BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Restarting Progress - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6786.

BP does not seem to have gone back to the daily briefings, let alone the twice-a-day ones that were being issued just a couple of weeks ago. Admiral Allen has given permission for the top and bottom kill (through the relief well (RW)) activities to continue. The Admiral also noted that the riser for the RW has been reattached, and the reconnection, removal of the plugging packer, and cleaning of the well is in process. It is estimated that the intersection with the original well will now occur on the 7th August, with the final set of casing being run into the hole this week, and then, after cement injection, the well will WOC (wait on cement) while the cement hardens, and is then checked. In the meanwhile, the undersea valve system is being modified to carry out the static kill that I discussed earlier. (And the leak monitoring has transferred to the BOA ROV 2, which is now showing four leaks.)

Once the flow channel to the well is restored, and the casing set and cemented in the relief well, then the Q4000 will carry mud from the HOS Centerline, driven by pumps on the Blue Dolphin into the riser, and down to the BOP to carry out the static kill. The Admiral currently expects that this will begin on August 2nd. He did note that the plan is still to inject cement into the top of the well, after the mud has killed any pressure differential between the bottom of the well and the reservoir, and thus also stabilized the well.

As the more immediate and visible problems reduce, with this path toward the final sealing of the well, and with future flows from it into the Gulf becoming less likely, the oil on the surface, and that migrating towards the shore is getting less. This will allow the Admiral to redeploy assets. For example it now appears that the risk of oil East of the Mississipi is declining, and that commercial fishing there may reopen before the end of the week, given that

"We're 90 days into this, and I think the data speaks for itself," said Randy Pausina, assistant secretary for fisheries at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. "There's been no indication that any seafood is even remotely close to being at any level of concern. Find me the concern and prove it to me."

Sport fishing has already been restarted.

We are now in the most intense driving season of the year, and this is evident, with traffic noticeably heavier on the roads in New England in recent days. SeaCoast Sunday noted in their paper edition on Sunday that occupancy rates in the York area of Southern Maine are over 90% during the week and at 100% on weekends. It is therefore not surprising that gas prices are on the rise, being on average 25 cents higher than this time last year.

We have been fortunate that the weather in the Gulf has not generated that much damage to the rigs and platforms yet this year, and those that were affected by Bonnie are now back in business. But the season is still young, and may yet remind us of our vulnerable dependence on oil.

Prof. Goose's comment:

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Not angry enough yet? Getting a touch blasé?
Time to watch Susan Shaw on TED.
Report back how you feel about your cowboy ethics now.

I am saddened to see such a political presentation and factually misleading presentation from somebody who has done good work in the past.

The bit about heavy metals in Corexit in particular is a dead giveaway that she has given up on science and is just playing politics here.

a cutoff reply posted again


the air chamber that i suggest is not used as a source for the power to operate the ram. I suggest using seawater pressure for that function. As the ram moves, someplace must be allowed for the contents under the piston to go to allow the ram to move. Current BOP's have that space filled with hydraulic fluid and use an accumulator for its storage when it is displaced. I only suggest that the hydraulic fluid is unneccessary on that side of the piston (it may provide necessary seal lubrication and its presence is desired).

the crux of my design centers on removing those items from the BOP SYSTEM that could be causes of failures; namely Hydraulic pumps and a very long hydraulic line. Shallow wells and land based wells must rely on man-made sources of energy for operation, deep water wells may have a gravity induced source of energy in the form of seawater pressure. Reviewing your link to the Cameron BOP design reveals that only the source of energy needs to change along with Closing piston diameter to alter only the closing side of the BOP. Leave the hydraulics for the opening side, but remove the dependency for closing.

another respondent said that the hydraulic pressure may be "bumped" if need be. a system that is beginning to reach the limits of pressure would need to be over-designed in order to accomodate such bumps.

I only looked at the current BOP SYSTEM looking for possible sources of failure. then I looked at what alternatives there might be.

the diesel engines were reported to have "blown up" as a result of ingesting air containing flammable vapors. this may have already been "after the fact" but is a shortcoming of a diesel engine in that it has no "butterfly" throttle, instead relying on fuel metering to control power and speed. Feed it extra fuel and it will "blow up".

a 1 mile long hydraulic hose at very high pressure might best be described as a "controlled baloon" undergoing expansion and length growth under pressure. telephone and power lines have span limits due to many considerations, one of which is being able to withstand the tensile stress due to its own weight. how strong must the hose be to withstand the pressure, and what does the usual strengthing reinforcement material add to the 1 mile long vertical stress.

these are not impossible requirements to design to; they just push the limits closer to the breaking point. breaking points are apparently why we have such a disaster.


while working on a computer program (I sometimes find that my mind subconsiously works on a problem while I am off doing something else)I remembered an incident that left me laughing.

It has application to BOP pressure Bumping. So bear with me.

A timber-framer was assembling some Bents for my house. These are 8" x 8" beams and braces held together by 1" x 9" hard Oak pegs. He was using a 4# Dead-Blow hammer for the peg insertion tool, Dead-Blow so as to not deface the peg. When he hit a stubborn peg that was about halfway home it refused to go any further. I envisioned having to drill out the peg and restart anew. When he put down the Dead-Blow and reached for a small hard leather mallet that could not have weighed more than 4 ounces on a rainy day, I starting laughing. Tink, tink, tink, and the peg obliged! The Dead-Blow did what the name implied, producing a strong force over a relatively long period of time. What the leather mallet did was produce a significantly lesser force but concentrated in a short sharp blow. An impirical show of the difference of the amount of force and the sharpness of that force. An impact wrench also uses this principal. Also a jack hammer.

Now as to BOP pressure bumping and force application. We are all intuitively attuned to "if it doesn't fit, get a bigger hammer". If the BOP does not close fully, apply more pressure. Bump up the pump. Topside the pressure guages respond quickly. But during the fluid passage through that long baloon of a hose, the bump shows up at the BOP as a only gradual increase in pressure. The ram may still refuse to budge. Attempts to produce this sharp hit at the BOP might be a consideration, but care that the sharp blow is not deflected upward on the hose baloon is required.


an neccessary addition to the suggested mod

after closing, there is still full closing force on the closing ram and the ram cylinder is full of seawater. simply closing the seawater valve does not provide a place to store the "spent" seawater; there must be a place to "dump" the seawater on opening, an empty accumulator would suffice.

SequoiaCPE: A quote from Robert A.Heinlein: TANSTAAFL. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
It may seem tempting to use the subsea pressure but down there that is the ambient pressure. If you had that pressure at sea level you would have considerable stored energy. Down there it has none. The only potential energy you have in your plan is the vacuum in the cylinder.
A further problem with compressed gases or springs is the uncontrolled speed. These shear blades are hardened and extremely brittle, as they must be to do the job. When slammed against the drill pipe as by springs or compressed gas they would likely chip or even shatter. They are not square edges like a shear in a scrapyard or sheetmetal shear. They are knife edged and quite thin in the are where they cut.
Since the shear is but one facet of the BOP, how will you operate the VBRs, the annulars and the test? These are not one shot deals and might be used repeatedly in one day.

SequoiaCPE: A quote from Robert A.Heinlein: TANSTAAFL. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
It may seem tempting to use the subsea pressure but down there that is the ambient pressure. If you had that pressure at sea level you would have considerable stored energy. Down there it has none. The only potential energy you have in your plan is the vacuum in the cylinder.
A further problem with compressed gases or springs is the uncontrolled speed. These shear blades are hardened and extremely brittle, as they must be to do the job. When slammed against the drill pipe as by springs or compressed gas they would likely chip or even shatter. They are not square edges like a shear in a scrapyard or sheetmetal shear. They are knife edged and quite thin in the are where they cut.
Since the shear is but one facet of the BOP, how will you operate the VBRs, the annulars and the test? These are not one shot deals and might be used repeatedly in one day.


"These shear blades are hardened and extremely brittle, as they must be to do the job. When slammed against the drill pipe as by springs or compressed gas they would likely chip or even shatter. They are not square edges like a shear in a scrapyard or sheetmetal shear. They are knife edged and quite thin in the are where they cut."

How do they cut drill pipe that may be in the process of being "kicked" out of the well which the DWH concensus seems to be they were in motion?

"The only potential energy you have in your plan is the vacuum in the cylinder."

This suggests that submarines don't have to worry about crush depths because they have about 1 atmosphere internal pressure.

"How do they cut drill pipe that may be in the process of being "kicked" out of the well which the DWH concensus seems to be they' were in motion?"

I haven't seen any evidence that they could cut a pipe in motion as this case demonstrates. I am not an expert on BOPs but as a journeyman machinist and millwright I could build you one. I do know about cutting metal.
Images of BOP shear blades here:
and here:

I would think it obvious that these are not intended to cut a mile long length of pipe in motion.
Perhaps some here more acquainted with BOPs could comment?
Also in the Emergency Disconnect Sequence, What are the things that must happen in that sequence?

re: submarines. Totally irrelevant . If a submarine crushes the force involved will not matter. It is however the same as your idea. The lower pressure is, in effect, a vacuum. If the submarine had equal pressure within, it would not crush.


The ambient water pressure at depth--for our sake here, 150 atm is a close enough estimate--is indeed the controlling factor. It's true that if submarines kept internal air pressure equal to external water pressure, they'd never crush, but that would introduce all kinds of other engineering problems (not least of which: how to store such a massive volume of oxygen? Not to mention all the physiological effects on the submariners).

For the sake of the BOP, though, let's consider either a shear or a ram. Your idea, as I understand it, is to use ambient water pressure to propel the shear/ram forward into the pipe, cutting or sealing it off. Assume that the shear is attached to a piston within a shaft. The piston is held in place by a metal collar, so that there is an empty part of the shaft behind it (on the flat, shearless side of the piston). On the shear side of the piston, the shaft extends perhaps 1m, giving the piston enough shaft length to accelerate to maximum speed, so the shear will have enough force when it strikes the pipe.

Assume now, that the empty shaft behind the piston is a near-vacuum, say at 0.1 atm (as opposed to the 150 atm ambient). Were that shaft to be suddenly opened, and exposed to the ambient water pressure, the water would rush in with tremendous force to fill the vacuum to 150 atm. The piston, with shear attached, would be propelled down the shaft with tremendous force, and so cut the pipe, no?

In fact, no. The problem is that water is also pressing on the opposite side of the piston (the shear side), with equal force (150 atm) as the water which rushes in to fill the vacuum. In that event too, you need enough pressure behind the piston to overcome the ambient water pressure (which is the resistance the shear must force its way through in order to reach the pipe at all).

So you would need ambient water pressure, 150 atm, plus a great deal more pressure, to actually force the shear into the pipe. So it's sadly true: there's no free lunch. There's no perpetual motion machine, and you must in fact produce greater than ambient water pressure, in order to create a pressure differential that will propel the shear through the water and through the pipe as well.

Sequoia, I'm at a loss on how to explain this without sounding arrogant. You have taken an existing BOP system design that works part time or is unreliable and converted it to a system that won't work at all. When I say part time I would like to clarify the unreliability noted is in testing. We haven't factored in lack of inspection or maintenance.

I am familiar with the pressures/tonnage required to shear and bend metals of different alloys and thickness. I am familiar with the mechanical and hydraulic systems used to do the job required. None of the systems use air except low pressure low tonnage machines. Hydraulic systems are designed as self contained and there is no requirement for tubing thousands of feet long.

I suggest you might approach this problem using the tonnage required to shear the drill pipe then the pressures required will come into play. How do you develop the required pressure and control it. I chose the drill pipe because it is designed and manufactured with different diameters, wall thicknesses, and alloys. The coupling/joints and tool sections are much thicker than the pipe itself and require more tonnage to shear. Another consideraation to take into account is BOPs are used both topside and DW/subsea.


if you stopped thinking that air pressure is the driving force, then your "at a loss" might be resolved.


Actually I'm not sure what the driving force is. You reference sea water and air. I suppose if you patent, design, test, and market your idea I will have a clear picture. If you design a BOP to operate at 7,000' how does it operate at 5,000'? My straight forward question was; How much pressure is requiired to shear the DP? How do you generate the pressure needed?

There has been lots of discussion regarding the BOP failure but we really don't know if it was a design flaw of the BOP. When BP pulls the BOP and it's inspected then we may know.

Best of luck with your invention.


I think the objective here is to get maximum reliability from the BOP, in spite of failures in hydraulic systems, shuttle valves, control systems, whatever. The first and most important thing to do is ensure that there are two completely independent, tested-at-full-pressure, shear rams in every BOP. It is not clear to me whether that was the case with the Deepwater Horizon. I see the diagram released by BP (Blowout Preventer Drawing at http://www.energy.gov/open/oilspilldata.htm) shows two shear rams. I see this information replicated in various drawings for newspapers. Then I read an article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html?_r=2) in which there is extensive and emphatic discussion of the fact that DWH did *not* have two shear rams. Does anyone know for sure what is in that stack?

Back to the topic of how to improve the shear ram - I would add a flange that could be quickly removed to insert a fat steel shaft to force the shear closed. This should work even if the entire hydraulic system is destroyed. Join us at http://groups.google.com/group/stop_blowout for further discussion.

When you spend $100 million to drill a well, it seems inconceivable that flow tests would not have been made before attempting to shut it in. Wouldn't that be the point? Were such tests done?

wagga -- You make a valid point. One of the more critical factors is designing your production facilities. Their construction can take 1 to 2 years. But I understand BP was thinking of shipping this production to a nearby existing facility. But that also requires a good estimate of flow rates, etc. Just guessing but BP may have been planning a second confirmation well. If so they might have been planning to do flow tests at that time. Generally speaking you don't like to complete/test a well and then let is sit shut in for a couple of years.

FYI - I think I recall this well costs between $150 -200 million.

Last I saw, the well now cost 32 Billion. Bet they wish they were more careful now. The market responded positively that it did not cost more. Hayward leaving might have helped too. TinFoil.

Do not reveling the flow rate open them up to increased fines ?

No, the reveling of the flow rate is from the stockholders. I think you meant revealing, but your misspelling brings up a bigger point. If BP knew the real flow, but the regulators did not, it would allow them to plan for the future, yet avoid a larger fine. It would be the smart thing to do, however unethical. We shall see.

Probably not. No one has ever claimed that the well flowed at the full open well rate. It has always flowed through a nearly closed BOP which has eroded over time. A test flow rate would be essentially meaningless in estimating the flow. They probably didn't actually do a final flow test. The well was not complete. It was an exploratory well, which was converted for production part way though its drilling. They were already in the final stages of plugging it up prior to temporarily abandoning it - and it was not actually in production ready form. Just ready for later re-entering and for the work needed to set it up for production to be performed. There may have been flow tests performed earlier that gave them reason to decide to ready it as a production well, but these may well have been with the well in a much less complete state, and not useful.

OTOH, if they did do a flow test, there is zero chance they can avoid revealing the value. Not when asked for it in court. That is literally go to gaol stuff.

It occurs to me at this point in the discussion that Rockman has indicated that he would not leave mud in a pre-production well for fear of it hardening and being difficult to drill out again to put the well into production.

Just before that, some commented that BP would do something illegal if it was smart (meaning more profitable).

Dear Rockman:

Do you suspect that BP pulled the mud (neglecting the heavy brine replacement) to make the reopening of the well easier, thinking that no one would ever tell the dysfunctional MMS about the deviation from the drilling plan?

That would be smart, if illegal. Consistent with their process safety sloppiness, while paying much lip service to personnel safety?

It occurs to me at this point in the discussion that Rockman has indicated that he would not leave mud in a pre-production well for fear of it hardening and being difficult to drill out again to put the well into production.

Just before that, some commented that BP would do something illegal if it was smart (meaning more profitable).

Dear Rockman:

Do you suspect that BP pulled the mud (neglecting the heavy brine replacement) to make the reopening of the well easier, thinking that no one would ever tell the dysfunctional MMS about the deviation from the drilling plan?

That would be smart, if illegal. Consistent with their process safety sloppiness, while paying much lip service to personnel safety?

ormon -- Let's assume that the reg we a saw earlier (must leave heavy fluid in csg to prevent flow) was in effect and BP didn't have a waver. I've seen operators make assumptions that I didn't think they really believed. I've seen them skirt rules. But if BP had intentionally displaced with a light fluid and knowingly violate a truly critical safety protocol it would be way beyond any cheating I've seen in 35 years.

But I could never consider it smart. If caught there's no excuse that could save them. Not even close to a bad judgment call. It also wasn't going to be too expensive to put a heavy non-OBM fluid in the csg IF THEY HAD PLANNED FOR IT. And that might have been the cost factor they were trying to duck. Someone might have not order the material or didn't start mixing it soon enough. But let me make a point about saving money. The pressure is there but it's more than just about money. In every industry there is a certain amount of backstabbing. Make a mistake that costs the company $2 million and it might not be noticed by THE MAN. But make a $60,000 mistake and have a manager (who never did like you or thought you might skip ahead of him on the orginizational chart) highlight it to THE MAN and it can cost you big. Your basis advancement by assassination. It's an even bigger sin to exploit if it was a careless/forgetful error and not just a judgment call that didn't work.

102 -- We were actually talking about a flow rate BP might have measured before the blow out. Such data would have given a little basis for some modeling but I doubt anyone could have taken that data and given even a rough estimate of how much the well was flowing before the recent capping effort. The well isn't completed in a conventional manner so it would be very difficult to make an estimate. And even if you did you couldn't reasonable argue the rate has been higher/lower since the initial wild flow began IMHO.

At what point is there a reality to the symptoms folks living here are reporting? Is the lack of symptoms in most reason to disregard the symptoms of the few? There are a certain number of people that are sick at any given time around here, it does seem strange that the local doctors are reporting more summer colds. Folks are at home not working. Few tourists are here. How does that increase spread of the cold virus again? Bob Morgan, a well respect journalist, wrote a story on the subject. Bob is retiring this week after 35 years in the business. Please check out the story and leave a comment. Send Bob off with a bang. Quote from the story.

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.


Edit: NOLA.COM story with 324 in LA reporting spill related illnesses.

Health effects on large populations can't be worked out from anecdotes. An additional confounding factor is the undoubtedly large psychosomatic effect (if people expect the spill to make 'em feel ill, they will certainly feel ill.) NB that does not in any way mean people are deliberately faking symptoms. Psychosomatic (and it's partner, placebo) can be extremely powerful effects.

There must have been large sample epidemiological studies done on the effects of chronic exposure to relatively low concentrations of hydrocarbons in the past ("low level" in the sense there's not a six-inch deep layer of oil washing ashore.) It's not as if this is the first time humans have been exposed to oil spills. Anyone know of such studies?

The only other thing I can add is that the CDC are a reputable body with a good reputation; see http://www.bt.cdc.gov/gulfoilspill2010/ .

I think its funny that when people start having symptoms, usually the first thing that pops up is "It's all in their head." Tell that to the people of Alaska that have been dealing with the long term effects. That's what doctors were saying 20 years ago, yet to this day they are still suffering. I suggest you read Sound Truth & Corporate Myth$ to get an idea of what has been done in the past 20 years. Along these same lines...how many volunteers had a health prescreening done before they were assigned work? To my knowledge none. So people with underlying conditions are definitely going to have more problems. Children will because their bodies can't handle it. This is an issue down here along the Gulf Coast, and it's going to be a great pity if it takes us 20 years for people to wake up about these issues. My 2 cents again. =/

So you are saying that stress doesn't cause any physical damage? That is certainly counter to a vast body of knowledge on the topic.

Stress and depression certainly can cause medical issues. I myself suffer from depression and am well aware of how it affects my body. But its symptoms do not include cold symptoms such as burning eyes, sinus infections, problems breathing. It usually manifests itself as digestive problems, lethargy, fatigue and non interest in things you used to enjoy doing. It took me over a year of having physical symptoms, god only knows how many tests and doctors to finally find out it was caused by depression.

The hormonal changes accompanying stress interact with the immune system. There is no doubt that many if not all of the symptoms you are describing can be caused by stress.


Honestly so many different things can affect the immune system and I'm not going to sit here and say "look what I found" to contradict you. Time itself will reveal the truth about so much of this stuff.

agree. 'anatomy of the sprit' (caroline myss, great book BTW) rings a large bell. emotional & mental state affect EVERYTHING in the body, IMHO.

Watch the 3rd video in this article to get a journalist's view on the chemicals.


Huge plumes of dispersant bubbling up to the surface?

You have got to be kidding.

This guy has no credibility what so ever.

Would add from personal experience: more negative stress at work gives you more colds, flus etc.. caveat: based on myself and some anecdotal evidence from others over last two years - hardly sufficient to be representative.

add this to the anecdotal pile: When I had to type, (yes, on a typewriter, google it), up term papers the night before they were due, I used to get all kinds of sniffly, sneezy, whiny, poor-poor-pitiful-me symptoms that magically disappeared the next day. Psychosomatic or something, I think they call it.

I didn't see in the thread where anyone denied that stress can affect the human immune system. Such strawman arguments are tiresome. For example, "Speaker to Animals, are you saying that BP is responsible for physically damaging the bodies of millions of human beings by inducing stress".

Sound Truth & Corporate Myth$

And which journal of record was this published in: NEJM? BMJ? Science? Nature?

You can download a free copy of this book here: http://rikiott.com/spillinfo.php. May not be to everyone's liking, but as a "average Jo" I found it quite helpful in understanding some of the things going on in plain understandable english.

how many volunteers had a health prescreening done before they were assigned work?

Are Gulf workers getting baseline physicals?

I know in my fiancee's case in VOO it was sign up, 4 hr hazmat training, off to work in the boat, month and half later 40 hr hazwoper training. Never once asked about health or had any kind of screening or physical. As for the volunteers on the beaches I have no knowledge of what went on with them.

"Health effects on large populations can't be worked out from anecdotes." I think the history of medicine would beg to differ.

And one of the greatest tragedies from the Macondo incident is the loss of the first population sample to have been exposed to potentially toxic by-products. Despite the fact that ongoing surveillance is currently being conducted by multiple agencies, the fact remains: the initial sample is no longer accessible. Add to this global sampling issue the fact that those persons who were exposed as temporary hires, prisoners, welfare-to-work participants or independent contractors who are no longer active are probably not insured for medical care and therefore even less visible if an attempt were made to remediate the failure to capture this critical data source.

It is inexcusably disingenuous for any individual who has ever participated in legitimate research to fail to remark this data loss or to gloss over it. Scientific ethics could stand scrutiny in the Macondo arena as well as corporate and political ethics, yes?

"...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."

The absence of data is not evidence of any conclusion, although frequently media, public relations campaigns and some scientists commit this reasoning error.

Its not appropriate to draw conclusions from anecdotes, however,the first step of the scientific method, which is creating a hypothesis, is often informed by anecdotal information. Anecdotes can suggest areas of inquiry.

Given effective measuring methodology, measured symptoms are real. Most reported symptoms are real. Malingering, which is making false reports of symptoms, usually accounts for a very small percentage of reported symptoms.

Stress is a causal factor in many health issues. Psychosomatic effects are profound causal factors in many health issues. Both are real causal factors that scientists attempt to account for when analyzing a health issue. Toxins can also be a casual factor in health issues.

Scientists attempt to isolate causal factors. It is challenging to tease out the factors that contribute to health issues in a large population. Isolating stress and psychomatic effects is a challenge. The absence of a baseline in exposure to toxins is a challenge. Variance in exposure to toxins is a challenge. Variance in susceptibility to toxins is a challenge. The fact that petroleum is a complex substance that varies in its constituents is a challenge...

Below are some excerpts from a toxicological profile of petroleum hydrocarbons. It indicates that hydrocarbons can persist in the environment and can have health effects. In absence of specific data about the current health issues near the Gulf of Mexico, its difficult to draw conclusions about the oil blowout based on this report alone. The report does seem to suggest that additional research of health issues due to the oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico is warranted. The full profile provides some known health effects of some petroleum constituents and establishes toxicity levels.

Toxicological Profile for Total Petroleum Hydorcarbons (TPH) 1999
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Direct Link to pdf

Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) is a term used to describe a broad family of several hundred chemical compounds that originally come from crude oil. In this sense, TPH is really a mixture of chemicals. They are called hydrocarbons because almost all of them are made entirely from hydrogen and carbon. Crude oils can vary in how much of each chemical they contain, and so can the petroleum products that are made from crude oils. Most products that contain TPH will bum. Some are clear or light-colored liquids that evaporate easily, and others are thick, dark liquids or semi-solids that do not evaporate. Many of these products have characteristic gasoline, kerosene, or oily odors. Because modern society uses so many petroleum-based products (for example, gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, mineral oil, and asphalt), contamination of the environment by them is potentially widespread. Contamination caused by petroleum products will contain a variety of these hydrocarbons. Because there are so many, it is not usually practical to measure each one individually. However, it is useful to measure the total amount of all hydrocarbons found together in a particular sample of soil, water, or air.

TPH is released to the environment through accidents, as releases from industries, or as byproducts from commercial or private uses. When TPH is released directly to water through spills or leaks, certain TPH fractions will float in water and form thin surface films. Other heavier fractions will accumulate in the sediment at the bottom of the water, which may affect bottom- feeding fish and organisms. Some organisms found in the water (primarily bacteria and fungi) may break down some of the TPH fractions. TPH released to the soil may move through the soil to the groundwater. Individual compounds may then separate from the original mixture, depending on the chemical properties of the compound. Some of these compounds will evaporate into the air and others will dissolve into the groundwater and move away from the release area. Other compounds will attach to particles in the soil and may stay in the soil for a long period of time, while others will be broken down by organisms found in the soil.

Despite the large number of hydrocarbons found in petroleum products and the widespread nature of petroleum use and contamination, only a relatively small number of the compounds are well characterized for toxicity. The health effects of some fractions can be well characterized, based on their components or representative compounds (e.g., light aromatic fraction-BTEX-benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes). However, heavier TPH fractions have far fewer well characterized compounds. Systemic and carcinogenic effects are known to be associated with petroleum hydrocarbons...

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ATSDR serves the public by using the best science, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances.

The Enbridge spill is headed for Lake Michigan.

I thought this was minor. It is NOT. Is Chicago or another major city's water at risk? Good luck all.

The Kamazoo river spill you mean? Didn't they already shut the well down and are proceeding with clean up efforts. It may not be minor but it isn't the worst thing.

I am sure someone will point out how it is really good for the river in the long run.

You sounded oddly bitter about this, of course it's a bad thing but not the worst. Why are we even posting links to the kalamazoo oil spill anyway, can't we make a new thread and sensationalize that story while we're at it?

deleted duplicate

I think all spills should be sensationalized right now, less the Macondo 252 incident cause us to assign too little risk to other events that occur more frequently. I would hate to get great on deepwell response and slack on the pipeline, tanker and land stuff.

Sensationalization is a two way sword on one end you bring the public attentions to saftey issues and pressure oil companies to take precautions. But on the other you create despiar which is what you seem to enjoy doing. The spill at kalamazoo is already taking its steps toward recovery and this time it won't take twenty years.

Oh no, I am glad they are on top of this. Michigan has had more than its fair share of disasters too. I say information and awareness decrease stress. I fight the same battle on the ground here every day. Do not blame me for a sensationalized world. I give every opportunity for response such as yours. Just do not tell me what I feel or think. If you want to cut choice comments and post a response you might be able to build a decent argument against me, but I let my body of chatter speak for itself. I think most folks here know I am the type of person to go out of my way to lift spirits. Sometimes I just get cynical. 99 Days and still no visible mental health support around here. Remember the 11. Better shut offs for pipelines that cross water bodies.
Bless you,

I think it is funny when you put in "oil spill MI" in google search you get the paid add from BP at the top of the list.

BP Response
www.BP.com/GulfOfMexicoResponse Learn About BP's Progress On The Gulf Of Mexico Response Effort.

Not sure if this has been posted already, but on the subject on new oil spills:

Boat Crashes Into Well, New Oil Spill In Gulf of Mexico:


Tony says he may be "too busy" to attend future hearings on the oil spill in Washington ... Tony Hayward: BP was 'a model of corporate social responsibility'.

I've been puzzled by the references to Hayward as one of former BP ceo Lord Browne's "turtles." I finally saw an explanation somewhere yesterday - Browne's chosen inner circle of young up-and-comers called themselves "teenage mutant ninja turtles." That nickname is both fitting - he has seemed like an immature cartoon chararcter - and sad, in the face of the loss of so many sea turtles in the aftermath of the "incident."

btw, Kent Wells is now scheduled to give a briefing at 3 pm CDT today, his first since last Thursday. He was to give one yesterday morning, but it was canceled without explanation.

And the well pressure released this am is 6,928psi.

BP does not seem to have gone back to the daily briefings, let alone the twice-a-day ones that were being issued just a couple of weeks ago.

As if BP has just heard what you're saying (Kent, are you reading this? ;-)), they've just gone and announced one for 3pm CDT today.

Edit: I see that Rainyday just beat me to it. :-)


Out of curiosity...

What does the fluid in the well look like now that it is capped? Is it still uniform oil/NG mixture to the top of the cap or has there been any gas separation?

There is controversy about this on TOD. See my post below. We won't get an answer from the only people who know, BP and maybe Unified Command. It is necessary information for determining the condition of the well and the reservoir.


A bill introduced in the House last night

reorganizes the Interior Department’s offshore drilling regulatory agency, formerly known as the Minerals Management Service; imposes stricter standards on all offshore operators; and lifts liability limits in accidents. A provision that would deny drilling rights to companies that have had more than 10 deaths offshore or at land-based sites in the last seven years, a rule that would currently apply only to BP.

The House bill also grants subpoena power to the presidential commission investigating the disaster and devotes more than $1 billion a year from oil and gas royalty revenue to land and water conservation programs.

The Senate bill will also lift the liability cap on offshore drillers, impose new safety regulations and funnel money to environmental restoration programs.

The industry is criticizing the cost, arguing that smaller operators will have to leave the Gulf. But as we've heard here, the stronger argument is "too small to pay for your mistakes = too small to operate there."

Reuters News Alert? PR machine hits high gear.

BP (BP/ LN) Gulf spill a wake up call for BP and entire oil and gas industry - Dudley

16:12 27-07-2010

- A strong and viable BP is in best interests of American people and US.


[edit] Watch your pockets.

I've wondered: Why is (BP/ LN) used? I've seen it before (BP/:LN, BP-LN, etc.) but I don't know the connotation of the LN part.

L: London, N: NY, stock symbol is BP.LN

Despite your screen name, you're a sweetie.



How often does this happen again? I keep hearing once a decade.

Oil leaking from busted wellhead in Lower Jefferson

New poster on http://gcn01.com . I think it is a young person. Please check it out.

That's smoke, not high-pressure oil (I think -- looks like it in the other pics and that's what the captions say)

FTA: The Coast Guard says a towing vessel hit an oil well early Tuesday in a waterway north of Barataria Bay in south Louisiana and there are reports of oil spewing from the damaged wellhead.

The flip side of the coin on deepwater vs shallow water wells. Logic would dictate that shipping accidents such as this are more common than deepwater BOs. And even tho the shallow water makes addressing the problem easier, the shallower wells are generally closer to shore and have faster and more damaging impact on coastlines. Not to mention higher costs of clean up.

LA must feel they are living under a voodoo cloud....

That sucks for them, well hopefully this well head gets under control pretty soon because they suffered enough.

LA must feel they are living under a voodoo cloud....

I lived in NOLA for a long time. I decided early on a series of paintings would be coming out of this experience. I do believe that the s/s below evokes a certain gentleman frequently encountered along the Coast. We refer to him respectfully as M'sieu le Baron.
M'sieu Le Baron

(And there is virtually no editing on that image-funny things happen in the dark and the deep, n'est-ce pas?)

Oh man, did you just send shivers down my back. So all the wire brushing was for a piece of installation art, wicked sense of humour those ROV jocks have.


Doesn't anybody read the Drumbeat section of this blog?

It's good every day. Check it out.

Yes, M O B. Actually I do. I enjoyed Steve's article and find the issues surrounding the school of peak oil very interesting. One of my children recently graduated from a school with a well known petrochem rep but finally went to work for a multinational corporation that specializes in manufacturing green materials for housing. Another family member, who works for BP, was going to try to get him on with her. He's hyperventilating sighs of relief.

It's hard to concentrate on the abstract with the Gulf situation. However, I find a great deal of pleasure in learning and following material other than doom oriented stuff (ie, GoM). I appreciate the drumbeat section very, very much and I hope they don't feel neglected over there.

Conspiracy Theory Alert!

BP had the well busted to hide the continued leak from the DWH.

Thad says they are "starting to clean the well"???? How often do they do this? They must have to do it twice a day, or more! I captured pictures of the well before cleaning, after cleaning, and now it looks exactly as it did before (needing to be cleaned!)! All this in less than a day!



Also, an aside, if you don't mind. Does anyone know what this red and green "dartlike" object is being propelled at an ROV? I zoomed in, it's not a fish.


The red/green is an artefact. As for the original object the image quality is too poor though it may actually be a fish with a lot of video distortion.


Thad says they are "starting to clean the well"???? How often do they do this? They must have to do it twice a day, or more! I captured pictures of the well before cleaning, after cleaning, and now it looks exactly as it did before (needing to be cleaned!)! All this in less than a day!

From HO's summary: "The Admiral also noted that the riser for the RW has been reattached, and the reconnection, removal of the plugging packer, and cleaning of the well is in process."

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think cleaning the well refers to removing drilling mud around the region where you intend to pour cement. So they're talking about prepping the RW for setting the next casing.

Picture of new leaking well. Looks like a fire to me.

Photo Courtesy of Chris Roberts on NOLA.COM

Story at: http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2010/07/oil_leaking_from_busted_wellh...

Located about here.

This may give you a little better idea where Bayou St. Denis is.

Perhaps, but the placemark on the map at my link gives a better idea where the leaking well is (as shown by the photo earlier in the thread and the corresponding island on the map).

Maybe I am wrong but that does not look like a pipe 6 feet underwater.


Follow-up on my question about kill pills yesterday and the much appreciated responses.

I understand the kill pill as a whole better now, But apparently my impression that the spacer was some kind of rigid device was wrong.

What is the composition of a spacer?

it can be almost anything pumpable. fluid with a dye, water, mud with thinning/thickening agents in it, etc. The purpose is to try and keep the pill from getting contaminated from the displaced or displacing fluid.

Thanks much.

Tony Hayward: BP was 'a model of corporate social responsibility'


I find it strange there are no stories in the national news on the million gallon oil spill in MI.

I wonder how long it will take them to pick up on this new well blowout in the gulf?

its not in the gulf. It's in the marsh, reported by Fox News to be about 7 miles south of Lafitte, La. Wellhead hit by some type vehicle. Happens periodically and you never hear about it. Will be capped by a Well Control Group. Once the feds get involved, it gets to be a cluster */@$&.

It looks like the Gulf to me. Maybe the Lake? I do admit it appears very close to shore or marsh. Is there a link to a Google map location, etc? Let me guess, some well control guys were close by :)

map link:

There's already Macando oil in the canal you see running NNW from Barataria Bay.

Looks like it's right about here: 29.480887,-90.008326

The back side of Grand Isle? It is official, God and the industry do not like Grand Isle. Sorry about that last one but goodness gracious. How much can one little island get bombed? Get clean and get well Louisiana. We seem to be doing better for now in Alabama.
Good luck,

Will be capped by a Well Control Group

Via the BOP? Just wondering....

TFG -- Producing wells don't have a BOP on them. It might not look like much but there could a good bit of effort to cap. Depends on where the damage is. If they've just busted the well head it won't be too difficult to replace...but still dangerous for the hands. But if they busted the csg it could take a good bit more effort.

I wonder if the Admiral has jurisdiction here?

This spill is essentially contiguous. Depending on exactly where in Bayou St. Denis, it could be in a lightly oiled area or no more than two miles away from it. It is in prime oyster country adjoining one of the public seed areas jeopardized by the fresh-water release (Little Lake).

Weird that the CG is sending a team from Mobile by boat (200 miles?) when the admiral has major assets 20 miles away or closer.


BP documents sent to the U.S. Coast Guard this month provide what one lawmaker is calling Tuesday a "smoking gun" -- showing how much oil spewed from the oil giant's crippled well into the Gulf of Mexico.

"This is the smoking gun we've been waiting for, where BP finally admits in writing the true magnitude of this spill could be at least 53,000 barrels a day," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, who heads the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee

The figure comes from documents Markey received during the committee's investigation into the disaster.

Although a statement from Markey touted the figure as "BP's first admission ... that the spill could be so large," BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles estimated the flow from the well at 53,000 barrels per day in a June 6 interview with CNN.

Markey cites letters Suttles sent to the Coast Guard on July 6 and July 11, saying that they should "assume flow rate of 53,000" barrels of oil spilled per day when determining the amount of dispersants to be used for cleanup.


From al.com:

Perdido Pass' $5.2-million mechanical boom project was disassembled Monday, after less than two weeks in full operation, said the head of the firm that built it, adding that he knows of no plans for it to be used again.


So far the state and local initiatives don't seem to have accomplished much beyond transferring money from BP to local contractors. Anybody got a success story to share?

Also at the same link, the mayor of Bayou La Batre has been accused of corruption in the conduct of a locally-directed cleanup operation. BP took control of it a month ago and workers say the paychecks are way late.

I have tracked and commented on this story for a while @ http://gcn01.com. Just scroll down.

You know what 2 things I saw that helped the most? Both of them were from Mother Nature. Rain and seaweed. The rain stopped several direct hits even in spite of winds blowing onshore. Then we have simple seaweed. Look at my pictures from Sunday. We got hit in Gulf Shores again and the seaweed did an awesome job of entrapping the tarballs and oil patches for collection by tractor. I have a video. The rain and seaweed were free and IMHO did better than the efforts of man that I witnessed. I am also sure many of the unseen efforts saved us from a much worse disaster.

is that video some kind of joke?
is that tractor:
A) laying down seaweed
B) picking up seaweed
C) moving seaweed around

I say C,
I don't see any evidence whatsoever that one piece of seaweed is picked up.

It gets collected into the hopper behind the tractor. It works, although it takes multiple passes. I should have went back to the same spot later and caught dumping operations as well. TinFoil.

Yeah, it's astonishing how the slick has diminished in 12 days since they capped the well, and those processes were going on all the time. Nature's cleanup crew is fresh air, sunshine, weather, and microbes. Some of the visible improvement is just from scattering, but scattering is good because it helps the crew do its work more efficiently. God knows how many gigazillion oil-eating bacteria must be out there after 3 months of every-day-is-Thanksgiving for the bugs. Another month and it'll be all gone but the tarballs.

I guess the Perdido barrier was an OK idea, but it didn't do a bit of good.

It taught the world not to do it. Cheap experiment in my book. It also showed why locals with a BS in IT and engineering contacts should not design large civil projects. The NOLA locals should learn from this too. Maybe the Corp is not so dumb after all.

Speaking as what my grandad would've called another confounded button-pushing computer guy... I have to admit people in IT seem to be a lot more prone to false authority syndrome. "I know j-- s--- about oil wells, but hey! I know how to build an n-tier web-application with a clustered, fault tolerant database backend, and how hard can it be? It's only a big hole in the ground after all. Just drop a battleship on the wellhead..." etc., etc. One of the best things I was taught early in my career was the importance of knowing how much you don't know.

Big AMEN to knowing how much you don't - I'd like to quote one of my favorite quotables:

"The ignorance of knowing it all is bliss"

Too bad they did not enhance the microbe activity to prevent some of the damage instead of just spraying everything in sight with dispersant. I guess if you are not on the receiving end of all those chemicals, it is just fine to wait for Mother Nature to take the responsibility.


Uh --- the dispersant is what breaks the oil into tiny droplets and vastly increases the ability of the oil-eating microbes to eat it.

quant -- yep...the term "shoreline" can be a little troublesome in S La. We tend to say "open Gulf" when you out of the marshes. It's actually a lot more difficult to tell where you when you're in boat then looking down from a satelite.

TY Rockman.

A must read report on impact of the Gulf oil spill on individuals and communities.

Quotes Orange Beach, Alabama, resident and sociologist Steven Picou, who studied the people of Cordova, Alaska, for 21 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill:

"It's like the table is set," he says. "And now we're going to be served with this 15- to 20-year-course meal of problems."
"We almost have Exxon Valdez fast forward here along the Gulf of Mexico," Picou says.
"Unlike a natural disaster where you have a therapeutic community emerging to help you rebuild, we know that in Alaska a corrosive community emerged," he says. "All of a sudden you have this incredible collapse of community capital."
"I probably won't see the end of this one," he says of the Gulf oil disaster and the toll he expects it to take. "Essentially we are in a marathon, and I would say that the gun has just gone off."

Also identifies some ways to meet the challenge.

This isn't Prince William Sound. I bet Gulf fisheries east of the delta will be back to nearly-normal very soon, even including oysters, except the ones the state of Louisiana killed with the fresh-water release. The great good news is that estuaries and coastal marshes in this area have hardly been affected by oil. The subsea plumes reported so far are too deep to affect fisheries. Probably there would be some loss of this summer's spawn for some species, including shrimp, whose eggs float on the surface of the open Gulf where they could be caught in the oil film. There's a possibility that much of the bluefin tuna spawn for this year could be lost in that way. But basically, the coast from the New Orleans area through the Panhandle looks like it will be OK.

If people in the fishing towns are sick and cranky, there are various factors, including the loss of independence (having to work for BP or collect BP "welfare"), wildly exaggerated doomsday stories about the death of the Gulf, fears of being poisoned (unjustified suspicion of government health authorities), etc. I hope they reopen the commercial fisheries as early as they reasonably can and let people get back to the life they know.

West of the river, around Barataria Bay and Fourchon, fishing may be set back for a longer time, especially, I would think, oystering.

(unjustified suspicion of government health authorities)

Tell that to the workers at ground zero of 911.

Don't worry, nothing will hurt you here, keep working.

I grant your point. It was an astonishing failure by OSHA not to require respirators when the risk was known and obvious. Thousands of workers were injured in consequence. And EPA releases on risks to people off the site were censored by the White House/NSC.

However, in the Gulf, EPA posts daily sample reports and these reports are not alarming. I don't believe they are fudging data, do you? Even the Bush EPA didn't lie overtly, they just soft-pedaled warnings to New Yorkers.

(O/T) but I wonder whether there was a conscious thought: "If we admit that there's dangerous levels of asbestos, PCBs, dioxins, and plain old pulverised concrete in the air and lying in drifts in the streets, we'll have to close Manhatted for six months whilst it's slowly and very expensively cleared away by highly-paid people in airtight bunnysuits. How many trillion dollars of damage to the economy will that cause?" It's almost a national security issue. In fact, scratch that, it's plainly a national security issue. To be honest that's not a decision I'd ever want to be responsible for making.

I agree that it was a tough call whether to evacuate lower Manhattan. The decision that seems inexcusable was OSHA not requiring respirators for the workers who toiled in the dust 40 hours per week for months. That could easily have been done.

[Edit to add] There was a massive follow-up study, and the primary long-term injury to residents of lower Manhattan was PTSD. There was quite a bit of respiratory damage too, but not as prevalent as in first responders and cleanup workers.

You're certainly correct on natural-resource grounds that this is a much more forgiving ecosystem than Alaska. It may be too early though to assess the impact on people until we've seen some analysis of economic impacts. Because the role of tourism and real estate development in the Gulf regions is so large, the negative multipliers may be more substantial than in the Alaska case. We seem to have very little insight from economists offeres in these threads, unfortunately.

Waaaalll, you see, economists are kinda hiding their heads right now, due to the ECONOMY.

I have been reading these threads for months and have learned alot. I enjoy the back & forth and the knowledge everyone brings forward. My belief if all of the energy company's ( oil, nuclear, gas ) followed the safety programs, engineers and scientist, we would have a healthy planet. We seem to let greed and the all mighty dollar kill us and the environment. If we are the smartest living creature on this planet, why do we not respect other living things. When there was the great tsunami in the Indian Ocean, why did the animals know to head to higher ground before it hit and not us.
I'm not a tree hugger, just an old man.

Question, I saw this on the 23rd watching the ROV feed by the BOP, was this a oil release or something being disconected on the other side.
ROVMAN what do you think?

I have a sceen grab, and video links.






I saw this as it happened and wondered what had just occurred. Just as your video shows, there was a release of oil from the side of the stack opposite of the ROV, and as soon as it came into view the ROV operator immediately adjusted his camera angle downward so that it could no longer be seen. The video feed then went blank and when it finally came back the ROV was off doing other things.

Presumably this was just a short-term event and was not a significant release of oil. Certainly nothing catastrophic or we would have seen a response to it.

For me, the glowing praise of the ROV operators took a hit on this one. No doubt they are good at what they do. Maybe a little too good. I have witnessed several feeds where it looked like something intertseting or questionable was occurring, only for the cameras to be averted or the feed terminated.

I'd love to see one of the media play this for Thad Allen to get his response. He may not even be aware it occurred.

I have seen a build up of hydrates on the bottom of that stack the plume is getting ready to hit in your video. I wonder if it is coming from those leaks at the coupling and maybe an ROV was at the coupling at that time and brushed off the build up of hydrates with his thrusters? I have seen them do that before.


I've seen the ROV's stir up hydrates too, but this looks like a bit more.

Seems like whenever something like this happens, the camera moves away....

Yes, that definitely looks like a leak of oil from the stack to me. maybe somebody turned the wrong valve or something!

I stumbled across this

2005 – 2007. Predictions of workforce shortages of 40% of the energy workforce retiring with no new replacement entries foreseen. “Perhaps the greatest looming shortage is in people. For two decades, the energy industry tried to cope with poor financial returns through constant downsizing and company-wide layoffs each time oil prices collapsed. As a result, few new people have entered the energy business in many years. It was too risky and too many other parts of our economy were far better places to work. When the biggest source of new rig hands started coming from prison parolees, this was a sure sign that the industry’s people equation had reached crisis stage. There is anecdotal evidence that about 40% of the energy workforce will retire within the next five to seven years with almost no new entries into the energy workforce.” (Matthew R. Simmons, President, Simmons & Company International, Congressional Testimony Before the Senate Budget Committee, Washington, DC, January 30, 2001)

Global Warming Forecasts - 2015

What impacts would you guys expect from this, if it's true.

intelligent - The impact has actually been around for a while...at least 10 to 15 years. First, need to distinguish between field operations and office ops. The in-house folks (many geologists, geophysicists, landmen, reservoir engineers) aren't as severely impacted. For one thing, there has been huge increases in efficiencies in the last 30 years. The most extreme example: a geophysicist can now produce the same work product (actually a much better quality effort) in a week that would have taken 6 weeks just 20 years. But field ops have changed significantly. Most oil companies have very few workers with practical field expertise. They gave that up to the service companies decades ago. Consider an offshore rig like the BP well. Of the 140 souls on board perhaps only 2 to 4 were BP employees. This is very typical. The hands with the service companies are the real gray hairs (like me). They are the ones who'll be making a mass exodus in the next 10 years. Service companies hands are paid top dollar but only if you have a lot of experience. The starting ranks aren't that well paid and their schedules are not the easiest. They are also easily disposable and know it. So it's not a field that will draw a lot of folks to it. The other big problem is that few college degrees really prepare you for much of the work. It's mainly on the job training. And that takes a good 5 to 8 years to become very proficient in most areas.

Bottom line: when the gray hairs disappear and if there's a new drilling boom develop it won't boom like the old days. The inexperienced won't be up for the task. And by the time they start getting enough experience there will likely be a bust just as we saw in the fall of '08. And that's another reason you won't see a flood of new hands even in the beginning of a boom: most know it won't be a life time of plentiful work. In fact not even close to half a life time.

Really interesting. John Wren of Hercules Offshore was interviewed on Houston radio yesterday afternoon, and ended by making precisely your points.

One other factor I've observed is that many of the young'uns don't want that 5-8 years (or more) of on-the-job training. They've grown up in a world of faster chips, faster phones, faster gaming, and they're not always pleased to discover the physical world insists on moving at its own pace.

novice -- Good point. Some 30+ years ago the oil patch was a way out for many of us on the bottom end of the food chain. Hard to believe but back in those days you needed connections/sponser to get into many job. Now there are so many more opportunities out there then one that could cost you a finger or hand. Not a bad thing for the younguns today. But not a good thing for the future of the country.

IMHO, the connection/sponsor days are back!

Maybe TFHG. But about 1/4 of the connections/potential sponsers I know have been laid off or demoted in the last two months. Since I'm with one of the few operators with big bucks to spend I'm getting more and more desparite calls. I know few guys who were making $160,000+ last year that don't even get their phone calls returned now that they're out job hunting. Makes if difficult to fully enjoy my very lucky circumstances.

Excellent points, Rockman and others.

To Matt Simmons' credit, he's been warning of the rust factor (rust never sleeps... we spent the morning patching together another worn-out piece of farm machinery) and the grey factor (exodus of industry's most capable & experienced expertise, just as we are hitting the more challenging sources).
Both are serious concerns with many ramifications.

Thanks to you & Hank for your supplementary info re exploration wells last night (I only saw it this aft but that thread is now closed).

I can think of one very quickly that anybody who works in the field would relate to. Since (despite what the Deniers say), high latitude temperatures are increasing rapidly, and just what happens when the Permafrost foundations of the Alaska Pipeline start to melt and soften... Not to mention that Permafrost also is the foundation for many drilling platforms...

Opps, almost forgot to mention that Bp/Alyeska, would rather not be bothered by all that pesky Pipeline Maintainence...

Part of my updated understanding of the consequences of inhibiting the general alarm system is, an Emergency ShutDown panel was located on the bridge, therefore in the same general area as the monitoring stations. Nevertheless, neither the engine room ESD nor the general alarm system was manually activated.

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? Andrea Fleytas, Transocean dynamic positioning officer, is scheduled to testify before the Board in August in Houston.

Yancy Keplinger, Senior DPO, hasn't testified yet and he isn't yet on a witness list for the next round.

Suspect at least part of this is a human response time issue, but not in a 'reflex' sense.

There has already been some discussion about reluctance to active the Emergency Disconnect System for the BOPs/Wellhead.

You are going to get a LOT of that when relatively junior personnel are trying to decide what to do in an emergency, even when presented with overwhelming evidence that there is a major problem. Or is that major problem an alarm system failure? Should I really hit the ESD? How much trouble am I going to get into? Where is someone senior I can pass this buck to?

Human nature at work... There has been enough evidence presented already that the culture was slack in some areas and that relatively 'green' people were in some pretty key positions.


Your understated comment compelled me to wonder if anyone survived the Piper Alpha incident, and what their testimony might have told us about human factors.


Piper Alpha

I remember Piper Alpha very well. The accident enquiry (like the Shuttle accident enquiries, and the stuff I've read about Chernobyl, the Windscale fire, and similar big unexpected disasters) is horribly fascinating reading. The same contributory factors show up again and again.

count - Piper Alpha and Claymore were literally my second homes for a couple of years. We were doing humongous numbers of slot recoveries out there pulling 9 5/8" casing to free up slots for re-drills.

I did three weeks on Piper Alpha three weeks before it went bang. Vacation back in Canada literally saved my a**.

I have a serious interest in the human factors aspects of these disasters. DWH is eerily similar to Piper Alpha. The engineering design sets the scene, the human factors get you killed.

Lord Cullen's report on Piper Alpha is a model on how to do it right. Hope we get something as good from the DWH inquiries.

edit: The only people that survived were those that ignored everything they had been taught in offshore survival school. AFAIK, all the survivors jumped. 167 killed, 59 survivors.

In those days, you were taught to go the to accommodation, stay there and wait for rescue or other orders, and under no circumstances to jump as you would likely be fatally injured on impact. Some were. Everyone that did what we all were taught died. Lost a lot of friends...


JTF, you are absolutely right and it also works in reverse. As a geologist, I once got into the position of seeing an operations mess in progress. I remember well my feelings: "Crap! This is none of my business, but I'm the most senior person here. Do I take the lead? Aaargh!" I did take the lead and it worked out in the end, but it was truly one of the situations you describe. And yes, I certainly did waste some time trying to decide.

Please create a post on http://gcn01.com. With the photobucket you can easily create a slideshow and use a nice transition. Join and I will upgrade you, free and no ads or contribute button. You then will have a nice platform to post a link to your story.

In the previous thread todfan asks:

“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?..”


Summarizing the many previous TOD discussions on this subject, it is a physical fact that methane cannot exist in the liquid state in this well or any other on Earth. Rockman predicts a 500’ column of gaseous (actually supercritical) methane at the top of the shut-in well, but we can’t hold him to that. Disagreeing with bignerd, windward also thought that there must be such a column, until he read Stick’s post:


There is almost no interest in Stick’s theory (see my posts on Stick's idea in earlier threads), much like the initial reaction to the theory of plate tectonics in my opinion. Not that I am trying to get a rise out of anybody.

Apologies to those not mentioned who have also contributed to the discussion.

Todfan, start by searching the site for “critical” and don’t give up after the first hit. Read all of the replies in each case.

Barge crashes into oil well in Gulf of Mexico, new oil leak reported

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – The US Coast Guard dispatched emergency teams Tuesday after a boat crashed into an oil well off the coast of New Orleans, reportedly sending crude spewing some 20 feet into the air.

The wellhead, located about 65 miles (104 kilometers) south of New Orleans, was ruptured when it was struck by a dredge barge being pulled by a tug.

The Coast Guard said it could not immediately confirm reports that a giant fountain of oil was now spewing from the damaged wellhead, which was situated only six feet (1.8 meters) below the surface of the sea.

A strike Coast Guard team from Mobile, Alabama had been dispatched by boat to the scene as well as a helicopter from New Orleans with a marine pollution investigator on board.

"There have been reports of oil from the elision and we are investigating those reports to mitigate any environmental concerns," petty officer William Colclough, a Coast Guard spokesman, told AFP.

"The oil spill liability trust fund has been enacted to provide monetary support for any clean-up operation."

Unrelated to the massive gusher recently capped by BP deep down on the seabed, the incident did occur in a nearby part of the Gulf of Mexico and could require clean-up vessels to be redeployed if reports are confirmed.


Actually, if you are going to have a fire, have it when the national firefighter's convention is in town and half the town has already burnt to the ground.

Edit: OH SH!T. I bet the Corexit plane has already taken off.


Bring on the Whale!

Yep, this is the perfect opportunity to see just how much oil can be contained with skimmers deployed asap.

Hear, hear!

I was smart enough to schedule my most recent (I started to say last) heart attack during a rescue squad meeting. Of course they got lost on their way to me, but we had a traffic jam out in my back yard!

I felt well taken care of. And they were glad they had plenty of people to lift me into the ambulance.

PS: I'm keeping an eye on the Kalamazoo leak because I'm downstream from it, by a bit - The Thousand Islands - at the outlet from Lake Ontario. I'm not proud to say it, but it gives me a slightly less academic view of the GOM situation now.

why the HELL was there a dredging operation going on there? Were they TRYING to cause another spill? Bored cleanup workers perhaps?

Send off for Hayward.

red -- If I read the scimpy reports correctly they weren't dredging near that well. The barge was in transit being towed by a tug.

It's a shipping channel. A better question might be, why is a state-owned (according to Adm. Thad) oil/gas production platform located a shipping channel? I blame Bobby Jindal's socialist regime.

Maybe because half of the shipping channels were built to put in oil and gas facilities? Love the Jindal's socialist regime crack.;)

...why is a state-owned (according to Adm. Thad) oil/gas production platform located a shipping channel? I blame Bobby Jindal's socialist regime;)

It's an orphan of the state |corporate socialism;|
I blame Jindal's college sweetheart, the DEVIL.

Response to the incident is being handled by federal authorities because the wellhead, which is owned by CEDYCO Corporation of Houston is considered "orphaned" because the company is now defunct, said Deano Bonano, the Jefferson Parish chief of homeland security.

Re-posted from the previous open thread:

2009 Transocean 'safety rap' music video filmed aboard the DWH.

Money was spent on this farce while real safety issues were ignored.

Isn't that Nedry on the video (2:07)? Mystery solved.

Thad Allen's briefing concluded a little while ago. Nothing earth-shattering came out. They are proceeding with the plans which were previosuly announced and hope to begin the static kill on Monday. Pressure was 6928 psi and continuing to rise. Temp was at 39.7 degrees and steady.

Jane Luchenko (sp?) from NOAA was asked about where all the oil was. She indicated that she thought it was suspended in the water column and was not settling on the bottom, but in response to another question she stated that NOAA was diligently looking for the oil and they "were getting close" to discovering it (not really sure how she would know this?) and would hopefully have an answer soon.

Thad Allen gave a few more details about the collison with the other well. The well was identified as #C177. An "uninspected" vessel, the Pere Ana C was pushing the Capatin Buford barge wwhen the collision occurred. There is a light sheen of oil around the well and VOCs are present. 6000 feet of boom has already been deployed around the site, surrounding it.

For the conspiracy crowd, one of the conference questions was from a man (didn't catch his name or affiliation) asking Thad Allen if he had received the man's documentary evidence that a nuclear submarine was involved in colliding with the well. I thought perhaps he meant the recent collision with well #C177, but Thad Allen responded as if it involved the DWH well. And no, he had not seen the man's evidence, but stated that the Marine Board investigation was looking at everything.

looking for the oil and they "were getting close" to discovering it (not really sure how she would know this?)

In my understanding, she was not talking about learning where the oil is, but what has happened to it--roughly how much has evaporated, been digested, been skimmed, etc. The oil that isn't on the surface is suspended as microscopic droplets, mostly at 1000-1500' depth, and is being broken down by bacteria "rapidly," in her words.

Thanks for the summary, otherwise spot on.

Way off topic sorry. Mark it inappropriate if you hate it. What do you mean, ladies night is illegal. Is America prepared for the depopulation? Is this the REAL solution for peak oil? Tied it in there ;)

While completely off topic I was a nice break .. and I love his last statement. Not that I've ever let them pay me less, closest I've come is taking a lower paying contract rather than wait 3 months for a higher paying contract. But I have taken advantage of "ladies night" esp. with a group of females who did not earn as much as me, for them it made a difference of being able to go out twice that month vs once that month or even being able to afford it at all.

I hope you will be interviewing those Hooters girls and getting their opinion ;)


Thanks Sticks, windward ----
I am still confused on this simple fundamental question of “is there gas in upper wellbore?”. My guess is yes, but the people calling the shots need to know this for sure. Their silence is deafening. Stick’s theory and my guesses are not important.

The understanding of Kent Wells, Thad Allen, Dr Chu and others running the show is vital. A static kill with gas pockets between oil / mud / cement / BOPs is complicated. Can’t have ham and eggers taking WAGs on this present relatively stable situation getting out of hand.

The bottom kill from RW / DDIII is simpler, safer, has a good track record, and will just harmlessly release gas and oil out BOP into 2200psi seawater. The static kill traps gas and keeps it some unknown somewhere down there.

Like a brand new gusher in a Gulf full of oil, Bobby Jindal springs into action:

Jindal vetoed 14 bills from the regular legislative session and cut millions from the budget bills with his line-item veto.

He removed nearly $25 million for coastal parishes battling the Gulf oil spill and rejected a bill that would have required him to make public and to preserve all his office's documents involving the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

WWLTV by Melinda Deslatte / The Associated Press

When will BP wake up and veto Jindal's $360,000,000 Barrier to Nothing?

This was the greatest engineering disaster of its type since Stalin's canal.
Did you see our White Elephant?

He did not Veto letting BP pay for it. And they will. The state is already broke. Why should the taxpayers subsidize BP. That's why he is Governor, he can figure that out.

He did not veto letting BP pay for what? The $25 million?

Yes he did, actually. The money is a grant from BP, not taxpayer money.

Money for parishes: The House, in a rare act of defiance against the Jindal administration, directed that a $25 million grant from BP be distributed among various coastal parishes affected by the oil spill. The Senate Finance Committee then surprised some observers (read: the media) by leaving that language alone when it reworked the budget bills earlier this week.

Also here:

Kennedy said local governments along the coast will face cash-flow shortfalls as their economies suffer. And, he said, “I worry about their bonded indebtedness.”

Local governments often cannot borrow money necessary for response efforts then wait for reimbursement, he said.

The treasurer said the state may have to borrow the money to help the coastal communities pending payments by BP and other responsible parties.

And Jindal is Governor because more idiots voted for him than the other crook.

Edit: Added quote from first linked article

Here's the link to the audio file for Thad Allen's briefing today:


and the transcript is now up here.

There is a whole series on a WORLD WITHOUT OIL. I need to watch more TV? Go figure.

If the natural gas is unexpectedly going in and out of solution how are the pumped liquid volumes calculated? Are the pressures and temperatures of the gases close to the liquid/gas phase change lines? Are the pressures to push oil or mud into the many formations known? Do the decision makers have good estimates of all the variables involved in the static kill, or are there so many unknowns the predicted outcome is iffy?

The 'Buford Berry' should be renamed the 'Jed Clampet.'

News Release: April 16, 2010

The U. S. Coast Guard, Chevron Pipe Line Company (CPL) and the State of Louisiana announced today that the dredge barge Buford Berry, which had been straddling a 10-inch pipeline owned by Cypress Pipe Line Company, was successfully moved last night from the location where 18,000 gallons of crude oil was released on April 6th.

Under contract to ExxonMobil, Berry Brothers General Contractors was conducting dredging operations at this location when they notified the Coast Guard that oil was discharging into the canal where they were located, which was approximately 10 miles southeast of Venice.

You are saying the same barge caused two spills? That is worse than Jed Clampett. Call it the Andrea Titanic.

They're practicing, so they can get better at causing spills.

Machine-Gun Clampett

Something my DeepwaterResponse link (above) left out --
from the Times-Picayune via Swampwoman:

The pipeline is owned by Cypress Pipe Line Company, which is a joint venture between British Petroleum and Chevron Pipeline Co.


Also, oddly, the April 6 pipeline incident happened on a Tuesday at 1am, the same day and time* as today's well incident, 91 112 days later.

* A CNN report put the time at 1am.

Edit: Forgot Swampwoman link; Also, corrected a misaddition, too.

The Skandi 2 ROV did a sonar survey long enough that it cleaned a nice area of the seafloor. Views of that cleared area show it's littered with pebble-like objects, and they're solid enough that the ROV pressed them into the floor where it sat down. Those cannot be part of the modern-day sediment load because the site is too far offshore. It might be useful to scoop some up for examination.

They could be and probably are just clathrate nodules. But there might also be cement chunks in there, and if there are any actual rock particles, they could give a clue to any reservoir damage the blowout might have done. Seems like the possible information would be worth the time to collect a sample.

Spoken like a real geologist: never seen a rock on the ground that you didn't want to pick up and lick.

LOL! You are so right. I want them!

Wait, Rman, are you saying that other people don't lick rocks?

OK..I think I've come upon a whole different world here...

Not with their eyes closed brat.

FYI for everyone else. We really do lick a lot of rocks. By wetting the rock it's much easier to see the grains with our little hand lens


and here I've been trying to figure out what your different taste buds could tell you... Salty? sweet? sour? bitter? savory? and how that would map to rock type.

It also helps when you get a load of wet sand in hot dry weather and you want to be sure it is washed river sand not fresh sea sand.


KCl. Lick it once, you'll learn to identify it on sight alone.

Is that Morton Salt substitute? That stuff is as bad as alum.

Welcome to my world, O.B.!!!!!!!!!!!

How far from the well are these? Could be junk from the junk shot. Also, what happens to the sediments displaced when they jet in the 36" casing to start the well?

Hmm. I don't think they are junk, unless they poured gravel down there. Nothing looks like junk. But you're right about the jetting-in. It's entirely possible that could have produced my "pebbles".

Edit: And if so, I'd still like to see them. It happens that I'm intensely interested in the sedimentology of the GOM in general and the Mississippi Canyon in particular.

As a general question whose answer substantially effects the timescale of the subject, Give careful thought to this simple question (and for those who are old enough to have observed "Human Nature" for a considerable period of time, you should have an advantage...).

What are the incentives for any information source involved in the production or distribution of Oil, to UNDERSTATE the remaining reserves (or for that matter how much is practically "extractible" of those reserves),
Vs. the incentives for those very same sources to OVERSTATE the reserves???

I'm not really expecting specific answers here, but in the same vein, what happens when a particular Government knows fairly reliably that the ummm, "voting population" is in for some very nasty surprises (that the Government does not have a ready solution for...)? Does that Government tell them, or will it try to just deal with the consequences as they occur?

Just sayin'...


Reserves, a murky area. I previously worked in IT for an oil company, and an important project was taking producing well data and producing depletion graphs for analysis. Should another well be drilled in the field? Should re-work be performed on a well? These and other questions were just begging for good answers.

The project covered some fields where the wells were co-mingled into pipelines and/or storage tanks. The cost of flow meters caused the company to just sample one well for a while and then move the meter to another well. Millions of dollars of money is involved based on somewhat sketchy data.

The project goal was to improve the knowledge about each field and each well. In no way shape or form was the results expected to accurately determine reserves. But if it improved the chances for a payback, then it was worth it.

BTW, that oil company was merged with Anadarko!

What do the stated reserves really mean? How about Overstated? Or Understated?


Since I'm one of those suspicious, cynical, pessimistic curmudgeons (and nemesis to Pollyanna (sweet tho' young Haley was:)), Personally I'm going out on a limb, albeit a short one, and state my position that there is absolutely no incentive for producers etc. of "Big Energy" to understate anything...

I'd have to place the vast majority of the heads any of them (not all but lots...) firmly in the Greedy Bastards Club. Like Wall Street et.al, their bottom line is profit pure and simple. Overstating what is really available (or likely available in the relatively short term future), helps them insure the one thing so necessary for their plans...complacency.

At one time a few years ago, I thought that Big Energies grand plan was to simply stock their cosmic sized piggy banks with cash, then go on to monopolize the next big energy source just like they have fossil fuels. At this point however "take the money and run" seems to be their long term plan... I'm pretty sure that they don't have a good bet to replace the FFs to maintain the cushy lifestyle we've grown accustomed to.

We do have good reliable Fusion Power NOW, with the advantages of relatively small size (highly portable too!). The downside is that they only operate for a few hundred microseconds, and tend to really really reduce the real estate values where they have operated...

I'd also be really really surprised if a few of em' weren't deployed in say the next 5-10 years.

Bp America allegedly creates America's worst natural disaster. Bp's corporate response is to promote the head of Bp America to the head of Bp.

Can't get my head around this.

There is a pecking order, but it is more of a round table than most folks suspect. The board members always have little 'tribes' and such going all the time. Frenemies was first coined in the workplace. Ever watched Survivor?

No TFHG, I have never seen survivor. Guess you are right about pecking orders but I am well disappointed that bp has promoted the person responsible for US operations at the time of the DWH disaster to the top job in bp. This smacks more of shuffling deck chairs than replacing the command.

Many would say it's more a case of replacing Cockney accents with Mississippi accents (which neither man has naturally anyway)

You got to make sure these guys have something to lose if they ever decide to testify to the truth.

The families of the 11 and the very righteous want all the truth. Most folks here want most of the truth. However, I honestly believe that most every person here realizes some things are better left buried, hidden, lied about and forgotten. I know if one of my kin was one of the 11 and some VP that cut corners got off, I just might end up on Fox News. I think in that case I would not want my kin to find the truth if I got killed on the job. I do not make light of a serious situation with lives and fortunes at stake. I just have operational experience and have been on a 'need to know basis' before and I agree with a very limited application the concept. Besides, all these guy and gals are protecting their own butts in one way or another. It is part of the job. Remember the 11. TinFoil.

Deleted - TMI

National Geographic Channel has first hand evidence of spill related illness on now. Dr. Ott is being mentioned but I have not seen her yet.

Edit: Best TV on the spill yet. Skimming operations now.

Remember when I said some things are better off kept secret. You can all let me have it now. They might have sprayed me, those dirty, no-good, frickin, fracking, cheating, lying, stealing, polluting, Agent Orange using, DEVILS. The reporter Brendon Kirby is good people and a good journalist. He is good friends with Ben Raines.

Lawsuit targets BP's use of Corexit dispersant; attorney alleges chemical used in off-limits areas

No comment. Although I will say I do know about those planes flying at nite. It's no big secret down here. Ask anyone who works/worked in VOO.

That does need to come out now. I did say limited, although it is too slippery a slope to navigate. We must try. That Russian spy is hot. She can come back. Give a diplomatic passport and keep a tail on her.

The issue is going to be EPA's testing results and the fact that haven't found anything. Oh there's been a few times when air quality was listed as moderate but I have a strange feeling that on those days their tests will say all is normal unless you already had health issues in which the air quality would aggravate them.

Like Gulf War Syndrome, you can only hide so many bodies.

Or like Gulf War Syndrome - you take any and all symptoms and call it GWS instead of diagnosing the patient based on signs and symptoms alone.

I knew a troop who inhaled atomized hydraulic fluid when the replentisher blew out on his tank. Despite having medical records that document the accident; his evacuation to a hospital, his needing respritory support; and documented damage to his lungs - the VA kept trying to tell him that his respitaroy issues were GWS and not the result of inhaling FRH (Flame Resistant Hydraulic fluid) which was known to be poisonous. (One of those wonderful choices: do we use regular Hydraulic and risk burning to death or FRH and risk being poisoned?)

Kent Wells' afternoon briefing has been posted....

Audio here,
Transcript here.

From the transcript of today's briefing:

Jason Dearen: ...I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit more about how much oil NOAA believes is sub sea or on, even on the seafloor and what effort, if you don’t know or have estimates at this point just what efforts are being taken to determine kind of where the oil is underneath the water.

Jane Lubchenco: ...I know it’s an area that a lot of people are keenly interested in....The oil that is beneath the surface as far as we can determine is primarily in the water column itself not sitting on the sea floor. So I think that’s an important mis, distinction to make because I think there’s a lot of misconception that’s out there.

She went on to give more details about the oil in the water column, but first she seemed to want to put the official kibosh on Lake Simmons. Sure would be nice if the media would actually report that.

I noticed that - and share your wish that the media would pick it up.

I thought this was an interesting question, asked at the same Allen/Lubchenco briefing.

Mark Chediak: Hi yes, question for the Admiral, I was, I was wondering who is responsible for cementing the casing in the relief well?

Guess he wants to know if it will be done by someone more competent than those on DWH.

I tuned in to the Samantha Joye weekly briefing, I do not think it has been put on line as yet. She appeared frustrated at the slow pace of coordination of the data gathering and the spin (my words) in the NOAA report. She was hopeful that some academics might be added to the JAG committee.

I think that is exactly who I would want. The man said it would be subject to severe gas flow problems and, maybe it's just me, but this looks pretty severe.

If she was discounting the Simmons forecasts in any way, She must have been paid off by BP. TinFoilHat can explain how all the scientists have become BP shills. Whatever she reports is certainoly a lie as she is representing the USG. Why would a Govt. scientist not be a liar? Look at Michael Mann.

There must still be a few of the high paid consultants who will advise
Secretary Chu to never allow drilling in the GoM ever again. They will soon discount whatever these folks could have lied about with their incomplete data. Why do they continue to hide the facts of the damage?

“This is a very sad day for me personally,” Mr Hayward told reporters.

“Whether it is fair or unfair is not the point. I became the public face [of the disaster] and was demonised and vilified.

He added: “BP cannot move on in the US with me as its leader… Life isn’t fair.

”Sometimes you step off the pavement and get hit by a bus.”


Well, you insufferable little man, sometimes you drive the bus over a crowd of pedestrians and flip it over and kill passengers and you are the only survivor and you piss and moan because the bus company fires you. Wanker.

Aww... that poor poor man. So misunderstood.

From the UK's Daily Telegraph letters column, July 27th:

Obama vs BP

SIR –Tony Hayward said: “The first thing to say is I’m sorry. We’re sorry for the massive disruption it’s caused… There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” In consequence, Mr Hayward became the most hated man in America, and Barack Obama said: “He would not be working for me after any of those statements.”

General James Mattis said, of the Afghanistan campaign: “It’s quite a lot of fun to fight; you know, it’s a hell of a hoot. I like brawling; it’s fun to shoot some people.” This month, he was appointed by President Obama’s administration as Head of Central Command.

Dr Tim Sanderson
London W3


It was a very bad day when that MuttHead chose those words.

Good thing he didn't mention the small people again.

Well, you insufferable little man, sometimes you drive the bus over a crowd of pedestrians and flip it over and kill passengers and you are the only survivor and you piss and moan because the bus company fires you. Wanker.

Brilliant Summing up, Couldn't have said it better myself. LOL

Thanks for the grin Lotus, and I thought you were at the summit on Sunday when you opened the C&B can of worms.

If Mike Tyson can redeem himself anyone can. If Haywood moved here, taught, and did research, he might win a Nobel Prize one day. He owes us. It worked for Sahkarov. Of course, Sahkarov died in Siberian exile. Actually Hayward, maybe you will like Russia. Good luck. LOL

If they can sell Chia Pets,
You can sell TinFoilHats.

You and Mikey would have a great time growing up together.

What was the resutlt of the Dumpster Diving today?

Did you find one of the Hookers Girls?

Don't know about all that but the dumpsters have been swapped out with properly marked and fastened units. It is totally acceptable now. As for the Hooter's girls, four more went on BP checks this week. Are you not capable of talking in a somewhat more gracious manner? If you think I am a potato head then by all means call me one. Just do not blame youngins trying to work their way through college or put food on the table. Do you have daughters or nieces? Are they too 'good' to work at Hooter's? Bless you and try to open your heart for us victims just a little. If not, bite me. TinFoil.

If they told you that the dumpsters were swapped out, that must be a government lie. Why would they ever tell you what they are doing? Don't try to BS us now and tell us that you actually believe what an offical could tell you. Rlun, baby Run. They are going to let you eat the overflow from the mud volcanoe. No dumpster can contain it.

I paid for the girls to go to college. They are college educated with advanced degrees, as I am and so is my wife. We all agree that you are a Potato Head, and are glad that you were able to identify it.

Nope, I saw it myself. I will post photos tomorrow. We can communicate fine if you leave the others in my community out of it. Except for politicians. Fair game there. Thanks. TinFoil

Happy to oblige, mytie. (Opened the which?)

Ooo, The Telly goes arch on "Toxic Tony":

The US probably won’t mourn his absence, but many in Britain will miss the BP bumbler. “If Tony Hayward is BP’s very own Hugh Grant, are you our John Wayne?” one hack inquired of Dudley, hopeful for a soundbite.

“I’m not sure I want to answer that,” Dudley replied, signalling that the age of Blabber-mouth Petroleum might be over.

What is insufferagble is the continual promotion of the idea that Hayward had anything to do with the accident in the GoM. People who float cannot comprehend the distance of the cnain of command. Keep the connection to the Obammie stash machine and you can afford the nonsense.

Executives may not make decisions way down the chain of command, but they set the tone. How you rate safety vs speed, how you rate long term vs. short term, etc. These ways of doing business are set at the top, and work their way down.

Dudley looks a bit uncomfortable in a suit and tie - probably a good thing. He also looks like he's lost some weight lately - understandable.

The Biloxi Sun Herald interviewed him today.

... In the only self-revealing moment that contrasted him with Hayward, Dudley said, “I listen very hard and carefully to people.”

“I did not seek out this job,” he said.

“I was asked to step into these shoes.” ...

Dudley is senior enough this may work OK, but remember the GoM is not all there is to BP worldwide.

Dudley's an Amoco guy, not a career BP guy. This may matter.

He's going to be in charge of a huge British bureaucracy HQ'd in London but operating all over the world. 92,000 employees give or take a few.

Personally, I think Hayward's latest remarks are right on the money, the problem is he should have just kept them to himself rather than talking to the press. Oh well.

Exxon made themselves over after a defining event, the Valdez. Hopefully BP can do the same as its apparent that the normal softly-softly approach to changing the corporate culture regarding safety didn't work fast enough. Hard to imagine a bigger hammer to beat the foot-draggers with than the DWH!!

Aside from Exxon, the only really big company I can think of that successfully changed their culture in a major way in recent times is Ford, courtesy of Alan Mulally. And they did that in the face of some pretty entrenched union opposition...

Please don't dominate the rap Jack
if you got nothing new to say
If you please don't back up the track
This train got to run today

Spent a little time on the mountain
Spent a little time on the hill
Heard some say better run away
Others say you better stand still

Now I don't know but I been told
it's hard to run with the weight of gold
Other hand I heard it said
it's just as hard with the weight of lead

One way or another,
One way or another,
One way or another,
This darkness got to give!

Does anyone know when Coast Guard/MMS hearings will resume? That TO atty was hot about not being able to cross Dr. Smith. Any info would be appreciated.

The third week of hearings will be held in Houston the week of Aug. 23rd. (I don't see any sign of the return of Dr. Smith on the witness lists.)

All sorts of info on the hearings available at Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation

>>Published Date: 28 July 2010

UNMANNED American drones have now launched more than 100 deadly strikes in Pakistan's lawless border region since Barack Obama came to power, a huge surge in the number of controversial raids against militants.

At least 36 people were killed in four strikes at the weekend, taking the total during Mr Obama's 18-month reign to 101, according to statistics compiled by the New American Foundation.<<


>>Press Briefing: July 27

The – we along with the other scientists in the federal agencies and independent scientists have been working very diligently from the outset to have an accurate determination of where is the oil to the best of our ability to say so.

And so I don’t have numbers for you today but that’s exactly what we are working towards.

I think we’re getting very close.<<



It's ironic that the US Government does so well at locating and dealing with militants in the Pakistani wasteland but so poorly at locating millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Priorities I suppose.

You know they are very adroit in findinng the Taliban because of . . . . ?
Or have you committed more Matt Simmons Nonsense.
If the USG has identified the enemy, why are thay still alive?
Could you believe that Berry SoreToes has a different agenda?

- I know they find the Taliban because of the war on terrorism
- I don't see how Matt Simmons has anything to do with my comments
- I thought oil was the enemy per President Obama
- I don't know who Berry SoreToes is ... sorry.

My point (perhaps poorly stated) is that there is amazing technology out there and perhaps more should be pointed at the Gulf.

Nope, the Gulf has enough technology. What the Gulf needs is more wisdom. We had a huge technological advantage in Vietnam. We have one in Afghanistan. Wisdom is knowing what technology to use and when to use it. TinFoil.

That's well spoken TFHG. Thanks.

Mark my words. Afganistan is turning into another 'Nam.
And Pakistan is another Cambodia.

I am really uncomfortable with this "top kill" deal. I see how they could reach a balanced condition and "kill" the well although it looks to me that pressure will increase. How will they be able place cement from the top with out a drill pipe or some tubular to carry it where it needs to be? I just don't see cement of whatever weight sink right down and becoming a contiguous mass. It seems to me that this better done from the bottom and when both annulus and bore are cemented then go up and put in a new drill pipe and cement that sucker to the top.
What am I missing here?

Also can someone explain the Emergency Disconnect Sequence? What happens when? I understand why they could not unlatch if the shear was not completely closed . What should happen before that?

See the Kent Wells briefing linked in the previous thread. Explains the kill operation and provides an animation.


Kent Wells: "So in terms of the static kill, the-we'll only be pumping mud to do the kill initially. And it-it is going to go where ever it is going to go. It could go down the casing. It could go down the annulus. It could go down both."
I believe this kind of thinking is why we have this problem. All he left was "and we'll get a good cement job and everything will be fine".

"and we'll get a good cement job and everything will be fine".

Oh yeah thats gonna end up like "heckuva job Brownie"

I predict this will end Very Badly. (9:52 pm pac 7/27)

I see how they could reach a balanced condition and "kill" the well although it looks to me that pressure will increase.

The pressure should decrease, not increase. In the worst case I can envisage, the mud will go down the wrong way and thus be ineffective, leaving the pressure barely reduced from its current level.

The most likely scenario is probably that some of the mud will go where it needs to go, thereby reducing the pressure at the wellhead. Even if they can get the pressure down to under 4000 psi at the top, it would provide a significant benefit in terms of reducing (and possibly even halting) the leaks at the BOP and generally making everyone happier at the prospect of leaving the well shut in for longer periods of time if the relief well progress is once again interrupted by a tropical cyclone.

Kent Wells said in his last technical briefing that they would like to see the pressure go down to zero after the static kill. Unfortunately, I can't see how this can happen if they are only using 13 pounds per gallon (ppg) mud. That's only around 1.55 times denser than water. By my calculations, that would only provide in the ideal case a bottom hole pressure (BHP) of around 11 kpsi, which includes the pressure exerted by the 1,500 m column of sea water. Whilst that might be enough to kill the well if (as hoped) the reservoir pressure has fallen significantly due to depletion, it won't be enough according to my calculations to get the pressure at the BOP down to zero. However, if they can get the pressure there down to below 2000 psi or so, the well can still be considered killed because the pressure of the water at the seabed will stop any hydrocarbons from escaping.

I agree with you regarding the cementing, though, which IMHO would be better done from the RW, especially now that it's so close to interception.

Mike -- The original reservoir pressure was about 11,900 psi or 12.6 ppg. At 18,000' a 13 ppg would equate to a 12,170 psi. Pressure (psi) = 0.052 * mud weight (#/gallon) * mud column height (feet). Additional the mud pump pressure will add around 0.3 ppg to the ECD (effective circulating density) until the pumps are turned off. On key factor will be how much mud/pressure is lost at the cap. One aspect that will help with this is the 2,300 psi water pressure at this depth. If the mud column is sufficient to stop the flow the pressure at the cap will be zero: no flow = no pressure.

Re: cmtg the well. They can try to bull head the cmt down from the top or pump it up from the RW. In either case they'll not likely end up with a very good cmt job IMHO. Cmt just doesn't go where you want it to. By MMS regs they also have to verify where the cmt plugs is. The best way to do it would to go in hole with drill pipe. Additionally, with the well killed they could also run logs to evaluate the csg as well as determine where the original cmt job might be.

Thanks Rockman, I can see where I was making a mistake now. I was assuming that the first 5000' was water, instead of it being the mud in the drill pipe from the Q4000 (doh!).

I'm not sure about the "no flow = no pressure" bit, though. They've got no flow in the cap now, and yet are still measuring 6,900+ psi. Won't the pressure measured in the cap immediately after a successful kill be the downward pressure due to the 5,000' of mud (3,380 psi) minus any residual upward pressure being exerted by the well? My assumption is that if this is greater than around 1,080 psi (= 3,380 (mud pressure) - 2,300 (water pressure)), they'll be able to effectively replace the mud with water by opening the cap and still have no flow.

Is this correct, or is there another flaw in my logic here?

Rockman - Surely they would use a heavier mud than 13 ppg, your figures are right if you calculate for 18,000 ft but that 5000 ft down to the BOP isn't going to be there all the time. So if they intend to kill it shouldn't they calculate the mud weight required in the 13,000 ft of casing.
I just ran figures through my rough harry calculator, one for 13 ppg, and then 14.5 ppg. The 13 ppg not heavy enough.

I think I got the weights and pressures sorted out okay, but I'm still mucking about with the Gas side of things.
Still looking for Density or SG for Recovered Oil (Gas Free), and the SG of a cubic foot of Compressed Natural gas at 11,900 psi.
The Figures in Red are the ones that are just 'Real Rough' Guestimates.

Program is here for anyone that wants play around with it.

Could someone explain this article to me. Is the man from a town called Eclectic and he was killed in a town called Equality? RIP, but really? Sorry about the post but I have NEVER seen such in my life. Traveled the state many times and did not know we had the Cities or Towns of Equality and Eclectic. This is Alabama. Maybe Devil-gonna-get-you or Burnt Corn (real) but Eclectic and Equality? Really?
Headline: Eclectic man killed in one-vehicle Tallapoosa County crash

Mapquest has both. Equality in Coosa county, Eclectic in Elmore county. Glad to be of assistance.

RIP. An Eclectic man died when he finally had Equality in sight. Wow.

Apologies in advance to any and all from the great state of Alabama...

There's Equality in Alabama?

Only if you are not Eclectic.

Question for the group -- in terms of drilling, what exactly is cement? What is it made out of? Is it anything like Portland Cement used in construction?

I'm listening to Kent Well's technical briefing. Richard Harris of NPR asked about the difference between cement and concrete and did not get a very good answer. That's something I'd like to understand as well. I'm very familiar with concrete, but am really curious about cement as used in drilling.

What is cement composed of? What is it's density, viscosity? How much does it cost and where can I get some? -- note humourous intent -- I really don't want any.

More seriously, what is the expected longevity of drilling cement, in geological terms? I know that concrete, like most of us, improves with age. Ancient Roman concrete is reported to be extremely hard. If a well is cemented in, how will it stand up to plate tectonics, that kindof thing?

Thanks in advance for your expertise. Justa point of technical curiosity.

I can't speak to the cement issue, but I can tell you about tectonics. First, if a plate decides to move, cement of any quality would be destroyed. A hundred foot thick bar of titanium wouldn't stop it. That is truly the king of earthly forces. Having said that, I'd also like to say it's not an issue in the GOM. As far as anyone knows, there is no plate boundary in the Gulf. The Cocos Plate subducts under Mexico and Central America and the leading edge may be under the SW Gulf, but it's really deep by then. The feature that caused the Haiti earthquake is a transform fault. It's a result of plate motion, but not a boundary, and it doesn't enter the GOM.

So no quakes in the GOM? No, I'm not saying that. There are faults and there can be quakes, just not huge subduction zone quakes. edit: And no, a well would not survive a large quake that actually crossed its location.

Well, the tail end of the Farallon Plate is probably underneath there... and your right about it being deep. The Farallon Plate is supposed to be what the Cocos, Rivera, Gorda, Explorer, and Juan de Fuca are the remnants of.

About the only quakes that I know of are a 5.9 (originally a 6.0) south of there way out in the middle of nowhere back in 2006 (Sep 10) and a 5.3 roughly 124 miles Southwest of the Macondo BP spew... also in the same year.

Sam -- Well cmt isn't too different from what you can imagine. The difference is the additives. Each cmt job is designed specificly for that well. The more significant additives are the weighting materials so you can match your mud weight so its density is what you design. It is rather viscous as you can imagine. A critical additive is the retardant. Given the pressure and temperature the cmt can set up in the drill pipe if you're not careful. So you have to get the retardant just right. Too much and the cmt won't cure properly also. Many failed cmt jobs are a result of using the wrong amount of retardant. The cost of the cmt material itself is rather minor. Sometimes the costs to ship it to the rig is more than the cost of the cmt itself. The expensive part is the pumping charge and the rig time needed to get the job done including the curing time. On a DW well the total cost, including rig time, can run several million $.

Last off topic post for 24 hours. This one is bugging me. The Wikileak Afghanistan stuff. If the helicopters were shot at by Stingers, where did the BCU battery colling unit that contains a custom battery and an argon gas charge come from? Not easily remade at all. Probably designed not to be easily substituted by off the shelf hardware on purpose. How do they work them without practice, even simulated? On over twenty year old hardware? Hard to see how that would work.

TFHG -- I don't follow the matter too closely but I'm not sure the systems are brand name Stingers. Many years ago I read an article pointing our that N. Korea/China sold tens of thousands of man-portable AA systems every year. Just my WAG but I suspect the chopper's biggest worry is the RPG. Not very sophisticated but a lot cheaper (i.e. "spray and pray") than M/P rockets systems.

syn et al - An update on the DW drilling moratorium. Just a little update on what we've suspected all along: the moratorium call was more for public consumption than a practical effort. The MMS never needed a moratorium to stop DW drilling. In fact, consider the current state of even shallow water drilling. Just got a report from my scout in the field: Perhaps as few as two shallow water drill permits were granted last month. And both those wells were sidetracks from existing well bores. The hang up seems to be NTL-06. "New drills" are not being awarded mainly due to "environmental impact" issues being addressed in the applications.

This comment doesn't address the issue of whether one supports a moratorium or not. It's more of a question: should the administration be playing politics with the public or just lay it all out on the table in black and white? What's being generated right now is a growing sense in the oil industry that it should consider abandoning plans for all offshore drilling. Ignore what this might mean for future oil/NG production. If most GOM drilling is stopped it will have an negative economic impact on the Gulf states much greater than we've seen already. If the American people/govt want little or no drilling offshore so be it. It's their mineral rights. But be prepared for the next 100's of billion $ bailouts for the region. It will likely make the auto bailout look like chump change IMHO. And the govt won't be able to send that bill to BP.

Drilling offshore in US-controlled waters took a BIG hit with the Macondo blowout and the BP response compounded the situation and not because they did anything bad per se. They have already spent more than three billion dollars out of their own pockets to fix the damn well, attempt to control the spill and remediate the direct impact on local busineeses. They have publicly announced they are responsible for the spill and its remediation and have agreed to fund a 20 billion dollar escrow account. Their quarterly report recently stated they have assigned a markdown due to the spill of 32 billion dollars and that is an under-estimate depending on them not being found criminally negligent in a court of law.

This has set a precedent and the next company to have a blowout, off California's coast or in the Gulf, whether in shallow water or deep will be expected to do the same thing, spare no expense and open their pockets to get the well sealed and the oil spill dealt with and to be blunt most of the smaller operators just can't do that. They can try and buy insurance, yes but the insurers are looking at BP's 32 billion and counting pricetag for the Macondo spill and they'll either turn the business down or set impossibly high premiums that the little people can't afford. BP self-insured for good reasons, the most important one of which was that they had deep pockets capable of paying for their mistakes. The little people don't have cash reserves and assets they can sell in a hurry to match that sort of demand and I can't see drilling licences being issued to companies that don't have that level of insurance cover in the future because going bust and handing the shitty problem over to the Feds to fix is not going to be an option.

The one good thing about this is that when oil reaches two hundred bucks a barrel FOB the GOM oil will still be in place and the demand by American consumers for cheap six-dollar a gallon gas will ensure that the deepwater wells will be drilled and screw the environment.

Isn't that funny. Just think about it, crazy old Matt Simmons out there waving his arms around on the national news screaming gloom and doom helped this happen.

Think how fat his wallet will be.

Alert! FREE Bluebell ice cream social in Little Rock, Arkansas, at 11:30 today at the River Market.

BP’s Toxic Release in Texas City Under Investigation