BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Start of the Static Kill - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6810.

This is the second copy of this thread. The first copy can be found at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6806.

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.

Ping Heiro-of-Syracuse
Sorry, the thread rolled over. ROV screens
N - Northings
E - Eastings
D - Depth
Alt - Altitude (by sonar so may refer to object underneath rather than bottom)
Hdg - Heading
I'll let you figure date and time :) E & N are in Universal Transverse Mercator and the first 4 above may be imperial or metric or mixed depending on ROV. HTH


I think it was you who asked but I'm talking about the numbers on the well or undersea vessle. It had a 20 and 16 on it. I was just curious to what it meant.
Also Rockman, I guess that is what I meant about theory, static kill has never been tried 5,000 feet under water. So I think my doubts are slightly justified.
And please gentlemen just call me Heiro, shortening my name to HOS gets sort of confusing because you tend to shorten most oil terminology.

HOS - More than slightly IMHO. See below.

My apologies, Heiro , I understood that you meant the ones on the screen. It was TearsForGulf that asked and I really don't know, perhaps it's the service desk phone number :) ... (not really that last bit)


They look like bolt identifiers to me.

MC252 Field Development

Now that Macondo Well #1 has Good Mud in the hole, NOT the Bad Mud which it was Originally drilled / cemented with, Macondo Well #2 and Macondo Well #3 can re-cement ("Double Squeeze") the Macondo Well #1 for production. Fishing out the Drill Pipe with Good Mud in the hole simple, After nippling down the Christmas Tree, and the Blowout Preventer of course. Well congratulations BP plc, You now know to NEVER drill / cement with Bad Mud in the hole, Same caused 18 other Gulf of Mexico blowouts. Double Squeeze, fish out the Drill Pipe, log and perforate Pay Zone.

Happy Trails Wells

Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Society of Exploration Geophysicists; API Spec 13A - Specification for Drilling Fluid Materials, Eighteenth Edition (18th Edition), American Petroleum Institute / 01-Feb-2010 / 126 pages.


In Spec is Good and Out Spec is Bad



Here's a question I wonder if anyone might have thoughts on.

Two "relief wells" are being drilled at a great cost to releive the problimatic one. According to US corporate tax code BP will be able to write off 1/3 of the expenses of the clean up (can you say BP taxpayer bailout?) so...

Wouldn't BP want additional wells drilled anyway? Are the US taxpaiers simple getting stuck with a chunk of the bill (which may be inflated) for BP contuned explotation of this reserve?

Not sure the relief well drills are considered "clean-up" and I believe it was requested by the USA government that they drill two in case one missed, they would have another to get right onto for expedience. g


You say: "According to US corporate tax code BP will be able to write off 1/3 of the expenses of the clean up (can you say BP taxpayer bailout?)"

First, I don't understand why the writeoff is limited to one third of the cost since the clean up is a cost of doing business.

But in any case, what is your point? Taxes are levied on profits. If BP makes a botch of things and thus incurs massive additional expenses, it suffers a reduction in profits or an outright loss. Are you suggesting that it should nevertheless be taxed on its capital as a punishment for incompetence?

That seems unreasonable, since BP is already liable to penalties of billions for the oil spill. Or is it that you just want to see the company destroyed? This seems to be a common view. However, it would be an abandonment of the principle of a government of laws. Furthermore, it would seem to unduly penalize BP shareholders as compared with, say, shareholders of the auto companies whose products kill 40,000 Americans a year and generate massive air pollution. And the pharmaceutical industry may actually kill more Americans than the auto makers.

American industry is doing badly enough as it is, surely you don't really want to dismantle what remains.

And this surprises you why??? LOL...not trying to be a smart ass nino, but it sounds like business as usual to me...

I'm sure corporations would be happy to see the government reduce this "bailout" by reducing the corporate tax rate to say 1 %. :-)

What would it take to pipeline oil from a Gulf well and evade the MMS reporting of production?

Jumper - An act of God. But I'm not 100% sure that would work.

What would it take to pipeline oil from a Gulf well and evade the MMS reporting of production?

An unimaginally vast conspiricy of silence involving so many thousands of people that you and me are about the ONLY people in the country who aren't in on the secret ;-) In other words it would be virtually impossible to do something like that and not have word leak out.

Too many big ships, too many big machines, too much activity at the shore end, and mainly....far too many people involved who would never breathe a word to anyone.

MMS-GOM, the experts here say like a fake moon shot. Iran embargo oil, very easy to sneak into the system.

I completely understand that this is a horrible analogy for this situation...because quite frankly, the gulf oil spill really can't be considered to be within the same category (although it is a perfectly valid analogy in the case of the 9/11 attack)...but I love it when people shoot down questions about a possible cover-up with the answer, "too many people involved, too many people to keep quiet, etc." Has anyone ever heard of the Manhattan Project? Just sayin...

And that project, even in wartime, was every effectively pentrated at all levels by Soviet military intelligence (GRU) as well as the foreign intelligence department of the NKVD. The Soviet's first atomic bomb, RDS-1 (codename "Pervaya Molniya" or "First Lightning" by the Soviets and "Joe 1" by us), was a very close copy of the Fat Man gadget for design, processes, shape and even yield.

Read "Dark Sun" by Richard Rhodes (the follow-up to "Making of the Atomic Bomb" - read both actually) to learn about the degree to which the Manhattan Project was compromised.

The only way to really keep a secret to to not share the information with anyone else but yourself. The probability of any secret being outed is directly proportional to the number of people who know it.

What about Alexander Feklisov? First he helps steal the secrets for the atom bomb. Then later, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he arguably helps prevent WWIII.

After Aleksandr Semyonovich Feklisov escaped the US, he later also ran Klaus Fuchs in London in 1947 and picked up the technology on plutonium production that Fuchs failed to acquire while in the US during wartime.

Check out the story of the Lend-Lease flights out of Great Falls Montana starting in 1942. In addition to legitimate Lend-Lease materials, the Soviets took much of the stolen atomic secrets contraband out of the US on our own C-47s in black suitcases with white rope and crimson wax seals. The "take" was massive and included the first sample of highly-enriched uranium desired by Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov. This pipeline operated as both a port of entry for Soviet spies and an exit for their take. USAAF officer George Racy Jordan discovered, documented and reported the evidence of espionage, included the stolen atomic secrets, but was ignored at the time.

I wasn't going to bring this up but I will do tiny thumbnails. I pick Donald Trump and Emperor Akihito, but I swear I just do not who could not see the problem here. Especially someone alive even if very young in 1942. I apologize to any I might offend, but these are tags on public display. I have to ask what do people think sometimes.

Yes, I understand that...but that was hardly the point I was trying to make...I wasn't concerned with the Soviets' knowledge of the program...on the other hand, everyday citizens can be kept in the dark about pretty much anything...even as this was occurring in their own country, "The Manhattan Project began as a small research program in 1939, which eventually employed more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion ($22 billion in present day value)."

Stephen I. Schwartz Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998.

Well when Truman and Lemay got through with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cat was pretty much out of the bag. Folks hid the nuke stuff out of fear and because of patriotism. Once the bombs fell, government has to fess up. From the U2 to the Stealth Bomber, some projects are kept under good but not perfect secrecy.

Yes but the Manhattan Project was not in the middle of one of the most trafficked areas of the country (unlike the GOM) and did not involve utilizing corporate equipment that is tracked by the world wide oil industry. There are only so many pipe laying ships, only so many drilling rigs, etc. Five years ago when I was in the business it was easy enough to look where every rig, j-lay, stinger, etc. was and where it was scheduled for 6 months to 2 years in advance.

My point is that the containment of the secret of the program was largely an illusion. Wartime patriotism in an epic struggle kept it out of the press and the average American wasn't aware of the details. However, large numbers of people outside of the program knew about it albeit absent the details. The Soviets, however, had the details too and they weren't that hard to acquire.

The much-vaunted iron-clad secrecy around the Manhattan Project was largely a myth fostered by TPTB at the time to cover-up just how badly they DIDN'T keep the secret when it counted (and out of the hands of the Soviets).

...but I love it when people shoot down questions about a possible cover-up with the answer, "too many people involved, too many people to keep quiet, etc." Has anyone ever heard of the Manhattan Project? Just sayin...

Keep in mind that the Manhattan project was confined to a limited number of locations. A relatively small group in Chicago, a couple of (in those days) very isolated locations such as Los Alamos, and a few other labs. A large number of people to be sure, but people clustered in a few locations. Also, because it was wartime, people were willing to be sequestered for long periods of time inside security fences.

Also there were a lot of other secret projects going on. Hence a worker could go home and when his/her spouse said "Honey what are you working on?" he/she could say "I can't tell you, it's top secret" and get away with it. You could hide the tree of the Manhattan Project in the forest of other secret projects. I'm having a hard time pictureing a hand on a deep water pipe laying vessel getting away with that.

As someone else noted, the project was penetrated by the Soviets. Also, certainly lots of ordinary people were aware that secret weapons research was going on out in the desert. They may not have know 'what' was going on, but they knew 'something' was happening. Because it seemed at least somewhat plausible that we could actually loose the war, and because almost everyone knew someone who might be killed by the enemy, people were far more willing to accept secrecy. Remember the junior officer who was careless with information about the planned Normandy invasion? His own parents turned him in!

You also have to remember that to do anything with your secret undersea oil pipeline, you need to do something with the oil. You need to bring it ashore and connect it to another pipeline or run it to a refinery. This multiplies the number of people who are involved. Most of whom aren't making millions, and thus have nothing to be gained by not talking with their buddies at the bar.

Finally, the oil biz is very competetive. Almost every company of any size has people trying to get a clue about what the others are up too. It's called "competitor analysis". In most cases it involves perfectly above board activities like keeping track of who has leased which rig etc. Remember there are only a limited number of vessels capable of laying pipelines in 5000+ feet of water. Have no doubt that every big oilco knows which pipelaying rig is where working for who at all times.

Sorry, but I don't find the Manhatton Project a convincing analog.

Hence the reason I said it wasn't a good analogy...

but in the case of 9/11...which was really what I was alluding to when I stated, "...but I love it when people shoot down questions about a possible cover-up with the answer, "too many people involved, too many people to keep quiet, etc."...I think it's a valid point.

Stephen I. Schwartz Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998.

"The Manhattan Project began as a small research program in 1939, which eventually employed more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion ($22 billion in present day value)."

That's a lot of people to keep silent...everyday Americans may have known that "something" was happening, but they didn't have the slightest clue as to what that "something" was...

Final point regarding double super secret oil pipelines. While Manhattan Proj had had the help of patriotism to keep it secret, you're secret pipiline can really only depend on bribary to keep it hidden. The only gain on doing it secretly is to avoid government royalties and taxes, and fees for EIS etc (not that those are trivial). I suspect if you look at how many people you would need to bribe, then do a financial analysis, you would find your expense in bribary would severly cut into whatever extra profit you might gain over just doing your pipeline in the conventional manner.

Not to mention that when some of those folks figured out more of the big picture (as some no doubt would) they would demand more and more money to buy their silence. Unless of course you think BP has available a squad of former SAS and SBS troopers who will act as hitmen.....but wait.....now we need to buy their silence also....
.....My God...why is that black helicopter landing in my yard....

There would have to be drawings, a CD, website, something. Even crooked pros could not do it all on an Etch-a-Sketch.

Well it certainly appears that OUR Coast Guard and Law Enforcement officials have been taking direct orders from BP since the beginning of this whole mess...so why not special ops hitmen squads as well??

And a certain number of them talked! (which is my point). See my comment above.

So how about if an "event" or "plan" in question involved a large group of people whom would all have a lot to loose if said "event" was revealed? What if this same group was guaranteed to reap a lot of money from their shared silence? Would such a secret be able to be kept then?

Depends on how much their tongues get loose as to how much they would gain or lose. Just a thought ";-^) g

Is mud being pumped into the well now, and if so, does anyone know the current pressure at the BOP?

Hos Rov 2 shows a gauge with a reading of 700 psi. Is that the well pressure or what?


Thanks for any enlightenment.

Speaking of Blow Out Preventer, do they plan to move it during or after the kill?

Heiro, I don't think anyone answered you about the BOP. This "kill" should really be termed the "death blow". The REAL kill will occur with the relief well, when they pump cement in using a flexible drill pipe, where they can most accurately place the cement where it has the best chances to cure properly. Only after a successful cement job from one or more of the relief wells will they feel safe enough to remove the BOP for its autopsy.

I'd like to say something else. I get far behind in TOD msgs and end up gulping at a prodigious rate. I miss things sometimes and skip over other things, and often laugh out loud at parts. Something I had missed while chuckling at your dihdrogen monoxide adventure was your age. Some folks here make fun of TinHat because of his quirky posts, but he did something interesting a while back by asking who the president was when we were born. That was an oblique but polite way to gauge everyone chronologically here. I was surprised at how old most of the posters were, which likely has a lot to do with the "stickiness" of this site for me, since I generally am quickly bored by insipid posts made at certain otherwise technical sites by an immature element.

You sir, are to be commended by sticking it out here with us old-fogeys. I have never had much faith in psychologists (sorry David) but this man redeemed the entire profession by himself. His work on birth order originally attracted me because my IQ was substantially higher than my birth order would have predicted. But his work was so compelling I had to figure out what was up. It turns out, according to my (large) family lore, that from a VERY young age I had a tendency to hang out with older people, often MUCH older. I just found them to be more interesting than my peers. After a fairly long and successful life, the only downside for me is that in my 50's I have an unusual number of friends in their 80's and some who have died. On the upside, I have been the beneficiary of tremendous knowledge and wisdom my entire life.

You clearly are smart, you're only getting fooled on some things because of a lack of experience (which mostly comes with age OR intense observation). If your skin is thick enough, please stick it out, here and elsewhere and we all may be surprised with what you discover. After all, us old folks are counting on the next generation to bail us out of all our messes, and they'll have to be REALLY smart to pull that off. :)

Jseus Crsiht, he's tlaknig aubot his IQ aigan.

Lu, they haven't given out any numbers that I'm aware of. Regarding the gauge, I believe I remember Kent Wells saying that it was for the hydraulics, not the well pressure.

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 well to the same state: shut in with flow lines ready to pump a kill pill”. Just two days ago one of my onshore wells operated by a partner did a static kill. The csg packer failed as they were testing it. Took a pretty good NG kick. But they saw the well unloading mud and quickly shut it in. And no one other than those involved will ever know it happened. Except for folks on TOD now.

But you and anyone else should still be concerned. No one has done a static kill in 5,000’. 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.

My I direct you to my comment a little post higher?

But you outlined the problems already, this hasn't been tested in a situation remotely similar to this. We don't know what to expect, but I figured since they capped the wellhead the amount and pressure of mud being shot in wouldn't need to be so high. Time will tell.

Rock - It's probably not the highest honor for you to receive a thumbs up from me...but I must say that I really appreciate your comments...they seem to be honest, straight forward, and somewhere smack dab in the middle of skeptical and authoritative. I like the fact that you present information with the if's and but's included, and yet at the same time you provide those of us who are listening to you with a more postive perspective.

I really hope this works and they kill that damn thing...

I'd also like to offer an apology to anyone I've been annoying on here...I think widelyred termed them "insipd posts." And I'm not saying he was referring to me, I'm just saying that I'm in that "age" category to which he is referring and most of the things I have stated or questions I've asked might turn people off, due to my inquisitive and sometimes conspiracy-minded nature...for that I apologize. I'm honestly here to learn and to calm any concerns I may have about this whole mess.

louie - Wow...complimentary, apologetic and paranoid. You're a fine addition to our happy little family. You've found a home on TOD, grasshopper. LOL.

Allow me to post the first one. And hope some experts have great answer.

Adm. Allen's reply to a reporter said there is a possibility that something could be wrong and gushing oil may appear again. Yet he had no remedy, like to catch the oil. Why can't they catch the oil? Don't they claim to be ready for all possibility? Is it so hard to catch the oil?

Well it is under water and most of their oil collecting machines are on the surface. Though they did outline their backup plans in case something goes wrong. I forgot what it was, but they seemed pretty prepared.

Heiro, Appreciate your reply on BP's lack of readiness in catching oil in case something goes wrong and oil gushing again. I think your reply meant that they may hook up to a riser which has proper receivers above. The problem is during the process of hooking up to a riser of something. It takes much time to finish connecting task. It is down there a mile deep and the work will be performed by ROVs, etc.

Any new thoughts, Heiro or anyone?

NIK - Just my guess what he meant. But if they pressure up and split the csg near the sea floor it could easily be impossible to every capture it. Instead of flowing up a pipe just a foot or two in diameter it could be gushing out of a gash in the sea floor a hundred yards long. It has happened in some blow out. We actually have a term for it: the well "cratered". See John Wayne's "Hellfighters" movie for a depiction of a cratered well. At that point the only hope would be the RW.


Haven't been to the coast in months (I live in Tallahassee) but hope I'm hoping good old St. George Island and St. Joe Peninsula are as beautiful as ever when I get down there this fall. I don't post often but it doesn't take long to figure out that you carry alot of respect around the TOD. Your concerns makes me sit up and take notice. I'm hoping for the best outcome over the next day or two. I'll take it a good sign when you crack a few good jokes again. Seriously though, thanks for all the info over these past weeks.


Heckifino... TLH also, was on St. George 2 weeks ago. All is as it was good and bad.

Harry A's is getting bad reviews again, but I can't tell it's changed.


Rockman, appreciate your reply. Wow, one hundred yard gash, that is a big mess. (RW means run away? or real world? )

For spill confined in a small area, is that possible to catch the oil with some conduit (big enough to catch oil) and direct it to a safe location. Then redirect it to the surface for collection/disposal, etc.? Is this concept feasible? I understand many things have to be considered to get it right.

For the long gash case, we may use a semi-circular shape conduit to catch the oil which is then direct with an closed conduit to a safe location as the previous case.

RW=Relief Well

RW=Relief Well

Conduits won't work very well, especially on a "gash". The only solution is to pump mud into the formation from a RW in that case then cement any paths the hydrocarbons could escape from. See Ixtoc disaster, they had a "gash" caused when the rig collapsed on the wellhead.

Rockman, appreciate your reply. Wow, one hundred yard gash, that is a big mess. (RW means run away? or real world? )

For spill confined in a small area, is that possible to catch the oil with some conduit (big enough to catch oil) and direct it to a safe location. Then redirect it to the surface for collection/disposal, etc.? Is this concept feasible? I understand many things have to be considered to get it right.

For the long gash case, we may use a semi-circular shape conduit to catch the oil which is then direct with an closed conduit to a safe location as the previous case.

Yup, rainyday, that's the process they have in mind and that will meas as Allen said “some discharge in the environment were that to occur. “ Wouldn't it better to catch the spilled oil ?

There's a fleet of heavy-grade skimmers parked a few miles west of the City of Ships at the moment. They were mentioned in postings a few days ago with people wondering what they were doing there. If something does go wrong then the folks running this barn dance have an option available to them to mitigate the failure of the static kill while they proceed with Plan C (or Plan F or however they've got it labelled on a big chart somewhere).

Allen responded yesterday to a question about what facilities currently exist for resuming containment of the oil and gas should the need arise as a result of a problem created by or during the static kill - perhaps you are referring to that reply? He outlined what would have to be done to re-establish the Q4000 and Discoverer Enterprise in their previous containment roles and added:

I would tell you, this would not happen overnight. There will probably be some discharge in the environment were that to occur. But the capping stack is in place. We've detected no anomalies. And the science team, together with BP engineers, have determined that it is safe to move ahead with the injection test and the static kill at this point.

We've also directed that, in the event that something happens and there is some kind of a discharge, we have 22 very large ocean skimming equipment vessels, though, standing by as we are doing this.

8.2 Allen briefing

Dear BP
If you are monitoring this thread please note. In your Tweets you give a shortlink to a video of the news briefings. These are links to CNN. However, if you are in a foreign land, CNN redirects this to the local version of CNN instead of the requested link. That means I cannot see your news. I cannot use the link to go through Proxify to get the US or UK version as you give a shortlink. I expect I could use more Foo to extract the link but it is bad enough having to use Proxify in the first place. This is all extremely irritating for someone who wishes to find out more about what is happening. Even if you persist in linking to CNN would you kindly provide a real link that would enable me to use Proxify.

Thank you.


I'm sorry, but that is oh so funny. (and likely par for the course with BP)

Couldnt help checking your info M4570don...
Do you BP guys change ID every 5 days or so :)

I would include the Houston Chronicle's site on the spill at


I noticed the photo link in the last thread. Err....if that is the manifold, it doesn't exactly look intact.

What say you?

I can not say for positive where that is at. Skandi one is there now blowing a wand on it and its fans but will not pull back so I can get my bearings.


Actually, I went back and looked at the dates of the photos. The photos I find most interesting and I don't think I've seen before are dated 7/20/10. I think the screen shots read something like: Junk Shot Manifold Survey.

For anyone who is interested, here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45732805@N02/with/4858706714/

This may be old news and I missed it but the photos are interesting.


"last thread"...what thread...what post...where's the setting to view these threads in linear mode...? it's driving me crazy...crazy i tell you...nuts...

I remember driving on I-40 and getting off at Hope, AR. There were, IIRC, 10-15,000 trailer parked in rows for as far as could be seem; sinking up to their axles in muddy fields. Our tax dollars at work.

This was our own folks selling us out. We have plenty of homegrown devils too. Good ending though. The company saw the error of their ways, so it ends good. Did you see my comment about giving them to Anniston for target practice?

I would think that by now, five years later, the urethane insulation has outgassed all the formaldehyde. Esp after baking in the Louisiana and Arkansas sun for all those years.
Open them up and air them out for a few days and any residual levels will clear. Industry uses these same materials in passenger cars, mobile homes, business and residential buildings and that does not get all the headlines. But involve FEMA and all of a sudden its a huge conspiracy.

Well, there's proof that BP is running the whole show, including this website -- they rolled it over onto a new page right after I made my comment. Clearly, I must've gotten too close. :)

Actually, though, I do want to hear what y'all think about this. BTW, the Henry Bigelow is still parked, as are most of the other boats in the area.

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.

Not sure, good observation. More sensors or eyes during the kills processes seems like a SOP play. Keep us posted.

Like I asked...where's the linear mode???????????????????????????????????????????????

johnebe you can always click on the "The Oil Drum" at the top of the window and see a list of the threads.

email the site admin.
support at theoildrum dot com


I don't know if I'll add to your worry or relieve it, but there are several other boats out there right now running acoustic transects for BP & NOAA that don't show up on marinetraffic.com. Over the past couple of weeks quite a few of them don't appear on marinetraffic or appear and disappear, but are collecting data. I thought that they just turned their transducers off when in port, but some are actively sampling today and don't show up.

Also, I see a ship track for NOAA Henry Bigelow that's been going in and circling the well clockwise at ~2km radius, then ducking out of the way to the SW for a bit. As of now, it appears headed back in for another loop, although it may be counter-clockwise or else heading in for something else.

Wow...nobody wants to try to explain that one do they Cap'n...

This is news to me:

Secretary Ken Salazar report: BP relief well BOP fails test: Static kill might be it.

"While a BP statement on Monday may have cited concern over debris found in the relief well, Reuters reports, “U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a memorandum that problems were identified "in recent weeks" with blowout preventers on BP Plc's relief wells, which are seen as the only proven way to kill the Gulf of Mexico oil leak.”


Does a relief well even need a BOP? I have never noticed the already posted answer.

Good question, TFHG. I don't have a clue. Nor do I know anything about this newspaper, although quoting Reuters sounds rather convincing.

Definitely needs one. In case of blow-out. To prevent one.

If you are killing and have shutoffs and taps setup all along the line, at some point does the BOP become a marginal return safety device? Do you worry about the emergency brake on your car if you are barreling for a stop sign or do you go ahead and put all your faith in the main brakes? Especially since it is a weaker, less reliable, and less maintained system. Maybe a bad analogy but being close and being in relief mode should count for something, no?

You don't have shutoffs and taps in a well. It's just a hole in the rock with a steel pipe bonded in. If you make a mistake in a difficult well, oil and gas will come right up the pipe and if you don't have a BOP you activated in time, they will come up to your ship or drill rig. Pretty much all wells have some kind of BOP device. It is too dangerous without one.

As it turns out, unfortunately BOPs have about a 50% real-life reliability record, so it is dangerous WITH them, as well.

Sorry, I did not suspect the BOP was such a critical piece of American made, Chinese re-engineered, prone to failure, and so inadequate for the job equipment. Reminds me of the K-19 movie where critical welds were made with gas grill quality beads. The anti-radiation suits were really chemical resistant suits.

Yes, they need a BOP just like any well that will encounter pressure.

Ok, I buy it. Was there a time before BOP's? I just hope a questionable BOP does not slow the relief wells down.

Yes, because the odds are that the same circumstances that caused the Macondo blowout could happen again.

Yes...but NOT the kind that can get launched nine miles away...

The success rate of relief wells are high but there is always a small chance of the procedure failing. I do not know if it is standard procedure to equip BOP's to relief wells but when it comes to environmentally hazardous tasks like this, it should always be essential to have a (near) fail-safe system like the BOP to rely on when something goes wrong so that you can seal off the problem and have time to engineer a new containment plan.

Again, for the record the "near fail-safe" BOPs have a real-life reliability rate of ~50%.

Known in the oil industry for several years, at least.

Do you predict a change in that number over the next five years? Maybe 75% or better?

My standard disclaimer: I’m not in the oil business! However, I think I’ve got a good analogy.

I spent a lot of time doing consulting work in the military and, for a while years ago, had “tech rep” status that required me to carry a sidearm when in theater. I took my training and weapons qualification from an old Marine DI who, upon retirement, became a range master at a large federal facility in the DC area. Things he could do with a handgun were kind’a spooky (still wore an old Smokey-the-Bear campaign hat too.) He taught us to NEVER trust the safety on a weapon; that the most unsafe weapon was a “safed” weapon. If you EVER relied on the safety instead of treating the weapon with the proper respect 100% of the time, something or somebody unintended was going to get shot.

I have a hunch that BOPs are similar. If you ever really need one to work to prevent a blowout, you probably are already badly pushing the envelope. Like the safety on my M1911, the best practice is to operate like you don’t have one. Then, if you do need it, press the button and say a prayer as you bend over to kiss you’re a$$ goodbye.

Of course, we need better BOPs, but keeping a weather eye on processes and procedures 100% of the time and expecting a well to bite you at any moment sounds like a good idea too. Taken together, perhaps both could yield a much higher number.

BTW, all of this I’ve learned only by lurking here for the last couple of months. Hope I got it right.

Unloaded and safed weapons kill more than loaded ones, so the old saying goes.

Dimity -- More like 40+ years. I don't have the stats but I suspect the current failure rate is the best we've had during this period. many hundreds died during the bad ole days of the 50's and 60's.

FOR ALL: BOP's are required by law for any well drilling in the OCS.

Dima, that's really interesting. What do you mean by reliability? The reason I ask is because I've never seen an annular blow out preventer or a pipe ram fail when used in real life. I never saw a blind ram fail a pressure test. But I'm not a drilling engineer, I only worked on rigs during the completion phase. So where do you get those numbers?

So where do you get those numbers?

Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html

IIRC, the new regulations proposed include such things as additional rams and circuit breaker modes in case communication is lost from the ship to clamp shut. There was an article about this today in the WSJ I believe, but I can't seem to get the query right on the search terms for wsj.com to find it. :(

Couldn't find that article, but found this one. Unfortunately the wsj article is the one that had the newest regulations. On the other hand, I am not sure that they could require the RW ships to have BOP's that adhere to a new standard that just saw ink this week. It IS wise they are being careful, but they shouldn't be foolish, the BOP is a last defense, not an integral part of the system. Of course this administration is clearly aware that it would be the pinnacle of irony if the spill were to be stopped on Macando but begin anew on one of the relief wells.

I swear we have been played the whole time.

They do not want to drill into that well.

Before I go all wish washy again, what does that mean?
I am 100% interested in hearing an explantion and would like to learn more about engineering

Is that better Doc?

MUCH better, Heiro. :)

So when the Marianas went in for repairs...i assume they disconnected from the BOP and left it in place...?

And then the Horizon came back out to resume, they had to snake back through the BOP to resume drilling...?

Wouldn't it be easier to just move over 400 feet or so and start a new hole...

Another panic based article, boy aren't the newshounds going to work hard for their stories when this is all over. Problems fixed, tested,passed, move on.


Problems with the two relief well BOPs were uncovered when the new, more stringent standards for BOPs were applied. The problems were reportedly fixed.

From Salazar's scathing memo of a couple of weeks ago:

It is clear that the apparent performance problem with the Deepwater Horizon's BOP is not an isolated incident. Performance problems have also been identified in recent weeks with the BOPs on the relief wells that BP is drilling. The problems have been uncovered during new testing requirements that were imposed on the relief wells after the BP Oil Spill, thus providing more evidence that prior testing requirements were inadequate. It is unlikely that these problems are unique to BP. The BOPs are manufactured by a very small number of companies, and BOPs used across the industry tend to employ standardized components.

Some of the problems with the BOPs included:
* During ROV hot stab testing, the Lower Marine Riser Package disconnect function was unsuccessful because of a leaking shuttle valve.
* A failed shuttle valve caused an unsuccessful test of the All Stabs Retract function.
* A failure of the deadman test because a shuttle valve was installed that should not have been.
* A broken solenoid connection on the blue pod that prevented that pod from closing the casing shear rams.

More discussion here:
BP's Relief Wells Had Blowout Preventer Problems Just Like Deepwater Horizon

It is unlikely that these problems are unique to BP.

Especially since the Deepwater Horizon BOP was owned by the drilling company Transocean, not by BP.

So far as I know, it is usual for the drilling company to own the drilling rig and it's associated BOP.

So far as I know, it is usual for the exploration companies to employ drilling companies.

Just my ¤0.02 worth

Bringing over that new leak video.


LOVE the female voice at the beginning: "And that's when all hell broke loose!"

LOL LOL I had not paid any attention to that. I had Cnn on and they were talking about that work place shooting today.

It is not a very bad leak, all things considered.

Everybody should keep in mind that the mud weight they are using will not lead to a zero gauge pressure at the wellhead. There will still be 3500 psia or 1300 psig inside the capping stack, which means we will see some leaking until the well is finally cemented either through the current process or through relief wells.

The leaks should get smaller when the well is successfully filled with mud (gauge pressure will decrease from 4800 psig to 1300 psig).

Not a bad leak at all really and I bet if any mud ends up going up it will plug it.

They are keeping a close eye on it too.

Pardon me if this has already been asked but why is BP bothering with the static kill? What is the benefit of doing a static kill and then plugging the well via the relief well vs. just going the relief well route. There must be some rationale for doing both the static kill and relief well????

There has been lots of discussions on this. This well has an unknown leak path and "static kill" can clearly address the main bore, while the relief well can plug the annular space around the main pipe and the hole in the rock.

The bottom line is both approaches carry risk. My opinion is that the "static kill" had more unknown risk at this time. Hopefully they took this risk and won the odds.

I posted this a little further up in the thread.... take a look at the photos dated 7/20/10. Screen shots say something like: Junk Shot Manifold Survey. The manifold looks a little bent out of shape (no pun intended). Doesn't seem likely this would have been a result of Bonnie.

For anyone who is interested, here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45732805@N02/with/4858706714/

ZBoson, that is a debris field that ROV was exploring. I figured it was wreckage from the explosions on the drill ship or the sinking of it.

I think the screen shots say Junk Shot Manifold Survey. Kinda hard to make out. I don't think it is relevant to the static kill operation, nevertheless, interesting photos.

Sounds like the pressure is dropping; by morning (depending where you are) we will probably learn the well is dead.

Update on static kill from CNN.com

In previous operations, when BP was testing the "integrity" of the well, it wanted to see rising pressure readings, indicating the capped well was holding up. But in the static kill, declining pressure is a good sign, indicating the mud is proceeding down the well without seepage.

That was indeed the case Tuesday, according to Bolton. He said pressure was dropping steadily. In late afternoon, it had dropped from more than 6,900 pounds per square inch to about 4,500 pounds per square inch.

In reference to an above poster the whole "what say you" is totally my style of speech.
This sounds good. Better than I hoped. But when he said steady you'd think it be gradual like a slow decline in pressure but to have it drop by 1000psi sounds like plumeting pressure.

You would expect it to drop very roughly 1psi per foot of mud head (depending on mud density) - so around 1/3 of the way

OMG. At this rate it'll be at -100,000 psi in 28 days!

Anti-PSI in mirror anti-matter universe?

That's very good news... also seems the leaks shown in Skandi 1 have diminished considerably over the last hour or so...

More good news is a TOD wide blessing.

anyone watching boa deep c #2? on top of the brown mess, there were white "bubbles" shooting everywhere. i don't think it's thrusters, etc ...


the little crater they're watching now just starting seeping small wisps of oil.

I apologize in advance if this is a stupid question.

If they are pumping low volumes of mud (staring at one barrel a minute and increasing slowly since they began) at a pressure just high enough to overcome the pressure in the well...and they say (according to the cnn story) that the pressure has dropped...then why are the leaks in the stack way worse than they were before the operation started?

And speaking of that cnn story...what is the deal with that? Did they just screw up and say something crazy or has the pressure really dropped that much....and why?

The leak on the BOP being monitored by Skandi seems to be slowing down compared to what it was earlier this evening. Not sure what dynamic within the BOP caused the initial increase. The hydrocarbons in the portion above the old BOP are above the injection point of the mud, so may have been roiled in some way as the process began.

I don't think a pressure drop is crazy - that is what they wanted and expected to happen. They were not sure how fast it would take place since they couldn't know in advance which path the mud would take. Wells said this afternoon that the process could take anywhere from "a bunch of hours to a couple of days." It may be turning out to be "hours," not "days."

Just a theory (and for God's sake don't think I know what I'm talking about) but, if, according to Dimitry, the leak path is unknown, this could be a perfectly logical phenomenon that may likely diminish as the top kill proceeds.
If the static kill mud is being pumped down the inside of the production casing and, once at the bottom, it has access to the annular space outside of the production casing and that annular space has a clear line to the BOP, the pressure of the mud (unable to enter the formation) may very well exert enough pressure to increase any leaks at the BOP.
In fact (and any expert please step in and correct me if I am mistaken), if a valve on the BOP with access to only the annular space could be opened at this point, the mud may travel completely up the annular space and Voila! total kill of well.
That's just my theory, though.

Regarding the static kill through the BOP.....what happens to all the junk they inserted (rope, golf balls, whatever!) that they used during the failed Junk Shot? Just wondering, I'm a combustion guy (ex-John Zink), not a hydraulics guy!

I imagine that a lot of it just blew up and out while the flow was unconstrained between the time of the removal of the riser stub and that of the lowering of the transition spool and capping stack.

(but then my background is in IT, so that is obviously just a guess.)

Folks kept asking me what I wanted from Allen. This is what I wanted.

But retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the spill, made it clear that to be safe, the gusher will have to be plugged up from two directions. He said the 18,000-foot relief well that BP has been drilling over the past three months will be used later this month to execute a "bottom kill," in which mud and cement will be injected into the bedrock 2½ miles below the sea floor.

There should be no ambiguity about that," Allen said. "I'm the national incident commander and this is how this will be handled."

BBC is reporting static kill a success, I hope this is true.

From BP

MC252 Well Reaches Static Condition; Well Monitoring Underway

Release date: 04 August 2010
BP announced today that the MC252 well appears to have reached a static condition -- a significant milestone. The well pressure is now being controlled by the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling mud, which is the desired outcome of the static kill procedure carried out yesterday (US Central time).

Pumping of heavy drilling mud into the well from vessels on the surface began at 1300 CDT (2100 BST) on August 3, 2010 and was stopped after about eight hours of pumping. The well is now being monitored, per the agreed procedure, to ensure it remains static. Further pumping of mud may or may not be required depending on results observed during monitoring...

more here: http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=7064173

Good news.

Huh. If they aren't pumping anything now, I wonder why that leak on the stack didn't stop. I really thought it would. Well, sometimes there's a difference between what one expects and what one gets. Especially when one didn't really know what to expect in the first place. :-)

Hey Pinkfud,
I was thinking the same thing. I posted that question over on the chat (http://webchat.freenode.net/) and was informed thus:

[01:39] I went back a reread the Wells tech brief transcript, from what I read the well is only static at the surface, not at the BOP (sea floor)

It may be the ROV (skandi 1) but it seems like the stack is moving, slightly???

That would mean if they have to disconnect due to a storm the hydrostatc head would be lost and it would be possible for the reservoir to push the mud back out through the leaks in the stack?

At 4:30AM EDT, BP's NYSE shares are off 72 cents at $39.28 in early hours trading. That is an odd reaction to this morning's (good) news, unless I am missing something.

My guess is that the market wanted to see cement. Pausing to test first and saying that the RW will be part of the kill does not satisfy the unwarranted expectations.

1. The HFTbots don't react to news. They react to trades that just happened.

2. BP faces $10 billion suit over refinery leak, http://news.yahoo.com/upshot;_ylt=An3SjfHrEZU7Yy81fZNHqMrm7r5_;_ylu=X3oD...

3. Striking BP's Oil, http://www.fox8live.com/news/local/story/Striking-BPs-Oil/llbyAo2fl0iF7H...,

Bay Long, Plaquemines Parish, LA-- On a nameless Louisiana barrier island, oil oozes from a foot or two underground.
The discovery, made over the weekend by a dive team, raises questions about how much oil might be present on the island, but hidden below the surface.

4. Possibly Dylan Ratigan has another interview scheduled with Matthew Simmons, who will no doubt point to #3 as evidence that the tsunami is creeping towards land before it decides to explode and kill everybody within 200 miles of the coast.

This seems to be a good time to ask a question that's been nagging at me. Hopefully one of the oil hands will see it before the new thread tomorrow morning.

Some posters (including me) have talked about the desirability of replacing the BOP so that the old drill pipe can be fished out of the hole and the hole plugged "properly".

How would you be able to do this? At present, the well is held static by an 18000' column of (13.2 ppg?) mud. In order to be able to remove the BOP, cap, etc. without oil flow it seems like you'd need to have the well held static by a 13000' column mud plus 5000' of seawater. Is that possible without risking the well?

Specifically: Let's assume we want 18000*0.052*13.2 ~ 12400 psi at the reservoir but we want to do it with a 5000' column of water (assume 2500 psi) + 13000' column of mud. We would need roughly 14.6 ppg mud instead of 13.2 (2500 + 13000*0.052*14.6 ~ 12400 psi). But if you pump that 14.6 ppg mud all the way from the surface you would have a reservoir pressure about 1200 psi higher. Would you simply use the 14.6 ppg mud and then disconnect the surface line from the well or are there other tricks to be followed? Or am I totally missing something?

This part of the thread directly above may be of interest:

[TinFoilHatGuy on August 3, 2010 - 10:28pm Permalink | Subthread | Comments top
Folks kept asking me what I wanted from Allen. This is what I wanted.

But retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the spill, made it clear that to be safe, the gusher will have to be plugged up from two directions. He said the 18,000-foot relief well that BP has been drilling over the past three months will be used later this month to execute a "bottom kill," in which mud and cement will be injected into the bedrock 2½ miles below the sea floor.

There should be no ambiguity about that," Allen said. "I'm the national incident commander and this is how this will be handled."]

Thad Allen, national incident PR commander for BP...

Do you remember how they used a riser to install the capping stack? All they have to do is:

1) Reattach it
2) Displace the sea water with 13.2 ppg mud.
3) Open the capping stack BOPs.
4) Insert a drill pipe to mill the end of the drill pipe stuck in the DWH BOP
5) Attach a fish to the drill pipe.
6) Open the DWH BOP.
7) Fish the drill pipe out.
8) Run drill pipe down 18,300 feet to do a proper cement job on the production casing shoe.
9) Run a cement bond log to document the quality of the original cement job.
10) Perforate the casing above the pay zone and cement the annulus from inside of the production casing (without ever needing the relief well)

lurker: regardless whether they remove the BOP or not they should circulate down a high enough mud weight that would keep the well killed with a 13,000' column. Anything could happen: BOP spring another leak, csg slit. etc. I don't know that it would be necessary to fish out the lost drill pipe. The big advantage of replacing the BOP and re-entering with DP would be to precisely place a series of cmt plgs in the hole. Besides knowing where the cmt is they can test each plug to make sure it will hold.

The government panel tasked with measuring the flow rate from the well released new data Monday night. The panel suggests that the well released 62,000 barrels (2.6 million gallons) of oil a day initially, but that it eventually slowed to 52,000 barrels a day by June.

Over the course of the blowout – from April 20 to July 15 – the Macondo well gushed 4.9 million barrels of oil, making it the largest accidental oil spill in world history, according to the panel. Specifically, the Gulf oil spill now officially outpaces the 3.3 million barrels released in the 1979 Ixtoc spill, which occurred in a different part of the Gulf of Mexico.

The spill estimates went from an estimate of zero spillage on the day after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon on April 20 to 1,000 barrels a day. That estimate was raised to 5,000 barrels a day, partially under pressure from the government.

Once the BP live feed came online, the estimate was raised to 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day. By June, government scientists pegged it at between 20,000 to 40,000 barrels, and a few weeks later that estimate rose to between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day.

BP efforts to siphon some oil to the surface captured about 800,000 barrels of oil, meaning about 4 million barrels of oil entered the Gulf, according to the new estimate

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / August 3, 2010

Does anyone have exact dates for when the estimates came out?

From: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2010/0803/Gulf-oil-spill-biggest-ev...


But you will note that there is no data submitted with the government's claim (and they want to fine BP, so "follow the money" as they say).

They contradict the their own prior findings with regard to the flow rates. http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Admiral-Allen-Dr-McNutt-Provide-Up...

They have millions of barrels of "missing oil".

The FRTG is led by drum majorette Marcia "McNumbnuts" McNutt who is such a drama queen that she insisted on running endless seismic parades while there was much more important work to be done.

Etc Etc.

Hello, TFHG from the other side of the bay.

BP has never publicly or independently estimated the flow rate from the well. The first estimates came from the Coast Guard on April 24 and revised on April 29. All subsequent flow rate estimates were produced by the government's Flow Rate Technical Group. BP may have agreed with (or at least did not dispute) the government's estimates, but they never offered their own estimate.

I have seen numerous media reports about "the flow rate estimated by BP and the government," but I have never found a statement from the company to that effect.

The dates of flow rates (and a whole lot of other events) are on my Deepwater Horizon Incident Timeline.

If someone has a link or an on-the-record statement from BP discussing their estimates of flow rates, I'll add it.


WASHINGTON — The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.

A government report finds that about 26 percent of the oil released from BP’s runaway well is still in the water or onshore in a form that could, in principle, cause new problems. But most is light sheen at the ocean surface or in a dispersed form below the surface, and federal scientists believe that it is breaking down rapidly in both places. ...

Stand by for pushback, but this is how they figure it:

I'm disturbed by the report of oil soaked barrier islands. Dig down a foot or two, hit a mini-gusher. (http://www.wafb.com/Global/story.asp?S=12921374 and http://www.fox8live.com/news/local/story/Striking-BPs-Oil/llbyAo2fl0iF7H...).

Nevertheless, Reuters UK reported that "'The good news is that the vast majority of the oil appears to be gone,' Carol Browner said on ABC's Good Morning America." I noted that the word "appears" just sort of slipped by.

Using the official NOAA/NYT chart, the "still at sea or on shore" oil figure is well into the upper range of estimates of the total Exxon Valdez spill volume and 2.5 times the official Exxon Valdez estimate, still out there in the wild. Then add in 1.8 million gallons of Corexit (a figure that BP has been accused of seriously lowballing, http://motherjones.com/environment/2010/07/epa-whistleblower-bp-dispersants). So I'm a bit puzzled by what seems to be a new EPA spin/PR strategy.

Yikes, snakehead, how much of the coastline that got hit is like that?! As the guy says, a few strong hurricanes, and we'll find out . . .

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Once the well is killed the media will forget the Gulf until it's time to put reporters outside in a hurricane, the USG will congratulate itself, and the residents can just struggle against BP in court and sell beads at street fairs that nobody will go to.

lotus -- be interesting to see a more detailed analysis. Difficult for me to see how oil a foot or two down is from the blow out. The shore line doesn't accrete like that. Just a WAG but my first bet would be it came from oil leaked offshore during one of the hurricanes. A storm surge could bury oil that deep. The shoreline is a rather low energy environment except when one of the big storms blows in. Thus it can take years to bury anything that deep. But I'll let the coastal zone experts figure it out.

There's really no substitute for the experienced perspective you offer, ROCKMAN. Thank you again.

turning up thick, black oil that had not been heavily weathered

I'm assuming the analysis of the oil will also make the front page.

In reply to Stackpole from the previous thread, who raised a question about how the ROV positioning works.

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?

Thanks to rainyday for the picture of the Compatt transponder. Here's a link to a fairly good article describing how the positioning system works. Unfortunately it's from an archive so the illustration diagrams are missing.


It's maybe just as well I've been too busy over the past few days to comment, I have just come across the video that was being discussed yesterday and just about fell off my seat laughing :D

Welcome back, rovman. Yeah, they'd have run you ragged but for your other chores' good timing.

Thanks rainyday and rovman, appreciate the info.

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BattleCreekEnquirer dot com -- A prayer for the river

August 01, 2010 10:56 am
By enquirerstaff
Oh Lord, we pray for the river and all the precious life you bring to us through it.
Forgive us for despoiling your creation.
We weep, with tears mixed with oil, and beg for you to help and forgive us.
Have mercy on us and all the rivers plants and animals.
Grant us the strength, dear Lord, to do what is right, to clean up the mess that we, your children, have made.

- John Grap
path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-08-04 03:44:18

Here's a new take on gentrfication...

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Freep dot com -- Enbridge: We'll buy 200 homes affected by oil

Posted: Aug. 4, 2010
MARSHALL -- The company that spilled oil into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall said Tuesday it will buy as many as 200 homes of people directly affected by the pipeline accident.

For those whose homes were already listed for sale before the spill, Enbridge Energy Partners said it will pay the full list price.

For homeowners who want to sell but whose homes weren't listed, the company will buy them for their appraised v
path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-08-04 03:37:02

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Enbridge -- August 3 Evening Update

We are making very good progress on the spill cleanup ... [snip] ... To ensure that people in the affected area are not financially disadvantaged by the spill, Enbridge is offering two options for help and support. For people who own property within the red zone or within 200 feet of the river -- and who had put their homes up for sale before the spill -- we will buy those homes at the full list price. For people who own homes within the same zone, and who are concerned about a reduction in v...
path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-08-04 03:25:37

Bob Marshall's whole series is up now:

Gulf of Mexico oil spill is just the latest blow for Delacroix: Part one

Delacroix was insulated from history by wetlands: Part two

Delacroix settlers found themselves in an opulent natural bazaar: Part three

Delacroix residents 'never imagined how bad it would get': Part four

Ted Jackson, The Times-Picayune
Caption: "There was a time when Delacroix was a thriving community of 700 fishers and trappers, surrounded by forests of oak, maple and sycamore trees. Now, in this aerial, taken June 20, barely a sliver remains as the marsh continues to succumb to subsidence, hurricanes and land loss."

lotus -- I hope Mr. Marshall isn't a friend of yours. That photo is 100% BS. That is not Delacroix. I've driven thru the Delacroix area 100's of times...the latest just 2 weeks ago to log a well. That is a pic of the coastal marsh. Delacroix is about 50 miles north of the coast line. And the reason there are no "forests of oak, maple and sycamore trees" (if there ever were) is that they were cut down by the farmers. This is all farmland now. It's easy to verify: Googple Maps will show you all you need to know. Given this photo completely detroys his credibility in my eyes I see no point in reading any of his stories. Not only is he a liar but not a very good one: took about 60 seconds on Google maps to totally discredit anything he has to say IMHO.

WOW, thass a heckuva shock, Rockman. (Nope, I don't know him.) You're saying the T-P's longtime outdoors reporter -- and all his sources who appear in the stories and video -- are flat lying about a place only 30 miles from NOLA? Amazing.

I think I figured it out -- you know a town called Delacroix, but Marshall is writing about Delacroix Island. Here:


lotus -- Thanks. Both he and I bad: him don't know geography and me no take time to dig deeper. OTOH the marshes never had forest on them. That's why they're called marshes and not forests. Check Google maps when you have a chance. We have an odd situation in S La: we are hard pressed to have anything like an island most people envision. Delacroix Island is a few hundred yds wide and miles long. It's actually a natural levee and thus sits a few feet above the rest of the marsh. These are what we call islands. In the swamps you can't be picky. This is also where you find tress in this part of the world. Whatever "forests" existed there were problably cut down 50+ years ago.

So maybe I'll read his reports. OTOH this area has been economicly dead in all aspects except oil/NG drilling and production for many decades. There may be some Gulf fishermen who dock their boats there and they've certainly taken a hit. But that doesn't make them standout from the rest of the suffering fishing industry. And about the only oil you find on Delacroix Island will be leaking from old cars.

Thanks again for stoping before I got my foot lodged too deep down my throat...or the other end.

Is this the spot you know, Rockman?

lotus - yep. Check out Google satellite map. Gives a good sense of the surface conditions. And yes...unless you enjoy swamps it's as unattractive on the ground as the satellite pics indicate.

The T-P editorializes:

BP should pay to restore nation's trust in Gulf seafood

This week's reopening of commercial fishing in some Louisiana waters is a milestone in our recovery from BP's oil spill -- and a relief for thousands of fishers.

But how soon those families regain their economic footing depends greatly on when the nation regains its confidence that Gulf seafood is safe.

That's why BP needs to stop paying lip service to how it wants to help fishers recover. Instead, the company should finance the seafood testing and certification program Louisiana officials and business leaders are proposing. ...

Prolly cheaper than legal bills . . .

Sounds like a no win situation to me. If BP does fund it, they will just be accused of buying off more scientists and regulators. If they don't, they'll be seen as uncaring. Both of which would probably be true....

Yep, Dudley's got him a thorny handful to deal with. All he's got going for him with the Coast is that he's not Hayward.

and he's not in Siberia.

McClatchy's telling of What Happened Last Night:


With a view of Q4000's bridge.

Very good news. So it looks like any sub-seabed leakage was shallow and probably only in the soft sediment part.

In other news,

Conocophillips (COP) reports emissions event at wood river refinery in Illinois

12:52 04-08-2010

Exxon Mobil (XOM) reports emissions event at Joliet, Illinois refinery

12:45 04-08-2010

So the broken pipe was first capped using a tight seal, and now has been closed using the static pressure of drilling mud, and at least one relief well can/will be added to the armoury of countermeasures.

And 75% of the oil which has already leaked has been dispersed through weathering etc.

What a surprise.

I wonder what the oh-my-god-the whole-earth-will-split-open-like-a rotten-egg-and-the oil-dragons-will-escape-and-will-devour-all-the humans crowd will do now?

This was always a basic physical engineering problem/error which has been resolved by engineers.

Lawyers and politicians didn't give us our current Western standard of living ... and they didn't fix this blowout either ... although they will certainly stick to BP like leeches in order to extract every dollar and cent they can.

And the conspiracy theorists and ultra mega doomers haven't helped either.

You're probably familar with my take on the conspiranauts.


And 75% of the oil which has already leaked has been dispersed through weathering etc.

should be balanced against

Using the official NOAA/NYT chart, the "still at sea or on shore" oil figure is well into the upper range of estimates of the total Exxon Valdez spill volume and 2.5 times the official Exxon Valdez estimate, still out there in the wild. Then add in 1.8 million gallons of Corexit (a figure that BP has been accused of seriously lowballing, http://motherjones.com/environment/2010/07/epa-whistleblower-bp-dispersants).

Better than doomsday, but a major catastrophe nonetheless, especially when the ongoing economic and human costs are figured in.

I wonder if the following scenario had been discussed here already. It's quiet interesting how the graphics of the sediments below the well differ from the ones delivered by BP and the others under this link

Question: Is the well drilled through a zone how it is illustrated?
All the seeps and high gas concentration in the oil would make sense with this proposed scenario.

64 - very interesting illustrations even for an old geologist. Thanks. Yep...drilling down the flank of a salt dome can be very tricky for a variety of reasons. And having surface seeps is not uncommon around salt domes. I just started drilling a very shallow well yesterday on a salt dome just north of Houston. OTOH many thousands of wells have been drilled like this in S. La. without any problem. Just a guess but there are probably a dozen or two like this drilling right now.

But to answer you main question: NO...those illustrations have nothing what so ever to do with the geology at the BP well. It was known early on that the well wasn't drilled on a salt dome. So, again, while drilling on a salt dome can be difficult at times, that fact has nothing at all to do with the cause of the BP blow out. In fact, it's so far from the truth to be truly comical.