I know are decent folk. The other 20% are really evil and greedy. Many soft tissue injuries are based on complaint and patient responses. The cheats know how to take maximum advantage. I had a person working for me with a cousin that would act 'crazy' for the state shrinks just to not work. She fooled the doctors. I can only imagine what she did to fool them. I would love to try as a lark.

Shrinks are easy to fool because what they do is not science.

I have known a good number of people who have gone in every week and fooled a shrink into believing they were OK. Most of them were family. ;)


Well said. I live in Mobile, AL & we have had the same sort of "working the system" going on.

After Katrina, I listened to a guy brag about how much money he got - with NO damage - undoubtedly the same thing will/is going on now.

I know people who have been hurt badly by this - they should be compensated. Those who "work the system" should be incarcerated

No, you could never catch up. It is simple, tie benefits to working and retraining for income loss. Jobs that disappear forever cannot get a check forever, so go to school and learn a new trade or get a lump sum and you are done. Those that cheat the system will be in the same boat in no time and the educated workers will thrive. That way the hard worker and willing learner gets the biggest paybacks.


Just watched your "leaky dumpster" video - "corrupt gangster MFs"

LOVE IT, but watch out for Tony Soprano

I lost my cool, I rarely ever shoot and leave in foul language. I could not help it, Waste Management is crooked. Beyond BP crooked.

I don't dispute that there are lots of whiners and hucksters.

However I know personally of people who have reported smells and health issues. A family member works at Michoud and for a while the smell of methane was fairly pronounced. Many people have reported strong methane smells in NO east at various times. People we know who live in Slidell have had spells where the smells were strong and sensitive people reported eye, throat, breathing and headache issues.

None of these people have said anything about filing claims or going to doctors, just mentioned it in passing and kept on with their lives.

I would think people living in places like Venice have had non-stop issues with this.

I don't understand how the history of whiners in other events eliminates any real issues in an unprecedented event like this.

Methane does not smell.


Unless it comes out of your posterior. Or someone else's.


Shall we simply say that the methane component is oderless. We won't discuss the properties of Skatole or H2S ;)


Hence Butanethiol? VOC's and armomatics smell, no?

[Question] You’ve made comparisons between Corexit, the use of Corexit and hiding BP’s liability, and what happened at Ground Zero after the attacks of September 11th, Hugh Kaufman.

[Kaufman] Yeah, I was one of the people who—well, I did. I did the ombudsman investigation on Ground Zero, where EPA made false statements about the safety of the air, which has since, of course, been proven to be false. Consequently, you have the heroes, the workers there, a large percentage of them are sick right now, not even ten years later, and most of them will die early because of respiratory problems, cancer, etc., because of EPA’s false statements.

And you’ve got the same thing going on in the Gulf, EPA administrators saying the same thing, that the air is safe and the water is safe. And the administrator misled Senator Mikulski on that issue in the hearings you talked about. And basically, the problem is dispersants mixed with oil and air pollution. EPA, like in 9/11—I did that investigation nine years ago—was not doing adequate and proper testing. Same thing with OSHA with the workers, they’re using mostly BP’s contractor. And BP’s contractor for doing air testing is the company that’s used by companies to prove they don’t have a problem.


Let me correct that to a smell that people associate with and describe as methane.

Thanks for the links, oldhat.

I'm sorry that my responses seemed arrogant to you. Although your initial post seemed to be putting forth a story that has been far too frequent on TOD, namely that terrible things are happening to people from the poisonous vapors released by the blowout, your subsequent posts seem to be more in the nature of trying to figure things out, which I'm very much in favor of.

I think that we simply don't have enough information to know what is going on with the people who are experiencing symptoms. I suspect that all of the possible causes are present, including PTSD, mass hysteria, and real physical reactions to something, which may range from allergens like pollen to VOCs. Mass hysteria is not pre-dark-age nonsense, btw. Its symptoms are manifested physically, so it's real in that sense, and saying that it is operative is not a putdown of its victims. I'm also guessing that we'll never fully know all the answers.

You had some facts wrong in your early posts that I tried to correct. There is so much nonsense going around (toxic methane - rolling eyes at that) that I get irritated at those who don't bother to check up on it before running around spreading it. But with your further postings, I can see that you are trying to check it.

I'm going by memory on this, but it looks to me like your earlier link to a news article copied the symptoms out of the EPA release you've just linked here and added some stuff about "aerosols." That may well be because the reporter doesn't know the technical meaning of "aerosol," which is a suspension of solid or liquid particles in a gas and is using it simply to mean stuff in the air. But when I read that, it suggested much, much higher concentrations of oil in the air to me than what the EPA release reports. So much higher, in fact, that it was unlikely. And the EPA says that the particulate load is normal.

Thank you for your kind reply.

As I said in the other thread, I had an experience with a very small paint can that made me think 'aha!' as soon as I saw slightly elevated levels of VOCs in the Grand Isle data.

Doesn't take much to make you feel really sick.

There's a lot of really wild information floating around out there about what's going on down in the gulf. Some of it comes from "experts" who contradict what everyone else is saying. It makes it really hard for folks like me to figure out what's going on, and what we need to worry about (and what we don't).

A massive release of methane - even if it doesn't move inland - could still have environmental impact because of it's very high UV reflective capacity once it hits high atmosphere. Oil in the gulf could affect hurricaine development. The catastrophic effects of the contaimination to local wildlife is already becoming apparent. I'm worried about contamination of food crops due to reports of holes and white patches developing in the region - which is a very large agricultural producer. Who knows what other effects it might have that we don't yet know about.

For a layman, trying to sort all this out is not easy. We might sound a little crazy from time to time because of the conflicting information, but we're trying...!

A massive release of methane - even if it doesn't move inland - could still have environmental impact because of it's very high UV reflective capacity once it hits high atmosphere. Oil in the gulf could affect hurricaine development. The catastrophic effects of the contaimination to local wildlife is already becoming apparent. I'm worried about contamination of food crops due to reports of holes and white patches developing in the region - which is a very large agricultural producer. Who knows what other effects it might have that we don't yet know about.

Take all this with a very large grain of salt.

Are you trying to imply that there will be no ill effects of this spill? I find that very hard to believe.

From the Exxon Valdez, which was a far smaller spill:

"Both the long- and short-term effects of the oil spill have been studied comprehensively.[21] Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 100,000 to as many as 250,000 seabirds, at least 2,800 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 247 bald eagles, and 22 orcas, as well as the destruction of billions of salmon and herring eggs.[7][22] The effects of the spill continued to be felt for many years afterwards. Overall reductions in population have been seen in various ocean animals, including stunted growth in pink salmon populations.[23] Sea otters and ducks also showed higher death rates in following years, partially because they ingested prey from contaminated soil and from ingestion of oil residues on hair due to grooming.[24]

Almost 20 years after the spill, a team of scientists at the University of North Carolina found that the effects are lasting far longer than expected.[23] The team estimates some shoreline Arctic habitats may take up to 30 years to recover.[7] Exxon Mobil denies any concerns over this, stating that they anticipated a remaining fraction that they assert will not cause any long-term ecological impacts, according to the conclusions of 350 peer-reviewed studies.[24] However, a study from scientists from the NOAA concluded that this contamination can produce chronic low-level exposure, discourage subsistence where the contamination is heavy, and decrease the "wilderness character" of the area.[19]"


You seem inclined to minimize the potential effects of this disaster. You're not on the BP payroll, are you? I've heard they've been hiring scientists left and right...



WRT effects of methane in the atmosphere:

"Methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas. Compared with carbon dioxide, it has a high global warming potential of 72 (calculated over a period of 20 years) or 25 (for a time period of 100 years).[2] Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. As a result, methane in the atmosphere has a half life of seven years[citation needed]."


Changes to the food web:


WRT the holes in plants in the gulf region - an example of anecdotal reports:


The effect of the oil spill in hurricanes:


Note that most of this is unknown because a spill of this magnitude has never occurred in a region subject to many hurricanes.



Note that the EPA whistleblower who is talking about the negative effects of dispersants is the same guy who disclosed the health effects of the toxic offgassing at the World Trade Center after 9/11 - now proven after years of denial.



Are you trying to imply that there will be no ill effects of this spill? I find that very hard to believe.

I think Cheryl is only trying to suggest some healthy skepticism. Without going into my own list of what I think are the most disastrous effects of the spill, I would just suggest using a little math to help you evaluate some of the regional impacts claimed.

If you divide the gallons, or cubic feet, of oil, gas, or Corexit by the volume of the spill area (or the land area up to Memphis where the corn had spots), you quickly find that some of these theories need a lot of salt. That is not to say that a whole generation of Bluefin tuna won't be wiped out, or that a hurricane won't plaster houses with oil mousse. But crop damage three hundred miles away? No.

And suggesting that someone is a BP shill just because they don't agree with you is rude, you didn't really mean that did you?

I think what I meant more was that we're often lied to, and it's hard to tell what's a lie and what the truth is.

I think to determine how far away crops might be impacted would depend on cloud formations and how far they might go laden with potentially contaminated droplets before the rains fall. This would be dependent on weather patterns, would it not? How far do clouds actually travel after they form from evaporated waters/contamination? I thought thunderstorms could travel quite a distance before the clouds disperse, no?

My state is 350 miles from top to bottom, but we routinely have storms that travel from top to bottom, dumping rain and/or snow all along the way. What is the reasoning behind an assumption that contaminated rains couldn't follow a similar pattern?

I looked for average storm path distance on the web, but couldn't find any. :(

The 9/11 disaster is a fine example of how we're lied to at every turn for economic reasons (that oddly seem to benefit the very few), while the dangers are very real. There are a whole lot of first responders after 9/11 who are now very sick, who were lied to, who were dedicated enough that they might have taken the risk anyway for the sake of the country - but they deserved to make the choice and take on the risks for themselves after being honestly informed.

Mostly it's just an expression of frustration at the lack of information that makes it difficult for people like me to figure out what's going on.

Do I believe BP is telling us the truth about anything? Pfft. Not likely.

Do I believe the government lies to us? After 9/11, hell yes!

Do I appreciate being told my concerns are not valid and nothing I say should be looked at as factual? No, not much. Not without some hard data to back it up. That is what this forum is for, isn't it?

Edit to add: I don't believe the holes in plants are prolific, which leads me to believe any potential contamination is very low saturation in rains. How much corexit over time is going to cause you problems, though? Does just washing produce get rid of the toxic effects, since that's all that most people do with produce? Some people don't wash produce at all, which would ensure no removal of toxic products. I know active half life of corexit is quite short, but does all the toxic effect dissipate in that time frame? Is any of the corexit absorbed into the cells of plants and potentially able to be ingested that way?

There are just so many questions I don't have any answers to. But everyone who talks about corexit talks about TOXIC!

WRT quantity of water and quantity of oil/gas in the area - well, heck. We'll just take up residence right on top of the oil well since the volume of water in the gulf makes it impossible for anything in the gulf to be toxic. Yes, I'm joking. Volumetric calculations utilizing volume of water in gulf vs. volume of hazardous materials does not necessarily equal no risk. It all depends on how those materials are distributed.

It can't be bad for the environment when Nobel Prize winner Al Gore is one of the owners of the company that produces it.

You gotta be f'ing kidding me.

Here it is in full so nobody else has to click on it.

The Real Money Is In the Dispersants
Published: Saturday, July 03, 2010, 3:30 PM Updated: Saturday, July 03, 2010, 3:30 PM

I live in New Orleans and have heard that some well placed people own stock in Nalco the company that is selling BP dispersants. I searched the Internet for some information about this and have found the following:

The Top Kill method was started and suspended several times. It was being attempted only half hearted.
Stopping the flow would stop the use of dispersants that NALCO is supplying.
Warren Buffett, Maurice Strong, Al Gore, George Soris, Apollo Management, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs and others own stock in NALCO.
NALCO is Chicago based with subsidiaries in Brazil, Russia, India, China and Indonesia.
NALCO is associated with The University of Chicago Argonne program.
UChicago Argonne received $164M in stimulus funds the past year.
UChicago added two new executives to their roster, one from NALCO the other from the Illinois Dept. of Education.
Warren Buffet increased his holdings in NALCO last November.

Some reference links:
Buffett’s Bet On Water, NALCO.

Blackstone, Apollo and Goldman Sachs to acquire Ondeo NALCO from Suez

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. - NALCO Holding Co.

BP Embraces Exxon’s toxic dispersant, Ignores safter Alternative

Related topics: Al Gore, Blackstone, BP, dispersants, George Soris, NALCO

Don't worry. Next they'll be investing in hospitals and clinics to collect on the other end of the dispersants!


Wish I was kidding...

I'm not worried. Why would I be worried?

This entire charade is taking place in a fifty-gallon fishtank on George Soros' evil yacht.

OH1 -- thanks for all these links. I'm most interested in the health effects on all life forms. I look to having the time to explore these links.

Methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas. Compared with carbon dioxide, it has a high global warming potential of 72 (calculated over a period of 20 years) or 25 (for a time period of 100 years).[2] Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. As a result, methane in the atmosphere has a half life of seven years[citation needed].

begs the question, what is the global warming potential of the truly most potent greenhouse gas, water vapor?


You will note that the AGW crowd sets GWP based on a time horizon (20 years or 100 years). The residence time of water vapor in the atmosphere is roughly nine days. So the water that evaporated today will not still be in the atmospere in 20 years, without having condensed and then re-evaporated hundreds of times in between.

So on this the Blue Planet do you really expect that the water vapor content will have diminished to zero or that it will merely have gone through an endless Hydrologic Cycle? The AGW alarmists use of GWP assumes the humidity of the atmosphere will decay over a time frame of 20 or 100 years so that water need not be considered to have a GWP and can be ignored. They cheat by ignoring the water vapor in the atmosphere. Do you really believe Al Gore is smart??? and altruistic or that he is just another FDGB who is looking out for Al Gore?

namely that terrible things are happening to people from the poisonous vapors released by the blowout

Aren't there poisonous vapors coming from the oil covered water?

On a 100 degree day out on a boat in the middle of it don't you think you might get sick from it?

Cheryl: I have seen some posts about methane becoming heavier than air when mixed with water vapour. It seems totally counter intuitive and I have found nothing that even gets near the subject. Do you have any input on this before I bite someone's ankles?


It doesn't match with what I know about the behavior of gases. At a particular pressure and temperature, one mole of ANY gas or combination of gases will occupy the same volume. For example, at 1 atmosphere and 0C=32F, a mole (6.02x10**23 molecules ) will occupy the same 22.414 liters, whether it's helium, radon, oxygen, nitrogen, methane, or some combination. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideal_gas_equation, or find a General Chemistry text and look at the chapter on ideal gases, which would be more readable)

Methane is CH4, and has a molecular weight of ~16 (=12 for carbon +4*1 for hydrogen)
Water is H2O and has a molecular weight of 18.
Dry air is roughly 80% N2 (nitrogen) and 20% O2 (oxygen) for an effective molecular weight of 28.8 =(0.8*28)+(0.2*32)

Water and methane are both substantially lighter than air. Adding them to an air parcel would decrease its effective molecular weight, so it would be less dense than air, causing the air parcel to rise.

Thanks, pretty much exactly what I was thinking. The only thing I could think of would be a stream of warm humid air but even then partial pressure of water is low and the methane is still just a bit more than half the density of air and should rise like crazy along with 'water vapour' which would behave like steam and rise anyway. It is quite a while since I have though about such things and I wanted to make sure I had it right before going for the ankles.


You're welcome, and your intuition was right.

I think the way people get confused on this is that they view water evaporating as ADDING the mass of water to the air, and doing nothing else.

If you had a closed vessel with water and air and heated it (Kids, don't try this at home!), the added water vapor would also increase the pressure. If the vessel didn't explode, the gas phase would become denser, and you lose fluid phase.

In open air, these things get harder to visualize. You can think of the water as adding volume and mass to an air parcel, and bringing the density down.

At the macroscopic level, there are weather systems driven not so much by temperature contrasts as by humidity contrasts. In through the TX Panhandle, OK Panhandle, and the Front Ranges of CO, there is a boundary separating the dry air masses generated to the west from the moister air to the east, mainly from the Gulf, called the dryline. Movement of the dryline acts like movement of the boundary between cold polar air masses and warm Gulf air masses in the Midwest. http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/mtr/af/frnts/dfdef.rxml

NAOM: I'm sorry I may have seemed to ignore you last night, but this Interwebby-thingy wasn't working so well for me.

Methane mixed with water vapor is methane mixed with water vapor. They don't react, and they don't become "heavier than air."

I keep wondering why it's so tempting to believe that gases separate out by weight. I think it may relate to the advice to keep down when you're in a building with a fire in it, because the hotter gases and smoke rise and remain somewhat separate in that enclosed environment.

You can also play with various low-boiling liquids and watch them pour out of a container as they gasify. I've done that with petroleum ether (light fractions of petroleum, what is evaporating from the spill) by boiling it in the palm of my hand.

But in both cases, those gases aren't separating. They're staying separate for a little while and mixing as they go. Many people die anyway in a fire from smoke inhalation, even when they keep their heads down.

May I recommend -For Her Own Good- by Barbara Ehrenreich.
Great Book on two centuries of the Experts' advice to Women.

I'm a little afraid to. ;)

Funny, but when we read what they had to say now, it's the experts who sound crazy and not the women. It would have really sucked to live back then and get told your uterus was in your throat because you didn't have sex today - when women were supposed to be pure and virginal. Talk about conflicting opinion!

LOL! We see it for what it is now. The universe returns to its balance.

:) :) :)

Back then, lol?

I don't think much has changed. About 35 yrs ago a local TV station sent on male and one female reporter to all of the metro NO hospitals with the exact same symptoms. Them man was given tests and 100% of the time the woman was prescribed valium and sent home.

I once had an OB/GYN try to tell me it was "in my mind" when I said I though the baby was about to deliver. Guess who was proved correct minuets later?

Sometimes it's one step forward, two steps back.

Still, there's satisfaction in making the accuser look ridiculous when you're proven right.


I BELIEVE the residents on the gulf coast when they report physical symptoms, and I don't automatically assign their claims to some kind of psychological manifestation - i.e., all in their heads.

Believing their physical symptoms are genuine and suspecting they're psychological manifestations are not mutually exclusive. "Mass hysteria" is probably not the clinically correct term for what they're experiencing, but prolonged stress can thoroughly screw up the body's systems--it's actually a normal response. And it doesn't in any way reflect poorly on the person having the symptoms.

(Obviously the fact that stress can cause physical symptoms doesn't automatically mean that's why these symptoms are occurring; possible external causes must be thoroughly investigated, and of course the symptoms need to be treated either way.)

but prolonged stress can thoroughly screw up the body's systems--it's actually a normal response.

Tell me about it. I have a severe form of PTSD. I know all about the physical problems as well as the psychological. Sucks.

The point I was making earlier is we can't always assume that some psychological issue is why people report symptoms.

An example. When I go to the doctor - the real doctor who deals with physical problems - the first thing they do is discount everything I say because I have PTSD. Even when the problem is real. Even when I can prove it.

Sometimes the assumptions we make about people can be damaging. Nothing is ever as easy as it looks on TV. :)

There is some interesting work being done on using ecstasy along with therapy for PTSD. The first trial showed a very high success rate and they want to trail it more. I can't remember where I saw it but it was in the last few days. Try 'New Scientist' or 'The Guardian' or BBC. The military seem to be very interested too.


There is some interesting work being done on using ecstasy along with therapy for PTSD.

The street drug known as ecstasy may play a role in treating severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when used in conjunction with intensive therapy in a very controlled setting, according to preliminary new research in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

When used in this manner, MDMA, also known as ecstasy, was so effective that 80% of participants had resolution of their PTSD symptoms after the end of the trial. And some participants who had been unable to work because of their symptoms were able to rejoin the workforce. The new work was funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit group based in Santa Cruz, Calif., that studies the use of psychedelic drugs and marijuana in difficult-to-treat conditions.


I've read about this. In theory, it would make it legal for me to do (some) street drugs. Note: I don't do ANY drugs right now because of adverse effects.

However, because I have PTSD, using ecstasy would probably get me arrested.

If I were a drug addict, I'd probably get off.

But the stigma of having something like PTSD would get me arrested. Probably with the doctors prescription for the drugs in my pocket after showing the cops I had it.

I'm only kinda joking... :( The stigma can really suck.

Did you read that particular article? The drug is administered during the the therapy sessions to enhance the effects. Here is the link I originally saw
And here is the military.com link in that article
Doesn't sound like you would need to carry it around. I hope they do find something that helps, haven't had PTSD myself but have known people affected thought I would rather not detail that.


And you think that would matter? ;)

I'm joking a bit about the problems we tend to run into because of the PTSD. Not really serious.

I believe the use of the drug is only for short term treatment during intensive therapy sessions.

I'm still somewhat skeptical because I've heard of a lot of PTSD treatments that were supposedly a miracle cure that didn't do much for a lot a people when actually used in large scale trials. I've been through too much of that myself to believe much in the "miracle cure."

I think that part of the problem is that PTSD is a catch all for a range of problems and different people are damaged, by it, in different ways. If you try and apply a 'one size fits all' approach then there are bound to be problems. At least they are trying to help people while in WWI they shot them. I hope they can develop a toolkit that they can work from to help people.


WOW~I think I just developed a severe case of PTSD now NAOM......all kidding aside IIRC didn't we get Ecstacy from the germans in one of the WW1?? I do remember back in the 80's it was actually a legal prescription that was used in therapy until it became illegal on July 1st of 1985.......don't ask me how I remember, but I think that date is pretty accurate :0)

Pre-WWI, take a look at the Wikipedea article. The New Scientist link I gave to oldhat1 has more. The 'people are enjoying themselves with this, ban it' knee jerk reaction can cause more problems than it solves often excluding the possible medical uses. Very often it is based on very poor information, frequently from sensationalising journalists (sound familiar in the current turn of events?). One of the reasons for banning Ecstasy was deaths 'linked' to the drug. Investigation showed many of those results to be false. If you look at the hazards of many pharmaceuticals the casualty rate is far higher often with dubious benefits. If you compare 'legal' tobacco and alcohol to Ecstasy you would wonder why they are allowed. Now,I will get back to my Tequila ;)


I BELIEVE the residents on the gulf coast when they report physical symptoms, and I don't automatically assign their claims to some kind of psychological manifestation - i.e., all in their heads.

Believing their physical symptoms are genuine and suspecting they're psychological manifestations are not mutually exclusive. "Mass hysteria" is probably not the clinically correct term for what they're experiencing, but prolonged stress can thoroughly screw up the body's systems--it's actually a normal response. And it doesn't in any way reflect poorly on the person having the symptoms.

Much of the harm to the public caused by the Three Mile Island accident was psychological, as it turned out. But just because it is psychological doesn't exclude the possibility that real harm was done. You put people under worry and stress, and you get health consequences.

I am tempted to file a million-dollar claim against BP for psychological stress just for the helluvit. After all, here I am at 5:48 AM checking on the status of the well, blogging, and worrying about the beach in front of my condo getting covered up with oil instead of sleeping.

On the subject of hysteria, PTSD, or other labels that tend to ascribe psychological causes for certain symptoms experienced by those exposed along the Gulf, I'd like to raise the following points for consideration:

The divide between 'psychological' and physical (and therefore deemed 'real') symptoms is less distinct than most people have been led to believe. For example, anxiety or depression are symptoms (or 'diagnostic labels', more below) which may be precipitated by psychological causes, eg anticipation of job losses, but they can also be precipitated by chemical exposures, drugs, and medication.

Ask yourself, how do people get 'high' on drugs? Because those drugs alter their brain chemistry. How does antidepressants like Prozac work? Again, they work by altering their brain chemistry. Not only that, sometimes they also alter behavior substantially, like the increased risk of suicide for teenagers on some antidepressants.

Or take the simple example of DUI - how does alcohol affect judgment? Or mood, assertiveness, even sometimes aggression?

Chemicals eg solvents, but also other petrochemicals, are KNOWN triggers for alterations in emotions, behavior, and other neuro-cognitive symptoms. Here's one review of solvent neurotoxicity in exposed workers, including gas pump attendants. Take a look at this list of neurobehavioral effects http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2078137/table/tbl2/ The subject of mental health consequences from chemical exposures is well studied (follow the links from the sidebar on PubMed, for a start).

Also, what non-medical people (and often even MDs) often misunderstand is that diagnostic labels such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, even PTSD, are just descriptive LABELS, but on their own say nothing about the underlying MECHANISM or causes.

There's also the issue of individual variations in susceptibility. Add that to individual variations in exposure for residents, which would be almost impossible to document, plus the REAL psychological/emotional traumas that are visited upon them, then I wouldn't be surprised to see increased rates of neuro-behavioral/emotional/psychological complaints among Gulf residents. At one level, to the extent that even the emotional trauma WAS caused directly by the oil spill, one can hold BP responsible. That said, the important lesson here is that one must NOT arbitrarily ascribe psychological causes to seemingly psychological symptoms, because very often these symptoms are only the tip of the iceberg, of bigger but more subtle (and sometimes/often delayed) disabilities that may arise.

That's just a very brief tour of the issues. I do have professional knowledge on this aspect so can post more if there's interest.

I was looking up geothermal gradients and came across the following: http://geophysics.vox.com/library/post/reading-for-comprehension.html.

At first I was going to post simply because it starts with a nice explanation of why newspaper reporting so often dissatisfies folks in the know:

Reporters and scientists are communicators, first and foremost. But where scientists use exacting language to describe their results to others with a common background [1], reporters use imprecise language to discuss the work of others with a diverse audience [2]. As a result, there is frequently an inherent disconnect when the reporter and the scientist talk to each other.

But the rest of the article is also interesting for a different reason: the author dissects a particular methane bubble doomsday post, showing in minute and scathing detail where bits of truth are added and where things diverge.

The answer Rockman gave to the oil/gas seperation in the well bore question from the last thread has made me wonder further about sea floor breaches (I'm not promoting a belief that they currently exist):

If there was a wellbore leak to the outside, I get that it would take a long time for oil to seep through the sediment bed(years of time). But if methane was leaking out, especially in a higher proportion, would that tend to rise up through the sediments faster than oil would seep? And once the methane had passed through the sediment, could that then allow the oil to more rapidly rise as well? Essentially, the methane would trailblazing paths of least resistance which oil can then more easily follow.

I'm not sure if any seafloor bubbling has been verified as real, but would this be reasonable for why non-oily bubbling could occur?

From previous thread, comment by k3d59:

""You are doing a disservice to those who are affected on the gulf coast by calling their symptoms a stress response (i.e., they're crazy). Not to mention offending me, when I've got the real deal."

oldhat1 makes good point!!!!!! And heartfelt sympathy to you, oldhat1. I deal with a Gulf War vet and Nam vet, both of whom I love dearly and both of whom came home with PTSD as a result of military service. PTSD of any origin is a bitch and there's no other word for it.

Hang on, oldhat1, because you're going to see a lot of that nasty little semantic game of trying to disappear the biological damage from the mind of the nation. In my estimation, it's the equivalent of denigrating a whistle blower by calling him a "disgruntled employee".

Psyops of the lowest order. I think it's going to be a lot harder to make it work this go round. too many people involved.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. (http://www3.bartleby.com/100/448.html)"

Thank you for your understanding. You have my sympathies in having two with PTSD so close to you. It can be the very devil to live with - and almost as hard to be the one who loves them. It really, really sucks. But we survive and find things in life worth living for.

WRT to pointing the finger and saying it's mass hysteria or something similar, they CLAIM that, but never offer any facts to back it up.

It does demean and demoralize any who are affected by the spill, however. I guess for any BP apologists, that's the end goal.

I kind of like to think that any here would not fall into that category, and are merely commenting with the same lack of knowledge about stress as my lack of knowledge about oil and gas! They don't have our intimate experience in living with the SOB of PTSD. But, free exchange of ideas and all that. Maybe the education will do them good as the education about oil and gas does me good. Works out in the end.

Demeaning and demoralizing victims of BP's incompetence is standard BP corporate practice. Research the Texas City refinery disaster of 2005 to see examples in action. And remember, even after killing over a dozen, injuring hundreds, and hurting their own asset base in one of the largest refineries in North America, BP was fined a record $87 million dollars in 2009 for over 700 safety violations related to that 2005 refinery blast. Safety violations that were still outstanding after 4 years.

That is the kind of company that BP is. People should think about that.

Research the Texas City refinery disaster of 2005 to see examples in action. And remember, even after killing over a dozen, injuring hundreds, and hurting their own asset base in one of the largest refineries in North America, BP was fined a record $87 million dollars in 2009 for over 700 safety violations related to that 2005 refinery blast. Safety violations that were still outstanding after 4 years.

That is the kind of company that BP is. People should think about that.

If I was Obama, I would investigate whether BP has changed any of their deepwater drilling practices around the world, and if not, I would 'pull their license' to operate in this country. I wouldn't let them run anything more hazardous than a filling station in the USA.

OK, OH1: time for a humor break. Speaking of psyops

Federal officials say 5 'small drips' discovered around oil cap

How the hell did they count 'em?
God, I love this. ***They're*** starting to crack.

TOD discussion of natural seeps from June 8th...

A natural seep occurs when the oil, which is normally trapped under a layer of rock in a reservoir, finds a pathway to the surface, generally relatively small (so that the oil doesn’t all gush out rapidly), with the oil slowly seeping upwards over the centuries.

James-- Are most of the natural seeps in the
deeper water out past the continental shelf? Ed

James-- Are most of the natural seeps in the
deeper water out past the continental shelf? Ed

That is something I could not tell you, other than what that little graphic shows from the June 8th TOD topic shows. It is a large and relatively deep body of water, so I imagine the majority of them are not even mapped.

There has been a lot of discussion recently of "seeps" both here and in the Media, so I thought it would be helpful to some if I posted a link to this earlier TOD topic explaining how natural seeps come about and what they are.

One thing to take away from that discussion is that they are "seeps", not eruptions, or oil volcanoes. The oil oozes out slowly over the centuries.


See slide 21. Some on the shelf and some on the plain, but most on the slope. These are oil only, as gas seeps don't typically reach the surface or if they do, leave a mark visible from satellite.

Well, I won't say there aren't ANY seeps on the shelf, but the well known seeps (from satellite slicks and seabottom surveys) are all (mostly?) in deepwater. Geopressures exist in DW right to the seafloor, so any small hc accumulation has a high likelihood of blowing out a crest - also the deepwater slope is actively deforming (at a slow rate) causing a dynamic environment prone to leakage. On the shelf there is a fairly thick sand-rich hydropressured section which sucks up any hydrocarbons fracturing their way out of the gp section.


Here is a similar map from the New York Times with locations of seep communities in the Gulf Of Mexico.

This map shows areas in the Gulf of Mexico in which seeps are located. The map includes seeps that may or may not have seep communities. Here is part of the description of the map "Figure 4. Gulf of Mexico regional seep-distribution map based on more than 5200 sea-bottom dropcores plus sea-surface slicks identified on remote-sensing data."

The map linked above uses the outline of MMS lease regions for orientation. You can use this map to identify MMS lease regions. The Macondo blowout is located in Mississippi Canyon Block 252. Its a big map. You'll probably need to zoom in.

BP is raising cash - BP Signs North America and Egypt Asset Deals with Apache

Release date: 20 July 2010

BP announced today that it has entered into several agreements to sell upstream assets in the United States, Canada and Egypt to Apache Corporation. The deals, together worth a total of $7 billion, comprise BP’s Permian Basin assets in Texas and south-east New Mexico, US; its Western Canadian upstream gas assets; and the Western Desert business concessions and East Badr El-din exploration concession in Egypt.

The decision to make these divestments follows the announcement made by BP last month that it was increasing its target for divestments to $10 billion. The proceeds of the sales will be used by BP to increase the cash available to the group.

BP Chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, said: “Over the last two months the Board has considered BP’s options for generating the cash necessary to meet the obligations likely to arise from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP has an extremely strong asset base which is diversified geographically as well as by asset class. The Board believes that there are opportunities to divest assets which are strategically more valuable to other parties than they are to BP. Today’s announcement is the first such transaction and meets the value and strategic criteria of both parties.”

(more at the link)

Just got back what they spent to buy Devon's deep water and international stuff the end of last year.

The U.S. is going to milk BP to the point of banckruptcy.We are going to own an oil company whether we know it or not.Tax payer money.Seems the British PM more or less told Obowma he is killing BP shareholders.

With our deficit we need to get funds from anyone who has them. I suggest we go after Apple next.

Now WHY are you picking on Apple? Did you get an IPhone with a faulty antenna?


Personally, after their big screw ups, the financials might be a good target to get back some of the $$$ they pissed away chasing after derivatives, sub-prime loans, and complex financial products. But, will never happen.


Actually most of the finacials are paying back with interst except for AIG, and smaller banks and then there are those autos..
Actually just got my new Apple phone the other day. Okay so far. But you know their profit margin is many times larger than BP's and they use their advertising to take advantage of people in the middle class who could be saving money or buying green technology for their homes:)

Actually Diverdan, the banksters have not even begun to pay back the support they have received from US. The TARP was but a small % of the support we gave the banksters. They have taken trillions from us and only paid back billions.

Yes, AIG who insured BP. If we don't get it in the tail one way, we'll get it in the tail the other.

But Iphones are so COOL!

Nope, don't have one. Don't have a cell phone. Love computers, still no cell. Go figure.

I would like one of those Mac thingys, though. Would have to read up on Unix because I think OS X is based on BSD. But what a cool little toy (as I could be saving up money or buying green technology for my home).


But Iphones are so COOL!

Nope, don't have one. Don't have a cell phone. Love computers, still no cell. Go figure.

I would like one of those Mac thingys, though. Would have to read up on Unix because I think OS X is based on BSD. But what a cool little toy (as I could be saving up money or buying green technology for my home).

oldhat - Mac guy since '85, something I know a bit more about than petro tech. No need to read up on Unix unless you really want to, it's all under the hood.

I'm a techie type. Reading up on Unix is part of the whole experience - and part of the draw!


The terminal, X11 and more await you. My challenge and interest is more with, html, php, wordpress, etc. on my Macs, of course. What kind of Mac are you thinking about getting?

You know how it is. I must peruse them all and spend a great deal of time drooling!


oldhat1, check this:

and best os & sw book ever:
FreeBSD Handbook

your life will change :)

all best :)

Don't be silly. Exxon will buy up BP assets at a reduced rate. It's the American way. :) Although I notice another company has scooped up assets today so BP can raise cash.

IMO, what BP has done requires some blowback. If they didn't get it, the next guy would be encouraged to screw up big time in well drilling.

The damage is potentially too great, IMO, for that to be allowed to happen. Sometimes it's about more than just the shareholders.

Exxon will buy up BP assets at a reduced rate.

Oldhat1- To me the best analogy is Union Carbide Corp. and the Bhopal disaster. If anyone is not familiar with this, please read up but don't plan on sleeping well tonight.

The economic and legal aftermath is a complex story, but basically UCC began divesting businesses left and right; creating subsidiaries, renaming, then becoming a holding company for these subsidiaries; spinning-off independent companies; selling a major interest in their Indian division; selling assets and then becoming a "partner" with the new owners; and of course, culminating in UCC becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical.

This monumental corporate ass-covering took from 1984 until 2001- seventeen years!

ps: UCC CEO Warren Anderson is still literally a wanted man in India, but good luck with that.

Yeah. I remember when that happened. Watched it on TV and felt sick. What a horrible way to die.

Some of those execs needed to go to jail. But didn't. Sigh.

They always cover their asses, don't they?

I'd suggest reading Five Past Midnight in Bhopal: The Epic Story of the World's Deadliest Industrial Disaster by Dominique Lapierre. Absolutely unbelievable, you find yourself saying over and over, "This just can't be true." But it is.

The similarities to the current GOM tragedy are amazing.

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look that book up.

Today I read an article about authors signing with publishers to write books concerning Deepwater Horizon incident:
Carl Safina, oceanographer, environmental consequences of spill
Loren Steffy, business columnist for The Houston Chronicle, BP as cost-cutting corporation
John Konrad, oil rig captain, adventure narrative
Antonia Juhasz, author of The Tyranny of Oil, human tragedy
Mike Magner, investigative journalist, BP story plus disaster
Peter Lehner, executive director of Natural Resources Defense Council, co-author Bob Deans, spill issue overview

The following anticipated authors are hesitating to write a book:
Michael Lewis, Douglas Brinkley

I'm not familiar with any of the authors. Are there any comments?

Brit: Michael Lewis wrote the best selling book "Liars Poker" about Wall Street in the 1980s. His is the only name I am familiar with. A google would probably help on finding out about the others.

Carl Safina writes on marine ecology ... author of several books, including Eye of the Albatross:Visions of Hope and Survival.

In my mind the danger is China buying BP since the US is dependent, to an extent, on China funding our debt.

In theory, that might work out if China buys the actual company and its liabilities. BP is racking up the liabilities from the spill, and China has the $$$ to pay up.

Maybe they'll offset the debt.

Hmmm.... never thought of that. It might be a good thing to sell BP to China. Who'da thunk it. :)

Won't happen if the Pentagon and the CIA have any input.

Yeah, that's why I said "in theory." Too big of a strategic threat.

Although after this oil spill...


The U.S. is going to milk BP to the point of banckruptcy [sic].

BPShareholder- Sincerely interested in this point of view as I've seen it expressed on many stock sites.

If our legal system determines that BP is at least partially at fault, what would you suggest? TIA.

BP is part of my retirement portfolio. At current share price I own approx.$8,500.If Uncle Sam is getting,currently,$4,300 a barrel in fines for MY oil,it would be a good idea if he would tell me how I and all other shareholders,people on the gulf who are dependent on the rigs,all the way down to the kid that is a fry cook at Micky D's will continue without BP.Like someone said,what if China makes a play.Let's let it play the way it is for now.

It would help if you threw out the management that caused the problem. Gives the company more credibility. Will never happen.

I'm sorry about your losses. I know how much that can hurt. But what BP has done is going to hurt a LOT of people. Sucks big time.

Which is why management should have made better decisions. But didn't. Sigh.

If you sell now, you have $8,500. In BP bankruptcy, you will get $0.

BPShareholder on July 20, 2010 - 5:45pm BP is part of my retirement portfolio. At current share price I own approx.$8,500.If Uncle Sam is getting,currently,$4,300 a barrel in fines for MY oil,it would be a good idea if he would tell me how I and all other shareholders,people on the gulf who are dependent on the rigs,all the way down to the kid that is a fry cook at Micky D's will continue without BP.Like someone said,what if China makes a play.Let's let it play the way it is for now.

IMHO I don't think you "own" the oil. You own some paper, that entails both profit, and loss. Your participation is voluntary, however spill fines are the law and imposed on any owner/operator found guilty of spilling and/or negligence (intentional or not). Why would you want to own stock in a company like that? Nonetheless, the question of who really does "own" the oil is an intriguing question and certainly worthy of further debate.

On private land onshore, the property owner has mineral rights, subject to aquifer, surface water and air pollution regs. Within three miles of shore and on state lands, states hold mineral and navigation rights as a public trust. Farther offshore and on Federal lands, it's US Dept of Interior as agent for US Treasury. Leases are granted to qualified high bidders, subject to pollution and safety regs, royalties, API standards.

BP has arguably lost their qualification to operate.

Don't look for simplicity in the playmaking. Before the deal with Apache was fleshed out rumors had them picking up BP's north slope holdings but that would be a rather complex undertaking and maybe too big a bite for the big American independent. Shell on the other hand could well be in a position to pick up BP's Alaskan holdings. Shell did make a hard run at swallowing ARCO before the odd little deal that had little Phillips end up holding it was worked out. BP still has a whole lot of assets. I wouldn't write off the company just yet.

Just as an aside back in the 90's after BP and Arco had been running Prudhoe side by side for better than a decade it was the BP side that the field hands considered the ghetto (badly corroded feeder pipes, more chance of encountering H2S and so on) operation, not the Arco side. I guess that paid because BP survived and Arco was eaten. Oh, those badly corroded feeder pipes ended up dumping better than a quarter million gallons of crude on the frozen tundra a few years after Arco disappeared. BP had assured the AK regulators that its assessment of the pipe conditions had become so high tech that it was no longer necessary to physically run pigs through the system to see what they looked like up close and personal. I guess some managers figured the frozen tundra was easy enough to clean up and they could probably be out of the picture with the extra bonuses the reduced operational costs netted them before the guys to succeeded them got stuck with the mess--but this last part is just conjecture on my part.

message deleted

US oil spill could destroy 100,000 jobs: experts


Not what we need in THIS economy.

I read somewhere that BP itself employs 64000 in the US. Not good. Wish they had been more careful prior leak...

Yeah, but as some of the northern elitist pols and folks say they are jobs we shouldn't have and are just down there in those southern states. It no big deal because it is for the cause. Didn't think that way when it came to bailing out GM. Strange isn't it.

They bailed out GM because it's an American company. BP isn't. BP = British Petroleum. Americans are kind of funny about American companies - American manufacturing and blue collar jobs, especially.

Still, there are 64000 American jobs at stake. But I don't think they're going to get a bailout.

Someone will take them over and most of the jobs will still be there.

That's kinda my take on how it will play out.

So this meeting between Cameron and Obama was about Iran? I think too big to fail quickly might be a better description. Maybe play the asset swapping game, ensuring the softest landing possible for all the institutional and pensioner investors.

I think they were negotiating. But considering how much the spill is going to cost us, I don't think Obama should be negotiating much.

Remember that everything BP doesn't pay for the spill, we lucky taxpayers get to fork it up.

I feel for the shareholders. I would love to find a way to protect the shareholders and give BP itself the shaft. And their execs. I guess I'm not smart enough to think up the correct evil plan. :) Perhaps someone else should.

Easy. You force the gutting of the board and company. Enter a white night to control assets and reform the brand under a different name. Maybe even the UK government is the white night. Wasn't BP the Anglo-Iranian company anyways? We (the US with the help of the CIA) helped to create this monster didn't we? Then the company can return to the private sector 'laundered' from this event. Another top 10 oil company could also be the white night. This way the current upper managers can be cast aside. Let them pull their Golden Parachute ripcords, I would make sure the lawyers had civil cases for decades on every dime the old guard has. This way we have broke cheaters and less broke investors. We also keep all the good BP people on the clock.

Enter a white night

White knight: a hero riding in to save the day.

Actually it usually means a third party coming to the rescue of a company in the throes of a hostile takeover, but it works. Maybe even a Lady Macbeth strategy. Where is my beachmomma?

Of course it does, a hero, I was simply trying to tell you that you were losing the meaning by spelling it wrong. Over and out.

Heck, I did not notice. Thanks. I do wonder if this thing gets dissected, what is the cleanest way to do it.


white night
noun 1. A night without sleep.

What state do you live in?

Most of the Gulf states are Welfare States, that is, they draw more in federal benefits than they pay in federal taxes. This federal aid is paid for by somebody. The Good Fairy doesn't just bring all that money. A good part of largesse US taxpayers have bestowed upon the Gulf States has come from workers in the auto industry, working people who regularly gave more than they took.

So after many years of partially supporting you guys, the auto industry needed help. And they got help but you resent every penny of it.

[What is the polite, southern way say "ungrateful wretch"?]

The gulf states only get a pittance of the 10's of BILLION$ the feds collect in oil leases and royalties on all that oil more than 3 miles off the coast. Therefore, are they REALLY "Welfare States" or just victims? With all the money the feds have collected, the states have a VERY strong case in a lawsuit against them for incompetence, especially in their handling of this spill. If for instance it is determined that TopKill could have worked, but was stopped prematurely by the feds months ago...

The biggest issue is they keep voting for the "wrong" party, tsk tsk, shame on them. The Good folks in the auto zone know just who to vote for and just who to give massive "donations" to.

...the feds... a lawsuit against them for incompetence... if for instance it is determined that TopKill could have worked, but was stopped prematurely...

What if it is also determined that existing federal regulations could have prevented the blowout, but were ignored by BP?

EDIT: Deleted two words from a different comment that I accidently copy-pasted into this one.

I like the idea of radio commenter Norman Goldman who tonight suggested all proceeds from fines go towards renewables infrastructure. This in turn would produce a lot of new jobs and help us get down the road and away from petroleum altogether...

I have little sympathy for BP shareholders. You made your bets and you lost, that's the way the cookie crumbles. Karmic justice in my mind, for investing in a company with such a terrible blood-stained history. There are somethings more important than mere profits.

ROCKMAN commented

here's a quick calc method for getting mud weights - Pressure (psi) = o.o52 * mud weight (lbs/gallon) * mud column height. You can calc for any two unkowns. For instance, a 5,000' tall riser would need around a MW of 26 ppg to generate a 7,000 psi at the BOP.

Akiwuff replied

The formula is neat, but it would be so much neater in metric.. since 1bar is 1 kilogramm per square centimeter, the whole equitation is so simple one can do it in the head without having to use a "crummy" factor as 0.052.

I replied with a demo of how to do this using GNU units (easily installed on Linux using yum install units or apt-get units, and available as a windows binary), using (as I usually do) the non-interactive command-line mode where the command is units, the first argument is the input expression including numeric coefficients and units, and the second argument is the desired units (which may also have numeric coefficients). (You can also just type units and it will prompt You have: and You want:). Here is the demo in verbose interactive mode:

You have: (26 pound/gallon) 5000 foot
You want: pound/in^2
        (26 pound/gallon) 5000 foot = 6753.2468 pound/in^2
        (26 pound/gallon) 5000 foot = (1 / 0.00014807692) pound/in^2
You have: 0.052 26 5000
You want: 
        Definition: 6760
You have: (pound/gallon) foot
You want: pound/in^2
	(pound/gallon) foot = 0.051948052 pound/in^2
	(pound/gallon) foot = (1 / 19.25) pound/in^2

This shows that the 0.052 factor (more precisely 0.051948052) is the conversion factor from mud weight in pounds/gallon times mud column height in feed, to pressure in pounds per square inch, and that 26 pounds/gallon is just a little light, giving 6753 psi, not 7000.

Also I noted that in SI, pressure is force per unit area, not mass per unit area, so 1 bar = 100 kPa = 10^5 kg / m s^2.

I was in a hurry so I posted the comment before working out exactly how to use GNU units to get pressures in SI pressure units rather than in mass per unit area. Akiwuff said 1 bar = 1 kilogram per square centimeter, but GNU units says these units are not conformable:

You have: 1 bar
You want: 1 kilogram / cm^2
conformability error
        1 bar = 100000 kg / m s^2
        1 kilogram / cm^2 = 10000 kg / m^2

The denominator of bar is m s^2 instead of m^2. You have to multiply kg / m^2 by m / s^2 to get kg / m ^2. The factor is meters per second per second, or acceleration. But which acceleration?

At 45.5 degrees latitude and sea level (with the combined acceleration of gravity and the centripetal acceleration equal to 9.80665 m/s^2), a 1 kg mass exerts a force of 9.80665 m/s^2 = 9.80665 newton. This varies by a few tenths of a percent depending on altitude and latitude.

Now, I see I can ask GNU units this question:

You have: newton/cm^2
You want: bar
        newton/cm^2 = 0.1 bar
        newton/cm^2 = (1 / 10) bar

So at first glance it seems that Akiwuff has both the coefficient and the unit wrong: not 1 kilogram per square centimeter but 0.1 newton per square centimeter. But playing around a little more, I discovered that units defines psi as force per unit area, not mass per unit aream so I was just lucky in writing pounds / in^2 instead of psi, which is not the same thing:

You have: psi
You want: 
	Definition: pound force / inch^2 = 6894.7573 kg / m s^2

Ok, WTF is force?

You have: force
You want: 
	Definition: gravity = 9.80665 m/s^2 = 9.80665 m / s^2

Ok, force is what you multiply mass by to get weight (at sea level). So now maybe I can figure what is up with psi vs. bar (not thinking of asking that directly):

You have: psi
You want: pound force / inch^2
	psi = 1 pound force / inch^2
	psi = (1 / 1) pound force / inch^2
You have: bar
You want: kilogram force / cm^2
	bar = 1.0197162 kilogram force / cm^2
	bar = (1 / 0.980665) kilogram force / cm^2

Ah! Akiwuff says a bar is a kilogram force per square centimeter, but more precisely, a bar is 2% more than a kilogram force per square centimeter.

Asking directly, I get

You have: bar
You want: psi
	bar = 14.503774 psi
	bar = (1 / 0.068947573) psi

And while I'm at it, what is up with poundal?

You have: poundal
You want: pound force
	poundal = 0.03108095 pound force
	poundal = (1 / 32.174049) pound force
You have: gravity
You want: feet / sec / sec
	gravity = 32.174049 feet / sec / sec
	gravity = (1 / 0.03108095) feet / sec / sec
You have: poundal
You want: foot pound / sec / sec
	poundal = 1 foot pound / sec / sec
	poundal = (1 / 1) foot pound / sec / sec

Nowadays, using centimeters is almost as much as sign of age as using cycles per second instead of hertz or condenser instead of capacitor. The standard SI unit of distance is the meter, not the centimeter, and the standard SI unit of pressure is the kilopascal (kPa), not the bar.

ROCKMAN replied to my original hurried comment:

q7 - huh?

but before I got back, comments closed on thread 6754, so I quoted all of the above... and added some more details, hopefully making it somewhat clearer.

I forgot this formula.TOD is a great site in that I had no real desire to learn fluid dynamics or or whatever, or anything else new for that matter. But... it has become interesting to me and instead of doing oil calcs... I'm gonna do Blue Bell Ice Cream instead. I just gotta find some.

Rockman: "here's a quick calc method for getting mud weights - Pressure (psi) = o.o52 * mud weight (lbs/gallon) * mud column height. You can calc for any two unkowns. For instance, a 5,000' tall riser would need around a MW of 26 ppg to generate a 7,000 psi at the BOP."

Sounds like I need to get enough Blue Bell to overcome the pressure of the oil/gas in the BOP which is about 7000 psi + a fudge factor to make sure the IC goes down of say 10% or 700 psi = 7700

I just need to solve for the height of the column of BBIC after buying a gallon BBIC and weighing it. I suppose they have Rocky Road, no scracth that, marshmallows float. Ummm... isn't there an IC called Mississippi Mud or something? Anyway, I'm in Oregon and may not find BBIC so I'll just substitute some stuff (ala BP) and call it good.

My only real question is, do I solve for BOP pressure at 7000 psi (+fudge factor 700) or 11900 psi reservoir pressure +fudge factor? I'm also thinking a topkill scenario instead of bottom kill. ... well, depending on calories and fat content.

Thanks (eh, lighten up Francis) I'm learning something. :)

edit changed 6850 BOP => 7000 +fudge factor

You chould solve:

2250 [psi] + 0.052 * column_height [ft] * bluebell_density [lb/gal] = 11900 + fudge

If the column_height is < 13000, it would work. If > 13000 then the equation would require you to stack ice cream above the seafloor (and the equation would be wrong as you then have less than 2250 psi at the top). My guess is that you'll actually have to stack the column of bluebell a couple of miles above the sea surface in a giant straw; ice cream density is going to be less than that of water. (Think ice cream in coffee or a root beer float.) If you are going to buy some ice cream & make measurements -- buy the expensive, dense stuff. All ice cream incorporates some air for texture, and the cheaper stuff incorporates more air in order to make a gallon with less material.

Thanks, I'll look into yumming that later, my head's not in too good working order with the weather.
RightGlass: At least I discovered why my BBIC is always stuck to the lid, the things you learn here:)


q7 - Thanks for the effort...took a good bit I'm sure. BTW: my "huh" was just my smart *ss response and not an indication I thought you had something wrong. But thanks for thinking I was that smart. My "huh" was just an acknowledgement of how us old dinosaurs resist change.

Mr. q7:

Having worked in a petroleum refinery/petrochemical plant for 37 years as a chemical engineer, i have the following thoughts on the "standard SI unit of pressure is the kilopascal (kPa)".

First, i don't ever remember anyone ever asking any of us Ch.E.'s that we thought of kilopascals as units of pressure or even gave the people who use such values or actually do the calculations a chance to vote on it.

Second, part of a Ch. E.'s indoctrination or training is to convert whatever units the data is in to the system he is using be it pounds (force) per square inch or stones (force) per acre.

Third, the people operating the units and reading the gauges don't know how to convert units of measurements and are familiar with force per area and can warm up to the concept that if something weighting 100 pounds is resting fully on their thumb nail, it is going to make them notice.

Fourth, about 15 or so years ago i was reviewing the process flow diagrams (PFD) for a particular processing unit my former employer had licensed to four or five foreign companies and i was amazed by one set of units on the PFD. Naturally, the flow rates were in Kg/Hr & cubic meters per hour as well as temperatures in degrees C which was expected. The pressures were a surprise as they were in Kg (force) per square centimeter. Reflecting on this, i remembered the times i had obtained a new pressure gauge for a pressure survey and immediately took it to the instrument shop for the technician to zero and calibrate. In the plant or field, the calibration of a pressure gauge is done by using a hydraulic jack where the pressure gauge is connected to the hydraulic line and weights are piled on the 1/4 inch diameter hydraulic ram to provide a reference for the pressure. Usually, the technician had a few standard weights and so the process wasn't complicated but to ask a technician to convert his weights is asking for mistakes as well as wasting time. Thus, the companies while using metric units of measurement realized that they did not want to make things difficult for their operators or technicians. Besides, as i said in part two, their chemical engineers are trained to make sense of weird units.

Lastly, most of our references are in traditional units as well as a lot of our experience. To insist that Mr. Rockman and others start using the standard SI units is a waste of time as well as a waste of their experience and knowledge which is in traditional units.

Thus, if these oilfield folks wish to use units such as stones per square vara for pressure and are happy doing it; let them be.



Thanks for the informative reply. In 1986 I took PCHEM (a career change) and the textbook (Adamson) had just been revised to use SI units, and the CRC Handbook was in the process. By now, the latest generation of students should be quite familiar with SI, and the reference works are being converted.

That calibration procedure would give results about 0.3% off if done at the top of Mt. Everest, because the force exerted by the standard masses would differ.

As to square vara, you need to specify Spanish or Portuguese (1.1 m).
But the Portuguese unit was superseded by the meter in 1852. The Spanish vara varied from 0.835905 m (Spain) to 0.8382 (California) to 0.866 m (Argentina).

Oh, I see. There is a Texan vara (0.84667 m, 33 1/3 inch). The Wikipedia article on Spanish customary units explains:

In Texas, Austin's early surveying contracts required that he use the vara as a standard unit. The vara can be seen in many deeds as late as the mid to late 1900's.

But units can do this too, except the database does not include vara:

You have: 1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2
You want: kPa
	1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2 = 107.20244 kPa
	1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2 = (1 / 0.0093281455) kPa
You have: 1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2
You want: psi
	1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2 = 15.5484 psi
	1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2 = (1 / 0.064315299) psi
You have: 1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2
You want: atm
	1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2 = 1.0580059 atm
	1234 stone force / ((33+1/3)in)^2 = (1 / 0.94517434) atm

Edit: I see now what you mean by kg (force) / cm^2 being a convenient but non-standard unit. (The standard metric pressure would have been bar in those days, I guess). The calibration operator would connect the gauge to measure fluid pressure behind a piston with area known in cm^2, and would pile 1 kg weights on the piston in order to pressurize the fluid to a desired pressure known in kg (force) / cm^2. If the weights were actually adjusted to weigh 1 kg in the calibration lab using a spring scale which was calibrated in a place where the acceleration of gravity is 9.80665 m / s^2, then the pressures would be accurate.

For what its worth, Mr Google's unit converter says that the speed of light = 1.8026175 × 10^12 furlongs per fortnight

You have: light
You want: 
	Definition: c = 2.99792458e8 m/s = 2.9979246e+08 m / s
You have: light
You want: furlongs/fortnight
	light = 1.8026175e+12 furlongs/fortnight
	light = (1 / 5.5474886e-13) furlongs/fortnight

Still can't figure out psi > ft seawater :(


What, no slugs? Tsk, Tsk!!

So, isnt there a drill pipe or something else that doesnt belong down hole? After they fill the hole with mud dont they at some point need to get out the damaged whatever is in the hole to finish the kill. How do they/you get that stuff outta the way and hold back the flow ?


there was some discussion around what would be involved in fishing out the pipe in the prior thread, beginning around http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6754#comment-682823

Thanks, Ill check it out

jimgmostwealthy - I was responding to your post at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6754#comment-683201 when the previous thread was closed. I'll pick it up here.

You pose a lot of questions; too many for me to tackle all at once and many way out of my scope of knowledge.

Please note that many of you questions have been asked and answered here in past threads and a review of them might help out a lot.

First, please note that I am not in the O&G business. I'm here to learn just like you. However, I am a scientist and a technical executive of a broadband company and can comment on the more general parts of your posting.

The situation on the GOM is bad, pretty damn bad; but it is NOT apocalyptic, IMHO. The GOM isn't going to explode.

The relative I talked down today that I mention in my posting was thinking that is was. I checked out some of the blogs and comments sections of places like YouTube and was appalled by how much fear and misinformation is out there (which was the subject of my posting.)

We seem to be lacking the ability to put this event into any perspective. Understandable perhaps; no precedent for this (thank God.) Some people are promoting almost end-of-days scenarios. Some (a lot) are seeing “oil explosions” in the thruster-blown-mud videos that are all over YouTube.

Few readers are doing basic things like checking these stories out or checking the original sources. Many of these stories (some in your questions) are being passed on third-, fourth and nth-hand gospel truth. When is happens, a lot of misinformation gets codified. It is still misinformation; some of it is bunk.

For example, if you think that the airspace over the DWH site is closed or sealed, check it out. Try to use primary sources. Don't just assume its true just because it was stated in a blog somewhere or you heard it on talk radio. If you find it is true, report it along with your source(s). In other words, the FAA as a source will carry more weight than my cousin Vinnie as a source (btw, I actually do have a cousin Vinnie). We all would like to know what you find out!

Some of us are urging healthy skepticism for many of the wildest of these claims. In fact, I think all sources should be checked (just part of my training). As a result of urging this simple caution, I find it a bit strange that when healthy skepticism is recommended, many of the doom proponents paint those of us who urge caution as BP shills or assume that we think everything is "okay, no problem."

To repeat, this is a bad situation, really bad, damn bad. But I don't expect the GOM to explode or that there are undetected open bore holes in the GOM miles from the BOP or that a grand conspiracy is being staging with a fake BOP to show the ROV cameras.

I think it is foolish to worry about these absurd scenarios because it diverts attention and energy from the very real things we should have as concerns and/or actions we could be taking rather than debunking thruster-blown-mud videos.

It is my personally-held belief that the situation has been made scarier by the simple fact that all of this (geology, engineering, biosciences, etc.) is outside the scope of knowledge of the vast majority of the public, including me. What we don't understand, we tend to fear. That fear creates cracks and seams that other people can exploit for their various reasons; some pure and innocent, some really dark and everything in between.

People are wanting the short and easy answer and for it to be delivered, spoon-fed to them if you will, in just a couple of news cycles. This story isn't going to resolve itself that quickly. It is going to take months and years to work out. Also, it is far too complex to fit any sound bite, TV news package or magazine article.

Anyone who now claims to have the "full story" (even BP or the government) or that they have all of the answer right now is probably not telling the truth.

We still want answers now and the frustration of not having those answers leads to more FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). It is going to be up to us to find those answers ourselves and connect the dots.

The more I learn about this situation, the less scary it gets; it is still indeed a very bad situation but I can now put it in a better perspective. More importantly, I can separate out the flimflam artists who are trying to "sell" me hokum.

My main problem I have with Matt Simmons is that he provides NO support for his wild claims. There is a basic rule of thumb most scientists use which states, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” It is up to Mr. Simmons to step up and at least provide details and the basis on which his claims. So far, I can find nothing (as in “zero”) except vagueness.

I’ve come to the personal conclusion it is just hokum.

No, I don’t think shorting BP is Mr. Simmons' sole reason for doing all of this. But, I do think it unethical not to disclose a financial interest in the outcome of what he is selling and he is indeed very actively selling his story. BTW, I’ve seen a lot of rich people do some really dumb things for the sake of a few thousand dollars. Remember Martha Stewart participated in a cover up and went to jail over a stock trade that only netted her a few thousand dollars.

I don't know what his game is and that is part of the problem too. None of us that I have read can figure out why he is doing this. These claims are too easily refuted for me to figure out why he is ruining (has ruined?) his reputation over this. He may indeed be a true believer but he may have other motivations.

Just because I think Matt Simmons is selling hokum, doesn’t mean I have the answers. It just means that I have come to the conclusion that HE DARN SURE DOESN’T. Also, he gets no brownie points from me for “standing up” to BP and the government as some have suggested. I think he is doing far more harm than good. Certainly is wasting a lot of time in this forum.

Please see http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6734#comment-678449 for what I think about Mr. Simmons.

I see you just joined TOD a couple of hours ago at the time of your posting. Assuming that you genuinely want answers to the questions you posed, please let me suggest that you participate here. Start searching and finding the answers. You might want to go back and read the rather massive amount of information posted here at this site that will provide comments (albeit perhaps short of full answers) to the questions you raise.

This is the best place I've found because a lot of industry people participate here and I can ask questions from people with first-hand knowledge and lots of field experience.

Also, and this is just a housekeeping detail, I would suggest that rather than lumping all of your questions at one time in one big posting, break them up by topic so people can respond more easily.

This works for me: the more I learn, the more that I can (1) answer my own questions and (2) judge the veracity of other people who talk/write about the situation in the GOM. Arguably, #2 might be more important than #1.

It sure seems to me that with the lower pressure they are observing, that the total leak rate would have to be a couple hundred of GPM. If it were all coming out in one place, it would be visible. That is why I favor the idea that the leak is caught somewhere else, sort of forming it's own reservoir with gas escaping and causing some disturbance of the sea floor. How far down into the bed can the tests they are running detect anomalies?

Seems to me the total leak rate may have to be zero.

Near zero.

The assumption that there MUST be a leak seems to originate with the failure of the top kill. (I think the HUGE leak that doomed top kill was the one out the top.)

But... if there was a big enough leak in the upper casing to have stopped the top kill then I doubt the shut in pressure could have even gotten to 6,000 and would not still be steadily rising. Plus the leak would be showing up on the seismic scans, since it would had to have been shallow and pretty large.

I am inclined to think that there is NO casing leak based on the pressure curve since the shut in. If there is a leak it is very small and is not eroding. Otherwise we would be seeing the pressure starting to drop by now.

...Not that we can breath easy about this thing until it is killed.

I am not basing my suspicion on the basis of the top kill failure. Having the pressure slowly increase could simply be the system reaching equilibrium. All that means is that the leak is not significantly increasing. However, if the resevoir is over 1,000 psi higher than the cap, one should reasonably expect that there is some flow causing pressure drop. I am not talking about the static head difference. I am talking about the pressure drop cause by the frictional efects of a flow from the resivoir into the well and out a leak.

Considering the wide open well to be discharging 60,000 BPD and being 1,800 ft long of increasing diameter from the resivoir on up. At the discharge the pressure is at the static head of oily water at that depth. Call it 2,500 psia with the resivoir at 11,000 psia. Now Cap it. The pressure under the cap is (6,800 + 2,500) psia. The 1,700 psi is driving force of the flow. If the leak were at the top of the well, you could make a rough estimate of the flow as 60,000 X (1,700/8,500) BPD or 12,000 BPD (or 350 GPM). The lower down it is, the higher the flow would have to be to cause the observed pressure drop. That kind of flow should be visible.

Actually, before the "tests" the back pressure at the wellhead was 4400 psia, which increased to 6800 psia currently. If one walks from the lowest well integrity pressure published by BP before (8000 psia) and does very simple math, we get slightly less than 1/3 of the previous flow going somewhere.

Even if they're shooting Corexit into it?


Boooooh Corexit! The lazy slackers should have let it float and sucked it up. I cannot believe these guys did not have and emergency response plan with reciprocity agreements on skimmers. I do not understand alot of what has been going on. Don't oil rigs have gas detector alarms that kill the power when they high alarm?

Sonar and video only see the surface. Seismic can see deeper and gas gives a bright response, but that's a matter of interpretation. Seismic has inherently limited resolution, typically 40-ft peak/trough cycles, and requires "far offsets" to do higher math on rock properties.

The well is 1,800 feet deep. How can they pretend they are monitoring it? They have no idea, do they?

I wanted to share a video with you. This is my first post and I post regularly at Above Top Secret. I heard someone say they saw oil seeping from the sea floor on Skandi ROV 2. I caught a good video of it and wanted to give you the link. Enjoy and feel free to comment on it.


It seems odd to me that the time indication on this video
capture is not changing. The real-time feeds do count the time.

Also it's jumpy, like it was edited. Not to be suspicious. It
does look a bit seepish.


I don't think it's edited. Skandi is currently in this type of "mode". I saw very similar this afternoon too.

It's got some type of sonar.

Currently, Skandi does have the time too.

Here is the link to live Skandi:

I watched it in real time and there were periods of very obvious oil seepage.

These were dismissed here as "sea snot" and "silt" by the all is well crowd.

However, three ROVs have been watching specific floor locations, with at least two showing what to me were obvious small oil leaks.

BP/CG announced late in the day that 5 leaks have been discovered in the vicinity of the well, and were being monitored, but considered "inconsequential".

This seems very odd to me. Yesterday, a single leak 2 miles away was enough to send a stern letter to BP demanding immediate written plans for restarting collection.

Today, five leaks, likely related to the well, are "inconsequential".

This is exactly the kind of "regulatory capture" that BP is legendary for.

Yesterday's stern letter was not so much about real concern over the seep, IMHO, but a warning to BP to stop putting the feds on a need-to-know basis. BP was likely not quickly sharing pre-drill info etc., related to far-field features, probably because its a waste of time and they can't imagine why the eggheads are worrying about it. Today, information was probably being shared and with the less suspicion of withholding of info, an easy agreement of the currently inconsequential nature of the leaks.

Dimitry, i imagine Chu is as disgusted as we are. Maybe not, but I have a hunch. Unless their data shows that our concerns have no merit and their prior concerns had no merit.

The DWH crew did a pressure test. They knew what it meant ahead of time to pass or fail. They did not like the results when they got them back. The test fialed. It would mean more delay and cost, they could not go forward with thir plans, so what did they do? They changed the rules mid-game and did another pressure test using a different procedure to produce a passing result. They still got unexplained returns from the second test, but they changed the rules again mid-game to get a pass. Most of them are dead now, BTW.

So, we've gone from no unnecessary risks to get the ultimate objective of killing the well via a RW, to capping the well when we said before that was too risky, to now moving on to a riskier proposition even though now we have oil seeping up around the well, bubbles, etc.

Once you get off the path, there's literally no limit to taking on new risk. The burden has now shifted to the naysayers proving that the plan is going to end in disaster, not that it produces unacceptably high risk with no gain. The initial standard of not taking any unnecessary risks has been tossed overboard.

I still have not heard what taking this risk gets us. A week maybe. It's over a week sooner, possibly. That's all I can see. But they are plowing ahead as if there were no risk, no safer option and we were all going to share in the billions this move will save BP. Thad thinks we can still prove flow, but I know and so does BP that a solid irrefutable measurement is 1000 times better than any estimate, and that difference is probably worth billions in this case.

Hoepfully BP gets lucky and the casing does not blow and we do not get cracks in the seabed floor that will spew oil for the next 7 months, like Ixtoc. They're gambling with our money, after all.

syncro, you da man! +1000

Thanks, avonaltendorf. Of course, it is possible that they do have data that addresses everything, so that my argument above would then be moot. We haven't seen it, though, or heard about it, if they do.

Edit: removed excess

Yeah. What Alan said.

This is just a fascinating process to watch. The "fluidity" with which seeps have been transformed from "nonexistent" to "no problem" has been truly amazing.

At this point, I'm not going to be a bit surprised if thousands of bbl/day is discovered flowing somewhere. And I won't even be surprised when we hear that it isn't a cause for concern.

I imagine Chu is not disgusted at all. Probably likes the fact they are letting the data and situation guide them rather than acting like a bunch of linear thinking left brainers. You and others have have stated all along the RW was risky and that BP is cheap and should be drilling more than twp. So if the team thinks a static kill will reduce risk you would complain and say that they first said this and now you want that, so you are risk taking, cost cutting liars. "Billions it will save BP". Right. Gambling with your money.Ha.

Diverdan. I really expected more from you than ignorant insults. I'm diasppointed. You can't even handle simple logic?

P.S. I never stated the RW was too risky. Or any of the other things you attribute to me. Take a nap.

synchro, thanks for this. I have recently been a little frustrated by this and some related topics on TOD. Unlike many other topics discussed here, any disagreement from the BP line on possible seeps gets you painted as a doomsdayer, accused of scaring people/causing undue mental distress, and bombarded with peoples credentials instead of having an intelligent conversation about risk and possibility. It is nice to see a more respected and prolific name on the site logically take up this side of the discussion.

The truth is that we don't know. And we probably will never know all of the details. However I maintain that the all is well crowd is just as if not more destructive as the (truly) doomsdayer crowd.

I think most people just want to hear you guys duke it out by logically deriving possibilities from the facts we do know. This type of discussion gains much more credibility in my eyes than a list of credentials or name calling anyday and is what keeps me reading TOD every night. Because we have so little data, or at least a single source of data, this type of discussion is also the only tool we have to gain understanding. Whether the understanding is of a good or bad thing, that understanding in my opinion is the only thing that will stifle undue mental anguish. At least that is true for me.

Anyway, thanks for bringing logic and challenge to this topic.

Just my two cents.

Boon, thanks for throwing me some support. I appreciate it. I hesitated posting that because I knew it would be taken the wrong way by a few, like diverdan. But the logic is what the focus should be, and it is pretty simple logic, and hard to refute. Not only is the logic simple, but we have Ixtoc to show us what can happen. It already happened.

I think a lot of people have a hard time believing that BP would ever do such a thing, let alone be able to get away with it. After practicing law for a couple of decades and you get a different sense of how things work in situations like this where there are huge damages at stake.

That's why I tried to make the connection between buying up scientists and buying up the data, too. Or locking it up. If they do the one, they will surely do the other if they can. It is not illegal to get the govt. to spoil its own evidence by being crafty. And if it can save billions, some might say they have a duty to do it, if they can.

I see Thad Allen is wrestling with this. It is not a conspiracy theory. See the evolution from yesterday to today:


Erika Bolstad: And one final thing. Are you – are you concerned that if you don't return, to ever return to surface containment, that it might be difficult to ever determine the flow rate on this well?

Admiral Allen: Well, I think there are lots of ways to determine the flow rate, and I know there's some question if we don't open it up, will you ever know if that 35,000 to 60,000 flow rate is – is accurate. I think we – I think we're going to know enough about this well from the pressure readings and everything else that by the time we're done, we're going to have a good basis to do that.


Male: With the capping taking place, have you been able to get a, provide flow rate figured out?

Admiral Thad Allen: We’re actually having that discussion right now. There’s a lot of discussion about if we don’t open the cap again for whatever reason, will we be able to revise the flow rate which is now is, you know, is, 35,000, 60,000 barrels a day. I’ve asked our flow rate technical team to come back and give me their assessment with all the different pressure readings that are available to us, the temperature readings and everything else. Do we have enough data or parameters that would allow us to narrow that range or get a more accurate flow rate? And from that we’ll have to develop some options moving forward. That’s a little bit of a dilemma to have a cap in the oil going out and then needing to understand for a lot of reasons, as you all know, to get an exact rate of a flow reading as we can.

The dilemma Thad refers to is what we were calling BP putting the govt. in a box before. I suppose we could call it Thad's Dilemma, or Thad's box now, since we have Thad's seep too. Will he be able to get out if it? He's probably wondering the same thing. BP played this card very effectively and very quickly.

Edit: Added last paragraph

Admiral Thud is out of his depth. Good man and all that, but no experience or expertise against master strategists who hold all the 'engineering' trump cards.

...master strategists who hold all the 'engineering' trump cards.

...no experience or expertise against master strategists...
Since when does an Admiral not have strategy experience or expertise? He's playing a chess game with masters for sure. One that is stacked against him. But I'm not counting him out, nor do I think he deserves the disrespect of "Thud".

I will take the middle position. I think the Admiral has shown some deftness and sophistication. But how he handles this one may determine whether he earns the moniker Admiral Thud.

He is, clearly, but I don't think Allen is a real decision-maker in this game. He's the front man for the government, but it's obvious that he isn't intellectually qualified to play with the big boys. No doubt, Chu and anonymous advisers are calling the shots, with political supervision from the White House.

What surprises me is how badly the government appears to be out-played. They hold all the cards, really, and if they had just a little courage and conviction, they'd be running the show. But they don't and they aren't.

I was quite certain that BP would behave as instructed. It increasingly appears that I was wrong. BP is outmaneuvering the Feds.

And BP's decision-making and risk management record is... worrisome.

I agree that the government has lost some battles. But they also have a better fix on the future than we - mainly due to access to information. I think in all high stakes games - sometimes the losses only appear as losses to the outside (and hopefully the opponent). That's good chess. I only say that because I think they have won some big battles as well. And did so against masterful opponents. Plus, there is major political interest with making the current govt. look bad right now given the election season. It would not surprise me if they are doing better than public perception.

Indeed. One of the most important things we can gain from this disaster for the long term is a proper assessment of the damage. An experience I had a long time ago comes to mind. I witnessed a terrible car accident when I was young. I saw things that changed me forever. Despite the horror, the long term changes were positive. I saw in gory detail what the forces involved in a car accident can do to people. Because of this understanding, my driving habits were permanently changed drastically. To this day I always buckle, go with the flow of traffic, never eat, use a cellphone (although that wasn't an option back then) or god-forbid read while driving. It is inconvenient at times but I find it worth it. That's not to say I am 100% safe - but I'm closer than I was and since the risk of driving is a necessary evil for me (like oil), that's all I can do.

I can only imagine that I would continue to run a much higher risk while driving had I not seen that... or - more appropriate to this discussion - had someone run over, avert my eyes, and told me everyone was fine.

In this way I feel it fortuitous in a way that this spill happened in the US, and in a very visible part of the US. (Of course the human effect is horrible and my intent is not to say it is good in any way). But I do think that the US has more of a "microscope" than other countries like Mexico in that there is a better chance of finding out information. I do not know this as fact, but my guess is Ixtoc and other spills were severely minimized with respect to damage and information. I'm only guessing that by watching these very same minimizing attempts (some successful) happening right now.

And by the way, I accept that this works both ways. There is always the possibility that, given all the info and truth, we find that spills like these are actually not that damaging. Or maybe not as damaging in certain areas. This would also have a long term positive effect.

But my hunch is that "less damage" is not the case.

But the logic is what the focus should be

Agree 100%. TOD debates have been side-tracked by BP apologists posing as experts, far too many times especially in recent days...

For some of us observing this multifaceted fluid situation it feels like doing so while being a shirt-tail relative twice removed. I say twice removed because many like myself lack the technical expertise and experience and all of us on the outside know we do not have the dynamic data to work with either. I would like to believe all the different factions that make up the team have the best interests of all affected by their decisions in mind. But, one does not need a conspiracy theory to know that does not always happen with business and politics. Different parties in this situation do not necessarily have the same priorities even if they have the same ultimate goal.

Hell, I can still barely believe the well is still shut without any major leaks. Even without having all the data, I guess the pertinent question still is whether BP is willing to gamble a further major catastrophe by damaging the casing like an "eggshell" to avoid having the flow more accurately measured? Do those making the final decisions have the right knowledge and info?

I still want to believe that the result will be favorable whether by top kill or RW. They do have some great experts on the team. The tension is quite thick, but still hoping for the best outcome.

syncro, you've really hit the heart of the matter!! The actions of BP, viewed in sequence over time, do follow the same pattern, whether it was the negative pressure test pre-blowout, or the well integrity test now.

If the test results don't agree with your plan, change the interpretations, change the test protocol, change the goal (of the test), but DON'T ever change your plan!! Just keep going irrespective of data, keep your fingers crossed, and all will be well.

Like we discussed a while ago, run one red light, chances are you'll survive. Run enough red lights, you start believing there ARE ways of running red lights safely and that you've mastered them.

Until the day you go KABOOM!!

I am new here but have a few years in the OF (land driller and pusher).It seems odd to me that they are trying to get the well up to a higher pressure, when they can contain it and haul it away, with out leakage = money..The higher pressure is not a good thing when you want to cement a WW with a RW and all I have seen that worked correctly they drew thru the WW to help pull the cement in place. Is the hold on the WW a test for integrity ,which in my opinion , is already proven. Or is the the oil not worth production?? Accordingly people with a bit more knowledge on deep wells are telling me that the BOP pressure should be 50% or greater of the actual reserve bed pressure. This makes sense because we could deal with that pressure not the 13,900 psi they say is in the bed. Any comments? I got tired of listening to media fairytales, so I came here to listen to you and feed in put as well as I can. No I don't work for BP but I don't think people should slam them either..

As far as producing it for profit at this point that has become a political impossibility, at least for BP. From BP's perspective the sooner the thing is declared killed the sooner they can start to heal their wounds. So death to the well.

It is also pretty dangerous trying to collect it and flare off the gas with multiple processing vessels in close proximity in the early half of hurricane season. Plus the real possibility that might result in more major spills. Or there could be a fire or an accident and more lives could be lost. It is best left in the ground in this case.

The Coast Guard's "plan" was that as soon as this "well integrity test" was complete they were to open the well up to the ocean again for two or three days and then begin containment again with surface vessels. "For safety."

BP has no desire to open up the well again and spill more oil now that it is shut in and not leaking. So they are getting the CG to extend their shut-in "test" one day at a time, even though as you say it has proven well integrity already. Extending the "test" is about not being forced to open it up again and spill another 1/2 Exxon Valdez of oil.

I think BP wants to static kill the well right this minute before anything bad can happen, but there is a cat fight in high places as to what should be done. Maybe analysis paralysis and maybe big ego problems, or both.

That is my analysis anyway.

It was 11,900psi in the formation prior to the blowout, by the way. The reservoir has been abused by a couple of months of unchecked flow, so I suspect it has decreased some at this point.

James:Good post

Gracias, amigo.

I may need to buy a better grade of crack, but I'm sure I heard that tomorrow's Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation hearing is canceled because the Transocean guys have all decided to decline to appear voluntarily.

If true, that's pretty interesting. Particularly after the two BP drilling reps declined to testify today.

Anyone else hear this? I can't find a report on it so far.

That is what I heard too. It is in the last minute or so of the hearing when he announces it.

There should be a recording of the hearing up.

This is comforting (not!):

"Industry reputation
Transocean was rated as a leader in its industry for many years; however, since its merger with GlobalSantaFe in 2007, its reputation has suffered considerably, according to Energy Point Research, an independent oil service industry rating firm. From 2004 to 2007, Transocean was the leader or near the top among deep-water drillers for "job quality" and "overall satisfaction." In 2008 and 2009, surveys ranked Transocean last among deep-water drillers for "job quality" and next to last in "overall satisfaction." In 2008 and 2009, the firm ranked first for in-house safety and environmental policies, and in the middle of the pack for perceived environmental and safety record.[32] The Deepwater Horizon explosion and massive oil spill starting in April 2010, has further hurt its reputation. “Transocean is dominant, but the accident has definitely tarnished its reputation for worker safety and for being able to manage and deliver on extraordinarily complex deepwater projects,” said Christopher Ruppel, an energy expert and managing director of capital markets at Execution Noble, an investment bank.[4]"


I don't know how many companies have gone down the tubes after deciding that the cheapest route is the best route. Also sounds like they had trouble gobbling up GlobalSantaFe Corp. Was the best, now the worst. Sounds like a serious management problem and excessive concern with profits over long term success. Who knows.

These guys aren't so bad, as far as Sith go.

That makes a really, really good argument for the US Attorney General to avoid announcing that criminal investigations will be brought. Talk about chilling the conversation...

I'm not saying that someone shouldn't be held criminally liable if crimes were committed, but announcing that "someone could go to jail" makes lawyers tell their clients to STFU a lot louder than if mere civil penalties are involved.

Way to go, Holder. You might have just cut off any path to the truth about what happened aboard that ill-fated rig.

It's pathetic.

Yesterday, tool-pusher Wyman Wheeler called-in sick. ROV tech Tyrone Benton just plain didn't show.

Apparently, no one knew Tyrone was missing, because when they called him to the stand and he didn't come, they took a recess to find him. When they came back, they adjourned for the day.

I haven't see this posted. If I just missed it, somebody throw a brick and I'll delete it.

BP Macondo well leader was a fill-in
BP well manager Robert Kaluza was a temporary replacement for another employee aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig when it exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 workers.


Truman was a 'fill-in' and he authorized the dropping of two nukes.

He was also Vice President and learned a few things from the President before he took the big chair.


Tinfoil: You seem like a good man, and I applaud your community activism- it takes a lot of guts- so please don't take this wrong, but could you route some of your visually-inspired neural impulses through your brain instead of directly to your typing fingers? Might result in making more sense.

My main point was a fill-in is not automatically a bad thing. I thought Truman did ok. If this fill-in company man needs to be indicted, so be it. I just think because he was a last minute fill-in in of itself does not uncover a conspiracy. Did you read anything else into my short statement?

Edit: In my strive to be parsimonious, I often end up misunderstood. My bad.

TFHG - I’m not sure of the context of “fill in”. That’s not a term we use in the oil patch. Most hands work offshore on a 7 day hitch. Every hand has a counterpart onshore when he’s working. That’s his “relief”. I’m wondering if that’s the context “fill in” came from. Your relief may be more experienced than you, less or the same. Being someone’s relief implies nothing about their experience level. They can also rotate someone out on short notice for a variety of reasons. And again, his relief will replace him. And, again, no inference WRT experience level. Now if they had described him as a “worm” that I would understand. LOL.

Yes, his relief. That is what we called it in the desert. Jarheads too.

General Order 5
To quit my post only when properly relieved.

I should have guessed on that term. My bad.

lol at the difference between "relief" and "fill in". Fill in brings to mind times when my dad would be looking for a replacement tender at the last minuet...once by checking barrooms, sometimes by bringing out a relative.

As a kid I found it a bit disturbing that he was trying to hunt down a guy called "Off-Wall-Charlie" in local bars to watch over him while diving, but what did I know? He may have been more reliable than some of those relatives. ;)

Oilfield nicknames are a good side story in itself, no? My personal favorite..."Hempy" Taylor.

Deleted. Unwise comment thought better of.

I may have had the same thought.

A few pics of wreckage found on the seafloor today.


Why the pressure is rising slowly?

If there is a column of mixed oil and gas, would not the pressure in the column at the top increase as the column developed a larger gas space (RM quoted about 500'?

Not because of the gas pressure, but because there would be less weight of oil in the column pressing against the reservoir pressure.

As the gas displaces more and more oil down the column, wouldn't the pressure slowly rise, perhaps asymptotically if the gas started dissolving back into the oil?

Gas is a liquid at these pressures.

Why did Rockman say that, then?

No tengo BBIC...

Methane critical temperature : -82.7 °


Maybe the pressure should be raising 20 psi an hour but 19 psi of it is leaking off somewhere.

It is actually a very difficult technical problem to decipher if the pressure curve is more indicative of lower pressure reservoir with a sealed system or a high pressure reservoir with a small constant leak in the system.

It seems to me if we had crossover recharge or a leak to the surface the pressure curve would be noisy, and to the best of my knowledge it is a smoth rise in pressure. I believe that is what is keeping the well capped. No noise status quo.

Publish the data.

BP also promised to do the pressure rise in stages with 6 hour intervals. Did not seem to keep their promises.

I said it seems to me: It seems to me my opion should have the same weight as yours. where is your data.

Do you know how science works?

If you attempt to establish a fact, you start from a hypothesis and offer proof that it is true.

Therefore, if BP claims "well integrity has been established", they should offer proof to that claim.

It is not correct to claim a fact and demand others prove it wrong, and if unable to do so, the "fact" must be true.

I am not attempting to establish any facts it is only my opion and now I am turing in good night.

Therefore, if BP claims "well integrity has been established"...

BP is being very careful not to claim that.

Kent Wells today(7/20.

Our monitoring continues on in all the different aspects and at this point, we do not have any anomalies or evidence that would say we do not have integrity. Doesn’t mean we have proven we have integrity – we don’t have any evidence that says we do not have integrity and that’s why we want to continue with this testing.

Allen today on how they'll know if they do have integrity...

Vivian Kuo: Hi there, Admiral Allen. You’ve talked about investigating things that would tell you if the well doesn’t have integrity and haven’t found anything. And so in expanding these deadlines 24 hours again and again, is there something that would ultimately convince you and the scientific community that the well does in fact have integrity? It is stable. And that you could keep it capped. Would your feelings change especially in light of this possible storm looming?

Admiral Thad Allen: I would say that we have not reached a consensus on how we would determine whether or not our total assurance that there was integrity in the well. And that mainly revolves around the fact of the competing theories of depletion versus leakage that caused the low initial pressure reading. Until the competing theories for those are exhausted and reconciled, I’m not sure we are going to know that. And that is a subject of ongoing intense discussions and we’re slowly excluding, we both agree that, we both agree that’s not consequential.

We’re not going to talk about that anymore. But one of the things that’s trying to model the size of that reservoir, whether or not it’s connected to an aquifer that would still cause pressure and make it rise and theories on leakage and how much is leaking out that would cause that pressure differential. You’re exactly at the heart of the discussions that have been going on for several days as we’ve been trying to come to grips with the pressure readings as we saw them.

7/20 Allen briefing (several oddities in this transcript)

That's the problem right there.

What BP is doing is called "proof inversion". Instead of being forced to present evidence of well integrity, you say you are looking for evidence that proves lack of integrity. It is a simple logical falacy that is often missed by the public - you invert the original assumption from well doesn't have integrity until proven by data to well has integrity unless negative data is found.

What is also in play here is the lack of formal, agreed upon test procedure. It is objectively useless to "continue testing" effectively indefinitely, looking to negate an inverted hypothesis - this process is literally endless. But it is a useful "argument" to use if you want to convince to continue with certain activity.

It is usually quite easy to hijack folks who have not done rigorous formal studies into this paradigm, as evidenced by the statement by the good admiral. General public usually is eager to accept this kind of sleigh of hand - Iraq war propaganda is a good case in point.

"Instead of being forced to present evidence of well integrity, you say you are looking for evidence that proves lack of integrity."

While dismissing evidence of seeps, methane bubbling, etc. as minor and inconsequential—thus not proof of lack of integrity.

Over the course of a few days... Hey, presto! Integrity is now the assumption, absent "proof" that depends upon evidence to which we are not privy.

Got it in one, Dimitry.

I'm not sating that they're not playing mind games, but in this situation there's no way to prove integrity. Best they could do is semi-rough approximation.

I think I'd have to say "really rough" at best, snakehead. But I'm not convinced we're there.

Based on measured pressure at the reservoir and the known configuration of the well, the calculations predicted 8-9K psi at the wellhead, shut in. We're getting less than 7K. When we were flowing an estimated 35K-60K bbl/day, we were getting readings around 4K psi at the bottom of the BOP/

Pretty straightforward reasoning suggests that a significant (but smaller) portion of the flow that was pouring out the damaged riser is now flowing somewhere else. We also, after months of denial, are now hearing admissions of multiple seeps and areas of methane bubbling, which is known to sometimes precede the surfacing of flows from deep fractures or other losses of integrity.

As the Schlumberger glossary says, "The primary risk in bullheading is that the drilling crew has no control over where the fluid goes and the fluid being pumped downhole usually enters the weakest formation."

I know that dozens of people here know much more about this than I do, and I value the wisdom I find here. But the pieces of this puzzle are just not going together for me the way they seem to for many of you oilpatch hands, and for the BP decision-makers.

If the buck stopped with me, I'd want high-confidence proof of integrity or I'd produce and contain and bust butt on the RWs.

Another topic -- has anyone noticed the increased presence of one Carol Browner? Do you know her role in the Administration? Could it be that she is taking more of a central role on the debate of the future of the Gulf drilling... we shall see.

I posted this a few days ago and right after I did the thread was closed so no comments were possible. Maybe that’s a good thing? But I thought I would try my luck again.

In my former Corp life I spent 20 years working for medical device manufacturers. I was in production engineering and then plant management. All of our operations were regulated by the FDA and I have participated in many inspections. First question when inspectors come in is, “let’s see the management structure-chain of command”, who works for who. It better show that quality control DOES NOT report directly to operations at the plant or corporate levels. All QC functions must report to Corp VPQC and finally to CEO. My QC manager was on my staff but did not report directly to me. He reported to Corp QC for division. If he walked in my office and said a certain line was DOWN, it was DOWN, and that was that. Operations could NEVER override QC. Is this the way it is in the oil industry? If not, I’m thinking it would be a good thing to consider. From all that we have read and heard it sounds like there were those who, if they had the final authority, would have shut the DH down until things were working properly. One question Congress never asked BP CEO that he should have been able to answerer without saying, “That’s not part of my job”, is ... “Mr. Hayward, what is the management structure of your company as it pertains to the chain of command relative to Operations and QC/Safety?” If there is one thing a CEO must know it is how his/her company is organized! Most things come back to the decisions that are made by workers and management. From what I have read on TOD there certainly are folks here that would have operated DH quite a bit differently. I hope the politicians try and fix what was broken and not just use this catastrophe to forward their political agendas. There are too many livelihoods and US security at stake.

TOD is without a doubt the most honest, intellectual and refreshing source for ideas on how to move the industry forward in a way that is good for all parties involved. I hope when the well is finally closed TOD will be a place where our politicians, regulators and industry leaders will look for inspiration on clean up of the GOM and the future of hydrocarbon based fuels as opposed to other sources of energy. Thank you to all who make this a great place!

Live Nat. Geo documentary on the Oil Spill right now. Followed up by a special about peak oil.

Can't tell for sure but it looks like Q4000 ROV2 is showing one of the seep anomalies.

Actually, I think it's just deploying. Disregard.

According to the evening news Thad Allen says there are five MINOR leaks on the BOPs, but they are nothing to worry about. Will they fix themselves? Will sand cut oil/gas make them worse?

The Static Kill will increase pressure in BOPs in an attempt to push oil/gas back into bottom rock formation. This takes alot of pump pressure and time, and can damage the BOPs/casing/cement/formation. Will kill mud fall thru O/G and plug up formation? Do they know if leaking well bore, or formation depletion caused the low shut in pressure?

BP has an axe to grind, and what does the Coast Guard/Interior Department/Science Lab people know about killing wells. Industry experts should have access to all the data, and make the decisions on how to proceed in the safest manner.

The lower stack has been abused, and those minor leaks are major. Why risk increasing the pressure in the BOPs? Bottom Kill from RW is easier on well bore and BOPs, therefore safer.

I have seen on video a SR-71 taxing on the runway with fuel POURING out of gaps in the fuselage. It took off and proceeded immediately to an awaiting tanker plane.
I think the current 'main body' of scientific and technical expertise believes that these current leaks are similar in their non-critical nature. In both cases these leaks are not thought to necessarily lead to catastrophic failure.
Is that more clear? I am getting tired.

Know why it was leaking? They were engineered to leak at regular temperature, so that after they'd been flying at speed for a while, thermal expansion of the fuselage would seal the leaks.

At Beale AFB, U2s and SR-71 were stationed together while both planes were in active duty and there was a fraternal competition and rivalry between the two groups.

The SR-71 had an impressive take-off and one evening a base cocktail party at Beale adjourned outside to watch an SR-71 mission take off.

One of the party-goers was an off-duty sled (SR-71) driver and proudly said as the plane roared off, "Faster than a speeding bullet!"

His brother-in-arms U2 pilot standing next to him replied about the notoriously thirsty SR-71, "Yea, and just about the same range."

The joke came from the fact that the SR-71 consumed 8,000 gallons of fuel per hour at Mach 3 and carried about 90 minutes of fuel at that speed. It would dash, tank, dash, tank, etc. Had to have its own tanker fleet too becuase of its exotic fuel - JP-7. Interestingly, the faster the plane went, the more fuel-efficient it became in terms of pounds burned per nautical mile traveled.

Dead on about the thermal expansion issue but it was also plumbing fittings and the fuel sealing systems too. Indeed there were also some loose-fit fuselage panels designed for expansion and proper alignment at operating temp. Kelly Johnson could never figure out how to fully handle the thermal expansion problem in all of the pipe/tube fittings over such a wide temp range so they designed them so they would be tight only after expanding to operational temp. Leaked like hell on the ground. On the flight line during pre-launch, there would be buckets and drip pans all around under the plane to catch the leaks. Disconcerting first time you saw it. In addition, some of the fuel leaks on the ground when things were loose were further exacerbated by the unique characteristics of its JP-7 fuel.

S.O.P for an "article" (as SR-71s were originally referred to in their early days for security reasons) would be to take off with minimal fuel load. It would then do a short sprint to warm things up and "get tight" (airframe would expand a couple of inches and all of the panels and fittings would align and seal) and then tank for its mission and dash.

Little different situation than the oil well.

bbfellow, thanks for this. Very interesting detail from a first hand source.

Higher speed meant higher altitude and therefore less atmospheric resistance. This would lead to better fuel economy. They could almost go ballistic.

Makes sense to me. An SR-71 is just like an oil well. Not.

Not sure that that's an apt analogy. SR71's leaks quit solid when it was up to speed and the skin temp increased.

How about my latest post with a Pink Floyd song 'Comfortably Numb'. From the Pink Pony performed by Smokey. All permissions secured and artists paid.

I was trying to say in operations, sometimes you have to shoot in the dark or fly with a bad engine.

Pink Floyd song 'Comfortably Numb'

TFHG, you always knew my weak spots.

Oil will be coming ashore for a long time,takes a while to float many miles.
As long as oil is seen by them , they will spray dispersant.
We should all know that by now.

I was going to respond that BP was ordered to stop the surface application of dispersants quite a while ago, but then I found they have routinely been getting exemptions that allow them to continue.

BP Getting Daily Exemptions to Directive Limiting Surface Dispersant

When I asked the EPA whether the use of these exemptions were in keeping with what it said should be “rare cases,” the agency gave me the following response: “EPA took these steps to ensure that BP prioritized skimming and burning and relied on surface application only as a last resort. That prioritization has happened.”

The EPA also said that the goal of the directive was to “ramp down dispersant use from peak usage, and dispersant use has dropped by nearly 70 percent.” (As we’ve pointed out, it has dropped by around 70 percent from the peak, but average daily use has dropped only around 9 percent since the directive.)

You're clear to me. I think the concern I have is based in the fact that I don't know what sort of sealing is used between those stack components. Is there a big O-ring in there? Or some kind of gasket? In either case, I keep expecting that the leaks will erode more out, getting bigger until they do become a problem. Am I being a chicken little, or is that likely to happen?

SR-71 fuel leaks were specifically designed to accomodate the high temperature the aircraft reached during high speed operation. When the aircraft reached normal flight regime, the thermal expansion of the skins closed the fuel leaks. This was a meticulously designed approach to a problem that did not have another solution at that time.

Alternatively, the leaks on and around the current well are not elegantly designed solutions but rather prosaic semi-blown seals and damaged o-ring. They are almost certainly going to get worse at the higher pressure of top kill.

That is a different situation. I understood that the dissension against the 'static kill' was a vocal minority of science and technology experts. In your post, of course if a progressive failure is imminent, then Kelly Johnson and the Skunkworks team would have figured something else out. I know all about the design of the Blackbird, what they did and how they did it. I am not sure if they could do it again now if it had to be done. The things that are going on at and near Macondo 252 may be close. I just do not know. TinFoil.
Good clear explanation of the critique of my statements. Are you a Russian engineer or something?
Pink Floyd cover legally hosted at http://gcn01.com.
Covered by Smokey from the World Famous Pink Pony Pub.

I am an American engineer of Soviet heritage. Mostly a product of NYC public school system and a small engineering school in Cambridge, MA.

While I appreciate the challenges of the Macondo well blowout mitigation effort, especially in the compressed timeframe available, in terms of engineering it not of the same order of magnitude of engineering complexity as a design of an aircraft, such as Blackbird or a space going vessel. I think the geology and the interaction of that science with the drilling aspects is a more challenging discipline.

Not exactly. Exploration geology and geophysics ends by telling the engineers "drill here to that depth." After that they're out of the loop, unless staff G&G goofed and engineers drilled a dry hole. That's when management calls in an insanely expensive consultant. (smile)

Unless of course you find something but the engineers f*ck up the reservoir. Then the geos come back in to fix things. Been there...done that, more than once my friend.

There are a lot of worries being expressed about the effect of the extra pressure of a static kill on the stack oil leaks. I think it is worth putting the likely pressure increase into perspective..

If the pressure is increased by 1000 PSI, then that is a 15% increase in pressure, with roughly a 15% increase in leakage rate. So unless you give high weight to the possibility that something is ready to blow in the new stack with a 15% or less increase in pressure, then the effect of the extra top kill pressure on the known leaks is probably immaterial, relative to the others risks that have to be considered. I would guess something like 200 PSI is more like the initial top limit which would be planned, with a slow ramp up to this level. This would be only a 3% increase in pressure. There might be some subsequent stage where a larger pressure increase needs to be considered, but that is one of many future scenarios, not the one I am addressing here.

My 'ignorant conviction' is to agree with others who sense that proceeding without delay on an attempt at a low pressure top kill wins hands down as the simplest and quickest step to potential control, together with continuing progress on the bottom kill. I used to be a CEO of a public technology company, and now I work full time in science, and I share the fear expressed by others, that the weight of scientific input may be complicating the decision-making and wasting a precious window of opportunity. Managerial experience rather than scientific expertise is needed to recognise when the time has come to make a judgement call, and to recognise the unquantifiable value of simplicity.

In my experience, most super smart scientists are generally both reluctant and bad at making judgement calls with fuzzy data. ROCKMAN has eloquently communicated that the right way to deal with oilfield decisions, usually comes to having a person with the right experience making an informed judgement.

I liked having homework done before a critical decision was made, but I found this process needed to be combined with an appreciation of my 'law of ignorant conviction' which is that often, the more data you have, the more difficult it is to be convinced about what to do!

[My 'Law of ignorant conviction', mine by only by re-invention, is that people have the greatest conviction in their judgement, when their knowledge and understanding is at its lowest. Usually, as one's knowledge and understanding of a subject increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to be confident about which action to take. Of course 'nature is right', and I imagine that the purpose of 'ignorant conviction' is a recognition that for survival, action is on average better than inaction]

homo (insert - "semi-") sapiens

Hmm, I didn't know they were still spraying Corexit (sp?). I'm finding morose humor in the fact that workers apply hazmat suits to put Corexit into planes just to spray it into an open ocean.

New guy here- First of all--Some simple things.
Appears BP and MMS are at fault for not using best
practices in this well, which let it get away from them.
The greenies and government want to use incident to stop
drilling, when it is shown that best practices eliminates
blowouts, so drilling should continue.
There are many seeps in the GOM and people there shouldn't
have to put up with them, anymore than putting up with
an accidental leak. So in that vein we should drill
these high pressure deep fields(with best practices only)
and use the oil.And lessen the pressure and seepage.

We should drill these formations so much, so that we wouldn't
have to import oil.These huge deep formations run all the way
from SA through the GOM, up the middle of NA to Alaska,
and beyond. In these deep fields and below, the earth is
making oil and gas, and using best practices in an
accelerated production program we would always have oil.

Nobody can tell me that the US and Can with
350 million people, a measly one twentieth of the worlds
population, doesn't have enough oil under the whole NA
continent. Figuring in all these deep fields, regular fields,
shale fields, and off the East and West coasts. No matter how
high on the hog, the greenies and gov complain, that we
live. This would moderate prices and boost the economy..
And send less dollars to terrorists. Ed

Hello, Hubel.

I can't agree with your assessment of the available formations, but I do agree that we shouldn't stop drilling right now. I'm as much for saving the environment as anyone, but I believe it can and must be done without cutting our own throat in the process. We had a terrible disaster - OK, we also (hopefully) learned something. Let's move forward, not roll over and play dead. (I don't work for BP). Welcome, BTW.

The huge deep formations are down there.
Here in MI they drilled real deep gas wells,
with huge pressures, stopped and capped
them off, as they knew oil was below, but didn't
want to officially find it, causing reduce prices.
A deep test well on the north slope AK, west of
Prudoe Bay was flowing 50,000 barrels a day through
a small pipe, like 4 inches or so. The earth is
making oil below these deep fields.Heat, pressure,
right chemicals, all in the earth's deep crust, and you
have gas and oil.

We must produce fast enough to keep energy costs down,
so as to be able to lift our people out of a bad
recession. The high mucky-mucks can borrow printing
press money at no interest and play the market, hedge
funds, etc, money made from nothing, and it makes
them rich. The guy on the street needs a similiar boost
and it has to to be cheaper energy, as he doesn't qualify
to being in the funny money line. We have all this
gas and oil, plus coal, a big something belonging to
we in the USA/Can and the greenies and governments
have made it into nearly nothing. Kinda perverse when
compared to funny money.......Ed

...A deep test well on the north slope AK, west of
Prudoe Bay was flowing 50,000 barrels a day through
a small pipe, like 4 inches or so.....

Really???? Please do tell where that well is!

Thane has it right. I like to be gentle with people, but all that wonderful oil isn't really there. Some is unrecoverable for various reasons, some isn't really usable because it's full of nasties like sulfur and hydrogen sulfide, and some can't be had just because of where it is relative to what already exists on the surface.

Also, it's not true (except in the context of geologic time) that the earth is making more. The conditions that produced oil's precursors only existed during times when the climate was nothing like today. Give it a hundred million years, and maybe there will be new deposits - but man probably won't care by then...

Edit: Oops, should have been under Thane's post, not above it.

Recent measurements in a major oil field show "that the fluids were changing over time; that very light oil and gas were being injected from below, even as the producing [oil pumping] was going on," said chemical oceanographer Mahlon "Chuck" Kennicutt. "They are refilling as we speak. But whether this is a worldwide phenomenon, we don't know."
Also not known, Kennicutt said, is whether the injection of new oil from deeper strata is of any economic significance, whether there will be enough to be exploitable. The discovery was unexpected, and it is still "somewhat controversial" within the oil industry.
Kennicutt, a faculty member at Texas A&M University, said it is now clear that gas and oil are coming into the known reservoirs very rapidly in terms of geologic time. The inflow of new gas, and some oil, has been detectable in as little as three to 10 years. In the past, it was not suspected that oil fields can refill because it was assumed the oil formed in place, or nearby, rather than far below.

Hmmm. I really don't know what the oil industry thinks, but that idea would be a lot more than "somewhat controversial" within the science of geology. The word petroleum means "rock oil", but it isn't made from or by rocks. It's made from organic material that collected in very special environments where the organisms died and were buried without being too badly decomposed first. Then time, pressure, and the geothermal gradient did their work. The needed conditions may exist in a few places today, but they were far more common in the past. Which is why oil, like coal, tends to be found within the same geologic periods everywhere - it was the climate that mattered. So there's simply no way new deposits could be forming without the organic material to work with. I would guess these "anomalies" represent migration from smaller and previously undetected sands below the pay sand. As the pay sand is depleted, some settling occurs and cracks can open that allow the migration. (Disclaimer: This is off the top of my head. I never heard of this before, so I can't provide any references to support my viewpoint).

Granted oil and NG are organic chemicals,
which means carbon based, but they can be formed
with enough heat and pressure from chemicals that
are deep in the earths crusts, where there is
extreme heat and pressure.This abiotic process
doesn't need decaying animal or plant matter.Ed

(also to hubel458)

Citation of original article?

All I've found are American Nationalist, "evolution fairy tale" and similar sites...

The professor's recent pubs doesn't have anything relevant I saw:

There is likely some small ongoing migration from source rock into reservoirs,
but this emphasis is just the misleading lead-in for the cornball claims that oil is abiotic, there's plenty of it, and Business As Usual can go on forever.
(N.B. read Ken Deffeyes book Hubbert's Peak for a good description of oil formation, and it's been known for a long time that the source rock and reservoirs can be quite some distance apart.)

So, how much have you read about abiotic oil?


I don't think anyone with geological sense disputes that some methane is abiogenic,
but the complex substance known as crude oil is definitely biological.

The only proven "refilling" of any oil reservoir is Eugene Island,
and it's now depleting from its one "reload":

Also, on the "vast quantities of Alaskan oil, suppressed by a liberal conspiracy".
"Good Luck, Bad Luck, Mukluk"
missing graphic on 2nd page of this version ("GO TO NEXT PAGE>>", NOT "Next>>"):

Even if abiotic oil was true, the demonstrated depletion of thousands of existing fields means re-charge rates are preposterously long, equivalent to none in human time.
Before you go charging "liberal conspiracy", I was in Texas when the Railroad Commission set the allowable to 100%. Do you really expect me or anyone else to believe that hundreds of thousands of redneck lease-holders/land-owners/... all secretly conspired to declare and implement peak U.S. oil in 1970 so some liberals 40 years later could push some "global warming fraud, eco-nazi agenda"???
Think about that - really think about it.
Put yourself in the shoes of some hard-scrabble family whose oil money bought their first new car, a decent house, ... - and they are going to agree to slowly shut in their well(s)???

(In short, you've fallen for one variation of the wacky conspiracy theory that "there's plenty of oil, we just have to beat up on the liberals so we can drill everywhere and BAU can continue forever.")

(re Tx Railroad Commission in 1971, OPEC president in 2005)
An Echo From a Prior Peak

Nobody can tell me that the US and Can with
350 million people, a measly one twentieth of the worlds
population, doesn't have enough oil under the whole NA

I am guessing there are a lot of things that "nobody can tell you"... nevertheless...

Americans use more energy per capita than any other peoples. We have 5% of the worlds population, and use 25% of the world's oil output. We build giant cities in locations with horrible climates and not enough water, drive further than anyone else, and live in large houses in suburbs where you have to drive ten minutes just to get to grocery store. We encourage the use of grossly inefficient large vehicles for driving kids for what would only be a ten minute walk. We loathe public transport. We ship bottles of water around the country rather than just filter at the tap. Our houses temps are are set at 70 in the summer and 75 in the winter.

There is not enough recoverable oil under this continent to feed our total energy needs for even a few decades. For instance, Bakken shale, one of the most exciting new find in north america, is estimated to have 4.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil in it. We use over 7 billion barrels of oil every year. Most of the oil deep underground would cost more money or energy to harvest than would be delivered. Our oil production peaked in the 70's and its not because people couldn't drill, its because our oil is much more expensive to recover; more expensive than it is worth.

The government does not want to stop oil production. Turn off Fox and Rush and get real information for a change. The government loves oil production, and subsidizes it enormously in spite of its incredible profitability.

We get so much of our oil from overseas because it is cheaper to produce there; not because of the "greenies", but because it is closer to the surface, is easier to refine and in many cases because the workers are paid dollars per day instead of the reasonable payscales american workers get for one of the most dangerous workplaces possible.

Or are you one of those people who think American workers should learn to accept living like nigerians and other third world countries' workers do?

"I am guessing there are a lot of things that "nobody can tell you"...
nevertheless... Americans use more energy per capita than any other peoples."


The chart shows about 10 other countries using more per
capita than we do.And we do the world a lot of good
with our independence and affluence. Food stuffs,
technology, charity, standing army to fight the
bad guys and terrorists, which mast countries do
not do.Ed

We also have the MASSIVE budget deficit as proof.


Typical greenie nonsense, that if allowed to
fruition will will surely turn our country into
Nigeria, Or Kenya where the 'one' is from.

If it wasn't for our strong affluent society, where
would the world be today. Not enoough corn and grain
to eat. No computers and a lot of other nice things.
No military might, up until last year or so anyway, that
kept whole world from speaking German, Japanese, or Russian.

We don't have to use so much oil if the greenies would allow
NG/coal( which we have huge surpluses of) power plants and
we convert part of the fleet to electric for short driving.

Peak oil is a scam,a circular Catch 22. Contrived oil shortages
drove up inflation which drove up the cost of producing new
oil, which caused more inflation, which drove up costs,
and on and on.A lot of people want to do something, not set
on their fanny, and if they can't produce oil, coal, gas,
or do other basic industries, because greenies shut them
down, then they will make plastic bottles, fill with water,
and haul them around the country.............Ed

“The Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, Brazil, Egypt — these offshore areas are where you have significant deposits, and this is what BP will continue to go after,” said Bruce Lanni, an energy portfolio strategist at Nollenberger Capital Partners. “BP has an opportunity to become a little leaner and meaner by selling some of its noncore assets on the periphery and emphasize the deepwater production.”

BP sold $7 billion of oil and gas fields-all on land, none in deep water:

West Africa, Brazil, GOM, mostly in a line, that by the way
starts at the South pole, and it runs up though US,
Canada, into AK and Arctic. That Is where there is the huge
deep fields. The place on North slope where the deep test well
flowed so high I think was Gull island or something
like that name.

The abiotic production of oil has to do with same conditions
in the Earth's crust now as well as millions of years
ago.Nothing at those debths and the Earths hot core
is much different now or then.ED

The sale includes western Canada oil fields.
BP had originally discussed selling half of its stake in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay field to Apache, but those talks fell through over the weekend because of complications in sorting out who would run the field, which BP now operates.

And concerning abiotic theory:

The prof is only partly right as far as he went.
Sure oil was made from decaying plants and animals.
What gases do volcanoes kick out coming from the
Earths core.........CO2, methane, ethane, H20 in
steam form, etc. Heat and pressure made some of these
Now suppose that in the less volcanic
active areas of the Earths crust, these didn't
puke out but remained longer under pressure and
heat, we would have the production of longer heavier
molecules, IE oil, benzene, etc......Ed


A more representative list of volcanic gases, in rough order of
abundance is:

(1) Water (H20) (~50-90%)

Water vapour is the dominant component of volcanic gas emissions
and it should certainly be listed first.

(2) Carbon dioxide (C02) (~1-40%)
(3) Sulfur dioxide (SO2) (~1-25%)
(4) Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) (~1-10%)

And then, in no particular order, other compounds are commonly found,
but in much lesser amounts, in volcanic gas:

(5) Carbonyl sulfide COS
(6) Carbon disulfide CS2
(7) Hydrogen chloride HCl
(8) Hydrogen H2
(9) Methane CH4
(10) Boron vapour B
(11) Hydrogen bromide HBr
(12) Mercury vapour Hg
(13) Gold vapour Au
(14) Hydrogen flouride HF
(15) Organic compounds


The actual composition of volcanic gas measured at volcanic
vents surely varies very considerably from volcano to volcano as
well as over time at any given volcanic vent. But it's the case
that water vapour, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen
sulfide are the most common components of volcanic gas.

Volcanic emissions of hydrocarbons heavier than methane are rare
by comparison, as one might expect, given the instability of
hydrocarbons at the high temperatures existing in molten rock rising
through the mantle-crust boundary, through the deep crust and
eventually up to the earth's surface.

Ethane shouldn't be listed among the first two volcanic gases,
and surely any ethane that is detected isn't coming from the
earth's core. Ethane isn't stable at the high temperatures and
pressures that obtain very deep in the earth. Once temperature and
pressure become too high (and that boundary is WELL below temperatures
existing in the earth's core) complex hydrocarbons are broken down
over time to methane and carbon.

On the other hand, mud volcanoes, such as those found in Sicily,
do emit significant quantities of methane gas at the earth's
surface: constituting up to 90% of the total gas. So mud volcanoes are
an exception. And mud volcanoes are not uncommon worldwide.

But global emissions of methane from mud volcanoes has been
(conservatively) estimated at ~ 6-9 Mt/year with global
geological emissions of methane at ~ 35-45 Mt/year.


And global emission of CO2 from volcanic eruptions
has been estimated at 31 Mt/year, with total global
geological emissions estimated at roughly double that amount.


So annual volcanic CO2 emission is about a factor 100 less than
anthropogenic CO2 emission, which is on the order of 500-800
Mt/year. [I took European anthropogenic CO2 emissions to be
about 1/4 of world emissions.]

(doi: 10.1126/science.1083592)

In other words: yearly carbon dioxide emissions from the burning
of fossil fuels that are, without exception, removed from deposits
lying very close to the earth's surface, are about 100 times
greater than carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes, and yearly
volcanic carbon dioxide emissions are in turn about 3-5 times
greater than yearly volcanic emissions of methane.

Your ramblings are completely unsubstantiated. There is no evidence of significant accumulations of oil which was not created by biologic decay. Oil companies look for oil where they do because that's the kind of place they find it.

Provide evidence of these continent-spanning accumulations (and I mean serious evidence), or stop wasting everybody's time.

There is "continent" spanning energy in the world - the methane at the bottom of the ocean.

I wonder sometimes why we don't harvest that. Burning it turns into CO2 and water. We could use the water, and CO2 is better than methane burps from the oceans which are speculated to have caused global extinctions in the past. As long as CO2 levels aren't too high, plants breathe it.

And, since the methane hasn't been harvested, there should be plenty that's relatively easy to get to.

This oil desperation that makes deals with terrorists and other crazy people has got to stop sometime...

Yes, Oldhat1, there is. And I've agitated for years that we should be recovering the NG from methane hydrate. We could be producing most of our electric power with it, which would be better for the environment than coal. Now get the Sierra Club to endorse it....

Maybe someone needs to talk methane burps, global die off and run away global warming to them. :)

So you are telling us that the stratas of oil bearing
sands 4-5-6-7 miles down are filled with gas and oil
from decaying plants and animals, that had to be further
down yet. That sounds like the kooky global warming
religion, to believe that. How does this happen.

Volcanoes are a clue to a more plausible process.
What gases do volcanoes kick out coming from the
Earths core.........CO2, methane, ethane, H20 in
steam form, etc. Heat and pressure made some of these
Now suppose that in the less volcanic
active areas of the Earths crust, these don't get
puked out, are kepted longer under pressure and
heat, we would have the production of longer heavier
molecules, IE oil, benzene, etc.Been done in labs.Ed

Ed, you have to stop. You don't realize how foolish it is. I'm sure you're qualified to talk about something other than petroleum geology. Not sure what exactly.

...The place on North slope where the deep test well
flowed so high I think was Gull island or something
like that name....

Another myth that keeps cropping up. The ARCO Gull Island #1 was drilled in 1976, north of Prudhoe Bay. The well tested 1,144 bopd from a thin zone in the Ivishak (the same pay as at Prudhoe). Although the rate sounds prolific, the well sits on a small horst block and is not big enought to be economic. Several other small satellite fieds (to Prudhoe) have been developed around Gull Island.

Apparently the legend of the vast deposit at Gull Island resulted from a 1980 book called “The Energy Non-Crisis” by Reverand Lindsey Williams. When the well was first drilled it was held as a "tight hole" by ARCO, which may account for the origin of the legend. For more information see http://www.petroleumnews.com/pnads/690171677.shtml

Then tell us why no oil (or coal, for that matter) has ever been found in Precambrian strata, considering that the Precambrian was 4 times longer than all the periods since? And with that, I'm sorry, but I'm done with your abiotic oil. There ain't no such animal.

re: abiotic oil

There is. There will likely be a great deal of it in the gulf soon. But not the same thing.


In a response to Stump's 1981 letter, Alaska Oil and Gas Commissioner Harry Kugler said Gull Island No. 1 well tested 1,144 barrels of oil per day from one underground reservoir, while the Gull Island No. 2 well tested 2,971 barrels of oil per day from other.

Logs and other data from the 3 Gull Island wells are in the public domain. Contact the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to get your very own copies: http://doa.alaska.gov/ogc/

China uses oil-eating bacteria in Dalian oil spill cleanup

Over 23 tonnes of oil-eating bacteria are being used to clean up the oil spill off the coast of northeast China's Dalian City, four days after pipelines exploded near one of China's largest oil reserve bases.

"We received orders Saturday morning from the Maritime Safety Administration for bio-oil-absorbing products," said Yang Jiesen, manager of the research and development center at Beijing Weiyeyuan Bio-Technology Company.

The use of the oil-eating bacteria at the Dalian spill is the first time China has made major use of bio-technology to solve an environment pollution problem.


We DO NOT need more invasive species from China! Go back and read some studies on oil spill mitigation posted on Oil Drum. The upshot of most of them is that introduced bacteria are general ineffective. Fertilizing the existing population works better, but is difficult to get right. I think any breakdown, organic or inorganic, of oil uses up oxygen eventually. It is either sequestered or oxidized. UV/sunlight creates radicals that combine w/ an oxidizer or vice versa. The trick is to dilute the hydrocarbon enough so the oxygen depletion is also diluted to safe levels.

Don't those deplete oxygen levels?

It wasn't a recommendation. Not from me, at least.

Yep. You pays your nickel and you takes your choice. Burning it depletes oxygen too...



BP Photoshops photo on its Web site; promises to replace altered version

Someone posted it already?

BP... promises to replace altered version
Someone posted it already?

You mean the original, unaltered version of the photo? Aravosis posted it here.

Speaking of those ROV feeds, why don't I ever get anything but green-screens from Ocean Intervention III? Am I missing some codec maybe? Seems like they should just be blank if there was no feed there.

Mine are green too.

Complain to BP ;0

Green-green here

It's need to know and proprietary. Er, I mean, broken. Not needed.

Much better photo. Nice to know who is really watching....

Skandi showing small amount of oil on seafloor, however, this oil came from the leak in the connection above. I saw it drip down.

(Just so no one is alarmed)

I know.Devil you know and all that...

For the psi crowd out there here is a new theory I ran across. Can't commenton it not my field at all, just passing it on for thought,www.opednews.com/articles/BP-Halliburton-Transocean-by-Chris-Landau-100717-77.html Do look forward to the debates.

Greetings all- newbie question and I'm sure this has already been covered ad-nauseaum so I apologize ahead of time - I was reading some of the press releases regarding the testimony before congress by various BP and Transocean employees and something struck me as odd. If I understand correctly while they were pumping mud into the well to cap it, one of the transocean engineers reported a negative flow return, which showed there was, or could be a problem inside the well, and that it suggested the mud was escaping outside of the casing even then? I not sure but it seemed to me he was suggesting the well integrity, which is the center of the worlds attention now, was compromised even before the blowout? Just looking for clarification on that from the experts...

They were not using best procedures.
The diagram above shows they left out
one set seals.....Gas escaping maybe taking mud
with it. The operators tried to get BP boss
to let them do things right but he wanted shortcuts,
and MMS aproved same.Ed

I wonder how long it will take A Whale to get there and start skimming? ;)

In the previous thread there was a discussion of the loss of the C.P. Baker caused by an upwelling of gas. The original poster seemed to believe that it was caused by a loss of buoyancy, but jkrob posted a link indicating a different cause:


That article shows that Jerome Milgram et. al. got it right concerning floaters, see:


Also, aardvark wrote:

“Wait... what if liquid methane is evaporating at the lower wellhead pressure? Couldn't evaporative cooling explain the observed low temp?”


Aardvark. My man. There is no liquid methane in this well. Go to


and search for “critical”. Follow the discussion and you will see.

Liquid methane was never an issue.

Methane gas in hydrates is very concentrated
since the water crystals trap the molecules
of CH4 very close together.

When this highly "compressed" gas escapes from
the crystals, it expands and cools its environment.

"There is no longer any concern about pumping
the mud in at any high rate of pressure ..."

Say WHAT ?!!
There better be an abort switch for the DOE.

Say WHAT ?!!

because, unlike during the failed top kill effort, they would not have to pump mud at a high rate of pressure.

I think that the thing to stress here is just the real benefit of it – unlike the top kill where we had to pump it in high rates and pressures, that is not required at all in the static kill and the static kill will actually start pumping at very low rates and just marginal pressure above what its currently at. And after we get some mud in the hole, assuming everything goes according to plan, the pressure at the well head actually starts to go down to – very quickly tart seeing benefits of doing it as opposed to risks.

7.20 Wells briefing

Thanks for correcting my misreading.
But DOE needs the abort switch; can't trust BP to
timely pull the plug if things get ugly.

Chu apparently held - and pulled - that switch on top kill.

I imagine it will be the same if they decide to try static kill.

As a newcomer , I must say how much I've enjoyed following the discussions here.
If you don't wish to read a story about trusting your gut or instincts , ignore this post.
My wife's grandfather , at that time an immigrant , survived the 1906 SF earthquake , fled to the East Bay , and at some point in time got a job in one of Mr. Rockefeller's refineries. Being diligent , he bought company stock , and my wife now holds one sixth of what he had at the time of his passing. (were not rich-he was just a working stiff-I do call her "Oil Baroness" (sp?). I believe that she's actually happier to have his gold watch commemorating his retirement , that has his real name inscribed on the back- yes they messed up his name on Ellis Island).
Anyway-that's why BP sends shareholder info to our address.
A few years ago they sent one of their color, glossy brochures and I swear that the whole issue dealt with Macondo? Deepwater Horizon? BP's efforts in GOM? (As fascinating as it was , when done reading , I'm sure we recycled it-we are Left-Coasters after all).Sure wish I had that magazine now...maybe some other BP stockholder could confirm my vague memory? I know that at the time I was left with the impression that oil exploration was indeed pushing forward with new efforts and drilling technologies.

Anyway , upon 1st hearing about this dreadfull accident , I went home and told my wife that based on BP's magazine , I thought we we're looking at the worst oil-spill disaster ever seen on this planet. Turned out to be prophetically true.(days ahead of the government ,BP, or internet rumour-mongers) Anyway.....I do enjoy the discussions here . Thanks

T.A. --- Why not consider five minor leaks on BOPs consequential? Sounds like sloppy risky typical BP M.O. to me. T.A. should get technical advice from John Wright, not BP or government folks.

K.W. --- If the static kill replaced O/G in well bore and annulur spaces with kill mud, why would RW put in more kill mud? Hope they do not let Q4000 be retrofitted to a pumper for static kill, use it to receive O/G from Macondo as before.

Reuters passes along the Times of London's report that Tony Hayward will be out within 10 weeks, Bob Dudley his likeliest successor.

... Hayward would have to step down so that BP could shore up its defenses against a potential buyout threat by ExxonMobil or Royal Dutch Shell, the Times cited a person close to the matter as saying.

Citing sources close to the company, The Times said there was a growing expectation that Hayward would announce his departure in late August or September. ...

Shredded cred will do that to you, Tone. Pity. Run along home to your pile in Kent, and dear Bob.

Added: Bloomberg.

I took a quick look through the thread and didn't see this posted yet; some of you might find it interesting.... the schematic drawing and the 4/15/10 and 4/18/10 casing diagrams interest me the most. Someone posted a really nice Haliburton diagram above too. Notice any differences between all the diagrams?


Oh, jeez, here we go.

I've already been fooled by too many silt storms. Legend says sonar sweep. He's just making another mess. OTOH, the leak at the flex joint has gotten visibly worse during the day. That I'm sure of.

Isn't it about time to re-thread this topic? It's getting hard to keep track of things.

On the other hand it looks brown and yucky, with white snow all around...

Haven't seen one like that yet.

Well, It's still like that at a time stamp of 02:15.

Maybe it's stuck. A couple of weeks ago one had to un-snag one of the other ROVs that had fouled a fan.

Hi all,

I just want to pass on my appreciation for your enlightening discussions on this website. It is fascinating to follow as I understand so little of this.
If anyone is watching now, what is the ROV on the top right doing? Is that silt from the ROV? http://www.ustream.tv/pbsnewshour

Thanks again for all of your insights

Well, it sure looks bad, but the other ROVs are not panicking, so maybe the thing is just buried it's propulsion in the mud...for a long time?

I definitely saw oil seeps today, but was told it surely was just "sea snot"

On the other hand it was from the "all is well, more pressure please" crowd...

Sea snot is going to be my new favorite term, I think. Love it.

It's probably another one of those "inconsequential" leaks.

But why would an ROV devoted to sea bed monitoring for leaks, spend half an hour kicking up brown "silt" with white chunks all around? Is that a special monitoring techniques that non-oil people just don't know about?


It looks like a lot of oil is blowing out of the sea floor - a lot more than BP or the Government will admit. Looks like something is definetly broken downhole.

It does, but there is no clear indication of the stuff going up in a coherent manner. Maybe it is just weird type of brown silt with white stuff in it, maybe some kind of seaweed?

Whatever it is, one would think it would be preventing OLY 2 from actually monitoring the floor, so it would go up to move to a slightly different location, but it doesn't...

Also, I wonder what is going on on the top right ROV: http://www.ustream.tv/pbsnewshour

Thats the one everybody is talking about.

It's been like that for a while... and has beeen pointed out, if it has a prop stuck in the mud, it's interfering with it's work... or so one would think.

Unless the operator went for supper and got distracted by a trip to the head (restroom) and got stuck there yelling because someone used all the toilet paper.

Apologies, I meant the top Left ROV: http://www.ustream.tv/pbsnewshour

Is anyone watching the action on the Olympic Challenger? Is this ROV silt?

I can't access that feed just now.
If anyone cares to capture some video and post a link I could possibly comment.

Thanks for trying -- I'm sorry I don't have the capabilities to record at the moment. But Scandi is showing a thin plume-shaped image.

Ok, probably a dumb question for those who know this stuff but hopefully you can humor me...

The difference between BP's bottom range estimate for well integrity (8000 psi) and the actual is roughly 1000 psi. If the well is severely damaged relatively close to the seafloor (which is essentially mud for a good while) - wouldn't the hydrocarbons @ 1000 psi make their way through the mud very slowly? Would they disperse the pressure at all as it pushed through the mud. Couldn't some the silt we see in the majority of videos and the "sea snot" in others be caused by hydrocarbons at lower pressure puffing the silt as it breaks through?

I would guess (if this is even possible) that this would be localized and not very dramatic. Like what we are seeing. And maybe small and localized enough to make the claim that it is silt and currently - inconsequential... especially if you think you can kill it in a few weeks.

If this is all true, what happens if they can't kill it for a while?

Edited for clarity

It is frustrating that the Olympic Challenger ROV doesn't move to show us where this bizarre sh*t storm is coming from. Without wanting to be alarmist, I don't like the brownish colour of this cloud compared to the lighter silt.


I posted that and the ROV immediately moved to go and screw around with a yellow hose. But I really don't know what I'm seeing - there did appear to be brown outflow from the sea floor but was I just seeing silt?

Most frustrating not to be able to better focus on the interesting bits to put one's imagination to rest!

Now that doesn't look like ROV siltstir at all, that's quite brown. That's the first clip I've seen like that.

Hey guys, been reading for a while now and decided to sign up. Lots of great information coming from a wide range of people on here it's really fantastic, interesting stuff.

I had a question mainly for Dimitry, as he has been seeing the so called "sea snot" for the last few hours and combined with a few other comments regarding sea floor seepage I'm feeling a little nervous with this static kill they are proposing.

It seems that there is growing indications of leaks in the seabed, even though they are small. I don't doubt things may be a lot worse down there than they are informing us, and I don't doubt BP may be risking the structural integrity of the surrounding area if it means keeping this thing capped and avoiding open flow.

My question is if this is the case, how risky is this Static Kill going to be? Forcing the oil back down the well bore sounds pretty hairy if there might be even small casing breaches and seabed leaks. Hope someone can give me a rough answer on this.

Cheers guys, thanks for all the great info

Supposing I interpreted what I saw correctly, it doesn't matter what they do now.

You mean other than work furiously on the two RWs and be ready with *big* kill pills? And prayer?

Edit: And "secret sauce" with "bridging bits"...

Nomad: I'll defer to the oil guys on the casing integrity, but I suspect any breach within the top 500 feet or so is not going to peek at us in the form of bubbles and droplets. The topmost sediments are not strong enough to handle any serious pressure. If something breaks up there, I think it will be quite a spectacle.

My question is if this is the case, how risky is this Static Kill going to be?

As far as the wellhead is concerned, it should actually significantly lower the risk of a catastrophic event occurring, due to dramatically reducing the pressure there. Indeed, it could actually completely kill the well. But even if it doesn't, the pressure could be reduced to such a level that there can be sufficient confidence in keeping the well shut in for the duration of a hurricane with no monitoring. This is certainly not the case now. Even if the current leaks at the BOP and capping stack are nothing to unduly worry about, it must be clear to everyone now that it would be highly irresponsible to leave the well shut in "as is" without having any ROVs down there to show us what's going on.

Returning the well to flow may sound like a good alternative, but apart from the fact that significant quantities of oil would initially be released into the water (and God only knows, the Gulf residents have had enough of that already...), the question arises as to what would happen in the (quite likely) event of a tropical storm or hurricane passing through before the RW has managed to finally kill the well. It's clear now that the wellhead would have to be left at least partially open throughout this time, which would probably be in the order of 2 - 3 weeks, with possibly 1 week or so of no ROV images whatsoever. That's a huge quantity of oil that would be released into the environment again.

In view of this, I would personally go for the "static kill" now, before the 6,800+ psi at the wellhead starts wreaking havoc, with the maximum caution but the minimum of bureaucratic "red tape". I fear that the time window we have at our disposal is going to not be long enough to hang around in making that decision. Fortunately, I understand that BP have already started to deploy the necessary equipment so that they can proceed at short notice as soon as the "green light" is received.

Hmm, don't you think BP are pretty brave to hire cajuns given the history (given what the brits did to them). Still, such historic crosswires are inherent where a company uses a 'national' brand around the world.

130 birds killed by Gulf oil spill, 15 rescued in St. Bernard Parish

Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says oil from the Gulf spill has killed more than 100 birds in St. Bernard Parish. Department official Robert Love said Tuesday that it's the first significant effect on wildlife in the parish behind the Chandeleur Islands, which were hit by the oil in early May.

Love said crews found about 130 dead birds and 15 live birds on Monday.

Bobby Jindal's 360 million dollar Barrier to Nothing in action.

Still a lot better than sitting there yammering at the spill.

I'm tracking all the hydrate buildups on the sides of the cap right now. There are a lot of them. I'll be updating this over the next few hours. See them here:


ABNT20 KNHC 210548
200 AM EDT WED JUL 21 2010



Two questions


BP says the relief well "should" hit the WW by the weekend.


I don't trust anything this company says anymore. Is this an overly optimistic assessment (again) by BP? Is the sideways drilling a simple operation or could arose problems?


The internet backchannels are starting to light up about the 5 "drips" around the well. Can someone check these out.



What could they possibly be? This whole thing has me extremely anxious.

There are people who know a lot more about this than you or I monitoring everything, and they have a lot to lose if things go wrong. There's almost certainly no ROV video that's on the internet that hasn't been seen by them.

You have two choices. You can careen all over the internet to find weird looking stuff and read wild speculation posing as certainty and get freaked out, or you can hunker down and hope for the best.

Could things go wrong? Yes. Will they go wrong? Can anyone answer that till this is over? No.


And the tracks don't look terribly encouraging, either. Think good thoughts.

8AM update, chance reduced to 60%

Screen-friendly storm info and forecast models: http://www.stormpulse.com/

Chuck Watson's tracking model page: http://hurricane.methaz.org/tracking/storms/AL972010_tracks.html

We've seen a progression to additional leaks and hydrate buildup. If this tropical wave starts rotating and heads for the Gulf (as most models predict), I see no alternative to opening the cap, test over.

snake: why not leave the cap in place and hope for the best? could get lucky. if it blows off it blows off. only down side is not being able to monitor while rough weather. is that too dangerous?

What if there's no one around to monitor and they get unlucky down in the well?

What they should do is the "lubricate and bleed" form of static kill. But all of you who want either the collection of oil or the relief well plans need to accept that the responsibility for the delays in achieving them has been caused by the demand by Marcia "Numbnuts" McNutt to keep running seismic runs with the already well shut in. That forced all the ships in the area to move out of the way, stopping the progress. Read all about the government meddling here


Bruce: How long would it take to set it up and get it done?


I my earlier post got lost in the flurry of ROV activity but I'd like to know what you think about the difference in these diagrams. It may be old news, but I don't thinks so. Specifically, look at the construction differences at the bottom of the 4/15/10 and 4/18/10 well diagrams.


What they should do ...

That should be TOD's motto ... preferably in Latin.