BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - After the Storm - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6783.

The “Bonnie” storm has passed, and the different vessels are not only returned to the site, but are already making progress in returning to operations. As Admiral Allen noted on Sunday

DDIII is now running the riser pipe down. They have 67 joints to complete, they've done 39 of those as of about 10:30 Central Daylight time this morning, need about five more hours to do that. They are planning to latch on to the well around midnight tonight. Development Driller II which was – had drill – was involved in drilling the backup well is returning to site and will start running their riser today.

Q4000 is inspecting the yellow pad, that is the control device that's placed subsea to operate the hydraulics. They replaced the valve on that and they plan to install it later on today and then they will begin preparations for the static kill operations.

He also noted that the pressure in the well has now risen to just over 6,900 psi, while the temperature at the BOP remains at 40 deg – suggesting no flow and that well integrity is apparent. The storm has, however, dispersed and moved the oil, and they are resurveying to find where the threats now lie.

He then gave the current anticipated time line for the kill of the well.

The time line is roughly over the next week. We'll return the Development Driller III, run the riser pipe, latch in, pull that undersea containment device, which they call a packer. They're going to need to circulate conditioning fluids through that pipe line to make sure it's ready what they call conditioning a hole and then some time in the next week they'll be in a position to be able to run that (nine and seven-eighths inch) liner which is the critical path right now to moving – to move ahead.

Once that liner is laid, they're going to put cement in and around it. And at that point the two vessels that were supporting the liner operation, one call the Blue Dolphin, the other is called the Center Line will redeploy and hook up with the Q4000.

This is sometime – this will be sometime during the week of 1 August. And they will set up for that to be able to inject the static kill and during that week of August subject to the (inaudible) I'm sorry the containment pipe being installed and cemented in then we will go to the static kill with the Q4000.

Kent Wells has also now released the animation showing how the different kill methods will take place, and interestingly also showed the section at the bottom of the well that shows the different layers of oil bearing rock in the reservoir.

The animation follows along the process in much the way that I described in an earlier post on the bottom kill, which is now scheduled in two parts. As the Admiral noted, the first part is to case the relief well. Once that is in place, and the cement run, then the top kill will start.

Because the well is shut-in, the plan is that the flow to the surface will be reversed. the flow lines are now passing oil and gas to the surface, the circuits will be reversed to return them to their original condition, and then mud will be fed into the well. Because this can be done a little at a time, it will be, and the pressures will be monitored to ensure that, as the well fills with mud, that there are no integrity problems.

Once the well is full of mud, they may try pumping cement into the well from the top (this is shown in the animation), though, because of concerns over flow control, I would suspect that they will not put the cement in until they connect through the relief well, and they will then do a two stage (annulus and then inside the casing) final kill.

And I should note that, contrary to my concern, the leaks that are being shown again now by the HOV ROV1 are no worse than they were before the storm, so perhaps that is not going to be much of a problem going forward.

Prof. Goose's comment:

Welcome--modified 21 JUL 2010

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From the previous thread on the new containment system.

A billion dollars and 18 months!! Well, at least that is better than the 24 months I've heard in an earlier discussion. I think if they really wanted to, they could put something together in a few days that would at least keep the oil out of the water. For a simple design, see the thread "Floating flare" at http://groups.google.com/group/stop_blowout. Here an attempt to post an image:
Floating flare for disposal of oil
We could sure use some help from anyone with engineering expertise in this area.

One thing that will be really great about when the well is killed is that then we will be spared these cock and bull ideas for how to kill a well "in a few days" or "cheap".

I don't know what the "Floating flare" is supposed to be, it seems self evident to you how it works but I am sure that it will not. Have you ever been in the open sea? If you had, you would know how utterly ludicrous that thing is.

What really makes me sad is this thing that every idea regardless of how absent of science or engineering thinking, is worthy of further thought. Just because someone makes a picture or writes a statement, doesn't mean it is so.

The other part of this is that it really is there is not any kind of relationship between the boiling fevered and obvious observation that "Something must be done immediately" and the time it takes. Billy Nungasser's near vein busting spew about ideas that actually will do more harm than good is an example. There were good reasons to delay his marine accidents waiting to happen, to block barriers that would have held the oil in if there were a hurricane or other hair brained ideas. SO ... as we decide what to do next for our energy supply, consider this: It takes a long time to clean up, there are consequences and, with deeper wells, the scale of accidents may increase.

Why not this? Consider that actually it really does take this long and cost this much? People with "engineering expertise" (and science expertise) have been working on this and, actually, this is a pretty good time line ... better than was expected. My take away message is that these kinds of groundless speculations have not been helpful, they only spread confusion that would best left in the fetid minds that dreamed them up.

Well Geoffrey, I seldom respond to ad-hominem arguments, but yours is so outrageous, that what the heck, let's have some fun.

First, thank you for being honest about not having any idea what we are talking about. That would have taken all of one click, but then you might run the risk of having to argue against something real, instead of whatever it is you are imagining. If you knew anything about engineering, you wouldn't make statements that it is impossible to build a flare like the one we are working on. While I agree that many of the proposals we have seen actually do more harm than good, that doesn't lead me to conclude that nothing can be done.

What surprises me is the vehemence of your attack. Please be assured, whatever your job is, I mean you no harm. My criticism is directed at institutions and agencies, not individuals. I see that engineers, in particular, have been blamed unfairly for the current situation.

Now, if I could devote just one paragraph to the original proposal, for those who are not interested in reading a flame war. The problem I see with the billion-dollar system is that it will probably never be done, and it will be hard to keep in a perpetual state of readiness for what will be a one-in-a-million chance of failure. Much better to spend a few million on a system that can be kept in a warehouse forever at $1000 a month, and deployed rapidly if it is ever needed.

LOL, since I actually submitted a design to flare the well underwater in the first weeks of this disaster (along with fdoleza independently), I'm not really in a position to criticize another flare design, much. I think one issue that your crew on the Google discussion mentioned was the heat. I recommend looking at these pics to get an idea of how hot this might get. Maybe an addition might be a number of ships spraying water constantly at the flare. Of course since oil will have spilled there will be a big oil slick right there, that might catch fire and blow up the ships if you're not careful, so I'd suggest being VERY careful.

My idea was to flare underwater so no worries about keeping it wet and cooling it down, the ocean does that for free. Keeping it lit, that's another problem. I never took it past the noodling stage myself, would have to run simulations and spend some time with my ChemE's to work out the best oxidizers to keep it going after the thermite gets it started. Fe3O4 would work but I bet there's something else with more O's that's heavy enough to work too.

Your other points about cost are also good. Why spend a billion or so, when 10 million might do just fine? Of course thinking like that might have gotten BP in the quandary they're in now... :)

Nice pictures. That flame really is impressive. One of the key features of our latest design is to get the flares away from the ships entirely. The only thing that needs to be above water is the flare itself. All the pipes and valves are suspended well beneath the waves.

Some spill into the water may occur in high winds, but that is a very small fraction of the total oil flow. The wind shield has some internal flaps that close when the wind picks up. With some cut-and-try experimentation, we should be able to keep a steady air flow inside the shield, even in a hurricane.

We had some discussions on another forum about burning some of the oil at the sea floor. The purpose there was not to dispose of it all, but just generate enough heat to avoid the hydrates, and boost the gas lift in the riser.

Many thanks for the suggestions, and the can-do attitude.

Awesome ideas. That inspired me. What about flaring into a series of giant hot air balloons? The lift generated could elevate a tube up into the upper atmosphere where a venturi could be employed to shoot the exhaust out into space.

If dilution of oil into the ocean isn't good enough, how about disposing of the greenhouse gases into space?

Coriolis, I can't tell if this is a serious question or sarcasm, but I'll give you a serious answer. The question of air pollution was discussed in an earlier thread. The answer is - in an emergency situation like these last few months, our choices are limited. I would let the governors of the gulf states decide if they want the oil on their beaches or in the air 50 miles away. What we can do as engineers, is try to make the burn as clean as possible. The CO2 is unavoidable, but we can reduce the smoke, with all its health concerns. Lifting the CO2 to "space" won't help. The greenhouse effect is the same whether it is released at the ground or in the stratosphere.

Looks like we are approaching our comment limit again. Anyone interested in a low-noise discussion of alternative technologies related to offshore oil spill prevention and response, is welcome to join us at http://groups.google.com/group/stop_blowout.

Geezee take a deep breath and TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL!

Any number of interesting insights into BP under Tony Hayward in WaPo's new story. A sample:

The firm stressed, often to a comic extent, personal safety while not paying enough attention to safe processes.

Robert Bea, a professor and oil industry expert at the University of California at Berkeley, remembers a meeting at a Normandy resort in May 2008. Earlier, BP had hired Bea to write a report about the human element in safety. But BP boiled down his observations to a skit, which was performed by a dozen actors.

"I was sick to my stomach," Bea said. "It was making light of serious things."

One of the firm's many other management consultants recalls being scolded for holding a cup of tea and an attaché case as he walked up some stairs. He was supposed to keep one hand free to grab the railing if he stumbled.

A former BP executive said every briefing, even on non-technical issues, started with people describing an experience that taught a safety lesson. "It was like prayer in school. I dreaded these things," said the executive, who like other current and former BP employees spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve their business relationships.

Meanwhile, important safety issues were neglected. A former BP executive, without any background in drilling, was given just four hours of training before being sent to oversee safety on an offshore rig. And U.S. refineries continued to accumulate citations for safety violations.

"They confused personal safety, which is easy to achieve but which tends to be non-catastrophic, with safety of process," one consultant said. "I don't think Tony got that."

When Svanberg used "small" for "ordinary,"

One former BP executive said, "Tony never would have said he cared about the small people: That's because he doesn't."

And the feeling is mutual, Tone. Toodles.

"They confused personal safety, which is easy to achieve but which tends to be non-catastrophic, with safety of process," one consultant said.

This was also a finding of the CSB report (Baker Panel too IIRC) regarding the Texas City incident in 2005.

See Section 10.2.1 beginning on p. 184.

And to be fair, Texas City & the Baker report brought about a massive undertaking to overhaul internal safety processes for the entire company. bp was in the process of implementing the new program when the blow-out occurred. No excuses for what happened at the Macondo well site, however the new program contains both personal & process components and it appeared to me to have the sincere support of management. I personally incorporated the program into a fairly large seismic acquisition project so have some firsthand experience with it. While it added new required processes to an existing approach that I thought was already rigorous and safe, thereby also adding some frustration and significant cost to the project, we effectively incorporated it into our work and ended up with what I thought was an even safer great project.

bp is a huge company so my take on this topic is that the implementation of the new program was incomplete. It was being "rolled out" in phases in different parts of the company when the blow-out occurred. As it takes time for everyone to "digest", learn about, gain experience with and integrate an approach that was/is a departure from previous approaches the new program was being rolled out over a couple of years.

The portrayal of bp in the referenced article(s) on this issue presents a static and somewhat out of date view.

Agreed. There's been a lot more emphasis on process safety KPI's (like near misses) since these reports came out.


Military friend on his first tour overseas to GB: It was the group consensus he be introduced properly by a night out to the pubs. Upon arrival at the first pub an english lad exiting the pub sloshes partial contents of his brew on the new arrivals frontside whereas the patron announced; "Excuse me I'm pissed." This brought hearty laughter from the group when the new arrival stated; "Well I'm not to happy about it myself."

"The portrayal of bp in the referenced article(s) on this issue presents a static and somewhat out of date view."

In my travels I have come to understand dialect can be a barrier in mission accomplishment. I considered a guess on the possibility that you mean BP still makes things go boom. I reflected on John Glides comments regarding the repairs on the DWH or the party atmosphere prior to the DWH blowout, explosion, death and injury to crew members. The KPIs are off the chart.

In what manner is the Texas City report incongruent with the current practices of BP?

BP appears to suffer from a cultural problem which employees raised in that system are not able to recognize. This means the safety culture they try to implement is overprinted with the older company culture, which is hard to change.

This problem isn't really safety related, or technical, it's associated with risk assessment and how they assign the cost of failure to their decisions. This isn't about race, religion, or sex.

If I were BP's management, I would investigate these major incidents they have had using high powered psychologists. I got the feeling the engineers working for BP may feel the pressure to cut corners to reduce costs. After all, the Macondo incident seems to have been caused by a chain of decisions, any of which was somewhat risky but all of which, when chained together, turned out to be lethal.

Those applying the pressure are doing so without understanding the consequences, but they have the power to push the buttons, so they push. And they push out of ignorance, which tells me they're likely to be commercial types, rather than engineers or operations personnel. Thus, the conclusion is the commercial side of the community hods too much power, and the engineers and operations types are short-changed.

There's no safety or operational system in this universe able to stop large safety hazards if the people who are running it are doing so under pressure to cut corners. It just doesn't work that way. Which means they have to be able to resist the pressure. And to do so, they need to feel empowered, truly empowered. A team of outside shrinks may give BP's upper management an insight they lack, and help them understand they can create all the systems in the world, but the human beings operating the system have to have their heads screwed on tight.

I suppose an outsider like Bob Dudley may have an insight on how to get this problem solved, but it's going to require time to change things.

There's no safety or operational system in this universe able to stop large safety hazards if the people who are running it are doing so under pressure to cut corners. It just doesn't work that way. Which means they have to be able to resist the pressure. And to do so, they need to feel empowered, truly empowered.

Totally agree, although I'm not sure your proposed solution, ie shrinks, would be powerful enough against corporate culture and financial imperatives. Shrinks are not known to be held in high regard in the rarefied atmospheres of board rooms, I don't think.

Hi fdoleza,

Those applying the pressure are doing so without understanding the consequences, but they have the power to push the buttons, so they push. And they push out of ignorance, which tells me they're likely to be commercial types, rather than engineers or operations personnel. Thus, the conclusion is the commercial side of the community hods too much power, and the engineers and operations types are short-changed.

I agree totally, having worked in various industries (not oil) and seen the build up of pressure from the commercial side to make it pay. I alluded to this sort of thing in an earlier post.

Of course one other thing to do is to put in place a 'go straight to jail, do not pass GO' (no million pay-offs and pension pots) for the whole corporate chain of command. If a corporation wants to be treated like an individual person, then (collectively) the people in that organisation should. I know as well as anyone that this is a speculative comment, but unless some serious moves are made against the Realpolitik, things are unlikely to improve - witness the financial clusterf**k still ongoing.


This has been my criticism of safety regulations as well. OSHA pays close attention and has a myriad of regulations covering personal safety, yet is pretty much ineffective when it comes to process safety.

This encourages a group think where measurement of personal safety is easy - no OSHA violations or reportables and you must be doing great, right?

Unfortunately in reality it is a lot harder than that.

I agree, Safety glasses required while the process requiring the glasses isn't on the radar of the person wearing them.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Biz School:

Mr. Hayward must have studied management in a parallel universe, where a set of anti-rules for bad leadership are taught. Here's what I imagine are those anti-rules. ...

Lotus ~ Thanks for this. Excellent article. I discovered Kanter a year ago through her writings on the kaleidoscopic nature of creativity. I always appreciate her thoughts.

I did have to smile. There might be a politician or two who could make use of those leadership tips.

Earlier, BP had hired Bea to write a report about the human element in safety. But BP boiled down his observations to a skit, which was performed by a dozen actors.
"I was sick to my stomach," Bea said. "It was making light of serious things."

I used to work for a company that closed its domestic manufacturing department, not because it was unprofitable, but because it would be more profitable operated out of a third-world country. To help employees cope with job loss (management positions were not affected), the company called a series of special meetings to show them a video -- a cartoon based on the best-selling business book of all-time, "Who Moved My Cheese."

The book is a parable that features mice and "little people" dealing with sudden cheese shortages in a maze. Here's an interesting article on it (random quote):

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams says parables rank among the top 10 reader complaints in his e-mail.
Workers feel "terribly insulted," he says.

Here's a clip from the video (couldn't find the full vid).

The "sickening" thing is that business parables like 'Who Moved My Cheese' and the skits produced to communicate them are not intended to "make light of serious things." Just the opposite. A large number of people in high management positions think they're good, effective, and appropriate. These are very shallow people who mean well but are incapable of fully grasping the seriousness of anything.

These are very shallow people who mean well but are incapable of fully grasping the seriousness of anything.

...except ...time ...title ...salary & stock options...

who mean well


mean? yes
well? for themselves
mean well? i don't thiiiiink so.


Lotus -- Interesting side story about the handrail incident. About 4 years ago I came down from the chopper pad and used one hand on the handrail. Not that easy with the gear I was carrying. And the base of the stairs was a safety officer. He complimented me for keeping one hand on the rail. The hands that didn’t keep on hand on were ushered into a small conference room and were forced to watch the same boring safety films we had all seen many time…FOR THREE HOURS.

The operator was ExxonMobil. There’s an old sailing axiom: One hand for the ship…one hand for you. It wasn’t so much preaching safety as it was telling hands aloft in bad weather to not hang on with two hands…work the sails with one and keep yourself secure with the other.

I remember yelling at tank crewmen: "Three points of contact!" (One hand and two feet for stability is required whenever you are on a tank.) And not caring if the person was an officer or not because I knew that the CO would back me.

I also remember an incident where I screamed at by BN commander and CSM because they had walked between my tank and my ground guide while we were moving into a fighting position under blackout conditions. I had literally missed killing them by a few feet because we couldn't see them. (And nobody ever said a word about it to me afterwards.) If you ever want to know what terror means - try manauvering a tank in total darkness when you know there are people wandering around whom you cannot see.

The biggest about safety is that people tend to focus on individual safety because there are likely a million slip/fall incidents for every DWH disaster. 11 people died all at one on the DWH - but likely more than that have died in simple slip/falls/etc type accidents over the past 10 years.

Trivia note: Despite fighting two wars the leading cause of death for US servicemebers is 'off duty' accidents. (Traffic accidents, sports accidents, etc.)

05b -- Interesting. Offshore the highest body count comes from chopper crashes. Almost zero survivability. Sorta like playing tag with one of your tanks.

There are statistics, and there is reality. I'm hope you're not saying it's safer to be in Afghanistan dodging Taliban bombs than playing basketball at Ft Hood.

Statistically people are safer flying around the world than driving a mile from their house. Its a matter of perspective. Warzone risks may be better known and prepared for (flak jacket, journey prep, hyper alertness) vs. walking around where you feel completely safe because its not a warzone (shorts and t-shirt, leaving without telling people, getting drunk at a bar).

I won't say statistics prove that out, but it is possible.

Edit: Moved To New Window

I am posting this again because some of you guys might want to make use of this information.

This is a list of retiring senators. Since they are stepping out of the ratrace and the pressures of pursuing re-election, perhaps we could cajole some of them into publicly discussing politically unpopular topics, like peak oil.

Christopher Dodd of Connecticut
Ted Kaufman of Deleware
Roland Burris of Illinois
Evan Bayh of Indiana
Byron Dorgan of North Dakota
Carte Goodwin of West Virginia

George LeMieux of Florida
Sam Brownback of Kansas
Jim Bunning of Kentucky
Kit Bond of Missouri
Judd Gregg of New Hamshire
George Voinovich of Ohio

Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania

Bob Bennett of Utah

They can all be reached through the US Senate portal at www.senate.gov

In the House, their email system has an electronic gatekeeper that is works on zip codes - if you live in the wrong place you cannot get in. IN THE SENATE, however, there is no such nonsense. You can reach senators from wherever.

In the House, their email system has an electronic gatekeeper that is works on zip codes - if you live in the wrong place you cannot get in.

A way around that is to use an address from his area. Then add your own contact info internally. No guarantee he will get it, but it will get by the 'gate-keeper'. I have gotten (somewhat boiler-plated) responses back in the past.

A way around that is to use an address from his area.

I've done that occasionally. Use the zip code from one of the district offices, then fill in your own full address on another line.

lfeather, I don't know if their main topic should be "peak oil". I doubt there's such a thing as "peak oil" anyway. The topic politicians should discuss is "increasing energy prices as cheap oil supplies run out".

WaPo: Apparently cordgrass and wiregrass can take an oiling or two and send new green shoots up through it. But there's a limit . . .

Here's the link for that:

I question this:

Already, there are about 200 square miles of oiled coastline in Louisiana alone, said Robert Barham, secretary of the state's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He said most of that is marshland, which means around 5 percent of the state's 3,900 square miles of marsh is oily.

That would be, for example, 400 miles of shoreline oiled 1/2 mile deep, when we are told most of the marshline is only oiled a couple of feet deep, or occasionally 8-20 feet deep. I think the official said or meant 200 linear miles, which would likely be less than one square mile.

I apologise in advance for posting a reply to a thread several days old, but given that I have been absent for a few days I just wished to respond to a few points. The thread in question was started on July 22nd at 10:00am.

Firstly, in response to kalliergo

Just for the record: rovman, I've been grateful for your expertise and the clarity of your communications about these matters. In this case, however, I find your description of the events in the video Alan posted entirely unconvincing.

That is your prerogative. I am not trying to convince you, I am simply presenting the view of someone (me) with over a decade of experience in the industry as to what is being shown in these videos. It is up to you and any other interested observers to collate the evidence, listen to the opinions, expert and otherwise, weigh them up and form your own opinion. In time, you, I, or neither of us will be shown to be correct.

Secondly, in response to boon

The 'experts' so far from what I have seen have been two anonymous people here on TOD. They do express technical knowledge of the ROV - however they also have blanketed every video with "SILT! Dammit!", and "I'll let you know if something is wrong - so no need to look or ask". I'm paraphrasing, of course. But I'm not buying it.

Assuming that I am one of the 'experts' you are referring to, I am retaining my anonymity for several reasons. One is simply that I don't want my identity all over the internet. Once it's out there it can't be put back. I may just like it the way it is. Secondly, anonymity allows me to comment freely and openly. Surely that is preferable to having to keep my comments 'on message' with my employer, should our opinions happen to diverge (which so far they have not). If you require proof that I work with ROVs just ask.

There is a very wide variety of phenomenon happening and being reported. I would expect an expert to be able to account for adn explain the differences. For example why are some looking like clouds, and others more like rising cigarette smoke? Why didn't we see this much "silt" activity prior to the capping? (And yes I know the rovs weren't on the seafloor as much, but I watched many hours of BOA following pipes and wires along the seafloor).

Wide variety? Not really. I've seen three basic categories of 'plumes'.
1. Thrusters kick up a sh*t storm from the bottom of varying duration.
2. Wispy 'cigarette smoke'. More interesting. I am not sure exactly what those were, but they were small quantities of stuff, and certainly not coming out at any sort of significant pressure. Wafted about by thruster wash, but yes, I would be interested in knowing their composition.
3. Stuff falling off the vehicle whilst in the cage, specifically the one poor quality video.

Why has 'silt' activity increased? I'd say primarily because of the sonar surveys. Before they started, there was less activity at the bottom.

Blaming it all on silt being diturbed by ROVs is just as fallable in my opinion as blaming it all on hydrocarbons. Just me - but so far nobody, on this topic, has gotten past my BS meter. Other topics on TOD - definitely. But not this one.

You would be correct if I was simply shouting 'silt!' without taking the time to have a proper look and make an informed decision, but that is not the case. You have only my word on that, which doesn't appear to be enough for you. There's not a lot I can do about that, even if I wanted to.

The jury is still out IMO, but I certainly don't believe we have 'expert opinions' on this topic yet.

You appear to be questioning my credentials. What can I do to allay your fears? Do you need proof?
Out of interest, what is your background? The same question goes to kalliergo. I'll show you mine if you show me yours ;)

Lastly, in reply to avonaltendorf

I looked into this in detail, following rovman's lead. Swells on July 19 at 4 a.m. 1-3 ft, not 3-6 ft. Boa C mother ship may have been at those coordinates. But the stickler is no regular correlation between swells and bursts of black billows, red mud, and white tendrils that look like hydrate.

It is easy enough to see exactly how far the ROV moves due to the swell- just watch the depth gauge during the clip. I quite clearly saw the correlation between the swells and the pulsing 'billows' (which were simply video artefacts). The larger mud billows happen at three irregular intervals as lumps of mud fall off. That's what I see, and I recognise it's not easy to see. YMMV.

Two explanations don't jive, that bright ROV lights make dark particles white, and simlutaneously low light AGC generates black billows and red gushes randomly. If it's on standby in a cage, why burn lights? If the lights are on, we can see 30 ft without AGC monkeyshines.

The two explanations do 'jive'. Maybe I just didn't explain well enough. The ROV is in the cage with the lights on. The lights shine out into the darkness, nothing shines back, so the camera gain goes full. You can actually see the slight 'billows' which look like a small amount of ambient light, changing as the pitch of the ROV changes slightly in the swell. Mud particles are dislodged. These particles would look brown or grey on your desk, but as they pass through the lights, they appear white to the full-gain camera.

Why burn lights? Why not? ROV pilots rarely care whether they leave the lights on or not. Really, I'm not kidding.

Is compressed NTSC streaming video different than hi-res? Not much. Blockiness isn't an issue on this feed.

Yes, it's hugely different. Besides, that video was 'enhanced' which made the artefacts quite noticeable.

Several people had repeated observations of seafloor venting SSW of the well, when ROVs were cruising at 30-50 ft above the bottom.

Links please? Happy to review.

No seafloor manifolds, risers, or tool baskets are located SSW in the vicinity of these coords. The DWH riser and rig wreckage fell north to northeast of the well. In the present seafloor surveillance program, no ROV has been tasked to look SSW.

Why not?

The coordinates of that ROV were presumably the same as the surface vessel at that time. I don't know why it was in that location, presumably it was standing by.

Why has no ROV been tasked to look SSW? No idea.

Sorry for the extra wear I just caused to your scroll button ;)

I enjoy your posts and thank you for your help.

Now let's see where flattery will get me. ;)

Just for curiosity's sake, I would like to know if these are oil seeps. I apologize for the video quality. I have no idea what happened. The actual feed was that greenish tone and fairly clear.

Times of interest:

:28 - :36
1:10 - 1:17
3:53 - 3:58


Ok gmf, that's a tough one but I'll give it a go.

First, we can ignore the orange tone. You say it was actually greenish, but that changed when you captured it, right?

I *think* what I'm seeing is mostly sea floor and some unidentified man-made structures viewed possibly from some distance and height through an out-of-focus camera. The camera appears to be focussed on the ROV tool tray, not the rest of the scene. You can see the ROV rotate from 1:30 to 2:05 and the shadowy stuff moves accordingly, as if it were solid things on the sea floor. The ROV doesn't appear to have its lights on, or al least the shadowy objects are far enough away not to be lit by them. They appear backlit by another light source. At the times you refer to, small particles of something (mud? organics? clathrates? extra-terrestrials?) fall downwards past the camera.

It all made much more sense when I drank half a bottle of tequila and stood on my head.

That was a quick half bottle of tequila.

When I watched the live feed, it appeared that the tool tray was in the foreground and the light was focused on the sea floor. The video was pretty clear, unlike this one. The black bubbles were not falling downward, they were moving up and could be seen emerging from the silt.

Thanks for watching, and I agree...unless you had seen the original this gets pretty confusing.

I was kidding about the tequila, but not about standing on my head :)

Sounds like you were looking at a seep. Pity it didn't capture properly.

Your video is upside down and in mirror image. You have to set your media player: Go to media player, TOOLS, Options, Performance, Advanced. In Advanced, uncheck all the "use overlays". Save that. That should fix the mirror-upside down.

thank you


I've found your interpretations of the video feeds to be very enlightening, and reassuring.

I find these videos very hard to interpret because all that most of us have to compare them with is topside, clear air, vision, which is how we normally see things.

I would guess that in training to operate these it takes longer to learn to interpret the video feed correctly than to be able to maneuver the ROV or manipulate its attachments with reasonable facility.

I suspect that most of have had the experience of finding ourselves looking at a totally alien view of something and having difficulty deciphering the detail. I often have wished I had an expert over my shoulder to help me understand what I'm looking at. So thanks for providing that to us.

I can imagine that your interpretations have had the effect of dissolving a few "discoveries." Having had a few deflated by reality myself I can appreciate how that can be disappointing. We all want to make a positive contribution to efforts like these.

So keep up the good work, and thanks for your patience and good humor.


rovman, no problem with your anonymity or expertise. Someday the ROVs will be withdrawn from MC-252, or the feeds will cease, and public discussion will evaporate.

Why burn lights? Why not? ROV pilots rarely care whether they leave the lights on or not. Really, I'm not kidding.

Best burning them. They blow more often when switched on or off than when left on. You don't want to have to keep hauling your ROVs up to change the bulb. When night diving you leave your light on ALWAYS. If you want to see phosphorescence (for example) you hold the light to your body, you do not switch it off. If people did some diving they would see many of the things that Rovman describes, silt storms, bubbles etc.It gives me confidence in his answers to compare them with what I have seen with my own 2 eyes.


Rovman brings up an excellent point I'd like to comment on. There are people here who seem to constantly want "credentials". Some posters here, myself included, work for employers who might not like us commenting "out of school". For my part, I'm a geologist. I know very little about the petroleum industry because my specialty lies in mineralogy and petrology. In grad school, I studied plate tectonics under Dr. P.J. Coney, whose name will be familiar to geologists. I work for an agency of the U.S. Government and have for 21 years. So if I say something about geology, it's an "expert opinion". If I say something about oil, take it with a pound of salt. Thank you.

Thanks rovman, fasanating thread...

I'm totally hooked on the live feeds, best TV since Arrested Development... will surely jones when cut off...

Thinking about the technology, both oily and electronic, it's clear deep water exploration and development would not be possible without the ROV. Especially for dw oil and gas and these behemoth workhorses now on the scene. It seems, like dw drilling itself, we are pushing up against technological limits. It's obvious operators have a hard time with depth perception. I assume this is because they do not have a 3d display or adequate tactile feedback through the stick?

It will be interesting to watch this field evolve as it no doubt will, and develop more autonomous and untethered machines. Meanwhile we should hope that future guidelines and procedures will result in a more realistic picture around what these things can actually do, today.

Number one on my list for dealing with this kind of crisis in future is the use of special ROV subs that can operate one or more ROVs, regardless of the weather above. They could also be used for much needed inspection of all those capped and abandoned wells now in the GoM, for example.

In case you missed it, here's a pic of the USS Jimmy Carter, a US nuclear submarine with ROV support capability...

USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)
Click image for the big picture...

Rovman, thanks for all your posts, even this monster ;)

Especially thanks for continuing to remind folks that silt, loads of silt, is the norm in this environment. When I see repeated comments like "Blaming it all on silt being diturbed by ROVs is just as fallable in my opinion as blaming it all on hydrocarbons" I get cranky, but you keep your cool pretty well. With light, fluffy, grimy silt covering everything on the bottom, we should expect to see silt moving all the time, and oil only rarely.

Notanoilman may be right that without experience underwater most people have a hard time understanding the sudden eruptions of dark stuff all over the video screen. Personally, I would rather have skipped a couple of my silt experiences --like freediving a cave in the Caymans (but it seemed like such a good idea at the time). I understand people's fear of catastrophe, and mistrust of BP and the Gov., but I wish they would think for a minute before reflexively dissing someone with relevant experience like you or Shelburn.

I'm as interested as anyone in finding seeps, natural or BP-made, but I'm relieved every time a video link turns out to be ROV blown silt. There is already too much oil in the Gulf, so why the heck are folks so upset to hear, "excuse me, that's just silt"?

A one shot self powered shear ram design. No explosives or hydraulic required! KISS

At the surface, with the ram piston retracted, close off the topside of the rams piston by installing a normally closed valve. Allow air at 1 atmosphere to fill the working side of the piston via a valve, then close that valve. The result is nothing on the head of the retracted piston, 14psi air on the other side.

To actuate the ram under water, simply open the valve on the head side of the cylinder; thus allowing seawater at pressure to compress the air by moving the ram. Size the piston for the required force.

To get full ram travel, add a small pressure container on the air side; size it for the pressure differential desired. This allows for a space to hold all the compressed air outside the cylinder when the ram is fully extended. The larger the container, the more consistant the ram force during its travel.

The ram can be hydraulicly retracted; connecting and applying a hydraulic force greater than the seawater pressure on the bottom of the piston will retract the ram. But again, this is a one time shot until the ram can be brought topside and "recharged" with air. Once retracted, SAFETY is of concern due to the highly stored energy in the air hydraulic mix.

"Patent Application Pending" Sequoia CPE Consultants :>)

My worry with this is that it is subject to leaking. Even a very slow leak could significantly compromise the vacuum side over time. And you have no safe way of fixing this. Lifting the BOP to the surface to empty a leaking vacuum cylinder may simply not be feasible. The cylinder needs to be leakproof across the entire seal of the ram piston, and maintain that integrity for up to six months.

So the competing design :-)

Use a large spring for each ram - I mentioned a Belleville spring as a suitable design. The spring can be compressed by a hydraulic piston that forms part of the assembly. Force from the spring can be transferred to the ram via another hydraulic piston, or even via a mechanical coupling. The advantage of a hydraulic coupling is that the actuation can be performed by a valve here. A mechanical coupling would need a mechanical holdoff and trigger, which may be more complex and prone to hanging up. Another possibility is to use the compressing piston to hold the spring down, and releasing the pressure on that piston causes the shears to close.

The advantage is that the system can be set ready to fire and left. It can't leak. Better, it isn't one shot. The compressing piston can be used to recompress the spring, allow the shears to open, and then the system can be reapplied.

I did not suggest a vacuum. I want 1 atmosphere so that pressure readings can be used for monitoring as I suggest in my follow-up post.

A perfect vacuum would apply a limited ram force while topside, not desirable. The limit would be dependent on the non-displaced volume at the top of the piston.

An inadvertant opening of the top valve while topside will not cause the piston to move; a vacuum would. A SAFETY concern.

Compared to a spring if compressed topside, the air concept does not become "armed" until submerged; again a SAFETY concern.

As for the One Shot concern. Once a shear ram has been actuated, it probably can not be trusted for a second attempt without inspection and maintenance.

Compared to a spring, think KISS!


I was really only considering that at depth one atmosphere was pretty much equivalent to a vacuum. You can just substitute 1 atm for vacuum in my comments and the rest remains. So no safety issues with a vacuum at the surface.

I would assume with my design you would arm the spring at depth once the BOP has been safely attached and integrity of the system established. The idea of a spring is really no different to any other accumulator, but it has the advantage that it can't leak and can be independent of other control systems. As far as simplicity goes, for the bit that matters, I.e. the function of cutting, it is as simple as it can get.

A container with one atmosphere of air pressure situated in an environment with over 150 atmospheres of water i.e. at the depth of the Macondo well is pretty much indistinguishable from a vacuum. The water (or oil) outside the ram will want to get past the ram seals into the atmospheric charge chamber really really badly -- see the infamous "crab" video for details. Remember that wells are planned for even deeper sites where the pressure differentials will be even greater.

Currently the BOP systems designed for deepwater work use hydraulic rams capable of being driven under normal conditions at 7-8000 psi (as seen on the videos of assorted hydraulic system gauges on the BOP stack), that's about 4 tonnes per square inch. If you presume the shear ram's maximum design requirement is 200 tonnes force, that implies a hydraulic ram with an actuating area of 50 square inches or about 8 inches in diameter resulting in a circumferential seal length of about 25 inches. An "atmospheric" system at Macondo depth could only exert 2200psi differential on the ram or 1 tonne per square inch. To be able to exert a force of 200 tonnes the ram area would have to be 200 square inches or about 16 inches in diameter resulting in a cylinder-ram seal length of 50 inches. The longer the seal the more chance of a leak which is bad.

The existing hydraulic ram systems can be driven from local accumulators with more stored energy than a single-shot system or the rams can be powered from surface vessels in extremis via direct hookups. They can be fired repeately in short order and if necessary they can be overdriven to beyond their design limits by connecting them to a more powerful pump, say one rated at 12,000 psi. A atmospheric system or a spring-driven system can only provide a one-shot capability which cannot be overdriven from the outside. The spring system someone else suggested could be reset remotely but only if there is a working high-pressure hydraulic hookup to the BOP and if that is the case why bother putting a complicated energy-draining mechanical linkage between the hydraulic supply and the ram? KISS.


Correct, Overdrive is lacking without surface pumps or accumulators.

As for as seal length computations; piston seal is only of concern during actuation, while piston rod seal is always a concern. But piston rod sizing would be the same for hydraulic and seawater based systems. There would be only a minor pressure differential change during actuation.

The hydraulic based system compensates for seawater pressure via pump capacity as you noted. The air-reservoir does require cylinder area changes to compensate for seawater pressure; this is only in cylinder area, not piston rod area as that is a force withstanding issue. Cylinders appear to be only externally mounted components on a BOP; larger cylinders at shallower depths does not seem to me to problem with deep water wells. Thse two contra-indicative items, as you go deeper pumps need to be more powerful while air cylinders would get smaller, indicates to me that each may have an advantage over the other depending on depth.

But the apparent DWH failure to activate some of the rams seems to me that having a ram that only needs activation and not hydraulics is a good safety net.

Thinking about this BOP design - I think that there is a huge weakness in that it REQUIRES deep water conditions for it to be usable. You can't use this in shallow water, and to test it means it has to be in conditions at least simulating deep water.

It would be much better to have a BOP design that could be used in all offshore applications.

This is where the hydraulic designs are clearly superior.

A shear ram needs to have as consistent a force accross its travel as posible. If the force declines significantly, the design must be capable of producing excessive force initially so that, as it encounters pipes to be sheared, it still exerts enough force to do the job.

Belleville springs and other springs share a common trait. The force they exert is based on spring rates and deflection. A compressed spring exibits a reduction of force as it decompresses. Too bad this could not be reversed!

An air reservoir "hydraulic" cylinder can be designed to exert a much more constant force as the air is compressed by the admission of seawater; a suitably sized external container allows for control of the consistency of the force with displacement. The force of the seawater (at a constant pressure) is offset by the force of the changing air pressure. The air pressure change can be restricted to 1 atmosphere by having an external container with a volume equal to the "swept" volume of the piston.

And no moving parts except the ram piston!


That was one of the reasons I chose a Belleville spring. You can tweak the design so that over more than half its travel it has close to a constant force. All the other tweaks you suggest can also be used with the spring.

[edit] Actually you can design a Belleville spring so that the force at most compressed is less than the force exerted when partially compressed. It is this non Hooke's Law behaviour that makes it a rather interesting and useful device. So, for cutting a DP in the BOP it could be designed to have close to an ideal force to movement profile.

A follow-up;

Include an absolute presure monitoring apparatus in the air container.

NORMAL condition: 1 atmosphere topside AND submerged. Piston has not moved and there are no leaks. Unit is "Armed and Ready for Deployment".

LEAKING condition: somewhat greater than 1 atmosphere, the amount indicates the amount of leakage; until the amount is significant, operation of the ram is still possible BUT maintenance is indicated. A travel sensor on the piston top would help to determine if the increase is due to piston travel or piston rod leakage.

ACTUATED condition: Based the ratio of the sizes of the 2 air chambers, pressure of the ratio atmospheres indicates full extension of the ram. An intermediate pressure indicates the amount of travel. No need for an ROV observation if the sensors are brought to the drill ship. No wondering if the ram fully actuated; the response should be fast.


I must be missing something here. If the BOP shearing ram is at 5000’ sea depth the point where the ram leaves the cylinder(interior pressure of BOP =PSI of fluid in riser pipe) will have about 2200 PSI across the cross sectional area of the diameter of the ram or rod pushing the ram. In case of drilling fluid in the riser would be several thousand PSI higher across diameter of ram.

I have seen a well flowing on annulus side and when BOP rams were
Closed on drill pipe the drill pipe was actually blown up the hole by differential pressure on cross sectional area of pipe where rams were closed until a tool jt came up against the rams.


Both the hydraulic and the air chamber rams produce force as a reult of the difference between the force applied on the top of the piston versus the force applied on the bottom of the piston. Large cylinder bore, small piston rod. The hydraulic bottom exit allows for the hydraulic fluid a place to go on activation so that bottom pressure remains fairly constant; botom pressure will probably naturally be maintained across the rod exit so as to make the seals job easier. The air reservoir leaves a compressible bottom "fluid" (air)so as to leave the piston a place to go via compression, pressure change can be minimized; but the rod exit seal sees almost full seawater pressure.

Both must overcome the forces present where the actuating rod leaves the BOP. Yes, this is a function of drilling mud depth. The design of either method must include mud column pressures as well as pipe shear forces required. And of course water pressure.

The Deep Water hydraulic ram only differs from a surface ram in the ambient pressure portion of the computations. Deeper presents much more challenges.

The air reservoir only works for Deep Water rams. Here the reversal of pressure (low inside the piston bottom and high outside the cylinder)is put to use by just compressing air during activation. The air serves no purpose other than monitoring by being a compressible "fluid".


I appreciate the creative inventive genius in all but these folks have a few days experience on the issue.


"The air serves no purpose other than monitoring by being a compressible "fluid"."

This is scary.


scary? What an air chamber? I guess you never saw an accumulator! Or never completely read your referenced document which references the use of accumulators at depth with the current crop of BOP's.

What is really scary is that we continue to rely of BOP designs that have a rather suspect history. Or that we continue with the tried and unproven and their designers (My apologies to the BOP designers, they are really trying their best!) My experience with continuing without an infusion in the form of alternative designs is that there is a tendency to try to "tweak" rather than taking a new look at the problem, starting with the problem definition itself. How often does a poor problem definition influence the subsequent design!

My you are prolific! over 6 index pages of posts in a little over 6 weeks.



I guess I saw the comment on air being a compressible fluid and it kinda took me aback.

I am familiar with the function of an accumulator and I wonder how large your accumulator would be in able to store enough air to produce the force to shear a section of drill pipe or even a section of casing. If you keep the mechanism within the confines of a good usable design then how large would it be? How much pressure is required to do the job? I did read and understand the link I posted and the accumulators referenced were hydraulic. The current BOPs use mechanical or hydraulic mechanisms to open and close the rams. I don't think the folks at Cameron have been sitting on their hands for 100 years in regards to BOP design.

If you choose to give your BOP design dimensions and pressures needed to shear the DP then I might come on board. How do you close the ram? How do you open the ram? How do you cycle the rams to insure they are operating properly? How do you control the air pressure of your device? Air over hyd. systems are used for low pressure applications. High pressure gas is scary. It's scary because it's like a bomb in the pressure range you are discussing. I am asking the questions because a patent for your idea requires these to insure no one has already applied for the patent and if you go this far you will need testing and approval also. Maybe you are just interested in patenting your idea? In reading I noticed you placed lots of emphasis on closing the rams. They need to open also.

"My you are prolific! over 6 index pages of posts in a little over 6 weeks."

Yeah I know, I made a donation and wanted to get my monies worth.

In my diagram, if you submerged this assembly, is the upward force on the piston directly proportional to the size of the balloon and does this system adhere to the basic hydraulic laws between the two reservoirs? I do get the point that why not charge an accumulator and then sink it provide grater power. I just like my picture.


Having no ballon and only the bottom of the pump exposed would be equivalent. So no, the size of the liquid filled ballon would not enter into the computation. The force on the piston would always be 100% depth related. Once the air space is very small, the balloon will not appreciately change size.

:>( sorry!

As to reservoir hydraulic laws, there are a lot of factors to consider (many unknown or estimated for each reservoir), so I leave that to the reservoir guru's.

SequoiaCPE - nice idea. But study how railroad air brakes work. Finally something I am fully qualified to discuss on TOD. That would work better. But I think I have an even better idea.

You're far better off having a "double acting cylinder" type of design with TWO pipes to the surface. Keep those dudes pressurized with air to a wee bit over the seawater pressure at the wellhead. Remotely operated valve at the bottom to open to seawater (kind of important to flush condensed water out of the pipes periodically, as you'll soon see).

To fire off at full effect, open one of the lower valves to the sea (to limit flow losses) and open the OTHER compressed air pipe at the surface. Rather quickly, one side of the piston is at atmospheric, and the other is at sea pressure.

You don't technically have to open the lower valve, it just limits flow losses.

Say pipe #2 leaks a little. No problemo, thats why its connected to an air compressor. Or vice versa.

Say pipe #2 leaks a heck of a lot. No problemo, that line is connected to a subsurface valve that will open to the sea, in other words pipe 2 will be the subsurface pressure side and pipe 1 will be the atmospheric side. You've got some time to replace hose #2, as long as hose #1 remains undamaged. Or vice versa.

So, you've got a slightly higher air pressure at the wellhead than sea pressure, and theoretically bottom vent occasionally to blow condensed water out. No corrosion problem, no connection problem. You do need to make sure the pipe won't implode when the thing goes off.

On the other hand, on the surface you've got compressed air at subsurface pressure. But thats "no big deal" because its on the surface, easy to maintain.

Exploration wells

I have some questions re fundamentals:
1. How does exploration drilling differ from regular drilling (in deep-water)?
2. Does it involve steel casing or is it simply a drill bit which makes a hole but stays above where they think the oil & gas are located?
3. If all wells including exploratory involve steel casing, do companies file a plan to show how their casing will be constructed?
4. What would that plan be called?
5. Is a BOP necessary for exploratory drilling?

Thanks for considering this.


In general (site-specific conditions may change details of the ops):

1 - Drilling ops are essentially the same regardless if the hole is exploratory or development. With exploratory holes some ops may be added or removed depending on downhole/formation conditions. With development drilling, most of the guess work regarding drilling conditions is removed and holes tend to be more cookie-cutter.

2 - In most cases the hole conditions (expected and existing) determine the casing schedule (types, lengths, etc. of casing and related cement) used. The hole may be cased in stages or portions of the hole may remain "open", it mostly depends on formation type and subsurface pressure/fluid conditions. When a well is completed for production, the well will have production casing (AKA as "string") run to the producing depth, cemented, and then perforated to allow fluid/gas flow into the production string. How extensive the length of cementing of the production string is a function of the hole conditions.

3 - Although their might be some types of "exotic materials" under research development for casing, the casing used is steel and the anticipated casing schedule are generally part of a well's drilling permit, which are reviewed by trained and experienced engineers as part of the approval of the drilling permit. Planned ops vs actual ops may vary once hole conditions are known and sometimes (read almost always) the casing schedule is modified (usually with regulatory approval).

4 - Casing schedule.

5 - In most cases yes, as it is also necessary on any type of drilling where subsurface pressures (or hole conditions - gas/fluid flow) could have potential for ops or safety hazards.

Thanks very much, Bob, for your prompt response & clear answers.
Very helpful...
- Rick

Rick - An exploration well = a well drilling for a potential hydrocarbon bearing reservoir which has yet to be drilled. Development well = a well drilling for a reservoir that has already been drilled by an exploratory well.

The tricky part about drilling an deep exploratory well (onshore, offshore deep water and shallow) is the rock pressure. This determines what mud weights are required. Being the first well drilled in a area makes this pre-drill estimate very difficult. There are some seismic techniques that can model pressure but the can often be very wrong. While drilling a real time estimate can be made from the log while drilling data set. I was doing this prior to my current gig. If an exploratory well drills into a much higher pressure csg has to be set. Can’t put too high a mud weight against lower pressure rocks,

All pre-drill programs have a detailed csg design. But this is based upon assumptions which can quickly change while drilling. Simply called the csg program. All wells must be drilled with a BOP. As my description explains they are all the more vital in exploratory wells.

An exploration well = a well drilling for a potential hydrocarbon bearing reservoir which has yet to be drilled.

Brings to mind a term I haven't heard in years, wildcat. And those that drilled such wells were called wildcatters.

Maybe one reason they were called wildcats was they might bite you. :)

I tried to capture the leaking bubbles, and ended up with over one hundred captures. However, so as not to clog up bandwidth, I noticed something odd. Can anyone explain the rectangle within the circle a ROV focused on (may still be there now, perhaps)? There are bubbles coming from it (there are a few in this image link, below). But what is the circle, and what is the rectangle? Are they looking at the original drill site (where the drill head broke or had a problem, and they abandoned)? I don't know how to read coordinates to know where they are. Thanks for any answers. It is quite clear there is a rectangle in a circle. PS: I am not a scientist, nor technically-minded, hence the "oh my". :)


The rectangle is probably the 'footprint' of a ROV that sat down on the bottom.

The circle is probably left when it lifted off and rotated to go to the next spot.

Pretty sure about the first one . . . not so sure about the second.

I tried to edit my post, but it was denied.

Anyway, I wanted to insert this question (thank you for your patience and allowing me to ask). I managed to get a few captures, earlier this morning, and although they did not zoom into the well, it appeared (in the corner) as if it had sank to the seabed, or that snow methane hydrate had formed a mound around it. I did the best I could to zoom in slowly in that corner (I'm just curious to know what's going on). I have this zoom in a gif. Is this methane hydrated and/or has the well sunk into the seabed--or WORSE, has the seabed raised itself around the well? Thank you.


@ onefifty:

Good eyes. I did not notice the triangle and circle until you pointed it out. Not sure what could have caused it. Unfortunately, that ROV feed you captured does not give coordinates so it's impossible to say where it was located.

Regarding the depression (or should I say "ditch") around the well bore. I noticed that too and wondered what might have caused it. Several days ago, when we first saw images of Skandi ROV2 collecting gas samples from the same area, the mudline was flat all the way around the well bore. Now, there is a significant depression all the way around the bore. I'm sure there are some here that will tell you it's all due to prop wash from the ROV's but I wouldn't buy that. My guess is it's mostly due to erosion from the gas bubbles, perhaps assisted by the prop wash. I think it's safe to say the well is not sinking.

(Tongue in cheek: When the ROV arrived at the well bore last night to begin collecting its samples, the eel we've all been seeing these past several days zoomed right past the camera. Perhaps the eel has been doing a little construction of his own? Ha!)

As Skandi 2 is sitting collecting bubbles underneath the BOP I think it would notice if it was now below the sea-bed.

Thank you Trip and Undertow. Later on, I'll crop all those captures, in sequence. I have some of the eel, as well! :)

Also, Undertow, did you see this? What's all that white stuff building up? Is that the well being swallowed...is it even the well (or which well?)...


It might be an octagon rather than a circle.

I suspect that the rov was rotating through 45 degrees then sitting down again. Maybe for sonar scans or something, though those were 90 degree rotations last time I saw them.

Thank you James and Rovman. That could be. I took over one hundred captures prior to those I showed. I'll have to go back and see what happened (an eel did slither by too). I was wondering if they were trying to calculate if the seabed was rising. It looks as if the well is under a snow mound (I know, I probably am wrong) but it does look that way. Here's something from another camera looking at the well.


Here are all the pictures I cropped so far (I can't do anymore today, bad arm, that's why they're so uneven, lol!). Anyway, here's the link to all of them. I haven't gotten to the eel yet, and I have more of the mysterious rectangle inside the circle yet to crop. Have a great day everyone! Thanks for all your help. By the way, is that methane hydrate building up over the well or is the seabed rising?

Bubbles from seabed:


Seabed rectangle inside circle with bubbles:


Methane rising over well?:


Zoom in on "snow covered?" well:


Interesting. I can't claim Rovman's expertise but as far as the bubbles are concerned, they aren't unusual from any seabed. I've seen a lot more than that coming from the mud in shallower water. It usually indicates either rotting biomass or creature activity. There could be clams or who knows what kinds of critters under that surface. Certainly we know there are crabs and eels down there! The clips I've seen of known seeps have a much more regular release rhythm to them indicating a slow leak rather than periodic bursts. I suppose this explains why sampling and analysis is needed.

It appears now, the methane ice is also forming where the bubbles are coming out:


A few captures to see if it grows from here.

Is this good or bad news?
Hopefully it's good, if bad then hopefully it's fixable...because I've been very optimistic so far and I'd hate to see our progress ruined.

Oh noes! They put the well through the main square of Atlantis!!! :)
There are a lot of mud mats down there and I have noticed a number of views that seem to show paving which may be the mud mats. The ROV explanation sounds quite reasonable. Small bubbles rising from the bottom are quite normal underwater, nothing unusual there, if that were shallower and sand I wouldn't want to put a hand there as there may be a sting ray or electric ray underneath :)


A little history lesson for those who think more government is the answer.

The Early 20th Century

ASME formed its research activities in 1909, in areas such as steam tables, the properties of gases, the properties of metals, the effect of temperature on strength of materials, fluid meters, orifice coefficients, etc.

Since its inception, ASME has led in the development of technical standards, beginning with the screw thread and now numbering more than 600. The Society is best known, however, for improving the safety of equipment, especially boilers. From 1870 to 1910, at least 10,000 boiler explosions in North America were recorded. By 1910 the rate jumped to 1,300 to 1,400 a year. Some were spectacular accidents that aroused public outcries for remedial action. A Boiler Code Committee was formed in 1911 that led to the Boiler Code being published in 1914-15 and later incorporated in laws of most US states and territories and Canadian provinces.

source http://www.asme.org/Communities/History/ASMEHistory/Brief_History.cfm

ASME Codes and Standards

ASME is one of the oldest standards-developing organizations in the world. It produces approximately 600 codes and standards, covering many technical areas, such as boiler components, elevators, measurement of fluid flow in closed conduits, cranes, hand tools, fasteners, and machine tools.

Note that:

A Standard can be defined as a set of technical definitions and guidelines that function as instructions for designers, manufacturers, operators, or users of equipment.
A standard becomes a Code when it has been adopted by one or more governmental bodies and is enforceable by law, or when it has been incorporated into a business contract.
[edit] ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC)
The largest ASME standard, both in size and in the number of volunteers involved in its preparation, is the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC). BPVC is a standard that provides rules for the design, fabrication, and inspection of boilers and pressure vessels. It is reviewed every three years. The BPVC consists of twelve volumes. Stamps for defining and certification of a pressure vessel according to the ASME code include the S, U and U2 stamps.

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASME

Private individuals, seeing a pressing need, filled it and governments have merely adopted (co-opted?) the fruits of their labors.

Yes, you are absolutely right. The ASME codes and standards are written in human blood.

The codes and standards are a monumental effort and largely done by volunteers.

The codes and standards are frequently adopted in-total in federal laws and regulations.

I am a proud member of the ASME.

Private development of codes and standards can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes private groups use codes to advance their own products/systems. As a retired P.E. with over 15 years experience in state government implementation of codes and standards I have observed several instances of this. One was a provision in the NY state code that related to "lightning protection".

Short version: The NYS code provision was written so as to allow only one type of system. A vendor applied to have their system "approved" also. A brief survey indicated that, at that time, there was no scientific evidence that ANY system of lightning protection worked. We therefore acted to remove the current code language, allow any system that could be tested and approved, and refer to proper electrical grounding of structures, etc.

Not only did the private entity that had writtrn the current standard protest the potential loss of their proprietary system (and loss of sales of publications) but the state agency that was supposed to assist in the elimination of unneccessary and useless regulations fought the elimination of the code language by noting that we were removing "protection" from the codes.

We don't need MORE gov't. We need BETTER government.

How we get there I'll leave for others to argue for the next century or so.

I helped get "lightning protection" removed from the NY state building code, although it took way more work than it should have. So, I can die happy knowing that I at least swept back one or two waves of the incoming tide.

We don't need MORE gov't. We need BETTER government.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

IF we need better government, maybe we need qualifications for the voters that elect the unqualified legislators?

Isn't government the most important thing we do these days?

Isn't it strange that we think that there should be NO limits on how dumb or crazy a voter should be, and NO limits on how dumb or crazy a legislator should be, and NO limits on how dumb or crazy an executive should be.

I therefore think we're mostly dumb and crazy, and our version of democracy will crash the system.

But nobody dares to bell THAT cat!

Government is not made up of documents or money. It is made up of people. Government's people may need money, but they are people just the same. We do not need more government, in fact we need less. We need better people overall. The leaders are just a symptom.


Very well said and illustrated. Thanks.

I don't know anyone who thinks government is the answer to everything, nor anyone who believes there should be no government, so the accusation that even some people do either of those wastes a lot of time and energy that could be put to better use.

PS: I presume the suffix indicates that there are, or have been, at least 85 others of you. Are you a family, or just an organization, like the elks? ;)

"I helped get "lightning protection" removed from the NY state building code,..."
That's very clever of you.
May none of your loved ones ever die in a fire cased by lightning.
Or don't you live in NY anymore?

"I helped get "lightning protection" removed from the NY state building code,..."
That's very clever of you.
May none of your loved ones ever die in a fire cased by lightning.

I understood him to be saying that what he got removed was a provision that permitted only one company's brand of lightning protection to be used. Removing that provision meant other companies' brands could be used as well if they met the standards.

The company that made the equipment in the removed code protested, claiming--falsely--that the change had removed protection altogether.

(moosedog, if I got that wrong, please fix.)

I read the post the same. If a code needs product references to explain code instrumentation then the code needs a re-write.

How many confirmed leaks are there and where are they?

Several times I have seen what I thought was oil leaking from below the one we see on Hos.



@ gmf:

The last hard number I heard from Thad Allen was six leaks in the BOP/ capping stack. This is not inclusive of the seeps/anomalies they've been discussing.

You are correct that there is a leak located below the one in your frame capture. It is located on the old BOP in the area of the upper annular. It tends to build up over time, then a blob will break away and float upward, sometimes being seen on the feed of the ROV montoring the leak around the HC connector (the leak shown in your capture).

So how common are such leaks?

Interesting question. I also wonder what these leaks would have been like if they did actually have 9000 psi at the top of the well as expected.

I don't know whether these leaks are common or to be expected. We were bombarded with statements from Thad Allen and BP that the capping stack had been thoroughly tested prior to installation, but those statements abruptly ceased after the stack was installed and the choke fitting leaked like a sieve. Since then, we see all these other leaks springing up and are assured they are of no concern right now.

As for the old BOP, it's been through a lot of stress and abuse. We can only guess that it is leaking because of the disaster, but if the new capping stack was leaking after supposedly being thoroughly tested, it makes you wonder if the old BOP would have also leaked even if they had avoided the blowout (and also if there are other leaking wells out there right now that John Q knows nothing about).

Interesting series of posts at ZeroHedge, dated today.

I am on scene on one of the largest oceanographic research vessels working in the GOM. I am not being paid by NOAA or BP. This is a factual statement: Beyond 20 NM from the wellhead we have not detected subsurface oil at any depth in concentrations above 20PPM, beyond 40NM we have not detected any oil above 2PPM that was associated with Deepwater Horizon. We have seen the usual seep concentrations around Vioska Knoll, Green Canyon, etc.

Just wanted to add that out of tens of thousands of samples, the positive hits are coming from extremely limited areas "Plumes" which are measured in tens and perhaps hundreds of meters, not in miles. I have access to all of the raw and preliminary data coming in from 8 of the vessels sampling for the SMU (Subsurface Monitoring Unit)

and in response to a request for "CDOM flouresence in relation to DO2 and the date your vessel departed/returned along with its MMSI",

I am not authorized to be releasing this info, it is all going to litigation. I'll cut and paste some date on determination of crude concentrations via CDOM and Dissolved Oxygen if it would make you feel any better.

Interesting series of posts at ZeroHedge, dated today.

Actually not that interesting at all. Just a Simmons supporter trying to make the Simmons meme look good, when all his predictions have turned out to be pure tin foil.(no insult to you TinFoilGuy).

Disagree. He just added

Don't get me wrong I think this is a very serious event, I think bio-accumulations of primary and secondary metabolic by-products all the way up and down the food chain is the big story here. Most people in the science community are appalled by the basically unrestricted use of Corexit. The full story won't be known for years but all this Tinfoil hat Simmons crap is counterproductive. I don't know what his motive is but it certainly isn't the dissemination of facts

What he's claiming so far cuts into various reports of mile-long plumes. If anything, it makes Simmons look worse.

Wait are you talking about Simmon's assesment of our situation or something else entirely? What are these mile long plumes?

Reuters news alert, beverage spill warning.

Current CEO of BP (BP/ LN) Tony Hayward to be nominated as director of TNK-BP

17:03 26-07-2010

Note: this includes Siberia.

For reals?

I haven't seen the actual story appear yet. But I did note this: "CEO Hayward to step down, be replaced by American-sources" and "Investors cheered Hayward's expected departure, sending BP shares up 4 percent in London and New York."

FT.com says Hayward

is expected to be nominated for a position on the board of BP’s 50 per cent-owned Russian joint venture TNK BP. BP has the right to nominate three directors to that board. It is understood Mr Hayward would stay on the full BP board until November.

No mention of Siberia.

The company has ops in eastern Siberia, among other places.

I wonder if he will be based onsite?


Remember, Dudley got kicked out of Russia a few years ago, IIRC because he wouldn't "play ball".

If you wonder how politics works in Russia, imagine if the mob in this country totally ran the government.

...except the food isn't as good.

But the vodka and the caviar are outstanding.

His $23M kiss-off pay ought to hold him for a couple weeks.

Caption: "Tony Hayward leaves BP's offices in St James's Square, central London, today. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA"

Ah, Tony, Tony, Tony -- lookit what The Guardian's homepage did to yer name: BP opts to send Hawyard to Siberia




Does Southwest Airlines fly to the Ukraine???

Sign me up!!!!!!!!!

Southwest flies to Odessa (Midland) - does that count?

I think they do.

If that were true, Glenn Beck would have started glowing two years ago ;)

If you wonder how politics works in Russia, imagine if the mob in this country totally ran the government.

We have the Chicago mob running it now.

Nah. Who got whacked or disappeared? No Vince Fosters here. There is history, however. Wasn't there a Chicago mob-Daily-Kennedy conspiracy of sorts uncovered? The current guys just make you Blackberry in your resignation from the side of the road and put their finger in your chest. I would love them to try that with me. I would get it all on video.

No, New Orleans mob Carlos Marcello was implicated in the Kennedy affair.

You are right, Kennedy recruited mobster Sam Giancana to assassinate Fidel Castro and shared a mistress with him, Judith Exner.


Joe Kennedy SR was a bootlegger (per Frank Costello, who ought to know!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Costello ) and stock manipulator http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/716/what-is-the-true-source-of-...

Once the well is full of mud, they may try pumping cement into the well from the top (...), though, because of concerns over flow control, I would suspect that they will not put the cement in until they connect through the relief well (...)

I agree. I'm very much in favor of a static kill being attempted as soon as possible, but see no advantage to be gained from pumping cement in at that time. Maybe the best approach later on would be to pump in cement via the RW first, then follow it up with cement from the top (where one has gravity on one's side...)?

By the way, I presume that the goal in the static kill is not necessarily to get the pressure in the BOP down to zero, but instead to reduce it to a low enough value (say < 2000 psi ??), such that the pressure of the 5,000 foot water column above it would prevent the well from flowing should the vents be opened.

For the life of me, I still can't understand why they should want to have the casing in place in the RW before trying the static kill. Has anyone got any ideas as to what may have been the reasoning behind this decision?

Mike, Wells's and Allen's explanation was that they want to protect the RW as much as possible from anything that might go hinky in the static kill.

Yes, Allen and Wells both have stressed how close the bottom of the relief well now is to the wild well (4'8" horizontally, iirc).

In his video Wells said that the mud will be pumped via the Q4000 drill pipe. Anybody know if the drill pipe will be within a riser? The capping stack seemed to be lowered on drill pipe alone, but I'd assumed the mud-pumping operation would have the drill pipe enclosed in a riser to deal with possible mud return.

For the life of me, I still can't understand why they should want to have the casing in place in the RW before trying the static kill. Has anyone got any ideas as to what may have been the reasoning behind this decision?

I wouldn't have it any other way. If ANYthing goes wrong up top, you have to rescue the well from below. There's still the possibility that the casing up top is somehow compromised. The possibility is remote at this juncture, but that possibility exists. They know now there's not been a leak of any significant amount into the subsurface. That and the steady pressures from the blowout well doesn't mean there can't be at any point.

The relief well kill is the issue because now the risk of the relief well drilling into a giant washout caused by the oil/gas coming up around the outside of the casing is very possible. It's not probable, but the risk is more than zero. More than 10% I think. What that would do is complicate the kill at the bottom, and make it take longer. What this also does is make the static kill less likely to be 100% successful.

There's a scenario I could paint that is possible that a static kill from the top would look like a good kill but in fact would only be temporary. In short, there could be two paths that the oil took to get to the surface, but one method was bridged over sometime during the flowing of the millions of barrels of fluid so far. Killing the active flow path with the kill mud from above would not necessarily guarantee that the other flow path doesn't reopen again.

You definitely want to cement from below to avoid the junk that's in the busted BOP.

They know now there's not been a leak of any significant amount into the subsurface

Exactly the opposite. Unexpected lower pressure implies that the shallow coal formation was fractured. Unconsolidated mud absorbed gas like a sponge and vents to seafloor.

Top kill is an engineering experiment. RW (plural) is the solution.

Exactly the opposite. Unexpected lower pressure implies that the shallow coal formation was fractured. Unconsolidated mud absorbed gas like a sponge and vents to seafloor.

I was giggling when I read the word "shallow coal formation" and then nearly peed my pants when I got to the "Unconsolidated mud absorbed gas like a sponge" part.

Thanks for the laugh!

You're welcome. Same to you, sir.

Unexpected lower pressure implies that the shallow coal formation was fractured

Alan, if there is a substantial leak into a shallow formation, wouldn't the observed pressure in the well be more or less in the ballpark of the shallow formation pressure? The current pressure of 6900 psi very roughly correlates to a formation pressure around or below 10,000 ft under the mudline. You seem to be saying this pressure is lower than the actual reservoir pressure, which may be, but I don't follow the argument that this means a shallow leak. My understanding is if the reservoir pressure is still about 9000 psi, then a pressure of 6900 psi isn't that much farther up the rock column. I know pressure changes irregularly through the stratigraphy, but 6900 psi is still deep.

Are you thinking there is a leak that deep, or what? Maybe a more detailed explanation of the mechanics of a shallow leak and a relatively high well pressure would help me understand your argument.

It would be great to have the strat column or a well log. Meanwhile, I'm speculating that there's a fracture zone somewhere between 3,000 and 7,000 ft. Earlier it was rumored that they stuck the drill in a coal measure.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how many places the well is leaking if it's killed from below. Top kill has potential to frac and erode, but I assume they'll quit when 14ppg mud squeezes sideways.

I don't have any engineering experience. All I know for certain is we can't assume one depleted reservoir at 18,300 ft. It's far more complicated than that.

Yeah, there is more than one reservoir, and who knows what other formations, I just don't see evidence for much of a shallow leak. Agree with you about the relief wells, though.

I don't have any engineering experience.



For what it's worth, the well diagram shows a "sidetrack" at 11,700' MD/TVD (6633' BML), I take that to be slightly above the stuck drill.

Between that point and the bottom of the well there are THREE independent tested cement jobs, each over 1000' in length, in addition to the final suspect cement job.

I'll leave it to the folks with practical experience to guess at the likelyhood that all three of those failed, or that the 13-5/8" casing burst in the approximately 500' uncemented area in the vicinity of the sidetrack, but this non-oilfield EE suspects that it didn't happen.

Since we seem to be in a bit of a lull I'll ask a question that's been bugging me for a while now, and has not been resolved in spite of all my attempts to find info about it on the web.

What exactly is a "kill pill?" My impression is that it's a special mud mixture, perhaps of a higher viscosity, to avoid intermixing with other fluids, but that begs the question as to how it resists penetration by the gas in the well.

Thanks in advance for any light someone can shed on an old man's confusion. ;)

David, great question.I'll take a stab at defining it.

A pill is normally, but not necessarily, a specific volume of fluid separated by spacers, pumped into and specifically spotted in a well for a specific purpose. A kill pill would be for the purpose of exerting kill weight on the bottom of the hole without exerting a higher gradient up the hole. For instance a pill of 16 lb mud can be circulated which will exert a higher pressure at bottom than a column of, say 14 lb mud but the entire wellbore won't have to bear the gradient of the 16 lb mud.

There are other types of pills. Lost circulation pills, cement pill, etc.

Your explanation also may explain why they want to be able to run both the static kill through the original well and the bottom kill through the relief well. They have no way to spot a kill pill through the original well, so they are limited in the mud weight they can put in that well without breaking down formation or cement (at some unknown value and location). Just having some mud rather than hydrocarbon in the original well should generate the same effect on pressure distribution in that borehole as spotting a kill pill when the relief well cuts into it with heavy mud near the bottom. Having the relief well cased and cemented almost to the original well means they can have up to the maximum mud weight that anywhere in the system can stand (~16#) in the hole when they enter the wild well, or they can spot that or more right at the entry point. They could have something like 11# of mud/oil/gas mix in the wild well instead of 8# hydrocarbon, and then send in enough 18# to get the column average up to the kill weight (something like 13#?) Am I understanding correctly?

Thanks much.

The spacer had not appeared on my radar screen, and explains how to overcome the natural circulation.

Unfortunately I'm not clear about how they would deploy a spacer in this case in either the original well, or the relief well. Or will they just find a way around using spacers, and, if so, what.

Being a naturally curious person, and not liking the gaps that show up in my knowledge at times like this, it's a bit frustrating when answers just trigger new questions, but maybe after 67+ years, I should probably be used to it. ;)

"Unfortunately I'm not clear about how they would deploy a spacer in this case in either the original well, or the relief well. Or will they just find a way around using spacers, and, if so, what."

spotting spacers and pills are a snap in the oil patch. Simply set up spacers and pills in different pits or mixing tanks and then switch suction at the appropriate time. They can even be mixed and pumped on the fly if necessary.There's pretty much max flexibility on a rig to pump from and to any existing pit/tank using mud pumps or using the cementing pumps/mixing tanks for more accuracy/pressure.

If I remember right from the hearings they went down 8k feet in the well and pumped the kill pill.

But they also said they really did not need it as kill because they were just using it to get rid of it.

Then why pump it at 8k feet?

Adm. Zukunft will be briefing this afternoon on surface ops.


There's also a brief CNN interview with him during an overflight of the well site this am, discussing how difficult it is to spot surface oil in patches large enough to skim.

... report & video at http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/07/26/gulf.oil.disaster/index.html?video=true... .

Thanks, rainy. Any good news ver' welcome.

I'll say it's good news. He said in a six-hour overflight they only saw one fairly small patch (off Grand Isle) that looked skimmable. Over the past week, the reduction in the slick as shown on maps has been astonishing. Judging from the admiral's comments, almost all of the rest must be mostly sheen and tarballs. However, what's left is in bad places along the marshy Louisiana shore. Alabama and Florida are out of the woods, but don't expect the media to view that as a newsworthy development.

[Edit to add:] According to the "current ops" pages, there has not been a significant addition to the "oily water collected" since July 18th or 19th.

I'm pretty sure I misspoke when discussing the location of the Emergency ShutDown panels, in the previous open thread. Specifically, I indicated that an ESD panel was not located on the bridge, where the fire/gas sensor/alarm data were monitored.

I have reviewed the Williams testimony. He actually said the three ESD panels were located in the "CCR, ECR, and doghouse." ECR is Engine Control Room. Doghouse is drill shack.

What is the CCR? It might stand for Central Control Room, which could be another term for the bridge. Can someone confirm or contradict this, please?

ECR = ACR = Aft Control Room.

CCR = Central Control Room

Control Room = core functional entity, and its associated physical structure, where operators are stationed to carry out centralized control, monitoring and administration responsibilities.

[ISO 11064-31999, definition 3.4]

That reads like "bridge" to me. Thank you.

Based on this, my updated understanding is that an ESD panel was located in the same area as the monitoring stations, but the engine room ESD was not manually activated.

Why not? Did events happen too quickly for human response time? Did the human monitors not see the data, or did they not interpret it as requiring either zone ESD or activation of the rig-wide general alarms?

The more I learn, the more questions I have.

count - I went back through Williams testimony too. Some very important info in there.

He said that if two detectors entered a high state in a particular zone, the ESD for that zone should trip and the general alarm sound.

When the ESD trips, it should shut the fire dampers, kill the power and kill the 11KV power for that particular zone.

So if you lost the engine room or electrical spaces you would also lose station-keeping if I understand this correctly.


WARNING! 3000 PAGE PDF! US MMS Gulf of Mexico Boreholes by Lease WARNING! 3000 PAGE PDF!

The above extremely long document contains all of the MMS info about each borehole in the Gulf. In the Macondo block (MC252), it shows multiple BP boreholes (pages 1159, 1160, and 1169).

Can any of the industry people decipher these pages for the laymen? There are numerous unclear abbreviations and acronyms but they probably mean something to someone and might give us some additional insight into the activities out there.

I apologize if this has been covered before but I did not find it after a search, though I may have not searched with the right terms depending on how it was discussed previously.

Thanks in advance.

My word that's a long document I'm not even sure if I should open it, well what does it all mean for our current situation?

MC block 22 was leased first under lease 18207. A well was drilled starting 10/6/1999. It had trouble and was bypassed once on 10/20/1999 and again on 11/29/1999.
The block was leased again under lease 32306 (this is the current BP lease.) #1 well was started 10/7/2009. It was bypassed 3/18/2010 (after a long weather and rig changing delay.) #2 well was started 5/20/2010 (this is the backup relief well). #3 well was started 5/3/2010 (I don't know why the #3 well was actually started before #2 - perhaps rig/permit issues.) I didn't think to look on page 1169.

The wells on p 1169 are lease 21164 #1 and its bypass, drilled directionally in the fall of 2003 from a surface location in MC252 to a bottom hole location in adjacent block MC296. Perhaps this is the Rigel accumulation?

Glenmore, I think this is right.

In response to Moonbeam and k3d59 (questions on Rigel a few threads ago) I had looked up some details :

The original exploration well on MC252 was drilled in 1999 by Texaco who farmed into the lease. It was sidetracked twice from the same top hole. Results were apparently unappealing (gas bearing but poor reservoir). In 2002 Dominion aquired equity and operatorship of the block from ChevTex and in 2003 drilled an extension of the same structure in block MC296. The total depth was 11965 ft, and 140ft of very high quality gas bearing reservoir was encountered in the same Miocene horizon as the original exploration well. A sidetrack of this well was suspended and later used as a producer. Reference is also made to further pay in a shallower Pliocene reservoir (quoted as a potential candidate for future re-completion of the well). ENI acquired Dominion's assets in 2007 and now operate, partnered by Newfield and Mariner. The lease over MC252 was allowed to expire since they feel they can drain the field from the MC296 side.

Rigel was jointly developed with the Seventeen Hands gas field which lies some 9 miles to the east. Gas arrives from this field at the Rigel location, and production routes 16 miles to the west to Chevron's Gemini manifold, and from there to a gas processing facility at Viosca Knoll 900A. First production was in 2006, the well rate has now declined substantially.

What I'd take away from this would be :

There are 2 wells drilled on the southern periphery of the MC252 block. Only one is currently producing, the status of the other is unknown. Either could be leaking.

There are apparently gas bearing reservoir sands at both Miocene and shallower Pliocene levels in Rigel. This is however a small structure and it is exceptionally unlikely that BP will have drilled the same gas bearing closure at Macondo.

It does however suggest that this locality is sand prone in Miocene and Pliocene horizons shallower than the main pay in Macondo at 18000ft. It is likely that reservoir quality sands lie shallower than the logged interval we have seen to date.

bignerd, thank you so much for bothering to respond.

The other point was BP's rush to say "it's not our well and not our fault if it's leaking". When I posted the screen shot located BP#1 at MC252 and labels it as MC252 #1 BP2(RIGEL-DOMINION). From the media announcements, one could receive the impression that BP had no association with the leaking well when in fact, there appears to be a relationship, even if it's confined to the PLET. If you and Lurker are correct in your examining the possibility that the Macondo operation drilled through the Rigel reservoir field-and we see a cross section posted re static kill indicating multiple levels of oil and gas but not top view which would give us information about the topography of these deposits-then seepage from whichever Rigel unit might very well be directly related to Macondo.

Now that we've got multiple Rigel sites (some of which are active producers), subsea PLETS, processing stations, Macondo well and a multi-level depository which might constitute part of Rigel's reservoir(s) in and around MC252 ,seems to me we upped the the ante on God-like pronouncements on leaks and freaks.

Dang! Forgot that 21 miles of pipe that hangs it all together.

Rigel Well

map: deepwater wells, GOM

the names, field locations, and pipelines came from an out-of-date MMS document that i cant find anymore: 2007_os_gommap.pdf

the fields' and pipelines' relationship to each other, and the dirt, should be fairly accurate, except for missing pipelines ---removed (some removed by mistake) to increase clarity, mostly in the west.

the topo information may be slightly haywire... it's pasted and tweaked (to get it to fit) from google maps.

Thanks Blade -- nice graphic!!

thanks, tim...

if anyone's got corrections, additions or whatever, please post them...

maybe i'll get around to adding them to the map before i drink myself blind.

the names, field locations, and pipelines came from an out-of-date MMS document that i cant find anymore: 2007_os_gommap.pdf

You can still find it with Google (although not at MMS). Just looked.

This should help, and it contains numerous links to more info


RE: 3000 page MMS document
This is the document discussed on ZeroHedge today in the comments section following the article discussing (yet again) Matt Simmons, found here: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/matthew-simmons-lightning-rod-gulf-oil-....

In those comments the following discussion takes place. It varies a bit from the other respondent above and to me is less confusing. There are 4 BP wells noted--2 exploratory wells and the 2 relief wells. The 2 exploratory wells (A and B) are also noted in the drilling plan. All bottom data has been removed from both reports. A note in the drill plan says all bottom (geologic) data is removed routinely from reports when they are made public.

There has been much confusion as to which of the two exploratory wells is being discussed in media releases and news stories. For those willing to take the time, this document clarifies drilling dates and shut down dates. Below is the discussion of the MMS report in relation to the current disaster (DWH well is spud#2 in discussion below.) Definitions of all the acronyms are given in one comment.

Zero Hedge comments discussion:
by CD
on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 06:46

Dear Science-based (but otherwise neutral/impartial) observers,

It seems there are 4 boreholes in the MC252 prospect drilled by BP in 2010.

In the spirit of transparency, please take a look at the bottom coordinates of all wellbores in the fabled ole' Miss Chasm block two hundred and fifty two, courtesy of the Mineral Mismanagement Agency:


Yes, it IS a ca. 3000 page pdf. Search for MC252. It's all there in black and white. Four boreholes in 2010. Oh wait, except their bottom locations are all: #######################

Pages 1159-1160

SPUD#1: 07-OCT-2009

Stat#1: 18-MAR-2010

TD #1 08-MAR-2010 (presumably location B)

SPUD#2: 18-MAR-2010

Stat#2: 18-MAR-2010

TD#2 09-APR-2010 (presumably location A)

SPUD and Stat #3 (no TD date as yet): 03-MAY-2010 (presumably relief well #1, Development Driller III)

SPUD and Stat #4 (no TD date as yet): 20-MAY-2010 (presumably relief well #2, Development Driller II)

In addition to the 2 relief wells being drilled, there are 2 'original' wells. 1 with the capping stack, the media darling of the last 3 months. Another in disgraceful anonymity, not worthy of even page 12 of the tabloids. We don't know where it is, why/how it was abandoned, does it have a cement plug or merely drilling mud, etc. It was conveniently left out of all media reports and congressional testimony, with the exception of the stray reference in the 60 Mins. report.


Even currently there are articles out there talking about 'problems with well in February' -- none of them seem to realize it was a different wellbore being drilled in Feb 2010, NOT the one currently on display.

by Cognitive Dissonance
on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 07:49

Does anyone know how to read this report, what some of the abbreviations mean?

In particular I'm interested in the category on the left titled "Well" which is over "Cd/Stat". Since the presumed relief wells (numbers 02 and 03) are "cd/stat" of "R/DRL" (on page 1160) and the two entries for well number 01 (on page 1159) have a cd/stat of "E/ST" and "E/DRL.

A wild ass guess would be this. "R/DRL" might mean "relief/drilling" for type and status for the two relief wells, number 02 and 03. The two entries for well number 01 might be "E/ST" for exploratory/stable or stabilized and "E/DRL" for exploratory/drilling. Again, that's my wild ass guess.

Anyone know how to read this report? Thanks.

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by CD
on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 08:16

Good catch on the well numbering, I did not see that at first. None of the 'engineers' (in fact or in spirit) have touched the substance of the post (how many wellbores? where? in what condition) with a ten-foot pole the first time I posted it, so I don't have high hopes for it here either...[snip]

by M4570D0N
on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 09:06

Type codes and borehole status codes:

Type Code:

* * - Dummy
* C - Core Test
* D - Development
* E - Exploratory
* R - Relief

Borehole Status Code

* APD-Application for permit to drill.
* AST - Approved Sidetrack
* BP - Bypass
* CNL - Borehole is cancelled. The request to drill the well is cancelled after the APD or sundry has been approved. The status date of the borehole was cancelled.
* COM-Borehole Completed.
* CT-Core Test Well.
* DRL-Drilling Active.
* DSI-Drilling Suspended.
* PA-Permently Abandoned.
* ST-Borehole Side Tracked.
* TA-Temporarily Abandoned.
* VCW-Volume Chamber Well.


So with respect to the wells:

1) Spud: 07-Oct-2009. Location: 06940N 01042E. Status: sidetracked on 18-Mar-2010

2) Spud: 18-Mar-2010. Location: 06940N 01042E. Status: Drilling. (well...not anymore)

3) Relief Well #1. Spud: 03-May-2010. Location: 06288S 00020E. Status: Drilling

4) Relief Well #2. Spud: 20-May-2010. Location: 06504S 02887E. Status: Drilling

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by CD
on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 09:17


Thanks for digging a little deeper on the MMS site, M4570D0N. The locations you cited are the surface locations, presumably the coordinates of the DWH before it sank. . .[snip]

by Cognitive Dissonance
on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 09:50


I agree that any honest assessment of this data can't be complete without the missing data. Scrolling through the 3000 pages, there are other times when this data is x'd out for other wells but it's the exception, not the rule.

Regarding the term side tracked, from what I have read, if a well-bore has a major problem, say a tool is jammed in the hole and can't be retrieved and thus the way further down is blocked, what they will do is back up a distance, say 2,000 feet if the well bore was already 10,000 feet down, and plug the hole for that 2,000 feet with cement. Then they will break through the side of the casing and start drilling off at an angle, thus saving the upper portion of the well bore and millions of dollars of expense.

Might this not be considered a second well bore? But because it's using the same BOP and original location, it would still be the same well number (number 01 in this case) but a different well bore number?

Just thinking out loud. Expert input would be appreciated here.

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by CD
on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 10:00

I guess it all depends on the definition of "new wellbore". I don't know. I DO, however know that very little of the above is public information, none of it has been discussed to any significant extent in the MSM. I also have a (purely subjective) supposition that this is relevant to the examination of what happened to the well, and wonder WHY.

However, the spud dates are different. As far as I know, the definition of 'spud' is:

The initial penetration of the ground or seafloor / the start of the drilling operation.

Hope this helps.

That's a long post and I didn't download nor read the 3000pg MMS. But I think from the discussion that you're concerned there's an extra "secret" well? IIRC, the DH lost an entire drill string on this well once, and had to restart from essentially the same spot. Probably MMS regs require them to resubmit an application, which I suspect they did. Mystery solved.

If the conspiracy crowd wants links about this I might think about it, but shouldn't be hard to find for others more interested.

Usually sidetracking is handled in the API (American Petroleum Institute) number where it is designated as a specific sidetrack, not as a totally new well location. API number are unique number for every well starting with a 2 digit State Code, followed by a 3 digit County Code (not sure how they handle offshore wells) followed by a 5 digit Well Number. Side tracks are an additional 2 digit number at the end. I am unable to view the records in question so an unable to provide a specific review.

It is reported that the API for the Mocando well is 60 817 41169 01

60 - is not a state designation but is the designation for Northern Gulf of Mexico (offshore)
817 - obviously is not a county code but related to the MMS lease in some way
41169 - the unique well number
01 - sidetracked well (sidetrack number 1)

red - Probably requires an application? LOL. You have no idea of the paper work that goes into getting a drill permit. There is an entire industry of consulting companies that exist only to help the operators with this paper work. And there are dozens of folks involved in the process including many not working for the operator. In addition to the govt knowing about every well being drilled so does the entire oil patch. The drill permits are not only public record but the rig activity is monitored and reported by a number of for profit organizations on a daily basis

I ran a Google search the other day on the API number for this well. MMS has two listings in their public database, one being the original well where the drillstring was lost and the other, tagged ST01, being the wild well.

Original API# Well MC252#1 Transocean Marianas: 60-817-41169-00

API# from Form 133 Well MC252#1, Deepwater Horizon: 60-817-41169, Sidetrack # 00, Bypass # 01.

Rather than look at boreholes, I looked at the applications to drill.

If you go to the MMS Gulf of Mexico Region web site at http://www.gomr.mms.gov/ you can look up info on all the wells in the Gulf.

Click on Fast Facts in the left hand column, then click on 'Application for Permit to Drill (APD)

Click on 'Bottom Lease' and put in G32306.

You will find all four of the applications to drill that were submitted to the MMS by BP to drill three wells in MC252 (the original and the two relief wells)

Here's a screen capture of the results:
Lease G32306

The first application to drill was approved on 5/22/2009 for the drill rig T. O. Marianas, the well name was 001; the surface coordinates were Lat 28.73836889 Long -88.36593389; UTM = E1202802.892336 N10431702.916855.

That rig was damaged and so the second application to drill was submitted for T. O. Deepwater Horizon to replace the T. O. Marianas. That application was approved on 3/15/2010. Note that the well name and location are exactly the same.

The APD for Well 003 (RW1) was submitted on 4/26/2010 and was approved on 4/28/2010 for the T. O. Development Driller III at Lat 28.73098833 Lon -88.36266361; UTM E1203820.039819 N10429007.968411.

The APD for Well 002 (RW2) was submitted on 4/26/2010 and was approved on 5/17/2010 for the T. O. Development Driller II at Lat 28.73150056 Lon -88.37160833; UTM E1200956.004236 N10429227.053585.

So Well 001 corresponds to Well A in the plan - E1202804, N10431617 Lat 28.73813262 Lon -88.36592736 (see http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/offshore/Plans_Permits/plans/planentry.asp?Num=4937&Code=R)

While the original plan shows two well sites, BP only submitted an application to drill at the site of Well A.

That's good enough for me. Thanks for your patience to dig that out.

Grey -- No dang way! LOL. I'm 59 yo and don't have that many years left. But toss out some specifics and I'll give it a try. In the mean time try this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_field_acronyms

Thanks to EVERYONE for the replies. There is some fascinating info from this document and the ensuing discussion.

Again, thanks!

BP (BP/ LN) to sell more than GBP 12bln of North Sea assets to pay for Gulf oil spill

20:52 26-07-2010

BP (BP /LN) relief well could drill into leaking Gulf well by end of next week – US govt.

20:39 26-07-2010

From today's just concluded press briefing - Allen's main points

Current estimated time line for RW, static kill and bottom kill:
- latch on to well today
- today through Wed, retrieve storm packer, pick up drill pipe, circulate to clean bore, etc
- Wed begin running 2,000' feet of casing.. finish Sat, Sun with cementing

Static kill:
- Begin Monday, 8/2, dependent on cementing of RW casing (he said earlier that the static kill could begin before the cement was completely set)
- mud will be coming from Q4000, via the kill line on the old BOP [both kill and choke lines were used during the failed top kill attempt]

Bottom kill:
- drilling of the final 100' could progress during the static kill [I assume he meant after the final cement has dried]
- bottom kill could begin 5-7 days after static kill

Oil clean-up:
Becoming more challenging since the oil is "dis-aggregating" into smaller patches. One larger area has been noted and skimmers have been dispatched in that direction. Still focusing on picking up oil at sea as much as possible, to keep it from reaching sand and marshes. Anticipates oil will continue coming to the shorelines for 4-6 more weeks, based on how long it took the spill to originally appear onshore.
As less collection work is available for the vessels of opportunity, they're considering re-assigning some of them to surveillance and sampling work.
NOAA currently has a number of vessels aggressively sampling at various depths looking for subsurface hydrocarbons.

I caught the tail end of comments made by a HHS guy before Allen spoke (Allen's briefing was held at HHS) - he said HHS is focused on three areas of health concerns - health impacts of exposure to hydrocarbons, safety of seafood and longer term mental health issues. (those are all my words - interpretations of what I heard him say.)

So they're pretty much on schedule, uh? That's good I'll be glad to see this episode end, hopefully the residents near the gulf are in good health and may they recover soon.

Good job, rainy -- thanks.

There have been several comments about separation of Methane. The critical temperature is 190K, well below the sea bottom and cap temperatures; the critical pressure is about 460 atmospheres. It is fairly obvious that the oil is saturated with methane and is probably at a greater temperature and pressure than the present cap. Thus the methane will diffuse out of the oil and collect in the bore as a gas at the pressure of the oil. By now it is probably filling the bore, if any attempt is made to open the cap it will result in a spout of nearly pure methane, and if any triboelectric or other spark is present there will be another explosion as the expanding methane cloud mixes with the air. The same thing will happen if the relief drill enters the bore.
There go two more rigs!!!---- and another leak of comparable size.

Will someone who knows someone high up at BP please tell them.

A spout of pure methane? I thought they bled the flow into the GOM and gradually ramped up the collection. When the methane hits the water it forms the clathrates, no? Are you saying this methane spout will rise and be a threat without being collected? I thought I used to know physics, but every time Candace Bergen comes on the Discovery Channel I get lost. I had to watch the quantum mechanics and the Steven Hawking episodes 5 times each.

It's that Hawking radiation thing...very complex, never been observed, and somewhat controversial. Hopefully he is right or we are going to be part of a new black hole, when they ramp up the Large Collider to full power...

Fermi Lab's already found the Higgs boson, or so the rumor goes. Hawking's on a roll; it looks like he's won the $100k bet with Higgs that it wouldn't be found at LHC.

I thought Higgs boson is the God particle that has no religious implications. The entire universe was once a single super Higgs boson? Then rapid expansion but not necessarily a 'bang'? This stuff hurts my head.

Yeah, but that's only the Standard Model. I'm holding out for the SST version with Posi-Track.

When did steady state come back? Did it not ever leave?

They tried bringing it back as Quasi Steady State but it didn't do well at the cosmologists' box office.

Now I'm lost, box office? Is this a movie or a talk on quantum physics? What do either of these have to due with the spill?

No, I think we be in the world of theoretical physics. What if MC 252 was caused by a micro black hole instead of incompetent and greedy oilmen? The oil/dispersant dispersion models might border on the theoretical. Yes, I feel there is a place in this applied physics disaster for the theoretical. TinFoil.

No, I think we be in the world of theoretical physics.

Fer sure. A box office, caviar, vodka, Tony Hayward, oil, methane and walking catfish are all the same stuff.

Good, I thought I was going to have to E-mail the Jesuits again.

Making the most of Dubble Bubble today, are we? Carry on . . .

Why are we talking about hadron physics in the oil drum? But the higg's boson is the theoretical solution to the big bang, but yes my head nearly exploded when thinking about it.
As for the LHC creating a black hole, don't worry about that because not only are black holes not made that way but if one were to indeed be created it probably collapse because it's to small.

So rest assure our futures are safe for the time being until next year when a hudnred new doomsday theories surface the web.

Empirical evidence suggests otherwise.

Clearly visible OIL escaping from the current leaks in the capping stack. Not gas.

Would you mind checking your phase diagrams again?

Dimitry BS Aerospace :)

Clearly visible OIL

How are you so certain it is oil?


Looks like it is a mixture leaking to me by the colors.

Just a hunch, I guess. Small, dark, round spheres, rising slowly without any volume expansion. You know...like oil.

Gas bubbles would not show volume expansion at that depth dP is pretty small. The gas will be pretty dense as well and there have been suggestions that the build up on the BOP is clathrates.


So can there be a methane bubble in the wellbore that will blow all the surface ships to smithereens as the original post by the PhD opines?

Everything I read here suggests that methane is miscible in oil at 6800 psia, even at fairly low temperature.

True or not true?

I'm not sure where you heard that but the whole methane bubble theory has pretty much been left alone for the past month now, but to recap I don't think we have to worry about one in the well bore, there is always a possibility but its slim.
But I know very little about this, so please allow someone with more knoweldge and experience than I to sort this out.


To learn more about the phase behaviour of multi component hydrocarbon mixtures I'd suggest :




I'm afraid your observations make no sense to me.

Mark, ignoring all the static, amusing as it is (note to cosmologists: everything is nothing), what do you think of Stick's theory?


tfhg said
I can give you space and post privileges at http://gcn01.com

Thanks! I'd consider it an honour. I was watching your posts a few weeks ago when you were setting the site up, and am very impressed with how slick it looks in such a short time.

Not much time to write stuff these days but if I come up with anything I'll let you know.

Open to all good posters. I will hold minimal editing standards, but I look forward to ideas I do not agree with. Ideas I support are welcome too.

Arrrrrgh. For our "Dumb and Dumber" file . . .

Enviro Agency Just Guessed At Size Of Major Spill When OK'ing Gulf Wells

Earlier this month, we told you how the National Marine Fisheries Service, charged with protecting endangered marine life in the Gulf, drastically underestimated the size and effects of an oil spill in the Gulf. Its opinion allowed the government to sell leases to oil reserves in the Gulf -- including the now-leaking Macondo well -- to various oil companies.

Fisheries estimated that a "major" oil spill would be about half the size of the Ixtoc I disaster, which dumped an estimated 3.5 million barrels in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979.

TPMmuckraker has now found proof that Fisheries did little more than throw up their hands and guess when coming up with that estimation. But the former Minerals Management Service did much worse, estimating that such a spill would be about 15,000 barrels -- less than one percent of Fisheries' estimate. ...

On page A7 of the print version of today's Wall Street Journal is a picture of a father and his kids at the beach. The caption reads "People took in the sun at the beach Sunday in Grand Isle La. on the first day it was reopened to the public after being closed due to the oil spill". Left to the government, those kids would have missed a whole summer at the beach awaiting the completion of the relief well. As it is now, they will get a month to play in the sun and sand before school starts up again.

So I would like to address a comment to BP's subsea operations personnel (who were uninvolved in creating the leak) for stopping the leak.


According to the NOAA spill map the beaches in that area are oiled.

Didn't they say it would take as many days for the oil to stop coming on shore as it took to get to shore in the beginning?

More BP Factoids from http://globalwarming.house.gov/files/LTTR/2010-07-23_ResponseTo2001-06-1...

"...The U.S. Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service approved the top kill
procedure, including the ingredients for the drilling mud. The ingredients used in the procedure were: fresh water (which, as used, contained a sodium chloride brine solution), caustic soda, DUOVIS (which consists of xantham gum and Glyoxal), ethylene glycol, and MI BAR (which consists of Barite and Crystalline Silica Quartz). The ethylene glycol used was a 30% solution, meaning that it was diluted with water at 30% concentration. That solution is what was added to the mud. BP used approximately 30,000 barrels of drilling mud in the top kill procedure.
"...how much methanol is currently being used and how is that figure determined?
...BP has used more than 168,000 gallons since the start of the mitigation effort...
"...Given the massive number of volunteers and contractors, BP does not currently maintain records Given the massive number of volunteers and contractors, BP does not currently maintain records specifying for each individual worker the actual number of hours worked, the specific tasks conducted, and the type of personal protective equipment used. However, BP is cooperating with NIOSH in that agency’s rostering program, described above, which will provide that information for the workers who agree to participate in the program. It is our understanding that worker participation in the NIOSH rostering has been very good..."

I really would like to know the breakdown on the labor force. How many prisoners/total? How many from temporary services/total? How many from state employment service/total? How many from newly licensed contractors (that'll be a booger to determine) who have just applied for state or fed tax permits/ein's.

Mustercluck. My poor country.

They are oiled. Apparently, the Father of the Year doesn't believe the water tests that say the water isn't good to swim in.

Here's photos from this weekend at Grand Isle.


Going to throw this out there and see what people think about the data. I've got a basic understanding about it. Just curious and really don't where else to go to get understandable comments.


That rather than be cautious, waters are reopened with incomplete data. I have a question for the rest. A ban in federal waters can be enforced, but what about past the 200 mile limit? For example, could China catch fish in a closed area and then sell it back to an American company? I see myself eating land food for for 20 years.

I'm not even sure of the enforcement. Shortly after the spill, a shrimper from Panama City was caught with more than 25,000 lbs of shrimp caught in Louisiana waters. The regs we have in place are only as good as the integrity of the people being regulated. The guy didn't even lose his boat. He was fined 5k and the shrimp were dumped overboard. Nice, huh?

I'm sticking with grass fed beef and chicken for the foreseeable future.

Hiya, tiny, how goes today?

I don't have either the training or the eyesight to deal with that page (but seem to recall a number of times when those who do around here have debunked stuff from that source). Not sure who's around today to help you, but what you might want to do is shoot an email to Ben Raines at the Press-Register. I'm sure he'll know what to make of it.

Fiancee contacted one of the scientists that couldnt be bought about the reopening in Mobile Bay and he thought it was quite premature and thinks there will be problems down the road, but it wasnt his call as he's not in on the testing.

After reading that book I was talking about yesterday, found lots of interesting info. This book is referenced quite a bit when it came to dealing with the statistics provided by Exxon: Huff,D. 1954. How to Lie with Statistics. This is an except from a part of book:

Exxon scientists slanted their own studies with under-powered designs so their studies would not detect oil
spill effects. Choices in study design ensured pre-determined conclusions. Many of the common tricks used by Exxon scientists are described by Huff. For example, one trick was to improperly preserve samples to reduce concentrations of aromatic hydrocarbons (Chapter 12). Another was to average data to erase distinct differences between oiled and unoiled areas (Chapters 12, 13).Another was to selectively report data—or to simply omit the most damaging data—to hide oil spill effects (Chapters 13,14). Another was to collect a small number of samples with a physically tiny sampling device
to blur differences between oiled and unoiled areas (Chapter 13). Another was to mismatch control and oil sites—again to blur oil effects (Chapter 13).Examples abound. Exxon counted on seemingly small nuances in study design to
pull off its magician’s act of making the Sound appear to have fully recovered within a couple years after the spill—abracadabra! Without samples that accurately represented the larger whole— whether that “whole” was beach ecology, seabird communities, sea otters populations, or something else—Exxon’s studies reveal little about the true nature of the Sound.

What are we really talking about? I am convinced Kingsford Matchlight puts hydrocarbons on food. I use newspapers to start the regular stuff. Printed with soy ink. I do not want any hydrocarbons on my food, but don't I eat them every day. I am really talking about risk management now. TinFoil.

I'm just wondering who benefits the most from the data provided with regards to reopening waters. I'm not talking about the the bloggers commentary on this site, although I did find the one on Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/gulf-fisheries-opened-...) more to the point in regards to this article. Data provided shows that the protocols weren't followed in regards to sampling. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that data was skewed for the benefit of PR, economy and showing the country/world that we are back to business as usual. Just my common sense approach. They are looking into opening up the state waters within the next couple of weeks also. North of Dauphin Island and the Miss Sound. I understand that the oil/dispersant mix probably killed off what marine life was out there when it washed ashore. But I believe that there are problems out there and the ramifications can be costly if they rush this issue because of public perception.

If you want to avoid PAHs, don't grill or smoke your food. PAHs are formed during incomplete combustion of any organic material.



Use a George Foreman grill myself.

I feel that PAH's got me this far. As long as the PAH's hold off for another 10 or 15 years, I am good to go. Foreman is OK, but charcoal or wood is better. Charred cellulose particles are a particularly good seasoning in the right amounts.

It is interesting that people don't worry about all sorts of natural nasties in their food when the same things from other sources have them marching in the streets.

Here's one of my favorites.


Acrylamide is a bona-fide neurotoxin and carcinogen found in quite amazingly high amounts in french fries.

It's much worse than anything found in Corexit 9500 yet nobody pays any attention to it. Have a Happy Meal!!

And we have all heard about how bad dioxins are, right? They really are bad stuff that comes from Monsanto et al, who ought to be run out of town on a rail. The compounds never occur in nature and we should flat out ban chlorine, right? Well they are bad news. But they don't necessarily come from where you think.

From "Natural Organohalogens - Many more than you think!."
G.W.Gribble J.Chem.Ed v.71 p.907-911

"The relatively poor efficiency and incomplete oxidation when damp vegetation and wood are burned in the presence of high chloride concentrations (70-2100 ppm in wood pulp ) are conditions conducive to PCDD formation, and two research groups have concluded that forest and brush fires are the major source of PCDD's and PCDF's in the environment (55,56). It is estimated that some 130 pounds of PCDD's are produced in Canadian forest fires annually (56)."
(55) = Anal. Chem v.54 p.2292 (1982)
(56) = Chemosphere v.14 p.811 (1985)

For comparison 118 grams of dioxin and related compounds are
released by US paper mills ( Science v.266 p.1162 18 Nov 1994).

Well that's my pot stirring for today.

If we applied real risk management to our lives, the missiles would fly within the month, IMHO.

Figures don't lie, but liars can figure...

I like this one better:

Huff (1954) warns,“Public pressure and hasty journalism often
launch a treatment that is unproven,particularly when the demand is
great and the statistical background hazy” (41). He further explains
that “without writers who use the words with honesty and understanding
and readers who know what they mean,the result can only
be semantic nonsense”(ibid.,8).
Unfortunately,“semantic nonsense”in the hands of a clever wordsmith
can still be skillfully tailored to convey whatever story suits the
person who is paying for it.

With the right girdle, you can make a figure appear any which way you want it to.

Sounds precisely like the methods used by the climate scientists. Clearly if they are right, so should Exxon's scientists no?

There ya go!

NYT: U.S. Releases Letter on Lockerbie Case

(Murdoch's) ToL having headlined “Revealed: Document Exposes U.S. Double-Talk on Lockerbie,” the State Department set matters straight by releasing the full text (which NYT reprints).

... The letter posted on the State Department’s Web site on Monday was sent by an American diplomat to Scotland’s government last August — before the Scottish justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, decided to release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds — does include a clear statement that “the United States would strongly oppose any release that would permit Megrahi to travel outside of Scotland.” The diplomatic statement added:

We believe that the welcoming reception that Megrahi might receive if he is permitted to travel abroad would be extremely inappropriate given Megrahi’s conviction for a heinous crime that continues to have a deep and profound impact on so many. As such, compassionate release or bail should be conditioned on Megrahi remaining in Scotland.

The State Department argued in a statement that The Times of London’s article “does not accurately reflect the strong and consistent opposition of the U.S. government to the release or transfer under any scenario” of Mr. Megrahi. Despite this American opposition, Scotland decided to release the man convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, and he returned to a hero’s welcome in Libya. ...

Mark L , physics --- Interesting Comment. Your 190 Kelvin temperature is -118 degrees F, and 460 atmospheres is around 3570 psi (maybe 45.4 atms for 667psi) . The Macondo bottom hole temperature was around +260 F, and pressure was around 11,900 psi.

On the dynamic Macondo well kill what does a petroleum engineer say about the methane being in solution, or existing as a gas? If it is a gas, one just has to release it safely out a choke or kill line into the cold 2200psi seawater at BOPs during bottom kill from relief well. It is more complicated in static kill because gas stays in upper well with the closed C/K lines, except for the one delivering the kill mud, which would trap methane gas.

What is the relationship between the slowly raising shut in pressure, and the many leaks above the wellhead? What is leaking out, oil or gas? Do the experts now believe the well is not leaking below the wellhead? Hopefully they know more now than they did during the initial expected 8,000-9,000 psi shut in pressure a couple of weeks ago when they got 6,700psi.

If the press would ask better questions, T. Allen and K. Wells would be forced into letting the public know what it is entitled to know

So, the flow lines are now passing oil and gas to the surface? What is the pressure in the well? I guess we will never know what pressure it would finally have come to in the 5-10 years it would take to get to 9,000 psi if it was recovering from depletion.

So, where is the leak? There are no reports of it coming to the surface. Maybe they are "leaking" dispersant?

Where is the leak?

I'm lost again, is this suppose to be good or bad news or just a comment responding to said news? The well just needs to reach 7,500 psi for it not be considered leaking and as of today I figure it would be around 6,950-7,050psi.

It would be there if it continued at the same rate, but the rate is continually falling off. Put it on a log scale and extrapolate it.

BP's 9 am CDT status update shows 6,914psi. It's gaining < 1 psi/hr now - closer to 12-14 psi per day the past few days.

Funny I'd think it be a little higher than that more along the lines of almost reaching 7,000psi, but I'm glad it's rising still which shows that things are still going well.

Maybe, maybe not. The observed behavior could be due to a restricted leak that is building up somewhere in the seabed. Time is not our friend here. Those guys need to get with it and plug that hell hole.

If you can get the raw data and curve fit the behavior, you could predict final value. It is not linear, although it may seem so in short segments.

I believe time is on our side we have the well plugged, and it hasn't had any major leaks in over a week. We are racing against hurricane season yes, but the stage is set for us to kill the well once and for all and I'm sure all here agree that we can have this well killed by mid-August.

I live like a believer, myself, but not in oilwells.

Wasn't there a report of an oil slick that needed skimming?

I wonder what pressure they will see on the relief well.

Although I might be uninformed, I believe that no fluids/gas are currently being conveyed to the surface collection ops and that has been the case since closing of the valves with the "new" cap last week. That is partially why their has been so much discussion regarding well pressure vs possible cap leakage vs downhole well integrity. Remember all surface vessels (except for one or two used in ROV monitoring) were demobed to port due to weather just this past weekend. I believe that included the Q4000 and surface processing vessels. According to K Wells update the Q4000 is being reconfigured in preparation for the static kill which will hopefully commence later this week.

I think HO expressed this somewhat misleadingly in his original article. Although he wrote:

"the flow lines are now passing oil and gas to the surface, the circuits will be reversed to return them to their original condition, ...",

I assume he intended this to be understood as:

"the flow lines are now set up for passing oil and gas to the surface, the circuits will be reversed to return them to their original condition, ...".

As far as I am aware, the well remains shut in, and will (in the absence of some unforeseen event that forces a re-think) remain so in order to perform the static kill.

Thank you for that clarification.

I'm going on vacation this week, and after reading about people traveling to the Alabama/Florida beaches to spread a few tourist type dollars around, Mrs R2 and I thought we might do the same. So, expect my pasty white legs showing up on a oil spill stained beach in Ala. or Fla. by Wednesday.

I figure I'll steal a baggie of oil stained beach sand and bring it back, placing it on the beaches of Galveston Island, making both beaches a bit cleaner. ;)

I hate to say it but do not come here if you want to get in the GOM. The risk is just too great right now. We still have an advisory.

Oh pishaw! It doesn't faze me in the slightest. I want to come back with my own commemorative tarball! Like a piece of the Berlin Wall or the ash from Mount St. Helens... Perhaps I can visit the dumpyard and pick up a bag of that oil soaked sand and sell it by the ounce. I live by BP headquarters in W. Houston. Perhaps a stand on the side of the road nearby? That would go over well...

I would drive to Houston to make the video. We would be on national TV in two hours. I just warn folks, come on down. Everything else is at a discount.

I thought about getting some 3ml screw-cap vials to fill with spill oil and selling them on eBay. Honestly, people will buy anything on that site.

Then again, I used to have a bottle of St Helens ash... so who am I to judge? :-)


Thanks for your support - we here in L.A. greatly appreciate it.

Call me crazy, but my b-in-law & I went fishin' in upper Mobile Bay Sat & caught some speckies & reds. Grilled & ate them Sat nite. Only positive results to report - saved energy, didn't have to use the lights when I showered - spontaneous ignition supplied plenty of light.

Finding lots of uses for third arm I grew last nite....

tommegee out

I'm fortunate to have found TOD soon after this catastrophie began.
Thanks to many people here , I have a better grasp on this horrible situation.

I have a question related to this document.
What exactly does "incidental take of marine mammals" mean?
This seems ****ed up!
Also : "Business-as-usual"
Page 6

I'm blown away more than before , D

I wasn't going to post this, for obvious reasons. But I'll take Rockman's 'Hands' comment as a sign from Gojira and do it now. Maybe it's been linked before, I don't know. Youtube muted the audio for copyright reasons. No doubt that's a good thing.

Mods, delete it if you don't want it here.

Local story by a man I know and trust.
Bob Morgan holds an MLA, is a theologian, and is a licensed counselor. He has hundreds of awards.

'Hill recounts her own physical decline in the aftermath of the oil’s arrival this way:

“Monday I’m feeling bad; feeling the same headaches everybody else is feeling.” Coastal Security higher ups tell them heat exhaustion is the culprit, something Hill categorically denies today. She and her people were acclimated to the heat, she insists.

Tuesday she’s so sick she’s vomiting. She describes it as having the “woozies all day long.” That night she’s “writhing in bed.”

Wednesday, around mid-morning, she can’t breathe and passes out at work.

“ I could taste the chemical,” Hill recalls, admittedly describing herself as a person with an acute sense of taste and smell. Her systolic blood pressure reading is normally 120, she said. That day it was 158: The local doctor that eventually saw her diagnosed heat exhaustion.

“I was falling over sick and crying,” Hill said.

When she disputed the diagnosis, Hill alleges the doctor told her any other diagnosis would cause a scare and result in the coastal area becoming a ghost town. She wouldn’t want that would she?'

Edit: Please leave a comment. The publisher is testing a new website and a big response means more stories like this. YOU CAN HELP TOO. Even if you disagree or are indifferent about the story. Say so. Then I can talk to him and let him know we all care. Absolutely no registration required (my idea, they have top notch filters and remote monitoring).

Pretty easy to lose a million gallons of oil.

You would think an alarm would have gone off, nah I am sure they were all shut off so as not to wake up a worker.

MARSHALL TOWNSHIP — A leaking pipeline spilled about 840,000 gallons of oil into a creek leading to the Kalamazoo River today according to estimates from Enbridge Energy Partners, the company taking responsibility for the spill.


Here's a little more about Enbridge Energy Partners from the Wiki page...

Spills and violations

  1. On July 4, 2002 an Enbridge pipeline ruptured in a marsh near the town of Cohasset, Minnesota in Itasca County, spilling 6,000 barrels (~250,000 gallons) of crude oil. In an attempt to keep the oil from contaminating the Mississippi River, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources set a controlled burn that lasted for 1 day and created a smoke plume about 1 mile high and 5 miles long.[8]
  2. In 2006, there were 67 reportable spills totaling 5,663 barrels on Enbridge's energy and transportation and distribution system; in 2007, there were 65 reportable spills totaling 13,777 barrels [9]
  3. On March 18, 2006, approximately 613 barrels of crude oil were released when a pump failed at Enbridge's Willmar terminal in Saskatchewan.[10] According to Enbridge, roughly half the oil was recovered, the remainder contributing to 'off-site' impacts.
  4. On January 1, 2007 an Enbridge pipeline that runs from Superior, Wisconsin to near Whitewater, Wisconsin cracked open and spilled ~50,000 gallons of crude oil onto farmland and into a drainage ditch.[11] The same pipeline was struck by construction crews on February 2, 2007, in Rusk County, Wisconsin, spilling ~126,000 gallons of crude. Some of the oil filled a hole more than 20 feet deep and was reported to have contaminated the local water table.[12]
  5. In April 2007, roughly 6,227 barrels of crude oil spilled into a field downstream of an Enbridge pumping station near Glenavon, Saskatchewan. Long-term site remediation is being attempted to bring the site to "as close as possible to its original condition".[10]
  6. In 2009, Enbridge Energy Partners, a US affiliate of Enbridge Inc., agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a lawsuit brought against the company by the state of Wisconsin for 545 environmental violations.[13] In a news release from Wisconsin's Department of Justice, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said "...the incidents of violation were numerous and widespread, and resulted in impacts to the streams and wetlands throughout the various watersheds."[14] The violations were incurred while building portions of the company's Southern Access pipeline, a ~$2.1 billion project to transport crude from the oil sands region in Alberta to Chicago.
  7. In January 2009 an Enbridge pipeline leaked about 4,000 barrels of oil southeast of Fort McMurray at the company's Cheecham Terminal tank farm. It was reported in the Edmonton Journal that most of the spilled oil was contained within berms, but that about 1% of the oil, about 40 barrels, sprayed into the air and coated nearby snow and trees.[15]
  8. April 2010 an Enbridge pipeline ruptured spilling more than 1500 litres of oil in Virden, Manitoba, which leaked into the Boghill Creek which eventually connects to the Assiniboine River.[16]

Here's a sample of comments coming from folks directly impacted... so far.

SiaStar wrote:All ready its here in Battle Creek. Wife woke me up. 3:40 am can smell it at our house. It must be down to the columbia ave bridge.
I suggest every one stock pile water before it hits the water treatment plant.
7/27/2010 3:42:18 AM

GHookway wrote: Who does their monitoring and how do you NOT miss 840,000 gallons of anything without realizing something is WRONG !!!
7/26/2010 11:14:38 PM

guitarkid11305 wrote: I live on the river just past where the creek joins. We still have oil pouring past our house, and it has ruined everything nearby. The entire area smells like tar and oil, and we have yet to see the flow even so much as lessen.
7/26/2010 9:59:33 PM

Here are some pics from the local paper, Battle Creek Enquier:

A worker siphons off oil while a boom holds back the Talmadge Creek where it flows into the the Kalamazoo River near A Drive North in Marshall Township Monday afternoon. (John Grap/The Enquire)

Dead fish lie in the mix of water and oil near where Talmadge Creek flows into the the Kalamazoo River, near A Drive North in Marshall Township Monday afternoon. (John Grap/The Enquirer)

A stick dipped in Talmadge Creek near Division Drive shows some of the oil that leaked into Monday afternoon. (John Grap/The Enquirer)

"some of the oil that leaked into Monday afternoon" - Lovely misplaced modifier.

How come people are spilling oil in China and now Michigan while this is going on? I would think everyone who has any control over oil would be inspecting like crazy to avoid becoming part of the news.

Yes, at first I thought I screwed up, but no, that was a delightful little twist that hit the nail right on the head...

I suspect these spills are happening on a near daily basis, all around the globe. Big Oil doesn't care, it's just a cost of doing business. Nonetheless we now have a more alert media and a growing public rage blowing back on these oily bastards... Blow, baby blow.


My daughter lived in Gulf Shores when the oil first started hitting the beaches there. She said you could smell the oil but you could also smell something like death, not dead fish just a dead smell.

Do you remember that?

Yes, early on was rotting flesh and petroleum. The flesh smell faded fast. Did you follow the link and comment? It will get us more firsthand controversial news, but the publisher needs response from the Blogosphere. Comment however you like, just comment. The locals will all answer now. TOD folks can get the everyday folks answering them. Peace.

Hi, Juan.

WSJ also fingers Andy Inglis and Doug Suttles as likely goners.

... "This is the battle for the survival of BP [and] Dudley has to be a little bit ruthless," said Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. "Regardless of the people who have to be fired, he must prevent any such accident from happening in the future."

Mr. Dudley is expected to call White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, White House energy and climate adviser Carol Browner and cabinet secretaries to assure them that he is "not abandoning the Gulf," said one person familiar with the matter.

"He will reinforce [the point] that the Gulf is more front and center" for BP now that he is taking over as CEO, the person said. ...

Brush up your Hattiesburg accent, Bob, though you've done so well at losing it.

(Those of you familiar with John Browne, does he make a habit of beginning sentences with "So, ..."? I've noticed that Dudley does, and sometimes Wells too. Just wondering if that tic is something BP's executive "turtles" picked up from Browne. Never heard Hayward do it, though he may also. If it's Dudley's idiosyncracy, stand by for everybody else to pick it up now.)

Might behoove some suddenly-unemployed Gulf Coast chef to gather up her or his savings, move to London, and open a Southern Home-Cookin' place handy to St. James Square . . . drive them hongry ex-pats wild, doncha know. Th'ow in some Tex-Mex. O lawdy.

Is the methane in the top of closed Macondo well in the gaseous or liquid state? If the pressure is around 6900 psi and the temperature is around 35 F, what does the phase diagram show? During the pumping processes are these phase changes predictable? Are these variables known and understood by the operators? In the static kill operation how can the kill mud all be pushed into formation by cement without plugging it up? What does John Wright think of the static kill? Is it difficult to figure the volumes in the static kill? Will pumping a set volume of mud then cement produce the predicted resulting pressure in BOP? Not like the expected 8000 to 9000psi and getting 6700psi a couple of weeks ago.

If the cement from static kill sets up before getting to proper bottom location, will that make bottom kill difficult or impossible? Is it safer to rely on bottom kill lower pressures on stacks, instead of combined static and bottom kill methods? Why does the static kill first operation make the bottom kill easier?

Happy days are here again:

BP (BP/ LN) CEO Dudley says no oil spewing into the Gulf since July 15

12:45 27-07-2010
- co. will eventually reinstate dividend
- co. will look different, smaller, to contain higher quality assets
- to raise capital by selling USD 30bln in assets

Not so happy days. BP just earned themselves a nice tax break of $10b or so.

The taxpayer, both in the US and the UK are going to end up paying for this mess.

As predicted.


BP is poised to spark fresh controversy after it emerged today that taxpayers on both sides of the Atlantic will be picking up part of the bill for dealing with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The cost of the clean-up has plunged BP into the red, meaning that the oil giant will be able to book a $10bn (£6.5bn) tax credit, slashing its tax bill in both the US and UK.


Agreed, as predicted. Apparently the $20B fund of many colors results in a loss to the US Treasury of $7.5B, and you know what that means. And probably more to come, whatever it takes to keep BP from crashing financial markets.

Now that they have stopped sonar runs looking for red methane, they have tried to locate some oil.

Cain't do it!!!!!!

It seems God helps those who help themselves.