BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Time is Not Our Friend - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6766.

Because of the number of comments, this is a new copy of this post. Previous comments can be found on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6757.

Update, 4:00 pm, EDT: Chuck Watson has a storm update, added to the end of this post.

There is a certain frustration in hearing some of the officials who act as spokesmen for the management team handling the spill from the Deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico. Their evaluation of the situation is bound around a full collection and compilation of the existing evidence, a comprehensive and contemplative understanding through a scientific explanation of the causes of whatever anomalies and other behavior that is not following the model anticipated, and subsequently then working out the best steps forward and determining the potential benefits relative to alternative approaches.

Such an attitude works well in a scientific laboratory, where whether the results are available tomorrow or next week only really matters if there is another lab in the world that is working closely along the same lines as you are. (And if the work is relatively topical that is often the case). Unfortunately this relatively leisurely approach to making progress is not nearly as compatible with a situation where a high-pressure piece of equipment is showing signs of leakage, and where there is the possibility that, within the week, equipment is going to have to be withdrawn from the site because of the imminence of a hurricane.

The imposition of an ultimately superior layer or more (depending on how much the White House is actually involved in decision making) of evaluation and decision making can do little beyond stretching the time over which decisions are made, eating up the time that is available for action, before the current gentle weather window closes. Now it may be that the current tropical depression will not solidify into a problem (I’ll let wiser heads in those topics answer that question), but even if this one does not, there will come a time when one will, and the working interval is shrinking.

Some of the worries about seeps in the vicinity have now been put to rest, in his brief yesterday Admiral Allen noted:

The first one was to see pitch about three nautical miles (Ed. Note amended to kilometers) from the wellhead itself. We do not believe that is associated with this particular well integrity test or the Macando well.

Similarly the bubbling from the sediments around the well have not been seen as something to worry about, although the material ejected is being tested. (It proves very difficult to get a meaningful picture of this). There is, however, one leak that is due to the well, and that is in the equipment that is sitting on the well itself.

Let me just tell you right away, because this happened overnight, as you know, we had a – a connector piece of equipment that we established in to allow us to put the capping stack on. These are the three rams that are associated with the capping stack. This is a schematic of those three rams. The leakage is occurring in a flange just located right about here, and there is hydrate formation appearing on this side of the capping stack as we move forward.

We do not know, but we do not believe this is consequential at this time, nor is – doesn't appear that the hydrate formation is inhibiting any operation of the capping stack. This is something we will continue to monitor as we move forward.

He noted that

it is the collective opinion of the folks that are talking about this that the – the small seepages we are finding right now do not present, at least at this point, any indication that there is a threat to the wellbore. . . . . . . There is a – there's actually a metal gasket in the flange, rather than a rubber (one). It's actually a metal – metal seal in there. And that appears to be the source of (the leak). But we don't know if it's consequential to the operations of it. It's not a huge leak, but it is causing the formation of hydrates.

(Ed note I corrected some transcription errors). The lack of concern seems to focus on the possible stratification of the fluid in the wellbore, and the concentration of any sand, which could cause problems if rapidly released.

Now that in itself is somewhat revealing, since one of the things that I have discussed in the past is the concentration of sand in the fluid flow, and that, when the fluid gets to a pressure differential of 2,500 psi or more that sand will erode metal and anything else in its way, as it flows out. With the sensible admission of the presence of that sand, what BP intend, apparently and if necessary, is to bleed the pressure down sufficiently slowly that the current segregation within the well, with the lighter gas-related hydrocarbons rising to the top, can be maintained until the pressure differential is low enough that the sand would no longer cause much erosion if caught up in the fluid. (Whether this would need to take the “several days” that Admiral Allen suggests is, perhaps, debatable.

There are a couple of problems with that. The first is that the sand is not in a single size range, but likely goes all the way down to sub-micron in size. The smaller particles don’t settle out that easily and thus are likely to be present to some concentration in the fluid throughout the well. Which raises the second problem which is that particles do cause erosion if they are moving over a surface at relatively high speed (caused by the pressure differential). In a much earlier post I discussed this and the effects that it might cause.

In my other life, we have dealt with the problems of having abrasive particles get into high pressure fittings, and the leaks that result. Leaks tend not to fix themselves, and get bigger over time. Expecting that they might not change over the next month, while the odd hurricane might pass by, and the relief well completion gets postponed, is not a reassuring path to take.

In Kent Wells' review on Tuesday he was, similarly to Admiral Allen, complacent about the leaks.

And then in terms of the couple of gas leaks that you probably observed on the BLP and capping stack. Those are just coming from places where we have what we call (metal) seals. Those are small leaks that are as a result of gas. Those connections have been tested to very high pressures in the case of the capping stack we actually tested it to 15,000 PSI with water and with no leaks, and it’s just when we – we probably got a gas bubble that’s formed up there and that’s why we have that very slow leak. It’s nothing that we’re concerned about.

At those pressures and temperatures, the gas is still liquid and still capable of carrying sand with it.

The potential for injecting mud to kill the well, which is getting more of a hearing at the moment, could be the way forward. Once mud in any significant volume is introduced into the well, through existing lines initially designed just to do this very thing, then the pressure at the top of the well will decline. This lowers the differential pressure across any leaks, lowering the flow and extending the time period before they may fail.

But, in regard to doing this “top kill”, Admiral Allen noted

We now have a closed system, so there's back pressure. And so the question is, is there enough back pressure there where you could do basically more of a static rather than a dynamic top kill, where you could put mud in. That might suppress the hydrocarbons.

There's been some discussion about whether or not that might be possible. We're looking for BP to give us an idea of whether or not that it's possible, how they would do it. And we'll react to that when we receive it.

And BP themselves does not have a sense of urgency about moving forward with the process. From Kent Wells:

And then in terms of the static kill – and once again, I want to reinforce, no decisions have been made yet on proceeding forward with that. But we are continuing with preparation and planning. We continue to get equipment lined out, what we would want to do, making sure that we will have the right equipment out there to do it, writing procedures, starting to get procedures approved.

At the same time, we’re doing testes (sic) with scientists, challenging the way we’re thinking about this, what we’re doing, so we’ve got parallel paths going on that’s leading towards somewhere ideally in the next day or two that we’d be in position through unified command to make a decision whether we’d go forward with that.

He may take a couple of days to make an animation showing how it will work. Essentially however it involves reversing the flow down one of the kill lines (originally set up to allow mud flow into the well) which are now being used to allow oil to flow out of the well and up to a service vessel. From Kent Wells:

Now, one of the things we do need to do is we need to make some changes on the Q4000 to change it from its ability to contain oil and turn it back around into the pumping facility. But that does not take us very long to make that change and of course we’ll always have the ability to change back if at some point we need to do that.

It will, likely, take much longer for management to decide whether or not it should proceed. And the weather window continues to shrink.

Oh, and from the Admiral’s brief, in case you missed it.

The Discoverer Enterprise is no longer on station.

Chuck Watson's update, 4:00 pm, EDT:

The tropical system just off the northern coast of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic) continues to meander west north west. It is still not well organized, and has not intensified as was forecast previously. In fact, the runs from this afternoon's model barely bring it up to 50 mph or so before Florida landfall.

Forecasts still have it crossing Florida, then brushing the eastern end of Gulf of Mexico production (including the Deepwater Horizon response area) as a minimal tropical storm. While that would be disruptive to cleanup operations, and damaging to protective barriers, a direct hit could ultimately be quite helpful to the cleanup. Vertical mixing offshore would disperse the oil, and if it is a wet system, rain to flush out the wetlands. In addition, the core computer models keep the system just to the east of the most oiled areas - that means strong offshore winds (recall that winds are counter-clockwise around a tropical system in the northern hemisphere), and minimal storm surge, also a "plus" for dealing with the oil.

As for normal operations, if there is fear of development over the Gulf this weekend, companies might shut in some wells and rigs/platforms evacuated as the system passes, causing a brief production hit. No long term impact is expected. That said, keep in mind that the storm is four days out from the area of interest, and although models are tightly grouped at the moment, position errors are large (more like 400 nautical miles for a weak system) and intensity estimates poor this far out (especially after crossing Florida).

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in wrong place: edited

"Oh, and from the Admiral’s brief, in case you missed it.

The Discoverer Enterprise is no longer on station. "

Again - this is wrong.

Discoverer Enterprise is still on station as can bee seen on Marinetraffic.com and in the ROV videos.

The research ship Pisces has left the place.

Don't confuse me with facts! From the earlier thread, but it still works. RE- the Simmons thing. 2000 psi lost means small weeps in the sea floor? 30 psi is my garden hose!

Your garden hose doesn't have to push through two miles of ocean floor.

Also Posted at Zero Hedge:
I have met Matt, and read most of what he has written. I have never had a hint that he's crazy, provocative maybe, but not crazy. His theories about peak oil are well reasoned and researched. Of course, this reputation is why people are taking him so seriously.

Clearly, what we have been watching for the last 3 months simply couldn't be the oil left in the riser. It always looked like about a barrel per second to me, which is 84,000 barrels per day, which corresponds pretty closely with what everybody has been saying. The mile long riser would have been depleted in a few minutes, not to mention its pressure would have dropped to zero immediately.

The only thing that makes sense (well not really) is that the first well drilled by BP blew out at the well head and this second well (the one we see on TV everyday) was actually a relief well for that first one. Then there was a second blow out that did what we know to the Macondo 252, but the first well scattered its casing all over ocean floor, and is a leaking volcano of oil some 5(?) miles from the Macondo well.

Imagine this at the bottom of the ocean .... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lakeview1Gusher.jpg

I consider this extremely unlikely, and is really an attempt on my part to understand how Matt could be correct with just a few lingo slip ups. This would be catastrophic for both BP and the administration. I can see BP lying about that because they could go to jail, but not the government.

But Matt's not a young guy, so maybe he's suffering from dementia. That would be sad. Wacky stuff for sure.

Your mentioning Alzheimer's and dementia would be out of place except that many others who support him feel the same way.

Yes. I think lots of people who have read, admired, communicated with and "known" Matt in one way or another have been concerned about this possibility.

Nobody in this "camp" intends these concerns to be demeaning. Dementia, along with broken legs, heart attacks, cancer, etc. happens. To the best among us as often as to anyone else.

I think it is probably just simple greed. Probably a leading factor in the career he has chosen.

I respectfully disagree. The man has more money than he can spend. I stand by my belief that he shorted BP as a result of his view on the gulf -- versus what many believe - he shaped his view on the gulf because he shorted BP.

He is a very smart and passionate man - who unfortunately is out of his element on this. I'm sure there are others who are feeding him information that may have an agenda. He may also be losing it. I met him a few years ago in a meeting with only one other person in the room and he was knowledgable about the industry - and passionate about his views.

Unfortunately - I think this situation has really painted an ugly picture on this man as this is the first time many people have heard of him -- and all is great work on Peak Theory and his research on Saudi will lose some credibility - JMHO.

Rayg: "I'm sure there are others who are feeding him information that may have an agenda..."

You pose a whole new thought, here, for me, and IMHO, it certainly is not out of the realm of possibility that through him, as he is probably the most visible of the Peak Oil proponents, there is an attempt to discredit, to whatever extent possible, the heretofore work on Peak Oil, or Decline In Oil Production, which ever way one prefers to name it.

Max - hmmm .. I didn't mean to connect the "agenda of others" to the peak oil theory. Putting myself in his shoes - I would surmise a logical way thinking might be -- we are in "peak oil phase" - we need to find the next energy source - the Ocean Energy Institute is formed - he has already profited from the "fossil fuel era" - now it's time to (1) make more money on the next alternative fuel or (2) time to give back and find a solution for the future (my view he won't profit from the OEI at his age).. so does damaging the peak oil theory help or hurt the oil industry???

Didn't mean to extrapolate your "agenda of others" comment to peak oil, if that is not what you meant. So, now, am curious to know what you think to what purpose an "agenda of others" might be in feeding him information. To discredit his exploration into ocean energy?

Besides, if he discredits himself with the stuff he is saying who will invest in his new wind farm company? He could just sit back and let the Gulf play out and that would help his company. If his theories are discredited entirely it hurts his new venture.

I feel he sincerely believes that there is a open well hole nearby and is making up stuff to explain what we actually see that doesn't fit what we know.

The only thing I can figure, other than that he is losing it, is that he knows something that he can't fully reveal and is trying to create a credible story for the press to get the "gist" of it across.

I'm convinced he's losing it. He has nothing to gain and his entire career and professional standing to lose. The odds of him being right on the open hole leak and oil lake are next to nil - and the result of being wrong is total loss of credibility for his peak theory work and Ocean Institute - so I hope his close friends and advisors help him....

BRAVO, Raygon!

Matt Simmons knows of what he speaks. Since May, he has gone on every radio and TV show, who would have him, warning us of the potential methane /oil mix that has turned into a bolb under the sea. Leaking from another source. He has never strayed from what he has said. He continues, to this day, warning us. He tries to give us what truth he can legally be able to give.

Good information here..

Two wells in the drilling plan, two locations, permits issued (one for Marianas, one later for DWH) for drilling at location B only, http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6762#comment-684821, Monkeyfister's hypothesis is shredded. His followers will be so disappointed - they seem to want that second hole and the 120,000 bbls/day of miraculously heavier than water oil gushing into Lake Simmons.

Then there's this notion oozing around that Simmons' mystery hole was created by a secret relief well. Why drill a relief well when the original hadn't been completed? Apparently the reason would be to feed conspiratorial fires on the internet, and that's good enough.

[edit] Oh, wait, I forgot. BP drilled an unpermitted CIA approved well at a secret location in secret. They did it at night with no lights on, radio silence, engines off. They didn't want anyone to find out that they'd tapped into a 300,000 million bbl motherlode that was supposed to provide fuel for the CIA's secret war in Iran. They drilled that well so deep that only the Australians knew about it. The Hollow Earth people got pissed because it cut through their territory. They sabotaged the secret well and that's what happened. Matt Simmons can only hint around about it because if he spills too many beans the CIA will cap him.

Yeah well, Imunna cap you and bbfellow if y'all don't start issuing spew alerts before your launches!

(mutter mutter, swab, mop again)

I think that's extremely unlikely. If Matt wanted a big profit play (he sure doesn't need it, but maybe he wants it), there would be countless easier ways for him to make at least as much money. IIRC, the value of his BP shorts is trivial in comparison with his total wealth.

Agreed, if all he has is 8000 shares short, for him that would be trivial. But what of the Ocean Energy Institute? Unknown (to us) relationships? His scenario is actually clever. Unseen gusher, unseen results.

Frankly, it's his "evacuate the coast" advice that disturbs the most. And it's gone unchallenged.

I agree about the value of his shorts, IIRC he is short 8,000 shares and that is trivial as you state to his wealth no doubt....BUT, I do wonder if he has had any accounts he advises short the stock, that wouldn't show up under his name and would be alot harder to track with individual investors vs institutional investors.

Most of the conspiracy theories which have been promoted to explain the motivations of MS sound as loony than the MS claims themselves.

2 questions for the experts...aside from intended purpose, what is the difference between a relief well and a production well? 2- how common is it to drill 2 RWs when attempting to kill a WW?

If these questions have been addressed previously, apologies in advance.

aside from intended purpose, what is the difference between a relief well and a production well?

No difference at all.

how common is it to drill 2 RWs when attempting to kill a WW?

Relief wells are rather uncommon -- first, blowouts aren't that common, second, most blowouts can be controlled via other interventions that are much faster (e.g. capping, bullheading). Drilling more than 1 simultaneous relief well is extremely rare.

Here's a related article by Mr. Wright, probably the most experienced hand in the world at relief wells, and his standard blowout control process description doesn't even look at the possibility of needing more than 1 relief well:
And also the inset diagram:

Do the relief wells have a liner?

Yes. If you listen to BP's daily updates you'll hear that they're cementing their relief well all the way to the intercept with the wild well.

Do the relief wells have a liner?

Relief wells can be drilled with liner or with casing depending on well design, same as a production well. Perhaps oversimplified in saying "no" difference, obviously final step of a production well (well completion often including a frac job) isn't needed for a relief well.

BP's data from shortsqueeze.com:
Short Interest (Shares Short)
Days To Cover (Short Interest Ratio)
Short Percent of Float
0.31 %
Short Interest - Prior
Short % Increase / Decrease
-41.25 %
Short Squeeze Ranking™

Looks like most shorts have already already left the party.

Or it could be simple ego. For many people the money is nothing more than a means of keeping score - not an end in itself.

Extremely unlikely? Sure, a second deepwater rig goes on site and blows out after the first one? Now there's a cover-up...

But seriously, I think the post is really quite serious. I see two competing forces... BP having to deal with a bunch of outsiders who don't know the realities, and the Feds - eager to prove they have a right to be there, but generally with skill sets somewhat tangential to the mission. Then there are the scientists, who have a really mixed and unpredictable agenda. Maybe best to let BP run the show at the wellhead, and let the feds run the show in the water column and at the surface, and never the twain shall meet....

One big problem is that ships supporting work on the wellhead, and ships doing water column work, are all packed into the same small area of sea surface. And the twain shall always meet, over and over again.

Sure, and in the case of sim ops, needs at the well-head would take precedence...

[-] EricNPA on July 21, 2010 - 6:02pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

Extremely unlikely? Sure, a second deepwater rig goes on site and blows out after the first one? Now there's a cover-up...

But seriously, I think the post is really quite serious. I see two competing forces... BP having to deal with a bunch of outsiders who don't know the realities, and the Feds - eager to prove they have a right to be there, but generally with skill sets somewhat tangential to the mission. Then there are the scientists, who have a really mixed and unpredictable agenda. Maybe best to let BP run the show at the wellhead, and let the feds run the show in the water column and at the surface, and never the twain shall meet....

Let BP run....the horror show.

A few weeks ago I came across the Matt Simmons controversy. I Googled around and discovered he bases his oil supply theory on the work of a Russian scientist and something called 'abiogenic' oil. Sorry, the links are not to hand...from what I can remember, its the idea oil is plentiful in rock--and not necessarily from fossil remains. (crude description) Apparently tests have been done that yielded only a smidge of oil from this so called endless source. I actually found links to monographs etc.

Then, from reading profiles of MS, my own intuitive hit is that he his a hustler/huckster and admitted big investor. Remember T BOone Pickens revolting series of ads in 08/09 for wind? (Revollting in his sanctimonious show of promotion for alternative energy) Pickens was also the ruthless operator who financed the swift boat campaign against Kerry.

I smell a rat somewhere. Simmons was part of Bush cabal. He's tainted and corrupt.


I just took a shower, so you prolly smell Dylan da Rat.

"he bases his oil supply theory on the work of a Russian scientist and something called 'abiogenic' oil."

Not hardly.


Simmons always struck me as a decent guy in the years I've followed what he has said. I just can't believe he is deliberately lying now. Deceived or confused yes but I don't think he is lying.

I'll keep this brief, since I was mildly chastised for bringing it up.

According to MS we've got an implausible hole caused by an impossible event in an unknown location gushing 120,000 bbl/day and the oil implausibly settles into an equally implausible huge lake that's also in an unknown location, people should evacuate, and NOAA is silent despite being cited as providing proof. Financial networks keep inviting him back, don't challenge his assertions, and neglect to mention his financial interests despite his prediction that BP stock will go to $1 when he's short BP stock and has other financial interests. That's crazy to at least the third power.

That's crazy to at least the third power.

Don't get me wrong, I agree. But he wasn't always like this. He once answered the question "What would be the first thing you would do if elected president now?" with one word: "Cry".

I'm aware; I've read his stuff.

But explain the lack of challenge by Bloomberg & CNBC & NOAA. He's compromised by his interests. He's told people living within 200 miles of the coast to evacuate. Something's really wrong here.

Well put, Mr. Snake.

Simmons may not be crazy, he just sounds like it - master of hyperbole, for sure

I have a lot of respect for him. Prolly impressed me more than any other person when I first saw End of Suburbia. This is all very sad. I'm with the Altzheimer's crowd, maybe with a touch of too much bourbon and branch water for too many years.

That may explain MS, but what explains the networks that keep on featuring him as an unchallenged guest?

Especially when they never gave him this much time on Peak Oil (although to be fair they gave him some).

Nielsen ratings.


How about NOAA?

Feds are so interested in providing a mental health services strategy that they keep having meetings and conferences but don't respond to warnings for everybody within 200 miles of the coast to evacuate from a guy who's been on teevee a lot and all over the net? They let stand that his contentions are based on USG data?

Excuse me, but WTF?

"How about NOAA?"

Very good question. I've written, twice, to the NOAA public affairs guys and to the Thomas Jefferson command contacts, asking them for a clear public response to the claims being made based upon "evidence" allegedly originating from their cruises.

The only replies have been canned fluff.

I can't imagine what they're thinking, if they are thinking.

The first time I heard Samantha Joye from the NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson talk she was upset and appalled at what she was seeing and vocal about it. Every time I have heard her talk since then she has been careful and given little real information.... you know the old "we are scientists and until we have fully studied the data we can't say much". NOAA has muffled its own. What that implies, I am not sure.

I agree that Joye has not been interviewed as much lately as she focuses on analyzing the results of her trip.

A couple of corrections tho' - Joye is from the Univ of Georgia, not NOAA, and led a cruise on Walton Smith, not NOAA's Thomas Jefferson. iirc, her trip was before TJ's - or in between the 1st and 2nd TJ voyages.

Dr. Joye has actually been conducting research aboard the R/V Walton Smith. NOAA is not affiliated with this research expedition.
I do find it "mildly" curious that the last entry on her GOM oil gusher research blog is dated 6/20, but I believe that the samples have been collected and are currently being analyzed, thus the delay in posting new info. I think her dedication to the scientific method is nothing other than the hallmark of a damn fine scientist. Until, that is, someone can offer definitive proof otherwise. Rumors of BP's actions to "buy off" university scientists have certainly been making the rounds, but in the case of Dr. Joye, I don't believe it.

Pickens was on CNN Monday, his view of the spill,leaks, and future natural gas use contradicts what you just theoried.

Matt Simmons ............he bases his oil supply theory on the work of a Russian scientist and something called 'abiogenic' oil.



The only thing that makes sense (well not really) is that the first well drilled by BP blew out at the well head and this second well (the one we see on TV everyday) was actually a relief well for that first one. Then there was a second blow out that did what we know to the Macondo 252, but the first well scattered its casing all over ocean floor, and is a leaking volcano of oil some 5(?) miles from the Macondo well.


Further evidence which could support this scenario: the bizarre hole in the Deepwater Horizon Helipad. The massive (50 ft, 300+ ton) BOP stack launched at some factor of sonic velocity could have sliced through the aluminum deck like a knife through butter. Not knowing the dimensions of the helipad, I would estimate the opening to be about 30 ft. in length. A tumbling trajectory, as well as a loss of peripherals could explain the smaller opening than might otherwise be anticipated.

Hey, I know this sounds wild, but does anyone have a more plausible explanation for the gash in the deck?

This is what I don't understand. MS has continued to say from the beginning of this mess, that what we have been looking at in the ROV videos for months now is NOT the full BOP stack, not even close. He keeps saying the BOP is 5 stories high and is several miles from site shown on video etc.. Surely there has to be enough Oil & Gas intel out there (and on this blog alone) to refute or validate that claim. Is that riser pipe currently attached to a full BOP stack or not? Doesn't someone here know what a full BOP stack looks like? Because I have heard time and again, both BP and US Gov't refer to that riser package as 'the' BOP. Is it, or isn't it?

Surely there has to be enough Oil & Gas intel out there (and on this blog alone) to refute or validate that claim.

Yes, there is.

Is that riser pipe currently attached to a full BOP stack or not?

The riser pipe is lying broken on the sea bed. The remains of it was cut away from the top of the BOP. The BOP is firmly attached to the top of the well, just where the Deepwater Horizon put it all those months ago.

Doesn't someone here know what a full BOP stack looks like?

Yes, lots of people here do. They look like this-


Because I have heard time and again, both BP and US Gov't refer to that riser package as 'the' BOP. Is it, or isn't it?

I'd have to see the context of individual quotes, but maybe the confusion is arising over the term 'riser package'.

Are we doomed to scroll through personal anguish stories, ethnic cuisine, anti-Obama/Dem/gubment screeds, cute videos, endless mistaken videos, stock market ploys, conspiracies of China?

I understand the need to repeat technical information that dispels rumors, since that aligns with the site purpose, but take a look at the signal to noise ratio.

Perhaps the first paragraph of the first post could more strongly emphasize the need to remove the chat, blabber and screaming, and return to the technical and provable?

@ ormondotvos

What's your take on the 10,000 foot level in the new response plan? It doesn't look as though it would have helped with Macondo-or most of the wells that are deepwater.


"The new system will be flexible, adaptable and able to begin mobilization within 24 hours and can be used on a wide range of well designs and equipment, oil and natural gas flow rates and weather conditions. The new system will be engineered to be used in deepwater depths up to 10,000 feet and have initial capacity to contain 100,000 barrels per day with potential for expansion...."

The 10K refers to water depth, not total depth. I'm pleased with this idea. In fact, I was surprised to learn such a system didn't already exist. Seems so "right" that it should have been done a long time ago.

Will they need a geologist? I might give up my 20+ years seniority to sign on there. Especially since it will likely be a long time before another oil company lets a disaster of this magnitude happen. Could get a lot of "pure science" done while waiting.

Actually I thought it was 10000' below the mudline (bml? I do pay attention), That's still shallow for these deepwater wells.

I read it again, and what I see is "deepwater depths up to 10,000 feet". To me, that means 10K feet of water. Actually, I can't imagine how the drilled depth would be a limiting factor, it's the water depth that becomes a problem. Aren't the Skandi ROVs rated to something like 8K, for example?


Is the money dedicated? What's the firm timeline? Will the contracts be captive or open bidding? Will they hire Rockman?

Too soon to tell, but right now it's just vaporware. What sea state and wind force will they plan for and demonstrate?

I'd love to have input.

Worth keeping an eye on. Is there a website for the whole operation? Will they be playing patent games? Can't do any more than ask questions.

What I could get for now.
Chevron http://www.chevron.com/chevron/pressreleases/article/07212010_newoilspil...

Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet

I posted this once...mods please remove if it duplicates-second time tonight I've had trouble accessing board functions

Lol, not suprisingly, looks like an 90% copy of what BP has already had built & installed in the last 3 months.

Saw it was reported that it will only take 18 more months to build this...

18 months would be about standard for this type design/build in a fast track project. Most of the components range between 8-12 months mfg/construction time with 4-6 weeks system/integration testing.

I wish that was bigger. Does the legend at bottom right say "Accumulator Unit"? I had decided that's what the corresponding unit in the ROV views must be.

Can follow original link, it includes the PDF on the side of the Chevron website "learn more":

The fact sheet on this system provides an illustration of this system and may be seen at http://mms.businesswire.com/bwapps/mediaserver/ViewMedia?mgid=236627&vid...

Has a lot of similarities to what BP is using now on the Macondo well.

Looks like a good idea, to me, and at 250 million per company, it is pretty good insurance against another big long drawn-out spill like we have now, IMHO.

Nop! Just click on the minus sign by the name of the first poster. Will collapse that and all replies.

Analysis of Eight Oil Spill Dispersants Using Rapid, In Vitro Tests for Endocrine and Other Biological Activity

Authors from National Center for Computational Toxicology and National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has led to the use of >1 M gallons of oil spill dispersants, which are mixtures of surfactants and solvents. Because of this large scale use there is a critical need to understand the potential for toxicity of the currently used dispersant and potential alternatives, especially given the limited toxicity testing information that is available. In particular, some dispersants contain nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), which can degrade to nonylphenol (NP), a known endocrine disruptor. Given the urgent need to generate toxicity data, we carried out a series of in vitro high-throughput assays on eight commercial dispersants. These assays focused on the estrogen and androgen receptors (ER and AR), but also included a larger battery of assays probing other biological pathways. Cytotoxicity in mammalian cells was also quantified. No activity was seen in any AR assay. Two dispersants showed a weak ER signal in one assay (EC50 of 16 ppm for Nokomis 3-F4 and 25 ppm for ZI-400). NPs and NPEs also had a weak signal in this same ER assay. Note that Corexit 9500, the currently used product, does not contain NPEs and did not show any ER activity. Cytotoxicity values for six of the dispersants were statistically indistinguishable, with median LC50 values 100 ppm. Two dispersants, JD 2000 and SAF-RON GOLD, were significantly less cytotoxic than the others with LC50 values approaching or exceeding 1000 ppm.

The problem with that test is they forgot to mix the dispersant with oil then test it.


Actually no . That testing is ongoing and we should see early results soon.

To add, BP has posted reams of data including maps over time of subsurface water sample data. The spread sheets of the Veritas and Brooks McCall data show sample analysis at depths for dispersant compounds and none were detected through mid June that I saw. Also worth looking at all hydrocarbon readings.
Note that on BP and on EPA all the oxygen levels and rotifer survival rates are posted from ongoing sampling in the several kms around the well. None look too bad.
Talk to the Animals and other bio folks might want to look at all this data and comment.

(Perhaps they intentionally avoided the underwater sea of oil area)

They have a third of the gulf shutoff to fishing for some reason.

And you think that is because of the dispersant? Probably the oil.I am curious to see if the well stays shut-in and winds churn up the water, how long the areas will stay closed, especially the SE area as there has not been much oil there for a long time.

Welcome to Lake Woebegone, Dan, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average. Publication bias occurs when the publication of research results depends on their nature and direction.


Statement and study issued simultaneously; ie, June 30, 2009. I have participated in evaluating and publishing the effects of pharmaceuticals on human and animal central nervous systems. I don't know any researcher that would be willing to declare the innocuousness of a substance across species and for humans with the caveats "we need more data" and equating crustaceans and mammalian systems in a written document-even in consideration of the substantial grants we received from the pharmas who were manufacturing the drugs. Cunning workaround, that bit about needing more research.

"While this is important information to have, additional testing is needed to further inform the use of dispersants. The next phase of EPA’s testing will assess at the acute toxicity of multiple concentrations of Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil alone and combinations of Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil with each of the eight dispersants for two test species." which are small fish and shrimp.

Q5: What are the dispersant test results for potential endocrine activity, cytotoxicity and acute toxicity to shrimp and small fish?

A: While the dispersant products alone – not mixed with oil – have roughly the same effects,JD-2000 and Corexit 9500 proved to be the least toxic to small fish, and JD-2000 and SAF-RON GOLD were the least toxic to the mysid shrimp...None of the dispersants triggered cell death at the likely concentrations of dispersants expected in the Gulf."

Perhaps I am missing your point but don't we already know about toxicity to humans (especially workers)? The issue here is toxicity to and possible affects on sea life. None of the constituents have bee seen in air sampling or in near shore water samples (nor as I can tell sub-sea).
The question is if the lack of toxicity extends to other critters and does the mixture with oil actually increase the overall toxicity. That affect would have to be weighed against quicker biodegradation and dispersing of the substances.

Thanks for posting this link. In my opinion it illustrates one thing - that the LC50 results are so high for these materials (100ppm and higher) that acute toxicity should be expected to be non-existent for the dispersants as they are being used in the BP Macondo blowout.

But we already knew that acute tox isn't the question that really counts. The question is whether or not use of dispersant is a net benefit to the Gulf. That is a much harder question and takes a systems analysis - with the consideration of the following issues:

1. What is the impact of having oil dispersed in the water column?

2. What is the quantitative difference between dispersant and no dispersant as far as the amount of oil in the water column? Remember MMS's study predicting dispersion from deep water blowouts even without dispersant use.

3. What is the impact of oil on the surface, both ocean and landfall on different types of ecosystems.

4. Does dispersant use make a significant impact on the composition profile of oil in the water column vs the surface.

5. How effective is collection of surface oil vs. subsurface biodegradation? We have a lot of calls here to stop using dispersant and let the oil float to the surface where it can be skimmed. But is skimmer effectiveness anything to write home about? And the surface is where 90% or more of the life is.

6. What is the resilience of the various systems in question? Will damage to system A recover in a matter of weeks when damage to system B takes years?

The answers to these questions won't come from a fast track study.

Acute toxicity of dispersant alone is not particularly relevant to the key questions here.

Here are some answers :

Three medium-scale field experiments on the effects of oil, a dispersant and an oil/dispersant mixture were carried out in an intertidal mud flat ecosystem of the Wadden Sea (German Bight). For six successive tides each contaminant was added to the water enclosed in a mesocosm during submersion of the flat. The fate of the oil in the sediment and effects on phytobenthos, bacteria and macrozoobenthos were studied. Penetration of the oil into the sediment was mainly observed at the surface layer. were present when oil was chemically dispersed. Sublethal effects were found in some macrofauna species (reduced feeding activity) and in phytobenthic organisms (increased activity); oil degrading bacteria increased. No major effects were observed when the dispersant alone was added.


This has been discussed extensively here over the past few weeks, including a thread dedicated to the subject which is full of citations and abstracts. Please see the archives.

The studies done on the dispersants were accomplished using "in vitro" (cells in culture) "high thoughput" (lots and lots of samples done quickly) techniques. This is the newest fad in toxicology. We don't need no steenkin' animals, and we can get everything to you in a day. The only tiny problems with this system concern the fact that 1. it hasn't been tested in a real world situation and 2. anyone who thinks that cell cultures will give meaningful information about whole organisms is either a charlatan or a woefully ignorant individual. Toxicologists have real problems extrapolating rodent data to humans or fish data to rodents or human data to fish etc. The idea of going to cell cultures and trying to obtain accurate extrapolations is the stuff of science fiction and/or career building - not data that can be taken seriously! I should add that I have over 30 years of research experience in toxicology...

"...the stuff of science fiction and/or career building - not data that can be taken seriously!"

Yes, but there are funding sources and administrators who are as enamored of speed as the average Indy car driver. Some of them would truly rather have fast answers than right answers.

So we'll see more and more of this silly stuff, even though one shouldn't need your thirty years of experience to know that it is ridiculous. A survey course in biology and thirty days of practicing scientific thinking ought to be sufficient.

How come many of these typos are so Freudian? Must be a person transcribing the words.
"At the same time, we’re doing testes (sic) with scientists,"

I do get the sense that some of these scientists are in fact doing BP's testes, and the other way around too.

Circular reinforcement yielding entropy. I'm still chuckling over your comment.

That's a funny Image in that link, densely.

Nobody on WOW!! People would be surprised how often photos are touched up or mashed up. The helicopter is a classic situation. Foreground and background in focus and well exposed - 1 photo, nah. If they are playing nicely they may shoot 2 frames sequentially in the situation with different settings then put them together. These BP ones are REALLY bad, they need to get a much better photo supplier on the job, OTOH they may want to ask for a refund from whoever did it for such shoddy work. The guy in our local cheap shop (uses buckets for seats) photochops WAY better than this.


In news organizations, photo manipulation is a definite no-no. It can/does happen and when it gets discovered and the news organization has to retract the materials with red faces all around.

Corporate communication doesn't have this same culture. Photo manipulation, major or minor, is done all of the time and, usually, nobody cares. After all this isn't news, its corporate brochures, annual reports, newsletters, etc.

The problem here is that BP now IS NEWS and is under a microscope. They seem to forget this and revert to type or business as usual. It is just that these manipulations, at this time, are not very bright. Some communication manager should have been instructed on Day-1 to immediately scrub all corporate materials that potentially will be released or used about the DWH incident to make sure that they meet the standards of some organization like Associated Press.

Is it the law? No. Is it a darn good idea? Yes.

BP (1) never misses an opportunity to shoot itself in the foot; or (2) never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

...they may want to ask for a refund from whoever did it for such shoddy work.

I'm certain it was some jerk from PR, not a paid professional photographer, just some stupid jerkoff with no talent and total confidence, like the ones who destroyed DWH.

I'm certain it was some jerk from PR, not a paid professional photographer, just some stupid jerkoff with no talent and total confidence, like the ones who destroyed DWH.

I agree 100%.
I spent more than 20 years in printing and photo production, and I can tell you, person who did this "job":
a. have no idea how to use photoshop tools
b. have no idea how to depatch.
Posted photo just demonstrates lack of basic knowledge and skills.

Thanks, lotus, this is priceless.

I won’t post the photo of the PhotoShopped picture out of fairness so I don’t divert clicks away from the website that broke this story. However, please have a look at it.

See http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/bp-photoshops-another-o...

Terrible job of retouching.

However, I suspect somebody involved had a sense of hummer. There is another hidden Easter Egg.

Look at the original and its analysis at the website. Then see my blow-up of the pilot’s hand. Note his fingers crossed. Red arrow is mine.

You couldn't pay people to make this stuff up. Oh, wait, ... they did.

Before Tony leaves, he should fire the whole corporate communications department.

Sometimes I get the feeling that BP isn't a member of what we call "the reality-based community." Remember that?

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off.

''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''


EDIT: Added missing word.

I reject your reality and substitute my own! - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

I refudiate your substitution and reintropose my belief whilst covering mine ears and shouting na na na can't hear youuu.

Also, too:
from arrR32 @ Gizmodo.
/shakespalin off

Or at least hire me. I'm far from the best photochopper I know, but I'm way better than this.

Of course, they might not like my BP Special Hourly Rate...

I'll do it for a lifetime's supply of BBIC.


I caught the blimp the other day I snapped this photo. Saw it again today. Why is this thing 3 to 4 miles inland? Is it for show or to find oil. Sheen is still being spotted offshore.

Just what I heard from the nut site, so this is not me stating this "story", :

I read the blimp was flying over and warning swimmers to get out of the water...it was a bit wilder than that, but I digress......

In a way not so crazy. The intel this airship provides is used by the state to determine if there is an advisory or not.

Ok~I should have stated it better, they said they were saying this over a microphone/bullhorn or something of that type of loudspeaker. The only blimp we ever get is the one from the Casino...

What nut site was that? I could use a chuckle.

LOL~That's why I know about them myself, every now and then I read them for chit and giggles, he has many but gregg hall on FB, True Reporting on Gulf Oil Spill and PcolaGregg on youtube........just promise you won't hit the donate button LOL.

Oh, you are talking Goodyear sign or announcement. A speaker truck would do nicely.

I am only repeating it....I thought it was odd to have a blimp flying over GS yelling at ppl to get out of the water, I was trying to picture a scene out of Jaws in my head LOL

FYI~I hate the forecast models for the new wave, most are headed towards our area:(

Yes, but the heavy pools are gone according to latest intel. We shall see. Going to the dump tomorrow and recorded a press conference announcing another concert in Gulf Shores.

Oh I am not worried that much about the oil, I hate having to close the 28 hurricane shutters (takes all freaking day hanging out the window on the top floor because I don't have a ladder that tall) wanna help LOL!!

You're doing a great job in GS with the dump issues TFHG, any clue about who's doing the concert?

Not yet, but Craft promised to have an announcement within a week.


I saw this F-117A chasing a pelican.
Stealth bird two
Kidding. Near Edwards AFB.

You're not supposed to see an F-117. Who stole my stealth?!

It was really chasing a crow.
Stealth Birds

The last time I saw a blimp like that it was loitering around Gulf Power's Crist Electric plant monitoring pollutants in the exhaust gas. This was about a year ago.

The next time you see it try to get the N number. You can look up who they are here:


If people don't mind, I'd like to re-post those (unanswered) questions re July 9th Shell presentation:

Here are my questions:
re. BP Macondo design
1. did the Shell analysts present it accurately?
2. was BP's design unique and unprecedented (in which case, how was it approved?)
3. if the full string design is "typical" (as the slide says) then is it still acceptable (in Canada, around the world?)

re Shell design:
4. does Shell practice what they preach?
5. how long have they used the design presented here?
6. what does a safety case entail?

plus any other observations which you and others might care to offer.

For anyone who is new to this topic, here is the link:

Thank you for considering this once again.

Good old Shell to the rescue down here too. Yet the gas still has the nickel discount. Hmmmmm?

$2.80+ here in southern Nevada.

Isn't it odd how that sleeve fits right over the BP sign. It did not take them long for that one. I bet Shell has a great re-branding program paid for by BP.

Heh, heh. I just bought for $2.52 in Arizona. Shell.

This was a pretty remedial tutorial...nothing controversial at all that I see. Yes I think it is an accurate depiction of what BP did and what Shell (and Exxon, Chevron, etc.) routinely does. There is no doubt that there are definately differences in the safety culture among companies. I think his comparative well design slide is poorly labelled. It is Shell (typical case) on left and BP-Macondo (specific) on the Right.

An observation: the UK government's announced an enquiry into North Sea drilling practices, spill response planning, BOP reliability, etc.

' "Deep-water drilling is probably necessary but safety lessons may mean it can't proceed as before," said former environment minister Mr Yeo. "We need to explore what excessive risks have been taken and what is still technically too challenging." '


(Edited to add: I vaguely remember hearing snippets about oil exploration west of the Shetland Islands (ie., out in the Atlantic, one of the most energetically stormy & hostile bits of ocean in the northern hemisphere) but I'd assumed the MSM was getting confused about the geography of the North Sea -- but apparently not: http://business.scotsman.com/business/MPs-launch-inquiry-after-call.6433... )

... I vaguely remember hearing snippets about oil exploration west of the Shetland Islands (ie., out in the Atlantic, one of the most energetically stormy & hostile bits of ocean in the northern hemisphere) but I'd assumed the MSM was getting confused about the geography of the North Sea -- but apparently not ...

Gack! That's really asking for it, no?

Jones the Fish

continuing from 'Bubbles' thread

You asked

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

The answer the slope pipeline question in an unqualified yes.


Mar 13, Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) and Humble Oil and Refining Company (now Exxon Company, U.S.A.) announce Prudhoe Bay discovery well.
Jun 25, Confirmation well announced by ARCO and Humble.
Jul 29, Pipeline field study team arrives in Alaska, under authority of a transportation subcommittee of an ARCO-Humble North Slope Coordinating Committee.
Oct 28, Atlantic Pipeline Company (a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield), Humble Pipe Line Company (a subsidiary of Humble Oil and Refining Company) and BP Exploration U.S.A., Inc. (a subsidiary of British Petroleum Company, Ltd.) enter into an "agreement for a planning study and for engineering design and construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Project." Construction was to proceed if the Owner Companies approved the plans developed under this agreement.

from this Alyeska web page

I will repost a comment I made later in the thread BPShareholder as well since it follows right in and opens a few avenues for the inquiring to venture down.

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 may be 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 with Arco 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 sentence is just conjecture on my part.

The BP oil refinery in Texas that exploded and burned was an acquisition. Three years before it burned, it was identified by Robert Bea and colleague as a refinery with potential problems in a study they did for BP on organizational issues in the company's U.S. refinery operations. Guess BP didn't take their report seriously.

Shell introduced him to disaster. In 1961, an offshore military radar platform southeast of New York City collapsed into the sea, killing 28 people. Shell asked Bea to study the accident and glean any lessons he could from it.

"They tasked me to look at it, because we were headed for the deep water, and we wanted to know what went wrong," he said.

That grim specialty stayed with him after he left Shell, working for several years in offshore engineering consulting. It found new life after he joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1989. There he met Karlene Roberts, a research psychologist who opened his eyes to the role that people and organizations play in catastrophes.

"We were interested in a lot of the same things, but from different perspectives," said Roberts, who now chairs the university's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management. "Look at the oil spill problem. Everyone thinks it's a technological problem. It's not. It's a management problem."

That idea - that organizational issues can lead to calamities - became an underlying theme in Bea's work. In 2002, BP executives asked him and Roberts to study organizational issues in the company's U.S. refinery operations. The refineries had been assembled through a series of acquisitions, Bea said, and had very different workplace cultures that didn't necessarily mesh with the parent company's. Some were beautifully run, others weren't.

Bea and Roberts delivered a report on their findings. Three years later, one of the refineries that the two researchers considered a problem suffered an explosion and fire that killed 15 people.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/06/06/MNH61DQ275.D...

This is the same Robert Bea who has been quoted elsewhere on the current incident.

Yes, I agree. Organizational management is a specialty of mine. Organizations are typically structured to where cost increases are greatly scrutinized, whereas cost saving get a cursory look and praise. Since this model rewards cost savings much more over higher costs due to any reason including safety, then the culture becomes one of minimal safety margins and maximum haste. In forward thinking organizations, decreases in costs for projects are scrutinized with the same vigor as increases, and such companies look upon decreases as a potential failure in planning as much as an increase would be considered such. At some level, large inaccuracies either way should spook investors.

Thank you


You hit the nail on the head. Cost decreases are always GOOD - like "we can save 13% on our new submarines by installing screen doors instead of sealed hatches"

Thank you.

Mr. Luke H.

Phillips DID NOT acquire ARCO as you stated "the odd little deal that had little Phillips end up with Arco was worked out." It was BP-AMOCO that took over ARCO for a song.

If i remember correctly Phillips has merged with Conoco to form Conoco/Phillips.


bp-amoco took over the lower 48 states assets of arco; in Alaska, phillips acquired the prudhoe bay assets.
BP was unable to acquire the north slope assets of arco because of opposition from exxon ( the third major owner on the slope )

Thanks that is what I meant to say pwh, glad you caught that blunder ret refinery. There was opposition to a BP takeover of Arco Alaska from many quarters in the Alaska, not just Exxon. Phillips acquired Arco's upstream and transportation holdings in Alaska for about $7 billion. The Alaska State Legislature End of Session Press Packet
lays out the twists and turns of that deal fairly clearly at least from the Republican legislature majority's point of view. Governor Knowles was of course a Democrat, and I generally approved of his work until he flat rolled over for BP.

Phillips and Conoco completed their merger a little over 2 years after Arco disappeared.

Thanks guys, these transactions are much clearer now.


It appears they can do the static kill without the cement of the casing being cured.

Operator: Your next question comes from the line of Vivian

Kuo of CNN.

Vivian Kuo: …you. But if the casing is supposed to be set by today and tomorrow, we could potentially see – and again, if it’s approved – an implementation of the static kill maybe by this weekend. Is that right?

Thad Allen: That’s correct. Based on the timeline once the casing is in place to protect the well bore from any interference with the static kill, we could potentially proceed. Again, but that will be taken after we have a discussion with the science team later today, and we’ll look what our options are.


Thad Allen: The latter is correct. Once the casing is in place, the static kill could proceed by this weekend. What we have to do, once the casing is in place there are cements that have to harden, and it’s five to seven days before we then will begin to drill into the annulus.

So just to give you a sequence, the casing is in place. If we are going to attempt the static kill, we would do that and that could happen within about 48 hours. And then from five to seven days after placing the casing, we would be in a position to actually drill into the annulus and begin the process of the bottom kill.

I think that's a reasonable assumption. The cement would provide quite a bit of support even if it isn't fully cured. But I really do wish the good Admiral would stop saying "we will do X unless we do Y, or we might not do X or Y..." Personally, I'd prefer "we don't know yet".

Oh yea with the nutjobs out there he should of said "we don't know yet"! Can you see the press with that one, or the public? The only time I say that in the middle of an crisis is after I give all the "we will do X unless we do Y" and then finish up with a "so I can't tell you exactly what we will do until later but I will update you as soon as we have it narrowed down".

In the last 4 months of a project I had a crane drop the air handling unit into the tank farm and while still waiting on the "all clear" for no emergency vehicle needed (id, no injured or dead) I had the client walk up to me and ask .. how is this going to affect the schedule, is the end date affected. Unluckily for me in all my contingency planning I had not planned for that crane to drop that load in that spot however I could tell him that I had notified expediting to be ready to call any of the tank fabricators, and already had a call into the air handler manufacturer to see if they had "extra material" on site, and a call into the crane supplier to see if he had another crane of that size in case we needed it. My PM and Millwright would be getting me a preliminary listing of equipment damaged within 2 hours so we could get calls into each supplier, and I should have a preliminary on the condition of the crane by the same time. Also promised him an update within 24 hrs and asked that he please refrain from asking anymore questions until I had at least 2 hrs to get the preliminary data. I don't think an "I don't know" would of done it.

Well, I always was too honest for my own good. I've always found that "I don't know yet, I'll get that information to you as soon as I have it" works. Maybe that's why I've never gotten into that "You led me to believe" scenario. The problem here is that the inconsistent answers smack of "I have no idea what is going on".

But the casing was not run today, and won't be run until they see a favorable weather forecast. Wells said a storm packer was set in the RW casing 300' below the BOP as preparation for possible bad weather.

When we get to the point that we have what we call a weather window long enough that we can actually go and run the casing, remember this is the final set of casing we’re going to set, run the casing and cement it, we will go back and start that operation. So the first thing we’d have to do is remove the plug and go through the proper operations to make sure the hole is properly cleaned out so we can run the casing and then cement it in place.

So we’re waiting for that weather window to be guaranteed and then we will proceed with that.

Wells said later

but on the terms of the weather window, as I’ve sort of mentioned, we need you know probably somewhere – anywhere in the range of two to four days to get the casing in the bottom and get it cemented and let’s call it a day for the static kill. So we’re looking in – we need at least that range, but then we also must have the ability that if once we start the operation and I’m thinking now strictly of the relief well, that we would also have the ability to then – still have the ability to disconnect and get out of the way if a new storm were to come. So we always look at these weather windows as – you know we’re sort of looking for – a week would be ideal for us to get back to work. But we will look at exactly what the weather is and we can determine with pretty good accuracy when we’ll be able to get back to work and we will absolutely keep you informed through these calls on what the status is of our work activity.

7/21 Wells briefing

I keep reading these things about Allen, but need some better context to understand the environment there with BP and the government. This article seems to provide that context

Interesting news story, thanks for the link widelyred. Been wondering about how some of the dynamic relationships were working and this article does provide some insight. A couple of highlights:

A low-key executive adept at working with disparate interests, Mr. Dudley, a BP board member and managing director, found himself running the Gulf cleanup after CEO Hayward became a lightning rod for criticism.

Mr. Dudley grew up in the region, in Hattiesburg, Miss. In preparation for his new job, Mr. Dudley paid individual visits to cabinet secretaries and White House officials.

He and Adm. Allen are in constant touch as each heads up his respective camp. Two weeks ago, they flew together by helicopter to the well site to view one of the oil industry's largest-ever collections of vessels in one location.

The helicopter weaved between two ships expelling flares of burning oil to land on the Discoverer Enterprise, directly above the rogue well.

On board, Adm. Allen led as he and Mr. Dudley inspected the new cap that has since been activated. On the flight back to New Orleans, the two shared information, trading BlackBerries to show emails from each other's team. They brainstormed about how to proceed with the new cap as a break in the weather was opening.

The next day, Adm. Allen issued a public "directive" asking for a "detailed plan" and "decision points" within 24 hours on exactly the topic the men had discussed a day earlier. Even though he and Mr. Dudley had ironed out some issues, the administration needed plans in writing before it could approve the action, according to a senior U.S. official.

To respond to the demand, BP had to pull off some engineers working on the new cap, a BP manager said.

Asked about relations between the government and BP, Adm. Allen described them as "dynamic tension."


Last week, the administration dispatched a team of scientists from the government, academia and industry to take part in planning for the eventual sealing of the well. When Mr. Dudley realized that people from Shell Oil Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. were on conference calls, he drew the line.

"We shouldn't have competitors reviewing and being involved in decision-making here," he told Adm. Allen.

One more:

Most recently, tensions flared as BP made plans to lower its newly designed cap onto the gushing well. Last Thursday, when the cap appeared to stop the oil, all weren't happy at the Houston crisis center. Instead, a squabble broke out between government scientists and BP engineers.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey began raising issues about the well's integrity, said a person in the Houston crisis center, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu posed questions about "worst-case scenarios." The scientists offered different interpretations of test results and argued that the well or seabed still could be breached. BP's engineers on the scene resisted the idea that it might be necessary to open valves in the cap to let oil resume flowing to the surface for capture, said two people in the meeting.

Conference calls went into the night, involving Sec. Chu and BP's global head of exploration and production and their representatives. Adm. Allen, mediating the heated discussions, finally decided the new cap needed additional testing, even though BP expressed concern about the extensive moving of vessels that this would require.

More good stuff, definitely worth reading the complete article.

Heading Out,

There is a aspect to this situation that you have not discussed in you introductory comment. The government officials and the scientists are dealing with BP. They are getting a far more direct contact experience of BP tendency toward self-serving mendacity. They may simply not believe much of the data that they are being fed and the model building and theorizing that is being presented by BP. Have you ever decided at the 15% into a pitch for an investment 'opportunity' that you answer was NO, but you couldn't just get up and leave?

They have more constraints on their ability to leave a meeting. There are lots of ways one human being can form a valid impression of another, but many of them are not admissible as evidence in a court. They may have reason to believe they are dealing with a dangerous enemy of the people. I'm sure there are people here at TOD who have formed that opinion on far less direct contact with the perps than the government people have been afforded.

In the near term, whatever is decided will be turned over to BP for implementation and BP will make it work, or not, depending on their judgment as to how it advantages, or not, their legal position.
So until BP is out of the picture entirely all the government people can do is ask questions, write letters, and ask more questions when the receive a reply that doesn't answer the questions asked. Any attack on BP would be twisted into a supposed attack on the oil industry as a whole. I know there are many lefties and greens who dislike the oil industry, but the current official policy of Obama is that the country needs off-shore oil.

My position is also that we need the oil. You know, whenever the oil industry screws the pooch, it tends to be a global news story that goes on and on. The mining industry, that is my associates, are a darn sight worse in their safety record, it just doesn't get as much play. True, it would take a mighty big mining disaster to wreck an environment as big as this, but we get a LOT more people killed than oil does. You just don't hear about it.

geek7 wrote

The government officials and the scientists are dealing with BP. They are getting a far more direct contact experience of BP tendency toward self-serving mendacity. They may simply not believe much of the data that they are being fed and the model building and theorizing that is being presented by BP... In the near term, whatever is decided will be turned over to BP for implementation and BP will make it work, or not, depending on their judgment as to how it advantages, or not, their legal position. So until BP is out of the picture entirely all the government people can do is ask questions, write letters, and ask more questions when the receive a reply that doesn't answer the questions asked.

BP controls flow of information. BP tasks ROVs, showing exactly as much as they want to show. Government has no independent source of data or means of investigation.

And this is unique to big oil? Do you recall that coal mine collapse in Utah? The name of the mine has slipped my memory, but it was national news. I'll let you all in on a secret. For those in the know, there was no chance from day one that anyone had survived. We knew from the seismograms that there was no "open space" they could be in. But what are you going to do, tell that to the public? They had to go through the motions. But we also knew there was a LOT of coverup involved. Both the mine owner and the Utah regulatory agencies hid the terrible safety conditions that mine had. Conditions they knew about and repeatedly ignored. Conditions that made the tragedy only a matter of time. And there are still people who will assert that a natural earthquake caused the collapse. Not true. The seismic signals clearly showed all the movement was down - the roof hitting the floor.

Edit: Crandall Canyon Mine. Sometimes it takes me a while :-/

avonaltendorf, this has bothered me from the first. Can it really be that there is no accountability for the information that is-- or is not-- shared by BP? No system to determine if BP is hiding video or other information? That situation just invites all kinds of speculation and theories that may or may not be "out there". Makes me nervous.

Crikey, Songster! Of course it can be. It's done all the time and in every industry. I'll admit there have been things I've chosen not to "know" - and certainly not to document - because it could become an issue later. CYA. Rule 1 for most people.

Beyond the video feeds from the ROVs, there are several ships in the area doing sampling, seismic and acoustic work. Their data is made available to NOAA and the government (and eventually the public, though later). The feds have access to the raw seismic data concerning the shut-in well just like BP does.

And you know this how? Data in what form? Raw unprocessed? Not.

We still don't have public disclosure of anything useful, like a complete well log from mudline to total depth, a stratigraphic column showing the subsurface lithology, a drilling report, or where precisely they stuck the drilling tool in a shallow formation and had to sidetrack around it. My latest effort has been to beg disclosure of whether Deepwater Horizon re-entered the wellbore started by Transocean Marianas in Nov 2009, or did they drill a new hole?

Agree completely. And hey, if that downhole data ever becomes available, I want it. Would pay for it.

And I suspect that if BP releases that data - you will simply assume that the data is faked.

After reading your comments I can only conclude that you will simply refuse to accept any data that contradicts your conspiracy theory.

Conspiracy theory? I have no conspiracy theory. I simply know industry operates on a CYA basis. I want the data for my own research - everything I can learn about the strat & sed of the Mississippi Canyon region is useful to me. This well, being so well known now, would be an excellent data point.

Edit: Anyway, what comments are you talking about? My point up above was simply that the mining industry, where all MY experience lies, routinely does things they shouldn't and covers it up. I didn't even mention BP, did I?

Edit again: Oh, wait. It looks like you were responding to Avon and not me. If so, sorry for getting defensive.

I assume the high oil/gas flow will have left the pipe surface quite clean, and added mud would initially flow down that surface.

If the lower-than-expected BOP pressure is due to down hole restrictions ( eg drill pipe accumulating fractured cement etc. from earlier blowout ) could the initial flow of higher-density mud ( aqueous or organic ) lubricate the pile of rubble and unblock the restriction?.

Sorry if already discussed, I've been on NOAA and NWS sites looking at the forecasts for the Gulf and MSM news sites saying that Thad was pausing the relief well.
The forecasts out thru Tuesday even if they have some wind have very low wave height.
Graphic forecast
and text
430 PM CDT WED JUL 21 2010





430 PM CDT WED JUL 21 2010

N OF 27N SE WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT.




N OF 25N E WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.

Looks like another disturbance - very close to land so probably won't develop into much - could stir the waters a bit from the other side.


I interviewed the mayor today and he was announcing a concert. When I asked about the double red flags he AND the present TV reporters begin to look PO'ed and he basically blew me off. He took me aside and told me he was working his ass off and he did not want to be a politician. He had no desire to run for reelection and wanted to give all the credit to his subordinates. He did not want me to take photos of him at work and would not do a sit down interview. The only reason I think he does not resign is because he feel obligated to see this through. He is recovering from a brain tumor and there is unknown ongoing risk. You know we all wish him well and I will actually try to work within his parameters as I feel even with his mistakes, he has earned the right to ask for that. I will now start looking at the individual departments and report on their roles.
The comment about the flags is at near the very end of the clip.

http://gcn01.com for editorial and links to interview including a TinFoil exclusive.

If they have to abandon the well because of the storm what will they call it then?

It will no longer be a "test" since there will be no monitoring for at least 3 or 4 days.

If they have to abandon the well because of the storm what will they call it then?

"They" can call it anything they like.

Those in the oil bid'ness call the well "shut-in".

They will be testing the ability of the cap to retain the well during a storm while unattended.


Then it is an "unattended shut-in test". ;-)

Be VERY happy that it is shut-in. Otherwise it would be an "extended period unattended uncontrolled spill test".

I am, I am. Please don't get me wrong on that point :)


QuantumUS on July 21, 2010 - 6:31pm: If they have to abandon the well because of the storm what will they call it then? It will no longer be a "test" since there will be no monitoring for at least 3 or 4 days.

This may be a very off-beat suggestion but it's been banging around in my head for a few weeks and I figure now is as good a time to put it out there...

Why not outfit a submarine with one or more ROV consoles during a storm. This would at least provide on-going monitoring and a way to effect emergency procedures if need be???

I have no idea if this is even feasible or practical, but there it is. Flame away...

Hmmm. Does a submarine have a way to launch and retrieve ROVs? (I guess they could just be stored on deck - though the sub would have to surface if the ROVs needed service. I won't flame the idea. Sounds worth thinking about, at least.

Thanks Pink, i thought about fabricating an interface between the sub's deck and a portable ROV bay that could simply roll-on and lock-down... but that would take a lot of time, cost a lot of money and require a lot of fancy engineering...(perhaps though it's something to consider down the road?) for now though they might be able to slap together the needed hardware, build an interface into the sub and then plug it in the control console somewhere on board???

Hi Pink

Submarines are not able to operate at these depths. Excepting of course specially designed research machines. Wiki as follows


Aww! I knew that, but it didn't even cross my mind. You're right, of course.

GreenAs on July 22, 2010 - 1:53am
Submarines are not able to operate at these depths.

But they can operate low enough to avoid the storm, and provide an ROV platform while the surface ships are in port...

Thank you green and pink

Green, your thought is truly lateral, thank you.
I guess you guys have not followed the fate of AF447. That was the Air France flight from Rio to Paris whose fate has not been explained due to the depth limitations of conventional submarines. Green, your lateral thinking would be of much value to that investigation. PS I used to work in Aerospace.
cheers juan.

The french navy never did declare what depth the Emeraude went down to on that sonar monitoring mission did they?

But it is true that there is no obvious reason why a submarine could not position itself below the depth affected by the surface swells and run a couple of ROVs down by the wellhead despite the topsides storm.

I wonder how much the government would bill BP for the loan of a nuclear sub? Judging from the hourly rates that they are forcing BP to pay their expert buddies and hangers on, the sub won't be cheap! :-)

Juan, before even the depth limitations of submarines, the first miss on finding out what happened to AF 447 was locating signals from its black boxes. Did you see this interesting story about the push to stream in real time what's now "black box" data (and more)? The hurdle isn't technology but the phone bill.

Subs already have a dds (dry deck shelter). the dds has door/launch system & seals 'fly' the vehicles underwater. An rov lars to a sub would take YRS, as computer interface would need MAJOR upgrades.


I have listened to and watched Matt Simmons and others. They appear to be rational men that do not think in apocalyptic terms. That being said, I am under the impression that the well that blew and sank DWH was Macondo 2. A search of the internet and MMS documents floating around give the same indications as well. My first question is: Could the seep noted 2miles away from the present blowout be related to Macondo 1, if there is a Macondo1? BP's response was only that the discovered seep was not related to the blow out they are working on.Could this be a reasonable answer concealing other facts? For instance problems at Macondo 1,if there is a Macondo1. Is it possible that BP was in a hurry with Macondo 2 hoping to get the well in and producing in a timely manner to relieve the strain on Macondo1 only to have that plan backfire on them,if there is a Macondo1?
Could this be a scenario that Matt is responding to? Lastly, if BP were to have two blown wells on the same reservoir, how would that bode?
I am not an expert but having these questions answered would clear up concerns on my part.

The seep 2 miles away: No possible relation.

My understanding is that there was a 1 - MC252A. It wasn't completed and thus doesn't enter into the picture. It's not possible for a second well to "relieve pressure" on a well miles away.

Two blown wells on one sand would mean they screwed it up twice. It would bode nothing at all as far as the reservoir is concerned. There isn't anything remarkable about this reservoir.

Thanks for the info. For a novice it's hard to sort the facts in this whole mess.

That being said, I am under the impression that the well that blew and sank DWH was Macondo 2

This is incorrect, the T.O. Marianas started drilling on Macondo well 001, was damaged by hurricane, on API well #60-817-41169. Deepwater Horizon was brought in & reentered exact same hole (same API #, same well 001, same location). During Horizon drilling, they did get stuck at one point & had to do a bypass, but that was still from within the same surface wellbore.

MMS weekly well activity reports are available at:
http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/fastfacts/war/master.asp (search on the bottom lease, "G32306")

Thanks for the clarification. With so much stuff floating around it's hard to sort the facts, for us who are novices.

Nice try. Tells us precisely nothing, no UTM coords, no well info.

Lots more data if go up to parent MMS level (fast facts), but an API# by definition is unique for every surface location. MMS offshore uses 10-digit code, with 2 digit appendix indicating # of sidetracks. Last 2 digits will get incremented by 1 if have to do a sidetrack out of original wellbore (i.e. 60-817-41169-00 for original wellbore, -01 for first sidetrack out of same surface location, -02 for 2nd sidetrack, etc).

Applications for permit to drill for original Marianas & then Horizon reentry with exact same NAD 27 coordinates of surface location:

I think 10 Department of Energy types in one room is enough to sustain an endless do-loop decision making process.

So far the DOE has spent well over a trillion dollars and 20 years trying to remediate high level waste. I pity BP for having to take orders from them. Much more for having to pay their salaries while on this clock.

That is why design by committee gets you a C+ every time. That is enough for many companies. BP wanted A's in economy. They got them.

I know. I'm sure BP would rather supply girls & cocain and not take any orders ;)

The Department of Energy was founded in 1977 to “end the United States dependence on foreign oil.” Some of us remember THAT crisis.
Now employing 100,000 people and a budget of 25 billion per year. ?? shake my head

Yeah, it was one of those brain farts Jimmah Carta dreamed up. Been real successful, ain't it.

Sheese, I remember all the other crap that came along like 55 MPH, Dept. of Education, solar heating, solar electricity, energy efficient homes. Oh, almost forgot, the catalytic screens that bolted under the carburetor and increased mileage by 100%. Boy, what a bunch of scams there were.

Ya know, it seems like now days is just rinse and repeat of all the same junk. Except for substitution of global warming for global cooling.

So you think the fuel savings and lives saved from the 55mph speed limit was crap?

You think it was crap when Carter told the nation it was time to make some sacrifices and change our energy consumption? You don't think we would be better off now as a nation if we had followed that advice instead of building McMansions on farmland, commuting long distances in gas hogging SUVs?

Energy efficient homes are a scam?

Some more fun. If you're looking for technical data pass me by. So, we had this energy crisis in the 70's ya see, so the government decided that they could save some energy by not having us drive into work 2 days a week. Paid. So, we being dutiful, naturally took those two days off. Course, couldn't sit around home all day so we just sort of showed up at the Boatel. This paddle-wheel riverboat still partially on the river converted to a bar and restaurant. Practiced up on our billiards, drank up some of their corn sqeezin recipe's. Some sort of omen what they'd use for fuel later. Bright boys those government folks. Gotta give it to em.
Thus, the floor footings for the DOE. Whom I am proud to serve whenever they call.

Tropical wave update, looking better: "medium chance, 40 percent, of this system becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours."

Workers on doomed rig voiced concern on safety
By Ian Urbina
New York Times
Posted: 07/21/2010 06:43:24 PM PDT
Updated: 07/21/2010 06:43:25 PM PDT

WASHINGTON — A confidential survey of workers on the Deepwater Horizon in the weeks before the oil rig exploded showed that many of them were concerned about safety practices and feared reprisals if they reported mistakes or other problems.

In the survey, commissioned by the rig's owner, Transocean, workers said that company plans were not carried out properly and that they "often saw unsafe behaviors on the rig."

Some workers also voiced concerns about poor equipment reliability, "which they believed was as a result of drilling priorities taking precedence over planned maintenance," according to the survey, one of two Transocean reports obtained by The New York Times.

According to a separate 112-page equipment assessment also commissioned by Transocean, many key components — including the blowout preventer rams and failsafe valves — had not been fully inspected since 2000, even though guidelines require its inspection every three to five years.

The report cited at least 26 components and systems on the rig that were in "bad" or "poor" condition.

more: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_15571469?source=rss&nclick_check=1

had not been fully inspected since 2000

I just want to point out that the rig wasn't built till 2001. Journalism ain't what it should be, and who knows what's wrong in this. Where did the BOP come from, when was it really refurbed in China, if it was, and when?

Deepwater Horizon was built for R&B Falcon (which later became part of Transocean[9]) by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea.[2] Construction started in December 1998, the keel was laid on 21 March 2000,[7] and the rig was delivered on 23 February 2001,[7] after the acquisition of R&B Falcon by Transocean.[17]


"which they believed was as a result of drilling priorities taking precedence over planned maintenance,"

Ah, that explains why,on Kent Well's visit to DDIII, they emphasised they were doing the maintenance alongside the drilling.


On the March visit, Lloyd’s investigators reported “a high degree of focus and activity relating to well control issues,” adding that “specialists were aboard the rig to conduct subsea explosions to help alleviate these well control issues.”


Subsea explosions? Seismic surveys maybe? Or fishing with dynamite - heh.

This (poorly-written, unproofread) sentence could stir up one of our old debates: "The mechanical problems discovered by investigators found problems with the rig’s ballast system that they said could directly affect the stability of the ship."

Cue the fireboat-blamers . . .

This ties in with a comment Rockman made a couple of days ago about the sugar cane growers not be able to make up the economic deficit caused by the spill. I've been wondering about the dairy farmers,ranchers and farmers along the coast, but especially the rice growers.

"...But the oil that British energy giant BP is scrambling to clean up from its massive Gulf of Mexico spill threatens the animals' grazing land and the income of the ranchers who own them...Cattle ranchers from areas unaffected by a hurricane have volunteered to bring trucks and trailers to help in transport, Joyner said, but finding a place to put the relocated cattle is one of a number of problems to be dealt with..." This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Rueters has done a really great job in putting this out.

Let's do some arithmetic and bathymetry. Can ROV thrusters throw big clouds of silt and hydrates from the bottom when they hover 450 ft above the seafloor at 3 a.m. when we're all safely tucked in bed snoring soundly and no one is watching?


E1202500 N10430600 (SSW of well) ROV Depth 4580 ft (bottom 5030 ft)

No. Thrusters cannot do that.

I'm insufficiently expert to speak with authority, but the video appears to show rising O/G and bursts of methane clathrates. It could be something else, of course, but that's what it looks like.

Of course, my quick calculation of ROV depth in feet did place it about nine (9) feet deeper than Alan's. ;^)

Because this is a fairly important question, please help check my UTM and bottom depth. The video shows the ROV is cruising, so the coordinates change slightly. Here's a link to Kevin's map taken from BP's permit application.


Working just with the on-screen graphic, the location appears, indeed, to be SSW of the well. The nearest identified item on the seabed seems to be the "Glycol Bladder" and the 5030 bottom depth appears correct within a contour interval.

My eyes are old and this is a less than optimal way to plot chart locations, but it's probably pretty close.

Thanks. Much appreciated.

This video shows the ROV standing by in its cage. The cage is moving up and down through a range of 1 to 2 meters (3-6 feet) every few seconds due to wave action (the cage is suspended from the vessel above and so follows its movements). At three points in the video, namely approx 4:40, 8:00 and just before the end, some lumps of mud adhering to the ROV frame detach themselves due to the surge and break up in front of the camera.

That's what I see, for what it's worth.

WOW~Listening to the local nut talk (eavesdropping at the bar ) and he's saying John Wright has never drilled into anything but rock/shale and that he doesn't know the "salt dome" that he's drilling in or he would have never taken the job???? Glad I had an extra drink tonight.....

Ooops almost forgot he thinks he only has killed wells in the middle east, so now I have to go search some more.

"The engineer has plugged wells from Venezuela to Nigeria and Alaska, but one of his biggest successes was on the team that killed the leaking the Piper Alpha well in the North Sea after an explosion that killed 167 men in 1989." In 1989 i was punch 132 column cards in school. I feel old too.
http://gcn01.com/?p=242 Click his name
TinFoil has your back.

LMAO TinFoil~I was just reading about the Piper Alpha, that was a horrific disaster:( Glad you have my back, now can sign you up to help with the hurrican shutters LOL

For that work, I would do it for free or for a donation to the bird washers. Just how I am.

Consider it done then! They are a bitch to shut~I'll even throw in some Blue Bell and a case a beer.

Thought of a quick one. His family, friends and coworkers do not call him Mr. Wright for no reason.

Too far to help, even with the thought of BBIC, but I will keep fingers crossed for you.


That you are NAOM~I hope I don't even get to that point, but last yr during Ike found myself hanging out the window 30ft up at 2am in 30 mph winds sliding them shut...

TFHG~ Agree with that, I just can't imagine why someone who didn't even know who he was yesterday and had to be told would try and spin the BS that he is not aware of the "area" that he's drilling????? Maybe it's just me, but I don't think he'd put his men at risk by not having a freaking clue or asking for all the facts.

Haha. You not old, son. I'm old. And fugly. And broken like a lot of folks here - I have a spine full of metal and screws. But I do recall your punch cards. Oh, yeah.

Apologies for the off-topic query, but does anyone know what kind of crab is featured in that wonderful ROV video that was posted in an earlier thread? Is it a spider crab, perhaps? Does it live down there, or just go slumming in the mud occasionally?


It's really a gorgeous critter. Any idea how big it would be? I'd make a WAG that it's about 18 inches with legs extended, but I could be way off. Can't find anything helpful on the Web.

One of the spider crab family but not the Japanese branch?? Though they are not recorded at that depth though that is nothing to go by.


Though they are not recorded at that depth though that is nothing to go by.

They don't really know much about what-all's down there, do they? Sheesh. I've just fallen in love with that beautiful crab.

They don't really know much about what-all's down there, do they?

You can say that again. Search out the new discoveries on the Great Barrier reef. I can take you to see Garden Eels at 1/2 their minimum depth 'according to the books', other fish likewise. We have a Panamic Moray that is longer than their supposed maximum length. I have seen behaviour in Cornet Fish that I cannot find described. Who on earth was it that said we know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the ocean?


They have started working on the kill or choke line on the old BOP, I guess to get it ready to pump mud.


Thanks for the link Quantum..

Don't forget that they will want to make sure everything is secure before having to quit for the storm. I see '302 compatt install' or '302 compall install', any thoughts?


None whatsoever~I am watching the link, but have no clue what's going on...I haven't had time to watch more than 10 minutes of the ROV footage:(

COMPATT is a sonar device. Google it for the specs.

This might be of interest: Libya positioned to buy major stake in BP

Libyan straw men.........

Sorry but I don't quite follow that straw-man comment.

Are you saying somebody may be floating that rumor for stock price purposes or something?

Like "front men" only made of straw. Or "patsys". Holding the bag.
Beard. CIA proprietary. Shell company. Petrodollars. Transfer of assets, not control.

Does that help?

I have a nagging question that is driving me up the wall about static kill.

My usnderstanding:
What we have is two tubes. An 18000ft+ cased well and a 3000-8000ft drill pipe (have seen both figures used) inside the well. The drill pipe extends some 80-90ft above the lower BOP choke and kill lines, ending just below the upper main, choke and kill valves and exends several thousand feet below the well head. The only variable control is on the upper choke line.

We have a column of gas and oil from bottom to top. I understand the kill process will pump drill mud, of sufficient weight, into the lower kill line. Pumping mud into the lower BOP will add to the current pressure of some 6800psi. The standard process is pump and bleed, pump and bleed.

What I can't figure out is what will be the effect upon the process with the drill pipe providing a bypass path around the mud being pumped in. It seems to me that there is no way to lower the pressure on the wellhead, BOP and Stack until mud has reached a depth several thousand feet below the well head.

Does the mud column build from the top down or bottom up? Does this drill pipe bypass hinder or aid the static kill?

In my two month short course here at TOD University of everything about deep water oil I have climbed a very steep learning curve. Thank you TOD and all the great professors of experience for the knowledge I have gained.


About the nagging...has my ex-wife been bothering you?

When they cut the remainder of the riser off the top of the old BOP it was apparent that there was flow coming out of the end of the drill pipe, in fact it seemed to be a different composition (darker, less gassy) than the flow from the well bore around it.

All this goes to show that there is a flow path up the drill pipe, and obviously we also know that there is a flow path up the well bore through the partially closed rams of the old BOP. I am assuming then that when they pump slowly mud in through the kill line beneath the old BOP exerting a back pressure on the reservoir, some of the mud will also follow the flow path upwards, through the BOP and down the drill pipe.

If this is not the case and the mud only goes down the well bore around the drill pipe, then when/if they bleed pressure using the choke on the new BOP, there would indeed be an easier flow path up the drill pipe that will not have any weighted mud in it. I don't think that this would necessarily by a problem, because this would still reduce the down hole pressure at the end of the drill pipe helping the mud to descend on down the column. Eventually the bleed off would encourage mud to go up the drill pipe.

Either way, they would eventually end up with the entire column of well bore and drill pipe full of mud. To be honest, I'm more concerned about limited viscous mud flow capability through an aperture into the annulus and the ability of the static kill to deal with this. Suppose this is where the RW comes in.

Yep, the fluid dynamics of the mud injection are interesting.

There must be a minimum pumping rate below which the mud will simply trickle away into the depths.

However I would be interested to know what excess pressure will be needed to sustain a high enough mud flow so that a full column of mud can be built.

I also assume that a pipe full of mud is stable enough so that it doesn't leak away from the bottom face, once pumping has stopped.

However I'm sure the engineers know their stuff, so I have no doubts that it will work.

There must be a minimum pumping rate below which the mud will simply trickle away into the depths.

Nothing will "trickle away", because the pressure at any point in a closed system is balanced in all directions.

However I would be interested to know what excess pressure will be needed to sustain a high enough mud flow so that a full column of mud can be built.

They just need a marginally higher pressure to allow the mud to flow into the chamber. However, as the mud starts to fill up the column, pressure at the wellhead will decrease, allowing them to reduce the injection pressure accordingly.

I also assume that a pipe full of mud is stable enough so that it doesn't leak away from the bottom face, once pumping has stopped.

This won't happen, because once they stop pumping, there will be no flow. Whilst pumping in mud, however, oil and gas will be forced back into the reservoir.

A question in my mind is how much pressure increase will the weight of the 8000ft column of mud plus the oil and gas add to the 6800+ psi in the well before the mud reaches the bottom end of the DP. That is if the mud column can be built from top down?

Pumping mud into the lower BOP will add to the current pressure of some 6800psi.

No it won't, because although the well is closed at the top, oil is able to escape (under pressure) at the bottom, back into the reservoir. Obviously, a slight excess pressure will be needed to inject the mud in the first place, but once it's in, it will start reducing the pressure in the wellbore due to its extra weight.

The standard process is pump and bleed, pump and bleed.

Is that so? My understanding was that bleeding at the top is not necessary, because the oil can "escape" back into the reservoir (after all, it came from there in the first place). The mud, on the other hand, is designed not to penetrate the reservoir (much), due to (amongst other factors) its specially-manufactured particle size.

However, the mud particle size should also not be so high that the particles settle out. When an OBM (oil-based mud) is injected into the well, I would therefore expect it (being oil-based) to become dispersed to give a mud/oil/gas mix, and not fall to the bottom of the well in clumps.

However, I'm not the ultimate expert, so there's still plenty of room for someone to come along and correct us both!

@ James, Bruce, densely, naom, windward, ormondo, cacadrill
From previous thread on supercriticality

I've spent a fair bit of time in the past characterising the phase envelopes of reservoir fluids from very dry gases all the way to heavy oils. There ARE fluids with critical temperatures which are close to reservoir temperature and indeed it can be difficult to classify their phase (there is a fine line between a very volatile oil and a retrograde gas condensate). I'd be quite confident that this is NOT one of them. 

To study the phase behaviour in detail would require a full compositional analysis and some lab data to match to, but in the absence of this I would still say that the reported properties at surface conditions (38 api oil density, gor around 2000 scf/stb, gas gravity 0.77) are very typical of a not-very-volatile oil, bordering on what we call a 'black' oil. 

This oil will be liquid phase in the reservoir. As pressure and temperature drop going up the well, we may or may not cross the bubble point at which lighter components will enter the gas phase. The gas phase will be gas, not a super critical liquid. It is a complete mistake to look only at the critical properties of individual components like methane and assume that the gas will behave in this pure fashion; multi component mixtures have utterly different phase properties, and there will be many components in the gas evolved from a light oil like this. 

My guess based on using industry standard correlations to infer fluid properties is that under shut in conditions the fluid is close to bubble point, though these correlations are not ideal for volatile oils. If it IS above bubble point, free gas that was present while flowing will tend to re-enter the oil phase. I infer from the fact that the cap is leaking oil rather than gas that this is largely the case, though I have to admit it's not that easy to see exactly what's leaking. 

We are forming hydrates because oil is leaking from inside the cap at 6800psi to outside the cap at 2300 psi and evolving gas as it does so.

I have respect for mr rockman - his technical posts are generally on the money. But he is an ops geologist not a reservoir engineer and was careful to qualify his 500ft of gas as a guess. He may yet be right, but this would not be my base case. 

Assuming you are correct and the gas SG = .77, the oil is even denser. So let us set the minimum specific gravity @ .77 which puts the current down hole pressure over 11,000 psi. Expecting a shut-in pressure at the BOP of 8-9000 psi (when it is 6850 psi at latest account) would imply that the formation pressure has gone up since the blowout. Or BP didn't have a clue. Or Matt Simmons is right about the red methane. etc etc.

BTW Check out page 8 http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/in...

(Jessica Resnick Gault): I see and how much mud when you say you’ve lots of mud on hand how much mud are we talking about exactly?
Kent Wells: Basically we’ve got 20,000 — these are round numbers we’ve got 20,000 barrels of mud on the rig and we’ve got another 24,000 barrels of mud hooked up to it through the hot strong line (inaudible).

44,000 barrels of mud for the relief well! Somebody ask Kent Wells to remind us how many horsepower his pumps have on DE III.

Cleaning house:

Hos_Achiever_Maxx1 ROV sweeps aside accumilated oil/gas from one of several leaks on the BOP, 7/21 at about 4:56am (cdt).

edit to clarify caption

Jeebus. (Or should I say "Pee-YEW, Piyush"?) From the WSJ story:

One die-off a few weeks ago was so extensive that visible masses of oyster meat were floating on the bay's surface. "It looked like a fish kill," said Mr. Banks, explaining the kill occurred "so fast and was so large that the predators that normally would eat up the oyster meat just couldn't keep up."

Reckon they can at least "harvest" the empty shells for the chickens?

The following links are why people like me are looking for any information we can find. The way things are being handled haphazardly down here scares the crap out of me.



Last paragraph in article:

The website also says that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reviewing the EPA's air quality samplings and that the levels recorded are "not thought to be high enough to cause long-term harm."

Hi, tinys. From the links, I can't tell what's scaring y'all. Looks like good news to me, with no visible marker of haphazardness. Whazzup?

Been a good summer for jubilees in Mobile Bay?

They have no conclusive proof that the seafood is safe. ie. "We collected shrimp in June and sent them off for analysis. No (oil compounds) were found," said state biologist John Mareska. "Considering that most of the shrimp were up in the estuaries and are in the process of falling out to the Gulf, I would think the chance of oil exposure would be small."

Would you be brave enough to buy the shrimp and eat them?

Would you be brave enough to buy the shrimp and eat them?

Sure would. If the State of Alabama is brave enough to certify 'em, I'm brave enough to eat 'em. Please pass the lemon wedges.

Fried Louisiana oysters and steamed Louisiana shrimp, last night. Probably the vodka killed the monsters within.

(Can't talk for salivatin'.)

The cleanup crews are still wearing Tyvek (hazmat) suits in Mobile Bay. Oil sheens and tar balls are still being found as far north as Gaillard Island, which is roughly halfway up the Bay. But amazingly, the EPA has only found 3 water samples to be positive within 10 miles of Dauphin Island. NOAA has admitted that they don't even have a test for dispersants in the seafood. A local news station hired a chemist and did their own samples. One sample exploded. I will put on my Tyvek suit and go shrimping if someone from EPA, NOAA, or Alabama DNR will eat what I catch. I will not put my catch on the market until NOAA can PROVE to me that it is safe to eat. I don't want to be responsible for someone getting sick.

Following the discussion here for months now I want to thank all the informative talks here.
However on the other hand I really see no deep concerns from most of the experts here. Of course some names always appear like Matt Simmons but it looks like that he doesn't have a good reputation.

Recently I have seen a short interview with Chris Landau.
and I have to admit I agree to 100% of what Chris Landau is saying.

Being a consultant in manned spaceflight business in Europe I know how to perform risk assessment. What I see so far and based on the information which is public I have deep concerns in the development of the GOM. BP is lying and manipulating data and the task force with Thad Allen has either not the complete information from BP or has not the expertise to handle this.
I hope that I am wrong, but if there is a problem downhole, what I expect, you will face a big problem very soon.

Hello, asgard. Both your own and Landau's statements are pure opinion with no factual bases offered. I note that your YouTube is dated a week ago (and the interview could have occurred earlier), and in it Landau says proof of his theory would become plain "within a week." None has. So what has you so convinced?

What convinced me that there is something wrong in the downhole are following facts: (not in the list of priority but as a summary)

- the destructive force of the blowout
- the malfunctioning blowout preventer
- contradictory statements from BP during Top kill procedure
- pressure difference in reading and expecting
- the effort of BP to camouflage the truth
- alteration of the Data under BP
- statement of different oil experts
- statement of former CEO of Shell
- fleeing crabs from the coast

I know that for every point there where discussions in this forum and for every point at least one answer can be given to refute a threat.
But from my more than 30 years of experience in space business I can tell one thing for sure. You get a feeling over the years if something is wrong. You can not point it to one thing but in summary of all you know that there is something wrong.
Having said that and not being an expert in oil drilling, I hope that I am wrong, but my feelings are different.

bookmark image

IndyPosted -- China Faces Massive Oil Spill

Independently Posted by Rudi Stettner on July 21, 2010

China is now facing its own oil spill that evokes images of the massive oil spill on the Gulf Coast. The spill occurred off the coast of Dalian, once considered to be among the most desirable cities in China to live in. Yahoo News quoted Zhong Yu, a worker with Greenpeace China as follows.

The oil is half-solid and half liquid and is as sticky as asphalt, she told The Associated Press by telephone.

The oil had spread over 165...
path: Public ~> Gulf Oil Disaster
originally posted: 2010-07-22 04:40:10

Thursday 22nd July, 2010
Oil exploration stops on Alaskan northwest coast

A US federal judge has told companies operating oil and gas wells on Alaska's northwest coast to stop, saying the federal government failed to follow environmental law before it sold the drilling rights.

The development sites, which cost oil and gas companies billions of dollars in leasing costs, have come to a standstill after US District Judge Ralph Beistline said that the Minerals Management Service had failed to analyse the environmental effect of natural gas development despite specific lease incentives for such development.

A lease sale in February 2008 brought in nearly $2.7 billion for the federal government from the sale of 2.76 million acres in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea.

The decision comes as a massive blow to the drilling companies, but is being seen as a reaction to the massive oil spill from the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Offshore drilling is strongly supported in Alaska where 90 percent of general fund revenue is provided by the gas and oil industry.


Not good.

A tropical depression or a tropical storm could form at any time today, and a reconnaissance plane will investigate the system this afternoon. There is a high chance, 70 percent, of this system becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.

Pretty layout + NOAA forecast models: http://www.stormpulse.com/
Chuck Watson's forecast models: http://hurricane.methaz.org/tracking/storms/AL972010_tracks.html

Saw This in Today's Wall Street Journal (Reference: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB2000142405274870468460457538147368466074... )

Alaska Well-Work Halted; Oil-Sands Pipeline Delayed

A federal judge on Wednesday stopped companies from developing oil and gas wells on billions of dollars in leases off Alaska's northwest coast, saying the federal government failed to follow environmental law before it sold the drilling rights.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline said that the Minerals Management Service failed to analyze the environmental effect of natural gas development despite industry interest and specific lease incentives for such development.

Meanwhile, the Environment Protection Agency said the environmental impact of crude production from Canada's oil sands should be studied more closely before the U.S. approves a new pipeline from its northern neighbor.

The State Department is reviewing TransCanada Corp.'s plans to expand a pipeline that would roughly double the amount of oil-sands crude shipped from Canada to the U.S.

Hmmmmm . . . no deepwater drilling in the GOM . . . delays in issuing shallow water permits . . . investigations into enviromental effects of shale gas . . . vast stretches out west off-limits to drilling . . . now no drilling in Alaska . . . and no pipelines from Canada.

Anybody starting to connect the dots?

Anybody starting to connect the dots?

Yep, and they all lead to the blockheads at BP and MMS.

So you are going to blame BP for tar sands pipeline issues and everything other companies do? How about an administration playing to a base, an election, changing the subject from a terrible economic environment and an inability to do anything that is not politically motivated. Gone from one group of a** clowns running the government to another.

Yep - the US administration has been burnt by the Macondo blowout and is becoming a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). Basically it looks like a desire to drive far away what is now perceived as "the risky, dirty work" of petroleum production, into someone else's back yard.

Extremely hypocritical given the enormous petroleum consumption of the US population.

Yes,maybe after this well is plugged and the environmental cost better known, it will be time to reflect on what the environmental cost of imported oil is, and whether we should be working to lessen that cost in places like Nigeria.

JamesRWhite on July 22, 2010 - 5:09am: [snip} Anybody starting to connect the dots?

Yeah. The oil industry's free ride is done! Control will return to the proper legal authority and enforcement with real teeth will drive bad operators away. That's they way it should be... Of course there also needs to be some sort of international controls developed and enforced so those operators can't merely move to areas where they can still corrupt civil authority...

Spoken like someone who has a real grasp of reality.

Diverdan on July 22, 2010 - 5:35am: Spoken like someone who has a real grasp of reality.

So do you think it's going to be business as usual after all this? Maybe we both need a reality check?

There are strange parallels - an American operator (Occidental) was responsible for the Piper Alpha incident in the UK offshore sector. Because of that sad loss, the whole UK regulatory system was overhauled and tightened up following the Cullen Inquiry.

Can only assume that once the US administration stop the knee jerk reactions and neat press sound bites, the US regulatory regime will be reworked to avoid a repeat of the Macondo blowout.

Would you be brave enough to buy the shrimp and eat them?

If our kids are brave enough to walk on booby-trapped roads in Afghanistan, then I'll be brave enough to eat some shrimp.
(The British death toll in the Afghan campaign since 2001 now stands at 324)

I heard a radio program the other day where they stated that the 'risk aversion' of people in the West was increasing year on year.
Sadly very true: "Oh, no ... it's one of those KILLER SHRIMPS"

If you are brave enough to eat most our seafood that is imported why would you not eat the shrimp here if it allowed to be sold?

Y'all could run me off for being OT, but I figure even TODers get the blues and could use this cheer-up Ezra Klein found: A porcupine who thinks he's a puppy. (Besides, there's BP- and DoE-related news there too.)