BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Clearing the Relief Well to Restart - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6789.

The work in the Gulf that is moving toward a more permanent solution to the leaking well beyond the current cap on the well is moving forward at a slow and cautionary pace. In his briefing at 2 pm Tuesday afternoon, Admiral Allen noted that the riser has now been connected between the Development Driller III and the BOP on the relief well. When that pipe is put into place it is full of seawater, and for a variety of reasons it is best that this is replaced with drilling mud of the required density before proceeding any further. (You may remember that it was the reverse of this process that led, in part, to the Deepwater Horizon disaster). Once this process was completed, then the pressure holding the packer in the well so that it sealed against the walls of the well, has been released.

This allows flow down the drill pipe in the well, and then back up through the gap between the drill pipe and the steel and concrete casing of the well that is known as the liner. This gap that the mud will flow through is known as the annulus, and mud will be pumped down the pipe and up the annulus in a process known as circulation, which, because the mud will leave the drill pipe at the bottom of the well is known as “bottoms up.” According to Mr Wells in his later brief, once everyone is sure that the well is in good condition, they will pull the packer. This will likely occur tomorrow, and once that is out of the way and the well recleaned, the final length of casing for the relief well will be run down to the bottom of the well and cemented in place.

Normally this is a job for which Halliburton would be subcontracted (as they would have been contractor for the earlier cementing of the casings higher in the well bore). However, in the brief Admiral Allen became a little coy in regard to who would actually be doing the work.
You know I don’t know off ha(n)d but we can find that out and get it to you. You know a lot of these things are done by subcontractors and there are a lot of them that are out there. And they aggregate together to do what their specialty is and we will get that and pass it to you. I just don’t know off hand.

The casing should be in place and cemented by the weekend, at which time the preparations for the static kill will move into performance, with Mr. Wells anticipating that the process could even start late on Sunday night.

Going back to the animation that was used the first time that the top kill was tried, the flow will, this time, include a vessel holding the mud, as well as a vessel with the high pressure mud pumps needed to inject the mud into the well through the choke and kill lines. Here is the initial animation from BP:

This is a link.

I expect that this operation will follow much along the same lines, only the relative locations of the choke and kill lines may be relatively displaced by the changes in circuitry that happened during the oil collection phase of the effort.

There is increasingly less concern over the likelihood of there being an additional leak of oil from this well, into the Gulf, though that does not preclude other accidents from happening elsewhere. As Admiral Allen noted:

. . . the Coast Guard received a report that the uninspected towing vessel, Pere Ana C pushing the barge Captain Beauford collided with an oil and natural gas rig in the northern part of Barataria Bay south of Lafitte.

The structure itself is called C117 and that is a state owned well. We have about 6,000 feet of boom around the facility right now, there’s an over flight in progress with Admiral Paul Zukunft and Governor Jindal right now and they are assessing the issues on scene, and will be available to report updates on that later today and out of the JIC and so forth.
Subsequently the well was reported to be spouting a mixture of fluids into the air from the unplugged well. Fortunately there are enough resources in the area to deal with the developing problem.

With the time since oil was flowing into the Gulf getting longer, the amount of oil that can be collected from the Deepwater Horizon well is significantly reduced, and so some of the fleet could more easily be made available if needed. The dispersal of the oil does seem to be justifying the decisions of both BP and the various agencies to rely on the dispersant at the beginning of the spill. The longer term effects of the process will not, however, be available for some time.

And in the meanwhile, BP, having agreed to pony up the $20 billion for compensation payments, is making a business charge of $32 billion for the spill, so that, it appears that it will not have to pay taxes on those funds, which will thus cost the taxpayer somewhere around $10 billion. It is, after all, a business cost. But there are also going to be questions raised about how long the funds should pay for damage, if the oil is dissipating, the sands are clearing and the fishing is returning. Obviously, for example, the sand islands being raised along the coast will not be installed in time to be of much benefit for the current problem, given the speed with which the oil is dispersing so does the $0.36 billion being spent on that project reflect the best use of funds? These issues are likely to remain very contentious as we move into the election cycle.

Prof. Goose's comment:

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A bit off topic, anyone familiar with shipping, waves and explosions take a look at the picture of this tanker:


I could be wrong but I'm having a hard time picturing a rogue wave doing this. However it seems very consistent
with an explosion throwing water into the side of the ship. Could be wrong, can't find good pictures of rogue
wave damage to compare with.

Very peculiar rogue wave/tremor/earthquake damage. Actually it was an attack carried out by that crack team of Black Ops dolphins operating on behalf of Kommander Kraken. Or maybe the whale that jumped the yacht? Those Special Forces guys are so competitive!

And if you look at the information released on Macondo and the other US petro related incidents, fits in very nicely.Not OT at all.

" "Initial damage assessment from the ship's owner, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., Japan, is that one life boat was blown off the ship and there is some damage to the starboard hatches," the Fifth Fleet said." (No mention of damage to hull)

"... Mitsui said the ship's hull was damaged 'by an explosion which seemed to be an attack from external sources' at 00:30 am (2030 GMT Tuesday).

But Lebanese radio reports quoted Omani coast guard officials as saying the ship was hit by a tremorship and they had no evidence of an attack. Iran reported an earthquake off its south coast, the reports added.

A spokesman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said it was looking into the matter in case a future investigation is needed. 'We're collecting information right now on the incident,' the spokesman said.

The director of the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, where the ship is now headed, also told the UAE news agency WAM that the ship had been shook by an earthquakes. "

"...But by midafternoon Wednesday, the likely cause of the explosion appeared to be instead a rogue wave..."

"...A pod of about 1,000 dolphins was spotted off the north east coast of Skye..."
"...A couple who were whale-watching off the coast of South Africa got more than they bargained for when a 10-metre southern right whale leapt from the water and crashed down onto their yacht..."


Now they've changed there tune:


"Says damage was not likely caused by quake-related wave"

So unless this was an old mine, someone fired on this ship. It amazes me that
this had almost no effect on oil prices today. Did no traders actually look at
the picture?

The only recent quake in the area recorded by the USGS was a magnitude 4.8 earthquake off southern Iran on Saturday 24 July 12:34:12 GMT

I read that none of the crewmembers heard the detonation, so it must have been one of those pantomines.

Testimony: Coast Guard Failed to Take Charge of Fire on BP Oil Rig


There was a show about the oil well blowout on the discovery channel (or some other similar cable channel). Interestingly enough, the fire boats got to the rig before the rescue helicopters arrived. Amazing . . . . where did they come from?

I am pretty sure most crew boats are equipped with at least one monitor for off vessel fire fighting. I am not an offshore expert, just browsing the crew boat websites.


There are no "fire boats". These are maintained in harbors by local fire depts. When at sea you are your own fire dept. The boats you saw were supply vessels already in the area, most of which are equipped with some firefighting capability.

"Coast Guard officials told the reporters that it does not have the necessary expertise to fight an oil fire and it did not follow its rules when it failed to have a firefighting expert supervise the half-dozen private boats that began pouring salt water on the blaze beginning April 20."

1. The Coast Guard does not know how to fight a fire at sea? All ship fires can be oil fires unless were are talking nuclear fires. You know aircraft carrier personnel used to have dedicated fire response and damage controls teams. That is until after July 29, 1967. That was the day the carrier USS Forrestal was struck with a fire and series of explosions that left 134 men dead and 161 injured. Later investigations revealed the fire response teams were killed in the first waves of the explosions, causing the untrained to attempt to control the blaze. After the incident, the Navy made sure everyone on board ship knows how to fight a fire. Even the cooks and chaplains. That policy is in effect to this very day. I think the Coast Guard needs to talk to Sen. John McCain.

2. Many experts said once the explosions occurred, the policy should have been to let the rig burn and sink. Then if at all possible, maintain a fire at the site for as long as possible and relight as necessary. Many felt this would have greatly reduced the amount of oil that would impact the environment.

3. If the Coast Guard is not prepared to handle this, who is? Industry? I think we all know now how big of a lie that is.

4. Screw the war on drugs. Tax it and use the proceeds to build a real capability to handle oil spills for the Coast Guard.

5. Make the Coast Guard an elite force, not second tier. Start with making Coast Guard requirements harder than the Marine Corp. Pay them accordingly.

6. What does Semper Paratus mean again? It does not mean,'Hope we are ready'.

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

Fighting fire on the ship on is on and on another ship is something very different.

The coast guard has no fireboat equipment.

Putting water onto a burning oilrig might help those still on board to escape - even if only by cooling stuff down. As long as one isn't sure that all hands are from board it is a must.

Several flaws with your logic.

1) A fire on board a ship ship is not the same as a rig fire or an aircraft carrier fire. A key difference being a lot more fuel on a rig fire, so long as the riser is delivering fuel to the surface. There are no high explosives on a rig. You are not even comparing Apples to Oranges, more like Apples to Broccoli. John McCain was a pilot, not a sailor and has no expertise in rescue or fire fighting. He was a pilot who lost several planes. I don't think the coast guard has much to learn from John McCain, sorry.

2) One take away from this incident is that things change with depth. There is a big difference between a blow out 600 feet (or so down) as with ixtoc and one that is a mile down. Therefore, the oil disperses and spreads as it makes the one mile trip up. It's not lightable once the riser collapses. Those who think that lighting the oil was a solution, did not think about the depth.

3) Since you referenced John McCain, I wonder if you are one of these guys who think government should be small. So, what's up with this thinking? It's obvious that BP did lie about their preparedness and it is unfortunate that MMS was so gutted that they lacked the expertise or objectivity to see through BP's ruse, but that's how it was.

4) Big Government or Small Government? Just consider which one you seek. Personally, I prefer a modest government with a strong regulatory structure that is no gutted. These true cops would assure that industry has and maintains the means to fight these emergencies (and prevent them). As a tax payer, I'd rather not pay for some big government oil fighting thing ... let the oil companies pay for it and just have the government make sure they are running an honest shop. Probably more effective and less expensive to the tax payer.

5) Elite force? WTF? What would John McCain say?

6) Semper paratus means "Always ready". They actually were and according to their directives and their mission. Unfortunately BP was not and lied about being ready. However, the tax payers cannot and should not be paying for a government that is always ready to do everything everyway and all the time. There has to be some pragmatics and if something cannot be done safely (and in this topic, I think it can) then it should not become a tax payer burden. Therefore I think that the oil companies have to clean up their business and then let the regulators verify that they are doing all that is possible to prevent this disaster and then to respond to it if it happens again. That is the proper function of government, to govern.

1. I did not mean to learn how to fight the fire from the Senator. Hell, didn't a rocket from the man's plane set the whole thing off? I am saying he can tell you how important firefighting skills at sea are.
2.If they can corral it after it pools at the surface and it burns, it seems that a more aggressive burning strategy could have helped.
3. I do not know WHAT McCain is for any more. I do not know that he does either. He has earned his retirement check.
4. I do not even know what BIG government or SMALL government is. Does more local and less federal count as less or more? We need uniformed response to all disasters. Use the National Guard system. You get the insurance, obedience, support, rules, and organization. I would not trust the petroleum industry with a potato gun.
5. An elite Coast Guard changes the ball game. It is a front line job now. It should be recognized as such.
6. If the Coast Guard does not widely hold firefighting capability it should. What is a fireboat? Would a Cutter with 20 hoses and 40 men count. Do Cutters all have water cannons? They should. What about rescue boats. You mean cross training in firefighting is a waste of money for the Coast Guard?

Actually, the rocket came from an F-4 sitting across the deck from McCain's A-4. It struck either McCain's aircraft or the one parked next to him.

The rocket can from an F4 across from MaCain's plane. It was triggered when the pilot turned on power to his plane. The rocket struck McCain's A4 external fuel tank.

The Navy told us in AE A-school that it was a Zuni rocket that fired when somebody tested the firing circuit with a multimeter instead of a galvanometer.
Of course, the Navy might spin to cause of the accident according to the rating being taught.

2. Many experts said once the explosions occurred, the policy should have been to let the rig burn and sink. Then if at all possible, maintain a fire at the site for as long as possible and relight as necessary. Many felt this would have greatly reduced the amount of oil that would impact the environment.

Let it burn, yes. I can't believe any "expert" would say let it sink. Were they not aware that the riser would fall and break 5000 feet down?

That video of the Coast Guard testimony was interesting. They simply weren't thinking about the consequences of letting it sink. The BP guys should have been the ones to think ahead on this.

Let it burn and then what? I can't imagine asking people to work in a City of Ships say a mile away, with that hellish thing swinging on its uncertain tether in a storm. If the riser broke at the bottom, there's a mile's worth of fuel in the pipe. That would be a nice twist on the ancient naval warfare technique of the fire ship.

Hmm. Some of us impressionable youths can already tell what nightmare will wake us up tonight . . .

Gobbet, let it burn, then shut it OFF. Remember, at that time there was no expectation that they would not be able to get the BOP working.

Letting it burn has got to be better than dumping it in the ocean. They could have worked underwater, attaching pontoons and cables, so that even if a hurricane did come before they got the well under control, they could still avoid a massive environmental disaster.

Perhaps someone who knows, can tell us how much wind could be handled with cables to nearby ships or even to anchors at the bottom. I'm just guessing, but it seems like they would have been able to keep the rig on station with the winds we have seen these last three months.

If it looks like the wind will be too much, and it is necessary to cut the rig loose, at least we still have the oil at the surface. Maybe some really tall booms would help contain it while it continues to burn.

With a riser still in good shape, we could run a pipe 100 feet under the waves, to carry the oil and gas downwind to a long string of flares designed to withstand high winds. It might even be possible to separate the oil and gas, so the oil could be piped to nearby ships. The challenge is doing all this with readily available parts. If anyone would like to join us in that challenge, we have a pretty good start at http://groups.google.com/group/stop_blowout.

Mostly lurking on this thread to learn but can contribute several points for discussion. Note that these are just my newbie observations and chain of logic (what Einstein called a "thought experiment") and would love to have the experts here correct me.

My basic premise is that once the blow-out caught fire, there was basically nothing that could have changed subsequent events in any meaningful way. Conditions and event were placed on a path that nothing short of divine intervention could have materially altered. In other words, once the blow-out happened and caught fire, the BOP failed and the emergency disconnect failed, nothing more topside could have been done to change the outcome only shift the result a few hours one way or the other.

Here is my chain of logic:

It took Red Adair three weeks to put out the fire on Piper Alpha and that was a fixed platform (not floating). DWH was a semi-submersible and essentially a ship (floating vessel). So, you intersect (1) a damaged ship; (2) a blow-out; and (3) a blow-out fueled fire all in one place/one event but all three had to be handled in mutually-exclusive ways.

It wasn't a question of letting DWH sink, wasn't much they could do to keep it afloat. The heat from the fire alone would inevitably cause structural failure of the steel. There was no way to put out a blow-out fueled fire in this situation. It was only a question of time (as measured in hours) before DWH sank.

Using sea water wasn’t to “fight the fire” in the sense of putting it out. Water from water cannons didn't have a chance of putting out the blow-out fueled fire; its only impact (and the intention of its use) was to cool the steel a bit to make it last a bit longer (again, as measured in hours) to put off the sinking for a little while.

No fire boat(s) in existence could have put out a blow-out fueled fire and even if it did, the on-going blow-out would have continued and possibly/probably/most-certainly would have re-ignited from the hot steel or the first spark on a nearby vessel. Would have been a nice big NG cloud, by the way, when it went off.

Even if foam was available and used, it had no chance of putting out a blow-out fueled fire and, even it if did, the on-going blow-out would have continued and possibly/probably/most-certainly would have re-ignited.

Further, even if the Boot&Coots guys had been crazy enough to have tried to put out the fire (and they aren't that crazy, IMHO) and HAD been successful, they would still have had an uncontrollable blow-out spewing combustibles onto a lot of very hot steel ready to immediately ignite something again. In other words, the fire was one thing and the blow-out another; the blow-out couldn’t have been controlled at the riser on the surface but only 5k feet below.

DWH, as a floating vessel, was doomed the moment the blow-out caught fire. Fire AND the blow-up closed off all other options.

It doesn't matter if "fire-fighting" water filled the pontoons are not. Without the water, fire would have weakened the steel to the point of failure faster; with the water, you might (???) fill the pontoons to make it sink but make the steel hold longer. At best, a double bind; damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Even if there was some magic way to keep the DWH afloat, the burning blow-out was not an efficient combustion and, therefore, considerable amount of unburned oil was spilling into the water from the beginning. In other words, a burning rig is not a very good EverGreen Burner; it made a rather poor flaring apparatus only partially burning the output from the riser.

Finally, since the vessel supporting it was going to sink and there was no way to physically transfer the load of the riser to another supporting vessel, nothing could have saved the riser; it was coming down. It was just luck that the sinking vessel and/or collapsing riser didn't do more damage to the BOP and/or wellhead.

You correct as much as I do ;) Did you see my post at the bottom about the pipeline spill?

BB, you raise some very good points, but I think you may be wrong about the strength of the structure. We had extensive discussion of this in another thread and the consensus of those who seemed to know the most about these rigs was that there was plenty of steel underwater between the pontoons. The pontoons also have compartments, so even if some falling debris had "harpooned" a few of them, the rig could still stay afloat.

Also, it does not seem inevitable to me that the riser had to go down with the rig. Would it have been possible for divers to disconnect it underwater? If not, can we make some simple modifications to be ready for future blowouts?

We're about to lose this thread. For extended discussion of this and other topics, post questions at http://groups.google.com/group/stop_blowout.

TFHG - This isn't a fire at sea, its oil/gas blowout on fire.

There is no comparison even to a fire on an aircraft carrier. Orders of magnitude bigger. 40,000 gallons per day of crude, and perhaps five times that, with a high gas content in addition.

Have a look at the Cullen report and the actions of the Tharos. That support semi-sub had tremendous fire-fighting capacity and they still had to back away from the fire on Piper Alpha once the gas risers became fully involved.



Perhaps, but I think folks just cannot get a handle on how the Coast Guard did not have at least an advisory role in those operations with the authority to immediately take over. I think that would have made folks feel better that BP was using best practices and not playing the CYA game. I know Adm. Allen has actually gone up in the polls and I think his numbers are about 30 points higher than his commander-in-chief's. The man has even grown on me. Go figure.

Was that responsive? =p

I would be stunned if the CG had any serious capability in this area, just like they're not in the salvage business beyond offering a tow to smaller vessels. All heavy capability is civilian or Navy.

They are in the SAR business as a core competency and do a great job. As you're aware, the unofficial motto is "You have to go out, you don't have to come back".

As far as developed skills go, when was the last major offshore blowout and fire in the US?

Everyone was depending on the same flawed models. The MMS, BP, all the rest of the majors, the Coast Guard, everyone.

Needless to say, those models were never tested and when needed for real they proved to be junk.

I'm surprised you feel the CG could do better under those circumstances. I do think there is going to be lots of good things coming out of the inquiries, particularly the slow and thorough ones that are not grandstanding like Markey.


I guess you misunderstand how I feel. If aliens landed in the 3-200 mile limit would you call the Navy or the Coast Guard? What would alien contact or recovery training be like anyhow? Who would give the class? I do not want the Coast Guard to pull a Waco and go all FBI on what probably would have been best handled like a chemical plant fire. I understand the plant guys have some responsibility especially when dealing with certain materials that the locals may not be entirely ready for. When a big event happens however, local officials get the final call and usually execute their orders through the local fire department. The plant guys know how to work with the locals. In the 3-200 mile territory, I consider the Coast Guard to be the local police, rescue, and fire department. It does not mean they have billions in equipment and extra manpower laying around. It means the leaders and key people in the Coast Guard go to the same classes as the industry firefighters and well control experts. What are we talking about? 80 hours for fire and maybe a year for beginner's well control? I would imagine advanced well control should be a brain surgeon level of training and experience required, but it is impossible to get a dozen experts in reserve or guard uniforms?
The bottom line to me is any 100% industry run solution will not sell to the public and by extension to the Congress. Thank you so much for your responses all. You are thinking and making me think. Good luck.

Standing by for any possibility in the realm of human imagination cannot be an initiative in any strategy. The Coast Guard's mission is fuzzy enough as it is, without imposing the added burden of exhibiting omnipotence in any imaginable situation. People, individuals, corporations included, have to understand that they are not riding through their individual existence on a toboggan that is steered by whomever they find convenient to blame when they are unhappy with their current course. Living on the Gulf, knowing that just over the horizon is an industrial complex that harbors certain innate risks is a concius decision, made by indivduals cognizant of the facts. Who is going to make the decision to bail off the toboggan, if the rider does not, upon whom are you waiting to que you? I reject the argument that anyone has the right to expect to live in harmony with nature, given the empirical reality that this utopian ideal does not exist on this planet. The opperative word being "right", who grants such privileges, and where are they to enforce their authority when their autonomy is usurped?
If you are in a particular situation that you are not comfortable with, change the situation, or move on to a different one. If you do not have the means to do that, deal with it to the best of your ability just l ike millions of people around the world, scrambling for enough food to dtay alive for a few days do o an ongoig basis.
Enough rantng already, my point being that the Coast Guard does not exist to solve everyones problem simply because water happens to be an element of the mind set related to the problem.

Good rant. The Gulf States love the oil, but they're in complete denial about the incredible risk from all those pipes and wells out there, that they get their paycheck from.

Now come the deferred deductions in lifestyle, income, health, peace of mind.

Pay me now or pay me later.

Climate ain't weather.

Would it have been feasible to start a relief well or attempt any capping, diverting, or killing operations while the tethered rig was burning? Sounds unlikely. If not, what was the downside to sinking the rig?

I think they did send down ROV's to shut off the BOP while the rig was burning.

Downside to sinking it was they lost any control of the well through the riser and they had the possibility it would land on the BOP like the ITOX did.

Sarah -- Don't toy with me about the free Blue Bell ice cream social. It's a long drive from Houston to Arkansas.

Sorry to be such a temptress :)

(not really!)

Ok, I haven't a clue how you two got to this point, but in an effort to be the good humor guy, you'd potentially drive from Houston to Arkansas because a girl said she had some ice cream?

I guess I'd go if she said hey, RSG, I just got my Victoria Secret order in and want your opinion whether it looks good on me; oh, and I have some Blue Bell too.


1. Sarah is on FIRE!
2. Blue Bell is GREAT ice cream
3. You go out of your way to be social
4. Any reason to leave Houston
5. All of the above


Now, I DO have BlueBell Mint Chocolate Chip in the freezer, but what I had referred to was a free BlueBell ice cream social... disclaimer: I am not associated in any way with said social, I was just announcing that I had heard about it, in case others wanted to attend. I was being a temptress in that Rockman has difficulty resisting BlueBell ice cream, even if he has to drive from Houston to Little Rock. Alas, I was unable to attend the social, I had to work :(

Ok, thanks. Making sense now. Bummer work kept you from socializing. Still, the BBIC better be good for that drive in the middle of summer with potential oil volcanoes, methane explosions, and tsunamis. :)

I think I better find me some BBIC and try the stuff then if its good enough to drive that far to get some. I'm in Orgeon though. I haven't seen it up here yet.

I was being a temptress in that Rockman has difficulty resisting BlueBell ice cream, even if he has to drive from Houston to Little Rock.

I'd have come down to Little Rock from New Jersey if the social had featured both Blue Bell and Rockman. ;-)

Hmmm...a threesome. Getting interesting. Wonder if I could even hold out for a better offer.

Pensacola Beach, all the BBIC and spirits one desires + one more walking, cooking out on the beach, listening to the pounding of the waves, smelling the salt in the air, then watching the sunset and the moon and stars..........let's see if RM is still up and answers since I am in a simpering mood with this background:





You need to enter these in al.com's beach photo contest. First prize is a visit to the impacted beaches of Gulf Shores (not kidding). I want you to enter, this stuff is good enough.

Thanks TFHG~would they accept them since they are from P-Cola Beach? I just snagged a few and literally have thousands I use for postcards to sell and send 100% of the proceeds to Texas Equusearch. It's almost hard to take a bad picture out here at sunset. The one that's almost all pink (not photshopped of anything) was from when Ike blew thru, if you look you can see how large the waves were then......I was amazed and stayed out until dark that day watching the changes in the surf, sky color.

Rules: Only one photo per al.com account can advance to the final vote. (You can submit more than one photo, but only one photo per account can advance to the final judging. Duplicates will be deleted.) No al.com employees can win.

It looks they will accept it to me, but I am not a lawyer. Just register.

10/10, beautiful pictures - thanks for posting them.


then watching the sunset and the moon and stars..........

Oh, my. What incredibly alluring pictures, Ma. Sure is something about that Gulf.

I'm reading Stephen King's "Duma Key." A ways from Pensacola Beach, but his descriptions of the Gulf make me pine for it. (And I live right on the Jersey Shore, so it isn't as if I got no big water to look at!)

NAOM~Thank you!

SL~yes there is, it has a soul IMO and is so pure (sans oil) and we are supplied with natural beauty every day and night, and so many nights I just go out and walk along the surfline and it's very dark here because we have very few streetlights and the ones we have aren't bright on purpose for the turtles, so you can go lay on the beach and see every star like you are in the middle of nowhere while listening to the waves........incredibly peaceful.

beachmommy - here is another view from Pensacola Beach :


Which one is true ? Depends on the point of view or on the position ?
Hard to find out for me...

Well, holler if you're driving to Little Rock any time soon!

Love your pics, Mumsie :)

Yesterday Tinfoilhat asked:

"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."

The reason is because to the Taliban/al Qaeda/Baathists/etc - any handheld SAM is a 'Stinger.' In reality these are old SA-7s or SA-16s (or Chinese knock-offs). And you are correct that the Stinger missiles we originally supplied to the Mujahadeen ceased to be functional very quickly. The missiles were not exactly the same as the ones we used for ourselves. They were modified with a different guidance system (designed to be ineffective against US aircraft) and components that would degrade in less than 4 years.

BTW - what surprises me is that people seem to think that this leaked information is the first time we have heard about the Taliban using SAMs. This is something that had been commented on in press releases and media articles for years.

Re: the Wikileaks Afghanistan stuff

Chris Floyd had an interesting view of the Wikileaks document dump, which he suggests, may not be quite what it seems:


And here's Julian Assange, the great defender of of our right to know, on 9/11:

"I'm constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11"


Perhaps Wikileaks is not at all what it seems.

Let's just say I am familiar with Eastern bloc weapons and I know the difference. I can even sometimes tell from the different contrails. The links had much info so I cut the appropriate section.

"Military experts say many Stingers may no longer be operational – due to drained batteries, for instance – but on at least one occasion US troops feared they were under fire from their own weapons. A Black Hawk helicopter leaving an airbase in Paktika province in July 2007 came under fire from two missiles that crew members believed were Stingers. It was a "probable Stinger due to flight characteristics, the smoke trail going straight up, then turn towards aircraft and lack of cork screws".

The assessment was provided by a crew member who said he had previously operated the Stinger system. It is not recorded whether his assessment was later confirmed."

"But US pilot logs show they were certain the missile was not an RPG and was most likely a Manpad – the military term for a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile."

Another good link: http://sf-3.blogspot.com/2008_02_01_archive.html

From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/25/afghanistan-taliban-missile-...

Eastern bloc Manpads are a concern. Operational Stingers old or new are a much bigger concern.

Really. What did Ronnie say? Well,there you go again.Next thing they'll have is death rays.

It was reported by several news organizations yesterday that the SAMs were supplied by Iran. However, I don't know how these stories were sourced. This could be a re-hash of previous reports.

It has been reported for some time that the Taliban has at least some access to SA7 missiles from Iran's Revolutionary Guard. See one story back to 2007 from UK's Telegraph at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1552311/Taliban-use-Iranian-mi...

Officers in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are supplying hundreds of weapons, including the missiles, to Taliban insurgents, it is believed.

Most worrying is the news that SA7 Strella anti-aircraft missiles have been supplied to the Taliban. The weapons are a serious threat to helicopters supplying more than 6,000 troops.

Some of the newsies yesterday were stating that much of the material released on WikiLeaks have been previously reported by many news organizations from multiple sources.

I am sorry, but I have enough faith in the pros to believe they know a Stinger when one was being fired at them. The commie stuff has a slower speed than the Stinger and most early commie versions are impact weapons like the Stinger. There are certain things about a Stinger's sensor signal patterns are different from the commie stuff. They are positioned differently upon the shoulder. Is there a new Pakistani missile? Look at this excerpt:

"The war logs detail at least 10 near-misses by missiles in four years against coalition aircraft, one while refuelling at 11,000ft and another involving a suspected Stinger missile of the kind supplied by the CIA to Afghan rebels in the 1980s."


My money is on the Pakistani's supplying them.This is 'Nam all over.

"It is possible that the missiles were manufactured in North Korea, which has produced the Chinese HN-5 and the Soviet SA-14 and SA-16 under license,[17] and the Soviet SA-7 and US Stinger missile, which it reverse-engineered from missile technology acquired from Egypt in the 1970s and from the Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s, respectively.[18] Another possibility is that the missiles were foreign-made and were transiting through, or were re-exported from, North Korea. This scenario could also have profound implications, depending on the origin and age of the missiles. Newly manufactured foreign missiles would suggest a recent government-to-government sale to North Korea – an egregious violation of the spirit if not the letter of international agreements on controlling MANPADS – or diversion from government stockpiles, which would likely be indicative of serious shortcomings in stockpile security policies and practices."

From: http://www.fas.org/blog/ssp/2010/02/missile-watch-february-2010.php#nort...

This thing stinks all over. Did you know my mother's kinsfolk copied the Stinger? I hope I do not have to go back over there to help clean house. Damn crazy Koreans (since I am one, I can say it).

You go over there and they'll be feedin' you to the hogs.

You may be on to something... this article supports your idea about N. Korea.

It quotes some of the leaked documents about possible weapons from N. Korea including missles.

I too think that the public and some of the press use the term "Stinger" for all manpads (manpads is the generalize term for all "man-portable air-defense systems.")

Without service (some it requiring a clean-room) and parts, all of the Soviet-Afghan-era Stringers became unusable a long time ago. Maintaining Stingers would not be something the Taliban could do without outside state support and, even then, Stinger parts are hard to come by. Very-low (to close-to-nil) probability that Taliban could use Stingers, cetainly in any quantity.

The reported North Korean knock-off of first-gen Stingers could be possible. See http://www.janes.com/articles/Janes-Land-Based-Air-Defence/North-Korean-...

I also read of the attack on the C-130 tanking at 11k feet. Interesting story because, as I recall, this is at the limits of most of the older weapons with range around 16k ft (not "altitude" but "range"). The source report only classified this event as "SAFIRE" (Surface-to-Air Fire) probably a MANPADS event and NFTR (Nothing Further to Report). The C-130 is not the most agile of aircraft like a fighter and yet they avoided the missile using flares and evasion. Crew did report "corkscrew" action and that the missile changed its trajectory before flying past them.

Edit: From the report of the C-130 published in 2007: "a crew member observed a bright flash followed by a second flash approximately 2 natical miles from the aircraft." Add that distance to the 11k altitude of the C-130 and this shot had some range to it. Not uncommon for any insurgent group to get a few manpads via the black-market trafficers but not in any quantity. That would require state support.

See a C-130 firing flares: http://www.efluids.com/efluids/gallery/gallery_pages/c130.jsp

"By the latter part of 1999, US intelligence was indicating that a small quantity of Stinger look-a-like weapons were in service with the North Korean armed forces. It is also likely, now both Pakistan and Iran are producing missiles which bear a close resemblance to the Chinese QW-1 Vanguard man-portable."
From your link. Interesting. Still, we need to keep a watch on evidence of source for these weapons. If it is from the US, we can stop it and prosecute. If it is from another country, we need to let them know we know they have them and are responsible for them.

I haven't yet read of a total accounting from various sources (including the raw WikiLeaks stuff) of manpads events in the Afghan theater but it seems like something in the range of 10 and 15 events in the last eight years. Yes, that is 10-15 of our folks being shot at (not good) at but it appears that there is no current trend that would indicate a state-supplied manpads (in quantity), although this remains a concern from what I have read.

However, there are something like 40 reported manpads attacks against civilian aircraft (none in the western hemisphere) and even a few outside of conflict areas. After 9/11, we became more focused on the manpads threat to civilian aviation. See http://merln.ndu.edu/archivepdf/terrorism/state/107632.pdf

While the vast majority of manpads are in national stockpiles, terrorists and other non-state actors have been able to acquire them via deliberate transfers (Libya reportedly sent a few to the Irish Republican Army in 1990), the black market, or theft.

The Irag theater did have a set of attacks in 2006-2007 and al Qaeda is reported to have made an hour-long training video on how to use the SA-7s from Saddam's abandoned stockpile.

Why is this C-130 shooting flares? Is this an operational video? Was he showing off? Did he get 'painted'? Last I knew there was no infrared lock warning system. Is this SOP? Surely this close to base there was no radar lock and I saw no chaff or an ECM pod anyways. It just looks strange. Who took the video and was it authorized?

Edit: The guy that made this video is German or Austrian maybe. Why does he have a Hitler video on youtube. Yeah, this is all insignificant stuff, but it is strange nonetheless.

I used to watch C-23's dump flares all the time when I was in Iraq. They operate using an automatic system that give a lot of false alarms.

And frequently a PO'd Iraqi would show up at a gate, then a claims officer would have to be escorted out to investigate the damage the flare caused and pay the guy for whatever just got burned.

I guess, but are not such systems activated by a missile launch detection? Maybe they sometimes give a false alarm, but if I were in the plane, I would freak if I got a missile launch warning during takeoff.
Does this thing work? It seems coalition aircraft are not really being downed by SAMs.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOx_wHhitqk&feature=related

I think this is the video for the stills I sent earlier. Looks the same anyway. Probably just a demo or PR photo op. See more response downthread. The DOD, services and manufacturers shot a lot of this type of stuff and give it away for PR purposes.

For a dual show, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcJTISrVEFo&feature=channel

Impressive dump of flares ... must the tied to the "Oh crap" button. LOL

The flying spaghetti monster :)


>> I guess, but are not such systems activated by a missile launch detection?

For transports, that will mean the poor flight techie peeking out that little window at the back of the plane looking for launch trails ...

The photos in the link I posted were just PR photos illustrating the flare launch. Might have come from a test. PR photos are sometimes done during tests (both for the manufacture and for the AF) and sometimes they are simply PR photo ops.

Oh my God. They didn't drop em in the Phoenix area did they?

In a line, just over the mountains ... V-shaped, right? LOL

As a kid, in the late 1950s, I was at a "photo flare" shoot one night for an Air Force op. SAC announced it in advance and a people showed up to watch outside the base. This was NOT an IR decoy type of flare but was huge, bright and used to light up large areas for visible light photography (think a military-grade flash bulb designed to light up a city-sized piece of real estate). The op light up Ft. Worth so much at 10pm at night that the phone rang for two days at FWPD reporting space invaders. The shoot was just as the 10pm local news started on TV and the TV stations switchboards were jammed too. Many people missed the pre-announcement and, being the height of the cold war, scared that the big one was starting.

Just out of college, I had a job for year for a professional photo lab that had the lab contract for a major aerospace company. This contract was large enough to have me assigned as their dedicated tech rep (the only use of my BS in Chemistry I ever had). They shot an incredible amount of non-classified photo materials (prints, slides, 16/35mm film, video, etc.) of their products for their own PR activities, brochures, training manuals, etc. Contract was a mainstay of our lab particularly when new weapon systems were in fly-off competition. One new weapon system paid for my first bachelor apartment, car and part of grad-school tuition. They also sent photo units into the field to get pictures of their existing products that were fully deployed. DOD and the services perhaps did even more on their own. Much of resulting photos were available for the asking and totally non-classified; others were more closely-held of course.

You ought to see the tankers over here at Ft.Knox.Those flares light up the range like its high noon.I've seen times running down U.S.60 at night you didn't need headlights.

Well sure, but setting off such things on an operational airfield with press around? It had to have been for a photo op. Things are not like they used to be. We played who could blow up the Jeep chassis the highest with a well placed satchel charge. We called it training, but today I bet they would call it criminal.

Edit: BPS, are you R. Lee Ermey?

SAC never announced why they were doing it but the act itself was hard to hide ;-)

It made such an impression on me (I was about 10 at the time) that later working around the military I researched these "photo flash bombs." The WWII-era item was an M46 Photo Flash Bomb. About 100 pounds of what is in essence a "flash bulb." Ordinance was designed for night aerial photography even at high altitude. Commonly used in WWII through Viet Nam, I believe.

"The resulting flash of light lasted for about 1/5th of a second and had a peak intensity of approximately 500,000,000 candlepower." Light up the ground like high noon for a good part of Ft. Worth all the way to the east side of town (Carswell on the west side).

Just read that the AN-M46 was used 1940-1960. Here is a photo of the Northrop YRB-49A dropping one of them: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Northrop_YRB-49A_in_flight_droppi...

Heh,heh.Same age. But with that commercial he does with the namby pamby reminds me all to vividly of one of my old D.I.'s.Ahh,the good old days when Marines were Marines and the courts stayed out of it.

His character in FMJ (full metal jacket) is a classic.

3rd battalion,Paris Island. I know that place top to bottom.Man, does that bring back some memories.Exactly the way it was.That was on the second floor.Buried two sand fleas in different graves.
edit:Those barracks were the ones I lived in.I can close my eyes right now,44yrs later,and tell you every nook and crannie of that place.Still see some idiot that screwed up and called his weapon a gun running up and down the barracks with his rifle in one hand and his tally wacker in the other saying " this is my rifle,this is my gun.This is for fighting, this is for fun".

Well, there is a theory that a manpad was fired from an aircraft at least once...the Feral Gov't explanation was that the 747 seemed to have had a center fuel tank explosion caused by a short in a pump..

As a retired navy pilot and commercial pilot, I lean toward the former, rather than the latter explanation.


Off topic but I wanted to check in re; the closed thread when we were discussing the overshot tool. You responded that my comment was snarky when I stated I would be impressed if you made the overshot tool.

I read your bio and it didn't seem likely fabricating weldments was your field of expertise and if you did so I would be impressed.

I give no quarter to BP in regard to what's been accomplished to date. It was their decision to detour 1,000 miles down a dark road and they are no-where near an intersection that might indicate they have changed policy. This doesn't imply the subcontractors working to kill the WW don't deserve credit, unless they stray with BP.

No harm.

I have no oil-field experience. However, my family has owned a heavy-equipment manufacturer and steel plant (to make our own weldments for the end-product machines) for over 60 years. Not the oilpatch but still big iron. Entirely family-owned and operated (at some point in our lives, all of the family, boys and girls, worked in the business.) Makes large highway and off-road construction equipment; most of it our own invention and patents. Worked the steel fabrication shop myself during high-school/college as a welder. I was okay and could hold my own (and did for three years) but by little brother was/is an artist at it. Still can't keep him out of the shop. My dad had a traditional rancher's work ethic and everybody worked, particularly the boss's kids. Lovingly worked us twice as hard as the other hands and we knew that we were better off for it.

My true gifts were in other areas. I went into science early on and then high-tech applications. Never could have matched my other family members in mechanical engineering so they operate the family business while I built another one. The heavy-equipment business will stay in the family at least one more generation as my nephew will take it over when my brother retires. My bother made him start in the shop also 15 years ago.

So yes, I know precision fabrication of big pieces of steel. Couldn't have done it myself but might have 30 years ago and can still appreciate what they did from first-hand experience.

In "Call to Duty 2" video game you attack an oil platform being used as a SAM site. My 10 yr old grandson is quite good at it. Someone is probably working on a video game "Oil Rig" where you can play: 1. a company man and give orders 2. a rig owner guy or gal who takes the orders 3. a service contractor guy who ignores the orders.

The lantern like dome on the top of military helicopters are light sources to disrupt the IR sensors on SAMS also they have flares. The newer shoulder fired SAMS like the SA14 & 18 are not so easily fooled by these older devices.

Never underestimate the resourcefullness and ingenuity of the enemy. We should have learned that from Nam. The IEDs we've been fighting in this war are a testament to that as well. While it might not be possible to replicate subsystems exactly I wouldn't be at all surprised if those old stingers are being put to use through some jerry rigged concoction of whatever else they have laying around.

This is some Pakistani cong general selling our stuff.

Well then he needs his command terminated with 'extreme prejudice.'

Never underestimate the resourcefulness and ingenuity of Congressman John Kerry who, according to Vo Nguyen Giap, the NVA general in charge, in his memoirs published in 1973, that if it wasn't for John Kerry, the NVA had been preparing to surrender. That's right, according to his Memoirs, it was John Kerry with his illegal visit to Hanoi that emboldened North Vietnam to continue to resist the American forces and to expend the thousands more troops to secure Saigon!!

There's always another side to the coin.

The reason is because to the Taliban/al Qaeda/Baathists/etc

Kind of strange that you would include Ba'athists in with those others; the Ba'ath Party represents secular nationalism*, the others... well. Not all Arabs share the same philosophy.

EDIT: * or rather or Pan-Arabism

Couple of links from NOLA.com this morning.

A full-throated editorial attack on Bobby Jindal's tactics by the T-P's outdoor editor:

An article illustrating the weird organizational structure of the cleanup effort. St. Bernard Parish responding to a sighting and "fighting tarballs" in the Chandeleur Sound area in communication with the State of Mississippi--no mention of the BP command at Houma or the CG:

But a "fleet" of skimmers only collected a few barrels. Since collecting tar is going to be the endgame of the skimming effort, I would like to hear what, if anything, is being done with the frame-and bag system invented by the guy in Florida and being manufactured in Alabama. This device can be used very efficiently by shrimp boats and in shallow water along the beaches and in the bays.


From BP's 7.28 operational update -

The DDIII rig has released and retrieved to surface the storm packer; it is preparing to run in the hole with drill pipe.

Pressure continues to slowly increase and is approximately 6,937 psi.

Wells said yesterday that the pressure has been continuing to build at less than half a psi per hour.

Criminal probe of oil spill to focus on 3 firms and their ties to regulators

A team of federal investigators known as the "BP squad" is assembling in New Orleans to conduct a wide-ranging criminal probe that will focus on at least three companies and examine whether their cozy relations with federal regulators contributed to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to law enforcement and other sources.

The squad at the FBI offices includes investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies, the sources said. In addition to BP, the firms at the center of the inquiry are Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP, and engineering giant Halliburton, which had finished cementing the well only 20 hours before the rig exploded April 20, sources said.

While it was known that investigators are examining potential violations of environmental laws, it is now clear that they are also looking into whether company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig's failed blowout preventer. It is unclear whether any such evidence has surfaced.

"... 32 billion for the spill, so that, it appears that it will not have to pay taxes on those funds, which will thus cost the taxpayer somewhere around $10 billion. "

This sounds like QE2 will only cost the gov. only $10B.

So far, only +$4B has been spent. The region is awash in money.


How would a criminal investigation by the Govt be carried out? Are they looking for "John Doe" that bypassed certain alarms, the "guy" on watch that wasn't watching, the "supervisor" who saw the 4 negative tests and decided to displace the mud with seawater anyway...? Will they be looking at the gov't regulators that should have seen that there was a problem and ignored it? Are we talking about monetary fines or butts in the slammer?

I am curious if Washington is serious about this or is this just a show.

A criminal investigation would probably begin with statements made by BP executives which have proven false. A key example is their claim that they had the capacity to respond to an event even larger than what actually occured. The next step would be to look for standard practices in the industry that were ignored for the purpose of profit or convenience. A mundane example would be someone held criminally liable for the death of a pedestrian if they had not maintained the brakes on their car. Finally, I suppose it is possible that there was criminal mischief by individual employees, I suppose that is possible.

Police officers and regulators are not criminally liable for a failure to find criminal behavior. They can be fired for gross failure to do their duty and, in some cases related to this, many have been. Would you have some idea of holding a police officer responsible for a particular crime if their department and all it's resources were sliced to the bone? The MMS has been gutted in direct response to incessent pressure by industry lobbyists. I think our job as voters is to look at that in the face and then to think long and hard about where the government does need to be paired down and where it does need to be beefed up. The industry also has a responsibility to regulate itself, which it has not done adequately. So, I'd point out that even with a ripped up MMS, BP could have prevented this through self regulation.

Monetary fines are civil and not criminal. You can very well assume that will happen but it's not to the point of the rest of your question.

"Washington" is a city. However, I know for a personal fact that the current administration is VERY serious about criminal and civil prosecution of this case. However, that will take some time. Look at the Exxon Valdez disaster which was much simpler and how long that took.

Thank you for the reply.

I did a little reading on the subject.


I had no idea that the court process could be so slow. 20+ years.

I had no idea that the court process could be so slow. 20+ years.

Or that the law could be bent so far around that the real plaintiffs get totally screwed.

Applying what has become known as the Robins Dry Dock rule, Judge Holland concluded that, in the absence of physical injury to person or property, a party may not recover for pecuniary or economic losses suffered as a result of a maritime tort. In other words, liability is limited to those physically touched by the oil. While the justification for this rule is usually couched in terms of public policy (the need to limit claims in order to prevent an endless chain of recoverable economic harm), the reality is grounded in commercial policy: the Robins Dry Dock rule limits the liability of the shipping industry in order to enhance business. Indeed, this judicial liability limitation is inconsistent with, and contradicted by, the legal standard applied to similar incidents occurring on land.

Edit to add: Thanks for that link. :)

Your comments are deep and wise -- THIS particularly

"The MMS has been gutted in direct response to incessent pressure by industry lobbyists. I think our job as voters is to look at that in the face and then to think long and hard about where the government does need to be paired down and where it does need to be beefed up. The industry also has a responsibility to regulate itself, which it has not done adequately. So, I'd point out that even with a ripped up MMS, BP could have prevented this through self regulation."

Upstring someone (sorry, looked a while back and then had to get off and do work -- imagine!) asked rhetorically, and importantly about HOW MUCH GOVERNMENT is ok? That is not a trivial or easily defined choice. Also, the funding and electoral determinants of that lasts a damned long time -- so be WISE Americans, and PRUDENT -- something that used to be a feature of BOTH parties but less so now in our more reactionary and 24 hour news and blog dominated environment.

We are all going to have to get into our big person pants and dig deep for the maturity and wisdom necessary not only to deal with this but almost every other big thing on the landscape. We will still have the Klowns spilling out of the Klown Car, but those of us with skin stuck in the outcomes of these decisions, which is most of us, had better "man up" so to speak and face -- well -- ourselves...

I'd point out that even with a ripped up MMS, BP could have prevented this through self regulation.

It wasn't BP that disabled the alarms on the DWH... I imagine one outcome will be that exploration / production companies will be a lot more careful about checking the rigs they charter are in good working order, have been properly maintained, crew properly trained etc.

That animation was useful : I think it shows that drill mud can NOT enter the oil reservoir and so backs up rather than leaking away.

I was wondering about that ...

I have a question: how did the Development Driller III disconnect and reconnect the riser so quickly? Did they actually unbolt those 52 pound bolts or is there a quick disconnect somewhere? Maybe near the top ...and how is this different from the riser on the DWH that caused so much trouble?
(Edit - One of the briefings said the riser was disconnected from the LMRP but it didn't say how that was accomplished.)
If this question has been posted before please let me know but I don't recall seeing it.

Where's the link to the free BBIC?

Sorry, couldn't find a website... I heard it on the radio. You could contact the River Market, or the radio station, TomFM, at (501)-217-5000. Happy eating!

Can someone explain this? I was under the impression that for a proper bottom kill, there needed to be somewhere up-pipe for the stuff in the well-bore to go. Not only opening the valves on the new BOP, but maybe even some "sucking" by connections to the new BOP to "encourage" the oil to move up and out. Then the injecta at the bottom would have somewhere to go up-pipe as far as they wanted. So now if they do the top kill first - how is that supposed to work?

ThorsHammer I asked this in the last thread and got a smart ass answer to look at Kent Wells briefing.
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."
There ya are. "and we'll get a good cement job and everything will be fine."
Looks like you and I are the only ones who see this.

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

If you see that as smart ass I feel sorry for you as I was trying to give you a pointer to something that explained the process. Do not expect my help in the future.


Like you were any help. Wells "briefing" should sound alarming to anyone. I didn't ask Kent Wells. I already knew that his briefing was smoke and mirrors. I want to know by what magic cement can be pumped in a mile from where it needs to be and we just hope it goes to the right place. Or will it mix randomly with the mud and create a slop that is worse than before.

td -- I'm going to take a guess at what Wright was saying...or at least meant to say. Once the well is killed they would re-enter the hole (after installing a new BOP if possible...another assumption on my part) with drill pipe and eventually spot cmt where they decided it would be best. You're correct: bull heading cmt down a long distance is a very poor approach and is used only when there are no other options. Additionally MMS regs require a clear delineation of where the cmt ends up and a valid test of the same. Neither would likely be possible if they bullhead.

Again, I'm describing as much how I would do it and assuming Wright is thinking along the same lines. And I could be very wrong about that. He seems to be willing to answer questions but it also seems few know exactly how to ask the critical questions.

Thank you Rockman. I am in your debt for that answer. Does the little creamery in Blenham have gift cards? Thinking of buying you one.
It is distressing to have come this far and still not get straight answers from this crowd. Apparently they need someone with tech knowledge AND an ability to communicate. And I nominate you. I know that it is not easy to take knowledge that has become taken for granted in an industry and put it in a form that those outside that industry can understand. You may have missed your real calling.

It is distressing to have come this far and still not get straight answers from this crowd.

I am curious of why are you so stress out. You don't understand what is going on (and I don't either) doesn't mean the guy in charge does not know what is going on. Remember all these guys are there to shut the well and not as a sport commentator whose role is to make thing exciting and explain every detail of every move to the layman. I am sure one of these day, someone is going to write a book about what happened behind the scene and we can all read up about it .. But for now, let's just hope all is going well and have a few ice cream and pop corn...

Thanks for trying to answer - but SA or not, it doesn't answer MY question. It just explains what they are going to do. I was hoping an expert here could tell my how the bottom kill was supposed to work if they did the top kill first.

Thor -- I'm also unsure what they might be trying to accomplish with the bottom kill if the top kill does the job. By definition the bottom kill is no longer a bottom kill if the well is already dead...there's nothing to kill. Just a guess but perhaps they think they'll be unable to get back into the hole with drill pipe once it's dead. Trying to bull head cmt down 13,000' of csg and expecting it to end up where you need is not a very good plan IMHO. Perhaps the RW will be charged with the task of getting enough cmt into the hole at the right spot to permanently kill the well.

As I just mentioned above these are not difficult concepts to question yet no one seems to be asking them clearly enough and we're left with too much interpretation of what they say means.

Rockman I see you rescued me while I was attempting to answer, thanks.

Thors, Without the static kill from top, the relief well could simply circulate the well from bottom after making the intersect, which would require taking returns thru the ck and/or kill lines out the top of the WW or even opening the top to the gulf. After a short wait time to ensure the well will not flow, cement could be circulated from bottom thru the relief well to plug the WW. The casing could be pressure tested from the top of the WW and if all holds, another rig could be moved in,the bop's could be removed, replaced with a working set and the well worked on to permanently plug and abandon according to P&A regs.

With the static kill from the top done first, the well is killed by bullheading mud. They should be able to tell by pressures and volumes where the mud is going. After fill up and waiting a short time to ensure it will not flow, cement can be bullheaded into the WW to plug the inside and/or annulus. After pressure testing and perhaps even a differential test, another rig can be moved on, bops replaced, and the well permanently abandoned.Cement can be squeezed from the relief well to seal off the bottom.

At this point there would be lots of options thru the relief well, testing the reservoir, leaving the relief well as a producer, etc etc.

I must admit killing the WW by static kill has risk that a kill from the relief well would avoid. They will look like fools if they plug the path of the reservoir fluids and can not establish communication with the WW from the relief well. This is a distinct possibility after a static kill with who knows what junk, trash in the WW from the top kill attempt, all of which would be displaced down the well during the static kill.

I'm not really sure how this whole kill operation plays out, but do you believe that BP's current model for killing the well is sound? It will work right?

Anyway why were we talking about the wiki leak from yesterday? Everybody half-joked that it wasn't all that secret to begin with as Fareed said on the Daily Show, Top secret information is held by over 850,000 people alone. So secret means the information is known to majority of everybody else. But I haven't read the papers yet, so I'm not sure how much was revealed accept for the sad reality that this war isn't getting anywhere...which most people kind of figured out.

I think Thorshammer was asking a similar question I posed to Rockman a few days ago. Actually I am tired of trying to follow the Kent Wells/BP animation. To date it's predominantly animation.

Comparing the RW #1 process to the WW process there is a major difference. The WW has no return "bottoms up" mechanics to work with. I don't think the DP stuck in the BOP will qualify. The animation shows mud pumped for the static kill and then "we may pump cement" was added to the animation. From my education here in the last few weeks that's just plain stupid. How is the cement displaced to accomodate the cement? Maybe there's a lot more to be learned but as Rockman noted in past posts after the kill is complete the WW will be reworked before it's abandoned.

I have come to believe the folks at BP are trolling here for their ideas in how to proceed. I expect Kent to retract his cement comment in the near future. In BPs half-a**ed attempt to be transparent things become convoluted and come across as being vague or just a plain lie. I will add, Thad Allen doesn't do much for his integrity when he plays their hand.

Edit: mud displaced to accomodate the cement

[Aside to mytie: Hey, bro. I'm still trying to remember what "the C&B can or worms" was. Can you he'p me out?]

Your Cheney & Bush zinger. I though you dropped it and left the room but you were back about 25 posts later. Nothing like being succint.

Ah. Them. Still can't remember what I said that time, but whatever it was, I got mo' where that came from. ;~}

Oh, I wouldn't be at all surprised if there are BP lurkers here. Data mining, baby. Find good ideas no matter where they come from. Find the ugly stuff too - they need to address it.

my - So true...I've been approached by many of those BP trolls and have yet to succumb to their offer of lifetime Blue Bell. Just screwing with you. LOL. I have no doubt that Mr. Wright and the folks he has available to him know more than enough how to deal with this situation. In addition to great technical experience they have all the detailed data. That's what so frustrating: I can't understand why they hold back and not lay out all the options and judgment calls that are in front of them. I don't Wright personally and maybe his ego can't take making such a public statement and then being wrong. We geologists do it all the time and it doesn't bother us at all. I suspect he's being muzzled to some degree by BP. That's the best explanation I can offer.

All I want is for John Wright to completely fix the problem. Dealing with media and politicians is not a step on that critical path. Besides, the Govt is allegedly in control and responsible for dissemination of information..

WHat I find frustrating is the apparent absence of technical information that has nothing to do with fixing the well. An example is the detailed composition of the original oil, flared gases, separated liquids, and sea plumes. I may have missed it, so any pointers would be appreciated.

Given the diverse properties of simple HCs ( eg water solubility of 40 ppm ( n-alkane ) to 1100 ppm ( benzene )), it's difficult to predict the significance of pollution, or even how much is dissolved, dispersed/emulsified, or insoluble in sea water. That is going to impact on the validity of measurement techniques. Some strange data lurks on the WWW, most of which appears to be weathered oil that would be insoluble in seawater.

Another notable absence is the composition of well fluids - as evidenced by the continual "supercritical" debate here. I assume they have modelled, if not measured, what happens to the well contents as the upper well cools ( presumably the fluid dissolves more of the volatiles or thermocirculates ) and whether they have a gas, liquid, or ice-cream.

I can't understand why they hold back and not lay out all the options and judgment calls that are in front of them

I think you just need to hear one of Adm Allen's conference call and you will understand why they don't give out too much details.. As is now, the reporter has problem understanding what is going on. In one conference call, mulitple reporters would ask the same question 4 to 5 different times with the same explaination (and they don't have any follow up question which indicate that they really don't understand the answer). folks here are willing to learn about the details. But folks out in the general public has no idea of what to understand and the worse part is that any details will get the half ass "expert" more talking point to spin the doomsday scenario or the "what if" story line.. And no report know enough to ask more detail question.. Doesn't it answer the question about the technical experitise of the reporters as a group?

Don't you mean anyomonous experts :P?
But I don't blame the reporters, yes, they should be more thoughtful in asking their questions and research a bit before they do, but most aren't experts when it comes to engineering and understanding our situation here.

H-O-S - That's what so frustrating. I could put one of my engineering consultants on a plane tomorrow and for $1200/day plus expenses he could nail them with every critical question we all want answered right now. The MSM is probably spending $50,000/day on motel rooms and meals for reporters trying to get one more photo of an oil soaked bird. And if any of the talking heads try to BS him he could reduce them to babbling idiots within a minute. While there are still a lot of unknown details about the well the process they’re going through right now isn't that complex for us insiders. Ask the right question the right way and don’t accept a BS answer. For a few grand CNN could become the premier source for accurate reporting of what’s really going on. Either that or expose the govt for refusing to answer the important questions. Either way they win big.

I have come to believe the folks at BP are trolling here for their ideas in how to proceed.

I disagree. I think they are measuring our response to lies and obfuscation in order to assess what b**ls**t they can get away with. And which b**ls**t gives them maximum room to maneuver. If people here would stop criticizing what they say, they might lower their guard and come out with some real whoppers that utterly blow their case with the general public.

I disagree. I think they are measuring our response to lies and obfuscation in order to assess what b**ls**t they can get away with.

Man, your ego is talking here. Who are we? We are nobody in the scheme of thing. We don't have enough mass to make enough noise and we don't have any political connection to make any wave. Why does BP need to spend time and resource to gauge our reaction? You are angry now.. But what have you done so far other than posting here with all the angry words? if we cannot do anything to hurt BP, why would they care about our reaction?

Might come here for what not to do.

>> Might come here for what not to do.

... spits out coffee ... wry grin ...

NAOM, Maybe an *I don't know but check out the Kent Wells breifing* would help? My reaction to the Wells animation was the **just more BS**. BP is still playing the **we think you are stupid** smoke and mirrors. I didn't read your comment as smart-assed but Thor may be in BS overlaod.

It does give an overview of what they are thinking but, yes, it is short on detail. I don't think it is BS so much as trying to break down a complex issue into bite sized pieces. I expect the final plan to be different. It should give people some basis to think up the right questions to ask. Mine would be 'where will all the mud go when the cement forces it down, into the formation?'.


Lucretius said: "Perhaps Wikileaks is not at all what it seems."

Agreed. Here is a good article with more along those lines. Seems there's a lack of transparency regarding founder Jullian Assange as well as his possible motives for paying for Manning's defense. Yet, the American public will fall for whatever the MSM feeds them, without checking sources. And compared to Assange's bio, Matt Simmons look pretty average.


And more about Wikileaks dubious role here:

Kevin Boyle: WIKILEAKS/WIKIPEDIA: TRUTH serving LIES (with CIA/MOSSAD oversight)


War against Iran more likely — thanks to Wikileaks

and here:

Wikileaks’ estranged co-founder becomes a critic

"Yet, the American public will fall for whatever the MSM feeds them, without checking sources."

I wonder what evidence there is for this statement. Of course, MSM will not *report* any stories about people rejecting MSMs stories. Lack of reports of non-belief is not evidence of belief.

Hello newbie here. Lurking during the BP mess as I've found this site the most informative. I'm not sure if this is against site rules but it says open thread so here goes. (apologies in advance if I'm violating local customs or this has been covered so much that I should just do more searching)-

A friend who blogs (hate that word) the news and is usually a rationalist is convinced that what Allen, Chu, BP etc were worried about during the pressure build up after the recent successful capping was a catastrophic down hole event or events that would create a situation, a destabilization of the gulf floor, that would not be cured by the relief well. From my absolutely no-credentialed reading of this and other sites I thought what they were worried about was a pipe burst that would allow the hydrocarbons to flow freely until the relief well choked the flow.

So my question to anyone with more knowledge than me - and that's an easy bar to get over - were Allen / Chu etc worried about creating other permanent leaks because of sub surface pressure from a burst pipe etc? Has there been a risk that the capping operation could create a permanent leak (and ensuing sci-fi consequences) that would not be solved by a successful relief well?

Obviously ignore my question at will. Great site. I'll be hitting the paypal link when client fills the account up.

nyc -- probably the worst case scenario would be a csg rupture near the surface...within a 1000' or so. This could lead to an underground blowout. Some or all of the oil/NG would flow into the soft sediments at this depth and quickly burst through to the sea floor. This would have an affect only within a few hundred yds of the well...not the entire Gulf floor or any significant portion of it. But a bad problem none the less especially if it causes the existing BOP/cap to be lost. That would probably eliminate any chance of a top kill. And even if the bottom kill by the RW stopped the wild flow they really do need to enter the hole from the top to properly plug and abandon it.

Thanks for the response. There has been a lot of "uncontrolled gusher empties reservoir and kills the Atlantic" speculation amongst my otherwise sober minded friends and as I claim no expertise it's hard to shut them up. I'll go back to lurking now ...

Don't lurk nyc. You've already jumped into the deep end of the pool. Hang around and contribute. BTW I was in D.C last Saturday when it hit 108. Folks up there with no AC have more to worry about then oil leaking in the GOM.

So knowing this would you suggest going ahead with BP's current model or switching it for something else, what would be the most safest and efficient method for ending this once and for all?

I have one question, that may or may not be on-topic. When the media speaks of the well pressure, as in "we would like to see 7000 psi", what is that relative to, the seabed water pressure or atmospheric pressure?

Good question. I've noticed that the gauges we see on the ROVs are also under sea-bed pressure, so if they show ~7000psi, then the true pressure would be ~10000psi, due to the added overburden of the seawater column above it.


Not an oilfield pro like Rockman, but I am a marine scientist, and I'm pretty positive those pressure numbers are absolute, not relative to ambient seafloor or atmospheric. A reading of 1 atm, as you'd expect at sea level, isn't relative to anything except a vacuum, zero atmospheres, you might say. Pressure readings aren't like decibels, relative to a baseline level. We're not talking about acoustics, waves or pulses here, but rather, steady, omnidirectional pressure.

From Nature News, a well-reported article on dissolved oxygen levels in the Gulf:

The element of controversy is somewhat overblown, as neither the JAG report nor Jane Lubchenko denies that oxygen depletion could be a problem, while academic scientists like Samantha Joye have not claimed that hypoxia already is a problem. I don't know why we've gone a month between measurements, but apparently a new round of cruises is getting under way. Joye is about to embark on one.

Here is a short, rather sensationalized article where Joye is quoted as saying "there is certainly enough gas in the water to draw oxygen down to zero.” I'm sure she meant "within the plumes," which so far don't seem too extensive, but even so that is an alarming estimate. One should remember, though, that "normal" fish, commercial shrimp, etc. generally don't live at depths of 1000-1500 meters.

"there is certainly enough gas in the water to draw oxygen down to zero" may be alarming, but it's true — at least in the deep layers where O2 circulation is restricted.
Assuming the water is saturated with respect to solubility of methane and oxygen, the saturation concentrations are about 2.5 mMolar for methane and 2.2 mMolar for O2 around 35 °F. Most likely, the methane is close to saturation while for O2 it is a good deal less; more like half to a quarter of the saturation value. Further: oxidative metabolism of each molecule of methane consumes 3 molecules of O2 (1 for the C and 2 for the 4H's).
So, in principle, methane oxidation alone could consume all of the oxygen present. That is clearly not happening, especially near the surface, judging from the observe clearing up of surface slicks where there is enough oxidation occurring not only to deal with the methane but the higher HCs as well. Fortunately.

Thanks. A few open threads back there's discussion of methane sampling. The researchers found the dissolved methane concentrated at 1000-1300 meters depth where the dispersed oil is also concentrated, so there's a double demand on the oxygen. Surprisingly to me, methane levels were not elevated at the surface, even directly over the well.

It looks like that deep layer could go hypoxic over a few hundred square miles. However, the "normal" summer dead zone in the Gulf is larger than that, and it's in a shallow layer (30-60 feet) that is ecologically and economically much more important.

American Association of University Professors weighs in on BP hiring researchers:


Another background story:


Nice summary.

BP testing relief well BOP
BP has connected the riser of the rig drilling the first relief well to the lower marine riser package and has begun testing the blowout preventer while crews circulate fluids from the bottom up to clean up the bore.
Noah Brenner 28 July 2010 01:27 GMT


I put some pictures here of the different spots where oil and gas are leaking on the old BOP and the new one.


Now here's an article that should interest TODers:

Gulf of Mexico's Deepwater Oil Industry Is Built on Pillars of Salt

I confess to having trouble converting some of it from verbal to visual understanding (coulda used Kent Wells' animator), and some sentences I read repeatedly without ever getting. But no doubt some of y'all will have more success with it.

That is well worth reading. It kind of goes back-and-forth between great and somewhat inaccurate, but overall it's quite good. Everyone who has any questions about the Gulf geology should read it.

lotus -- A slightly misleading point from the article. While some of the big DW brazil fields lay under a salt bed that salt never represented an exploration or drilling problem. It was the water depth that kept these trends out of play for so long.

But the "subsalt" play in the GOM was a very big deal when it first began to develop. I know Clint Moore and he is a very sharp geologist. I guessing one point he might have emphasized more so you could picture the process is the actually salt movement. You might already be familiar with the classic model of salt squeezing up vertically through the rock (a salt dome). The salt dome plays were a major target both onshore and offshore since the 40's. But the subsalt play are different. Here the salt moved up and then sideways into the rocks. Thus large volume of rock lay below these "tabular salt flows". Improved seismic data allowing them to see underneath the salt layers was a major breakthrough. But they also needed the geologic deposition model for sands being deposited so far from the shoreline to also make the play work. Two years ago I was on a well that set two records: We hit the salt at the shallowest ever in the subsalt play: 600' below the sea floor. We then drilled the thickest salt section ever cut out there: 24,000'. The salt bed wasn't that thick but we drilled down the "salt stock" (picture a pillar) that was the conduit for the salt layer.

If you Google "subsalt Gulf of Mexico" you should find some nice illustrations.

MUCH thanks, Rockman. You've helped directly, and the Google link will too. (I'm fascinated by but all-but "stone-ignert" of geology. That saga of the disappearing lake in Louisiana we had some weeks ago was my first schooling on salt domes, for instance.) If I'd had Geol 101 in college, I'd have done better with Voosen's article, betcha.

lotus -- I'll toss out another amazing thing about the tabular salt movement I wasn't aware of until a few years ago. "Rafted sediments" = large blocks of rock (100's of feet thick and covering a number of square miles) that were riped loose and moved many miles laterally by these flowing salt layers. Some of the huge blocks were turned up side down in the process and now you drill thru them from older to younger rocks. That's how they were first ID'd: you normally drilled younger to older obviously. They had to come up with a mechanism that could invert millions of tons of solid rock. All they had to work with was the salt flow.

Woof! How long did it take folks to get their minds around that scenario? What timespan we talking for such an inversion?

lotus -- I've never seen it documented but I would think rather quickly in geologic time: a million years or two.

Learning here... was the thinking that it would be cheaper to hit the pay going through the soft stuff?. I would assume that salt is much easier to drill through than siliciclatics???

Solius - Essentially yes. But a little more complicated. It had much to do with the changing rock pressures and the csg requirements.

Rockman, did you know you would be drilling the salt stock before you did it? Did you know you would be going through that much salt, in other words?

count -- Yes...we drilled the well intentionally down the salt stock. The quality of DW seismic is truly amazing. We drilled to 34,000'+. The seismic clearly showed the geology all the way down to 45-50,000'.

Good response, Rockman. There's also a nice article here: http://www.geoexpro.com/hot_spot/blowout/

The salt deformation is one of many reasons why sand was able to get so far out. Rising salt created localized regions of higher energy, slopes that encouraged sliding and that redirected currents. Of course, the whole region changed and is still changing over time. River channels once existed where there's now deep water.

Edited: Changed wording that even made me cringe.

My first thought was, "I wonder what John McPhee would do with that story." Then I looked to see what he's been up to lately.

By golly, the old man recently published a new book, Silk Parachute.


This is the commentary that should be here, but has been lacking on TOD...

Oil catastrophe wasn't just an accident
By Carl Safina, Special to CNN
July 28, 2010 9:35 a.m. EDT

Editor's note: Carl Safina writes about how the ocean is changing and what it means for wildlife and for people. A MacArthur fellow, Pew fellow and Guggenheim fellow, he is adjunct professor at Stony Brook University and president of Blue Ocean Institute. His next book, "The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World," will appear this fall. He is working on a book about the oil blowout.

(CNN) -- The blowout is stopped. The oil disaster that began with an explosion 100 days ago has not ended by any means. But we seem to be seeing a murky ending to the beginning of the crisis.

We have an enormous amount of floating oil, and Gulf waters polluted by oil and dispersant.

Most estimates range from 2 million to 4 million barrels (84 million to 168 million gallons). The higher end would make it the largest unintended release of oil ever. (In 1991, Saddam Hussein's army intentionally released about 400 to 500 million gallons into the Persian Gulf to slow American troops.) Added to the Gulf of Mexico's troubles: about 2 million gallons of dispersant, a major intentional pollution event in itself.

What now? As a naturalist, I'd say the wildlife effects remain hard to grasp. The damage to people is most easily observable, best quantified and perhaps even most acute.

Note: Edited to remove excessively long quote.

stiv, when you reprint a whole long article like this, you're not only inviting people to scroll past it but, worse, inviting legal trouble for our hosts. Have you ever heard of the "fair use doctrine"?

Next time, please quote just a small excerpt and give us the link instead.

first off ... what Lotus said.

next - Safina's diatribe is shot through with dubious assertions. For example,

Larger lessons lurk. The mortgage bubble, banking collapse, taxpayer-funded bailouts and this blowout all stem from a three-decade assault on government effectiveness, the consequent deregulation Mardi Gras, and the unleashing of corporate greed and corporate "personhood." Corporate capture of government away from the public's interests is the basic poison. Campaign finance reform and publicly funded elections would be the antidote.

"government effectiveness" - isn't that an oxymoron?

I like to think that the actual antidote for bad government is to elect politicians with personal integrity and good judgement. Unfortunately, that is also seems increasingly to be an oxymoron.

hare-brained schemes like using shredded tires and golf balls to "top kill" the well

So far as I understand it, a junk shot using those materials is standard practise in the oil industry. Presumably a tried and tested method that has been shown to work in other wells. Labelling it hare-brained seems shallowly tendentious.

BP appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure.

When I look at my car/lawnmower/toaster, I notice that it lacks the sort of safety features found in a modern jet airliner. A lot of the smaller roads round here don't have a central barrier separating opposing flows of traffic. All these are the result of multiple decisions for economic reasons that increase the danger of a catastrophic failure

Beyond the clean-up, the important questions are surely

  • Did Transocean, Halliburton, BP or any other party break any law?
  • Can the regulators/legislators learn some lessons?
  • Are you willing to pay, at the pump, for implementing those lessons?

- stiv

This is the commentary that should be here, but has been lacking on TOD...

You might want to go back and read what you may have missed here at TOD over the last 100 days. Not quite as easy as reading one article, but certainly very comprehensive.

The writer is all over the place on a wide variety of subjects. Some points certainly are valid. He appears to enjoy a rather chastising style of writing as though the reader somehow needs to be shamed out of their part in the larger conspiracy or something.

Broad strokes with lots of excessive words that sound wonderful but don't really explain anything are a large part of his repertoire. See below:

Lastly and probably most important, to honor the scale of this catastrophe, we need to create a historic moment that begins to give us some energy options and creates a graceful phase-in of greater reliance on the clean, eternal energy that actually runs our planet.

Economy of words, he could have said this using less words in the same order:

...we need to create clean, energy that runs our planet...

Sorry, creative writing and editing are just a couple of interests of mine. And, reading TOD.

The 1909 Lakeview gusher in California released 9 million barrels (I assume unintentionally). That's about 42 million firkins or 12 billion mutchkins! To put it in perspective, that's enough oil to fill 503,639 Toyota Prius' (Prii?)!

Pardon my sarcasm, but I hate the media use of inappropriate units and ridiculous metaphors to "illustrate" size. For example, "That's enough oil to drive a Prius from the Sun to Jupiter and back 20 times!"

Most media research on the oil spill goes back to about Exxon Valdez.

Recent article in our local paper about the Lakeview gusher and comparisons to Macondo.
Lakeview is about 50 miles or less from where I reside. The Lakview gusher spewed oil for 18 months before collapsing in on itself. 9 million barrels estimated total and 4 million barrels estimated captured. It made a rather large lake of oil then, but is little visible evidence now. Of course, that was 100 years ago too.

Research team will map underwater oil and gas plumes.

"A research team will return to the Gulf of Mexico next month to map underwater plumes of oil and gas, a University of Georgia oceanographer said."

Ok, another thing I got wrong. There is enough plume presence to be able to create a map?
Is a 1 PPM map really a map or a background measurement? How long will this stuff be detectable in the open waters of the GOM? I hope the pros would not sell us how it is breaking down so fast if they do not really know.

Here is a NOAA report fusing the data of several research cruises in May and June.

Scroll down 2/3 and you find a series of maps with day-by-day readings of oil concentrations. The plumes are very deep (1000-1500 meters). Blue and green dots are 1 ppm, reddish dots are high (2-3 ppm). You see how concentrations decrease with distance from the well. This shows how the bacteria are breaking it down (more distance = more time to reproduce and gobble).The red dots are concentrated between May 30 and June 5, dropping off shortly after Top Hat collection commenced. There is a complete map with all samples at the very bottom of the pdf.

1 ppm is far above background levels except maybe around the seeps.

The picture with the article you posted is totally misleading. The plumes are so thin you couldn't see them, and they are very deep in the Gulf where the giant squid and weird things live.

[edited to correct a number]

The two "plumes" discussed here last week are even less than 1ppm; they are using ppb as the measure. Apparently at 1ppm and less, certain techniques can't be used.

I am certainly no authority on theses disciplines but I'm wondering if there is such a thing as a baseline survey for HC in the GOM before DWH considering the number of natural seeps present.

Any experts here than can enlighten us?

I did read that some researchers start sampling some aresa near the shore immediately after the DWH event (and long before HC could have gotten into these areas) in order to establish a local baseline but I haven't read about any large-scale survey. GOM seems like a big place to do such a survey.

I looked at the NOAA report cited above when it came out and this thread presents the opportunity to ask a question I didn't at the time.

I noted the chart on page 36 (Maximum Fluorescence (ppb QSDE) vs. Distance from the Wellhead).

Again, not having much knowledge of this field, how much of this effect is simple dilution in an increasing volume of water and/or how much can be attributed to digestion by the flora and fauna (microbes)?

I know that microbial digestion happens and that this is a strong force in the GOM, but how fast does this process work?

Sorry for the newbie questions.

The scientists seem convinced that the reduced oil is caused by bacterial digestion. One reason is that it mostly correlates with progressive depletion of oxygen, which would be a side effect of bacterial activity.


I think I have this right: the PPB measurements in the JAG report are not for oil concentration. The output of the fluoroscopy is in terms of PPB of a reference substance, QSDH. This has to be correlated with the oil-dispersant concentration. The blue and green dots on the map are around 1 PPM of oil and the hotter colors are around 2-3 PPM oil (I overstated in my post just above). They say it is a "coarse screening method." The first plume hunters used lab measurements and found oil, IIRC, in the range of roughly 0.1 PPM to 0.5 PPM. This was farther from the well (40 miles) and in a shallower layer. The fluoroscopic method in the Jag report are not accurate for concentrations that low.


Any input on the timing question for microbial digestion of HC?

Although I know it happens, I have not read anywhere how long it could take. I have no background in this field and very little in biology.

The time of course varies with conditions. An in vitro study linked here around two weeks ago showed bacteria removing a substantial fraction in 45 days. Conditions are good in the Gulf (bacteria already abundant, dispersant, plenty of oxygen so far, warm surface temperatures). Remember also that around 40% of the oil that made it to the surface will have evaporated.

I'm thinking about the poor guy, I think he was associated with BP in some way, who was secretly audio recorded at a public meeting at a gathering somewhere in Florida I think and reported in the MSM. This happened May or early June as I recall. I looked for the cite but can't find it now.

He described this process and predicted that it might not take all that long for the microbes to eat a good deal of the oil.

Poor ba$tard seems to have gotten it right but had the misfortune to be the first to say it. Had his head handed to him as I recall.

I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of work left to do and a lot of damage but natural clean-up from microbes might be a bright spot in this mess. Yes, that is indeed wishful thinking on my part; or perhaps a prayer.

Yes, that is indeed wishful thinking on my part; or perhaps a prayer.

Well, you're in voluminous company -- several millions of us at least.

I haven't said much in this area because it seems to me that there is a big unknown (or only partially known): what the state of the GOM was before the blowout. And now we'll never know.

I haven't followed GOM oceanography closely enough to have a good handle on what is known and what isn't, but what I've seen of other natural systems argues that there's far more we don't know than we do. And assessing the effects of the oil now in the GOM, unless there is some marker to indicate that this oil, from this blowout, is the main influence.

The dispersion of the oil also makes this harder. That's why they want to map the plumes. I've done that sort of thing on land for environmental contamination. You can't sample everywhere, and contaminants move in mysterious ways. The GOM is much bigger than the areas I was concerned with, so the can't sample everywhere problem will be much bigger. Statisticians are very helpful, necessary, in fact, to determine the contour lines for concentrations of contaminants. Given that there are hydrocarbon seeps and previous spills in the GOM, the statisticians and other scientists would have a challenging job just to develop a baseline map.

As Tinfoil notes, the arguments will go on pretty much forever.

Thanks Cheryl ... appreciate your past posts, btw.

In my own area, I often work in "green-field" applications where when first starting out, what we don't know far outweighs what we know. That is part of what makes this type of work fun. However, I always use a standard caution about the generally-accepted wisdom (and assumptions) in these applications. I have a standard slide in PowerPoint decks that says, "It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. -- Mark Twain.” and "It is better to know nothing than to know what ain't so. -- Josh Billings"

The arguments are going to put a lot of attorneys' children through graduate school for the next twenty years.

BB, I don't have time now to find any links, but Samantha Joye has been studying oil seeps and plumes in the Gulf for around 15 years, so looking up her past research might get you some baseline info.

Mapping is just a matter of semantics. Of course every time you gather data over an area you note the location the data was gathered at. That's the essence of preparing a map. Whether or not it will be useful in the more prosaic sense depends on how variable the data is.

As far as 'how long will it be detectable', that is a rather interesting question. Detectability these days is down to almost the single molecule level. I've had analysis for certain materials down to the fraction of a ppq, that is parts per quintillion. So I expect that with the right equipment you will always be able to detect oil in the GOM. It just depends on how much you are willing to pay for the analysis.

I worked for a while on heavy metals in the environment and ran a small analytical suite around a time that the technology made great improvements in detection levels of lead and cadmium. There is always the temptation to let the technology lead you into looking into lower and lower levels, when the real question is what level is safe. Detecting vanishingly small amounts of oil related contamination may well get someone a PhD but the real test of the ocean will be how life forms have withstood the spill and how those that have suffered recover.

Sure but then you run into the Valdez herring collapse dilemma. Was it the oil? Did the herring really collapse? Are they back yet? What species is next? Is oil the darling issue of the day when something else might extinct the oceans and us? When will we stop 'overfishing' and environmentally unsound netting and catching practices.

It's a pretty scary thought regarding what may happen after peak oil. If food stocks crash we may have a serious rape of the oceans by desperate billions.


"Mapping" is not a good term to use. I'm one of the people involved in this effort (and yes, I hate BP's commitment to secrecy. But all of this data is going into the Natural Resources Damage Assessment and, as such, will eventually be public domain. How quickly is another matter, but don't forget that this is all headed toward court). Mapping, in a geological sense, makes the very simple assumption that during the time that you're gathering data, the object being measured and mapped hasn't changed: in other words, your data is time-equivalent.

That can't be said for a plume suspended in moving water. In a boat moving at 5 knots, which is a standard survey speed, even a slow current (5 cm/s--more common deep velocities around the Deepwater site are 20-30 cm/s), such as occurs in the deep Gulf of Mexico, will move nearly 200m in one hour, and over 2 km in a day. The speed of the plumes is very likely comparable (less, but comparable) to the ship taking measurements. For that reason, creating a "map" is impossible. We'd need literally dozens of ships out here taking measurements at the same time for anything like a "map" to be made reality.

What we can do is plot sonar hits, at different depths (as interpreted), versus in-situ tests (and account for different times as well), and interpret general flow characteristics. It's not as comprehensive as a map would be, by any means.

Can you post your comment on the link below or give me permission to? It is important and it allows the locals know how you are helping and not inciting or working for industry interests. We are so paranoid because of all that has transpired. God bless you and the rest of the team.

Go ahead and post it, TFHG. That article's about the NOAA team--good people, and they know what they're doing. NOAA is somewhat the big dog on station down here, as they should be, but BP's culture of secrecy prevents us from working together as closely as we'd like, or we should. By all means and in every case we should be coordinating our resources and pooling our expertise, but that's only happened to a very limited extent. We're doing what we can, mostly on the outskirts of the action. I realize that the real work now is to stop the oil. The science that we do has an impact only on the future, not the immediate present. That said, our efforts are too often impeded.

I read the independent proposal of about a month ago, for research about the wellhead. It was a good proposal, with many sensible ideas. I'm not allowed to discuss specific data, of course, but I will say that much of the philosophy included in that proposal, guides our work too. The principal difference is that data for the NRDA is not always released. NOAA has posted much of its original data, by the way, slowly but surely:


Posted to NOLA.COM link. You would be surprised how many folks will get the good word now. Thanks.

Enbridge Energy oil pipeline causes big oil spill in Michigan: 50,000 barrels over 25 kilometre of river: http://bit.ly/EnbrOil (via @kate_sheppard)

windward, sticks, metrancya, mark levi phd, et al

A technical post on hydrocarbon phase behaviour, hope its helpful.

Apologies for the lengthy nature but it is not an easy subject to cover in 10 lines and there do seem to be a lot of questions on this subject.

Stop reading now if you expect an answer to whether there is gas in the wellbore or not. My guess is there isn't but I'm afraid there isn't enough data available to us to say for sure. BP will know; during logging operations on the open hole prior to casing they ran Schlumbergers MDT tool. This not only reads formation pressure and wellbore temperature, but also allows samples of formation fluid to be taken into small pressurised chambers. They have had plenty of time to analyse these for composition and properties and will be able to predict phase behaviour with reasonable precision. If they used oil based mud while drilling there may be contamination issues, but there are ways to correct for this. They will have also taken samples on the surface vessels during capture operations in recent weeks. It is routine to recombine gas and oil samples from the separators to arrive at a mixture representative of the reservoir fluid, and to do measurements on these.

What I can say definitively is that it is a complete waste of time speculating about the phase behaviour of the wellbore contents using the critical properties of pure methane. The properties of a multi component mixture are completely different.

Two HC Components
A (very) simplified phase diagram for pure methane (we call this 'C1' as it has a single carbon atom per molecule) might look like this :

CP is the critical point. When moving from A to B above critical temperature there will be no noticeable phase change, whereas making the same pressure change below the CP one will cross the liquid-vapour line and notice a sharp reduction in density (ie a phase change).

Add only one more component (say ethane, 'C2') and the line becomes an envelope :

The critical temperature of the mixture will lie between the critical temperature of the 2 pure components, but the critical pressure will be higher than either. Note that the envelope extends beyond the critical temperature; in this region when reducing pressure, one will notice a phase change and contrary to normal expectations, liquid will appear.

At pressures and temperatures within the envelope, 2 phases co-exist in equilibrium. The dashed lines I marked show dummy volumetric proportions of liquid, say 75%, 50% and 25% from left to right. There will be methane and ethane in both the liquid phase AND the gas phase.

Macondo Crude
The Macondo reservoir fluid will contain hydrocarbon chains up to C30 and beyond (witness those tar balls on the beaches), and the heavier components have a huge effect on the phase envelope, stretching it out across the temperature axis. With a stock tank oil density of ~38 API and a GOR of ~2000 scf/stb we would consider the fluid to be right in the middle ground between a 'black' oil and a 'volatile' oil (industry terms which I can explain later). Below is a fairly crap schematic example of a phase envelope for a crude of this type :

I've added a few points. 'A' might be reservoir conditions. 'B' might be conditions at the top of the wellbore during flowing conditions. 'C' might be conditions at the top of the well after a long shut-in. 'D' might be conditions in a surface separator.

The position of the bubble point line is thus important in determining the phase equilibrium in the wellbore during shut-in. We don't know where it lies, but simple industry correlations that I have run (with substantial error bars) suggest a bubble point around 5000 psi at 40F. It could easily be 7000 psi. IF the bubble point is higher than the 6900 psi shut-in well head pressure, then there will be gas at the top of the wellbore in equilibrium with the oil beneath, and the gas will contain lots of components beyond methane.

The observation of what is leaking from the cap is thus important; I assumed based on comments from other posters that oil was leaking and this would obviously lean me in favour of an oil filled bore. But I guess it could be gas, from my cursory look its hard to tell. There was recent talk of a larger vent of what was more clearly oil, perhaps this is significant.

It should also be clear from the above that if for some reason you want to talk critical properties, then you need to talk about the critical properties of the complete MIXTURE (equilibrium oil AND gas) not the pure components of the gas phase alone.

nerd: Thanks 1E6

What is the compressibility at points A&B.? This implications for bottom kill if the oil/gas mixture is still in the well. i.e. there is no topkill.

Thanks for taking the time to work this one up, bignerd.

todfan asked downthread about uncertainties in the phase diagram and other things.

BP has much more information than we do. They have much of what you're asking about, todfan, and more. I would love for them to release it, but they're going to claim it's proprietary.

The geology of the well and reservoir is more of the science I'd love to see.

When you speak of 7000 psi, is that referenced to atmospheric pressure or is it relative to the seabed water pressure at the wellhead?


I answered your identical question, as posted around 2:30 this afternoon. psi isn't like decibels, measured relative to a reference pressure. Ambient seafloor pressure (~150 atms) isn't subtracted from the pipe pressure: it's an absolute pressure (at least for the planet earth, since weight depends on the planet).


Very graphic post. It is not easy to explain a multicomponent mixture that is non-isothermal. Why is the pressure so different for the reservoir A and the long shut in point C? Isn't the shut in point less than 2,000 ft from the reservoir? That would be less than 1,000 psi of head pressure, no?

@SaveFlipper: Point A is at the reservoir, points B and C are at the top of the well. The pressure differential would be 13000 (vertical) feet of hydrocarbons, not 2000 ft; at .255 psi/ft (4.9 lb/gal) that comes to 3315 psi difference.

bignerd described his drawing as a "schematic example". It's meant to be illustrative -- there are no numbers on the axes -- so you probably can't draw any conclusions from the fact that point A looks to be twice as high as point C.

This is first rate, bignerd, much obliged. I will try to understand it. I see Rockman still has a chance.

For anyone who would like to get an idea of bubble point calculations:


Not that I have ever done anything like it.

Thanks for the post, very interesting. I will be the first to admit I know less than zero about the chemistry involved in the properties of the gas components in this well. I'm basically a 'Nuts and Bolts' type.
But thanks to the efforts of you and many others at TOD I'm starting to get a Very basic understanding of the problems, and has reinforced the fact that "I know SFA about this'.

Its all about being willing to try and understand and to learn, there has been so much in this forum that I have learned, some of it I knew, somethings that I had long forgotten, and a lot of stuff that I never knew.

So I thank everyone for getting my old gray matter ticking over again.

I really enjoyed reading your very understandable explanation of the phase behavior of complex hydrocarbons. I've been lurking at TOD since soon after the DWH accident and have been impressed almost daily with the level of expertise and commentary here. I have learned a lot. To my amazement, this site has awakened brain cells that I thought long dead, but instead were just sound asleep. You see, a bit over thirty years ago was my last day in the oil patch. Since then I have taken a rather circuitous path which led me to a career as an IT consultant. But now I even remember what wet strings are and how much fun the rig hands seemed to have pulling them.

Back to hydrocarbon phase change. You make a good argument for the hydrocarbon in the well bore most likely being in a liquid state, and I tend to agree. But, based on what I see from the ROV feeds of the leaks around the flange, my opinion is that gas is leaking out rather than liquid. Also, my opinion is your data point C in your final graph is correct (liquid phase). So, how could gas be leaking out if the hydrocarbon inside the well bore is in a liquid phase?

Perhaps you could comment on whether my theory makes sense. Suppose the wellhead has no leaks at all, that the hydrocarbons inside are static and in the liquid phase (point C). Now, if you could create a leak by magically taking a tiny needle and pushing it through the wellhead pipe (Superman) you would open up a flow path between the inside and outside of the wellhead. Once you withdrew the needle there would suddenly be a pressure differential between the inside and outside of the pipe. On a macro-scale the pressure decrease inside the wellhead will be imperceptible, but on a micro-scale the pressure decrease at the tiny hole will be significant. I no longer have a clue how to calculate liquid/gas flows through small orifices, but I bet you get where I'm coming from. The hole would be plenty big enough to allow a gas to pass, but too small to allow a liquid to pass. It would be your data point B except that only gas can escape as it comes out of solution at the interface. I believe the observed flange leaks are behaving just like my theoretical pin hole. If this is a likely scenario then we have another point for the liquid phase no stratification crowd.

Take care and God bless.

It may even be simpler than that. There will be a pressure drop across leaks of approx. 4,500 psi. Assuming no temperature difference, the contents ( liquid/gas saturated with volatiles at 7,000 psi ) will lose dissolved gases to a new saturated equilibrium as pressure drops to 2,500 psi. The effect also occurs when opening a carbonated beverage container( do people still call Coke Cola that? ). Note that the volume of the undissolved gas will now be much larger than the fluid, so more visible.

4,500 psi is a large driving force, so once flow starts it's likely to continue, and won't self-heal, as the fluid viscosity will not change by much.

The amount of liquid, gas or mixture passing through a leak will depend on the pressure drop, temperature, molecular size, surface tension, and viscosity. As the gas comes out of solution, the flow viscosity will change, as will volume.

I suspect BP and John Wright know what phases exist inside the BOP, but we can only guess.

Deleted. Duplicate post.

I have commented before on my concern about attributing motivations to other people (e.g.: BP, the government, Admiral Allen, Dr. Chu, President Obama, even the ROV operators, etc.), based upon what we believe is a discrepancy between what they should have done (which is based upon our belief, usually on fairly sketchy grounds, of what they should have done, and certainly based upon incomplete knowledge of the situation), and what we believe they have done (again based on fairly sketchy evidence).

This time I would like to express my concern about those of us who are questioning the competence of the various people involved in addressing this problem, including Admiral Allen, Dr. Chu, Kent Wells, President Obama, etc.. There are several problems with judging the competence of people at the distance we are from them. First, almost all of the information we are getting is at least second hand, and as anyone will tell you who has played the "telephone game," the more people in the chain of transmittal, of even relatively straightforward information, the more the message gets distorted.

Second, we are dealing with areas of competence in which most of us are not terribly conversant, a language set which is not always clear - largely because some of the terms which are so strange to us are entirely clear to those who use them, or mean something different in our area of competence than they do for someone working on this problem - and a focus on areas of the operation which may be different from the area in which we are particularly interested, among other things.

Third, there are so many variables involved in resolving this problem, that it has to be difficult for anyone to keep track of them, perhaps even in individual components of the problem. Also, with so many variables, there may be a number of paths to a solution (e.g.: top kill vs bottom kill), with a number of decision points along the way, where the decision of which path to pursue at each point in the decision tree may require that we be a bit further along the path before the best decision can be made.

Finally, in complex situations like this one, when we are trying to describe events that have already taken place, or plans that are being considered, all of the elements of the event or the plan have to compete with each other for inclusion in the transmitted event description or the prospective plan. As a consequence we tend to pick the most important elements for inclusion in the presentation of that description or plan.

So, for example a description of landing someone on the moon might mention that we have to escape the earth's gravitational field, travel to the moon, decelerate so as to enter an orbit around the moon, then leave that orbit to effect the actual landing. That would be a faithful and accurate description of the plan, but it leaves out millions of details which are necessary components for a complete understanding, let alone a successful execution, of that plan.

If you have ever tried to give, or follow, directions from one place to another, you've almost certainly run into a very straightforward example of the problems involved. Take those difficulties and multiply them by a million and we might have a fair approximation of the difficulties here.

I know these are all important issues for all of us, and we, out of a sense of personal helplessness, want to make a contribution to the solution, but sometimes it's best for us to just sit back, relax, observe, and learn what we can from what we see, then apply that knowledge and understanding in the future to the problems we have to the extent that the overlap this situation.

I'm reminded that my mother didn't learn to drive until after my father died so I had some concerns about her competence, so when I helped her drive to or from Florida, I found that it was a lot easier, when it came time for her to take a turn at driving, for me to tilt my seat back and take a nap. I'm convinced now that if I hadn't done that we would have had at least one disastrous consequence, but in fact we, and the car, all survived without a scratch.

It occurs to me that to anyone who has read this post and not had the faintest idea what I was trying to say, I would only say Q.E.D.

So chill folks!

double post deleted

This time I would like to express my concern about those of us who are questioning the competence of the various people involved in addressing this problem, including Admiral Allen, Dr. Chu, Kent Wells, President Obama, etc..

I say except for Allen these are the people who's competence needs to be questioned. I feel they have all failed miserably at their jobs.

Just goes to show the range of possible perceptions.

For the most part I think they're doing pretty well given the scope of the disaster.

There are a few parts in the narrative I don't understand yet, but I'm happy to put that down to communication issues rather than stupidity on the part of those fixing the problems.


Re: "For the most part I think they're doing pretty well given the scope of the disaster."

Duplicate post deleted.

I think it is a disaster, but not for the usual reasons.

This is going to sound cold, but losing 11 people in this business is more a very bad day, not a disaster. Its less than are usually lost in an offshore helicopter accident in most parts of the world. I spent most of my career in the North Sea at a time when S-61s and the occasional Chinook fell out of the sky with frightening regularity. Usually 15+ lost at a time, and the Chinook in Shetland was 42. Piper Alpha was 167. The Cougar S-92 crash in 2009 was 17. It can be a dangerous business.

It is a disaster in terms of economic impact in an area that didn't need the hit. Could be a long time getting back to normal.

It is a disaster in terms of costs when all the new regulation gets rolled out. The price of fuel is going up.

It is a disaster in terms of no new drilling permits offshore. There have been something like two issued since the DWH, and they were both for sidetracks.

So this is a legitimate disaster, and its going to be a problem moving forward to everyone inside and outside the business.


"So this is a legitimate disaster, and its going to be a problem moving forward to everyone inside and outside the business."

I agree with what you say. However, in relative terms, is the Macondo spill really that big?

For example, what would happen if the auto industry or automobile owners were held responsible for the economic cost of photochemical smog on California's agricultural industry, if they had to cover the health care costs of those sickened by smog and particulate air pollution, or if they had to pay for all the other external costs, the noise, and general ugliness that automobile traffic creates?

Or to put the question another way, if the GOM spill is to be recognized as such a bid deal, should folks not be looking much more closely at the externalities of other economic processes?

Because we're dealing with warm water rather than Prince William Sound, the Gulf will snap back pretty quickly with any luck.

However, if appearance is reality, then this is a huge disaster because it appears to be a huge disaster.

We are conditioned to accept everyday evils like photochemical smog, or hazards from driving a car. DWH is out of the ordinary and shocking as a result.

This has been a wonderful opportunity for politicians to grandstand, while showing the voters that they will whip those evildoing oil companies into shape.

This is gonna hurt. Just remember to duck once the unintended consequences start to fly...


Re: "For the most part I think they're doing pretty well given the scope of the disaster."

There is a general perception that the Macondo well blowout is a collossal disaster. No doubt it is a disaster, but how big is it really? According to Robert Reich it is "the worst environmental disaster in American history."


But I suggest that this is a nutty perception. To quote myself from elsewhere:

Think about the auto industry for a start. Apart from the fact that cars cause 40,000 deaths each year plus countless more injuries; the auto industry is responsible for most photochemical smog, which costs the agricultural industry tens if not hundreds of billions annually, while killing thousands of Americans with respiratory diseases. Then there's all that particulate matter produced by cars -- diesel exhaust and tire dust, which kills thousands more.

Robert Reich, like the clueless mainstream media vastly overstates the relative cost of the Macondo well spill. The loss of eleven lives was a tragedy, which the oil industry and BP in particular must never forget, but the auto industry, directly and through its environmental effects kills more than ten times that many every day of the week.

I have to agree with you . . . except for the part about Adm. Allen. How many on the 'science team' had any previous oil field experience? And don't you think the 'science team' should be full-timers, instead of guys whose day job involves running a large complex federal agency?

Kent Wells at least knew something about oil wells, and could explain what is going on. How many press conferences do you remember Chu being at? Zip . . . by my count. That is probably because somebody would have asked him a technical question that would have shown his complete ignorance of petroleum engineering.

I do not think you will get a lot of disagreement. I have been out of petrochemicals for 10 years and I am shocked at this having happened. What would it have cost them to have and Emergency Response Plan? It would not have slowed down production. It is just money and diligence. Especially if they are doing risky work. A disaster is not the time to plan.

I work in Drinking Water in Florida now. Emergency response for disaster recovery is a way of life. We have reciprocity within the water utilities for supplies, equipment and personnel. We have all kinds of plans. Every water utility is expected to have their own individual emergency response plan.

But, BP did not have a plan. And what has Homeland Security been doing for the last 10 years? They do not even know how to handle an oil rig explosion and leak.

And what has Homeland Security been doing for the last 10 years?

Reading your emails... or, at least the more salacious ones.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Homeland Security is a joke. How many lives have they saved us? I think it all goes back to risk/analysis. What is their budget? Could those funds be better spent elsewhere???

David: Good observations.

...there are so many variables involved in resolving this problem, that it has to be difficult for anyone to keep track of them, perhaps even in individual components of the problem. Also, with so many variables, there may be a number of paths to a solution...

I had a chat some days ago with an Alaskan friend who had spent several weeks down there helping in one of the cleanup IC centers. His description of the diffuculty trying to coordinate observers, beach crews, vessels of oportunity etc in one small region in this very dynamic situation was rather mind boggling. Those of us watching from afar need to take a chill pill now and again.


I cannot be so generous. There were gross safety violations to start. That had to come from the company's culture. The idea that middle manager could stop a crew from taking a shutdown for safety repairs is outrageous. I bet they wish they had fed him to the sharks.

There was no Emergency Response plan. What would it have cost them? It was BP's responsibility to have one and the Obama Administration's responsibility to make sure they had one. Gee, maybe he should have fired the banksters and hired some engineers. He so totally did not have a clue. His regulatory agencies were so seriously inadequate. Hey, how about hiring some scientists over at the EPA? Infrastructure. Put people to work.

Yea, after that the blame game gets kind of poor. Just people over their head with a bad situation who did the best they can.

I would still like to give those guys who sprayed that dispersant a good swift kick in the pants.


I have a feeling that the fire fighting capabilities (or lack of) by all parties concerned are more serious than so far assessed. Failure to contain the burning hydrocarbons and the sinking of DWH by the fire effort is probably just as serious (if not more so) than the failure of the BOP.


Failure to contain the burning hydrocarbons and the sinking of the DWH ...

I don't see how they could have contained the large volume of gas coming up the riser (except by shutting it off at the BOP, which didn't work).

Sorry. Did not explain my point too well. Of course the fire would not have been extinguished until the fuel source had been cut. After a period of time the fire fighting effort is no longer about saving lives as there are no lives left to save. Would it not have been better at that point to stop flooding DH with water and just concentrated on damping the flames from affecting surrounding assets, keeping the platform afloat,then making efforts to detach the riser and trying to capture or shut off the oil and gas flow?

What is now emerging is that both the oil industry and the US government do not have assets and plans to deal with offshore platform fires effectively.

The sinking of DWH could even have resulted in DWH falling on top of the well.

You think you have problems expressing ideas sometimes. During and prior to collapse on 9/11 the FDNY really did not mitigate the event much, it was far too overwhelming. In fact all they could really do was get folks out and send in men to die or try to survive. Not to say that as a force the FDNY did not perform gallantly and I am sure they saved many lives in the aftermath or with pre-collapse rescue. After 9/11, there was very little negative critique of the NYPD or the FDNY. Now the Feds may have been judged harshly, but the fire fighting was still world class. The FDNY did not say,"Oh, this is terrorism, we are not ready for that."
I am not getting on to the Coast Guard. I am asking those that decide on whose mission that such things are to look into it. I am thinking this one belongs to Congress. Not Obama, Congress. Maybe the state houses too.

Edit: Our local Fire Department has minimal training on how to handle a nuclear event. Now I am sure they would probably be better used delivering the final round of Blue Bell to everyone. The Coast Guard and the National Guard are first or at least second responders. They do not get to choose the nature of the emergency they respond to.

I'm tempted to think they were trying to sink it, TFHG, under direction from the Coast Guard. This topic was addressed (like so many others) at least once before, likely several times, especially earlier on. It was mentioned that the platform might have destroyed the BOP/wellhead itself, or even ripped out some of the well below mudline, making any kind of operations on the top of the well impossible. Rather than let the platform--no longer with DP capability--put tension on the riser, it was essentially scuttled. Given that the platform had no positioning capability, bringing any ship near it to run an ROV or other equipment would be hazardous or foolhardy, at best.

Then...how many tugs would you need to haul that thing somewhere it could be serviced?

I think the CG (and whoever was advising them) decided scuttling by flooding with water was the cheapest and least dangerous way to go.

Then it would seem keeping a fire going would have been the next step. Did the EPA veto that over air quality issues?

I don't take your point, TFHG. You're saying letting the fire go unchecked would've sunk it more quickly? Maybe. (As for the EPA stepping in and...oh, I think I get your point now. They insisted on trying to put the fire out. Hmm, maybe. Not a bad idea!) One problem with my idea is that the platform isn't shaped like a ship, which would hold the water. Maybe some got into the pontoons, but whether it was flooding with water, or a leak caused by fire damage that sunk the platform, I don't know. And they may have totally underestimated (in good faith, I mean, not realizing the situation) how much oil and gas were coming up the pipe: it might not have been unreasonable for them to think that the flow from the well was mostly shut off.

The conversations and decisions during those first few days would be fascinating to know about. I wonder if any of that will ever become public domain.

I think there was a definite let it 'burn and sink' minority in the leadership. A few here have expressed the sinking as inevitable from the ignition event on. I tend to agree. Could they have disconnected the vessel from the riser and just let the riser go free. Let the DHW drift on fire, try to save it, but expect it to go down? Anything but risk loss of life to delay the certain for probably not very long?

Can you imagine being the person to set those souls adrift? No way anyone was going to make that call.
It finally got top heavy on one side and down into the briny deep she went.Those pontoons were punctured by metal that burned off.Someone tried to pass off a photo of the landing pad with a hole that was burned through it as if there was a conspiracy of some sort.All that was was the gas shooting through it like a cutting torch.

Yes, even with thermal imaging and permission from next of kin you couldn't do it. I agree.

I posted a comment upthread in the other fire discussion.

See http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6786#comment-689794

I would appreciate all of your comments on my newbie "thought experiment."

The only way you fight a fire on this scale is by removing the fuel source.

Even then, the rig/platform/vessel is going to be junk if its been burning for more than a short while.

It is hard to imagine the scale of the fire at a blowout if you haven't been close to one.

Biggest I've seen put a column of fire 600' high into the air. The noise was incredible!


JTF, I remember tapes of the first Coast Guard helicopter crew to reach DWH saying that, when they arrived, the flames were several hundred feet above their flightpath. I can't imagine any way that structure wasn't doomed to burn to sinking -- and doubt there's a movie theatre on earth that could remotely duplicate the eyewitness experience.

..."Failure to contain the burning hydrocarbons and the sinking of DWH by the fire effort is probably just as serious (if not more so) than the failure of the BOP."...

It's very serious indeed, but I don't know that the "fire effort" caused the sinking. That fire was so intense it was only a matter of time before the steel failed. (remember the collapse of the WTC) The DWH was doomed no matter what firefighting efforts were employed, probably even foam. The boats spraying water on it were just trying to cool down the rig a little and hold off collapse as long as they could. They weren't trying to put out the fire. I doubt the volume of salt water sprayed had anything to do with the sinking. Probably the ballast tanks and associated structures simply melted through from the intense heat and allowed water in. Actually,I'm surprised it lasted 2 days...

The debris field on the seafloor shows that the rig broke up.

I would imagine a survey of the debris field has been done. Is it publicly available? Be interesting to see what landed where.

I thought it sank into the muck and is not visible anymore.

Here are some pictures of the debris an ROV was looking at. Just click the little arrow on the right to go to the next picture then click on it to enlarge. There are quite a few of them.


Special Report: Watching grass grow in the Gulf, and cheering!

BP's Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential for this kind of damage, and enough oil has coated some patches of marsh grasses to make them appear black when viewed from above.

Fortunately, their green shoots tell another story. Irv Mendelssohn, a wetland ecology expert who has been watching oil's impact on plants for three decades, offers a cautiously optimistic prognosis for their recovery from this latest environmental insult.

More: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66R4Z420100728?type=domesticNews

Reminds me of the scene from Idiocracy when the plants start to grow and Luke Wilson is saved. Upgrade never did show up did he? I saw a mention of that movie earlier.

Upgrade did show up - in the trailing credits. Somehow he found another one of those capsules.

Really, I'll find the DVD.

Nothing new there. Reed beds used to be used for sewage (called pollution these days) treatment. Nature is a wonderful thing. Where I live,100 years ago was a beehive of heavy metal mining and now there is no sign of it, just beautiful countryside. Where I came from, a fortune is being spent on reclaiming mining land, if only humans would sit back and relax and let nature do it for them.

They still do it, only now it's carefully planned.
Look up 'bioremediation' or 'phytoremediation' and you'll probably find out more than you wanted to know.

When asked to rank the overall potential havoc that could be caused to Gulf coastal wetlands compared to other oil spills he has responded to in Canada, Texas, California and elsewhere in Louisiana, Mendelssohn said: "From what I've seen so far, this looks fairly minor."

Geez, all that worry and it was for nothing, it turns out. Spill all you want and a couple of weeks afterwards, experts are already pronouncing the whole thing "minor". Move on, folks, nothing to see here. Eat some shrimp in an air-conditioned mall!

Drill, baby, drill!

He is probably right - compared to ones he has seen it probably is minor. Of course minor is a relative term here, not an absolute. A bit like being slightly dead.

Dimitry, I don't think anyones intent is to dismiss the seriousness of the impact this event has and will continue to have. It's more a matter of being realistic about the situation, looking at the facts, and finding reason for some optimism. I am pleased to see the doomsday scenarios falling apart as time progresses. I get the impression that many out there have hoped for the worst possible environmental impact to come of this to bolster thier own political beliefs. On the flip side, Rush saying that no impact would come of this is equally lame.

What a nice cheery article. Glad to hear about the grass.

Where are all those people who were so quick to bash Rush Limbaugh now?

That's right! Rush was right...again! Pollute all you want, then drill some more! Dem vironmetlsts 'sploded the well in the first place, according to ditto-Rush!

That man is always right! He is like a super-rich, gasbag Pope!

You got a problem with us Catholics boy?

Don't tell me you are K of C.


Color corp? I think you have to be 90 to rate such around here. I am not even close to a cape. I am a long way from figuring you out. As for me, blame it on Jesuit schooling. Bless you.

Try a year in the seminary.

Wait what does Jesuit schooling have to do with this?
Anyway my computer can't buffer those live feeds, can anyone report what's going on?

The Franciscans and the Jesuits are good at combining things like chemistry, God, and duty to your community. My favorite Alma Mater, Spring Hill College, is aware of my efforts and support them. The liberal arts are coming back IMHO.

If you self-identify with a malignant demagogue gasbag Rush, yeah, sure I do. He is singlehandedly responsible for brainwashing millions of weak-minded Americans into a thought pattern of hatred, fear and racism, while laughing all the way to the bank. Any rational person with half a brain left, should unequivocally distance him or herself from this monstrosity, yet unfortunately he presides over the near total dissolution of the American mind, gathering more and more dim-witted adherents around his fraudulent anti-American message.

How's that for an opinion from an old anti-communist activist?

Unlike you,I don't believe every thing he says.

I'd guess from your post that you long for the glory of Stalin again.

He said Anti-communist. Besides, who said Stalin was a communist? He was a Stalinist. He crushed the Soviets and the Nomenklatura.

Yes he did those things. And collectivized all production in the Communist way. The fact that he was a ruthless dictator does not mean that he was not to true Communist. It is simply more evidence that he was one, IMHO.

I have always thought of it like this.
1. Communism is a goal. Like democracy. We call ourselves a democracy, but we are really a representative republic. We can barely be democratic here at TOD, much less nationwide.
2. Marxism=Communism=Native American Government, Good ideals but......
3. Bolshevism=Leninism=the Soviet=Trotskyism=Anti-Stalinism=Anti-Maoism
4. Stalinism=Red Fascism=Totalitarianism
5. Post Stalinism = Marxism-Leninism = Full Socialism
What do you think? It is a work in progress.

You would "guess" wrong. My grandfather was nearly killed in the Stalin's purges and I spent my lifetime fighting against authoritarianism of all kinds, left and right. Right-wing fanatics, such as yourself, only understand the "commie" menace, making America into a right-wing corporatist kleptocracy, while signing praises to "freedom".

My mother was born a slave in what is now North Korea. When she was born she was the property of a Japanese Army officer. She was sold to another passing soldier when she was 3 and that is how she ended up in the south in 1950. From what she told me, the wartime Japanese were the most ruthless humans that had ever lived. She got over it and had Japanese friends before she died. Such a thing is rare even to this day.

Yep, my pa fought in that war, the one before, and the one after. He had much respect for the Hun and Vietmin, but the Chinese... not so much.

Are you sure you've got a proper grasp of the correct way to respond to this thread?

Here's an example.

Would it be without insult, sir.???

My apologies- I should have recognized that "Hun" is inappropriate. Once again, my apologies to all offended.

Cheers, Tim

EDIT: apologetics.

Neither weak-minded nor full of hate and racism, do listen to Rush from time to time, prefer Mark Levin.

Auburn Class of '63?


That's right! Rush was right...again! Pollute all you want, then drill some more! Dem vironmetlsts 'sploded the well in the first place, according to ditto-Rush!

That man is always right! He is like a super-rich, gasbag Pope!

You are as just as truthful as Pravda ever was. But if you repeat it often enough, perhaps you can get someone to believe you. Isn't that the plan of your sponsors?

Give it a rest, right-wing brown-nose fanatic. I have more real anti-communist credentials then laptop bombariders such as yourselves could ever hope to have. 25 years building weapons for America, which is more than demagogues like Rush and ditto-heads such as yourself can put on the table.

Oooh... strawman/ad hom/red herring all rolled up into one. Kudos, sir.

To question a man's patriotism with little proof and because he dislikes Rush Limbaugh? A knowledgeable engineer with a Russian name? Dimitry has been very restrained. I assure you if my patriotism was called out in such a way, I would consider demanding satisfaction. You just caught the tail end. It really was a discussion that broke down. I think both sides had points and both sides will live to post again.

Sir, I didn't question anyone's patriotism, but rather, their lack of logical prowess.

Too, the comment was not directed at Dimitry, but the one above.

Cheers, Tim

EDIT: spelling & others

bignerd --- Thanks for the best comment I have ever seen on TOD. You clear up many points. It would be great if the public was let in on this important liquid/gas phase subject of hydrocarbons in the Macondo well.

If there are large unknowns about these complex issues (bubble point, equilibrium, casing/cement integrity, critical Temperature/Pressure, oil/gas makeup, large volume differences for small T/P changes) the safer bottom kill method which just releases the small O/G mixture (maybe only 1,200 barrels) in wellbore/accessible annular spaces out BOP thru choke or kill line into bottom seawater is relatively quick, easy and safe. Just replace low density O/G mixture with kill mud, stop flow, cement, WOC, take off stacks, and do permanent abandonment operations from the top.

I agree about bignerd's posts (he had an earlier one on a similar subject including estimations of the density of the hydrocarbon mixture at reservoir conditions), but I think you misread his statement of what *he* knows about the oil compared to what BP knows (emphasis mine):

Stop reading now if you expect an answer to whether there is gas in the wellbore or not. My guess is there isn't but I'm afraid there isn't enough data available to us to say for sure. BP will know; during logging operations on the open hole prior to casing they ran Schlumbergers MDT tool. This not only reads formation pressure and wellbore temperature, but also allows samples of formation fluid to be taken into small pressurised chambers. They have had plenty of time to analyse these for composition and properties and will be able to predict phase behaviour with reasonable precision. If they used oil based mud while drilling there may be contamination issues, but there are ways to correct for this. They will have also taken samples on the surface vessels during capture operations in recent weeks. It is routine to recombine gas and oil samples from the separators to arrive at a mixture representative of the reservoir fluid, and to do measurements on these.

In other words, these aren't really "large unknowns", just details that you and I (and bignerd) don't know. Which might suck for us TOD readers but it's not an argument to pick one approach or another.

[-] SaveFlipper on July 27, 2010 - 6:02pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

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.
Comments can no longer be added to this story.

[-] ormondotvos on July 27, 2010 - 11:40pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top


Uh --- the dispersant is what breaks the oil into tiny droplets and vastly increases the ability of the oil-eating microbes to eat it.
Comments can no longer be added to this story.


Save the "Uh". Adding dispersant to the stream coming out of the well may have been effective in dispersing the stream. On the downside, then you cannot skim it as well. But the spraying of the dispersant was not only ineffective use, it also increased exposures to people and other living, breathing things. Some of them happen to be my friends and family.

Furthermore, some of those chemicals that come out of the well in high concentrations can kill the bacteria that actually breaks down the hydrocarbons. They can eventually build up higher than ever, but the failure to use know oil loving bacteria addition shows a lack of willingness to use every tool available to mitigate the damage. Questions about the efficacy of doing this are no excuse. It only would have sped things up and prevented damage.

The ineffective use of dispersant and the unwillingness to try microbe additions amount to negligence and incompetence.


The ineffective use of dispersant and the unwillingness to try microbe additions amount to negligence and incompetence.

In my opinion, the best thing that can be said about attempting to seed the GOM with bacteria that can out-compete the existing populations that metabolize petroleum hydrocarbons is that it is extremely unlikely to be successful in the open ocean.

From a 2006 review article:

Many companies are developing and/or marketing hydrocarbon-degrading seed cultures. Most microorganisms considered for seeding are obtained by enrichment cultures from previously contaminated sites. However, because hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria and fungi are widely distributed in marine, freshwater and soil habitats, adding seed cultures has proven less promising for treating oil spills than adding fertilizers and ensuring adequate aeration. Most tests have indicated that seed cultures are likely to be of little benefit over the naturally occurring microorganisms at a contaminated site for the bio-degradation of the bulk of petroleum contaminants (Atlas, 1995).

Westlake (1982) noted that no single microbial species has the enzymatic ability to metabolize more than two or three classes of compounds typically found in crude oil. A consortium composed of many different bacterial species is thus required to degrade a crude oil spill significantly. The adaptation of natural bacterial populations to degrade different components of crude oil in response to their presence suggests that the natural environment is not limited by the need for specific bacterial inocula. Thus, except for specific isolated cases, seeding of oil spills will probably offer few advantages.

The thought of establishing a new population of bacteria, either natural or genetically engineered, in the open ocean gives me the heebie-jeebies, given mankind's long history of disastrous attempts at bio-remediation by introducing exotic species. [I've got no problem with using genetically engineered organisms for appropriate purposes; without them much biology research would come to a grinding halt]. But, fortunately, the probability of successfully changing the microbe populations of a large area of the GOM seems very low.

On the other hand, the review mentions that using microbes for shoreline remediation is more likely to work, although adding oxygen and nutrients to facilitate metabolism by native bacteria may be more successful than attempting to seed with exotic bacteria.

Show me the data. I hear alot of opinions discounting lab data on bioremediation of oil but this blog posts lab data for dispersants to show that they speed decomposition of oil.

Microbes were used on the Valdez spill and they are currently using them on a spill in China http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2010/07/22/as-oil-spills-china-sends-....

Certainly the risk/benefit shift towards microbe addition on oil that is not flowing in contact with the dispersant. It does not require genetically engineered microbes. There are several microbe products listed on the same EPA schedule that lists dispersants, including Corexit. http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/docs/oil/ncp/schedule.pdf Note the disclaimer on the first page. The EPA does not approve Corexit. (If you disagree, show me the EPA document.)

The point is that dispersant added to the stream were effective but the ones they sprayed were not. If they had sprayed microbes in solution from ships, instead of dispersant, we may have had a much better result. Spraying dispersant form air planes? How stupid is that?

If the added microbes helped, OK, otherwise they would have just died. And whatever the risk, it will eventually be here from China, with none of the benefit.

Microbes were used on the Valdez spill, but analysis of the results did not show any particular effectiveness over conventional bioremediation where just nutrients were added. And that includes on-shore tests where conditions for an effect are more favorable.

I've posted links to articles discussing this in previous threads.

Section 2.4.1 Has a generally gloomy view on the success of "bioaugmentation" (adding organisms) in shoreline and wetland areas.
Section 2.4.2 presents a more positive analysis of "biostimulation" (adding nutrients) in these areas.

[Edit for typo]


At least they tried them in the Valdez with no harmful effects. The Gulf waters are very different from the Alaskan waters. My grievance was that there was no attempt to use them while they sprayed dispersant all over everything.

You have no field data that the dispersant significantly improved the oil removal from the Gulf, either. It may have been better to let it surface and skim it off, letting microbes finish the job.

Is there a potential risk if they let the microbes eat away the oil? I'd much prefer skimming but the former plan isn't a foolish one is it?


(I love your pseudonym!) The danger would be the same for any introduced exotic species: upsetting the existing food web. The microbes might survive (temperature, pressure, salinity, oxygen richness and other factors), and in fact consume oil as intended. However, they might outcompete naturally-occurring organisms for other food sources, they might leave toxic waste of their own behind, or other unintended consequences.

On the general subject of invasive species, though not related to oil spills at all, is one of the funniest books I've ever read (very hard to find, though, in no small part because it was published in New Zealand): A Good Keen Man (I forget the author's name). It's autobiographical, about a hunter in New Zealand (of course) who was one of several hundred hired annually to hunt deer and, I think, hedgehogs. The deer were brought by the English to NZ for sporting purposes, and I think a couple of hedgehogs just stowed away. Both animals, without natural predators, expanded their populations furiously and soon were decimating the New Zealand bush, eradicating the native trees and other plants as they fed. So the national government down there, in desperation, hired hunters and paid them bounties for hedgehog paws and deer antlers.

The book describes a few seasons this man experienced as such a hunter, first starting out, and later training other hunters. It's a side-splittingly funny read, even given the unfortunate backdrop.

So do you suggest we kill a bit of them off so they don't out compete other organisms? As for the toxic waste what could it be I assume due to the prefix in their name their waste products would be mostly microscophic. But this spill has already caused countless casualties for the pelicans, shrimp, crab, and ect and if these microbes are cleaning up the water for them, than their presence would be mostly beneficial, correct?

Maybe, Heiro, but there's no guarantee. Lots of species have been introduced (exotic), and turned out to be highly competitive organisms which outcompete and ultimately eradicate their competitors (invasive). Or, if no competitors are involved, simply change the landscape or ecosystems. Examples are the Norway pine (pushing out native evergreens in the northeast), rosa rugosa (beach rose), a very handsome plant but not native to the northeast at all, earthworms (nobody hates them, but they destroy the roots of certain types of plants), and tiger mussels (a disastrous addition to the Finger Lakes in New York state).

We are talking about microorganisms, but they're the base of the food web so changes there affect everything else. And when you talk about killing some of them off...how? Poison, I'd suspect? How is that better than the original spill? And besides, we're dealing with unknowns: just how successful these critters might be, isn't known. And any side-effects they might have are also unknown. They might fizzle, fail to consume much oil, and die off. They might bloom, and then exhaust other food sources, and impact other local microbes, and so interfere with the livelihood of the organims which feed on them, and so on.

Unknown. And that's the danger of willy-nilly introducing new species which can replicate themselves. Unlike toxins, which are of a fixed quantity, biological agents can multiply.

As you allude to, there's no ideal solution to this problem, especially since so many animals have already died awful deaths. But bioagents are different in kind from simple chemical treatments, and require far greater caution.

Did you know that the Pacific islanders, as they spread accross the Pacific Ocean, brought rats in their canoes as food sources? They introduced them to many of the islands they landed on. Rat infestation is thought to be a prime reason for the deforesting, and ultimately rendering uninhabitable by humans, of Easter Island.

The Life and Times of a Good Keen Man: The First of a Trilogy by Barry Crump.

abebooks.com is a great place to find out-of-print or otherwise difficult to locate books.

Some of Crump's other titles here.

Barry Crump was writer of that book

Edit : To late see you got answer.
If you think the book was funny, Crumpy was one of the funniest people I ever met, I'm an Ex-Pat Kiwi. Back in them Days Deer Culling was a good job, you were dropped into the bush with supplies and you were pretty much on your own for months on end. Not sure if they still do it.

There is a counterpoint to the argument for introducing microbes. As was pointed out earlier - there are scant actually engineered microbes, and due to the cocktail of constituents in the oil you need a range of organisms anyway. The best bet for finding the best organisms is to go out into the wild and collect a range of organisms that are known to thrive on oil, and nurture them. Which seems to be what the source of some of these seedings commercially offered actually is.

The best place to find well adapted organisms that will feed on your oil? Clearly you want somewhere where millions of years of evolution have crafted organisms to work with oil. Somewhere with natural seeps, somewhere where the nutrient balance is close to what you have, somewhere where the water temperature is close to what you have. The answer is that one of the best sources of organisms to use to fight an oil spill would be harvested from the GOM. If I were running a commercial operation to sell bioremediation organisms I would be harvesting the GOM for my initial stock. I would be looking in other places too - so that I had organisms that might be better in colder water, fresh water, oxygen poor water, and so on. But since the GOM has been host to seeps for millions of years the existing organisms present are very likely to be better than any introduced species, and a commercial operator offering you special high quality organisms is very likely offering to sell you what you already had. Which is one of the best tricks around.


The EPA shares your fear that bioremediation methods may have too high a risk. But also admits that they hold the promise of getting at the last bits of oil. The research is in a report: http://www.epa.gov/oem/docs/oil/edu/litreviewbiormd.pdf.
My understanding is that the EPA will not allow new microbes that have not been fully tested in the DWH spill.

Some bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico love eating oil as much as they like infecting humans. A close relative of the bacteria infamous for seafood contaminations that often lead to fatal disease, the microbe Vibrio parahaemolyticus, is common in warm coastal waters like the Gulf. The long comma-shaped bacteria, slurped down with raw oysters, brings twisting cramps and nausea to 4,500 American shellfish aficionados each year.

But unlike some of its finicky peers, V. parahaemolyticus has a deep thirst for crude oil. "You can feed it exclusively oil," and it will thrive, said Jay Grimes, marine microbiologist at the University of Southern Mississippi.

As many have noticed, oil is not in short supply on the Gulf Coast.


Add: Just an article I came across and kept because it was interesting.

But the spraying of the dispersant was not only ineffective use,...

SaveFlipper, that's just undocumented speculation.

... it also increased exposures to people and other living, breathing things. Some of them happen to be my friends and family.

Also undocumented, and your friends and family likely have more toxic chemicals under their kitchen sinks.

My friends and family object to having Corexit sprayed in their air. It is abusive. And they know how to use cleaning products to minimize exposure. And they do not spray their children with them.

The chemical cleaning products under my sink are rarely used as I prefer physical cleaning and the use of bacterial enzyme solutions.

If you have any data demonstrating the efficacy of spraying dispersant on an oil slick, please let me know the source, otherwise my claim stands. The only data I have seen available is lab data for mixed systems.

If you have any data demonstrating the efficacy of spraying dispersant on an oil slick, please let me know the source

The The National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Understanding Oil Spill Dispersants do?

As they say, "Decisions to use dispersants involve trade-offs." I wouldn't expect a black and white answer. I find real life is rarely so simple that things can be labelled as either purely evil or purely angelic and nothing in between.

Can anyone tell me what this is??? It was in the Port of Pensacola this past weekend


mummsie -- Just a guess: it's a pipeline laying ship. Or it's one of the new generation Blue Bell delivery vehicles. Sorry...just slipped off to that little fantasy land of mine.

I think it was from Brenham, TX so could be Rockman:) TX Pinkfud for the article, I guess I was asking more if this is something they are using at the site and how.......a friend sent me the picture, never caught the article in PNJ so thanks!

I will say things appear better here on the beach, their were bait fish, crabs, flounder and dolphins etc when I was snorkeling this weekend and we have not been hit hard but that one time in June. Just random tarballs, but most are west of the pier where I rarely go swimming.

Oh, one more question......they have a geologist here using a "white light" to show oil in the sand (not that I don't know it's there), but I was under the impression many things turned blue besides oil in white light? Anyone here know what that would be, and something that is a natural occurance.



Looks like it'll take more than that to stump the rockman

I think I'm going to go with your second choice.

Thank goodness for this site. While we try to focus on the mainstream media stories and weed through them for readers, this site explains so well what is really happening.
For those interested we have a really interesting article on the claims process for "Insurance and Technology.com. And many other stories we uncover. http://www.savergulf.com/

Kind of off topic but since it's a slow day I figured I would throw this out. I read a few articles reg. the USG and Chevron working on exploring the ways and means of harvesting methane as a new source of natural gas. Apparently Japan expects to be in production by 2017 and S. Korea has made some strides in this direction as well. Being the GOM was one of the "hot spots" for potential methane harvesting will this recent disaster have an impact on methane exploration/ harvesting in the future? I know the battle over the drilling moratorium is not yet over, and if the WH gets it's way would that include any further exploration regarding methane gas harvesting?

Methane harvesting isn't more polluting than using oils?
I'm glad they are taking strides in using different fuels but I'd rather have them go in the direction of cleaner energy as oppose to more accesible polluting energy.

Actually methane would be used as as a new source of natural gas such as you heat your home with. It would not replace oil in the production of gasoline or other petroleum based products. Though I do not know I would image methane hydrate harvesting would carry the same risk factors as other natural have production. However from what I've read it could be key in addressing our nat. gas needs in the future.

Well that doesn't sound to bad, and just to establish we understand we are only talking about natural gas, right? As in the stuff you use to heat your stove and homes with?
Though I want to ask what methane has as in advantage? Is it more accessiable? Efficient? What?

Yes, exactly and from what I understand it could provide a more efficient and potent heating source than the natural gas we use now. From what I've read methane hydrate deposits found in Alaska, North Carolina and the GOM could address our natural gas needs for a very long time ( for example the GOM holds enough methane to "fuel" the US for am estimated 270 years) according to what I've read so far. Methane also burns cleaner and more efficiently than other forms of gas so I guess you could consider this a more environmentally friendly heat source.

You guys both understand that natural gas largely is methane, right?

The first sentences of the wikipedia entries for "natural gas" and "methane":

Natural gas is a gas consisting primarily of methane.

Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CH4. It is the simplest alkane, and the principal component of natural gas.

rpoint, are you actually asking about "new ways means of harvesting methane as a source of natural gas" and not "ways and means of harvesting methane as a new source of natural gas"? If so, what ways and means?

Edit: I'm not trying to be snarky, just can't figure out the thread and in particular comments like "[methane] could provide a more efficient and potent heating source than the natural gas we use now".

My mother worked for LSU public relations before she passed. She was invited to attend an offshore expedition sponsored by LSU marine biologists in the Green Canyon blocks 99, 140, and 237. The researchers were studying methane hydrates between '89 and '91, on the deep sea research vessel Edwin Link. They were researching how tube worms and other creatures were able to live on or around methane hydrate structures. This research led to the question of "can this potential energy source be harvested". I do not have linkable text online but in talking with her on this subject "there were issues on how to get the hydrates from the sea floor to the surface without the hydrates thawing." That was in 1991.

I took pictures of the styrofoam cups and of the newspaper article she had framed but my email server is not cooperating. I am still working on the pics.

Is there any truth to the story that the Coast Guard created this spill by sinking the rig with too much firefighting water?
This story claims if the rig had been allowed to burn, the spill could have been contained much easier.

That seems pretty weak. Most of the water they sprayed on the thing wasn't so much to fight the fire (you can't really put out an oil fire with water), but to try and keep the thing cooler and prevent structural failure that could happen when metal softens as it gets hot.

The fire wouldn't have burned itself out either. The oil and gas spewing from the well were feeding the fire.

It is an actual fact that the oil spill did not start until after the oil platform sunk.

Jeebus, Erick Erickson is an idiot.

If this the procedure for a "Top or Static kill" someone is totaly wrong. If they do this it is no less than a mud-frac, which could do more damage than good. The procedure should be get to the bottom and cement your way out. If you pump mud in the WW from the top with 7000psi just to get it to move you will risk loosing integrity with in the well casing. Am I wrong?

I hope so, I want to this over but I don't really understand why BP is going through with this if your skeptism turns out to be true. But things are still looking good, and hopefully it stays that way.

Anyway, can someone confirm if this will work or not? I want to here both sides of the issue but I'm not sure which is which because both sound very technical.

I have more concern about flex-joint integrity than a casing failure, but no one knows for sure.

Much as I would like this to be over, the bottom kill from a relief well is a more orthodox way of dealing with the situation we have right now. This BOP/wellhead/casing is in an undetermined condition and we really shouldn't be stressing it more than necessary.

Saying that, if the powers that be decide a top kill is worth the risk, it will likely work if nothing blows up.

Unlike Rockman, I see no way on God's green earth that they will change out the BOP with no cement in the hole. Way too risky. I expect they either going to kill it and wait, or they're going to pump three or four hundred bbls of cement in there after killing with mud and let the cement go where it will. Then test everything for pressure integrity, and if all is good, swap out the BOP, clean out the well and plug and abandon.

But we don't have enough info to second guess this very well.


If this the procedure for a "Top or Static kill" someone is totaly wrong. If they do this it is no less than a mud-frac, which could do more damage than good. The procedure should be get to the bottom and cement your way out. If you pump mud in the WW from the top with 7000psi just to get it to move you will risk loosing integrity with in the well casing. Am I wrong?

I would assume these are broken pipes from the begining of this disaster but whatever it is it doesn't appear to indciate any problem. They are most likely just clearing the spot.

It looks almost like a broken fan blade of some type.


Looks like a umbrella type shield to keep oil or hydrates of of equipment. Just guessing but I have seen this before. What I'm interested in right now is Deep C 1 (sonar ops) which appears stationary on the seabed but something keeps churning up silt rather close to it, but I can't see the source (not its own thrusters...).
Did see what appeared to be a dead horseshoe crab dropping to the seabed in front of it though.

It has been down there for awhile, it had a bunch of stringy white stuff on it.

Looks like the shield, didn't seem to work too well.


Here is a wild ass thought on the Macondo Well.

Is it possible the oil and gas flow is not from the sand intercepted in the Macondo well but from a reservoir that is below the bottom of the Macondo Well.

The best argument for this possibility is a contrary argument. How do you have a well that was static for four to five days while logs were run suddenly get out of control. The mud weight to hold the well static while logging was about 14 ppg. 14 ppg mud is a little on the high side but far from extreme.

Also consider, the well was circulated after the logs were run. After five days, the trip gas must have been massive. This would have effectively swabbed (coaxed) the well to flow. I've not heard any reports that the well was flowing after logging.

Upon cementing the well, the 14 ppg was still present in the annulus. It seems unlikely that a well that sat static for five days suddenly exhibits a massive kick. Yes, the seawater displacement lowered the average mud weight but could this trigger a massive kick.

My premise is; The cement job on the Macondo Well acted as a frac job that propagated into an underlying high pressure reservoir. The Macondo cement job was fine and is still intact but the underlying reservoir comprimised the shoe and is responsible for the massive kick.


Good call. They were permitted to 20,000 ft, probably a secondary HPHT target.

So what is the large pipe that they are currently hoisting out of the seabed, and at first glance appears to have impacted the sea floor at high speed and "cratered" around the entry hole. Looks like its buried length is many tens of feet...

Coated with bright white hydrate appearing material too.

Could this be casing? And if so from what borehole?

They are pulling a big pipe out of the bottom of the ocean.


I'm watching that too. It's pretty wild but I have no idea what it is. Is the other ROV looking at the top end of this pipe being hoisted?

yes, they attached a hoist clamp earlier.

I'm not sure if they are pulling the pipe in our out, the ROV could have possibly created the illusion they were pulling out the pipe by it going upwards. But either way I'm curious to see what it is.
But are these bubbles coming from the sea floor or the are they a result of the pipe being taken out?

They pulled it out of the seafloor, a good hundred feet or so of it...

Well now I know, though looking back I wonder where they plan on taking it?

Wow! That was different. It looked like it had wellhead type fittings on top of it but I'm no expert so I really have no idea. But it was fun to watch!

I got some pictures and will get them uploaded. I watched the whole pulling of it and it appeared they were pulling it up a couple of feet every 5 seconds and it took around 25 minutes to pull it. Wonder what they are going to do with it now. LOL I guesstimate it is around 800 to a thousand feet long.

Drill pipe that was attached to the top hat and was cut off?


I dunno. Would that have been buried quite a few feet straight down?

Is flickr fairly simple to use?

I just started using it and all you do is click on the upload pictures chose the pics you want to upload and hit upload.

Not much to it.

Here is a picture of them hooking the collar up to it.


Did anybody check Enterprise's position while they were extracting this pipe?

It appears she's currently about 1000 ft north of the Q4000.

I didn't Trip.

I counted five times above in this thread that we were chastised not to think, don't ask questions, leave it to the experts at BP, who don't have time to explain anything, and we certainly shouldn't confuse or alarm the public by disclosing technical information.

Contemptible. No other word for it. If it weren't for Henry Waxman's committee staff, there wouldn't have been ROV video or basic info on well design. BP's track record is extremely poor subsea. Now they propose to bullhead into a damaged BOP clogged with drill pipe, cement debris, and questionable casing. Why? To hide something.

Edit: moved to the right place.

They do seem very interested in the bottom of the mystery pipe, looks stationary right now, but I wonder if they've raised it to a depth where the hydrates might begin to sublimate off.

I can't figure out why the ROV doesn't go over and tap it. LOL

I think that's a gun thamit. One of those gun thamit things no one can understand.

Here's a good primer on Methane Hydrates and the potential for some rather unpleasant things to happen if they get suddenly released in large quantities...


Long time lurker, new poster and definitely not an oil person. I have a question about oil being released under pressure. Sorry, if it has been answered and I missed it.

A while back, I saw a piece on one of the mainstream media programs, it discussed releasing oil under pressure, under water. In a "Science Guy" way, a fish tank environment, it was explained that oil under pressure, released under water breaks down to very small particles and/or molecules. This discussion tried to explain what was being discussed as the "clouds or plumes" of oil in the Macondo spill. Does this theory explain the missing oil?

Does the oil emulsify when it is released under these intense pressures? How would this emulsion act under the surface? Obviously, there is a lot of oil that did make it to the surface, not in an emulsified state, so I am skeptical of the simplistic "Science Guy" explanation.

Thanks in advance and keep up the good work. Accurate information is important to all learning. Y'all have a good format for this type of exchange.

The pros will clarify and correct, but as I understand both the depth and the dispersants add to the emulsification that we are seeing with the crude from this event.

Congressman Fred Upton discusses K'zoo River oil spill

WOODTV8 | July 28, 2010

Congressman Fred Upton is working with federal officials to control this spill and talked live on the phone with 24 Hour News 8 Daybreak on Wednesday morning.
path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-07-28 23:35:04

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Enbridge -- July 28 Afternoon Update

Estimates indicate that as of 9 p.m. EDT, the last indication of oil, in the form of pockets of sheen on the water, was seen on the Kalamazoo River approximately 7 miles from the opening to Morrow Lake. Placement of a boom at the opening of Morrow Lake started last night and will continue this morning. We have 10 boom sites set up at this time with an additional 10 being put in place shortly
path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-07-28 23:32:52

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Enbridge to double Michigan oil spill cleanup force

The Enquirer July 28, 2010
Enbridge is going to double its workforce today, CEO and President Patrick Daniel said at a press conference this morning to address the oil spill.
But Enbridge officials were still unable to give a time the pipe burst. The leak was discovered by the company at 10:45 a.m. Monday and reported to the National Response Center hotline at 12:30 p.m., said Steve Wuori, Enbridge executive vice president for liquids, pipelines and operations.

path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-07-28 23:29:04

They know when the pipe burst or at least have an estimate. It is not like they do not know how much goes in and how much comes out. A flow rate has already been calculated. They have been watching too much BPTV.

It appears they were asleep at the switch, lacked proper pipeline monitoring and containment. I understand this is an old line, originally built in the 1960s...

Enbridge's response does seem to be following the BP line. It's amazing how much they care for communities, after a spill.

And again, like with BP, we seem to be seeing how out of whack our response-abilities are less than adequate, on every level, company, gov't and the effected communities. Do we need oil spill posses now? Maybe the first thing to do with any spill is to throw the CEO behind bars, bet that might change things a bit...

What the heck does the billing say? Accounting has to have some decent numbers. We are talking about money. Both sides are motivated to be accurate, in different directions perhaps, but accurate when compared. Was this for sale or transfer? The records will come out.

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Kalamazoo River Oil Spill (PHOTOS): Cleanup Efforts Underway In Michigan

First Posted: 07-28-10 05:16 PM | Updated: 07-28-10 06:09 PM
MARSHALL, MI - JULY 28: An oil slick from a spill of approximately 800,000 gallons of crude oil makes its way down the Kalamazoo River July 28, 2010 in Marshall, Michigan. A 30 inch-wide underground pipeline owned by Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Energy Partners LP, began leaking on June 26. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-07-29 01:26:21

I'm a journalist, and when I called the Coast Guard for comment about the seeps, I was told: "Call BP. They handle all questions about the underground part of the well."

That's probably innocuous. But it does look like BP is handling the data about potential underground leaks, and the Coast Guard is just trusting that data. I can't think of someone I trust less to handle that data.

I'm hung up on the seeps. It amazed me how quickly everybody accepted that the seeps are natural or related to another well - nothing to see here. It was especially strange after Allen's stern letter about "anomalies," a letter that implied BP was not sharing data with the government.

One scientist on the Horizon response, Bob Bea of Berkley, told a few media outlets that surveys of the sea floor done before the cap was attached showed no nearby seeps. Bea is the only fly in the oil, so to speak.

As a non-expert, I'm genuinely curious: How did BP (I presume it wasn't the Coast Guard doing this work, since it won't comment) determine that the seep a mile or so away was connected to another well -- an alarming enough fact?

And how many seeps are there? At last count, I heard Allen say six.

Are we expected to believe that BP has ruled out, in a thorough and objective manner, a threat from every single seep?

A few other thoughts. Everybody's touting the disappearance like some mirage of the massive oil slick, but c'mon -- millions of gallons of the mystery dispersant were applied to the spill... and a study of a controlled spill in 2000 determined that a deep-water leak would release only 2 percent of the oil to the surface.

Like the seeps, the food-chain-choking, oxygen-depleting underwater plumes are out of sight, out of mind, as far as everyone's concerned. It's like they were never discovered. BP must be pleased with the reversal in media scrutiny now that there isn't a gusher open 24 hours on the webcam. No story, no outrage.

And finally, the pressure: We're told the pressure in only inching up to 7,000 psi, an ambiguous reading that doesn't rule out a subterranean blowout, because the reservoir was depleted. That was BP's line the moment the data didn't go their way.

Um, we can't know for sure, since Macondo could be divided into pockets, but the best estimate is that there's 2-4 billion gallons of oil. You're telling me approx. 100 million gallons has depleted the reservoir to such a level that the pressure is falling more than 10 percent below expectations? Why wasn't this depletion taken into account in the first place? I'm a little skeptical, but I'm a layman.

So BP has a stranglehold on the underground data; there's no more discussion of the seeps; the underwater plumes are forgotten; and the pressure readings could indicate underground leaks, but not to worry.

Oh, and the well was so beaten up by the explosion that there were two pipes sticking out when they sheered off the riser, but we'll never know what the other pipe was because it dropped back into the well. Not to worry.

Around here, what's the experts' opinions on the the seeps, the plumes, and the pressure?

The seeps that they know of around the well have different markers.

Pseudonym, if you want an expert opinion, don't get excited about the seeps. Natural seeps are extremely common in the Gulf. We probably know about far less than 1% of them because looking for them is neither cheap nor easy, and there isn't any incentive to. They are, in fact, so common that NOT finding any near the Macondo would have been an oddity. Also, every little reservoir has a unique chemical composition. That's why they can say for sure that a sample did or didn't have anything to do with a particular well.

As for reservoir "depletion" causing a pressure drop, you can understand that in terms of water wells. If you drill a water well and pump it as hard as it will go, the well "draws down". You get a depleted zone near the well simply because the fluid can't flow fast enough through the sand to keep it replenished. If you then let the well rest a while, the water comes back. The same thing happens with oil, but it's a lot slower to recover because oil is more viscous and doesn't want to flow very well in the first place.

That's your answer from a geologist. For the more oil-specific questions, there are people here who can do a better job and I'm happy to let them. Hope this helps a bit.

There will probably be trickle of corrections and clarifications for you. Without reading from the start you will have missed that pretty much everything you have asked about has been covered here in quite some depth.

The additional pipe in the riser was the subject of a lot of discussion, right from the moment when we saw the other end in the sheared riser. They will know exactly what the pipe was - since they cut it in half - with the other end inside the sheared riser. There was a small part - the bit below the shear that was sticking out of the top of the BOP. It seems likely that it was so encrusted with clathrates and other junk that it stuck to the top hat when that was removed, and fell out sometime later. It didn't drop down the well. Nothing could have. The shear rams on the BOP are almost completely closed. What is probably annoying is that the bit that was lost has some useful information on its end. It will have the mark of the process that broke it. If they don't have the other broken end they will find it a bit harder to piece together the process that broke it. Which whilst of lesser importance might be worth knowing.

No story, no outrage.

You might understand that the coupling of the two is something that a lot of us find a significant issue with the MSM. It isn't the job of the media to stoke outrage.

I am not an expert by any means but I am not buying the depletion theory.

It would explain a low pressure but not the slow increase pressure.

My take is the slow increase in pressure is much like filling up a balloon with holes in it. The pressure will slowly rise until you reach a point when the input pressure matches an equilibrium to what leaks out the holes.

The explanation about natural seeps doesn't make sense either.

Check out this post detailing the survey by the NOAA ship the Thomas Jefferson prior to BP Shutting in the well.


The ship did a detailed survey of the sea floor and even created a 3D model of the plume coming from BP's well.

The 3D model was made while encircling the BP well going from 2KM to 5.8KM traveling directly over the area where Thad Allen says the seep is coming from and detected no seeps.

Here is a map of the exact path the Thomas Jefferson took with all of the know seeps prior to BP capping the well. Notice how the nearest seep is far outside the 5.8KM outer edge of the ship's path while Thad Allen says the seep found was 3KM from the well.

Furthermore, the Thomas Jefferson was only one of over a half dozen ships to survey the area and there was an extensive seismic survey done of the area.

I have mapped all of the seeps that NOAA had discovered prior to BP shutting in the well in Google Earth on the post above and the nearest seep to the southwest was 8.261 km from BP Well far from the Rigel Well.

Check out the map yourself. The latitude and longitude of known seeps are all provided and there is a KML file to view the seeps in Google Earth for your self.

The feds explanation of the seep don't add up and that is why they are not no longer commenting.

My take is the slow increase in pressure is much like filling up a balloon with holes in it. The pressure will slowly rise until you reach a point when the input pressure matches an equilibrium to what leaks out the holes.

That is correct for one scenario. However the well depletion scenario is not inconsistent with the observed data. The issue that faced the unified command was simply this - the well was clearly not leaking enough to not build pressure, and was not building pressure to meet the pre-blowout numbers. So what was it doing?

You provide one of the possible answers. But it isn't the only one. Well depletion is a very well understood subject, being as it is the lifeblood of producing fields. The underlying mathematics is not especially hard (it is the sort of thing taught at second or third year university) although the devil is in the details when applying it to the real world. If you want a real world analogue to well depletion think of heating a slab of metal. Put a large and reasonably thick slab of metal over a flame. The heat enters the metal where the flame impinges on it - but it doesn't heat the whole slab of metal up instantly. The heat flows. After some period of time an area of the slab will have heated up, but further away the temperature will have hardly risen at all. Now take the flame away. The lace where the flame impinged does not instantly cool to ambient temperature. Slowly the heat dissipates. If you watch the temperature you will see it drop quickly and then the rate flattens out. The shape of the curve is very precisely determined by the heat flow equations.

So, you are faced with a well that you don't know the state of. But you have it shut in, and you can watch the pressure. Does the plot of pressure match the mathematical shape of a leaking balloon or a cooling slab of metal? As it turns out it matches the cooling metal - and if you were going to bet on what the well's condition was, you would bet that the well was intact. It is still a bet. But it isn't flying blind. And has clearly been enough to guide the choice of next step. Then again there is a backup plan. Nothing is 100%.

I'm not sure what doesn't add up about the seeps. The seeps are typically very small and don't create any sort of plume. You won't find them with a ship doing surveys like the Thomas Jefferson.

Does the data match the heating slab? I find the statement from BP inconsistent that the pressure rise matches the Horner plot yet they expected the pressure to rise much faster than one it has.

I'm not sure what doesn't add up about the seeps. The seeps are typically very small and don't create any sort of plume. You won't find them with a ship doing surveys like the Thomas Jefferson.

IIRC it was in fact ship doing surveys that discovered the seep.

In fact the 11 seeps pre-existing natural seeps where detected by the Thomas Jefferson and the Gordon Hunter

3D Model of the seeps mapped by Thomas Jefferson and the Gordon Hunter

Oil and or natural gas leaks (red and yellow columns) mapped by Thomas Jefferson, and by Gordon Gunter (purple cylinders) along with CTD stations showing high fluorescence or possible oil and gas anomalies (brown, green and white spheres). The Deepwater Horizon well site is in background (red cylinder) and distribution of Bottom Following Reflectors is represented by orange lines.

3D Model of the seeps mapped by JAG

The other inconsistency is, if you read the original post, is that the MMS coordinates for the Rigel puts the well location 2 Kilometers southwest of the BP well and Thad Allen reported newly found leaks are 3 Kilometers away.

Does the data match the heating slab? I find the statement from BP inconsistent that the pressure rise matches the Horner plot yet they expected the pressure to rise much faster than one it has.

Well this is a difficult to understand statement. You are taking two quotes from BP. One that it matches the Horner plot, the other that it doesn't. Do you have the times and actual words spoken? This isn't an exact science. I don't believe they "expected" the pressure to rise faster as a given. They expected the pressure to rise faster if the well was not depleted and intact. Maybe they didn't say so in as many words, but they were pushing out press releases for the MSM. The current data supports an intact well with depletion. It matches the Horner plot. (Which is the heated plate.)

I find nothing sinister or indeed anything that does not match perfectly understood science and mathematics.

We will know the answer within a week.

"I'm a journalist..."
Can that possibly be true based on the obvious biases and obliviousness to scientific and material facts?
As I've said before, questions posed by journalists are designed for the advancement of careers, not enlightening the masses. Just one big game of GOTCHA!
Here's a hint: Start with what you know to be true and work from there. If you don't know very much, start to learn. The Internets are a big place. Take a geology course. Google "Gulf of Mexico oil seeps." Check out a map of GoM oil infrastructure, pipelines, tiebacks, wells, claim blocks, etc. It's all out there!
Even "the truth" is out there...

HO - Surely if they circulate mud bottoms up through BOP then that is top kill - job done. So I'm a bit confused.

He's talking about the relief well (RW), which hasn't made contact with the Macondo well yet. The RW has its own BOP.

Michigan oil spill, could this have been prevented?

Firm notified of potential problems along pipeline


Edit: Dang, industry and government knew of problems and had smaller spills months before. READ THIS.


Lakehead System
The 1,900-mile Lakehead System, which is the U.S. portion of the world's longest petroleum pipeline, has operated for 59 years and is the primary transporter of crude oil from Western Canada to the United States. The system spans from the international border near Neche, N.D., to the international border near Marysville, Mich., with an extension across the Niagara River into the Buffalo, N.Y., area. It consists of approximately 3,500 miles of pipe with diameters ranging from 12 to 48 inches; 60 pump station locations; and 64 crude oil storage tanks with a capacity of about 11.6 million barrels.

This is a big wholesale operator, no? These folks should have top notch billing records.

HELP. Where have I seen this name before?
"Anadarko system comprising approximately 1,800 miles of natural gas gathering and transportation pipelines and 6 natural gas processing plants;

From: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=EEP+Profile

BP is part of this pipeline spill too aren't they. I will keep looking. WTH!

Average delivery volumes on our Lakehead system increased approximately 5.0 percent, to 1.620 million Bpd for the year ended December 31, 2008 from 1.543 million Bpd during the same period in 2007. This increase contributed an additional $22.8 million to operating revenue. The increase in average deliveries on our Lakehead system is primarily derived from increases of crude oil supplies from upstream production facilities associated with the ongoing development of the Alberta Oil Sands.
Found a definite BP connection. Above

1. Enbridge cuts corners on pipeline maintenance.
2. Pipeline spills a little in Jan.
3. Feds fines Enbridge and orders repairs.
4. Pipeline has record spill in July.
5. TinFoil finds out Anadarko is a partner with Enbridge.
6. TinFoil finds out the Lakehead pipeline system is part of the Alberta Oil Sands project. A BP operation?

I will correct or add as necessary, please comment.

From the Enbridge:

Line 6B is a 30-inch, 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) line transporting light synthetics, heavy and medium crude oil from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario. It is part of the Partnership's Lakehead System.

That's about 4.6 million gallons per day, given the current estimate of about 1 million gallons spilled means the leak, at full flow, would have lasted at least 8 hours.

Perhaps I'm paranoid, yet I also note no one has ruled out sabotage.

I see upthread that you are of Korean extraction. I spent 13 months in 67-68 just south of Munsani in a 105 outfit.

I spent 9 months in '66 Inthewomb around Seoul :) M109A4 in the Storm.


Jeo-nun han-kook-o-rul jo-gum-bah-ke mo-tahm-ni-da.

Here's some home movies of the AO


My dad was on his way to becoming NCOIC 8th Army Seoul. I was new to the world.

Ah, EASCOM City, I was there once! Were you there for the Blue House raid? You would have only been one year old or so but still. . .

Heard about it later. Did you hear about the Namdaemun Gate fire in 2008?

Wow, no I didn't. I try to keep up on the major news from the Land of the Morning Calm but I missed that. I'd like to go back, and to the Nam, but I know that they are so different from 40+ years ago.

Korea has changed but not as much as Nam of course. Both are gorgeous countries when folks are not killing each other.

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mlive dot com -- Congressman Fred Upton questions report from Gov. Jennifer Granholm aide that oil in Kalamazoo River has breached Morrow Dam

Published: Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 9:54 PM Updated: Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 10:34 PM
Mickey Ciokajlo | Kalamazoo Gazette
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton questioned a report by a top aide to Gov. Jennifer Granholm that oil in the Kalamazoo River had breached the Morrow Dam in Comstock Township.

path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-07-29 03:55:28

Hi Gail Ho Goose et al,
Today our comment, see below, is almost totally off theme. I would like to to add a little value and ask amongst all this friendly banter how Wikileaks gets away with it. The answer is that they are hosted in countries that permit Freedom Of Information. The Internet TCP/IP technology was funded by the US taxpayer via the DOD. The technology to subvert tracking of traffic, which WikiLeaks uses was also funded by the US taxpayer via the DOD.
While on this topic, I would also like you to question why the source of the leaks leading to Climategate have never surfaced in the MSM.
Guys & Gals, I do not have the answers to all of this. Please get back on topic, the Maconda event is still in play.

Did anyone happen to see what they did with that pipe they pulled out of he hole last night?

Since last night ocean intervention 1 has been pulling up saved sonar files, changing them in some way then re-saving them.