BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Start of the Static Kill - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6808.

Progress on the relief well at the Deepwater Horizon well has now reached the point that BP have started the procedures for the top static kill of the well. There was a little delay in the installation of the casing for the relief well because, during the time that the well had been left untended during the last storm, the sides sloughed a little, and about 40 ft of debris accumulated in the bottom of the well. This was obviously more than had been expected, since the clearing run to remove this and condition the well took longer than originally planned. However that clean-up operation is now complete and the next step in the process, the initial flow testing of the original, now sealed, well to see how it behaves as fluid is injected, is now starting.

I am going to review some of the comments made both by Admiral Allen, and earlier by Kent Wells about the procedures that are now starting. I will also try and expand a little on the determination of what is happening as the oil, and then mud, are injected into the well.

Vessels located around the three wells in the Gulf (BP)

There are still a significant number of vessels around the wellheads of the three wells out in the Gulf. However the ones that are critical for the next phase of the operation are the Hos Centerline, the Blue Dolphin and the Q4000. In the best of circumstances the Hos won’t be needed, though, since it is largely there to provide a large quantity of mud, if necessary. The hope, however, is that it will not be needed.

It should take less than 2,000 barrels of mud to fill the well, and the Blue Dolphin has more than 8,000 barrels on board, so the Hos is more in the nature of insurance. Not, however, that the first stage of the process will use mud, instead it will inject oil back into the well.

To prepare for this, as Admiral Allen noted:

. . . we had to remove all the gas out of the Q4000 riser pipe. We had to pressure-test the Horizon blowout preventer, critical in this process. We had to rig down the Q4000 production line to bring the hydrocarbons up and actually rig up for pumping operations that would allow us to put both oil and pumping mud back down.

Part of that involved making sure the yellow pod controls, which control the valves on the subsea portion of this work, that all the valves and the flanges have been tested to proper pressure ranges and that the pressure gauges that we're going to be looking at, they're going to be very, very important as we move forward, are all tested, calibrated and operating properly, and to make sure that we have backup and duality of measuring pressure.

There was a small leak in one valve, that had to be corrected on Monday, and the process is ready for the first phase of the test.

Both phases will feed fluid into the well through the kill line on the BOP, it is one of the purposes that the line serves in a conventional well. The fluid will initially be oil, and will be pumped very slowly (a barrel a minute) into the well. At this point, since the well has shown itself to be in good shape, apart from where the oil has been leaking into the well, the test has a simple goal.

Fluid flow path to the well (BP)

If the only exit from the well that is now open is the rock through which oil and gas were flowing into the well before the well was capped, then injecting oil into the well at the top should force an equivalent volume of oil at the bottom of the well back into the rock.

The first test will therefore first find out if oil can be pushed back into the rock. By starting at a relatively slow flow rate, the flow should start with very little additional pressure applied to the well (the science team have put a cap of 8,000 psi on the pressure that will be allowed in the well). After running for a short while at the slowest flow rate, the rate will be increased first to two barrels a minute and then to three.

The result should show that with little change in pressure, that the oil added is causing an equivalent outflow at the bottom of the well, and should (by looking at the pressure required for the flow rate) help determine how fast the well can be filled with mud (since the oil it is displacing has to flow back into the rock). The well flow will be kept slow for several reasons. One is that higher flows require higher pressures, and there is the bound that has been set; the second is that higher flow rates down the well will generate some frictional force that the fluid will also have to overcome as it moves down the well. Too high a value for the friction – which is additive to the driving pressure – and the well starts to approach the limiting pressure allowed for the exercise.

There is a third objective to the tests, but it is one that will be probably easier determined when the fluid is changed to mud. If the well had been completed properly then its structure would have an outside liner made up of a steel casing surrounded by cement; then there is a gap or annulus; then there is a central steel tube, known as the production casing, that is supposedly cemented firmly in place at the bottom of the well. The well has a leak at the bottom which is feeding oil either into the annulus, into the production casing or both.

By adding fluid at the top of the well, and seeing how the pressure changes as larger volumes of fluid are added, particularly with the mud injection, the changing pressure should show which column(s) are taking the mud, because the oil is flowing out of them back into the rock at the bottom of the well, and which are not.

As the mud injection continues, the change in pressure (since the mud exerts weight on the bottom of the well, it will lower the pressure needed for injection at the top) with inflow should tell the monitoring engineers, for the amount of mud injected, how long (roughly) the mud column is in the well. Knowing the relative cross-sectional areas of the annulus and the production casing, and the volume injected, this will allow the engineers to then know down which column the mud is displacing oil back into the formation. And since it can only do this if there is the leak at the bottom (since the cement should have sealed both), this information will be very helpful in telling those running the relief well what to expect when that well runs into the original one.

As the Admiral noted

What there should be is a slow pressure decline, and that would tell them that they're slowing overcoming the pressure of the hydrocarbons with the weight of the mud moving forward. That decline will be less with the amount of volume if it's in the entire annulus, so about five or six hours into this, the pressure readings are going to be very, very significant on whether they know they're filling the pipe, the casing, or the annulus moving forward.

At that point, once they have ascertained exactly what it is they're doing, they will finish putting the mud in. The fourth step, if it is decided, would be whether or not to put cement in. That would be done based on the results of the test and whether or not the mud is required to fill both – fill the drill pipe, the casing and the annulus.

Given that the evidence from the experience with the relief well is that the sides of the wells can slough into the well and that the annulus that the relief well is drilling into was left partially open so that it could have sloughed down onto the original cement, making it difficult to possibly ensure a good seal in that area, I am not sure that the cement injection would work well from the top, and might be better left to the relief well.

Fortunately the next major storm may go East of Florida, rather than into the Gulf, which may give more time for the relief well (RW) to reach and do the final kill, but time is still not a friend in these operations. But the time required for the next phase should be relatively short. Again quoting the Admiral

They think it's going to take about four hours to evaluate the data from the injectivity test, in other words, to understand exactly what the pressure means, what the pump rates are, and what the maximum pressure that was measured in the capping stack.

It could be less, but they're assuming four hours. And then they're looking at about another five hours to do the initial pumping, start pumping mud in at two barrels per minute. That will start getting them to a threshold where they should be able to start – they have these curves on whether or not it's the annulus and the casing or just the annulus or just the casing and how the pressure should perform and decline.

So as they pump those two barrels per minute in over the next first five or six hours, they're going to try and discriminate exactly which pressure line they're on that would tell them they've got an issue with the annulus or the casing or both. That entire period will take about five hours, so you're four plus five.

Then, depending on – once they understand that, whether you have to fill the entire casing and the annulus (up and it splits), it could either be on the low side, take you about 33 hours to complete it, or as much as 61, if they have to pump enough mud and it would fill both the casing and the annulus. It kind of diverges at that point.

The next 24-hours should therefore be very productive, especially since BP has promised to keep us informed of the progress. Once the initial results are in, it is then intended to keep adding mud until the pressure at the top of the well falls to zero, meaning that the driving pressure of the reservoir has been balanced by the weight of the overlying mud. That will be the operation that will take the 33 to 61 hours.

I hope that the static kill is successful, in at least bringing down the pressure at the wellhead, if not actually killing the well.

In the meantime, I have a question on terminology. I assume that the term "static kill" is not a standard term, but one that was invented by BP to help sell the idea better. Had they used the term "top kill" again, they probably feared they would have a harder time convincing people that it was something new and not just a re-run of the previous failed operation with the same name.

Of course, it is in reality still a "top kill", which explains why many experts here on TOD refer to it as that. Furthermore, I assume that the term "top kill" (in contrast to "static kill") is indeed a standard term. Unfortunately, however, when I search for documentation on the technique on the web, I just get thousands of hits related (at first sight) only to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Is there any publically-available information on the principles of a top kill (dynamic or static) on the web that was written before April 20, 2010?

The term "static" refers to the fact that the new bolted cap has stopped the flow of oil up from the reservoir. The original top kill operation was attempted on the well when it was flowing, i.e. not static. You could call what they're beginning today a static top kill operation. It is going to be exploratory as they do not know if it will in fact work or not, hence the use of the term "test" in a lot of the news reports. They are working hard (and praying) that it doesn't make things any worse.

If the "static top kill test" does work they will have the opportunity to open the top cap without flowing oil out into the Gulf as the mud column in the well bore will act as a heavy liquid plug holding the oil back in the reservoir and hence removing the pressure at the wellhead. If they can manage it that is a big win for them as this will make the bottom kill and the proper plugging and abandonment of the well a lot easier.

First problem with the static kill:

During the injection test some red fluid blew from the connection of the yellow POD to the lower BOP.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYkDDD_TJr8

Mike -- Maybe "static kill" is a standard term for some folks in the oil patch but I don't recall every hearing it. But it wasn't difficult to understand the intent of the phrase. I haven't been involved in a great number of such efforts but I've typically just heard it refered to as "pumping into a shut in well". We'll talk about "killing a well". That's rather standard.

Not a strong critism of the boys running the ops but I doubt the majority of the general public has an appreciation for "static". IMHO it would have been better for the public if they just used everyday terminology even if it wasn't as precise. I try to avoid using tech speak as much as possible. And some times the more savvy folks on TOD correct me. But those folks understood the discussion already. It's the folks that don't have a strong tech background that benefit most from TOD IMHO.

I've typically just heard it refered to as "pumping into a shut in well". We'll talk about "killing a well". That's rather standard. IMHO it would have been better for the public if they just used everyday terminology even if it wasn't as precise.

From a zero-tech background, just speculatin', inviting correction: Given that they had approximately eighteen zillion ideas about what to do floating around under discussion, I wonder if perhaps they invented some terminology to clearly distinguish one approach from another among themselves, when under normal circumstances there wouldn't be anywhere near as many approaches under consideration, and they could use standard terminology without anybody getting confused.

If the spokespeople then had to switch to "everyday" terminology for the public rather than what they were using in-house, seems to me it would be all too easy to lose track of what the heck they were talking about. ???

For purposes of hunting reference material down via Google, perhaps "bullhead kill" might be useful.


static is an engineering term referring to forces in equilibrium equalling zero, i.e. objects at rest (or at constant velocity, but doesn't apply to current situation) vs. dynamic, i.e. in motion : )

Try adding -"deepwater horizon" to your search (the minus sign means "not including") or use the advanced search to specify dates before the tragedy…

deleted (duplicate post)

Nice graphic. Whata junk show.

Where would the best place be to get timely updates on what's happening with the static kill? Right here on TOD? Anywhere else?

nep - I'm sticking with TOD. We've got enough beloved technonerds here keeping an eye on the situation. Not only timely but they do a great job of reading between the sparse lines TPTB often offer.

Thanks, Rockman. TPTB? The people that be???

The powers that be. The wigs running the show.

I'm watching here too. I'm as hot to know the latest as anyone.

Of course!!! I was close but not close enough...

nep - The Powers That Be. IOW those folks hiding behind the curtain that actually control much of our lives. A handy short cut (along with many others) for us slow two-finger typists. BTW: IOW = in other words. LOL. And that doesn't mean "Living on Love".

... and I was too shy to ask what "csg" means. Here it is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_field_acronyms. Thank you ROCKMAN for all your patient work on this site. Also, I found your article on The Daily Kos and was moved by the courage of those who died.

G'morning to all. Could some of you experienced hands please describe in (as close as you can get to) noobspeak how they monitor what's happening at the bottom of the wellbore -- what kinds of sensors are they using, placed where, communicating how? Boggles my mind that humans in Houston can "see" fluids at the bottom of Macondo in any sense, but maybe a better grasp of the technology would unboggle it a little. Thanks for any attempts to tutor ignorant us . . .

lotus -- An easy question...thank you. Monitoring the bottom of the hole: they ain't. There are a variety of devices that could be helpful but you have to send them down the hole on electric cables...and that can't be done. At least not yet and probably never. They could drop a sound log down the RW and listen for flow/no flow but I'm not sure they could hear much given the low initial oil/mud injection rates they plan. All they really have to interpret is the various pressure readings. After that it comes down to " do something and see what happens". That was a good bit behind the test phase. When they finally begin the top kill they'll be watching the pressure changes closely. But even then it's an interpretaion of what's happening at the bottom of the well and not a measurement of what's actually going on.

I find it interesting that they expect to be able to determine which path the mud is penetrating based upon pressure and volume pumped. It never occurred to me, although it seems so obvious now.

Thanks, Rockman.

I still get worried, as I said last night. Are they being as 'gentle' as they should and do they have the priorities right?

Does anyone know the configuration and type of pumps? Are they positive displacement with AC, speed controllable, motors driving them?

If they are I would have a bypass on them from the delivery side back to the tank with a valve with a fine electrical control on it. I might couple this with a pressure sensor downstream of the bypass so I could 'pressure control' the feed once I had the motor at an initial slow speed. Then I would gradually build up to a small flow rate like the 2 barrels per minute that are mentioned.

Rather than give them an extra 1000 psi to play with (8000 minus the circa 7000 now) I would give them an initial 200 psi (again gradually building towards that and holding at a lower pressure if flow down the well started) to see what happens with that.

Then I do not really like that they are initially fiddling with injecting oil as this means the pressure at the wellhead must go up, not just initially but for as long as they are doing it.

Also it looks like 'Lubricate and Bleed' has been rejected. I wonder why?

Another thing I do not like is, as I said once before, they are putting 'research' ahead of 'development' (as often happens when academics are around). With 'development' you do what is necessary to solve the problem asap. I have done that myself in the past (not oil related) and gave up on completely understanding the issue. It is sometimes important for engineers to make that call because the risk of fiddling, and delays, is to great and/or because time and money are important - and because 'understanding' (a bit more, not completely - their is always a push by some for just a bit more) will not necessarily help fix other problems in the future, as this one is unique.

Last night I made a plea for making the test plan public rather than having to rely on the 'press conference' words of mouthpieces. I still find it hard to understand why they cannot do that and remembered the end of My Cousin Vinny where Miss deVito says about providing HELP to Vinny, so that he wins all his cases, "Oh my God. What a f**king disaster". What are they so frightened of?

Cheers ERD

I haven't looked up the spec's for the Blue Dolphin, so I am not certain what pumps they are using but the likelihood is that they are diesel driven through a gear box. This makes it easier to control the flow by just increasing the speed of the motor. But remember that the actual pressure is generated by the flow circuit. In other words the pump will put out a certain flow rate, remember that a barrel a minute is still 42 gpm so that even at the lowest flow rates it is not that small a volume in reality. The pressure is built up as the pump injects that flow against resistance, and so they will adjust the flow as they read the pressure, at the pump and down at the cap to match the conditions that they are looking for.

The problem with "Lubricate and Bleed" among others is that they don't know the condition of the well, and so they are using these tests to help them find that out. Yes it's "research" but it is finding out things (such as whether the leak is up the annulus or through the cement shoe at the bottom of the well) which will help them decide the best way of completing the kill effectively.

the end of My Cousin Vinny where Miss deVito says about providing HELP to Vinny

Er, that would be Miss Tomei (Marisa). It was Mr. de Vito playing Vinny. (One of my all-time favorite films.)

Didn't she get a little gold man for that one? Best supporting female actor?

Edit: wrong finish

IIRC, Marisa Tomei was Mona Lisa Vito and Joe Pesci was Vinny. Fred Gwynne was also awesome as the judge.

Joe Pesci was Vinny

Aaagh. He sure was.

(delicately maneuvers foot from mouth)

I think they're going at this exactly right, if you consider a top kill to be a good idea at all.

Have a look at the Blue Dolphin (which is the stimulation vessel on this job). I think this should address most of your concerns regarding equipment and competence. You simply don't get to lead a stimulation team of this caliber by being a moron. Not gonna happen...


On top of that, it sounds like you have representation from more than just BP and the science guys, unless the help from the other oil companies have taken their toys and gone home.

I had major reservations about much of the early part of this fix-it job, but about the time they got the capping stack in place my comfort level improved dramatically. I like the top kill adequately and if you're going to do it at all, the methodology is industry standard. Nothing that stands out as being questionable so far...


erd -- Even though these are rather massive machines they do have a fine level of adjustment. They can easily and quickly vary pressure by just 10's of psi and injection volumes as low a 1/4 bbl per minute. And the hands have a lot of experience approaching that critical line and not slipping over it. Whenever we set csg we test the cmt by pressuring up on it instead of using just mud weight. So if I want to test my cmt shoe to 17.0 ppg I'll use 14 ppg mud and then ramp up my pump pressure to make the effective mud weight seem like 17.0 ppg. As soon as I hit that FIT (formation integrity test) or if the pressure starts leaking before I get there (LOT = Leak off test) they can instantly shut the pump off and the effective pressure drops back to the MW alone.

Rockman. When I first got interested in this well problem, I read that the Transocean guys had established that this well was balanced with 14.0 pounds per US gallon mud. That would imply that the formation pressure was about (18300 feet X 14.0 X 0.052) 13300 psi. Since the well has been shut in - presumably full of 7.1 pound crude - the pressure at the BOP (seabed) level should have been about (13300 psi - 13300 feet X 7.1 X 0.052) = 8400 psi. We are today getting less that 7000 psi according to BP. What do you say?
Also, let's here it for the guys who built the "riser flex joint" at the top of the LMRP which is on top of the original Transocean BOP, which is clamped to the wellhead. As far as I can find, this bit of kit was rated for 6000 psi!
All the best Acornus UK (BP shareholder).

Acorn -- BP actually got a direct measurement (MDT tool) of reservoir pressure: 11,900 psi or about 12.6 ppg. It's typical to drill a pound or two overbalanced. I avoid guessing what the various surface pressures might be or what they might imply. Just too many variabes. Good luck with your shares...at least you've recoverd some.

The crude doesn't weigh 7.1 pounds per gallon at well conditions. It is saturated with more than 2000 cubic feet of natural gas per barrel of oil. If you use a typical V~f(T,P,Z), which to be done accurately requires a tuned equation of state, you'll see the oil density is a lot lower. I can't recall what the previous estimates were, but the hydrocarbon system density in that well ought to be less than 1/3 of the density of fresh water.

Thanks for all your comments. These make me feel a bit better that the hands actually doing the work will know what to do and can make adjustments with finesse.

To further qualify what extra pressure you should put in there. My engineering dumb judgement is that you can usually get away with 5% more and often 10% more (ultimate strength of materials on something already fragile in mind). Beyond that you are pushing it. The differential pressure is now around 5000 psi (7000 minus 2000) so we are talking about 250 psi and 500 psi, not the 1000psi that the 'experts' are allowing.

Also thanks for putting me right on My Cousin Vinny (I plead old age) - a movie that even the legal profession has sited for highlighting the importance of how things are said that is not necessarily apparent in a transcript.

To paraphrase the movie further, this time about the bottom kill, I will say, "First cement the f**king annulus, then cement the f*king prod casing." Do not f*rt around wondering which is the problem - or am I missing something really really important?

BTW, I was once lucky enough to have a girl friend who looked and acted just like Marisa - so I will be watching reruns forever.


erd1 - There is some question whether the Oil States Flex-Joint is rated for 5K or 6k. Might make a big difference.

If wellhead pressure right now is 7K, your outside hydrostatic is more like 2400psi, so the active differential is something like 4600psi.

If the flex-joint is 5K, you get 600psi plus pucker factor.

If the flex-joint is 6K, you get 1600psi plus pucker factor.

In addition to absolute values of rated working pressure, all this stuff is commissioned at 1.5 times working pressure. I have done post-installation commissioning on 15K BOP stacks and choke & kill manifolds to 22.5k initial test pressures. Not particularly fun, in fact it scared the crap out of me. There are probably hand prints to this day on the sack-room ceiling of one rig when a pop-off blew at almost 18,000psi with me on the pump unit, but I digress...

So if the flex-joint wasn't beat up too bad in the rig disaster, there should be lots of room. But you know what "should" is worth.

OTOH hand, they are being consistent. The initial allowance at the wellhead after installation of the capping stack was 9k (less counteracting hydrostatic of 2400psi).


Hi Fish,

Once something is thought to be damaged I throw away the rating and safety factors and consider only what it has been too after the damage.

I too have been involved in events where we have gone beyond where we have ever gone before. One time to successfully win a competition - and we got away with it. What we had was people around watching the 350 odd pieces of intrumentation with eyeballs calibrated by many 100 hours of experience. If we had replaced them with a 'scientific' team, with Nobel prize winners, but without that experience, we would not have made it. But that's another story that sticks in my gut that I will return to on another occasion, maybe after I make a donation to TOD.

One other thing however. I think that - as Sec. Chu, a man I can respect, has now admitted that had he known as much then as he knows now (as my father would say!) he would not have prematurely abandoned the junk shot top kill - is the out BP need to avoid paying for all those barrels into the GOM. I expect it to be negotiated anyway but that is a trump card.

The specs I found for that type were rated 5k, tested to 7.5k. So I guess fail would be higher, design looks like over pressure simply squeezes the joint more so limit would be the bolts (don't talk to me about bolts today - very sore subject, literally) or nuts pop off the end. Again there is the beat up factor.


Lucky you erd. I once had a g/f that looked a lot like Joe Pesci. But I don't drink like that anymore.

Thanks again to all the experts here on TOD for providing such a wealth of information as the BP/Macondo fiasco has unfolded. Y'all have helped me keep my friends and colleagues informed about the blowout and the efforts to seal it.

A question: Some time back, there was a discussion about exhuming the BOP for forensic dissection after the well was permanently sealed. Will that still be possible if cement is pumped through it as part of the static kill? Or is this a cunning attempt by BP to entomb the evidence forever?

Once the well is truly killed, they can and will remove the BOP. They might replace it and go in the well as Rockman said to spot cement plugs.

In fact I won't be surprised to see a Fed marshall onboard when the pull the BOP up and see him arrest it on the spot. Really.

... You have the right to speak to an engineer. If you cannot afford an engineer, one will be appointed for you. ...

I could give the BOP some presentence counseling if needed. I have a way of loosening people up (the example of snakehead to the contrary not withstanding), and helping them take responsibility for their actions, so it might work with the BOP.

If not, there's a program called restorative justice which is available and might have some benefit here on both the micro and macro level.

Edit, with apologies, to correct screen name.

Pinkfud, a good question. The question that needs asking is where is the original drill string that was in the hole at the time of the gas kick that destroyed the rig? Is it jammed in one of the BOP valves. If so, getting the BOP disconnected from the wellhead will be tricky. Is that string stuck in the casing; hanging from the BOP rams or resting on the well bottom; how long was the string at the time? Having looked at the presentation diagrams that BP put before your Congressional Energy Oversight Committee; it is not clear. Has anyone seen any facts anywhere?

BM, if you need to keep up with the technical terms, have a look at:- http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/default.cfm

There was a small leak in one valve, that had to be corrected on Monday, and the process is ready for the first phase of the test.

I wonder if this faulty piece of equipment would have kept the new BOP from working all this time.

I arranged that leak delay. I had to work yesterday and wouldn't have been able to watch! Heh!

What's the "septic tank" Hos is watching? Round, covered with doo-dads on top?

Pinkfud, it is a suction pile/anchor. It holds the floating riser above in place.

Ah, that's why it's buried in the mud. Thanks!

Allen said in his just concluded morning briefing that there were two leaks in the valves on the kill line in the new capping stack. The leaks were discovered as part of the pre-static kill testing and, if I understood him correctly, the valves have now been sealed shut. If the valves had not been fixed - or at least frozen shut - there was a risk that hydrocarbons might have been released to the Gulf. (He did not say - and nobody asked - if the leaks were related to any of the build up of hydrates that have been visible on the stack.)

Allen also said that the injectivity test was about to begin as he spoke ... and that Wells will be giving a status update this afternoon. He also reiterated that the relief well will be completed no matter what the outcome of the static kill.

Good to hear that.
But I'm also glad those leaks were taken care of right away, it's also good to hear them practicing caution by going through with the releif well efforts.

Just read the injectivity test has started testing today at 13:05 (CDT) in advance of the static kill, sorry if this has already been posted-I've been swamped at work and just reading the headlines etc.

Well lets see what happens.
I'm really excited to see the results so we can properly devise a plan to plug the well once and for all.

From lotus in the previous thread:

No wonder they made the compromises they did to protect the marshes as much as possible.

You said it. But it sure would be helpful to see an equivalent graphic of the possible effects on sea life of dispersed oil in deep water--except that they don't know anywhere near as much about what happens in deep water compared to what they know about what happens in the marshes. Instinctively I have the same sense you do, that the compromises made sense, but who the hell knows? Very uncomfortable.

Ay-yup, SL, where the whole food chain depends on those two millimeters of marsh slime -- truly primordial muck -- then, sorry, but every other part of the Gulf ecosystem must "take a number." Whatever results from the compromises (yes, terrible that we won't and can't know that for years), protecting its heart out-matters all else.

Damn the fools who caused this disaster and forced everyone else into all this summer's hair-raising public and private decisions.

Agreed, but also, perhaps it's a lesson to all of us that our actions often have unanticipated consequences for others who don't necessarily have a dog in the hunt.

Dave, I fear that's a lesson only to those who already know it (rarely the ones in position to wreck thousands or millions of other lives). Way too many sociopaths where it counts heaviest.

I'm a greater believer in modeling behavior (even though I'm not always reflecting that belief very effectively in my actions).

A lot of us have a tendency to be critical of others (usually on the basis of relatively little information), and want them to change their behaviors. Unfortunately, to the extent they hear us, that often shifts them into defensive mode, and there are very few options for getting them to really listen. How many of us, for example, even when we're trying to listen to someone, are, at the same time, beginning to think about how we want to respond? And, when we feel attacked, how do we generally respond?

I wonder what would happen if, instead of wanting other people to change, or trying to make other people change we modeled the kinds of changes we want to induce?

It is a lot easier for us to point the finger at others, whether it's the government, or BP, or Wall Street, or any other people we believe are implicated in engaging in behavior of which we disapprove. However, after making it clear that we disapprove of such actions, would we not better expend our energy by acting the way we want others to act, including considering the risks we pose to others?

Regarding the tendency to be critical of others, even with limited information: I have a friend who talks incessantly. When a thought enters his mind it comes out his mouth before he processes the thought and decides if it is appropriate to say or not. He has a lot of those "I wish I hadn't said that" moments that we all have to some extent.

The same person can be aware of a couple of facts. He then takes these two facts and paints in his mind the entire picture. For example a couple is having marital problems and a couple of details come out. He can take these and then tell you the whole history of this couple, whose fault it is and so forth. I believe this is how lots of gossip gets started.

Sometimes he tells me something about someone and my response is "I don't believe that." That response settles him for a minute, but then it's on to something else. I suppose he fits in one of your groups, maybe more than one?

I find it both interesting and irritating that you've taken it upon yourself to attempt mini-interventions at TOD based on a barely 2D cross section of writing samples. And without even asking permission. It's really quite presumptuous on a number of levels.

I'm curious, how is that different from your contributions?

Sorry about the irritation, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I suppose I could shut up, but if everyone on here who has irritated someone had to shut up, there probably wouldn't be much of a discussion about anything, would there?

Mini-interventions? I am presenting alternative ways of looking at things that have been topics of discussion here. Again, how is that different from what you're doing?

Ask permission? Are you doing that?

Presumptuous is probably a charge which sticks, but I would suspect that there is a difference between being presumptuous and offensively presumptuous. If I step over someone's reasonable personal boundaries, that might be offensively presumptuous, but I'm not sure that it is reasonable to declare that participating in a public forum like this could be seen as stepping over anyone else's boundaries, unless the comments are clearly offensive, and that's why there are editors who monitor this kind of discussion.

If I were to attempt to explain why you're taking this stance, that would be very offensively presumptuous if it were uninvited, but that is a line I try not to step over, although it's a temptation at times.

Good grief no, don't shut up.

You're assessing behavior, estimating the underlying reasons for it, and then offering suggestions, as if you've been invited in to help change it. I have two beefs with that.

The first is a lack of sufficient information. These are simple exchanges in a forum. You may be quite skilled at what you do but I'm fairly certain you'd agree that this provides a paltry amount of info compared to chatting in person and requires some amount of presumption.

The second is that no one here has walked into your office or called you up seeking help. I guess there must have been a few occasions when it was the natural outcome of conversations you've been having here, but I have the impression that you've been rather generous and widespread with the advice.

As far as my posts go, I pretty much limit myself to snarky, off-kilter amusements or discussions/arguments based on info or I'm trying to obtain more of it. But that's my own schtick and I wouldn't want or expect anyone else to follow suit. I'm not in here trying to change anything except when somebody's got bad info or wants to spread some fear.

Am I wrong or are you under the impression that I have been psychoanalyzing my fellow commenters?

I know that I challenged a couple of your observations yesterday, and clued HOS into the fact that he was having his leg pulled without him realizing it, and apparently getting somewhat distressed by what he thought was being said.

Other than that, so far as this old brain can remember, I've mostly been, when I wasn't making a relatively inoffensive comment or quip, trying to shed some light on what people are interpreting one way and I see as possibly subject to misinterpretation. Why should I let them waste their energy on a dry hole, and get upset about it if it doesn't necessarily mean what they think it does, and I can help them get on track?

I do have private opinions about the bias and motivation of some commenters, but, as you have pointed out, don't have enough information to render a competent opinion on them, nor would I unless either they requested it, or someone else who is bothered by them could use some help in dealing with their output.

Most of my comments are about general observations and theories of human behavior, and how they might inform our understanding of what people are trying to do here.

Bottom line though, and of course you don't have to answer this, but what did you want to happen when you made your understandable criticism of my role in this forum?

"Psychoanalyzing", no. Observing and inferring, yes, in a way that fits your perspective. And then posting about it.

It irritates me sometimes. I didn't have an agenda other than getting it off my chest. And I wondered how you'd react.

As far as my intermittent agitation with pols goes, I plan to keep it. They certainly deserve it.

Sounds like you can live with it then. So I'll not hit the panic button

Venting is good (when it isn't a well blowing out at least).

I hoped to plant a seed that what we believe we see is not always there, and, in fact, is sometimes the exact opposite, but I'll spare you at least one sermon on that subject, beyond saying that a lot of marriages and other relationships have been corroded by, and/or destroyed because of, that phenomenon.

So you planted the seed anyway. Of course if I deny that I'm projecting, you'l gently hint that I'm in denial. Or something else if that's what I guess it is. All in all, I'd prefer to not walk through the office doors and prefer to spare myself the exhaustion.

Dave, I don't post often. I am here to learn.
Your comments prompt me to reply with my point of view.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton called this the third law of motion. Your intentions are your engines. They get you from one place to another. You may think that airplanes fly you from place to place, but actually it is your intentions. Airplanes take off every day, but unless you are on one, you won’t get anywhere.
What is your intention?

Good question.

Certainly in part I do this because I love discourse, especially from people who can effectively challenge my perspective and or conclusions. It has frustrated me for a long time that I can only see reality the way I see it, not through other people's eyes, and through the filter of their experience. So I try to listen to people and come to an understanding of why they've made some of the decisions and choices that they have.

As for intent, I suspect that what I try to do is provoke thought. That's how I run my program, and it seems effective at least from my perspective, my clients' perspective, and some independent observers who have seen me work, and in whom I have confidence because they are hardly always only yay-sayers.

I believe that all that I write is triggered by what I hear from others, and my sense of what I can add to the moment and/or the discourse.

As for intent, I suspect that what I try to do is provoke thought. That's how I run my program

Ya know, doc, in my (decades-long) experience, it's unusual, to say the least, for a Web forum--especially a technical Web forum--to have a resident therapist advising the participants on how best to conduct their discussions. I've been on forums that had therapists as members, but they tended to stick to the forum topic and not volunteer their professional opinions about the ongoing interpersonal dynamics unless they were invited to do so.

So I suspect a lot of us here don't quite know how to react to your detailed, unprompted "interventions." It's quite a novel (and possibly in some cases even delicate) situation, and perhaps you should take that into account.

We did have another therapist here on TOD awhile back; don't know what happened to him. He asked questions and soaked up the technical information; he did venture a few therapist-type comments, as I recall, on the psychology of how folks were responding to the oil spill, but they tended to be brief, not prescriptive, and quite supportive.

Just out of curiosity--you wouldn't be conducting research here, would you? We aren't a project that you plan to write up for publication, are we?

Good points, although I haven't seen them as interventions as much as a contribution to the discussion, much as other people have proffered, except from a slightly different perspective.

No I'm not conducting research. I'm 67 and don't expect to have time to do something like that.

Nor am I writing a book, although I will admit to using this opportunity to hone my thoughts, and develop new perspectives.

In any case, point taken, although I'm not yet sure how I'll respond to it yet.

In any case, thanks.


@DaveBrown: Yes, you've been garrulously and offensively psychoanalyzing people. IMHO.

Yes, we're all now aware you're a brilliant student of the human character. Or some of them anyhow.

Yes, it's boring, useless, and pop-psych, and in many cases, obsolete. IMHO.

Continue as you wish. To me, it's noise. I read it anyway. Fiber, or something.


Thanks for the fodder for my perspective mill, I'll bear it in mind.


After reading your original post and snakehead’s reply I had to chuckle. While reading your post I thought of several scriptural references that make the exact same points. I think I won’t post them because I get the sense that quite a few, but by no means would all, of the TOD posters label me as “offensively presumptuous”. So, I’ll just use a single phrase: The golden rule.

I get your post. I think snakehead gets it too and was not amused. I wish I had written it. Problem with me is that I can’t seem to write with your economy of words. My short comment flows from my brain as a note, gets pressed to the keyboard as an essay, and ends up online as a treatise. Hardly an efficient way to share ideas and opinions.

By the way, do you know why Jesus spoke so many of his teachings in parables? Ok, I’m being rhetorical. One answer is that He knew that some hearers would get it. They would understand the deeper meaning of what He taught and be better for it. Those that didn’t get it? Well, they just considered that what they heard was a mildly nice story without much of a punch line, was certainly not offensive, and was not really worth a second thought. What a shame.

Have a nice day, and God bless,

KarmaDave (aka Dave)


Nobody's ever accused me of that, so can I frame it?

I'll not even think about any possibility that you might have adopted a paradoxical approach (it would never cross my mind anyway).

In any case, you're very kind, but since I'm always trying to understand why I'm doing things, I will probably go on and listen to criticism, even though I will always make the final decision as to what I write or don't write, as should we all.

In any case I doubt that anyone can rip my writing apart as well as my senior thesis advisor in college. It was the most severe but welcomed critique I've ever gotten, no doubt because it was from someone I greatly respected.

your comments are much appreciated, at least by me... an engineer by profession yet a behavioralist by love... the foundation of life is behavior so keep 'em coming... please : )

Thanks, I'll try, but I often have a stamina issue in these situations. If I stay interested, and am not repeating my "sermons" like my father did whenever we moved to a new parish, I'll probably be around for a bit more. Earlier today I took a look at the "Liability" thread and that looked intriguing, but perhaps too rich for my blood.

As bad as this may be the gulf could possibly recover after several years. It has happened before at Intox. But in the mean time we should work diligently on preserving it and when it returns we should make efforts to change how we treat it. No more overfishing or dumping rash in our waters.

Dumb idea for the day...given the relatively small area, would it be possible to drain a bit of water from the marsh temporarily (or maybe just use low-tide?), burn the oil and grass, and then reflood?

I've never seen a marsh burn, but it seems "do able" even if a clean accelerant were needed to help it along with all the moisture.

Hi, Paleocon. A few weeks back, someone linked a story and some photos of marsh-burning after Ixtoc. Maybe whoever did that knows where to find them again? As I recall, burning didn't really help. One overriding lesson is "leave the marsh alone to heal itself," but the bigger one is "don't trash it in the first place."

Burning of oiled dead marsh grass has been tried as a remediation measure. As I recall, the results were neutral compared to unburned marsh. As long as there is any oil at all floating around, the dead marsh grass could be a useful barrier to further penetration, so might be better left there.

A bit off topic here but, speaking of burning oil and the Ixtoc oil leak of 1979, I've noticed sopmething a bit peculiar.

Pictures of the Ixtoc leak show what appears to be a great fireball burning under the surface of the ocean.

Can anyone explain this?

Traveller -- Not sure if I remember correctly but I think at one point PEMEX was intentionally keeping it burning.

Have you seen any pics of it? Very strange...there is no smoke and the entirety of the fireball is definitely underwater.
How could that be possible??

The burning fries roots/rhizomes in the mud, so the marsh grass can't regrow. Marsh then erodes. Bad idea. (Peer-reviewed literature.)

Tests suggest oil dispersant washing up on Alabama beaches

"Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a new round of test results on dispersants. The testing concluded that oil mixed with dispersants was no more toxic than oil alone. In a previous round of testing, the agency determined that dispersants were "generally less toxic than oil."

No leak
1,000 bbl
5,000 bbl
I lose it after that...

By the time we are done Corexit=Antimatter.

"Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a new round of test results on dispersants. The testing concluded that oil mixed with dispersants was no more toxic than oil alone. In a previous round of testing, the agency determined that dispersants were "generally less toxic than oil."

I am not convinced we can believe 'anything' from the epa, remember, they are the fools that deemed CO2 is a dangerous pollutant. :)

20% CO2 + any % O2 + any % N2 = Death

So, you are saying that an atmosphere of 20% CO2 + 69% O2 + 1% N2 is lethal? BS! BS! BS!
TFHG I have been following TOD for months now and It's time that someone pointed out how tedious you are and that's being polite. Most of your posts show more concern about a Waste Management landfill than the GOM. What's left is largely about you, your bike, and Hooter's. Then you come up with this crap about Corexit. As near as I can tell from sources like the TOD, Corexit is the reason you can even see sand on the beach and you snivel about a little brownish water. What if it is Corexit? You should fall on your knees and thank NALCO that Gulf Shores does not look like the pix from China's oil spill. You whimper about a land fill but every time you eat at hooters and wipe your chin on a napkin, guess what? OMG hydrocarbons in the land fill! Oil your bike chain and wipe your hands on a paper towel and OMG, hydrocarbons in the land fill!
Wake up! the same micro organisms that are breaking the oil in the Gulf down (rapidly, due to Corexit) are in that land fill. They are breaking those hydrocarbons down to methane. Here in Tucson our landfill pipes methane to a nearby powerplant. Why would yours be different?
Priorities, man, priorities!

"- We got a CO2 filter problem
on the lunar module.
- Five filters on the LEM.

Which are meant for two guys
for a day and a half.
So I told the doc, and he--

They're already up to eight
on the gauges. Anything over 15
and you get impaired judgment,"

CO2 is toxic in higher concentrations: 1% (10,000 ppm) will make some people feel drowsy.[5] Concentrations of 7% to 10% cause dizziness, headache, visual and hearing dysfunction, and unconsciousness within a few minutes to an hour.[6]


20% should be a good number, but I have been wrong before. You need to lighten up a little.

Edit: I did not claim anything and was quite surprised at the Corexit reports. I also did not expect to go from less toxic than oil to as toxic as oil. For the record, I have always stated the science is still out. I get the feeling you approve. That's fine but can I ask you one question. Did YOU get sprayed with the stuff? Did the feds possibly lie to you about it?

You missed the words "in fresh air". In that situation where the normal Oxygen content is 19-21 % then any increase in CO2 has a corresponding decrease in O2. An O2 content of less than 17% will result in the symptoms you listed so if the CO@ is 5% then you O2 is 16 or less. It's the reduced oxygen that causes the problem , not the slight increase in Carbon Dioxide. I often work in confined spaces where the air quality must be checked. We don't care about CO2 at all but usually use 19% O2 as a minimum requirement for entry without SCBA or supplied air. All of the symptoms you described are those of Oxygen deprivation. The rise in CO2 will correspond to the O2 decrease. The same would apply if the oxygen content was reduced by methane, nitrogen, or any other gas. The atmosphere is approx. 70% N2 . This huge percentage is not significantly affected by increases in gases such as CO2 since frequently the O2 is where the O2 in CO2 came from.
This goes back to a previous thread where the word "toxic" was debated. CO2 is no more "toxic" than water but their effects are the same when they prevent you from getting the O2 required to sustain life.

midge, you need to worry a little bit about CO2 since it is about 1.5x as heavy as air and will accumulate in the bottom of your "confined spaces" asphyxiating you. I do agree that it isn't a pollutant however, any more than dihydrogen monoxide is.

A confined space that large will require multiple samples. By the way, we don't do our own sampling. That's to prevent the "who cares, it's done, we'll get a good oxygen level, and everything will be fine" temptation. You know that e-mail sticks in my mind and I don't think I'll ever go to work again without thing about it. Won't help the eleven dead guys but it might save me and my crew.

CO2 has physiological effects, and a high concentration in your body will lead to acidic blood, which will lead to death. It also helps to regulate your breathing.

And please stop with the assumption that gases can separate. In a very still, confined space, they might remain unmixed for a while, but they don't fall to the bottom.

So TFHG and NASA have it right. I don't know the exact percentages, but too much CO2 is bad for your health.

Did you catch my Kevin Bacon twofer tiein? Awesome.

Apollo 13 could run as high as a percent of oxygen as they felt safe in having yet not supporting rapid combustion. The CO2 buildup was the problem not lack of oxygen. It is not a problem with non-rebreathing SCBA equipment. Rebreather systems use CO2 scrubbers just like Apollo 13.

It is called hypercapnia and you better care about it. Heard of lactic acidosis of the lungs? Seen 'A Few Good Men'?


Actualy - if CO2 is at five percent then oxygen would only deplete by one percent and the other 4% would be the nitrogen depleting. The only way for your statement to be true is if the oxygen were being depleted by nitrogen.

The error in your calculations is that the effect of a gas is based on its PARTIAL PRESSURE and not on its percentages. This is why Air in the same proportions as ahhhh air is just fine at one bar but by the time you have 20 - 30 bar of air, you are dead. Now with 100% O2 the lethal point is about 2-3 bar ... all this depends on the length of exposure.

If I remember correctly, the interior of the LEM was lower than one Bar (so the structure didn't have to be as heavy) and the O2 percentage was higher than normal air.

When talking of hydrocarbons ... Carbon Monoxide is also part of the issue. CO is absorbed faster with greater partial pressures but as it permanently binds to Hemoglobin, it's effect is cumulative. The symptoms are the same as for Hypoxia since inadequate oxygen gets to the brain.

The lower level of oxygen toxicity depends on the person and the length of time of exposure. There is a risk above 1.4 bar that then increases with increasing partial pressure. Even 1 bar can be harmful, to some people, in long term exposure. Oh, and carbon dioxide is toxic and not just an asphyxiant.


This is from :
Deepwater Horizon Dispersant Use Meeting Report
May 26-27, 2010

Risks of Input for RRTs:
Dispersants are never 100% effective. The flow rate of oil out of the damaged
riser is not constant, and significant amounts of methane gas are being released.
Because the effective DOR is a function of oil flow rate, changes in the oil flow rate
may significantly impact the actual DOR. If the DOR is too low, dispersion may not
be maximized, while if it is too high, dispersant will be unnecessarily added to the
environment. Assumptions are based on knowledge at standard temperatures and
pressures (STP), while conditions at the riser are significantly different. Group
members suggested that the oil escaping the damaged riser may be in excess of
100°C, and it is unclear what effect this has on the dispersant, or the efficacy or
effectiveness of droplet formation. These conditions may drastically alter fluid
behavior. Finally, there is an opportunity cost of changes to application wand
position and development and deployment of a new nozzle.


Ben Raines is the man!

It's puzzling that there should be a dense cloud of dispersant-heavy water, if that's what it is. Most of the dispersant should be wrapped around oil droplets in a proportion of 1:25 or 1:50. However, when the planes spray a patchy slick, there would be considerable areas with more dispersant than oil. I just don't understand how material presumably from aerial spraying 2 or more weeks ago could become concentrated like this is (again, if it is Corexit). Any ideas abut that?

One thing that adds up is that Corexit 9500 is dark brown in color.

I have a video where you can see it. Let me find it.

Can see it better in this clickable photo.

But TinFoil, isn't that a picture of heavy weathered oil or tar? Corexit is mostly kerosene and antifreeze--would be quite runny and would mix readily in water.

"The stained, brown water seen washing up in pockets along Alabama beaches for the last two weeks appears to contain the dispersant widely used on oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, according to a preliminary analysis."


Not saying this is it, but I propose it sure looks like what is being described. What say you all?

This started as brown foam maybe. I will find the videos.

Video of surf. I said tarballs on video maybe I was wrong.

Off topic, but is that a DC-3 pictured spraying corexit in Ben Raines' story? I thought they had all been sold to drug runners decades ago.

Drugs in, dispersant out. Maximises the utilisation of capital resources.

Now that is too dang funny :)

My very first airplane ride was in a DC-3 (Springfield to Columbia, Mo., around 1964-5, I think). Wow, wonderful -- low 'n' slow, and those huge picture windows! Still my alltime-favorite flight, including the one I jumped out of.

I was on your Gulf Shores beach last week, TFHG. There are tarballs on the top of the sand just 15 feet from the surf line. I know, because I dove in the surf off the Best Western Hotel where I stayed. The oil cookies are sitting on the sand, but are moving toward the surfline breaking up into smaller pieces, and the remaining oil from them (the fraction of the oil that isn't completely asphaltene in nature) is washing out of them. If you wear white shorts and sit in the shell ridge at the low tide mark and move your butt around, stand up and look for the telltale brown streaks. They aren't poop. THIS time... :)

Ya'll need to have someone go along with a snorkel and swim mask and a cleanup bag.

Is there any dispersant trapped in the oil cookies scrubbing along the bottom? Good question. Easy enough to test for.

It seems like the HORD (frame and mesh bag trawling device) ought to be put massively to use to mitigate the tarball problem that is going to be recurring on the coast for a long time. It can be used with small boats in as little as 5' of water, or multiple units can be pulled by a shrimp boat. It's very efficient at collecting tar and the peanut-butter stuff and doesn't require calm water. They must have built hundreds of them by now, but I've seen no mention in the news for two or three weeks except for this:

I wish journalists would ask about the HORDs. Has anyone here seen them at work?

There's maybe 300,000 bbls of tar in the Gulf that's not going away. Apparently it's pretty harmless sitting on a muddy bottom, but heavy concentrations would harm oyster beds and coral, and it's a nuisance on the beach.

As the article says, a fluorescence fingerprint is sensitive to part per billion levels. There is no indication this is concentrated Corexit.

I imagine oil and Corexit are close. I am thinking you have to look for the phosphate salt. I used to use TSP to clean wood before they stopped selling it. Surely a test for that could possibly isolate dispersant level. The article even said they just were not sure. That is why I am trying to figure out how to do the test without a gas chrom, mass spec, electron microscopy, or even light microscopy for that matter.

A phosphate test could be positive for any number of reasons, and Corexit doesn't contain phosphate.

If you are looking for positive ID of something at potentially low levels there really is no substitute for modern tools.

Personally I would be surprised if any oil from BP Macondo washing up on the shore didn't have detectable levels of one or more of the Corexit components in it. I expect we are going to start seeing Apocalyptic and Sensationalized stories about Gulf beaches irredeemably poisoned by Corexit for the next couple of decades.

Totally baloney of course. The Gulf is a collection basin for the effluvia of the continent. It will have everything in it every made by nature and man if you take the time to look.

I wonder if we could have implement some kind of trace radioactive maker to track it. In any case I do not see how you can really test for it and only it long term.

Well long term it should be quite biodegradable. Much more so than crude oil because of the lack of aromatic content.

But if the water is dark brown and the sample showed little or no oil? Obviously it can't be pure Corexit, but it's a concentration of something, and seems like it must be more than the ppb range.

Raines said patches of brown water have been washing up for "the past two weeks." It's great that the Press-Register sent samples to a reputable lab, as opposed to that (possibly jackleg) TV chemist who couldn't figure out why his separation flask broke. Hopefully Raines will give us a good followup. He is an outstanding journalist.

This is really mystifying. If it does turn out to be mostly dispersant, maybe they had a rogue pilot who spilled his load and headed for the Hooters.

Just for you, Tinfoil:
Two atoms walk into a bar.
One atom stops and says to the other, "I think I just lost an electron."
The second atom asks "Are you sure?"
The first atom replies, "I'm positive!"


Good one. Oil related chemistry one.

Q: What do you do with a dead chemist?
A: Barium

Edit you could insert well no? Of course, no longer funny though.

"Help...Police...That man just stole my periodic table!"

What prevents the mud from just flowing down the well into the reservoir? If it's heavier than the oil, won't it just fall out through the bottom of well. How will it stay in the well?

The mud will form a plug above the oil and push the oil back into the reservoir. When the mud gets there, it won't go in because the pore spaces are too small. It should simply plug up the pipes, as it were.

frizz -- It's certainly possible that some of the mud would flow into the reservoir. But technically the mud won't go into the sandstone reservoir. Mud carries certain sized particles that won't easily flow into the rock. So essentially the rock face acts like a filter and lets the mud "filtrate" flow into the reservoir with the particles forming a "mud cake" on the rock face. And this mud cake forms a somewhat effective seal preventing the movement on any fluid into the reservoir. One bad outcome some would be for a certain amount of injected mud to form a sealing mud cake before the entire csg is filled with enough weight to stop the flow. I don't think this is likely but it's always a possibility. If for whatever reason they can't inject enough into the reservoir to fill the csg with the kill pill they would have another option: raise to pump pressure to the point they reach the frac gradient of the rock. Then all the fluid (oil/NG/whole mud) would be injected. Of course, the high pressure would also increase the possibility of fracturing the cap/BOP/shallow csg.


OK, that all makes sense. If they decide to follow the mud with a cement chaser, then I think you're saying that they will need to exceed the pressure needed to fracture the rock in order to force the mud into the reservoir. Do you have any estimate of what pressure at the BOP might be required to do this?

No good guess nubs. But that's why I suspect they'll use the RW to pump cmt rather than try to pump cmt down from the top. There are a variety of ways that could go very badly.

You have answered a question that I have been trying to formulate in my mind but thus far have had no success.
This is precisely the problem, isn't it. The mud from the static kill is ideal for pushing the oil back into the porous rock formation because, as you said, it cannot enter the rock itself; at least not without a struggle.
So, (and please correct me if I am being assumptive here) the mud can potentially stop the flow of oil by pushing the oil back into the resrvoir but it is impossible for cement pumped from the top to take the place of the mud. The only way to inject cement into the well from above is by raising the delivery pressure to a level high enough for the mud to fracture the rock; allowing cement to push mud into the reservoir and take the place of the mud.
Aside from what the frac pressure might do to the well itself, is there a danger in fraccing the reservoir at this point in time?

Traveller - That's exactly how I view the situation. Once killed the best approach would be to enter with drill pipe and then spot cmt plugs. Next would be a bottom cmt pump. My last choice would be bullheading cmt down from the top. I've seen that approach go very bad with onshore wells that hadn't blown out. The worse cas scenario would be for the top bullhead cmt to set up prematurely in the csg. That would great inhibit the bottom kill/cmt technique IMHO.

They should be using brine, not mud. When they have a few well volumes pumped in, they can gel it and put the cement behind it, then push the cement with mud, if that's their game. I still got very cold feet about cementing from the top.

fdoleza & Rockman
Thanks guys, this is a very difficult procedure to comprehend and every bit of info from folks like you helps tremendously. Just think, by the time they get this thing cemented, I may just be able to understand just what the heck they've done! LOL
One last question. You said one option you favored was to fill the well with mud from the top, drill through it and spot cement plugs from inside. Did you mean drilling through the mud like it was part of a rock formation?

Off topic and might seem strange that it is posted here by a Korean, but this story is very interesting.

Military dog comes home from Iraq traumatized

"A military veterinarian diagnosed with her post-traumatic stress disorder — a condition that experts say can afflict dogs just like it does humans."

That's way off topic, but interesting nonetheless. I'd figure dogs would suffer traumatic stress from war time. I mean they can grow bitter after being abused so why not shocked?

Thanks a bunch. Now everybody post a couple dozen remarks about dogs, PTSD, the cost of fertilizer in North Dakota, and touchy feely nonjudgmental counselling. Topic? What topic? Anything goes.

To bring it back to topic which is part of my evil plan, still no mental health help here. I served too. Guess I could go to the VA but what is the rest of the folks going to do? TPTB spent over 15 million on two failed boom projects and advertising.

Well, that's some progress, I have a good buddy that was a tracker in the Nam and those dogs did not DEROS at all.

I wonder if they're safe enough to eat, but I guess so since they don't appear to be growing extra eyes or tentecals.

Funny you should say that.

That's it. I quit.

Before you run off, seriously do you think the brown foam above has dispersant mixed in? Is there a dip test I can use. Is the salt phosphate component detectable with a dip test? That is the important post I made, sorry about the rest. Let's hope the kill goes well.

"BP planned to begin pumping base oil into its runaway Macondo well late Monday as part of a test to determine whether or not to proceed with filling the well with mud and possibly cement in a "static kill" later this week."

Is the injectivity test over yet?

That's it. I quit.

Bye bye.

But I was just about to post some cookie recipes and the lyrics to four Miley Cyrus songs.

Link please to the songs.

Better yet: embed the videos.

Pictures of a crab this morning

Anybody know what kind of crabs hang out way down there? Do they live there, or are they just slumming?

No idea what kind but that is his home, he was walking around.

You just can't count on those crabs.

Isn't Jim Beam for Mint Juleps? I think there are better brands for sippin' Col. Crabby...

I am a Maker's Mark man myself, but Beam will do. Just no Tennessee Sour Mash.

Jesus, TFHG!

Stop the cutesy stuff! This isn't your blog, it's TOD!

Churchill Downs uses ET

Heading Out:

The semicolon police have pulled you over, [sic] the sentence should read:

Both phases will feed fluid into the well through the kill line on the BOP; it is one of the purposes that the line serves in a conventional well.

Hah, everybody knows that "sick" has a K in it. But I hope you feel better soon!

what are the possible effects on kill line functionality of permanently sealing shut its leaking valves ?

Incident commander Thad Allen says BP (BP/ LN) is preparing to begin well injection test, adding that static kill may proceed later on today

16:03 03-08-2010

Two separate procedures that can be executed simultaneously?

Was watching this sonar scan at 10:25 AM the and saw this, can anyone of you oil guys tell us what we may be seeing. I had a 2 minute video also.



I interpreted one of these several days ago. As with that time, there's nothing here but a bunch of low-angle clutter. The linear feature may be the ROV's tether, or else it's a cable/hose on the seafloor. Really, I don't pay much attention to these because, unless you know what's expected to be there, you can't separate anything interesting from the clutter.

What is in the top of Macondo wellbore and BOPs, oil or gas?

What are the compressibility and phases of O/G involved?
A specific top BOP shut in pressure can be caused by many different bottom hole conditions. Need to know bottom hole pressure, easy to get with RW.

Cementing from static kill does not make sense. How could RW do it’s work if static kill cement has been set. Will cement mixed with static kill mud and oil/NG properly setup? Annular cement between formations must be static to cure.

Will the static kill mud fall through oil/natural gas and plug up formations and ruin their permeability? Can 1,200+barrels of O/G be pushed back into formation rock? Can this large indeterminate volume of kill mud be pushed into formation to do a cement job from top? RW bottom kill method is safer, O/NG is pushed up and out from bottom with mud till well is killed, then cement pushes mud up and away to low pressure seawater or surface vessel, not into sandstone.

Injection test is just a fancy name for the start of the static kill. If shut in pressure at BOP is bled off at upper stack variable choke valve, will the formations start to flow? Will this put new O/G below kill mud? How would you get it out?

Can the original abused lower BOP and flex joint handle the higher pressure from the static kill? To pressure up BOP and casing /cement system till something gives is not a non-destructive test.

Is it true the static formation pressure is equal to the hydrostatic pressure from weight of column of fluid, plus the BOP shut in pressure?

What is in the top of Macondo wellbore and BOPs, oil or gas?
Depends on the bubble point of the oil, but we are probably above the bubble point, so it's oil from TD to BOP./

What are the compressibility and phases of O/G involved?
Oil is probably on the order of 3 x 10EE-5 1/psi.

A specific top BOP shut in pressure can be caused by many different bottom hole conditions. Need to know bottom hole pressure, easy to get with RW.
The original bottom hole pressure (formation pressure) was known from GeoTAP and MDT. The flow since the blowout appears to have depleted the formation so we are below original formation pressure. They know the PVT (i.e. specific gravity) of the oil and the SITHP, so they know the new formation pressure +/-.

Cementing from static kill does not make sense. How could RW do it’s work if static kill cement has been set. Will cement mixed with static kill mud and oil/NG properly setup? Annular cement between formations must be static to cure.
Bullheaded (static kill) cement makes perfect sense. They can pump cement right to the formation. After it is set then the RW will place cement wherever the bullhead could not. Gas or oil cut cement will not set up to design compressive strength.

Will the static kill mud fall through oil/natural gas and plug up formations and ruin their permeability?
The well is full of 'clean' reservoir oil now and that will be pushed back into the formation.
Can 1,200+barrels of O/G be pushed back into formation rock? Ask the people that run the SPR. Can this large indeterminate volume of kill mud be pushed into formation to do a cement job from top? Depends on the mud characteristics. If it's just weighted then prbly yes. LC or filter cake additives will obviously cause problems. RW bottom kill method is safer, O/NG is pushed up and out from bottom with mud till well is killed, then cement pushes mud up and away to low pressure seawater or surface vessel, not into sandstone. Static kill is safe. Done right there is no flow to surface required and no risk of additional spillage Just pump in at slow controlled rates. You have already proved integrity so there are no (or fewer)unknowns.

Injection test is just a fancy name for the start of the static kill. Injection test is a normal name, not so fancy. "Dynamic injectivity determination" is a fancy name
If shut in pressure at BOP is bled off at upper stack variable choke valve, will the formations start to flow?
As the well is now, before bullheading, yes. Will this put new O/G below kill mud? How would you get it out?

Can the original abused lower BOP and flex joint handle the higher pressure from the static kill? very likely. To pressure up BOP and casing /cement system till something gives is not a non-destructive test. It was rated to 15,000 psi and has held about 7000 psi for several days. They can probably go to the 7400 psi they'll need.

Is it true the static formation pressure is equal to the hydrostatic pressure from weight of column of fluid, plus the BOP shut in pressure? yes

"A method for determination of Corexit 9527® in natural waters was developed to meet the demand for effective monitoring of anionic surfactant-based oil spill dispersants. Incorporating ion-pair formation with bis(ethylenediamine) copper(II), extraction of the complex into methylisobutylketone, and flame atomic absorption spectroscopy, the method is suitable for a concentration range of 2 to 100 mg/liter, with precision as low as 5% relative standard deviation for samples in the mid- to high-range. Only a small sample volume is required (10 ml), allowing rapid analysis of multiple samples and providing sensitivity in the range most required for monitoring during the first few hours after application, when toxic impacts are most probable. Sensitivity may be substantially increased for trace analysis by increasing sample volume. Overall, the method is simple, rapid, sensitive within the range required for monitoring, requires a small sample volume, and is suitable for both marine and fresh waters."

Anybody have a flame atomic absorption spectroscopy machine and operator laying around? Could I borrow it for 5 years?

Edit I found it on EBAY, $1000? Come on, it must be broken.

If you find it "laying" around, it might be disinclined to go with you. On the other hand, if it were just "lying" around (or as some of the conspiracists might put it "lieing" around), it might respond more positively, ~(:<)

Editorial correction noted. You are now doomed to being proofread by all the posters. In any case, I thank you.

BTW I used laying because of a compound subject joined by and. Interesting sentence. I will ask my editor. For refresher.
Once you lay (put or place) a book on the desk, it is lying (reclining, resting) there, not laying there.
When you come to GS, you spend your time lying (not laying) on the beach (unless, of course you are laying someone on the beach). I lie down on the sofa to watch TV and spend the entire evening lying there; you do not lay down on the sofa to watch TV and spend the entire evening laying there. If you see something lying on the ground, it is just resting there; if you see something laying on the ground, it must be doing something else, such as laying eggs.

I surrender!

It was just too tempting to pass up.

I'm not sure whether it's the senility creeping in, or the adolescence I never escaped.

Oh my God, could they be merging?

You asking me? I was the one that ran over a homeless person Sunday on my bike.

I used laying because of a compound subject joined by and.

That doesn't make sense, TF. Here's your fail-safe test: pure action is "lie/lying/lay/have lain." Action done to something is "lay/laying/laid/have laid."

Because the past tense of one and the present tense of the other have the same spelling, they're easily confused. (But this is a losing battle for us grammar-prisses.)

Left some out. ...joined by and that can preform independent actions. Wow. Thanks again. Are the kills now going on simultaneously?

Some men are bigger than grammar; some men write like they talk, fearlessly.

What happens if both apply?

What is the current level of oil/dispersant in parts per billion along the shore of Alabama?
Anything over 15 ppb would be high.

Go to http://oaspub.epa.gov/pd/download.do and set parameters

Don't buy it unless it works for 9500, too. :)

I doubt this will work. Corexit doesn't contain any of the metals AA is good for.

Cool, but that's the wrong Corexit, the one they claim not to have used much of.

Besides, a flame atomic absorber sounds like just the thing to set off a methane tsunami.

That does not make much sense. All the Atomic absorption can measure is the copper concentration present in the sampled solution. It will not confirm that Corexit is the source. There is copper in sea water, and elevated levels could come from anywhere.

Pink will show up.
Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometry
by Guihua Ma and Georgina Wilson Gonzalez

The method is sensible. The procedure involves extracting the ion-pair complex into foul-smelling methyl iso-butyl ketone, so any water-soluble copper will not be measured. However, the method is probably a couple of decades old, and analytical techniques have moved on, as may have Corexit formulations.

Higher sensitivity may be obtained with graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy, but even those have been replaced with inducively-coupled plasma - mass spectrometers - because of higher throughput and less sample preparation.

Corexit formulations will probably be made from cheap (except to BP ) technical grades of common surfactant products that contain a mixture of similar compounds. From the MSDS, products such as Tween xx may have been used.

It's likely that a sample cleanup/concentration extraction would be used to capture both free surfactacts and miscelle surfactants, possibly by pH adjustment and/or solvents. It would also remove much of the non-polar oil-derived junk and natural lipids etc.

The concentrate could then be analysed by direct-injection into a mass-spectrometer. A mass-spectrometer is probably reuired to resolve the corexit sufactants from remaining trace levels of oil and other natural organic molecules. There's already a lot of rather dubious analytical data floating around - we don't need more.

TF, did you see this in today's Sun Herald?

Oil-soaked waste worries landfills’ neighbors

The sad part is if I toured the facility, the oil would be a microscopic part of what goes on there. There are many good practices and people at that facility. Instead, TPTB spend the whole time sounding like they are making excuses and hiding stuff. Idiots. Then County PR person should be required to have a full timer on just landfill issues. Remember Admiral Thud Allen and how he transformed to Adm Thad Allen, incident commander. It makes such a difference in the eyes of the public. If you tell the 'green' landfill lie long enough, even WM can help make it become reality. You have to start somewhere.

It's slightly off-topic, but what do you guys think of this new super-accurate total flow estimate (of 4.9 million barrels between April 20 and July 15) from the Flow Rate Technical Group?

They're arguing that the flow rate has decreased over time due to reservoir depletion, whereas in reality most people here were assuming that the flow rate has most probably been increasing due to erosion and the fact that the broken riser and BOP were initially restricting the flow somewhat.

It seems to me that any parameters (like erosion) that can't be relatively accurately modelled by their computer program(s) are simply being ignored completely rather than being estimated. The end result is a high precision figure that could be way out, yet which (for the purposes of setting the fines) will still be taken as being the gospel truth...

I haven't read the report but if they're saying pressure-related decline from day one, with no allowance for cutting off restrictions or sand erosion, and ignoring clear videos from early on showing very little oil coming out, they're either nuts (not a hope in hell of standing it up in court), or it's a negotiating position set high in the expectation that BP will low-ball and they'll settle somewhere in the middle to avoid dragging it through court for a decade.

That was my guess about what is going on. However, I'm not sure to what extent the panel represents the government. The previous Flow Rate Group was apparently a pretty independent bunch.

You can be certain lawyers will discuss this issue for years.

I'd be interested in seeing nice videos of the flow at various times. Here's a not-too-good video showing the flow as they were placing the capping stack on July 12. Someone else must have saved better examples. It would be nice to take another look at the initial flow, when nearly everything was coming out of the end of the riser, before the hole at the bend above the BOP was very big. Also right after they cut off the riser.

Yep, they were capturing 16,279 BPD
+/- my super accurate math 1,400,000/86
+/- spillage

Alabama awaits test results before re-opening Gulf fishing

... State Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley said Tuesday that state waters are free of oil, and officials are awaiting test results that will determine whether fishing can resume in waters around Dauphin Island and the Mississippi Sound.

After that, Lawley says tests will show whether it's safe to reopen the rest of the state's coastal waters to fishing. He says the state's entire coast could be back in business for fishing within days.

Shrimping and recreational fishing already have resumed in Mobile Bay, and fishing is allowed in other areas as long as anglers release their catch.

This makes me ache for Capt. Kruse's family and friends.

I am wondering how moving these sea turtle hatchlings will affect their migratory habits? I guess it was a good idea to move them from oily waters, but you've got to wonder if their little heads are going to get screwed up. And if they survive, which beach will they return to, to lay their own eggs- the oiled beach where mommy left the eggs or the one on which they were released? Too much tampering with nature as a result of this ecotage. Oops. Did I really say that?


Also wonder how the Sargassum algae oiled in the Gulf will effect the food supply for the turtles?


I remember reading somewhere that sea turtles sort of act like lawn mowers- they eat the sea grasses that grow on the bottom of the ocean thus keeping it healthy and preventing bacteria from growing. So I guess we can hypothesize that the turtle population is going to diminish even further, thus creating less creatures to eat the grass and keep the water healthy. Add to that Corexit, oil and oil eating microbes multiplying greatly and I am thinking I won't be swimming in the Gulf for the rest of my life. Sad thought. I remember 5 years ago there was a surge in red tide in southwest Florida beaches that lasted an entire year. It was absolutely disgusting. I could not go near the beach without coughing my head off and experiencing headaches. There were dead fish everywhere- on the beach, floating on the surface, in the Intracoastal, etc. I really am afraid to think much more about this. The uniformed public thinks this disaster is over, but I think that it hasn't even yet begun.

Here's a story from June about that, p'dancer:

Wildlife officials to move thousands of sea turtle eggs to Florida's east coast

... By allowing the eggs to stay in the sand as long as possible, scientists are hoping that the turtles will still develop what is known as their natal imprint that drives their instinct to return to the beaches from which they emerged to reproduce, Strawser said. 

Some studies suggest that hatchlings acquire this sense of home while still in their eggs, Strawser said.

The Fish & Wildlife Service also noted in its plan that while turtles born on the northern Gulf and those from the Atlantic have minor genetic differences, currents have been known to carry Gulf turtles into the Atlantic. ...

I remember another one, I think in the Sun Herald (which only shows archived stories for a week or two, dammit), describing how they packed the eggs carefully in their home sand for the trip to Kennedy Space Center. Can't find that now, but it had a bit more detail about this imprinting process. Anyhow, they got there, hatched, and launched into the Atlantic successfully.

'Nother goodie from Ben Raines with great video of loggerheads hatching ("boiling" out of the nest) and bookin' for the water . . .


Kenneth and Catherine Lohmann have been studying sea turtle migration for decades. Their website is very informative. Here is a paper (also see this ) warning that metal cages placed to over turtle nests to protect them from predators could possibly interfere with the their magnetic sense. As usual, we are plagued by unintended consequences.

THanks for the links Nubs and Lotus. I love reading about these little critters. I do hope some of them make it this year.

We have had a turtle program running for years. The nests are moved into metal cages 4-6m square. This seems to be successful by the increasing number of returns.


Interesting map, cumulative sea turtle sightings: http://gomex.erma.noaa.gov/erma.html#x=-88.89862&y=28.56523&z=7&layers=7...

The red thing in the middle is the well.

You are having to put up with me asking silly questions today as my 1999, only 59000 miles, Mazda is having a new pre-cat converter fitted - $1000 plus labor. Hard to believe and I will never know if it met the tailpipe emission standards anyway.

I haven't spent much time on considering what happens once the well is killed from the top with mud. I take what Rockman says about the mud not penetrating the reservoir formation as a given fact of life. Given that, I was never sure how cement could be got down from the top after the mud. In normal circumstances you have the hollow drill pipe going to the bottom through which the cement can be injected displacing mud upwards. But that aint so here. So how do you get the cement down there given you have only those entry points at the BOP?

So you decide that is really not on. You have the thing killed with mud with no differential pressure at the well head. What are the risks of completely removing the old BOP? (I realise others have mentioned this before, but not lately). That would be giving the investigating team gold dust. You could then fish out whatever wrecked drill pipe was down there and do lots of other nice testing with sonar, ultrasonic and other instruments dropped down on weighted fishing lines. After satisfying yourself you had got all the info, could not a top cement job be done, setting cement right below the well head? Also you might put a new drill pipe down to inject cement at the bottom and forget about the RW's (of course you might find enough mangled wreakage down there to prevent this.)

Alternatively - and this I prefer as Murphy would rear his head if the old BOP were removed - why not just leave the well in its killed static state full of mud with perhaps the kill line open venting to the surface until the RW cement jobs were completed. Then remove the old BOP, fish out the drill string and otherwise investigate all you want, safe in the knowledge that not only do you have the thing cemented at the bottom but you have the column of mud as extra protection.

But you only get these goodies if you inject mud of sufficient weight to equalise pressures at the wellhead whereas my understanding right now is the mud weight will equalise pressures at the surface. So why are they doing that?

Where do you live? They made you do that. In Alabama, you cannot be aflame or too loud. Other than that anything goes. I have seen old cars belching out more soot that Barry Steam Coal Burning Power Plant. For real.


And it goes like a song, starts in a second everytime, never any smoke in the exhaust.

The overhead cam bigger engined Protege, fully independent suspension, a bit of a harsh ride for the elderly. Gives 34 mpg overall with bigger tires to slow the engine down. That is an iterated average over the last 10000 miles, so it is real number. I'd have probably killed myself if I'd had it when young.

Cars before 1996 have the pipe up the exhaust test. I never failed that with my Heathkit Emission Tester used to lean up beforehand. Now they just go on what the OBDII says. I think the garages really make out on this. All I can think to do (as I get old cars handed down from my children) is buy enough equipment so I can find out exactly what the computer is doing myself. Maybe they can be set up less stringent. Otherwise if rape is inevitable, lay back and enjoy it.

Cheers ERD

erd, I'm happy to say that it's been a while since I've heard or seen that 'rape' comment anywhere. You might think about dropping it--anytime it's repeated, it's quite hurtful to a large number of people who already have the bad luck to have been victims of crime. Some of them are reading here; some of them are everywhere. Some of them are no doubt people you would have no intent to hurt. I assume no offense was intended.

Your right.

It was thoughtless.

I'll never use it again.

I suspect that there would be a huge outburst rage from all directions if they were to take off the BOP before the well was cemented in. Remember that this all started when a well which appeared to be under control suddenly did something unexpected and blew out. It was stabilized at the time, some cement had been poured, and the BOP was intended to protect from the unexpected.

@ Dave

No, it wasn't stabilized. The heavy mud had been flushed out with normal weight seawater. Major mistake. Oil/gas got in, rose up to gas expansion level, caused burp (think coffee percolator) gas blew up diesels, made big fire.

Mistake was replacement of heavy mud with sea water, then not closely monitoring mud burps. Compounded by no diesel auto-shutoff for over-rev OR gas presence, AND alarms turned off, AND BOP modification AND defective disconnect.

Damn right.

Very nicely put.

No need for a team of investigators.

Perhaps I should have said that they thought they had it stabilized and/or could have stabilized it, then they started messing with it, and things went sour.

You're right, of course. By definition, since it blew out, it wasn't in fact stabilized.

The term "fracture gradient" or something similar has been discussed quite a bit regarding the pressure required to force oil back into the formation from which it came. Is it really necessary to fracture the formation or does that term just refer to reversing the flow, back into the producing formation? I don't see excessive pressure being required but I may be all wet.

As an example, I have witnessed a completed water well (screened, packed with fine gravel, grouted, jetted, etc.) push the water column up the casing to about one foot below surface level. This was from about 400 feet below. You could pump out some water, stop the pump and the level would come right back up to the previouse mark. You could pour some water in and the level would rise for a minute and then settle down to the mark. The water sand below was in balance and either produced or received water, depending on the pressure.

I realize this is no water well but some of the concepts are very similar. Sixty thousand barrels a day (give or take) flowed out of the sandstone or whatever it is. Is it asking too much for it to take back a couple of thousand?

On another note, I think intersection by the relief well will be key to the final kill. As someone noted earlier, The wild well could be circulated bottoms up using mud from the RW. This would give a known mud composition all the way from the intersect to the Q-4000. Both wells would be balanced, cement pumped and all lived happily ever after.

Enough questions and speculation. I will be lurking.

That really is the $64k question EJB. Seems the consensus is there's a pretty good chance that you can pump the oil back into the formation without going over the fracture gradient, but once mud hits the formation that may be another story and you may need more pressure.

Remember, by the time mud hits the formation, the well should be effectively dead with zero psi at surface.

If you do need another 1000psi to initiate a fracture, you are still only going to see 1000psi at surface.

Not too bad a deal all considered.


Since the kill is starting or has started. Has anyone recieved data from Allen or BP about the well?
All I could find was another article on yahoo outlining the purpose of the static kill.

They won't try to fracture it ... they'll just pump it in the way it came out.

EJB, My understanding is they do not intend to fracture the formation at this time, in fact they are staying BELOW fracture pressure with their mud. The Blue Dolphin has some pretty nice mud pumps.

Your water well might have acted like this well if it were a carbonated-water well. Unfortunately while CO2 is immiscible in oil it isn't in water. ;)

Of course there are plenty of artesian wells that "produce" naturally, but few I know of that were drilled. In those cases it is the formation pressure that forces the water out. I've personally seen water flowing out of what looked like a solid rock, very Biblical.

They have said today and I was speculating weeks ago that even with the static top kill they will STILL be doing the relief well as scheduled. That will indeed be the "final kill". This is just the "death blow".

Sometimes I have a hard time discerning the two. If this were the death blow than why would you need to throw another punch? Unless we were to entertain the thought that the relief well would be the equivalent of shooting your atagonist in the head after he falls to the ground.

After the death blow, you still have to bury the body. Can't just leave it lying around, it might regen. ;)

HOS -- There are actually three critical phases involved. The first was to "shut the well in". The cap achieved that. The second is to "kill the flow". That's the difference from being shut in (not flowing but has the potential to flow) and "killed" (no flow potential). This would be the goal of the top kill. The third phase is plug and abandon. This requires setting a sufficient number of cmt plugs to permanently seal the reservoir off from the surface. I'm still guessing some but that's what I think they mean about utilizing the RW: not the kill the flow (since it's already dead...hopefully) but to P&A the well bore with enough cmt to prevent any future leaks. The RW always had two possible uses: a bottom kill or a bottom P&A IMHO.

Agreed. The water didn't fizz.

I'm spending the summer in South Dakota and they did drill quite a few artesian wells here, some with spectacular results. Most of them are in the eastern part, under the glacial till that covers everything east of the Missouri. I think they are out near the Black Hills too.


The South Dakotans started out jetting wells. They pumped water down a pipe, twisted it around, added pipe, until they got to a producing formation. There was some use of cable tool drilling. Interestingly, I read that a South Dakota driller invented the mud rotary system used to drill the Spindletop discovery well near Beaumont, Texas, I think in 1908.

EJB -- Frac gradient is a physical property of the rock at a certain depth. The FG at the reservoir was estimated to be 16.2 ppg. But that's different then the injection pressure needed to force the oil back into the reservoir. That would be difficult to calculate given all the unknowns but I suspect it would be too much greater than the reservoir pressure (11,900 psi = 12.6 ppg). Given how much oil the well is gushing out the permeability is obviously very good. And the reservoir pressure might have dropped some since the blow out happened. There shouldn't be any reason to use an injection pressure much over 13 ppg IMHO but that's one of the reasons they may be doing the injection tests: to get some quantitative sense of the required injection pressure. They may have to bust the frac gradient for some reason. But doing so carries a number of risks.

Rockman, you had mentioned a problem with a gas well. I had one of my ChemE's work up a transient calculation spreadsheet for you to play with. Send an email to my yahoo account and I'll reply it back to you if you're interested (create a new account if you want to keep anonymity). Consider it a small payment for all the good work you've done on this site edjicatin' me. :)

Thanks red. About to get on the road to Thibodeaux to log a well so I'll catch up when I can.

As I understand it the LOT at the 9 7/8 shoe was 16.2 ppg.

But they had huge losses while drilling the reservoir section beneath and had to back the mud weight off.

Looks like Halliburton used a FG of only 14.5 ppg in their cement calculations.

There will however likely be plenty of available pressure headroom to get the oil to flow back into the reservoir at decent rates even with this constraint. The productivity index may be around 30 b/d/psi (based on 500 mD over 60 ft thickness). Even if it is 'only' 10 b/d/psi, then to inject at 1 b/min (= 1440 b/d) will need a pressure differential down hole of only around 150 psi.

Very interesting. Sure would like to see the results of the injectivity test. I wonder if they will release them?


All Wells said was that they got "textbook" results while testing at 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 bbl/minute. It was a very short briefing - he said at the start there would only be time for three questions.

Thanks rainyday. Fascinating they got up to 7 bbls/min. That's pretty good injectivity considering their pressure limits.

I'm just itching to see the pressure/flow graph, but I suspect it going to be a long time before we get that (if ever).

Next question is what happens when the mud hits the formation. Interesting times...


The transcript of his briefing is now up.

so in Wells' own words:

Remember, the objectives of the injectivity test were to do two things, first of all, to confirm that we actually could inject the oil in the well back into the reservoir, and the second thing was for us to pump at different rates so that we could get the friction pressures in our system to help us properly do the static kill.

And I'll say the injectivity test was textbook. It went exactly as we would have expected. We pumped at several different rates, one barrel a minute, two barrels a minute, three barrels a minute, five barrels a minute, and seven barrels a minute. We were able to record pressures associated with that and got exactly the information we were looking for, so we did confirm that we were able to inject into the reservoir, and we did get the information we needed to reset our pump curve.

Following that test, we consulted with the government scientist team, including Secretary Chu. The data was all very clear from the injectivity test. And so we made a decision to move forward with the static kill, which we started at approximately 3 o'clock this afternoon, and we're in the middle of that operation right now.

and the first question - what is success?

Kristen Hays: Hi, Kent. Just real quickly, where do you want – how would you define the static kill as a success? I mean, would that be if the pressure in the well goes right down all the way to zero?

Kent Wells: Yes, Kristen, what we want to do is we want to get it in a static condition, which means that the heavy drilling mud that we're pumping in hydrostatically offsets the pressure in the reservoir, so we don't need to have a valve closed at the surface to contain the well.

So we will still have pressure at the sea floor, which is a pressure we're monitoring, because there's the hydrostatic head from the sea floor up to the surface. But basically, a static situation means you can have just fluid in the hole and you don't need to have a valve shut at the surface to have the well killed. And so that's the static condition we're looking for.

And then when we get to that point, then we have that very important decision to make at that point on where we go forward. Do we choose to cement at this point? Do we choose to wait until we intersect with the relief well and the annulus and pump mud and kill and cement from there?

So based on how everything goes, that's when we'll make the decision on what is the best way for us to continue to kill and cement this well.


I've been away from TOD for a bit but the new flow rate estimates brought me back. I see that yesterday there was some discussion about Doug Suttles saying the flow rate was 53,000 bpd back on June 6 in a CNN interview. The link provided takes you to a story that has that has the statement but no link to the original CNN interview.

Does anyone have the link to the original interview? I couldn't find it on CNN.

It wasn't until June 10 that the government's flow rate task force raised the range to 20,000 to 40,000 bpd.

If Suttles really did say it was 53,000 on June 6, what information would he be using that the government didn't have and why would the government not say it was 53,000 bpd just a few days later?

Thanks in advance for the help!

Did Suttles state it was the flow rate or the containment capacity?

June 15, http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/661583/

The Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) cap that is currently in place can capture up to 18,000 barrels of oil per day. At the direction of the federal government, BP is deploying today a second containment option, called the Q4000, which could expand total leak containment capacity to 20,000-28,000 barrels per day. Overall, the leak containment strategy that BP was required to develop projects containment capacity expanding to 40,000-53,000 barrels per day by the end of June and 60,000-80,000 barrels per day by mid-July.

I have a hard time believing that the flow rate was ever as high as 63,000 bpd initially dropping to 53,000 bpd just prior to capping. But then I have always supported flow rates at the low end of the range.

I wonder if BP will be contesting these estimates. Should be an interesting fight.

Edit: Oil plus liquid methane, yes. Oil fraction only, no.

I don't know all the answers to all your questions, but "the government's" estimates during this period were not done by the government, but by a panel of scientists convened by the government. Three or four teams working independently of each other used different means to come up with separate estimates. The range estimate they released represented the central tendency or overlap between the findings of the groups. The group that worked by examining the videos of the plume had higher estimates, 40K to 60K if I recall correctly, and these guys had it right. BP may have come to similar conclusions based on the same approach.

{edit} Aardvark seems to be right just above, in that Suttles is referring to potential containment capacity and not to a current flow estimate. So if that's what Markey and others are talking about, it's off base.

What does it mean when Thad Allen says the RW has not drilled out cement shoe yet, but they are circulating to keep well clean and ready to go? Admiral Allen also mentions on Macondo well O/G above choke inlet line up to closed ram, and then static kill mud staying on top of O/G as it is pushed down the well. Will the denser (2X) mud sink thru O/G and get all mixed up and plug formation where O/G is to go?

The static kill BOP pressure reading will not “ascertain exactly” what is happening down the hole. Many different well scenarios can produce the specific top measurements. BP will not know for sure the condition of the well even when they start to put mud in it.

Working from the bottom of the well gives better control and information than does doing it from top at BOP.

Tf --When you cmt a string of csg there's always some hard cmt at the bottom along with the hardware (the "shoe" and other parts) used to get the cmt up behind the csg. That's what he's talking about drilling out. Once they drill the shoe they'll do a pressure test to make sure the cmt will hold against the max mud weight they might eventually have to pump down. I once saw a well lose 60,000 bbls of oil based mud thru a bad shoe...none of the mud pumped down ever made it back to the surface. If the shoe doesn't test to the spec level they'll go in hole with a tool to pump more cmt into the shoe and test again. Still preliminary but it's the general conclusion this is how the blow out happened in the first place: a cmt that didn't test out to spec.

Just a guess but there may be some mixing but not a great deal IMHO. Think about the scale: a straw that's less than a foot in diameter and 13,000' long.

I'm fully prepared to get flamed for overreacting, but the Boa Deep C #1 has been spewing for a bit now. Y'all trained me to be aware of thrusters, ROV movement, and altitude, but I'm still a little stymied by this one. Thanks in advance!


I was just watching Skandi 1 and it had it's tether caught up on and old dispersal wand. In freeing it he kicked up a bunch of mud. If that was causing what you are seeing it should go away soon because he got it undone.

Thanks for the link, we'll be sure to keep watch, though it does look like it's an area of concern.

Can anyone comment on this? Is this real? It supposedly happened yesterday around the same time as the earthquake in Louisiana. I'm kinda embarrassed to post but it should be addressed by knowledgeable people!


The earthquake was 3.0 if I could rember properly. It doesn't seem like its an area of concern.
Also thanks for explaining to me what that leakage-looking thing was.

It is utter nonsense and a joke.

Aw. Little guys were cleaning the mud mats?

Thanks for the link. I clicked into his channel. It was a nuke. http://www.youtube.com/user/PropheticSeer#p/u/0/TnCimuCfsRA

LOL - Great entertainment value (for total hogwash). However, I like 1950s sci-fi b-movies too.

I guess these guys can make a living out of pushing this drivel.

I wish the clip didn't start out like it does -- a lot of people won't take it seriously. That being said, it's really interesting and I'd love to hear what the experts up in this joint have to say about it ...

But whats that thing happening on youtube? Is that real or a lie???

mimi - looks very real to me. But what do you think you're looking at? I've made a point of not watching the ROV circus going on down there but from other posts I've read the ROV's are always kicking up mud around the sea floor. That's what this looks like. And FYI: if you were standing directly over a 3.0 earthquake I doubt you would even feel it in your feet let alone see it raise a cloud of dust. An even bigger negative: the soft sediments offshore are a very poor transmitter of earthquake energy.

The first thing that happens is the guy telling you a lie, there are no red flashing lights. Second lie is the camera is just moving down not the floor coming up.

The guy is a total freak jerk.

Boa 1 and 2 have been sitting playing in the mud for a week.

But you have to like that he's narrating his tome from a Starbuck's (listen to background noise) so he can get the free wi-fi. I guess prophets can't make money the old fashioned way, like by predicting a stock price and capitalizing on it (literally).

Kind of like the Psychic Friends Network getting shut down. Who'd a seen that coming? ;)

You had me scared for a minute, but I see that the Psychic Friends Network website is still up and running. And please don't say that the real SFN is gone and these guys are imposters. That would be too much to bear.

Mum's the word Nubs

The kooks will get out their orgone blasters. The religious (like me), will just trust in God. Others will say the Rov 1 was going down, rather than the earth going up. I do think there is a lot of methane down there and that is why I have been getting horrible headaches and why Allen and company are being so cautious. Then again, I know diddly crap about this stuff so if a ROV was picking its nose, I wouldn't know.

Something interesting , however is that we are currently in a solar tsunami. It will evidently peak in the early hours of tomorrow-August 4th.


Note that this is from FOX news and I want to say upfront that I do not watch FOX news. This just came up somewhere else for me today, and i thought it was interesting.

I sure hope it doesn't shut down my 'puter and ability to read the comments here.

If it does- Kumbaya or Maranatha, or "Bring it on!" or whatever is your religion du jour.

For me- I love my 'puter, please, please solar flares, don't shut it down!

Mimi, see my comment about this above. Don't worry; it is all a "lie." The reason I put "lie" in quotes is that I don’t know this guy (and don’t want to) so I don't know his motivations. Yes, it is possible, sadly, that he may think it’s true. However, words like claptrap, hokum, drivel, nonsense can be used to describe all of his GOM videos I have looked at.

The picture looks real but his voiceover commentary is where he crosses the line.

I tend to think that people like this guy purposely try to frighten people for (1) their own agenda; (2) fund raising purposes; and (3) just for the fun if it (even knowing it's claptrap.)

BTW, many websites and people create things like this every day just to see how far the hoax (or drivel) can be spread knowing full well that it is a “lie.” It has become a postmodern blood sport.

Currently looking at the Skandi ROV1. There appears to be a huge leak gushing out somewhere and they are throwing clouds of dispersant at it.


Did anybody see this?

No, that is a dispersal wand Skandi's tether got caught up on a little bit ago. He just came back to get it and put it up. It probably has old dispersant leaking out from moving it.

No I do not think (edit) that was it. ROV1 was traveling somewhere and for a while stayed looking at some black stuff coming up somewhere in a directional manner that looked very much like the original well gushing. And there were repeated burst of white clouds thrown at it from the side. The ROV1 pretty quickly turned away from this sight.

But of course, You might be right too.

If there was a leak, tha spraying would just cause the escaping oil to leak, not seal the leaking point.

But I'd be cautious with my asessment just in case. Also out of curiousity why are the waters near the well clearer than the ones on shore. I forgot the answer to the question and would like to be reminded again about it.

But if it were indeed a gush, why did this happen? Is the oil finding a path of least resistance.

There is a small oil seep in that area. Boa2 find it yesterday.

Was this leak expected and if so what are they doing to stop it. I remember them closing the valves to some leakage.

What I want to know is what is BOA deep C ROV1 looking at?

that does not look good at all.


It appears that while you were watching, BOA deep C ROV1 and BOA deep C ROV 2 were in the area of MC252_b (1202514 10434994) while the cap and "static kill" activity is taking place at MC252_a (1202803 10431617).
However, both feeds now seem to be inaccessible.



Well, DougR, that's pretty spooky. Since there's a coverup, the BOP must have fallen over.

What's pretty spooky?
Is your only mode of communication sarcasm?
Do you think the BOP is at MC252_a or MC252_b? Do you know what the a and b refer to?
Do you even know what you're talking about? Or are you just jumping at what you perceive to be an opportunity to be a sarcastic smart-ass?

There's no second well, DougR. It was never permitted. Since you're implying that something is going on near it, something that might require them to cut the feed, would you care to explain in plain terms what the hell you're trying to say? That it was drilled in secret at night under radio silence with lights and engines off and that everybody involved has kept it secret? Or something else?

Hi DougR

As a newbie here, that is a professed ignoramus, would you be able to give me a reader's digest version of this 53 page document?

If you are looking fro wall art, I'll even give you a discount;0)

That is BP's proposal to drill exploratories in 2 places within block MC252. They are designated as MC252_a and MC252_b.
The 2 points are about 4 or 500 feet apart.
The proposed start date for a was 04/15/2009. End date 7/24/2009. At X 1202803 Y 10431617.
The proposed start date for b was 04/15/2010. End date 7/24/2010. At X 1202514 Y 10431494.

This presents somewhat of an enigma that the BOA ROVs are watching the location of b while the "static kill" is being performed at the location of a.

Conclude what you will.

I'd tentatively conclude that since B wasn't drilled and they have a 3D map of what's under the surface and since BP had already identified B as a likely paydirt site, meaning that it may be somewhat connected to the stuff at A, they're watching the sea floor to see if anomalies occur. Chu and company being extra-careful. That's what I'd tentatively conclude.

[fixed typo]

So MC252a was started in April 2009 and was still being drilled over a year later?

You're pretty good at scraping up documents. You must have noticed that they quit in November after the Marianas rig was damaged and then restarted in February with DWH after they got a new permit, and that there've been difficulties along the way.

You think they drilled B on the sly without a permit?

Don't you think both a and b were permitted at the same time since the plan for both was submitted as one document?

There's no API number for B. And besides all that, there was no drilling platform over B. Since I believe that stealth drilling of an 18,000 ft well in the Gulf isn't possible, and since there's no evidence whatsoever that it did get drilled, I have to conclude that it didn't.

The 2 locations are only 400 or 500 feet apart. A platform over a would also be over b. If a was partially drilled, damaged and abandoned (in the 60 minutes interview of Mike Williams it sounds to me like a damaged well was abandoned....start at 4:50 in http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2010/05/16/60-minutes-interviews-deepwa... ), the "restart" could very well have been at b.

It wasn't abandoned as the tv report incorrectly claims. The well was sidetracked at "Sidetrack 11,700' MD/TVD" (See http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/posted/3043/MacondoWellSchematic... ). That is a new path was taken at 11,700 in the same hole. The MMS docs show the same thing.

hmmmmm.... with a floating rig...and NO visual reference points...the only way the MMS or Coast Guard or ANYBODY would know the rig had moved, would be if they carefully checked GPS coordinates and they're only gonna do that if they suspect something...and nobody would EVER suspect THAT - would they...???

...or maybe the Marianas drilled one hole and the Horizon started an iffily permitted NEW hole just over a bit...

and why the hell did the Marianas stay out in a Hurricane...?? they sure fled like sissies for a little ole tropical depression last week...??

someone call Mike Williams or 60Minutes and ask for clarification on the "abandoned" well...see if they sidetracked or started a new hole...


Shouldn't there also be an API # for the work referenced by Doug in LA just a bit downthread?

"An exploration well was scheduled to be drilled in 2009.[2]

On 7 October 2009 the Transocean Marianas semi-submersible rig commenced drilling..."


FYI: scheduled wells in a POE (Plan of Exploration) get neither an API number nor a permit. The permit has to be applied for seperately and only when the permit is approved is the well given an API number. A company can put a dozen wells in their POE and never have one of them permitted let alone drilled. A somewhat confusing system for sure.


A regional shallow hazards survey and study was carried out at the Macondo area by KC Offshore in 1998. High resolution, 2D seismic data along with 3D exploration seismic data of the MC 252 was collected by Fugro Geoservices in 2003. BP purchased the mineral rights to drill for oil in the Macondo Prospect at the Minerals Management Service's lease sale in March 2008.[4]

Mapping of the block was carried out by BP America in 2008 and 2009.[5] BP secured approval to drill the Macondo Prospect from MMS in March 2009. An exploration well was scheduled to be drilled in 2009.[2]

On 7 October 2009 the Transocean Marianas semi-submersible rig commenced drilling, but operations were halted at 4,023 feet (1,226 m) below the sea floor on 29 November 2009, when the rig was damaged by Hurricane Ida.[6] The Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig resumed drilling operations in February 2010.[2]

Well it does get a little confusing when, ahhhh, wikipedia says one thing and OffshoreTechnology.com says not quite the same thing:

The rig started drilling a well at a water depth of 5,000ft in MC block 252 in February 2010, but exploded during drilling in April 2010. The rig was on fire continuously for three days.

"The operator, US Coast Guard and other agencies are engaged in the execution of an oil spill response plan."
The well was planned to be drilled to 18,000ft, and was to be plugged and abandoned for later completion as a subsea producer.

As per the plan, the rig was supposed to be drilling the second of the two wells planned. But it faced oil spills over two fronts: one at the wellhead and another at the surface offshore. The wells are located in lease G-32306 over the prospect.


Spend some time chasing down online docs. There is one well bore in one location that was drilled. First by Transocean Marianas, then restarted by DWH.

Ok...I can't find any documents with the coordinates for B other than BPs Initial Exploration Plan.
The only reference to a possible existing B that I found was the mention of "wells" "as per plan" at OffshoreTechnology.com.
BOA ROV 2 is now at 10431542 1202671 which is about the same distance from A and B.

Paintdancer, dougr is one of those who has been trying to spread mass destruction rumours to support their own agenda. He also appears to have a number of sockpuppet accounts.


Not true NAOM. In the way you characterize it, I'd almost go so far as to say you are lying. I expressed concern about the integrity of the well. Are you going to say both BP and the govt have not been likewise concerned?
Does the fact that BP and the govt have both exhibited concern mean that they too are espousing that which you falsely claim I have?
As for multiple accounts, that too is absolutely false.

You sound paranoid.

I expressed concern about the integrity of the well.

Can't argue with that. However, you did it the same way you just came in here with your A & B mystery, phrased in a way to suggest that something big and hidden and ominous is out there, and then took a shot at me but ducked away when I called you on it. It's your m.o., DougR. You like to freak 'em out.

I didn't think enough attention was being paid to the potential seriousness of the situation. It IS BP after all. They definitely needed to know they couldn't treat the situation with their usual cavalier approach...since that approach was a major factor in the first place.
I didn't realize that what I posted here was going to have the impact it did but since it did, BP now has the world breathing down their necks which is a good thing since they're one of the biggest f___-ups in human history.
And as for how you interpret the tone of what I posted, it's not that much different from the possibility of "certain doom" that has continually been espoused on this very website wrt peak oil.

I'm not saying that you're the Lone Ranger when it comes to the technique. I just flat out don't like it when there are vulnerable people whose lives are affected because they're already scared. And I actually believe that you didn't intend for it to have so much impact. But it did.

I also want to say that while wide concern over peak oil lends a boost to profitability for big oil, wide concern over public and environmental safety certainly does not. This difference should be taken into account when trying to reconcile the disparity in the nature of responses to voicing one concern or the other. It's been made quite evident throughout the comments here during the last few months.

And I actually believe that you didn't intend for it to have so much impact

Same here, especially since the major impact I've noted -- not being in attendance at GodlikeProductions or wherever else you hang out, dougr -- is that your credibility at TOD went straight to zero, where it's stayed. You, Matt Simmons, that loon in Pensacola, and the one we discovered today, "ProphecySeer," are, best I can tell, nothing but scamsters.


<<< I didn't realize that what I posted here was going to have the impact it did but since it did, BP now has the world breathing down their necks which is a good thing since they're one of the biggest f___-ups in human history. >>>

Yup, no one can dispute that.

....However, you did it the same way you just came in here with your A & B mystery, phrased in a way to suggest that something big and hidden and ominous is out there, and then took a shot at me but ducked away when I called you on it. It's your m.o., DougR. You like to freak 'em out.

Snake, earlier I chided you (gently intended) for getting so down our resident psychoanalyst David. Now I must aplaude you for calling bullshit on dougr. I'm inconsistant...I know, but thanks your above posts. Dougr is full of shit, IMHO, and deserves to be told so. I personally think he does intend to scare people (my own amateur attempt at psychoanalysis).

The WSJ reports that "BP PLC (BP) has begun testing ahead of an attempt to seal its damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico from above, the company said in a statement. The test began at 1:05 p.m. CDT..."


Does that mean they are pumping oil into the well right now?

To the ROV feeds!
Anyway which camera is monitoring the well head? Since I assume thats were the action is taking place.

Skandi 1

Thanks for clearing it up. I'm glad to have some knowledgeable opinions. You see, thats what a naive southern women needs sometimes!

Static kill has begun.....

Just confirmed by Kent Wells that injectivity test gave "textbook" results and static kill began at approx 3pm CDT. All going well so far.

static kill began at approx 9pm CDT

Nine PM? Zat a typo or did we just slip the surly bonds of the time-space continuum?

Nemmind. Thanks for the fix.

Wells said they will push the mud into the reservoir if they cement and everything goes good.

Could be a bummer of a day for DougR.

Actually, I think that Doug might be pleased, since Chu & Co carefully looked for some of the stuff he was most worried about. I know I appreciated their concientious testing of several factors.

If all of Doug's worries had been pure nonsense, do you think Chu and BP and The World's Greatest Engineers would have spent so much time testing for things?

And, yes. I really hope that the top kill is uneventful.

[Finally, Doug is right - your claws are showing, Dear.]

Never tried to hide 'em. I don't cotton to posters who like to scare millions of people needlessly.

Uneventful, what ever does that mean?
As for Doug I don't know much about his ideas, but I recall him being on the Simmons train.

Actually Lf…yes. “Chu and BP and The World's Greatest Engineers would have spent so much time testing for things”. They would be doing what their doing whether dougr or anyone else had the same concerns. In fact, they would be going thru this process even if they had no concerns at all. Most folks outside the oil patch don’t realize that many dozens of top kills are done in the Gulf Coast every year. Obviously most of these situations don’t involve a blow out let alone anything like the BP event. In the great majority of cases the wells are shut in before they blowout. But they’ve finally have the BP to the same state: shut in with flow lines ready to pump a kill pill. I’ve probably have had 8 or 10 top kills in my 35 years and they are following the standard testing protocol that was done on all those wells. I don’t want to sound blasé about it but it’s just SOP at this point. The only remaining big concern is cap/BOP/csg integrity. But that’s the same concern in every top kill. The only death I’ve every witnessed was during an onshore top kill test more than 30 years ago.

And I’m not a card carrying member of the “Pick on Dougr Club”. We had a couple of short chats early on but I didn’t really see anything that would add to my knowledge base. After that I would just skip his posts. That’s not a knock against him: most of the good folks on TOD can’t teach me anything I don’t already know. Additionally I’m a technonerd and not very interested in philosophical chats. OTOH it's nice to be one of the smartest people in the room for a change. Just very unfortunate it has to be in such a horrible situation. Not that I’m the sharpest pencil in the geologic box but even a dummy is bound to pick up something over the course of almost 4 decades. I don’t even have a problem with his theories…conspiracy or otherwise. I think TOD’s acceptance of unconventional thoughts is one of its greatest strengths. You may not be aware but some folks are run off of TOD…usually for being insulting or disrupted. Notice dougr and others are still here.

Would someone please give me their opinion on this video. It's the first time I have seen this.
I am not familiar with the web site.

Thank You!


Opinion: Utter nonsense. :-)

Search for "mimi1" and you'll find what you're looking for. Debunked.

Please avoid these and stick to TOD. It will be better for you.


I find quite a bit of entertainment value in some of this stuff. For instance, right now at godlikeproductions.com there's a thread about BOA DEEP C ROVs 1 & 2 discovering an "underground structure" and perching themselves on a walkway that leads into it, along with usual excitement about the ocean floor blowing up and gushing oil, prophecies about the entire Gulf blowing up in September, etc.

Actually I saw the "structure". It did look a bit odd, but I didn't think for a second it was anything but natural.

Snake, right on. godlikeproductions is always good for a belly laugh or two. OTOH, I often feel like washing afterwards.

As many here know, godlikeproductions is a classic example of the sites I referred to above that make a living on,(and is dedicated to) "Internet role playing" and fiction.

In case some readers are new, just scroll down and read their disclaimer at the bottom of their home page.

The only problem with these type of sites are that nobody ever reads the disclaimer (can't say you're not warned up front!) Some visit the site and think they're reading real stuff. Further, blogs start linking to some of the wilder stories and this junk becomes a small-scale meme.

Edit for typo.

I totally agree, and the disclaimer made me laugh out loud when I read it........to bad the other "run for your life doomers dont", but I'll give them this, GLP is quite generous, they donated almost $4,000.0 to the local nut. Maybe I should quit my day job and post ridiculous nonsense all day long as it is looking wuite profitable, thus the reason every time we have an even remote positive (like the cap actually stopping the flow into the GOM) these sites are compelled to scream "it's a lie and point to the invisible lake of oil 500 ft thick and 7-10 miles away) because if they acknowledge it there funds dry up and they might have to get a job where the employer is not the GOM !

I just hate giving them clicks while they put the fear of deity into people, I don't find that entertaining.


If you don't want to give them clicks. Do not accept cookies from their site.

Just of of curiousity, did this guy get mentioned somewhere today? Why the multiple interest in this particular set of YouTube videos?

I have a professional interest; I'm writing a paper on how this type of material spreads.

Pimping for clicks/pageviews. It's a attempt to make money. Is that you, Moonbeam?

Thank you so much.. I am so relieved..lol! Why people do this is beyond me. I hate to be suckered.

what is the difference between top kill and static kill?

The top kill was fighting oil flowing up, there is no flow with the static kill.

During the top kill attempt back in June oil and gas was flowing out the top of the wellhead while the engineers tried to force mud into it. You could call that a dynamic top kill attempt. The static kill they're trying just now has the well closed in so the oil in the well isn't moving but it is still exerting pressure and resisting the injection of the mud through the same ports in the wellhead. It's not getting blown out the top of the well this time so they think they've got a better chance of getting a column of heavy mud down the well to stop the oil from pushing up from the reservoir.

Why people do this is beyond me. I hate to be suckered.

Darlin', website names like "GodlikeProductions" and "PropheticSeer" oughta be pretty strong clues that suckered is exactly what people get there. Hm?

They got me a few weeks ago, showing a video of a rover somewhere in space-time that had no relation to the current spill. Sigh; I'm old enough to know better, too.

Thanks RM---- Allen said they are circulating before drilling out shoe. You are right about scale and mixing mud with O/G. Think he meant 7" production liner not drill pipe with respect to filling.

Just heard on radio and TV that BP/gov plans on pushing O/G into reservoir with kill mud, then mud into reservoir with cement. Then using RW to finally cement Macondo well from bottom.

First step is iffy, followed by the ridiculous, then the foolish, and then the impossible. Also heard BP was suspending RW during static kill, need to keep RW going because a hurricane will probably come within a month. What does John Wright think of this?

Maybe BP deserves that 4.1 million barrel X 4300$/B = 17 billion $ fine for spilling oil into GOM and being reckless.

Todfan, I listened to the call in briefing by Wells and that pretty much sums it up.

What does he think of it?
Though I think the plan could work even better if they do it in reverse by killing it from the bottom first.

Certainly Chu has been proven to be a reckless risk taker.

Yeah, reckless. They kept putting off everything till they had a complete 3D MRI of the area.

Yeah, and he stopped that top kill so as the poster said what they are doing now is maniacal and not at all well thought out :)

Risk aren't always bad but one most make the distinguishment between when you should be bold or cautious...and we should be cautious.

Tod - The injecting mud into the formation confuses me too. Mud is designed to not be pushed into a reservoir rock. The particles are too big to be injected. The particles will plate against the rock (form a “mud cake”). In fact, the primary purpose of the mud cake is to stop fluid from being injected into the formation. Maybe they are planning to use a non-particulate mud. These exist primarily for completion efforts. It can be weighted just as heavy as any particulate mud. But I gather they keep referring to “mud”. That would be a very odd way to refer to a heavy brine solution…i.e. a completion fluid. They could rev the mud pumps up to a 16.5 ppg ECD and potentially frac the rocks and inject the mud out of the csg that way.

I am new to the Board and trying to understand what is happening down there. Can someone please explain what is going in in this Youtube Video below?


During the expanding and dropping the ROV depth maintains a steady reading of around 1524.9 and 1525. Is this a Methane pocket?

Thank you for the boards Insight into this. Is this something we should worry about?


It is a leggo setup in a guys fish tank.

Son, repost police done bust you big time. Again, that video is absolute nonsense. Don't worry about it.

All though I agree with that statement. Can you explain why its nonsense, just to ease our woes.

Gee, HOS, it's so bogus that I hate to dignify it. Suppose a bubble of any gas did form under the seafloor. The floor is mud, totally unconsolidated. It would never lift up in a layer, the gas would just burst through. But assuming it could lift a layer, why did it go back down? Where did the gas go? This whole thing is just an illusion, and IMO a pretty obvious one. Looks like it's destined to go viral, though.

Well you dignified his reponse and in doing so we now know why it's ridiculous.
But I feel sort of bad, seeing how nobody here thinks the static kill will work, it makes me wonder if BP's engineers are stupid or just overconfident.

I suspect there are quite a few of us with time in the business who are in the range of somewhat-to-quite confident the so-called 'static' kill is going to work.

In fact, if they are running anything like 7bbl/min and have been pumping since 3pm Central time, they could be almost finished if the kill is 1200 bbls or so.

Of course, hard to tell when your perspective is that of a mushroom... :)

Anywho, I wouldn't sweat it too much as it will be all over bar the crying just shortly.

We could easily be into a cement job tomorrow or Thursday.


... a mushroom walks into a bar and sees a beautiful women. The mushroom sits next to her and says "will you go out with me" -- she says "no way" -- he says "why not" -- she says "because you're a mushroom".... and the reply -- "come on - I'm a fun gi"

LOL! It would be kind of interesting to know why we have a decent sized fluid leak from somewhere on the BOP stack.

Anyone have a good handle on where that's coming from exactly? Opinions on oil, gas or kill mud?

Let's see, we're 270 mins into the kill, and even at 4.5 bbls/min we would have 1200 bbls into the well. If everything was going perfectly, the well should be pretty much dead by now, and you would only see the differential between seawater and 13.2 mud inside the BOP...


Just speculation on my part.... but -- whey BP tried the top kill and the flow from the top of the stack changed colors -- BP declared that was mud coming from the top -- the color looks similar to me.

But I feel sort of bad, seeing how nobody here thinks the static kill will work, it makes me wonder if BP's engineers are stupid or just overconfident.

HoS, I don't know what to make of that statement, since it doesn't match up with what I'm perceiving in the comments here. Some TODers have reservations about this or that, but to say "nobody here thinks the static kill will work" so overstates the case as to be outlandish. And then to assume that the people who know most about what's going on with the well must be "stupid or just overconfident" -- well, I'm sorry, but that's simply ridiculous.

I can't really tell, but my impression is that you take whatever you read as The Truth (or maybe I should say, whatever you've just read last). Swallowing everything whole will get you choked faster than anything I know.

You've mentioned that you're young, but I don't know how young or what education you've had so far. Clearly, though, no one's yet taught you what we call "critical thinking skills" (that is, how to read or listen with care and some reserve, then to sift through the message and test it for accuracy before forming your own opinion). As soon as you can, I encourage you to find a course like that, maybe at a local university or community college, and to enroll. I think you'll enjoy it very much and always be thankful you had that training. Otherwise, you may face many years of unnecessary worry and confusion.

Meanwhile, just keep reading with as open a mind as you can, but always thinking, "Now, does this make sense? Or not?" Okay?

I think forum like this should be and is critical, not only in the sense of "critical thinking", but also by questioning everything we learn form public sources. BP and gov't do not discuss the negative outcomes and not much in terms of impacts in public, so posters here had to speculate a lot. This speculation covered a wide range of "paths" and "outcomes", hopefully wide enough that what actually happened had already been speculatively discussed here. One could say TOD modelling of the problem is comprehensive.

TOD is one of few places keeping BP and Govt honest (not that they care) but a least they can't bullhead our brains with BS.

Understand I'm just being rather bitter. I don't lack critical thinking skills so you can't link to me to someone who takes whatever he reads as absolute truth. As for my age I'm no older than twenty but it shouldn't matter because my knoweldge is not in engineering and I've come here placing my truth in you guys to give me an accurate picture of what's going on.
I don't know about the well head so I assume everyone else does. So when I hear members who I believe know what they're talking about, critizing the static kill to death. I take it as somebody screwed up and I should be critical too.

And no I'm not closed minded because I can't find myself joining either side.

I haven't said anything about the static kill because, not being an oilman, I don't feel qualified to judge. But from a purely mechanical standpoint, it should work. What I got from previous posts is that the real experts here think it might not be the best option - not that it won't work.

I suppose you want me to say thank you for not making me doubt this isn't the "proper solution"?
Well thank you.
Though I'm not really sold on that last part, how is something not being the best option and not working any different in the sense of it being a good idea.

As I see it, there were two ways to do the job. Both would work. One is slightly more certain, but would take longer. They chose the quicker way, and I think that's probably fine. Especially since the second way is still there in the slight event it's needed.

Calling Dr. Brown, Dr. David Brown.

Did I just get promoted or get an honorary doctorate? Be careful about inflating my ego too much, some of our fellow travelers through this murky world might take exception to it (I'm sure that there concern is only that I might explode like that elusive methane bubble).

Anyway I'll take look and see if I can contribute any.


One of the most important objectives of the college experience is to compress several years of experience, that others have distilled for you, so that you don't have to live as long to get to an acceptable level of mastery of your area of interest.

Unfortunately, as the professor's response to the student inquiring about the difference between theory and reality put it. "The difference is that, theoretically there is no difference, but in reality there is."

So the experience of higher education can approximate a compression of experience but can't entirely replace it.

As we grow older and more experienced we gain much more data about reality, some of it good, some of it bad. As we have an opportunity to test that data against reality some of it proves to be reliable, and some of it doesn't. As we get more and more data points we not only have a better sense of the trends, but we acquire the ability to see more detail as well.

As you might expect, the way you conduct yourself during that period has a significant impact on whether this experience has a positive impact on us or not. If we bounce from viewpoint to viewpoint as much because they're fresh and intriguing as because they promise to be useful to us, it is very difficult to maintain the kind of perspective which is necessary in order for us to adequately evaluate alternatives and more reliably choose amongst them.

If we continue to balance perspective with the acquisition of information we become better able to interact with our environment in ways that benefit us, and possibly even others.

I wrote a post earlier in one of these threads about the value of pausing for a moment (or longer, if possible), before deciding between divergent paths. The more we can do that, the better choices we make, and the results of those choices, be they good or bad, become a source of new, more tested data which we add to our collection.

If I were to give you counsel which might be helpful to you right now, I might suggest that you consider becoming the best sponge you can for information, and continue to ask questions to leverage that information into new, more detailed, and therefore possibly more easily evaluated, information.

You also may want to steer away from drawing conclusions at the beginning of any new exploration that you make. Lurking is good in this kind of forum, because it, over time, gives us a better ability to become acquainted with it, and begin to pick up some of the tone that will make it easier to interact effectively with it to acquire more information, see how different people process that same information, and thus exploit this resource to fullest effect.

All manufacturing processes require both raw materials and methods of processing that material. Here we're manufacturing ideas and we need the raw data, information, and the process to turn that raw material into useful ideas.

Remember, jumping to conclusions without some evaluation of the reliability and relevance of the information that you you have collected is likely to give you something more painful than the loss of that leg earlier.

As an example, I have heard at least 3 or 4 credible accounts of what a static (or perhaps more accurately a non-dynamic) kill would look like and all are based upon the same apparent fund of information, and all have come from reasonably credible sources. If three relatively well informed sources have such different understandings of these methodologies, does that mean someone is lying? Definitely not, but as an exercise you might want to explore how they could reach such different conclusions.

Good luck, and if this has put you to sleep that's not such a bad result either.

Thanks for your concern but I don't need to be lectured.
I've already been told this by several different members here at the oildrum and I've already read about every source provided via link or update. As for your lengthy lecture on the importance of college education, I believe that is self evident. At least in the sense that everybody should know the importance of one. Sadly I'm too young to enroll in any college, just a mere teenager in high school, so that door isn't quiet open.
Hence I asked you guys to present to me an accurate picture. I also get that we don't have the proper information to make an informed decision, which is why it seems we have multiple viewpoints on how this can play out.
I also already watched a video presentation on static kill and while it looks good in theory, I'm being cautious to not get my hopes up to high.

HOS - Actually a static kill is far from a theory. From above: "Most folks outside the oil patch don’t realize that many dozens of static kills are done in the Gulf Coast every year. Obviously most of these situations don’t involve a blow out let alone anything like the BP event. In the great majority of cases the wells are shut in before they blowout. But they’ve finally have the BP to the same state: shut in with flow lines ready to pump a kill pill”. But you and anyone else should still be concerned. No one has done a static kill in 5,000’ of water. And none have been done thru an experimental cap like this well has installed. Most static kills are done in a rather mundane way. Although not always. The only death I ever witnessed first hand was during an onshore static kill csg test over 30 years ago. Until we have the csg filled with the kill pill I’ll remain concerned about mechanical failure. And when that passes I’ll replace it with concern over getting cmt in the proper place to permanently plug this well.

Here's some interesting (and somewhat scary) reading regarding nearby (MC 118) methane deposits. You'll see on there that a methane burp in 2006 (post-earthquake) presumably led to a 10m x 3m crater. Unfortunately, they don't have anything in the paper about what the sea floor experienced prior to the burp.

As an aside, the Geco Topaz was very much concerned with this area when it was doing its seismic runs post-Bonnie (and before it mysteriously disappeared -- in spite of Thad Allen saying that it continues to do testing at the wellhead, go figure), actually not focusing on the wellhead too much at all. This surprised and concerned me, as Admiral Allen was enthusiastic about the ship being able to do seismic runs at the wellhead without too much other boat traffic after the storm. In reality, it was focusing some 10-13 statute miles north.

Without further ado, the article: http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/mmri/programs/multidisciplinary.pdf

Would you please tell us what website connected you to that (totally bogus) YouTube?

Its a giant underwater hyperbolic oxygen chamber filled wth sea poo.

and DHMO.

Can you call that by it's common name. People panic when they see complex looking chemical formula's.

Okay. Water. Of course there's some NaCl in there, too.


Dare I ask...DHMO? By the way - thanks to you Snakehead I always wear footwear when I'm in the GOM... Seapoo. LOL

Di-Hydrogen Mono-Oxide.

Sea poo, yeah, it's in there.

Ohhhh...I think I drank some of that. Yikes

Stay away from seawater, though. If you drink enough of it, it'll make you crazy and then kill you before its poo even gets a chance to.

There was considerable discussion of this 1 or 2 open threads back.


Q4000 ROV 1 appears to be looking at a light colored seabed seep (mud?), but the resolution is so poor its hard to tell anything more.

Last s/s I caught. Have bed conditions prior to emergence of lighter material. There were some emissions of darker substance.

observation 2

Immediately before above


If you can catch it on Boa Deep C #1, it looks like that same coupling is emitting what can only be described as white wisps of "smoke". Very odd.

If someone wants to teach me how to post a photo, I think I got a decent screen grab of it. :)

I seem to have lost that feed now, but at one point it seemed pretty clear there was a pipe buried in the mud. That looks like the coupling I could make out in real-time. I think whatever's happening there is not a seep.

I've been wondering about concerns with the subsurface piplelines in the area. If we opt for best case scenario-it's easier to fix a pipe than the seafloor-could the emission be from gas/oil line running through the site?

I duuno though, Pinkfud. I spent an hour yesterday with one of the rov's sneaking up on what looked like a translucent curtain rising through the floor up to rov level.. I've heard "silt" so often here that the thing that caught my attention was the fact that the rov was moving soooo slowly. I've learned enough here to watch heading and depth, and he stayed put once he got on the point of interest. I took over a hundred s/s of that ops. I've never seen a rov move at that pace. Usually they're real hot dogs and stir up so much stuff you can't read the screen for half an hour after they pass.

Whatever is emerging from the object on the floor is liquid. So if you're right, they've got a leaky line in the mud. If it's from the bed, it reminded me of that s/s of shallow water flow around a drill pipe. I don't know from methane, so one of you chemists will have to guess.

How about this one? Took it a minute ago. Alien green goo, anyone? There's something bubbling like made on skandi 7..Back to my s/s journal.

green emission from a top hat 8310

Hello all, first post. Many thanks to all for the information, I have learned much in the last several weeks from reading. Question about ROV positioning - does anyone know exactly how the X,Y is measured? Is there a gyro or accelerometer or something on board sending corrections up to the ship's GPS/nav system?

Hi Stackpole.

There are many others who can answer with more precision (paging Rovman & Shelburn), but the ROVs are navigating with the aid of a number of COMPATT acoustic transponders that are positioned on the seafloor around the work site. One is occasionally picked up for servicing or battery replacement. Here's a shot I took of one hanging from a ROV arm after the ROV detached it from its pole. I don't know how the transponders "know" where they are.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm seeing some crazy stuff on the video feeds. Did anyone catch a look at that 'bladder' type thing that appeared to be the size of a small whale, with an eye ring attached to the top? What is THAT? And, of course, the video of what appears to be oil gushing, black billows being sprayed with dispersant, not to mention other stuff.

Guess I don't see whatever you're looking at. But what I do see is that a leak on the stack has just increased big time. Still, I would expect that will plug itself as the well fills up with mud.

I'm tempted to say that you shouldn't worry.
In the conspiracy mind set they wouldn't even allow you to see this had this been an area of concern. So just let our beloved experts do their thing.

All that billowy stuff must be coming from all those Hos ROVing around the BOP. (sorry)

In fact, since oil is mostly immiscible in water I would expect very small oil leaks (like around the flex coupling) to form very small bubbles. On the other hand, Small mud leaks may just dissolve in water and come out as a plume.

There appear to be alot of comments on the board tonight about a video on U-tube

There is one thing missing from all these repudiations... facts.

Do any of you have substantial proof that the video is fake? I mean like a video of that ROV for that timeframe that is different or even a recollection of viewing the ROVs around that time and not seeing it?

Just how can you tell it is fake? Be specific.

Narrative aside and source in question the thing looks like a live feed from the BP ROVs.

Coincidentally, there is this event from around that time:

Earthquake Details
• This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
• Monday, August 02, 2010 at 04:34:29 UTC
• Sunday, August 01, 2010 at 11:34:29 PM at epicenter
• Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

30.815°N, 90.855°W
0.4 km (~0.2 mile) set by location program
• 16 km (10 miles) ESE (109°) from Clinton, LA
• 18 km (11 miles) W (265°) from Greensburg, LA
• 24 km (15 miles) NW (308°) from Montpelier, LA
• 48 km (30 miles) NE (35°) from Baton Rouge, LA
• 121 km (75 miles) NW (321°) from New Orleans, LA
Location Uncertainty
Error estimate not available
NST= 16, Nph= 16, Dmin=159 km, Rmss=0 sec, Gp=184°,
M-type="Nuttli" surface wave magnitude (mbLg), Version=7
• Center for Earthquake Research and Information, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Event ID


I believe it was more about narrative and methane emphasis than saying it was Adobe After Effects. Interpretation more than fake'ry seemed to me - the problem. g

Gah. Someone else take it this time. I will say (again) that the little earthquake was part of the New Madrid system and had nothing whatsoever to do with the well.


Your opinion is duly noted and well considered, but that does not eliminate the occurrence from consideration in discussions. The New Madrid system is not operating independent of the rest of the earth.

The video opens with a lie. There are no flashing red lights on the ROV or the video feeds.

From: "Alleghenian Reconstruction and Subsequent Evolution of the Gulf Of Mexico, Bahamas, and Proto-Caribbean" by Pindell in Tectonica, vol. 4, no. 1, January 1985:

"The probable suture zone, from east to west, lies between the Appalachians and the Mauritanides of western Africa; crosses Georgia between the Suwannee Basin and the Southern Appalachians; continues north of the Wiggins Arch and Sabine Uplift, following approximately the trend of the Gilber town-South Arkansas-Mexia graben system" (Pg 17)

In the figure,
SU = Sabine Uplift
WA = Wiggins Arch
JD = Jackson Dome (old core of a volcano)
MU = Monroe Uplift

This quake was much higher in elevation than that suture zone which passes SE to NW in that vicinity. The basement rock is anywhere from 8 to 10 km deep, and as the report states, the quake was at about 5 km depth which would place it in the sedimentary layers.

Related to BP Macondo Spew? Not hardly. Related to New Madrid? No. NMZ is a feature associated with the failed rift. If anything, it's related to the old suture zone passing by at a deeper level.

The depth states .2 miles depth (1056 feet) That seems rather shallow doesn't it?

Yeah, it does. The original report of the quake was at 5 km depth. At that shallow of a depth that makes it even less likely. May not even be associated with that old suture zone.

At that depth I'm thinking something even more localized. At Mag 3.0, that's about the same as 31.6 tons of TNT in energy.

I live in S. California and a 3.0 earthquake will not even make the evening news over here. A couple of years ago we had one that was literally 100 times stronger occur near Chino and there was virtually no serious damage. (And very little minor damage.)

You need to cut back on the caffiene and start listening to the people who know what they are talking about.

100x stronger? I doubt it. I live in S. CA too and the largest earthquake in recent memory had been the Mexicali earthquake.

100 times stronger than a Mag 3.0 would be about a 4.3 to 4.4.

(≈1,995 MJ vs 177,827 to 251,189 MJ)

Forgive me for that, I took it as a hyperbole meaning something drastically stronger.

Magnitude 5.4 so over 100x stronger. Strength of earthquakes is on a logarithmic scale so every time the magnitude goes up by one the strength multiples by 10. 3 > 4 10x stronger, 4 > 5 10x stronger, 3 > 5 100x stronger.


BOA Deep C ROV 1 --- ??? anyone

Looks like a bolted flange coupling, with the one side being a yellow Coflexip hose with possibly a ball valve between the hose and flange.

Looks like drilling mud leaking. Its such a pale color it looks water-based. Hmmm.


The feed goes in and out and I'm not sure what it is that's seeping out of there ... how do I post a picture on here?

Cap, on photobucket the html code is given. Paste it into reply and preview. More leaking things.



TOD, sorry about the bandwidth. Send you guys another donation. Wouldn't post so many graphics usually.

Heh. I guess there must be quite a fight going on down there.
Anyway what do those numbers mean? I never really paid much attention to them until now.

Which numbers, HOS? I'm just clarifying so someone else can answer. :)

The ones that look like marker? 20 - 16

I think they're marked locations, the other visible number is 12

O my, what are those pictures of?

There are two ships in charge of acoustic and seismic testing, the NOAA Henry Bigelow and the Geco Topaz, respectively, according to Thad Allen's briefing today (and for the past several days).

The Geco Topaz has been MIA on marinetraffic.com for days after spending several days in the area of MC 118 after Bonnie, it's last given location being some 340nm to the WSW early yesterday morning (but this is only known from going through the "back door" to its location -- the boat can't be seen on the maps at all).

The Bigelow has been anchored about 8nm away for the past 45 minutes or so.

I don't know what it all means but I find it a tad on the creepy side, especially the Topaz part.

The stuff coming from the capping stack (where is this leak exactly?) looks like oil - it appears to be rising.

Should it not be mud?

Or is it the residual oil above the injection point being forced out at the higher pressure level?

They did agree to 8 ksia maximum, right?