BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Tests End and the Kill Begins, Well Reaches Static Condition - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6815.

This is a second copy of this thread. The previous copy can be found at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6810.

Update Wednesday Morning: BP announced that the well had reached a static condition, a 'significant milestone', and it was able to stop pumping mud into the well.

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 1500 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.

The Washington Post reports that everything is not over yet. A couple of comments:

"You want to make sure it's really dead, dead, dead. Don't want anything to rise out of the grave," Energy Secretary Steven Chu told The Washington Post.

"We've pretty much made this well not a threat, but we need to finish this from the bottom," Allen told WWL-TV.

Heading Out's original post below the fold.

Overnight Monday night there was a second set of leaks detected in the BOP assembly sitting on top of the Deepwater well in the Gulf, however these were successfully stopped by Tuesday morning and the flow testing of the well began. Oil was pumped into the well at several different rates, starting at 1 barrel/minute and ending at 7 bpm. During this series of tests the pressure in the well was monitored, and the results were sufficiently satisfying – “Textbook”, as Kent Wells noted, that the well is now in process of being killed as mud is fed into the well at a slow, but steady rate.

Admiral Allen described the plan, before the testing began on Tuesday morning. Somewhere at the bottom of the well oil has been flowing into the well, and before it was capped, out into the Gulf. To fill the well with mud, the oil that is in the well has to be pushed back through the flow passage into the rock it came from. There are some different flow dynamics involved in the flow back down the well, but given that the well has been flowing at rates of more than 20 barrels a minute, there was little reason to doubt that the flow could be reversed, as it was.

Increasing the flow up to 7 bpm allowed the engineers to monitor the increase in pressure that was required as the flow rate increased. The increase comes both from the higher resistance to flow as the oil moves down the tubular passageways to the bottom of the well, and in the increased resistance as the oil/natural gas Is forced back into the narrower passages in the rock itself.

The equipment has been fitted with pressure transducers to measure the pressure at different points along the flow (though none beyond the BOP at the top of the casing). Admiral Allen described how this occurs.

We have three different sites where we're going to be taking pressure readings. And those pressure readings will be transferred every 12 to 15 seconds by wireless modem to their ROVs that are down there. And they'll be transmitted up into the control room here in Houston and be monitored continuously.

In addition we have what we would call an analog or a traditional dial-type pressure meter. And an LED readout that the ROVs will actually have a camera on and be looking at. So there are potentially five different pressure gages we will be reading to monitor the pressure.

This tells us a couple of things. It tells us the capacity of the system to absorb a volume of oil or mud. It tells how much pressure we are exerting when that volume goes in. We've established a maximum pressure inside the capping stack of 8,000 PSI. That will guide how much pressure is being used to push that mud in. Excuse me, the base oil.

And in the conclusion of several hours of doing that we will have a profile of how the mud will flow, how the well will react to the volume, and what kind of pressures we can expect to be generated. And then there will be curves established for if – we're filling the mud just into the casing, or the casing in the annulus. How we can expect how much mud will needed because there is more of this wider diameter, and the type of pressures we can expect based on that diameter and that volume. And then we will track the actual mud as it goes in during the static kill against those pressure versus volume lines. (Edited to note that the instrument is a Light Emitting Diode (LED) display and that the vehicles are Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and not as transcribed).

The tests were successful, and Kent Wells reported on the success of the oil injection at 3:30 pm. BP also put out a press release, noting that they were beginning to inject mud into the well.

Based on the results of the injectivity test, BP started pumping drilling mud today at 21:00 (UK) and 15:00 (CDT) as part of the static kill operations. All operations are being carried out with the guidance and approval of the National Incident Commander.

The aim of these procedures is to assist with the strategy to kill and isolate the well, and will complement the upcoming relief well operation.

At this start of the injection it is not clear which paths the mud will flow down the well, but as Admiral Allen noted, by the time that 200 – 300 barrels have been injected, then the changing pressure in the well will tell where that mud is going. As I noted yesterday, the reason for this is in two parts. Firstly the oil flow has established a flow path from the reservoir up to the BOP, and outside of that flow channels where the oil is not flowing will remain full of oil, but largely unable to accept the mud as it is injected into the well (because fluid can’t be injected into a passage if there is no way for the fluid already there to escape). So the mud will push the oil back down the flow channel. But at the start of the process no-one knows if that channel included flow down through the production casing, flow down through the annulus around the production casing, or both.

Section through the well showing with the light yellow color the channels that the oil might flow through up the well, and which will be filled with mud.

Had the well integrity remained as it was planned, there would only be oil (the light yellow) in the center of the production casing after the well was brought into production by firing small shaped charges through the cement at the bottom of the well. There should be no oil in the outer annulus between the production casing and the rock. Obviously oil has been flowing up one or the other, or both, but no-one is sure which is the case.

However when the mud is added, then it will only flow down the well back along the path that the oil was taking. This will thus help tell which channel is being filled with mud. As a given amount of mud is introduced, then the weight of the column of mud will lower the pressure at the top of the well necessary to keep injecting the mud. (Which is sensibly the pressure in the reservoir less the weight of the section of the column which is oil and that which is mud). For a given volume of mud injected, knowing the length of the mud column from the change in the pressure value at the top of the well, it is relatively easy, knowing the cross sectional areas of the three options, to establish which of the channels the mud is flowing down through.

The mud is being injected relatively slowly, at about 2 bpm, but the channels are not that large so that within a few hours (in fact they should already know before I post this piece) they will know which path the oil is flowing through, and therefore where the leak at the bottom of the well is likely located. This will then help in the planning of the relief well. For although the injection of the mud should kill the well, so that there will be no flow into the Gulf, it will only be when then bottom of the well (and ultimately the top) are sealed with cement plugs that the well will be considered dead. Admiral Allen wants that to be clearly understood.

The Static Kill will increase the probability that the relief well will work. But the whole thing will not be done until the relief well is completed. The Static Kill is not the end all be all. It is a diagnostic test that will tell us a lot about the integrity of the casing. And the wellbore will tell us about the tolerance for volume and pressure. But in the long run, drilling into the annulus and into the casing pipe from below, filling that with mud and then filling that with cement is the only solution to the end of this.

And there should be no ambiguity about that. I'm the National Incident Commander, and that's the way this will end. It will be end with the relief wells being drilled, and the annulus and the casing being filled with mud and cement being poured.

And that, Hurricane Colin and other tropical depressions behaving, should be in the next couple of weeks.

Snakehead- reg your post on the last thread -Pooping events may play important oceanographic roles,”... I think you stumbled on the story of the year...very good stuff.

Well, since I didn't get answers before the last thread closed, I'll presume to ask again.

1: What are the two pan-shaped devices attached to the well casing 180 degrees apart at the mudline?

2: Why is Ocean Intervention III so fixated on the quiet area of seafloor they've been watching from two directions for days? All I see there is what may be a piece of wreckage from the rig, a sheet of bent-up perforated plate.

to 1: the panshapped thingies are bullseyes to see any inclination of the pipe they are fixed to to

to 2: the OI3 ROVS are doing Sonar Surveys to see if anything comes up from the seafloor

Oh. Thanks, Moon.

As it appears that there is a sub-surface seepage (and increasingly so) ,

does that

A. Tell us anything about the location of the well rupture (below the kill pill ? Annular ?)

B. hinder the bottom kill ?



You just answered my #2 question. I hadn't noticed the seep, but now I see it.

I don't see a seep...A few specks float up. Their shadows appear black..

Well, I'm not the brightest bulb around here, so if you guys think you see a seep, it's based on your experience.

I'm fading out also.

It's pretty small. I wouldn't be concerned about it, but obviously someone is.

IMO, if this seep represents something leaked from the well, it's likely to continue for a long time. You inject fluid into a leaky stratum, it's going to keep leaking out long after the input has stopped.

You inject fluid into a leaky stratum, it's going to keep leaking out long after the input has stopped.

People are putting leaking strata on the table since the rovs have been fixated on the floor. Lim's analysis looks better and better. "... BP knew if the gushing well was completely shut at the top, the oil and gas would spread beneath the sea floor and gas seeps would start appearing..."http://bklim.newsvine.com/_news/2010/07/30/4781973-why-is-bps-macondo-blowout-so-disastrous-beyond-patch-up-

Genesis sums this situation up pretty clearly-

Baby, there's a hole in there somewhere
Now there's a hole in there somewhere
When they do it you're never there
When they show it you stop and stare

cf: Genesis, Abacab. BK Lim, Graphic representation Macondo Blowout, Rigel Well

The Macondo wasn't drilled into or even near a salt dome, and the "dome" illustrated here would be called a diapir.

When you drill near a diapir, you have to keep the seawater out of the hole. Because no one wants to deal with a wet diapir. (Sorry. I couldn't resist).

Edit: Let me also clarify my remark you quoted above. By "leaky stratum", I meant a porous and permeable layer that is capped only by something (mud) that can't hold pressure. Thus, the gas and/or oil will seep out and appear at the seafloor.

LOL... "wet diapir."

What can happen when a subterranean salt formation and water mix....

20 November 1980
Lake Peigneur, Louisiana

...The rig crew had been drilling a test well into deposits alongside a salt dome under Lake Peigneur. By some miscalculation, the assembly drilled into the third level of the nearby Diamond Crystal Salt Mine. The initial consequence was the stuck pipe, but fresh water from the lake soon began trickling into the salt mine. Over the course of the morning, the fresh lake water began dissolving the salt and enlarging the hole until water was literally flooding into the mine...


Yep, I was familiar with that one. Talk about a cluster***k! Goes to show that it really is possible, given the right conditions, for water to drain out of a hole in the bottom of a lake.

Lake Peigneur, Louisiana, which had an average water depth of 6 feet.

the drilling rig began to tilt so the crew abandoned the rig and headed for the shore due to fears that the rig was on unstable ground. Over the following hours, the crew and nearby residents watched in shock as the drilling rig collapsed and disappeared into the shallow lake.

Had been interesting to know what they thought then the rig sank in a water depth of 6 feet.

From previous thread by Activated05b:

"Please seriously consider a smaller vehicle, folks, "

I have to fit two adults, two infant sized car seats, a double stroller (folded up it is 25' x 40") plus the groceries we went out to buy in one car.

Can you name one 55 MPG car that can do this? (BTW - I will only put my wife and kids in a car with a 5 star crash rating.)

I'll bite
We have three kids (9, 5, 1.5). Both of us have stock Jetta TDIs ('01 & '06) that we run on biodiesel. Everybody fits into either vehicle, and the trunk is large enough for all our camping gear without a roof pod. Go look at a Jetta's trunk. You will be amazed. These cars get up to 50 MPG on the highway. Front, back and side air bags. We use 100% biodiesel in the summer and 50% in the winter, so our petroleum MPG is somewhere in the low 100s. In the summer, these are effectively solar-powered cars.

Unlike a hybrid, I can squawk my tires, even when shifting gears. Turbos are FUN!
So, yes. You can have it all and live responsibly. Its not even that hard.

To preemptively disappoint the naysayers, biodiesel (even from virgin oil) doesn't compete with food. Ours happens to come largely from waste oil. The summer stuff from chicken processing plants (hence the moniker). We don't make it ourselves either. We belong to a coop and fill up there just like at a regular station. We didn't modify our cars and can switch back to petroleum at any ratio whenever we can't find the good stuff. So there.
Well, OK I admit it. It costs a little more than petroleum ($3.90 currently), so I guess you got me there. For now at least. Still, even on petroleum, a TDI Jetta (or Passat wagon) can't be beat.

Well, shucks! I have a Z76 Tahoe, true 4WD (means positrac rear end) and need it badly when I go to CO once every other year at Christmas or pull my 22 ft inboard ski boat out of a sorry **s boat launch. Plus I need the room when the kids and all their animals come along. Used to have a Suburban but the wifey who drives it most cuz she's up high, complained about its length when parking at Neiman's. Me...I usually drive our 30 cc hydrogen-fueled Nacho on my 2-mile commute to work from El Paso over to Juarez. It normally gets 200 mpg, but all the armoring runs it down to only 12 mpg.
Viva Obama!!

2004 2500HD, currently averaging about 2,000 miles/month running from Mobile to Baton Rouge to Houston, running construction projects up and down I-10.

Then, there's the 28' Proline with twin Honda 225's.

And the 18-hp Deere for the 2.5 acre lot.

That's my personal stuff. The company has a small armada of excavators, skid-steers, trucks, generators, compressors, saws, and God knows what else. It takes fuel to get !@#$ done, and it takes fuel to have fun after all the !@#$ is done.

I have an Isuzu Rodeo 4x4, but it sits in my driveway 99% of the time. I keep it for those times when I have to go some God-forsaken place that requires power, wide stance and high clearance. I don't drive it to work because, yeah, it's a gas hog.

I have to fit two adults, two infant sized car seats, a double stroller (folded up it is 25' x 40") plus the groceries we went out to buy in one car. Can you name one 55 MPG car that can do this? (BTW - I will only put my wife and kids in a car with a 5 star crash rating.)

The BMW 320 ED - 69 MPG, 109g/km, 0-60 in 8s, 142 MPH

You'll have to swap the 25 foot stroller for a 25 inch one (folded) though ;-)

How about the Volkswagen Bluemotion range? I don't know if they are sold outside Europe though.

Up to 80.7mpg (European MPG, not US)


HOS - Of course the 'collapse' is avoidable. It is just a matter of buckling down & doing the right thing regardless of what the *pressure* is from the opposition. In my opinion, the obvious electical solution is nuclear. I seriously doubt much electricity is generated directly with oil products (I'm not including natural gas plants or the gas turbine-powered 'peaker' plants run by kerosene). The vast majority are coal or, out west, hydroelectric. Now, I have no problem with coal (with proper filtering for particulates) plants. There is a *whole bunch* of coal out in the Powder River basin of Wyoming (Several hundred years worth I think) & they produce a whole bunch of great, plant-loving CO2. However, coal is a non-renuable resource in the distant future. That's why, for the long term, nuclear is the best.

I have zero faith in the politically correct energy like wind or solar. The electricity needs to be there 100% of the time on demand & wind/solar just don't cut it. Solar doesn't work at night or when it is cloudy so something needs to be there to take it's place. You get the largest temperature extremes (hottest/coldest) when the wind is not blowing so, again, something needs to be there to take it's place. Also, where large solar arrays are, no vegitation can really grow there because the arrays are blocking the light and you need a very large array to produce a large, usable power source for the replacement of conventional power plants. So, asside from the desert south west, there is either the Great Planes or the East. In the planes, wherever there is a solar array, no crops can be planted & in the east (majority is forrests), are they going to cut down large areas of forrest to put in a large solar array? The obvious answer is more of what we already have.

However, when you have the enviro-weenies blocking desert areas from building large solar arrays, enviro-weenies blocking new coal plants, enviro-weenies blocking new nuclear plants because of either a stupid movie (China Syndrome) or a stupid design (Chernyoble) and enviro-weenies blocking a much needed nuclear repository, the powers-that-be choose to make the population suffer by controling their energy usage instead of making more energy available.

Like I said, I like nuclear power as the best long-term solution for cheap, reliable electricity. I'm not a big fan of the current pressurised water reactors (it's the pressure-issue that has caused alot of problems) but it is the popular & standardised design. Lead-cooled reactors have really caught my eye as a safe alternative. It is a natural radiation shield, it does not become radioactive, it has an extremely high boiling point (3180 deg F) and it is not reactive/explosive to water like sodium is. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_cooled_fast_reactor


This man is my hero.

I was cooking dinner for the little GCT'ers when this was posted on the previous thread and didn't make it back until it got closed.

This describes the difference between energy and capacity. Energy is cheap. Capacity is (nearly) priceless.

In response to the guy you were quoting, thank you.
Though I've heard of great flaws in many of these sources, to overcome them will take work and dedication...but hopefully we can make it through. I just wished I had more time, but time restraints usually make people think harder, thus a quicker solution.

So, should we combine multiple sources of energy? It might be more expensive but too much reliance on a single thing isn't good, right?

I'm a Sean Hannity "all of the above" guy. Petroleum, coal, natural gas, biofuels, solar, wind, wave, tide, hydropower, nuclear, whatever. To put the economic consequences of energy in perspective, the easier it is to "flip the switch" and get whatever oomph you need, the better off we all are.

We need to use more energy, not less.


I note no cognition of global warming from CO2.

Que pasa?

I gave up mythology for Lent, and it stuck.

That's sad. That means you can't read classics like the Iliad.
Well I'm kind of iffy about cementing it from the top, I mean I'm sure it will do the job but then what jobs would the releif wells have left to preform?

Sidetrack for future production. Plausibly deniable at present.

Heh... I can still read'em. I just don't believe'em anymore.

I always liked The Silmarillion better than The Lord of the Rings.


If you gave them up for lent than I assume you'd be Catholic in which you wouldn't have believed in them in the first place...unless you meant you gave up catholoism.

The test should be done by Thursday right, didn't they say they would check the well after the Static kill for up to 36 hours or so?

If you gave them up for lent than I assume you'd be Catholic in which case you wouldn't have believed in them in the first place

If he's Catholic, he hasn't stopped believing in mythology.

Oh I get it...:P
But that wasn't necessary or appropiate.

He said he doesn't believe in any of my gods, therefore it is not inappropriate for me to say the same about his gods.

A pagan eh?

I'm sure he meant no harm, he loves you as much as he loves everyone else. I'm sure of it, so let us be tolerant here. Though was that another jab at the catholic faith, his religion if I am right is monotheistic so it be his "god".

Also night everybody. Tommorrow I renew my research.

No, an Elf.


I've been trying to come up with some words that would put you in your place, show you up, or otherwise help you realize that you are acting like an inconsiderate boor with those comments. Then I remembered that my God says to turn the other cheek and He did'nt give me any authority to contradict Him. So, with that in mind it came to me to direct you to 1 Corinthians 1:18. Go check it out. It doesn't have to be that way for you. If you want to know what it takes to change course, send me an email. I will be delighted to get you started.

Have a nice day, and God bless!

KarmaDave (aka Dave)

For the speech about the torture stake is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is God’s power.
-- 1 Corinthians 1:18

I don't get it. Please explain.

While you're at it, does the "you" in the first verse of this video refer to God?

Regarding GulfCoastTider, you said up thread, “He said he doesn't believe in any of my gods, therefore it is not inappropriate for me to say the same about his gods.” Is that true? Link?

A better translation of 1 Cor. 1:18:
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (New American Standard Bible version).

I have no idea about your religious background, but I believe that there is one true God who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable and eternal. He desires that all mankind join Him in heaven (no, I don’t know where it is) at the end of life here. The first man fell from God’s grace by his own choice. Since then all mankind has been born fallen and has that same choice to regain God’s grace. God created a plan for mankind to do that. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to us to share that plan, which we call the Gospel. Keep in mind that God’s grace is unmerited favor. That means that it is a gift directly from God. It is impossible to earn it by doing anything. Taking a bath, putting on clean clothes, or doing something really nice won’t help. All we have to do is follow the plan that Jesus left for us. I will give you a hint: it includes faith. My email is in my profile. If you want to know about the plan of salvation please send an email and I will be sure to do my best to help out.

Now, about the bible verse: The apostle Paul was speaking to the church he founded in Corinth. The central theme of that verse is about how the perishing see the cross of Christ and how the saved see it. The cross we are talking about is the cross that Jesus died on to atone for our sins. If you saw The Passion of the Christ film you know that the whole process of killing Jesus was a gruesome tribulation ending with His agonizing death hung on a piece of wood. But, the blood of the cross washed away (atoned) for all sins of mankind, past, present and future. That is why the cross is such a powerful symbol to Christians. That symbol was not lost on Paul. And he knew that not everyone who heard the word of the cross would believe it. What message could a cruel, humiliating, unrelenting instrument of death have to those who did not believe? On the other hand, those who believed…well, you get the idea. So, it comes down to the fact that those who do not believe are those who are perishing and those who do believe are those who are being saved. Do you notice that the verb tenses in the passage describe a work in progress? That is no accident. Each of us is definitely on one of those two paths. I know which path I am on. Do you know which path you are on?

On to the song lyrics: I’m neither sure why you ask, nor what is the relevance. But, I will give my best guess regardless and assume your question is sincere and somehow relevant at least to you. Your link is to but one of many versions of the original song by Leonard Cohen. The lyrics used by Wainwright are not quite the same as Cohen’s (or, for that matter several other artists), but after all you only asked about a single word. The simple answer is no, it does not refer to God. If it referred to God it would be capitalized as is common custom. Notice that “Lord” is properly capitalized. Why not “you” also if it refers to God? So, who does it refer to? Looking at context it appears that this verse makes an initial reference to the biblical story of David and Bathsheba and “you” refers to her. Things get complicated in the second verse because now “you” refers to David when he spotted Bathsheba on the rooftop. I’m not even going into the verse with the biblical reference to Samson. Lyricists get to use poetic license and imagery to help their song along and I have no problem with that. I also usually prefer melody over lyrics except for my good old gospel music which I listen to a lot.

Anyway, you know how to get in touch so I had better stop now. They are probably going to pull the plug and ban me from this site for what I wrote above. If I seem to have evaporated in a day or two you will know why.

God bless,

KarmaDave (aka Dave)

I've been trying to stop myself from responding to this but my impulse control isn't fully functional this morning. Consider this rhetorical if you like.

If it's literally true that "there is one true God who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent" why wouldn't He have stopped BP/Transocean et al from killing eleven men and harming their families, spewing ~5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, wrecking livelihoods, punishing pensioners and killing His creatures?

Its the same old same old from the 1970s. Wind, solar, battery and transmission technology have advanced hugely since then, its time to reexamine assumptions.

What we have now we didn't have then:
Highly efficient solar panels.
Massive wind turbines.
Practical utility scale batteries.
Super conducting transmission lines.

I read a story not too long ago about the effect those massive wind turbines were having on birds.

I'll have to look that up...

Found it. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-01-04-windmills-usat_x.htm

The size of the annual body count — conservatively put at 4,700 birds — is unique to this sprawling, 50-square-mile site in the Diablo Mountains between San Francisco and the agricultural Central Valley because it spans an international migratory bird route regulated by the federal government. The low mountains are home to the world's highest density of nesting golden eagles.

The Macondo spill has conservatively killed about 3,000 birds.

So, Big Wind kills more birds in one year than Big Oil killed with one spill.

Perspective is a cast iron you-know-what.

Now check out the number of birds killed by flying into window, residential and highrise.

I guess we're going to have to endlessly repeat the Sisyphean task of refuting all the bull crap about every aspect of energy and conservation.

Uh, that's a myth. Based on human stupidity, eh?

I'm tired of clever mouths telling lies for fun.

Somebody else do it.

How many turtles do windmills kill each year?

Window strikes - estimated to kill 97 to 976 million birds/year

Communication towers - estimates of bird kills are impossible to make because of the lack of data, but totals could easily be over 5 million birds/year, and possibly as many as 50 million

High tension line collisions - may kill up to 174 million birds per year. This figure extrapolates from European studies to the millions of miles of aerial wires in North America. There are very few data in North America.

Domestic and Feral Cats - may kill 500 million birds per year or more.

Studies by HawkWatch International revealed an electrocution rate of just under 1 bird per 100 poles per year, or 547 birds at 74,000 poles in Utah in 2001-2002. About 10% of the birds killed were Golden Eagles, 34% Ravens, and another 25% Buteos (Red-tailed, Swainson's and Ferruginous Hawks).

Wind turbines may kill 33,000 birds per year, and, as in the case of electrocutions, these birds tend to be large and scarce (e.g. raptors).


Thanks for the context...

"I'm tired of clever mouths telling lies for fun"


My cats were getting their fair share until we put little bells on them. Looks like bird hunters don't even kill enough to make the chart. All but two of the bird killers are man-made. Somehow I just don't feel guilty. Economically, they may have an impact somewhere out beyond the sixth decimal place. Ecologically, they may impact bird migratory patterns, kill some endangered birds or something like that. Morally, I guess it is just wrong for innocent birds have to die just because they weren't watching where they were going and flew into a man-made object. My opinion is that this issue is a mildly disappointing, but ultimately an unimportant side note to much larger energy issues. If you want to do something to save the birds, set up bird exclusion contraptions everywhere they are needed. I imagine that could get really expensive really quickly. Please don't use my tax money.

Cats are number two on the bar chart.

The size of the annual body count — conservatively put at 4,700 birds — is unique to this sprawling, 50-square-mile site in the Diablo Mountains between San Francisco and the agricultural Central Valley because it spans an international migratory bird route regulated by the federal government. The low mountains are home to the world's highest density of nesting golden eagles.

Unique both because of this wind farm's location and because of its design. Both the design of the individual turbines and the way they were sited are obsolete. Modern wind farms are much less dangerous to birds. There's some concern about their effect on bats.

I wonder who thought it was a good idea to but a windmill in the path of migrating birds? That's the same kind of foresight used when drilling a deep water well with a rubber stamp contingency plan.

These offshore vertical axis wind turbines look interesting:

Engineers race to design world's biggest offshore wind turbines
British firm to design mammoth offshore wind turbines with 275m wingspan that produce three times power of standard models
The Guardian
Monday 26 July 2010

Turbine design breathes new life into hopes for UK's renewable targets
Aerogenerator turns conventional windmills on their side, with a 100m tall V-shaped blade rotating on a vertical axis
The Guardian
Monday 22 February 2010 14.47 GMT

Perhaps I have come up with an idea for a new industry, which will create many new jobs while simultaneously facilitating nuclear power. Combining Jeff's comment with the previous discussion about the durability of P&A wells:

Another drag against nuclear power is the political rhubarb over spent fuel storage. The only consensus continental storage space seems to be under The Mall in Washington, D.C., but that isn't likely to happen. How many tens of millions of dollars have we wasted on the Yucca Mountain site?

Can we develop the technology to store containers of nuclear waste in the bottom 10,000 feet of specially designed and constructed 20,000-ft holes, located in suitably stable OCS locations? I will take the first million dollars of the royalties from this idea. Rockman, who will supervise the drilling and P&A, can take the rest.

I'd actually prefer that we reprocessed the spent fuel, but somehow we just can't get that done.

How many tens of millions of dollars have we wasted on the Yucca Mountain site?

Liability for Scrapping Yucca Mountain Could Run In the Billions
By Channing Turner
Main Justice
July 27, 2010 3:47 pm

"Eleven years after the government pledged to begin storing nuclear waste for commercial nuclear plants, the Department of Energy decided to scrap its planned repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada — leaving the Justice Department with dozens of lawsuits on its hands."

"DOE’s most recent estimate of potential liability … was as much as $13.1 billion,”

"The Energy Department’s latest analysis (pdf) of the Yucca Mountain project, issued in July 2008, estimated the lifetime cost at $96 billion."


Stalled waste site could delay nuclear plants, Congress hears
McClatchy Newspapers
Kansas City Star

"The full commission is reviewing the judges' ruling on whether the Obama administration has the authority to pull out of a congressionally mandated project on which the government has spent $10 billion in environmental and design studies."


Feds raise Yucca price tag to $96.2 billion
By Lisa Mascaro
Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008 | 1:12 p.m.

"It's official: The Energy Department announced today that it will cost $96.2 billion to build the nation's nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, operate it for the next 150 years and shut it down."


"Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter..."

Lewis Strauss
Chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission
Speech to the National Association of Science Writers
September 16, 1954

Good golly Miss Molly. I had no idea.

Congratulations BP on your static kill mud pumping success. I thought it would be iffy, but you were right and it worked. To cement the Macondo well from the top will require pushing mud into the formation. This will not work, of course I have been very wrong before. The safest way to get cement to the bottom of the well is to use the RW bottom kill method. Things are stable now so the threat of hurricanes is slight. RW could be finished after the hurricane season.

How many barrels of heavier pill oil and kill mud were pumped? What fluids (density and height) are now inside riser, casing and annular spaces? What volume and weight of cement are being considered, and where will it be placed?

What was determined with respect to oil in the annular spaces and integrity of casing/packers/hangers/cement jobs from injection and static kill operations? Were any lost circulation zones encountered? What is the measured shut-in pressure at BOP, and the calculated bottom hole pressure? What is the permeability, future filter cake conditions, and temperature of bottom formation? Do any different HC formations have direct communications? What has been learned, and will it be shared with the public? Have the suspended RW operations been restarted?

How can RW pump mud or cement if Q4000 cements bottom of Macondo well first? Admiral Allen is most impressive, trustworthy, articulate and learns fast. Government should use him for future catastrophic events. NOAA’s June Lubchenco is also heads up. Many of the private folks are hindered by CYA concerns. Would have been nice if BP told us what ROVs were doing and seeing, that only oil and no gas was in the wellbore, reasonable flow rates, and much more. The press questions were weak. If the oil/NG has evaporated, been collected at sea, or broken down and not caused any harm, BP should not be fined $4,300 per barrel for damages.


bad mud caused the blowout,
good mud solved the blowout,
the rest attorneys' curveballs.


You ruminate

The way I took it was that we either move to renewable energy or scale down to the point of living a midieval lifestyle. But it seems pessimism always wins the day and it looks like our situation will lie somewhere to the latter. Not quite but close.

I'm a bit older than you, by a factor of 3.5, and because my father was a realist, neither pessimistic nor optimistic, I've thought about renewable energy for about fifty years.
There a few things I try to keep in mind, all at the same time, when thinking globally:
The solution should be for all humans, not just the whites, or the Europeans, or the technically proficient, or the heavy consumers. That does not mean some of those groups don't have a lead in the progress toward human happiness, but that the solution needs to come to all at once, EVEN if some of the above groups have to adapt their brains to living sustainably.
You may have noticed the snarly reaction above to my suggestions for a reasonable lifestyle regarding houses and transport. Here's what I'm aiming at:
Divide Gross World Product (in Dollars) by World Population.
$36 trillion/6 billion = $6,000 (Accepting your reluctance to kill a few billion)
Now we know the target possible income for EACH individual. Families get more, of course. Americans will squawk, of course, but many live at this level already. $12,000 for a couple. Louisiana, for example. (Remember, deflation is just coming up.)
Then you have to think about energy. You got your stored energy, in the form of oil, coal and natural gas (you have to think about EROI of production, of course.) You can consider various forms of nuclear, including thorium, as stored energy.
Then you have your sustainables, limited by solar input, and efficiencies of getting it out in usable forms, like light, heat, electricity.
Then you have the most important, and toughest problem: human nature. I've ranted extensively here and other places about the excessive reliance on merely transmitting technology to the media, and then presuming it will take hold in the common mind. It won't, and it's demonstrable. Best example? Nuclear energy. Ever hear of electricity too cheap to meter? I did. It didn't happen.
So I suggest you study cognitive science, journalism, propaganda, social communications, psychology, sociology, history of government, etc.

Think about this, as a goal of your studies:

"Status must accrue to service, not consumption."

Dennis Kucinich, master of the improbably difficult.

The technology is easy. Adopting it is hard.
Only wet babies want change.

So you're suggesting that we will find something to replace our current system and my concern should be learning how to adapt to it?
Well I guess I can go with that, but an we live substantially and still enjoy all our sanitation, medicine, internet, and coffee? That will be very hard to give up if we find we can't substain it. Though I personally agree on encouraging families to produce less off spring, and work on a way of life that does not depend on growth. But I still have my doubts, hopefully I see them as opportunities and not roadblocks.


No, not what I meant.

So you're suggesting that we will find something to replace our current system and my concern should be learning how to adapt to it?

Our current state of physics will handle the technology we need. Our current system of fake democracy and corporate control of the legislative process, for the aggrandizement of the super-rich will not allow distribution of the product of these technologies.

Therefore, rather simply, it becomes a problem in popular psychology.

I don't know the answers, but I do know technology. It isn't the answer. Even if a massive new energy source were invented, practical fusion, for example, we would still have tribalism and jealousy, racism and religion, sexism and male gerontocracy.

Those are all cultural problems, memes run amok.

So you need to study meme-taming. Learn how minds work, singly and en masse, as a product of evolutionary pressures that no longer exist.

Evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, sociology. They're the new physics of biology.

Don't adapt. Make a world that works, for all.

We can't keep competing against each other, unless you accept genocide, the natural result of xenophobia.

Like that.

...That shot down a bit of hopes...so we're just destined to live a rather mediocre life (at least the way I see it)? I mean I can handle being a phycologist and help people cope with the changes but its still a rather grim scenario. I fear that I'll probably end up like Simon from Lord of the Flies. But I'll accept the task, for your sake and my childrens.


Nope, you still don't get it. I'm not suggesting you adapt, and you aren't thinking about how rich life can be independent of massive consumption.

I'm suggesting that you study up, get a PhD, and INVENT something, in concert with all your age peers and the older people you know.

I want YOU to change peoples' way of seeing life and consumption. Start with yourself. Stop whining about how grim life is going to be.

You can have as much fun on a moped as on a Harley. I know, from experience. Chinese food is really tasty, and uses way less energy than steak.

It's all in your head, but you have to think about why you want stuff so much that you think life would be grim without it. Try adbusters for size.

You have a mountain bike? Are your girlfriends consumers or thinkers? Do you talk to people via phone, or in person?

Many studies have been done of societies that use much less energy per capita, and have higher happiness measurements.

You can change the world. I don't say this to just anyone.

I have already made clear that I'm fond of the conviences of modern consumer life. Why do I need (want)it? I grew up with it, though that depends, what will we lose in the future?

If I am able to keep the internet and cell phone, along with some tv than I'm good, though I do enjoy buying food at the super market. (note these are things I'd like...)

Though what is it that you want me to invent, in a general sense...some new technology?. A style of dance? Come on, is there anything you'd like to see in your later years?

Gotta get rid of bourgeoisie first, though.

You may be interested in this
Note that this was well before the age of oil. Also this
Container ships have already slowed to the speed of clippers. There is no reason why trade should be damaged unduly, just that changes need to be made. The UK had a large network of waterways for the transport of goods. These could be used to transport large quantities of goods today, a few companies have started using them, and there is no reason that this could be practical today. In the future canal boats can run on the original 1hp engine.
Yes, there are opportunities.


First off, bit of a lurker on here and been following TOD for a while throughout this whole debacle, and this site is fantastic and a fountain of knowledge.

NAOM, The UK Canal system has fallen a long way since the heady days of the industrial revolution. Being a UK resident and an avid boater (my father has one we take out regularly) the network would require significant improvement to return to a state of mass movement of goods. As the number of working boats became fewer due to the improvement of our rail network, the tourist industry thrived, and now has almost saturated the system with boats, making travelling any distance a hard task.

The graphic above does not show the drill pipe believed to still be inside the production casing. Will or can that pose a significant problem for the RW cementing of the WW?

Something else has been bothering me for a long time. Originally the leaks were from a crimped riser. Almost by definition, and certainly to an observer, far less oil escaped from the crimped section (and a couple small holes in the riser) than when the riser was unbolted from the well - until the new hat (name escapes me now) was bolted on, which IIRC took weeks, during which time there was functionally free flowing unrestricted oil released. Probably at least a magnitude more, maybe even 20 or 30 times as much on a daily basis.

Even after the new "hat" was put on, there was still FAR MORE oil leaking from under the hat, than was coming from the crimp to this observer. (Plus whatever went through an "escape" vent in the top of the hat that I, at least, never observed, but suspect was pretty significant in itself)

With hindsight, it is obvious to me far far less oil would have been released overall had they stayed with the crimped pipe than going with the new hat. Probably at least a magnitude less. Nothing to be done about it now of course, but in retrospect it seems a pretty poor decision by somebody.

No precedent for salvaging a collapsed riser. Confusion. Management paralysis. Immediately ordered relief well, then doubled it. Siphoning the riser and succession of loose-fitting top hats were improvisations, but led to the correct solution based on depletion model. Could they have done better? Probably not.

Has the industry learned anything from this? Probably not. BOPs will be improved (if you can call it that) with redundant shear rams, and cement specs will be argued, but the basic failure was hurry up get 'er done.

Could they have done better? Probably not. ...

Again in hindight, they absolutely could have "done better". It had to be obvious to any engineer (as it was to this layman at the time) unbolting the riser was going to let loose FAR more oil on a daily basis, especially as the recovery siphon was working pretty decently. At the time I expected the new hat to be in place in a day or two. IIRC it took weeks. And THEN even after the new hat was on and "working" (at max recovery), there was STILL at least a magnitude more oil escaping on a daily basis (at least in my opinion).

Given the otherwise pretty astounding engineering going on, it was an obviously poor decision made at some level. I find it hard to believe an engineer made it.

It shouldn't be swept aside casually. There will be other instances like this, maybe not in oil and hopefully not as disastrous, and ALL lessons possible should be noted in this one so as to better manage damage in the future.

I'll bet LA (Fla, Ala, ... TinFoilHat, turtles, ...) would have been less distressed with 90% less oil. I know I would have been.

Two observations. Suppose it was a "minnow" who had a deepwater blowout, instead of a major with deep pockets. Much worse situation. What made it possible to regain control was depletion. They had to leak 4 million bbls before capping it.

“What made it possible to regain control was depletion. They had to leak 4 million bbls before capping it.”

Are you saying that BP engaged in a conspiracy to knowingly let 4 million bbls loose into the GOM because they knew how much reservoir depletion they needed? With close Federal oversight, how could BP keep a secret that big from them? Maybe you are saying that there was collusion between the two for some unknown reason? That seems farfetched to me. My opinion is that the Feds and BP created a PERT chart or something like it with all the tasks in place and that they have been following and updating it ever since the start. I imagine that they are still doing that right now. The 4 million bbls got out because the chart said so, but they dared not announce that to the public. Just my opinion. I'm no expert and I don't have inside information.

They also leaked $32.2bn. If my sums are correct that's $8,050/bbl. Market price is $82

What would have happened if the lease were not owned by a supermajor? Would they be sheltering behind the $75M liability cap?

What makes you think reservoir depletion played any role in solving this? Your giving BP a lot of credit for knowing things that they had no way of knowing.

There is no reason (now) to believe a cap wouldn't have worked at a much earlier date.

Just imagine the alternative scenario. Let's suppose that when the DWH sunk that forces/stress from that event had caused the well bore to be damaged. If the well bore was damaged, the prospects for eventually stopping the flow could have been every bit as bad as Simmons or the most pessimist doomer was saying. If the casing can not contain pressure even the RW were going to have trouble with plugging the flow.

So let's suppose the casing was damaged and BP put on the cap July 14 and then started to throttle by closing valves. What would have happened on July 15 if the casing was split or ruptured?

If you can answer that question correctly then you will figure out why BP (and probably the government too) didn't want to cap the thing much earlier in the process. They expected that the cap would not stop the flow, but would reveal to everyone the true extent of the disaster.

The whole notion that BP knew the cap would work if they waited til July is absurd. BP didn't have a clue that the cap would be able to shut in the well at any point in time. And there is no indication that they had any way to know anything at all about what was happening with reservoir pressure. All the evidence suggests BP and everyone involved expected that the so called "well integrity test" would fail. If you were paying attention you would have observed that when it became clear a day later that the "integrity test" didn't fail suddenly everything changed.

It seems to me that it is pretty plain to see:
If they had any real expectation that a cap would be able to stop the flow instead of just revealing the true extent of the well damage, they would have tried it much earlier.

The concensus at the time was that the almost closed shear in the BOP was the primary restriction point, and that although the riser was probably adding some small amount of additional restriction it was small in comparison. Also it was clear that the leak in the riser where it was bent was getting worse due to erosion, and thus it was becoming less effective quite quickly.

As time went on it was also clear that erosion was going to make the restriction in the shear ram less effective and more oil would spill. It was always understood that the rate would get worse, even if they touched nothing.

What we don't know is the balance of what the situation was, and the impact of choices made. Nor are we likely to ever have a definitive answer. I'm sure there will be a lot of modelling, but we can't rerun history.

However, we can note that a few things may have changed the balance to a greater or lesser extent. The top kill likely added some level of erosion damage to the shear ram and the kinked pipe in the riser. This accelerated the erosion process - but by how much is very hard to say. Removing the kinked riser clearly removed that restriction, the extra flow probably also accelerated the erosion rate on the shear rams. But again - how much is very hard to say. The kink clearly had a limited life and was noticeably leaking more as time went on.

So, with the best possible 20/20 hindsight, knowing exactly what we do now, we could probably have significantly reduced the quantity of oil leaked. But nobody knew that.

With best possible hindsight, with the knowledge that the well casing was not compromised, the best answer would have been to go straight to the special LMRP/BOP and not bother with anything else. They were assuming that the pressure would rise to up to close to the non-depleted well pressure, so clearly had reasonable belief that the casing would hold even that. So they didn't rely even upon any well depletion. (We don't know that the pressure would have held of course, but we don't know that is would not have held either. )

But, and this is a critical point. 20/20 Monday morning quarterbacking is boring. Any fool can do it, and many do. The post disaster analysis should never be about what the best possible strategy would have been with perfect knowledge. Nobody gains from that. The questions are about what can be learnt. What can be done better in the future. The future may bring any form of disaster. It is more important to focus on the wider questions about how to manage a highly technical disaster of any form. The lessons learnt should be as applicable to nuclear power plant accident or a huge industrial accident as to an oil well blow out. The oil industry learns a lot about a specific thing - how to handle a deep water blow out, but with luck has learnt a great deal more about their wider operations.


With best possible hindsight, with the knowledge that the well casing was not compromised, the best answer would have been to go straight to the special LMRP/BOP and not bother with anything else. They were assuming that the pressure would rise to up to close to the non-depleted well pressure, so clearly had reasonable belief that the casing would hold even that. So they didn't rely even upon any well depletion. (We don't know that the pressure would have held of course, but we don't know that is would not have held either. )


Yes this appears to be obvious in hindsight to me also.

Remember with a cap in place you don't have to shut in the well. You would have the capability to control the flow and pressure inside the well bore to whatever level was deemed to be safe. Claiming that the bent riser was adequately serving that flow control function is a bit silly. the riser was leaking in 3 (or more) places spread out over a mile.

MSNBC is reporting that BP with start cementing from the top on Thursday (tomorrow).


Later Wednesday night, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said he approved BP's plan to begin forcing cement down the well, as long as it didn't delay work on the relief well. BP officials said they planned to begin pumping cement on Thursday.


From discussion in previous thread about mudweight.

I'm another that is a bit confused about the 13.2 ppg Mudweight they used, I was in the JTF group thinking something in the +14.0 ppg made more sense.
I just updated my little Calculator program, added a box to include Riser into calculations. Makes it easy to play around with differrent mudweights and see the results with or without the riser. Here is what it shows for a 13.2 ppg weight.

With Riser included in Calc it shows 702 psi Overbalance.
Without Riser it shows 525 psi Underbalance.

I assume that the Cementing at bottom will offset the underbalance, the people planning all this will know far more about it than I do. But I would feel more comfortable if I knew the well was dead when calculated from the mud line.

My thinking now is that Changing the BOP is now a bit risky, I think they may be planning to hook up a riser on existing BOP, fill it with mud then maybe go into hole and fish out drillpipe, then go down and plug at various levels as Rockman stated earlier.
So will keep me interested waiting to see what they do.

I have made calculator a lot smaller, still available at if anyone interested in playing around with it.

Rockman - The 12.6 ppg Pore pressure where is that calculated from when they log the well, what makes me ask is the water depth from the well schematics says well starts at 5067 ft - but everywhere else I look says water less than 5,000 ft, so I'm assuming all calculations use the Kelly bushing as a datum line for all their calculations as a quick eyeball of the DWH looks like a good 80 -90 ft above sea level.

Hey, got no comment about technicalities but here's a chart I came across from the chatroom this afternoon. Justa picture on the wall, and I tried to enhance it. It's sortof readable.

But it might show some of their assumptions. Looks like they had just pumped about 350 bbls of mud. Hope this helps.

Sticks, did you account for depletion?

fdoleza - No - but you can set the hydrostatic pressure to whatever you want.
Everything can be set to whatever values you want. Hoping you would have some more info on the Gas Content, weight etc. I'm just stumbling around in the dark as far as the Gas component goes.

Edit : All yellow windows can be edited - green windows are calculated values

I don't have the PVT study. The oil is 2000+ GOR, and the temperature gradient is 240 to 40 F, so it's a pretty exotic volatile but undersaturated system - and it's very compressible, the density increases due to pressure, but also decreases at temperature increases. I don't have the software to model it (I'm in Europe traveling), but if you account for depletion, and you set the right oil density values, I'm sure it works out - the well is dead.

Hopefully you are right, But I'm a firm believer in "Plan for the worst - Hope for the best", Don't really know what pressure is now, so use the highest value known to be there previously. When Bore full of Mud, Density of Oil is irrelevant.

Pretty slow-setting cement, I gather.

Although they haven't told us what they learned from all this close observing of the flow rates and pressures and viscosities, I have to presume that the cement will seal the annulus and any leaks to formation that might exist?

And that the relief well injection of cement will not be hindered significantly?

I hope the pdf isn't too big. The gay marriage decision is 138 pages. I'm booked up.

Wells said today that it appears the mud went straight down the casing. So since static pressure has been achieved, does that mean that the annulus was not involved in the continuing flow of oil and gas out the top? that the only failed cement was the plug at the bottom of the liner, not the cement filling the bottom of the annulus around the liner?

Wells 8/4 briefing here. (it's only 10 pages - just a bite sized break from the marriage decision.)

Most of the drama is over now, so expect things will quieten down for a while, So I thought I might throw in a few "Wild Arse Theories" to get some reactions.
I have stated before, I thought the annulus cement job was still intact, my reasoning was in any pressure vessel failure (its sorta like a pressure vessel.) you may have several weak spots, but generally there will be only one failure. As soon as one spot lets go it immediately releives the pressure on other weak spots. Not impossible for multiple failures but highly unlikely.
When it blew out, there were reports of cement found on decks of some of the work boats, so it was assumed that the bottom plug had blown out, I was quite happy with this explaination.

But when the 2 drill pipes in the BOP came up, I had a re-think. I read all the posts about "supersonic" speeds expanding gas could achieve, and the "water hammer" theories, and lots of other opinions, but I just couldn't imagine these could bust up drill pipe like that, it wasn't a twisting or tension failure, the fact that drill pipe was driven up shows it was a compression type failure.
So (and this is where the wild arse theory comes in.) what if the bottom plug didn't have a catastrophic failure and disintergrate, what are the chances it just lost its bond with the casing, and a more or less intact plug of cement well oiled acted like a pellet in an air gun.
A greased Pellet, with a 2 mile barrel lubed with slippery mud (most mud expelled by gas.)
With 11,900 psi behind it and 2 miles before it reached the drill pipe, there is the chance it could pick up quite a bit of speed, impact with drill pipe would bust up drill pipe and shatter concrete, that is also the reason that I thought if casing was damaged it would be at the 3,000 ft area.

Sounds a bit over the top I know, but is there any chance its possible, cause frankly its about the only scenario that I can come up with that explains the drill pipe.

I havent really looked into this, its just a thought that crossed my mind. How long was the plug, did it extend past the 7 inch tapered section, I think it would have to be into the 9 inch section so it would seal enough to get some power behind it, a 7 inch slug in a 9 inch bore just wouldn't get enough drive.

Any possibility - or should I just go and lay down on David Browns Couch. LOL

I don't have a detailed wellbore sketch. But it's common to use a device at the bottom of the casing where a plug "bumps" or sets. The plug is put in behind the cement, and ahead of the mud used to displace the cement. So how could they blow up a solid piece of cement if they have a plug bumped into the bottom of the casing? Was this caused by the nature of the casing string, which has two different diameters?

Not put much thought into it, was just a thought I had - Possible - I don't know.
What made me think of the cement breaking its bond with the casing was thinking about the depletion, and how long it takes to restore to original pressure. So I started to think about a Thermal Depletion zone around the bore, all the time they drilling and circulating it was cooling area down, after plug was set maybe original heat gradually came back, expanded metal casing just a little bit more than cement.
A long shot, but I thought I put it out there. Never know, Crazier things have happened.

You are assuming the second pipe came from below. It seems at least as likely, if not more so, that it came from above. The fact that the end below the shear of the riser was free in the BOP and came out when the tophat was removed, whilst the other drill pipe was still held fast supports this (although it is possible the shear rams had fully cut one and not the other.)

Ages ago there were postings describing how drill pipes on other wells had broken in the riser and fallen. With the violence done to the drill pipe and riser by the doomed rig as it lost control and finally sank, breaking the drill pipe seems pretty likely.

Possible - I have no firm idea, just throwing a few ideas around.
But falling from above seems a long shot, when rig sank it would topple sideways a fair amount, due to it being secured to riser, by time riser was bent enough to break a drill pipe, there would be no straight run down to BOP.


I've thrown out similar ideas for quite a while, never could get buy-in. Shrug.

Let me say this to you, think: backdraft down the riser and casing.

rainy -- I don't think so.The kill pill is applying back pressure to everything below the well head. If the only flow channel was thru the annulus the kill pill would have filled it also. Consider that the only way for the oil to be pushed back into the reservoir was for it to flow back down the conduit it flowed up. And if it came up both the csg and the annulus, and the annulus wasn't killed, then they would still have the same pressure at the BOP as when they started.

What the heck is that new nonsense "as long as it didn't delay work on the relief well"?

Is this just chest puffing by Allen?

Allen said the static kill would take 30 to 60 hours. It was done in 8.

He makes it seem like the decision to pump the cement is all BP's idea and all he cares about is the RW.

I thought this decision to pump the cement in the well now was supposed to be a well thought out decision by everyone involved. Not just based on the time it took.

The cement will be done before Allen's 60 hour estimate for the static kill.

Never before was the time it took to pump the cement a factor whether to do it or not as far as we knew.

One of the main reason the well went bad was probably because of a bad cement job. I wonder if Allen even knows what kind of cement they are going to use and who is going to do the work. I know we don't.

Thad Allen has given approval for BP to pump cement.


I have expressed concern in the past about why BP or any oil company would plug the top of the WW full of DP and debris only to come back and clean it out later.

I guess I took a step back and thought about why BP would choose to do this. Actually I seem to remember it stated they were going to monitor the well for a few days after they pumped mud i.e. pump mud every six hours to insure the well is static. This seems to be the course taken throughout this disaster by BP and I still wonder the reasoning. I'm guessing the time and material involved to remove the cemented in DP isn't as important as removing as much evidence as possible from the scene of the crime.

If BP plugs the WW from the top with cement there is no way the RW can communicate to determine where the blowout occured. It seems to reinforce a legal move toward; this was an unavoidable accident. The question of the correct installation and quantity of centralizers or following accepted procedures for cementing seems to be somewhat tabled without evidence to show from where the WW was flowing.

Rockman, I'm not asking for support for my BP motives theory but does cementing the WW from the top minimize or stop communication with the RW? I'm guessing some evidence will be available when the RW intersects the annulus but it wouldn't be the same if they could push mud back up the WW and read pressures. With cement in the top and cement in the bottom of the WW there seems to be lots of room for doubt as to what's happening in the middle which leaves a few more quesstions open for when the old BOP is removed and it's time to extract the old DP.

I guess I could be optimistic and say BPs major objective was to insure minimal damage to the GoM but that's a tough pill to swallow.

Hafle's testimony at Kenner was prophetic: You'll never find out how hydrocarbons got in the well. They'll find a way to accidentally fill the BOP with cement and leave it permanently on the seafloor as a really big "top plug."

Wasn't the plan to make the releif well a production well? So even if they leave it the way it is, that shouldn't be a problem in the long run.

avon, can you cite day or, better, give me a link for that testimony? I have tried hard to watch all of the Kenner hearings, but I don't know Hafle or that testimony. I'd really like to find that. Thanks, --E

Hafle did speculate that we might never know what failed, but he did not say this:

They'll find a way to accidentally fill the BOP with cement and leave it permanently on the seafloor as a really big "top plug."

Avon made up that part, but OH OH! Hafle testified the morning of May 28, but video of his testimony seems to have been removed from the clips for that day at the investigation website.


His testimony might be available at C-SPAN, I don't know.

Avon, you mentioned in a comment some few days ago that your main interest at TOD was to increase your knowledge of the drilling scenarios or something of that nature, IIRC. In the following link, if you have not already seen this, the author, who mentions he has 40 years drilling experience, explains in detailed, concise, though less than grammatically correct, language, information you might find of interest. I did find the site hard to traverse, though, at first. In total he makes some 20+ comments over a number of weeks to observations on his initial discussion, and in one he mentions in so many words that bp does not want the bop to be recovered. Has some interesting comments, also, on the well shut-in. http://www.drillingahead.com/forum/topics/what-i-believe-may-have

The BOP is evidence and the Feds want it for the criminal investigation. The BOP will be removed filled with cement or not.

Being election year (that's pretty much every year, isn't it?), I'll bet some Dem has proposed that they drag its 360 tons + cement weight to the Capitol so their Congresscritters can pose with it and take shots at BP on teevee. The GOP, of course, will say no but then will agree as long as it's delayed by one day.

I bet if BP creates an underground seep, they won't even be liable...

My3, There's another way to look at this that doesn't require conspiracy sunglasses. They had a cap on and were a bit surprised by the low psi they saw, compared to what the well condition was pre-blowout. Then they watched it steadily climb, and using their supercomputers were able to construct a plausible simulation model that showed them more information than we have, and coupled that with new intense 4D seismic imaging (the 4th D is time) had an even better well and reservoir picture. THAT information led them to believe a static top kill would be a death blow to this well. Before they pumped an ounce of mud, using software and data much more powerful (if slightly less elegant) than Sticks has kindly shared with us, they were able to predict well and pump behavior and show it to Chu et al in advance. As they carefully pumped, they compared to those parameters and got the results they fully expected. They pumped even more and got exactly the returns they were expecting. Therefore, they believe they have a high probability of success with a cement job. If something goes wrong they still have the RW's, but they don't have any risks associated with those RW's having their own kicks.

We don't know the full results yet of course, but it is entirely possible that Rockman will owe JTF ice cream or a more potent beverage.

I personally was rooting for Rockman, no offense to JTF but doing A, then B then C in the prescribed manner just sat better with my computer engineering mindset.

intense 4D seismic imaging Whoops. Fantasy realm. 2D looking for gas bright spots.

You're not saying 4D Seismic isn't real, I assume you're saying they didn't use it here? I could post another dozen or so companies doing 4D, and I figured with the POTUS and everyone else involved they'd be using state of the art techniques, but I could be wrong. I readily admit I had no specific knowledge of 4D, but was basing my supposition on that basis. To put it another way, they would have been stupid NOT to be using it if it were available at all. IMHO

Very subtle and difficult to interpret in a 3D volume comparison after years of production and secondary waterflood, for instance. Impossible on 2D lines.

Had they completed the well properly, there is NO WAY they would have pushed it for a 50K bbls per day production. Out of the one string they might have gone for 10K, and used other holes in the reservoir to get at more. Therefore they could treat this like a 4D problem and look for depletion without stimulation. I'm not saying it would be optimal or even close, but am saying they would try that approach if they could, with all those consultants standing around and all that computer power sitting there. Your points are well-taken, not trying to pick a fight but trying to keep my mind open to the possibilities and the thinking paradigm Chu et al are following. After all the one item known at this point is that they are allowing a potentially dangerous cement bullhead approach after stating categorically that they weren't just days ago. They must have a card up their sleeves we can't see. I'm just speculating it is a 4(d). ;)

It's a valid question. And you may be right. BP had a predrill 3D volume. New surveys may have been 3D. BP has supercomputers and 4D algorithms in London http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/STAGING/global_assets/...

This is beginning to look more and more like BP and maybe even the Feds are engaging in as much obfuscation and disinformation as they think they can get away with. And, that’s with the public at large. They seem to have no intention at all of disseminating technical information to that subset of the population that can understand it, evaluate it and draw reasonable conclusions from it. So the TOD crowd and others like it are out of luck. We might as well get used to wearing the speculating hat to the end. I know BP says it’s going to pump cement, but I still hold out hope that they are bluffing. If they go ahead then I think I’m going to become a conspiracy buff.

Well, yeah. TO owned the rig, probably has responsibility for some of the safety violations. That's all going to play out in court, and the lawyers will be the only winners :-/

What is going on? If 2,300 barrels of mud (Kent Wells statement) were pumped into Macondo where did it all go? The well bore volume is around 1,200 barrels. Did the rest go into annular spaces, or into formation? Come on BP, lets have some simple truthful meaningful information. Your baloney makes the public distrust you.

Why did Thad Allen okay cement job from the top? It is impossible for the DDIII relief well to pump mud or cement into well up against hard cement which was set from the top. Any trapped mud in middle will not be compressed much or just disappear.

Would someboby who knows the business please explain.

baloney makes the public distrust Naw. Well plugged. 75% gone. Yay team.

You have legitimate concerns. The numbers don't add up. They may be continuing to pump mud into shallow fractures. Adm Allen doesn't have the smuts to question what he's being told.

Here's my theory. Why such a rush to cement from the top? Because they're worried about the 'large leaks,' not 'seeps,' from the sea floor. I wouldn't even call them leaks but very large gushes. If the well is static, it's because a ton of oil and mud are escaping through the sea floor (take a look at the Oceaneering ROV). My only question about this theory is why in the world they would keep such an outcome of the top kill secret, particularly with the video feeds for anyone to watch. Do my eyes lie? Maybe. But my common sense tells me that all is not well on the seafloor. Forgive me if I'm completely out to lunch. I just needed to say this.

Could you bring me a cheezburger?

Sure. With pickles?? Btw, I really enjoyed reading your comments to Hieros (Sp?). You're a wise person.

they have to plug their man-made hole regardless of whatever other damage has already been done, don't they...?? so might as well git-r-done and then stand back and see whatcha got...

IF there IS leakage from the sealed formation, wouldn't it be best to go ahead and try to produce from one of the relief wells RATHER than leaving it sealed and weeping...???

Nepeta: You have the courage to voice questions that are shared by many. Thanx! Instead of being slammed, it would be stimulating if you got the possibilities as well as probabilities or company-speak.
The way BP has hidden everything - including the data the folks here are after - only stokes the fires of doubt. It's the very act of hiding things that causes others to become suspicious. That's deductive. Patience, patience - the hidden things will probably eventually be revealed.

tod -- One more possible route for that extra mud to disappear thru: the 5,000' column of 13.2 ppg mud put a pressure of over 1,000 psi above water pressure at the cap. Some mud was certainly lost to the GOM that way. But I have no sense either way if it could have been as much as that missing 1,000 bbls of mud.

Mississippi River pours as much dispersant into the Gulf of Mexico as BP

"But what few in the public understood was that an equivalent amount of similar surfactant chemicals -- the active ingredient in Corexit and in household soaps and industrial solvents -- enters the Gulf each day from the Mississippi River, with more flowing in from other rivers and streams along the coast."

"According to a 1996 U.S. Geological Survey report, the median concentration of surfactants in the river was .05 parts per million. Based on the river's average flow rate, that would result in 140,000 pounds of surfactant entering the Gulf each day, said David Dzombak, director of the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research at Carnegie Mellon University and chairman of a National Research Council committee that authored a 2008 study of Mississippi River water quality."

"Based on information released by federal officials Wednesday, an average of 140,000 pounds of dispersant a day has been used during the first 104 days of the spill."

Published: Wednesday, August 04, 2010, 11:00 PM
Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune

Wondering...is it possible for an earthquake or volcanic eruption to cause an unknown (or any) formation of oil to release the entirety of it's contents almost immediately into the ocean...? There'd be no seeps to discover and nobody would ever know...

Possible, I guess, but I can't think just offhand of any place in the world where that combination of ingredients would exist. Of course, if a volcano came through a reservoir, there wouldn't be anything to see. An oil fire wouldn't make any difference to the magma.

if a lava tube shoots through an oil reservoir, it bakes the oil. I've seen well logs in wells near hot zones, and it can be very confusing at first, because the resistivity is very high - but unfortunately the "oil" isn't moveable. Also saw zones which were baked at high temperature, but only enough to fill some of the pore space with pyro-bitumen, leaving some moveable oil. A magnetic resonance log really helps figure out the amount of moveable oil in this case. Some zones may have 8 % porosity, but 3 % of the pore space is filled with pyrobitumen, leaving only 5 % for the moveable oil and connate water. And yet I've seen wells make 1000+BOPD from such zones.

An earth quake could do it. A mud volcano is more likely to cause a sea floor seep than a lava volcano. Mud volcanoes are rare, but they are known to cause seeps (Azerbaijan is an example). However, for the reservoir content to be relased "amost immediately" into the ocean is impoassible - unless the reservoir is itty bitty tiny. If there is a significant release, then the seep would be defiitely be seen, as long as it takes place where there are people to see it. If it's a release in 7000 feet of water and it's not too big, then it's very hard to figure out where it's at. If it's onshore, the releases can make natural tar lakes.

In an earlier post, I reminded the readers that such a natural oil seep, probably released by an earthquake, has existed in California for a long time, the La Brea Tar Pits. This tar lake is the one where actors fall and swim around, to come out covered in black muck. I understand they have pulled thousands of dead animals out of these pits, including animals which are now extinct, so this particular seep must be older than 13,000 years.

"Vents, as shown by seismic sections, are associated with faults which provide the connection to older subsurface fine-grained sediments that are: 1) mobilized by gas and fluids, 2) carried to the surface, and 3) ejected onto the seafloor to form mud volcanoes and fine-grained sediment flows.

The mud volcanoes are in water depths ranging from 300 to 690 meters located in Garden Banks Block 382, Green Canyon Blocks 143 and 272, and Mississippi Canyon Block 929."

GCAGS Transactions
Volume 45 (1995)

I think "almost immediately" isn't likely but it all depends if you're using geologic time scale... Google "Lapindo Mud Volcano" if you want to see where a drilling gas well put an aquifer in contact with a shale and caused an uncontrollable mud volcano that is still spewing 5+ years later... (The company who drilled the well has argued that it was an earthquake a week earlier that caused it and not the well so they shouldn't be liable for damages...)

I just read an unpublished scientific paper that suggested that a huge series of volcanic eruptions through a layer of coal may have contributed to the Permian-Triassic extinction event. In-place coking of the entire coal bed would have made enormous amounts of coal gas. The mental image of this gas bubbling through a basalt flow and burning above it is pretty dramatic.

from end of prior thread

Bloomberg Reporter Challenges White House energy adviser Browner on "vast majority of the oil has been contained" comment:


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Freep dot com -- Schauer: Oil firm broke regulations

The company that operates the pipeline that burst near Marshall violated federal regulations by failing to report the leak quickly, Rep. Mark Schauer charged Wednesday.

path: Public ~> Energy
Related Linkoriginally posted: 2010-08-05 04:40:18
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BattleCreekEnquirer -- Many say rules won't prevent more oil spills

Justin A. Hinkley The Enquirer August 4, 2010
Despite politicians' tough talk about increasing regulations following last week's Kalamazoo River oil spill, local residents aren't sure the government can prevent future accidents.

Enbridge was cited by federal regulators in January for not properly monitoring corrosion on its Line 6B -- the Indiana-to- Ontario pipeline which ruptured last week and caused the spill. In 2009 inspection
path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-08-05 04:31:45
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Enbridge -- August 4 Evenining Update

Clean-up continues along Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. The majority of sheen is now upstream of Battle Creek. We are actively ramping up shore clean-up and sheen removal. We currently have 99,000 feet of absorbent and containment boom at 37 locations.
There are currently 101 animals in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center receiving care and 14 animals have been released. For more information about the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service we...

path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-08-05 04:18:51

Here's a first.

ERMA map layers, BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Oiling Footprint Layer: "No Oil Observed Related to the Deepwater Horizon Spill."

Admiral Allen is on CSPAN, Washington Journal right now. Can anyone get a phone call through?

Rockman Here is your previous comment http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6810#comment-694315

Bruce -- Even with the success of the top kill yesterday I don't think I would be very critical of Dr. Chu calling quits on the first attempt. If anything, I would be critical of them trying it in the first place. I think it was more of a PR stunt that risked making matters worse IMHO. With the hole in the BOP shooting most of the kill pill into the GOM and that fact that AFAIK there has never been a successful top kill on a flowing well I saw virtually no chance of it working.

So can we presume that you have no objection to asking Steven Chu to confirm or deny the report in the New York Times by the "technician" that Chu, against the unified advice of the drilling experts in BP's command center, ordered the top kill operation stopped when there were still two steps left to go?

I'd love to see him take ownership of that decision. Someone noted that the target audience of most political discourse is a sixth grader. I'd love to have a chance to play

ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER, with Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Steven Chu.

You have said many times you are a geologist, not an engineer. I am an engineer, not a geologist. Steven Chu is neither a geologist nor an engineer.

A word of warning, do not stand anywhere near Chris Matthews, as he has already warned everyone what he would do if the heard about Chu's Nobel Prize again. The exact term of art for what Chris is likely to do is projectile vomiting.

Well I am an engineer.

The problem with risk management, is to the novice or political partisan, every "safe" decision looks "wrong" in hindsight, if a case could be made that a "risky" choice could have succeeded.

Similarly, a "risky" decision looks reckless in hindsight, if it has proven to be leading to disaster. That's the whole problem with risk- you just don't know ahead of time. Get it?

Attacks after the fact, expecially with the obnoxious tone you took, serve no purpose except to malign a person for political gain - essentially a form of political propaganda.

Here's a shocker:

BP (BP/ LN) may seek to avoid full spill responsibility, according to Transocean

14:02 05-08-2010