BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Details of the Cement Kill - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6838.

Previous discussion relating to this post can be found at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6827.

BP's website is now showing that the cement plug is effective:

The pressure testing following the cementing operations indicates we have an effective cement plug in the casing which was the desired outcome.

In recent days, additional details of the Deepwater Horizon well cementing operation have emerged from the press conferences of Kent Wells and Admiral Allen.

Admiral Allen held the first and shorter conference on Friday, and there were only two external questions, so perhaps interest is now fading fast as the well is now effectively plugged. It is not yet legally plugged and the need for certain procedures to comply with regulation was part of the discussion today.

Admiral Allen noted that after injecting the well with cement, a separating fluid was injected and then the cement pumped down to the bottom of the hole by injecting mud behind the separating fluid. He again spoke to the finding that the cement had only gone down the production casing, and not the annulus.

As I’ve told you in previous briefings, we’re starting about 4-1/2 feet away from the well horizontally, and we’ll drill down at a very, very slight angle. If for some reason they penetrate the annulus in the process of doing that, they’ll prepare – they'll be prepared to go ahead and assess the condition of the annulus at that point and go ahead and submit the well in.

We do not believe that the second try will be needed to go into the casing pipe because the indications are from the cement that was put in from the top is that the casing has been filled with cement down at that level, but we will not be sure of that until we finish the pressure checks that I mentioned earlier. But if the – if the pressure checks hold and we have indication the casing has been sealed off with cement, then the killing alone would require only going into the annulus. But we will not know that until the pressure checks are complete on the – on the cementing that was done yesterday and we actually enter the annulus itself and understand what the condition is at that time.

The sense of those comments is that if the cement followed the oil path and sealed it, then there wasn’t a leak in the annulus, since all the cement went down through the casing. Thus he likely is now expecting that when the relief well intersects the annulus and the cement within it, it is not going to find any hydrocarbons. (These will be detected in the returns of the mud to the surface as they continue to circulate fluid through the drill bit on the relief well.)

It is going to take another week or so to reach and penetrate the annulus and assess its condition, but after that the finale will come quickly. Kent Wells noted that the relief well has drilled beyond the last set of casing, that was just set, for an additional 15 ft, and this has given them the space to run the cement bond log and the first ranging run to ensure the positions of the wells remain as desired. The next drilling run (of about 30 ft) will likely take place on Sunday, and he too felt that the intersection would be in the August 13-15th time frame. (Incidentally the finding that the leak was from the cement in the shoe of the well, and not in the annulus could well mean that the cement bond log test, even if run, would not have found the original leak in the Deepwater well, since it was below the range over which the instrument would run - as the need to drill out the cement in the relief well before running it illustrates. Similarly the discussion about the number of centering pieces on the production casing may also no longer be pertinent to the failure).

However, if the oil flow was constrained only through the center of the production casing, then there should be no hydrocarbon in the annulus, and to verify that they may, perhaps drill longer and further down the annulus than otherwise planned. (This to get down to the area of the shoe to ensure that the cement job already completed has sealed off any possible paths upwards outside the casing).

In response to a question, Kent Wells stated that BP had pumped 500 barrels of cement down the well, and of this roughly 200 barrels went into the formation, with 300 barrels left in the casing.

At the time of the conference ( 3 pm Central) BP was running the pressure test on the well, having raised the pressure above the plug, it was being held constant, watching to see if there is any leakage that would drop the pressure and indicate the need for a fix.)

He also pointed out that for the abandonment procedure required for the well, BP will have to replace the current BOP with a functional one that would allow them then to insert a new drilling pipe into the top of the well. They will use this pipe to create a second plug up near the top of the well, prior to carrying out the removal of the top sections of the casing (as I showed in an earlier presentation) at a level below the sea bed. This will provide the original BOP for forensic examination. The final top plug might look something like this:

Side view showing the removed top part of the casing and the two cement plugs required to seal the well below the seabed.

From the previous thread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6827#comment-698699

If BP would release the cement pressure charts we would probably see several bumps in pressure. One being the top kill cement hitting the formation as it has different flow properties than flow in the casing.
Back in the 1980s in Oklahoma a gas well blew out because the cement was honeycombed. Gas invaded the cement. I believe they used nitrogen on Bps original cement job to lighten the first cement which decreases the probability of fracturing the formation as the cement is lifted.
The centralizers actually serve two purposes. One to center the pipe and second, to help make sure the mud is mixed with the first cement/flush so the cement does not channel through the heavy mud.
It is common when running a bond log on green cement to see poor or little bond. It is called a micro-annulus, a micro gap between the casing and cement. We use to pressure up the casing with water, the pipe expanded, and you would see good bond. If you came back to the well 72 hours later, you would see good bond.
Now take the BP well and assume the cement had not set. There would be a micro-annulus, especially if the cement was honey combed. It is not real common, but sometimes the plug does not latch in the shoe. When they displaced the mud with seawater, it reduced the pressure and the casing was reduced in size very slightly making the micro-annulus a problem or it could be the cement had channeled through the mud.
The plug gave as now there was a path from the reservoir to the bottom of the casing and hydrocarbon entered the casing. It is also possible the casing split on the long seam near the reservoir. I don't remember seeing where the casing was manufacture, but this has often been a problem with casing made overseas.
The 1000 bbls per day was probably correct originally, but it does not take much sand from the formation to cut holes in the casing, casing shoe, and BOP. It is why the rates kept getting larger. The well was cleaning up, the faster it flowed, the more it cut. The bent riser in the beginning was probably a good thing as it held back pressure & the sand did limited cutting. When they sheared the riser, the only back pressure was the 2250 psi from the ocean above, and the limited restrict in the BOP.
The probability is the cement above the formation setup after a day or so, and the DW will find no pressure/hydrocarbon from the main pay.
Now I hope they were smart and ran a tracer in the top kill cement job. As Rockman stated, they will eventually have to get back into the well open ended with drill pipe to set the final plugs. I assume they will tag the top of the top kill cement and run a bond log & gamma out and see no tracer.
The real test will be if they find tracer cement on the DW. Actually they should already see the radioactive tracer if it came up the annulus, they are only 5 feet away. And/Or they should have seen some oil in the DW cuttings/gas detector if the oil came up the back side (annulus).
If someone would grab their Halliburton Red Book and calculate wherwhere the top of the cement is for the 300 bbls left in the casing, it would be appreciated.

I generally agree with your conclusion and note that your explanation of the flow profile over time is much more credible than the Flow Group's; and explains the 'missing oil" that is AWOL because it never leaked into the gulf in the first place.

Okay, noob as I be, the leap from WellSiteGeo's

The 1000 bbls per day was probably correct originally, but it does not take much sand from the formation to cut holes in the casing, casing shoe, and BOP. It is why the rates kept getting larger. The well was cleaning up, the faster it flowed, the more it cut. The bent riser in the beginning was probably a good thing as it held back pressure & the sand did limited cutting. When they sheared the riser, the only back pressure was the 2250 psi from the ocean above, and the limited restrict in the BOP

to Bruce Thompson's

your explanation of the flow profile over time is much more credible than the Flow Group's; and explains the 'missing oil" that is AWOL because it never leaked into the gulf in the first place

is several miles too wide for me. Help, please?

If you remember the sequence of events, the estimated flow per NOAA was 1,000 bpd, then 5,000 bpd then 5-10,000 bpd etc etc.

I just went back and watched the Tony Hayward/Kent Wells technical briefing from 5/10/10 http://bp.concerts.com/gom/bptechbriefing051010.htm They discussed the flow rate with the press and no one was aghast at the suggestion that they were having reasonable success at dealing with the oil at the surface with in situ burns etc. Also note that President Obama felt no need to accept responsibility for dealing with the leak for another 17 days!!! http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20006183-503544.html

If one accepts the current government negotiating ploy of setting the flow at 62,000 bpd, and the briefing was 21 days into the leak, there should have been 1.26 million barrels of oil about. Note that the first effective collection device, the Riser Insertion Tube Tool was not installed until six days later on 5/16/10 http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=9034436&contentId=7062142 . That would be the first time there was any collection of oil to reduce the net flow rate. Much of the so-called "missing" oil never leaked out in the first place and the government is lying if they tell you otherwise.

P.S. I think you will find Tony Hayward much more informative today, now that you've had two months to learn the lingo and the concepts he & Wells were explaining back then.

Oh, Bruce, bless your heart. I was snarking, not honestly seeking assistance.

Since English is, as Senator Sam used to say, my mother tongue (and I spent twenty years teaching it to college students), I've never had trouble understanding Tony Hayward's or Kent Wells' statements. What does bumfuzzle me is why a small percentage of Americans so abjectly hate the Obama Administration that any reference to it (or none) sets them off ranting nonsense.


Anyhow, guess I awoke slightly ornerier than usual today and, when you piped up, indulged in a little light heckling. If you keep asking for it, someday you may catch it again (probably more directly next time).

Until then, Cheerio . . .

If you're a retired teacher then I would imagine your day has become a little brighter considering Pelosi brought the Dem House off vacation in order to pass a $26,000,000,000.00 teacher pension fund bill.

It's not for pensions, it's $20b for teacher salaries (preserving whole teaching positions, not raises) and $6b for support of Medicaid.

Basically it's a federal bailout of the states, who are less able or (depending on state law) unable to borrow money for operating expenses they can't cover owing to revenue shortfalls caused by the recession.

We are way off topic, but I wanted to set the facts straight.

A relatively minor quibble, but the initial estimate of 1000 was based on the size of the slick and did not take account of natural dispersion nor dissolving of light fractions in the water column. (At least someone complained at the time abut the dispersion issue, IIRC). It was pretty much a quick, wild guess anyway. However, the government's assumption of 60K from the beginning does sound implausible and could represent a negotiating position influenced by lawyers. Did the FRTG take direct ownership of the estimate? I'm not sure. It does sound more reasonable to guess that the early flow was around 5000 but increased to around 60,000 at the time the riser was cut (early June), then declined to around 53,000 at the time of the hard cap. Whether these latter figures are also high-end-of-range estimates, we don't know at this point.

Bruce, I don't think the JAG report intended the "residual" category to represent "missing oil." It is hard to tell what they meant. I have tried to understand the structure of the categories (which seems illogical), and I have a thesis. They were thinking in terms of the paths that various oil fractions took into the environment and the physical states the fractions assumed.

A. 1/4 collected at the wellhead or from the surface.
This category represents the contribution of the response effort. I would have started with the distinction "spilled vs. captured at the wellhead," but lumping capture with skimming and burning makes the response effort look better.

B. 1/4 dispersed.
This is the oil that was broken into droplets suspended in the water column, either at the wellhead or after being sprayed at the surface. The report does not claim this oil is gone, just that 24% of the oil assumed this physical form. Much of it has been biodegraded, but the report doesn't say how much, probably because the scientists involved didn't want to go on record with a guess.

C. 1/4 evaporated or dissolved.
This strange category may have been created because light oil fractions will evaporate at the surface, but more or less the same group of fractions is capable of dissolving in the water column and never making it to the surface, and they aren't sure of the ratio. In other words, this category represents the lighter 1/3 of the spilled oil that could have gone either route. Evaporated fractions are gone from the system, but dissolved HCs stay in the water until they are biodegraded or make it to the surface. Again, the report doesn't say how much is still in the water.

D. 1/4 "residual."
Although they've never given this definition, according to the logic of A + B + C, this category must represent the amount of spilled oil that made it to the surface but was not collected, evaporated, or sunk by dispersants. Lubchenco made it clear that the category does not represent the amount of oil still in the water, as almost every reporter has mistakenly thought. Again, much of this oil is gone by now, but they aren't saying how much. What remains at the surface is mostly tarballs and light sheen, with small patches of peanut butter occasionally being discovered.

The current "oil budget" is the kind of budget we have come to expect from our government!

Once again let us go back to Steven Chu's interview with the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/17/us/politics/17chu.html?_r=1

In an interview Thursday, Dr. Chu said that if he had understood geology and well technology better in the early days after the April 20 blowout, he might have urged a faster attempt at the top kill, which involved shooting mud and other gunk to clog up the damaged blowout preventer atop the gushing well. The delay, he said, might have allowed pressure to increase in the well, rendering the attempt fruitless when it was tried at the end of May.

So Secretary Chu admits that the flow increased during the period of time under discussion here.

How many of you TOD readers remembered Tony Hayward and Kent Wells extensively discussing the top kill and junk shot on May 10th, before BP collected any oil with the RITT?

This administration is working on the assumption you have the retention of an Alzhiemer's patient.

I repeat, Steven Chu is responsible for more spilled oil than BP is. The top kill would have worked if he did not say stop.

By late May, his confidence had grown and he was giving orders to BP officials, including his demand to stop the top kill effort even though some BP engineers believed it could still succeed.

“A lot of us said ‘don’t start it,’ and he was the one who said ‘stop,’ ” said a BP technician who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the company. “But having done all we had already done, I thought we should have completed the final two operations. He was not keen to listen. BP people said, ‘Let’s try these last two steps,’ but he said, ‘No, stop.’ ”

You keep harping on Chu's responsibility, and now you're stating as a fact "the top kill would have worked if he did not say stop", when many of the oil hands here (as well as those of us non oil-types who think about the physics of the thing, the oil flow rates, and the pumping capacity they threw at the problem) think it never stood a great chance.

With all respect that is due to a smart guy, Bruce, you keep repeating this claim that "the top kill would have worked" if Chu had not stopped it, when neither you nor anyone else knows whether it would have worked. It seems like a sort of faith claim that is based on your very evident hatred of the federal government. But your claim has been duly noted, more than once, by all regular readers of TOD.

Heaping blame on Chu makes no sense. Chu's humble observation that he'd learned a lot between late April and late May doesn't change the fact that he was not in charge of the government's response anyhow, and especially not in late April. Since not even the BP pros knew what they needed to know about the blowout, we can hardly expect Dr. Chu to know more, or know better. Maybe a junkshot in the first few days might in retrospect have done the trick. But I saw no evidence that BP officials were wetting their pants to do one in the early days either. As for over-ruling BP's last two junk-shot procedures, we have only an unnamed technician quoted in a Times story for that. Even supposing the reporting is correct, so what? If those last two tricks were surefire, somehow I think we'd know what they were by now. But do we? What seems more likely was that the junk shot was floundering and that further stratagems had a lower and lower chance of success while raising a greater and greater risk of making things worse, say, I don't know, maybe by clogging up the manifold or feed lines or something. So Chu made a sensible executive decision that turned out to be the right one. Your statement "I repeat, Steven Chu is responsible for more spilled oil than BP is," is therefore simply preposterous.

I'm going to add my 2¢ to the other comments.

I'm curious as to what you are trying to accomplish with your posts.

I could imagine that you're trying to enhance our perception of the overall significance of these events and the responses of the various organizations and people involved, but that wouldn't explain the repetition that has been mentioned by Gobbet.

So it appears that you're trying to advance a point of view.

Certainly it appears that in this post you are being very critical of Dr. Chu. But that is somewhat puzzling to me, so perhaps you can help me.

The information that you present to support your case appears to me to be somewhat self-defeating.

First you cite Dr. Chu's comment that the delay in the attempt to do what I would refer to as the dynamic top kill, might have contributed to the apparent ineffectiveness of that procedure. You also refer to his observation that if he had understood the issues involved he might have pushed to do it earlier.

Then you shift to the comments by BP (presumably knowledgeable and involved) personnel.

The first quote has them saying "don't start it," Presumably because they thought it was important for him to insist on starting the procedure (perhaps they were using paradoxical process?)?

And next they said that he told them to stop. Presumably because he had been persuaded that they were right to not do it, but he was wrong to follow their advice?

Then, apparently, because they had changed their minds, and/or believed they had gone to far to stop, they said don't stop. But he said stop.

If it sounds confusing, it's because I'm confused.

A couple of other things puzzle me about this. What about all the other experts involved in working on this issue? Did they have anything to say?

What would you have suggested that Dr. Chu do? Should he have followed their advice or ignored it?

How hard did they present their case to him?

How many barrels of mud should he have allowed them to inject into the well before giving up?

Then too, you cite the BP engineers' comments as an indication that the the procedure would have worked, even though the part you quoted just said that they should have continued because they had gone that far. That's not exactly saying that it would have worked.

Can you help me out?

Regarding the dynamic kill, under the circumstances prevailing in this well, I don't think it had a prayer of working. No one knew the condition of the well, most suspected interior damage, no one had the foggiest notion how much the well was flowing, what the area of the holes on top was( to attempt a calculation of how fast a pump rate would be needed to overcome the pressure), likely no one on the team in the war room except maybe the so called relief well expert had ever seen a dynamic kill attempted under similar circumstances, I could go on but you get the picture....a longshot. I've seen two attempted on land, both unsuccessful, thankfully not supervised by me. The theory of plugging with successive smaller pieces of junk sounds good but under the pressures and circumstances in this instance never had much of a chance of working. The risk of doing a lot of damage to the well was huge, however. That's why I never endorsed it. Granted we don't know the details of what happened, the rates, the pressures, the amount of junk etc etc and perhaps if we knew all that I might change my mind but I doubt it. All we do know is that the flow out of the well seemed to increase dramatically after the junk shot attempt.

I didn't develop the above opinion based solely on my experiences in the oil patch. I worked on several occasions with the Master himself, Mr Adair, and had many conversations with him when swinging a new wellhead/BOP was an option as was an attempted dynamic kill attempt. We came to the same conclusions that the relief well option was the fastest, low risk, and safest option available and that's the way we went. I've always looked upon the dynamic kill as the "hero if it works and goat if not" type operation that had the potential to hurt/or worse workers doing the job.

As always, above is IMHO.

Did you work with Red Adair in Kuwait?
If so, did you ever "raise the plume"?
Do you know where the idea to "raise the plume" came from?
Do you remember how the contractors were so desperate for ideas, due to a lack of infrastructure and government interference and corruption, that they made a public plea for ideas?
Was "raising the plume" one of the best ideas that floated in over the transom?
Do you know who was the author of "raisng the plume?

As to your experience, I do respect it. But let us recall that Steven Chu has had full access to all the data where we have not and he had to all the world's experts assembled in BP's Houston command post. He went against the consensus of the world's experts though he admits to being an oil field naif.

And no one in the media will even ask him or Allen to confirm or deny the story as it appeared in the New York Times.

Dang, last thread closed before I had a chance to pester you guys with more questions.

~WellSiteGeo on August 10, 2010 - 1:35am

" The plug gave as now there was a path from the reservoir to the bottom of the casing and hydrocarbon entered the casing. It is also possible the casing split on the long seam near the reservoir. I don't remember seeing where the casing was manufacture, but this has often been a problem with casing made overseas."

...So I have read that when seawater contacts sulfate minerals, it can create sulfuric acid and start the process of hydrogen embrittlement in well bore casings, but can also degrade various cements. These alloys are probably made in a country with less stringent manufacturing standards, which seems strange considering that these alloys are supposed to be high tensile strength, but also certain alloy types are required to be used in well bores for certain types of oil....required to be highly regulated in terms of what they use in the well....but the products they use are produced in a country with loose standards. Anybody I know that works with metals for a living says that Chinese and Indian metals are crap, that they are not well formed and have an irregular matrix with localized areas/nodes of differing densities that can easily shatter machine shop drilling heads and such. So although this is not considered to be a "sour gas" well( as far as what I have read ), where sulfide stress cracking would be a concern, in terms of brittle structures, there is still the question of microbial products...

The original application to drill in block 252 also specifically stated :

" Q: Are there any chemosynthetic communities within 1500' of the proposed site ? "

" A: No "

Didn't ken Wells say that the methane being observed around the well head was locally produced bio-genic gas....?

That's a little closer than 1500', don''t ya think...?

...also...there was a fairly large amount of water in the analysis of the oil I read,..is this normal for such a deep formation..? Does this mean that these reservoirs are somehow connected to a deep aquifer..? Are the lengths of casings used at the bottoms of wells required to have a thicker wall ?

Thanks for taking the time to answer more outsider questions, Isaac

Post Script: Are well bores required to have cathodic protection of any types, or does that cause problems with flow rates..?


I'd be fascinated to see any oil analysis you have uncovered - I've seen nothing so far. Can you or anyone else post a link? 

BigNerd- here is what I was given, as far as the validity, I cannot say, just that I have had several look over it( including an ex-BP chemist/engineer), and it seems to jive. It would seem that the contents would indicate the environment, no ?




I can answer the water question. It's very typical for oil sands to contain water below the oil. The water is geopressured the same as the oil is. If you let the well flow wild, it's very likely that some of the water will be produced along with the oil. There isn't any connection with a deep aquifer (as I think you mean), although the water charged layer itself could be called an aquifer.

A couple of points, Isaac.

First, how long does the exposure need to be before the hydrogen embrittlement noticeably degrades the casing / cement? Seconds? Days? Months?

I ask, because up to a day or two before the blowout, the pipe and cement had spent it's life sitting in storage somewhere, not in the well.

Secondly, as I understand it, the entire seafloor everywhere is subject to having organic material drifting down and undergoing decomposition, which results in bio-genic gas. That tells me that the "chemosynthetic communities" in the application must refer to some other process, since asking a question to which the answer is ALWAYS "yes" is not something encountered very often.


"Chemosynthetic communities" include multi-celled animals that use unusual biosynthetic pathways to produce the energy they live on. They metabolize things like H2S rather than oxygen.

The regular bacteria that live in the sediment and produce methane are very likely anaerobic rather than chemosynthetic. And they're single-celled.

A couple of links on chemosynthetic communities in the GOM:

http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/regulate/environ/chemo/chemo.html (includes a link to a map of locations)


From what I have read, the rate of hydrogen embrittlement is dependent on several things.

The amount of H2S gas the casing will encounter in it's use, apparently, different crudes require different alloys.From what I have read, higher API crudes are less susceptible to sulfide stress cracking because of the natural coating that develops on the interior wall of the casing/pipeline.

Drilling operates normally will bake the extra hydrogen out of any equipment to be re-used in an operation, although I do not know if this is required or just common sense.

The interior/exterior invasions by hydrogen comes about from the bio-films that microbes secret, giving produced hydrogen nowhere to go but into the metal itself. I know it can be a major problem for pipeline engineers and such.

As far as what is defined these days as a "chemosynthetic community"
Methogens were considered to be bacteria until recently, and they are single celled, not multicellular, as far as I know.
Methanogens(archaea),which from what I have read would be producing any bio-genic gases around the wellhead, uses hydrogen to convert CO2 to methane, they have also been found to colonize hydrate formations. Some of the studies of H2S producing microbes on the OCS , that I have read, have shown them to be tenacious to the nth degree, as evidenced by the methods being used in the nearby joint BP project, the Ursa-Princess waterflood, in where they have started waterflooding with super-dense deoxygenated & chlorinated brine, in the attempt to prevent H2S producing microbes from "souring" the reservoirs. Studies of these same tactics in the North Sea, have shown these microbes to be right back at work in the reservoirs after as little as 2 years.

I am eagerly awaiting more info about all of this...I know that due to different bubble points of gases, we would see very different visual effects from any venting of the mudline, ie: H2S gas appears as a mist and not a bubble, etc. But I also know that my grasp on all of this is not absolute....

Now, I am off to pick apart the design of Dynamically Positioned drilling rigs, especially Horizon, for I believe there was absolutely no good reason for the rig to have sank. Seriously.

Answer to Wellsitegeo's question from the last thread:

Inside Diameter 6.143" (7" Casing)
Inside Diameter 8.598" (9 7/8" Casing)

BP has stated the cement top on the top kill is 5,000' off bottom.


I had not seen this document before. Lots of good basic info on the plan for running and cementing the production casing.



Thanks for the link, it at least answers one of the burning question that caused a lot of discussion.

According to the program the CBL was only going to be run IF the casing cement job failed. Once it was pressure tested, then the wireline crew would have been given their marching orders.

Page 8 Dot point 9.2.4 part 1

There was also a wear bushing set, which may have been dislodged during the initial blow out which may have got hung up in the BOP. Have to wait and see for that one.


Your Welcome. Lots of good info.....Maybe to much.

One thing that stood out was the plan to set the production string 50 to 60' off bottom.

That would leave an extra long Ding-Dong, or is it called a Dunderpooch :) under the casing.


Again the apparent inconsistency of statements. "Admiral Allen spoke to the finding that the cement had only gone down the production casing, and not the annulus." vs. "Kent Wells stated that BP had pumped 500 barrels of cement down the well, and of this roughly 200 barrels went into the formation, with 300 barrels left in the casing." Between the bottom of the production csg and the base of the reservoir there is 100' of annulus. The cmt had to pass thru this annulus to reach the formation as Well's states. Which contradicts the Allen's statement. I think the confusion deals with what part of the annulus Allen is referring. I believe he means the annulus above the reservoir. In reality the annulus runs from the bottom of the hole to the well head at the sea floor. The lower section is annular space between the production csg and the rock while the upper annular space is between the production csg and the other liners. This is the annular space some folks thought the wild flow was coming up at least in part. As mentioned if the RW1 finds no pressure when it cuts into the lower annulus then this concern could be put aside.

Not a big faux pas but they've been confusing folks enough with other incomplete/inconsistent statements.

Exactly RM~Allen used to confuse the hell out of me when he gave the pressers because of the terminology he used, only to use another word (to explain the same event ex: seeps vs leaks) in the next day's presser.

The concrete remarks confused everyone on all the CT's site and even the mainstream ones as they thought that since all that concrete was in the formation, there must have been a major problem with leaks and fractures in the rock that we are being lied to about, but these are also the same ppl who think that after the RW is done, that the original well should be "disassembled" and removed from the GoM to prevent more leaks....I give up, I am no expert but sometime I am shocked at the complete ignorance from those seeking answers who won't even do a minutes woth of research before asking qustions.

O/T ~ I tried to psot bak to u regardun speeling in the last thread when we were talking about alcohol. I do know one time I was exhausted, and decided to get in the hot tub after a night out and took a glass of champagne only to fall asleep. There were alot of ppl at the house so they woke me up, sadly they also told everyone my story of snoozing while boozing in the hot tub. But by far the worst alcohol moment I had was when the man I work with returned from court where he was attending the initial hearing on alimony and was told he had to pay $25,000.00 a month, he grabbed a fifth of Jack, started drinking in the liquor store and came back to work at 10:00 am drunk as a dog, I decided I'd take his keys and take him home after I finished his trades for the day, I remembered I couldn't take him home since he had another car there and I didn't want him driving so I took him to the Sandshaker bar on the beach and called his friend to come get him, BUT while I was waiting I decided to try my first (and second) Bushwhacker which are almost like a chocolate shake with rum, I did NOT know they were also topped with 151, so after 2 drinks, the friend I called not only had to take my co-worker home but me too, where I puked in the tub and passed out on the bathroom floor, so yes alcohol can effect more than typing, and I have learned to stick with drinks that I am familiar with......151 was not my friend! I hope all is well with your well (pun intended)


Yes mummsie...thankgoodness we've outgrown such self abuse. LOL. I drink very little anymore so my short B&B on the rocks does the trick for me at night. They gave me pain pills for my knees but I don't care for such medication. I know how to handle alcohol and don't have to worry about getting hooked. It also helps to satisfy my sweet tooth which has been wondering where the hell the BBIC is. Last night was just a combination of not enough sleep and that sweet nectar of the gods. BTW: not only was TOD staring at me when I awoke but so was my dog. For a split second I felt like I was 8 yo and my mom had just caught me doing something naughty. Strange how an old mind works sometimes.

I would guess that you don't want me to put my $-0.025 in here.


This should make you jealous. My father owned an ice cream company so I was weaned on ice cream! The company had been in the family since 1850, back when they delivered IC with horse and wagon and kept it cold by cutting out blocks of ice from lakes in the winter. Come to think of it, I have no idea what they did in the summer. Anyway, I don't know how it compares to BBIC but it was pretty darn good and constantly available. Yummy...

Nep: Sawdust. Up here in Connecticut way back when they'd cut the ice in winter and store it in ice houses where it was layered and heaped with sawdust. The ice would keep all through summer. We had a big trade shipping our ice by steamship to South America, too. At yard sales hereabouts you can still find those huge ice saws and tongs and picks and ice-handling equipment though most folks don't know what it was used for.

Thanks for the info! Interesting. I would have never guessed sawdust.

You're all trying to get me to make some more home made stuff, aren't you? It's a conspiracy, I can see.


Oh,yes, please!!! Home made stuff is the BEST!!!

My god...you have the formula? If you're not a qualified refrigeration engineer you'd best just keep it under your hat. Say, you're not one of those climate crazies, are you?

Heh heh, nope just make a mean Mango ice cream. Oh, and chocolate.


make a mean Mango ice cream. Oh, and chocolate

How 'bout peach? caramel? Justine's Lotus, fer gawd's sakes? (Don't go there, Rockman. Just don't, hon. Trust me on this.)

RM (naughty??- I have no idea what you could be talking about.....LOL) That happens when I fall asleep in the afternoon and wake up thinking it's actually the next morning and almost break a leg trying to get ready for work only to finally realize I am disoriented from a hard snooze. Damn, I do love a catnap in the afternoon though:)

I do drink about twice a week, usually it's right after a stressful day of trading when I either want to hurt someone or throw my phone across the room, so I head out to the Dock on the beach for one shot of Patron and a beer, then all is good-not drunk and I know longer have the desire to hurt anyone. BUT, bushwahckers are an entirely differnt drink and I guess I need to stick to drinking something I am familiar with than experimenting (although the other time I experimented was drinking a poontang and it's a favorite now).

Remember you almost have your 4 month chip, so satisfy your sweet tooth with the drink and I promise to quit talking about BBIC.

Mmm Bushwackers at the FloraBama..
Those'll put the hurt on you.

Close, Bushwhackers at the Sandshaker.......put so much of a hurt on me I haven't had one since that day:) I do enjoy ending a stressful day with a shot of Patron and a beer though:)

Kind of partial to Herradura myself, but would not turn down a little Patron.

Hi Rockman,

I think you're being a little hard on Allen here. His statement that "the cement had only gone down the production casing, and not the annulus" is in no way inconsistent with what Wells said. All he actually said was that the cement didn't go down the annulus... he was silent on the obvious conclusion that the cement had to subsequently go up the annulus to get 200 bbls into the formation. I see nothing inconsistent or confusing in the simple statement quoted.

Fred -- I actually have a lot of sympathy for Allen. I don't think he's been as well preped by his cohorts as he could have been. I also agree that he probably meant going down the upper annulus. You and I weren't confused. But this same statement has confused other folks in recent days so that's why I brought it up again. Also, I suspect the upper vs. lower annulus issue will grab the headlines when RW1 makes the intersect.

"Also, I suspect the upper vs. lower annulus issue will grab the headlines when RW1 makes the intersect."

HaHa... How true Rock! We can only hope that the media pull their heads out of their annuli and thoroughly clean their ears before penning headlines and articles on RW1 or confusion will reign supreme.

You know the plunger that you use to push meat into the grinder when you make sausage ?

I am going to rename it " The Thad "

Mweehee! Good one, Isaac. Poor ol Animal Fat, he's had him a time.

The way that Allen is using the term "annulus" is also the way that BP has generally been using it. There was discussion earlier of BP's mentioning that the flow and quantity of mud being pumped would vary depending on whether it went down the casing, with or without drill pipe, or down the annulus, or some combination thereof. I think the illuminating comments you made yesterday were the first to explicitly take notice of the annulus around the casing from the bottom of the casing up to the reservoir, so I, at least, had been blithely unconfused until then.

Have to say, the idea of the hydrocarbons pushing their way down through the cement around the casing and then dislodging the shoe and cement at the bottom of the casing on their way to the top of the well and higher is even more impressive than my previous thought that all the HCs had to do was work their way into the bottom of the casing. Thanks to the posters at the end of the closed thread who added comments about the April cementing process, micro-annuli, etc.

Rainy -- Yep...pressure is a difficult concept for most to visualize into real life experience. How powerfull is 11,900 psi? We have lines on rigs that run several hundred psi and more than a few hands have been injured/killed when such lines blew. About 30 years ago a fellow changing a flat tire in New Orleans couldn't get the spare on right and began beating it with his tire iron for some odd reason. Tire blew and the concussion from that 30 psi killed him instanly. Maybe drove the tire iron into his head...don't recall the details. Now think about 11,900 psi again.

To put it into another perspective, in other engineering disciplines, pressures above say 3 ksi are considered very high.

If you are going to transport pressure vessels with 5 ksi or greater pressure, you need a special DOT licence and a bunch of regulations kick in. There is even a pretty thick engineering manual ("Pressure Vessel Code") that help you design high pressure vessels.

11.9 ksi is indeed very, very high pressure.

Here is a link to a previous thread about the cement in the shoe http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6773#comment-686648

I'd like to say thank you to the guys who provided me with those links so I could further analyze Dr. Z's statements regarding the loop, I'm glad to know they were "out there" to say politely.
As for cement it's good to see it's still holding.


Having beat on you perhaps more than you deserved, it is incumbent (nothing to do with the upcoming elections) upon me to acknowledge what appears to be a significant shift in your questions and replies.

I have been tremendously impressed by the thoughtfulness, and intelligence, as well as the measured, and generally positive tone of your replies of late. Even your sense of humor is improving lately (of course, coming from me that may not be a compliment).

You appear to be far less impulsive, and less ready to jump to conclusions, all signs of a recognition that it is important to gain as clear a picture as possible, especially before assuming, let alone reinforcing, the validity of the kinds of alarmist posts that are made to virtually all forums these days.

As I was reviewing some of your posts from yesterday, to test the validity of my impression of the shift in quality of your posts.

I was interested to note that you actually served as a moderating influence on a couple of posters who appeared to be getting more excited than was necessarily required.

I would commend you for adjusting your perspective so profoundly for the better, at least in my opinion.

I'm curious about whether you are experiencing any shift in your experience of your contributions and the impact that they appear to be having.

In any case kudos!! And keep up the good work!!

For those interested in in the sea life around the well, Olympic Challenger's ROV, UHD-30, is conducting a biological survey. The feed URL is http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:40788.asx?bkup=40789

Kewl, Moon! By the tail shape, I'm guessing thresher (BEEG thresher):

3X their rated depth - hmmmm!


I nominate the sixgill shark, which grows to great size and goes deeper than one mile. I think this is the species in the youtube clip.


Threshers are shallow-water sharks, and their tails are very long compared to the body.

Yup, thar she, um, sashays. Thanks, Gobbet.

Bluntnosed; depth, range, nose, rear fin set, tail all a good match.


I nominate the sixgill shark

From your link: Near-threatened status on Endangered Species list; up to 18 feet long; live for as much as 80 years. Eggs hatch in mother's body; pups are more than 2 feet long when born--and between 22 and 108 are born at a time. Very high mortality rate for the young'uns. (Surprised the mortality rate for the mothers isn't high too--what a load!)

Shark, eel, crab ...

Oh, man, I LOVE this stuff! What a magnificent tail on that shark. Honestly, it just tickles me no end that the ROV operators get such a kick out of the critters down there.

Shark, eel, crab ... Oh, man, I LOVE this stuff!

Pink Jellyfish

May not be suitable for younger viewers.

May not be suitable for younger viewers.


Geez, amazing. I'd love to have a gown that color.


After three hours without comment, I was beginning to think it was just me. But clearly, that aint just a jellyfish (or I aint the only perv in the house) (although I'm possibly the only one that doesn't "want a gown in that color.")

I'm possibly the only one that doesn't "want a gown in that color."

A variety of somewhat naughty rejoinders come to mind, but I'll limit myself to this perfectly bland one: Lest I be thought shallow and frivolous, I'd much rather be able to watch the jellyfish when I need a touch of wonder in my life than have a gown that color. Whatever it may suggest at first glance, it's an incredibly gorgeous critter on its own terms.

So my thanks for both the belly laugh and the aesthetic experience. I've saved the link.

BTW, check the comments on the YouTube page. Definitely not just you.

There are two comments: one thanks the poster for the video, and the other was censored. Now I really feel like a perv.

I'm just going to pretend I'm being watched by Rockman's dog and wipe all thought of jellys, gowns, and other naughty things from my mind. But first I have to link this octopus video.

Fantastic video, thanks. Life forms on this planet never ceases to amaze me, and 97% of the world's oceans remain unexplored... prepare to be amazed...

Wowwwwwww! Do that again!

Woohoo, go, little cephalopod guys!

Great stuff, MOB. (You may suspect or even fear that you're a perv, but betcha you've never given a marsupial a pedicure, now hev ya, possum? Or brushed one's teefies, given one a proper massage, or cooked one a gourmet dinner, amirite? Just remember: possums don't like pepper.)

I don't think it says 'biological survey.' It looks more like 'miological survey.' I've tried to find a definition of miological without success, although it does seem to be a suffix, as in 'epidemiological.' I did find one reference that describes the term as pertaining to molecular structure as well as links to oil company sites (which I lost before I was able to go to them). I guess I could have found them again but didn't have the patience.

Maybe it's a typo.

At least I hope it's a typo.

They've already got the polymers and diamond wire saw...

LOL. I hope so too!

I don't know, nepeta. I sense a pattern emerging...


omg they're going to plastinate us alive. That way they can have the planet to themselves without having to smell 6 billion rotting corpses. They'll use our bodies for firewood, furniture, and... omg how dare they. Evil RA loving mummy humping bastards.

A while ago, while searching for information on deep-sea lifeforms, I ran across a story about how the drilling moratorium was affecting the research of LSU professor Mark Benfield http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/06/moratorium-shuts-down-...

I e-mailed Dr. Benfield, suggesting that he see if BP would let him have copies of the HD video. Much to my surprise, I received a reply saying that he was conducting the biological survey and that the data they were getting was fantastic.

He said he'd have to check the video, but he was pretty sure the shark was a six-gill, and that the big red jelly was Poralia.

So some good is coming from this, after all!

I e-mailed Dr. Benfield, suggesting that he see if BP would let him have copies of the HD video. Much to my surprise, I received a reply saying that he was conducting the biological survey...

Wow. Thanks for that info, aethervox. Apparently, offshore rigs have been hosting deep sea research for quite awhile via the SERPENT project (Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing iNdustrial Technology)

The SERPENT project website (great site): http://www.serpentproject.com/aboutus.php

Their youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/serpentproject

Gulf SERPENT newsletter (pdf) : http://www.serpentproject.com/assets/pdf/gulf_serpent_newsletter_nov_200...

From the SERPENT project homepage:

During the night of April 20, 2010, the Transocean rig Deepwater Horizon underwent a catastrophic accident that resulted in an explosion and fire that left 11 crew members missing and others severely injured.

Deepwater Horizon, working under contract to BP Exploration and Production, is one of the Gulf SERPENT partner sites. Since 2006, the Oceaneering E-MAG ROV on the Horizon has collected countless hours of stunning images of marine life from the depths of the Gulf.

We are gratified to learn that the ROV Team headed by Darren Costello are safe and uninjured. Our thoughts are with the families of the missing and we look forward to news of their safe rescue.

Biological Survey. The video size (260x180), and noise from the crappy compression used cuts off the bottom of all the text in the OSD. It says Biological Survey, which rather conveniently, matches up with what the ROV has been doing.

Biological makes sense and explains the ROV op's hunting and stalking behavior. I swear, start a live deep sea feed and you could sell tickets ;) "Step right up, see the magic octopuses blush, dance and disappear before your eyes..." i'm so bad

I´ve watched the ROV more then 10 minutes without spotting a single sign of life.
Is that normal in the deep sea ?
Why was the crab eating an eel shown twice (or more ?) by the tricky guys ?
In my opinion they want us make believe that everything is okay around the well.

May be, Bp wants to use the videos for their next spots :
"BP proudly presents an eeleating crab...so there is nothing to crab how we fix little problems."

I found this website with species in the GOM:

Species in Gulf of Mexico

It has the common name, habitat found and each one has its own link that listed more specific info. ie:

Chlopsis bicolor Rafinesque, 1810
Bicoloured false moray

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 42.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3250)
Demersal; marine; depth range 80 - 365 m
Climate / Range
Western Atlantic: southern Florida in USA and Mexico to southern Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: Morocco to Mauritania including northern Mediterranean.

Just don't feel like going thru 900+ entries to figure out whats where. But I do agree that we should be seeing a little more life down there. JMO


I'm almost certain that I'll use some technical words wrongly in this question, but here goes. Please rephrase correctly and then answer your correctly worded question.

Heading Out has commented that a CBL would not have discovered the cementing problem at the shoe, but I recall that there was also an issue about a negative pressure test giving inconclusive results. If BP, et. al., had repeated the negative pressure test until they had gotten a definite yes or no --- would that have given them a definite answer?

Also, about the micro-annulus. It seems to me that the whole length of production casing that was passing through the reservoir, there was cement on both the inside and the exterior of the casing. If a micro-annulus developed on the exterior of the production casing, then, it seems to me, the cement on the inside of that casing would be under substantial compression from the contracted casing surrounding it and there would be a very tight seal. But, as always, I'm not an expert. This would make a good result from a negative pressure test easy to achieve, I think. But they didn't achieve it. Or do I mis-remember?

geek - CBL are always difficult to interpret. And are often wrong in my experience: good CBL - bad cmt job; bad CBL and a cmt job that tests OK. I use CBL to tell how well a reservoir might be isolated but not how strong the cmt might be. The pressure test, be it a negative one or an LOT (leak off test: pimp in until the cmt starts to leak) is still the only way to be certain of a cmt job IMHO. Also, re: "definite yes or no" on the negative test it's often not that clear. The test has to be interpreted. Not always easy and one can be influenced to see a desired outcome.

No...when they cmtd the production csg most of the cmt went outside into the annulus with just a little inside the bottom of the csg. A micro annulus is often interpreted as a result of a good CBL log when you know the cmt is leaking. IOW, I don't see the bad bond so it must be too small (the "micro" part) for the CBL to see it. There may have been a micro-annulus developed but wells don't blow like this one did thru such a limited pathway. OTOH a m-a might have developed which allowed flow which then then greatly eroded the cmt. But my hunch is was a very fast catastrophic failure of the not completely cured cmt that led to the blow out.

Thanks, Rock.

I sort of suspected that there is a lot of educated judgment involved. If, as you suggest, the cement suffered a sudden catastrophic failure, then all tests done *before* that failure could not have given a warning. I really wonder how more regulation fits into this. Not very well, it seems.

geek -- Early on, perhaps before your arrival, there was a discussion of what might have been a MMS reg at the time of the blow out: The csg must be left with a fluid of sufficient weight greater than the pressure of any hydrocarbon bearing zone in the well. We couldn't figure if this reg was still in effect, if BP had been given a waver or if, in fact, BP violated the rules by displacing the heavy mud with sea water. I suppose we'll have to wait for the official investigation to know the truth. But had BP left the 14 ppg drill mud in the csg it would never had blown out if the cmt failed. In fact, it would not have blown out if they had not even cmtd at all.

If you go to the previous thread I linked above you see that the Transocean report on page 6 says

Test on 4/12 of 7”casing slurry : 0 psi compressive strength after 24 hours; needed 48 hours to reach compressive strength of 1590 psi
–Negative test started ~18 hours after pumped
–Do not have any sample test results from rig samples;requested


Could the pressure testing have forced mud from the casing into the cement?


Not -- Sure...that's one of the outcomes you're shooting for with a positive test such as a LOT (Leak Off Test). You pressure up the mud until it either starts breaking the cmt down or the rocks themselves. How far into the cmt the mud goes can't generally be determined. As soon as the pressure starts to leak off they normally shut the pumps off. With well cured/strong cmt it the pressure drops almost instantneously. But if the cmt hasn't cured the mud could be pushed into the cmt a good bit before the pumps are shut down. Obviously that wouldn't make for a better cmt job.

From the extensive analysis the folks at Energy Trading Resources did:

From Part III, page 30f:

"During the setting process, cement goes through phases from liquid/foam to gelled-liquid to weak-solid to firm-solid. It is important not to disturb cement during the middle phases and most-particularly not during the weak-solid phase. During the weak solid phase, cement that is disturbed will not rebound to its original position. Also, the cement around the producing formation is in a fragile state because the cement begins losing hydrostatic pressure without yet developing the cement-bond strength to make up for that loss. Loss of hydrostatic pressure occurs because the cement matrix begins to develop bonds with the exterior of the casing and the wellbore walls, which creates frictional resistance against the downward force of gravity.
Operators want cement to set properly but also want to resume wellwork as soon as possible. Accordingly, the cement contractor will usually conduct a laboratory test on a sample of the cement to determine how long it requires to strengthen to a suitable level. The test usually simulates expected downhole temperature and pressure to get a comparable result.
Transocean has disclosed that an April 12th laboratory test of the foamed cement indicated it had not solidified at 24 hours (0 psi compressive strength) and needed 48 hours to strongly solidify (1,590 psi). In comparison, a test of regular cement used on the previous casing string reached 2,100 psi compressive strength in only 15 hours.

Positive Test
For reasons that only BP can explain, the casing was pressured up to 2,500 psi for 30 minutes around 11:00 AM to conduct a “positive test”– only 10-1/2 hours after pumping. A positive test involves applying pressure to the casing string to determine whether it has any leaks or points weak enough to rupture at the pressure applied. The pressure is applied by closing the blind shear rams and pumping mud down the kill line.
A positive test would not likely disturb the cement directly because the only avenues to the cement would be through the casing hanger seal at the top, which had already been tested to 8,500 psi, or through the float collar at the bottom, which was blocked by the top plug, or through a leak in casing joint connections, which are tightly torqued and do not often leak. However, pressuring up a casing string could stiffen and slightly expand a string in a way that could disturb the cement.

It may well be that the cement job was initially good but was disturbed and thereby weakened during the required long bonding time for this special mixture either by the positive pressure test or the following negative pressure tests.

Some folks were in a hurry and blew it.

True, CBLs in sandstone/shale are more difficult to interpret, and alot of people are just looking for the TOC. But it depends on the logging Co & tools. The old Welex 4 1/2" velocity MSG gray shaded logs were fairly good tools that even showed fracture in the more dense formation. I am not a big fan of Slb's CBL.

The end result was fairly quick, but the failure had probably already happened as indicated by the pressure test failure. The cement & hydrocarbon were already pushing up the hole which is common on failed plugs. And the pressure test may have pushed cement back down busting up the cement. I don't know what bottoms up would be but you could see an increase in the gas background quit a while before the blowout. In the patch, the simplest explanation is usually the mostly likely.

Good morning. Evidence of a seafloor plume? These screenshots were captured at 1-1/2 second intervals. Constant heading, depth, etc. No apparent lighting artifacts. Thrusters?


Grayscale adjusted. It's a very slow-moving blob of some kind.

Edit: Darn it. Here comes another ROV to investigate. Heading changed. Show's over.

Isn't it funny how 'they' are simultaneously hiding the truth AND showing so much apparently incriminating evidence? Do you have any explanation for how devious criminal masterminds can be so inept? And isn't that an aspect of every single conspiracy theory ever?

Work on RW1 has been suspended due to the possible approaching storm.

The DDIII relief well is currently at 17,909 feet. Based on the National Hurricane Center prediction of a 60% chance of a tropical cyclone forming in the GoM, a decision was taken to suspend drilling activity, set a storm packer and remain on location.

I just read that on the bloomberg, you'd think I would know about the storm considering where I live- I need to start paying attention obviously and while I hate the the drilling had to stop, we need a "small storm" really bad to churn the water some, it's over 90 degrees here and if I had to guess I would say about 92 degrees, we had about 40 ghost crabs wash up and UWF came out, preliminary they think it's due to lack of oxygen in the water due to the excessive temperature which is about 7-9 degrees warmer than normal, so a "small storm" could be good in that aspect.

You're right. Yesterday someone linked to a story about a big fish kill in Port St. Joe, which has never been oiled. However, the fish kill caused residents to hallucinate an oil slick offshore, which turned out to be sargassum weed. There was also a fish kill in offshore Mississippi waters, to which the BOD from oil might or might not have contributed. The extreme heat and lack of waves (persistent north winds) mean the Gulf could use a good stirring. It will help with the breakdown of the remaining oil, too.

Some Random thoughts on pipe and cement.

A 16" gas line on my property developed a leak. The leak was in a low point where it crossed a small creek or branch as we call it. They made a bend at the low point to accomodate the surface contour. The line was originally covered with soil but erosion over the years exposed it. The leak blew straight down from several small openings that started as pinholes. The repair required digging up the line on both sides, stoppling the line and laying new pipe. They actually made a jumper line around the leak to keep an important commercial customer online.

In my discussions with the company inspector and the construction crew I found out a couple of interesting facts. The leak was probably caused by one or both of two things. 1. They made crude bends back in the day the line was laid. They would take a length of pipe and bend it with a dozer or two around a tree or something similar. In other words the bends crimped the inside and stressed the outside of the pipe. 2. Corrosive liquids might have accumulated in the low point and corroded the line from the inside. Both causes could have contributed.

We looked at the pipe ends at the repair points and they were like new with coating still there and little scale or rust on the inside. The welders said it was better pipe than you can buy today. So aside from the weak low point, the line is still as good as new. It was laid in 1927. Nothing to do with oil wells but does speak to the fact that older pipe and tubing was made with better materials and probably to better standards.

On cement: How effective is cement foamed with nitrogen at 18000 feet? That's what the origanal cement was? Seems to me that any nitrogen would be greatly compressed at the pressure (12kpsi?) down there. That's 800 atmoshpheres. I suppose the reduced density would be somewhat effective if they used lots of nitrogen. Still I would think the density would be almost the same as regular cement at that depth. I understand they use other additives to reduce density also. Any cementers want to comment about this?

In my discussions with the company inspector and the construction crew I found out a couple of interesting facts. The leak was probably caused by one or both of two things. 1. They made crude bends back in the day the line was laid. They would take a length of pipe and bend it with a dozer or two around a tree or something similar. In other words the bends crimped the inside and stressed the outside of the pipe. 2. Corrosive liquids might have accumulated in the low point and corroded the line from the inside. Both causes could have contributed.

The company I work for likes to put drip legs at the low spots, so the foreign stuff can be collected and cleaned out before it eats the pipe.

...Corrosive liquids might have accumulated in the low point and corroded the line from the inside. Both causes could have contributed. ...

This seems to be a common problem with pipelines, at least onshore. The 2006 spill at Prudhoe Bay was caused by corrosion on the bottom inside of the pipe at a low spot. The best analysis I've heard was that the pipe (a rather old one dating from early in the field's life) was carrying a much lower volume of oil than it originally did. This was "pipeline grade" oil with water and solids removed. Apparently even pipeline grade oil carries a small (< 1% as I recall) amount of water and solids. When the pipe was originally installed the flow rate was much higher and turbulence kept the water and solids from accumulating. Now, with a much lower flow rate, the water/solids would tend to settle out and accumulate at low spots. This allowed bacteria to grow, which generate corrosive compounds.

BP apparently believed that they had solved the problem by injecting corrosion inhibitors into the oil. Because of a certain amount of technical arrogance, BP was so sure that this was working that they never bothered to spend the money to "pig" the line, which would have tested the effectiveness of their corrosion inhibitors. The trouble was that enough oil/solids sludge accumulated at the low spots that the corrosion inhibitors never got to the bacteria at the bottom of the sludge.

I have often noticed some of this technical arrogance at BP. If you believe you are smarter than everyone else, you might not feel you need to rigorously test your assumptions. I suspect, though I can't prove, that this arrogance may have been a background contributing factor in the Macondo fiasco.

AK_geo, I was studying up a little on the Prudhoe Bay pipeline-break last night, and between what you just reported, what I read last night, and LAT's story yesterday on declining North Slope productivity, I'm developing a good case of the willies about "BP Prudhoe spill II" ("III," "IV," etc.) . . .


The welders said it was better pipe than you can buy today. So aside from the weak low point, the line is still as good as new. It was laid in 1927. Nothing to do with oil wells but does speak to the fact that older pipe and tubing was made with better materials and probably to better standards.

Why do I hear this too often about so many differnt things nowadays? /rhetorical


NAOM, A few years ago our attic was fouled, if you catch my drift, when a mamma raccoon chewed through the wood shingles and raised a litter of pups up there, so I had to do a major clean-up. Besides, I had been having nightmares ever since we bought the place about the cellulose fiber insulation that had been blown in over the ancient knob & tube wiring, so I vacuumed out the insulation and replaced all of the wiring. Remarkably, the insulation on the original (pre-1920) wiring was in great condition, soft and supple, and the solder joints looked fine. The more recent romex wiring (from the 60's?) was cracked and brittle. In a similar vein, the guy who inspected the house before we bought it said it was "overbuilt". I've heard, but this may be an exaggeration, that current engineering standards for residential construction are for an expected 30 year life of the structure.

A pig can't detect this situation?

It can if they do it. Might be that some very old pipelines aren't suitable for pigging though, I don't know about that.

Disclaimer: I'm not a pipeline or corrosion guy, so I might not have this completely correct.

My understanding is that even if smart pigs could not be run in this line, even ordinary cleaning pigs would have removed the sludge buildup, making the corrosion inhibitors more effectibe. If memory serves, when the line was originally built (to carry a much higher flow, remember), they did not add the ports necessary to launch and retreive pigs. They could have been retrofitted, but that would cost money.

After the spill, BP inspected many miles of pipeline. Some that could not be pigged were inspected with external tools. This also is not cheap, since all pipelines on the N Slope have a thick layer of insulation that must be removed before the external tools can be used, then replaced to put the pipe back in service. After inspection, several pipelines were replaced or repaired, not just the one that leaked.

The spill occured at a low spot on the line where it was burried to provide a caribou crossing. In the early days, there was fear that the caribou would be affraid to cross under elevated pipelines, so these crossings were added. Later experience has shown that they are not necessary, and the caribou have no fear of going under an elevated pipe. At the time of the spill some people tried to spin it that it was caused by the unecessary crossing added to appease environmentalists. However, after inspection BP found it necessary to replace the entire line (my aging memory says 16 miles, but I could have that wrong). Therefore, it is clear that if the leak hadn't occured at the caribou crossing, it sooner or later would have happened somewhere else.

The bottom line for Pruhoe Bay is that much of the infrastructure is aging and needs to be updated or replaced. This is expensive. Prudhoe was originally estimated to hold ~10 billion bbls, but has produced somewhere around 12 billion to date. There is still a lot of oil to be produced from Prudhoe. Most estimates I've heard is that there is around a billion barrels (more or less) that might still be produced from Prudhoe. However, this will be expensive oil to get, and thus very sensitive to oil prices and technology.

One further note for clarity. The leaking pipe was a transit line, between two of the facilities within the field. It was NOT the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS) operated by Alyeska. My understanding is that Alyeska has been reasonably diligent about pigging TAPS. Alyeska's problems have been mostly around pump stations and associated hardware. However, the basic problem is the same. Aging infrastructure carrying much lower volumes than it was designed for.

From the Los Angeles Times:
The flow has slowed through the trans-Alaska oil pipeline


A coworker of mine who was a supervisor on drilling the holes for the vertical support members (VSM) for one section of the AK pipeline told me that the caribou crossings were elevated to allow the beasts to cross under but that the caribou would avoid them and kneel down and get down on their "knees" so they could cross under lower sections - meaning it was a waste of money to elevate for crossings. Maybe later on they got over their fear of the elevated pipe.

Probably on the section he was building there was permafrost so the pipeline wasn't buried for caribou crossings to keep the warm oil in the pipe from melting the permafrost.

...the caribou crossings were elevated to allow the beasts to cross under but that the caribou would avoid them and kneel down and get down on their "knees" so they could cross under lower sections - meaning it was a waste of money to elevate for crossings. ..

Could be, wouldn't surprise me. However, the crossing where the leak occured was a low point, made so they could cross over the pipeline. As you noted, most of the pipelines on the slope are above ground, on VSMs. However, in some spots they dropped the pipeline below grade to provide crossing points for wildlife. They also drop the pipe below grade for roads to cross.

I agree, in retrospect these wildlife crossings probably were a waste of money. But keep in mind much of the infrastructure on the slope was build 30 years ago. On my trips to the slope I've seen many caribou, also musk ox hanging around pipelines, seemingly unconcerned. Sometimes, on those occaisional hot days they even seem to seek shade under the pipelines. In general I think the pipelines just become part of the scenary to the caribou.

The point I was trying to make was that corrosion problems were/are very widespread in many of the older facilities on the slope. The crossing point happened to be associated with the spot that leaked first, but the whole line was in very bad shape. Interestingly enough, there seems to be no penalty at BP for this kind of screw up. The head corrosion manager at the time for BP took the fifth amendmant during the investigation. Apparently he still works for BP somewhere in Houston. See http://www.propublica.org/article/years-of-internal-bp-probes-warned-tha... for more information.

Now that that the well is under control, it is time to pull together all that is known about the blowout and make it readable by people who are most interested. In my new E-book "DEEP HORIZONS EXPOSED" I have attempted to compile the known facts and to give them meaning. I have also tried to put the spill in context with other blowouts. In addition, I have documented the harmful effects of dispersants along with the impacts of produced water in fields across North America. The book is thoroughly documented with notes and links to many of the original sources. I want to thank TOD for your help in locating many of these sources. I hope you enjoy the book.


Sorry not buying it, and I mean that literally.

Quant -- Me neither but that's because I'm cheap. The intro does seem to grind a hard ax at the oil industry. OTOH the industry certain deserves some of that. But I don't mind a biased view as long as the data presented is complete and not edited to sell just one side of the story. I'm a big believer in entrepreneurs and hope greenie makes a good return on his efforts. Then he might be able to offer it to his TOD friends at a big discount...like 100%

There ya go!!

I think he owes a few of you review copies for your help.


Thud's story has changed just a bit.


The new well is meant to allow BP PLC to pump mud and cement into the broken one from deep underground for a so-called bottom kill, a permanent seal that would complement a mud and cement plug injected into the top of the well last week.

Allen has insisted for days that BP go ahead with the bottom kill, even though the top plug appeared to be holding. On Tuesday, though, he said testing still needs to be done on the well before a final decision is made.

"I'm not sure we know that ... I don't want to prejudge whether we are going to do it or not going to do it. It will be conditions based."

He later assigned a "very low probability" to the bottom kill not being done, but then said: "We will let everybody know" if that changes.

Inside Diameter 6.143" (7" Casing)
Inside Diameter 8.598" (9 7/8" Casing)

How did they pump a plug down to the float collar in the 7" casing?
Chance for a lot of "chaser" mud to by pass plug before it reached the top of the 7"

Also if casing was run on bottom of drill pipe how did they even get a plug into the top of the casing at BOP depth.

If not run on bottom of DP how was it run?

Delete double post

I am not a plug expert by any means, but seems to me that they could have a two piece concentric plug with a hole in the middle, same size as DP ID. Put this in the top joint of casing when it is run. Then pump cement and follow with plug the size of DP ID. When it hits the concentric plug it be begins to move until it hits the 7 in then the center of it comes out and continues to the bottom and locks into the shoe.

Hope that makes sense.

Inside Diameter 8.598" (9 7/8" Casing)

Except for the time the plug the size of the DP IP is in the 9 7/8 casing

The DP plug locks into the hole in the concentic plug and becomes part of it. Concentric plug has 8.598 OD with smaller plug within it ( OD the size of 7 in ID 6.143). In the end the smaller plug with the DP plug becomes the plug at the bottom of the casing.

Is that clear as drilling mud? :)

Of course I am not saying that is how they do it, but is my invention if I were tasked with a way.

BTW pass, I tried to send you an email a few days ago, maybe you never received it. After reading some of your family history on here I thought maybe you father and my grandfather or my father or my uncle may have crossed paths sometime back in the day. You can click on my screen-name and get some info on my family.

I am trying to do research to find more info on my grandfather.

Actually I'm Rio's granfather. It was dark and stormy night all those years ago. And I was very lonely......

I don't think that would have been a very good idea. Did you see those tough looking hombres on his drilling crew in the background. :)

One block from my house Ameren is doing a toxic waste cleanup at an old coal gasification plant. Tons of waste were deposited in brick storage tanks. They are pounding in this steel containment wall right now and they start work at 7am. LOL Wakes me right up.

Here is the story on it and some pictures.






ROV junkies: the Skandi 2 is giving close-up of capping stack now.

Yeah and they are spraying dispersants all over it. So much for "nothing to see here folks" - we have a leak.

That's not dispersant. He's using a pressure washer to remove a crud buildup.

Doesn't look like detergent, just hosing off the hydrates.

Where did the hydrates come from. BTW what he is doing now is not what he was doing when I posted. Just a few minutes back he was around the flex joint, now he is somewhere else.

Hasn't there been at least 1200 psi pressure difference between the inside of the BOP/capping stack and the ambient sea water pressure outside since the static top kill was completed? And wasn't the pressure considerably higher while mud/cement was being pumped and during the pressure test? The presence of hydrates suggests that some methane remains trapped at the top of the capping stack.

Corexit gonna get yo' momma.

Isn’t it the case that steel corrodes in a salt water environment, and also in an environment containing petroleum, and that, generally, there is a progressive corrosion of steel over time in any event in an environment containing any oxygen? If this is true, isn’t it the case that the so-called “permanent” sealing of the well will only last as long as the steel in the steel pipe casing in the well hole maintains its molecular/crystalline integrity, and that after a point in time, when the pipe corrodes, the space created will allow the highly pressurized oil in the reservoir to rise up the empty space where the steel had formally been, and thus allow the leak to resume? Aren’t we really talking about, on historical time scales, only a short- to medium-term plugging of the well by the cement and mud?

I thus see this so-called “permanent” kill as, in fact, temporary. It may last for decades, but the corrosion of the metal casing will eventually let the pressurized oil up the bore. (For that matter, even the crystalline structure of the cement is going to break down over time, and thus even the seals between the cement and the rock face of the well bore, and between the cement and the steel casing are going to give way over a period of decades.) In other words, this sealing of the well is not really “permanent”, and some future generation, possibly not to far in the future, is going to be confronted with a restart of the leak.

Couldn't we avoid this prospect by - before a cement sealing - pumping the contents of the the well reservoir down to a point where the pressure in the reservoir equalled or was less than the pressure of the water column above the well bore? Then, when the steel casings and liners inevitably corrode and the cement bonds inevitably fail, natural geological forces might prevent the resumption of the catastrophic leak of this large reservoir into the ocean. No?

I am very concerned about leaving to a future generation the problem of resealing, in another crisis situation, a high-pressure well bore deep below the ocean surface. While there are differences of opinion on this, there is a reasonable likelihood that in the next century or two civilization will have moved on to other, non-carbon, sources of energy, and will have left the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels behind. Thus, it is reasonably possible that there will be no need in the future for the capitalization of the oil industry at the scale that presently exists, specifically all of the exploration and production equipment, including remedial equipment. If we today cap the man-made bores of high-pressure reservoirs, we are unnecessarily committing future generations to retain and maintain specialized oil industry equipment merely for the purpose of pumping down and resealing reservoirs that were left in a high-pressure status by our generation. My concern would of course apply to decisions to cap, at high pressure, any well bore, even where the wellhead is above sea level, but the fact that this wellhead is a mile below the surface of the ocean should give us special pause.

So, before cementing the well bore, shouldn't we be production pumping this reservoir down to the point were the weight of the ocean water above exerts a natural seal on the reservoir below? I have not seen any discussion of this issue. I think I know enough about metallurgy and about the nature of cement to know that, on historical time scales, given corrosion of steel and disintegration of cement, this cannot be called a "permanent" seal.

If I am missing something here, please explain.

missing something--Isn't it that this reservoir, and all the others that have been tapped, will be drilled repeatedly and drained of their hydrocarbons to the point of having little or no pressure or negative pressure compared to the water pressure? So that what happens when the plug decays is a seep rather than a gusher. Plus, cement is very long lasting.

From what I understand, the 27,000 abandoned wells in the GOM has varying degrees of 'plugging' or 'capping' much if it not even CLOSE the Macondo 252 capping and plugging operations thus far. I would think they pose a statically much greater risk from all those wells than 252 poses even now before the end of the bottom kill. Of course, the Macondo Reservoir also has more available pollutant than most wells have available to them. Still 27,000 is a huge number to me.

rojo -- Actually most wells that are P&A are done so as you suggest. But not by pumping the contents down. You just leave a fluid in the hole that creates a back pressure greater than the residual reservoir pressure. Sometimes that pressure is nearly at original level and sometimes a good bit lower in pressure depletion drive reservoirs. In fact consider any well that you want to P&A: you have to enter that well with drill pipe to either set a plug or pump a cmt plug. To go in hole with DP the well can't be flowing. Thus there will already be a fluid of sufficient weight to kill the reservoir flow. And when the well is P&A this fluid is left behind in the hole.

Of course, this brings us back to the question of how the BP well flowed all that oil/NG up the csg. They displaced the heavy mud (which would have kept the reservoir from flowing even if they didn't do a cmt job) with salt water. Rememeber: when they pumped the cmt the reservoir was wide open to the surface. But it didn't flow because of the mud weight. That will be one of the main issues in the formal investigation. It's possible that BP directly violated an MMS reg in doing so. But that will come much later. So how will they make sure the BP well doesn't flow oil/NG if the csg rusts away? They are going to leave the same heavy kill pill in the hole along with more cmt plugs.

There's a bigger risk than rusting csg but not for the offshore. Onshore bad/old cmt jobs can allow deeper salt water to flow up a well's annulus and contaminate the fresh water aquifers. This has been the major issue onshore with old plugged wells. I once saw an old well flow salt water directly onto the ground. The Texas Rail Road Commision has a special fund paid into by operators to handle problems like this when the operator is no longer around. Offshore wells don't have to worry about this: there are no fresh water wells out there.

Skandi 2 is on "hydrate removal" right now. It's been working on multiple spots up the piece of equipment it's working on. I don't know the terminology to tell you if it's the riser, the BOP, or whatever else it may be. But it's been working on multiple spots on the equipment i.e. there are/were multiple leaks on it. My question is how long do methane hydrates take to dissipate once formed, or do they?

As an aside on a subject I'm more experienced in, our media insist on using industry terminology that is totally misleading to the average viewer. Joe Schmo hears "The static kill has worked" and thinks "Cool, all fixed. Back to normal life." when really the kill is just talking about stopping the flow to begin the next step of P&A.

Would it really be hard to say the truth in simple words?

"BP has now pumped enough 'mud' to hold back the pressure in the well, meaning there is currently no oil or methane coming from the wellhead. They can now begin the work of attempting to plug the well with cement, moving one step closer to a permanent solution"

Would it really be hard to say the truth in simple words?

I think that many reporters don't try to translate technical jargon into plain language for fear of being held responsible for getting it wrong.

I tend to think the reports roll with the jargon because it sounds as if they are on top of the subject, and is much more sound bite friendly. It is a bit of a human trait to pick up slang and jargon, and to use it in conversation. Even here on TOD this occurs all the time. I'm as guilty as anyone.

So, I would say that the use of incorrect jargon by the MSM is a long term common thing, and is a mix of human nature and a desire to sound competent. The consequence is exactly what we are so used to. For all intents, any subject that is reported by the MSM will have significant facts wrong. Nothing special about this incident, just apply the rule whenever you pick up a newspaper or watch a TV news report. Remember, their first goal is to make money, and they mostly do this by entertaining. The modern media places accuracy well down the pecking order, somewhere down there along with truth.

A fear, by the way, born of a harried reporter's ample unpleasant experience. We're lucky if we even spell the tech jargon right. Did the guy say "downhole waste" or "downhole weights"?

In 2009, BP "Remediation Management leadership" set out on a campaign to enhance the company's image in Louisiana.

Leadership was so impressed with their little project that they produced a video promoting it for BP's Helios award. Here's the video. I transcribed the first and last few lines:

In 2009, BP Remediation Management leadership realized it faced unique reputational challenges within the state of Louisiana. Despite having onshore and offshore exploration and production operations, pipelines, remediation projects and a lubricants facility, the BP brand and name were not easily recognizable...


...Our efforts to support the business exceeded expectations. 2011 plans are already under development, and we look forward to seeing even greater results next year. Stay tuned for the next chapter.

The same company that nickel-and-dimes its field operations to death spends lavishly on HR/PR circle-jerks like this. Truly disgusting (imo).

The answer to BP´s "Remediation Management leadership" is this video :


try the remediation video this way: http://bit.ly/azKVS4

Back on 6/7/10 I asked the Unified Command a simple question:
"Are there any intentions to utilize bio-remediation on beaches or in marshes?"

Today, I finally got a response:

Dear M ,

Thank you for your comments and suggestions.

The Unified Area Command continues to consider all options for the clean-up efforts.

If you have concepts or ideas to utilize bio-remediation on beaches or in marshes that could help solve the problem, please share them with us by going to the following link and following the instructions for submission:

A telephone number has also been set up to receive calls: (281)366-5511.

Joint Information Center
Deepwater Horizon Response

Geez! One would think they might have already checked out what's available.

In BP's (very interesting) presentation to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce they show this diagram - showing two alternate ideas about possible leakage paths:

(C) BP - reproduced without permission

I'm a bit confused, this shows the foot of the well below the reservoir pay-zone(s) - previous diagrams and animations from BP suggested the foot of the well ended above the reservoir - which is right?

I note it also shows the reservoir as two layers - I recall there was some confusion about the depth of the oil-bearing sands - is this related?

Two reservoir layers are clearly shown on the well log posted yesterday. Normally I think the hole is drilled through the reservoir as shown here.

Edit: Re-looked at it. Yes, this diagram is consistent with the log.

I'm a bit confused, this shows the foot of the well below the reservoir pay-zone(s) - previous diagrams and animations from BP suggested the foot of the well ended above the reservoir - which is right?

Except for open hole completions, which were common many years ago, wells are drilled past the producing zone or zones, casing set and cemented though the zones, and then perforated in the best spots, which are determined by Rockman looking at the log.

Per Bob Cavnar at The Daily Hurricane Blog

BP to "Test" BOP and Capping Stack for Pressure

By eljefebob on August 10, 2010 11:13 AM | 0 Comments
Adm Allen just finished his morning presser where he just casually mentioned that they are going to "test" the old BOP and capping stack and take pressure readings to determine if the hydrocarbons in the annulus are "dormant" or if they're connected to the reservoir. Translation: "BP continues to have pressure on the wellhead from down below and have been letting me believe for a week that the well is static." Of course, they've never disclosed not one bit of pressure data after the "well integrity test", and even that "data" was sparse.

Yesterday, during his presser, the Admiral was asked about releasing the pressure readings and un-blurring the ROV feeds. The Admiral said he would check into the feeds and get BP to disclose the pressures. Of course, neither happened, and now he drops the bomb that they're back to the ol' BOP test again. That means they have no idea where the static kill and cement went.

The Admiral tried explaining something that he doesn't understand, and once again said they KNOW that the static kill went down the casing. They actually don't know that. Since this was very likely a backside blowout in the first place, it's conceivable that just the backside of the production casing is communicated to the reservoir; it could be both inside and outside. When you pump a top kill, you can't control where the mud goes; it just goes the path of least resistance. If both the backside and casing are communicated, it will go down both, depending on pressures. When you test a kill, you run in with tubing to tag the cement. Here, of course, they can't do that because they can't get into the well.

He said they were shutting down for a currrent tropical system to pass over, have run in a storm packer, but plan on staying on location and ride it out. He said this storm shut down is going to give them a few days to "take some pressure readings" on the BOP. None of this makes the slightest bit of sense. You can bet that they alreay have a continuous data feed of pressure readings from multiple places in the capping stack from the moment they landed it, and have been getting pressure from the old BOP for months. They're probably also taking readings from the casing head below the stack.

What is all this about? It's pretty clear they have pressure on the wellhead when they shouldn't. I'll update after Kent Wells McBriefing at 3 pm cdt.


Just to be clear, the storm packer is going into the relief well, not the original well (which is partly blocked by broken drill-pipe trapped in the DWH BOP).

Personally I find it is better to read the briefing transcript

Very Interesting. There are quite a few posts around the blogosphere with video's about leaks from the well. Some are coming up from the sea floor. Many are quite credible. I have never understood how they could deny there was a leak down the well when they barely got 7,000 psi on the capped well. Trying to pass that top kill off as any kind of real solution just looks like a PR game for the sheople. It gives rise to all kinds of conspiracy theories and greatly detracts from what little credibility BP/CG has left.

Those guys better get with it on that relief well and plug that hole.

Flipper - The RW won't be able to plug the hole. It can only pump cmt into the annulus. After this is done the broken BOP will be replaced by a new one. Then they'll go in hole with drill pipe and spot cmt plugs. These plugs along with heavy kill fluid left in the hole are required by MMS regs and are really the only valid and permanent P&A of any well.

Admiral Allen's most informative comment (link to transcript) about the newly announced "BOP pressure test" is the following:

And we now have some time with the delay because of the weather that’s going through right now—to take that one extra step to see if we could, what we would actually do is basically take down the pressure at the top of the capping stack of the blowout preventer and then see if the pressure rose which would indicate that hydrocarbons were being pushed up from the reservoir into the annulus. And that would be one more piece of information that we don’t have right now that would inform our decision when we do to the intercept.

At the end of the briefing he gave another relevant piece of information:

Paula Dittrick: Thank you Admiral for taking my question, I just wondered if you had any pressure readings from inside the well that you could give us?

Admiral Allen: We actually released the pressure readings from the, after the cementing, the static kill yesterday. They were all within tolerance, and I don’t have them in front of me right now but we can, we can get them to you.

Paula Ditrick: Thank you.

Admiral Allen: If I remember it was in the mid 5,000 range and the fluctuations were within the tolerance set up by the procedure but we’ll make that known.

Paula Ditrick: Thanks

That doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Right now, the weight of the column including the riser would be holding the well down even if there was still a flow path. By letting it off like he says, any flow would show itself. As always though, it's not my field so I could be very wrong.

Another informative quote from the admiral's phone conference:

So I don’t think there’s any indication that there was any of that went into the environment. The issue with the annulus, and I don’t want to get too technical here and it’s probably beyond even my level of expertise on some of this stuff, is the way the annulus is separated from the wellhead is through a series of seals that are at the top of the hanger from which the casing pipe hangs in the well.

Those seals can be overcome by pressure and there is a way for hydrocarbons to go through the annulus up into the well if the pressure is high enough and it unseats those seals.

What we don’t know is this, is the exact status of those seals and we don’t know the exact status of the bottom of the well as it relates to the annulus. We do know that we put mud and cement in from the top during the static kill that it only went down the casing pipe. That would lead you to believe that those seals at the top were probably intact, we don’t know that for sure but that would lead you because there was no other, there was no other way to the mud and cement to go but down the casing pipe.

Edit: Hmmmmmm... This doesn't quite add up. If they have maintained a column of fluid connecting the BOP to the surface, then any material being forced through the seal that separates the annulus from the BOP at the wellhead should appear at the surface, unless they are thinking that the flange leaks are large enough to hide a small amount leaking through the annulus seal??

Wells added some additional clarifications during his afternoon briefing .. among them that the current pressure on the cap/BOP is around 4,200 and they are going to reduce that to 2,500 to 3,000 during the test. (Is this what is known as a negative pressure test?)

But boy did Allen and Wells both manage to leave confused reporters in their wake. Their discussions both called out for diagrams. Loved it when NPR's Richard Harris asked for confirmation that his imagined vision is correct and then gave a long verbal description of what he thinks the bottom of the well, casing, annulus and reservoir look like. (Unfortunately the transcript of the call is not up yet.)

And both Allen and Wells spoke of various possibilities involving the cement having gone "down the reservoir and/or back up the annulus," when all recent careful readers of TOD now understand - thanks to Rockman, bignerd, et al - that the cement had to go up the annulus to get to the reservoir.

Not to mention their switching back and forth on calling the current cap "the stacking cap" and "the capping stack." Here's hoping tomorrow brings diagrams - I can't imagine what some reporters are writing this afternoon.

(and I second RedGritty's preference for reading transcripts rather than relying on reporters' interpretations.)

ETA: The transcript of Wells' briefing is now up.

and Richard Harris's Q&A

Richard Harris: Hi, I'm going to try a tough question, because – or tough to understand, maybe, a little bit, but I've got a mental picture of what's going on, and I hope you can tell me if that picture is right and, if not, if it's not right.

What I picture is, there's only a single thickness of casing that extends through the reservoir and into the formation below. And the cement that you pump down has gone to the – actually gone below the reservoir and has come back up around the edge of that single casing, and you apparently have a seal there.

Now, the relief well is going into the well above the formation, where there are actually two layers of casing. That interior casing I just talked about, another set of casing outside of it. And the question – and the inner – the inner one is, of course, full of cement. The question is, what you're trying to figure out is the condition of the annulus between that inner casing and that liner, and that's what's unknown.

But my father said, if the cement plug in the bottom has actually neutralized the pressure in the well, wouldn't there have had to be been two (failures), if you also found oil in the annulus above the reservoir?

Kent Wells: Well, Richard, that's quite a mouthful. Let me see if I got all this. So on the part on the cementing, yes, the casing goes down to the bottom of the well. We pump the cement down the casing. It goes out, round what we call the shoe, and starts to come back up the annulus.

What we don't know is, did it all just go into the formation? Did some go in and did some come further up?

We're planning to intersect the well about 800 feet above the reservoir. Now, we are – currently, we're right at – your description is right. We have casing inside of casing. And where we are right now with the relief well, we're just at the shoe of the outer casing. And so we're now going to start to go down to the place where we can intersect the annulus.

And the annulus we're describing is the annulus between the casing of the Macondo well and just the rock formation. It's not an annulus between casing and casing. We're going to intersect it at a point where it's basically rock and then there's an annulus and then there's casing. And that's where we plan to intersect.

And what we don't know is exactly what we'll find in that annulus. It could be mud. It could be oil. It could be cement. We just don't know, and that's what we're trying to get a little more insight in when we do this test. It won't necessarily be conclusive, but it might give us some insight on that.

It seems BP has great difficulty stating the fact that there are things that they don't know.

*they don't know where the extra cement they pumped went.
*they don't know what path(s) connect the production casing shoe and the oil reservoir.
*they don't know what if any path(s) connect the annulus above the reservoir to the oil reservoir.
*they don't know if the production casing (particularly the seal at the top of the production casing) can hold negative pressure.

The last unknown is being addressed with a pressure test.

Incidentally, they gave pressure numbers. The pressure at the well head is around 2000 psi above ambient sea water. This means hydrostatic equilibrium point of the mud column and reservoir pressure is somewhere around 2000 feet below sea level.

Let me try that again. The pressure they have been holding the wellhead at is equal to a mud column that extends 1000 feet above sea level. If the mud weight they chose (13.3 ppg) is designed to balance the known reservoir pressure and the ambient pressure at the well head then it is equal to a column that extends to 2000 feet below sea level.

The relief well is steadily being de-emphasized. I think they are coming to the realization that they need to re-enter the well from the top, drill out the top kill cement, run bond logs, and cement the casing and annulus systematically from the bottom to the top.

With the hole cased, they can use extra heavy mud when drilling out the cement without the worry of loosing circulation.


NU I believe you are spot on. Reading the transcripts of Wells and Allen, it appears the top cement injection was a pump and pray. It appears in the subtleties of the transcript to not have been 100% effective.

It appears there could be multiple failures on the well. So as you say, it will require a systematic approach from bottom to top.

It has been 5 days since cement was pumped. They know by now whether they "100%" killed it. Transcript innuendo says it is not killed.

Transparent these two are not. There is also going to be a story behind the ROV video degradation...


It has been 5 days since cement was pumped. They know by now whether they "100%" killed it. Transcript innuendo says it is not killed.


BP never claimed the cement would kill the well. They only claimed it would add another barrier. It appears to have successfully done that. They will continue to add more barriers over the coming months.

They have said that pressure continues to drop slowly and predictably at the well thanks to the small leaks in the stack. That suggests to me they have no signs of communication with the formation. That is why they are willing to perform a negative test for added confirmation. That is how I understood it

As Thad put it yesterday "There’s a very low probability that we have trapped oil." They just want to gather as much information as possible to help look for a low probability event before they intersect.


Why doesn´t that surprise me in no way :


"I got lambasted by the Coast Guard and NOAA when we said there was undersea oil," USF marine sciences dean William Hogarth said.
Some officials even told him to retract USF's public announcement, he said, comparing it to being "beat up" by federal officials.

The USF scientists weren't alone. Vernon Asper, an oceanographer at the University of Southern Mississippi, was part of a similar effort that met with a similar reaction.

Lubchenco confirmed Monday that her agency told USF and other academic institutions involved in the study of undersea plumes that they should hold off talking so openly about it.
Lubchenco said. "We think that's in everybody's interest. … We just wanted to try to make sure that we knew something before we speculated about it."

"We had solid evidence, rock solid," Asper said. "We weren't speculating." If he had to do it over again, he said, he'd do it all exactly the same way, despite Lubchenco's ire.

At the end of the voyage, USF turned its samples over to NOAA, expecting to get either a shared analysis or the samples themselves back. So far, Hogarth said, they've received neither.

NOAA's top oil spill scientist, Steve Murawski, said Monday that he was "sure we will release the data" at some point. However, he said, because NOAA has collected so many samples over the past three months, when it comes to the samples from USF's trip in May, "I'm not sure where they are."

Coast Guard officials did not respond to a request for comment on Hogarth's accusation.

LOL LOL "I'm not sure where they are."

Have they checked the bottom of Matt Simmons hot tub?

Unbelievable. You cretin. GO TO HELL.

Figi, it is not my fault you are never going to know what happened to Matt or those sample bottles.

QuantumUS what is strange is that you equate theories about Matt's death that go beyond the heart attack to actual statements by officials about not knowing where samples are. It is their business to keep track of samples just as it is the business of hospitals to know where your records are. They are scientists and scientists cannot do good work unless they label all samples and have them stored in some way in which they can be accessed. You cannot do good science if you don't know where your data (in this case the samples and the results) are. You are not even comparing apples to oranges. It is unforgivable for someone from NOAA to give such a cavalier answer. Intentional or not it represents bad science and should discredit NOAA.

They know how to keep records so they can be retrieved. So in essence he was saying "I don't want that information out".

There was no heart attack.

NOAA killed Simmons in the library with a candlestick holder! Right??

You're a loon. There are hundreds, thousands, of nutty websites catering to loons. This isn't one of them. Go find one. Please.

I just wonder about all the other scientist that caved to this kind of thuggery, oh and don't forget the ones forced to sign contracts by BP saying they would not tell about their findings.

I just wonder about all the other scientist that caved to this kind of thuggery,

Jane Lubchenko is a thug? I thought she was an environmental ecologist. Perhaps she asked people to be more careful after noticing that speculation about a 0.5ppm hydrocarbon measurement had transformed into wild talk of a 100,000 bbl/day gusher flowing "like lava" into a 100 mile sub-sea lake covering 40% of the Gulf. Maybe she had a point?

oh and don't forget the ones forced to sign contracts by BP saying they would not tell about their findings.

I'm not aware of any scientists being forced to sign a contract. As I recall, they were offerred work by a legal company working for BP, some of them didn't like the terms and declined.

Yes she is a thug, and so is Allen.

All these people did was release their findings.

If her and Allen were so worried about a handful of nuts making up stories with it they should have just opened their yaps and countered the nuts with the truth.

Instead they attack the people telling the truth.

Like the scientists said, if they wanted to study the gulf and the spill they had to sign the contracts which stated they could not disclose their findings for years.

How do we distinguish the nuts from the truthsayers?
This has a whole lot of unfortunate implications, the same line of reasoning (scientist "forced" to disclose their findings.) lead to the developement of the methane bubble theory and the gulf loop stall. Do we re-evaluate them now that we know scientist were told to hush up about certain things or are they still nonsense?

Well, I'm not looking forward to the bloodshed that will occur when this story circulates around the web, we'll never hear the end of it. But I can't say I blame anyone, Allen should have just said the whole truth instead of just half of it.


Yes, there's a lot of conflicting information. You do NOT have to speculate on it, unless you're actually setting down a data bank to check your own speculating ability.

People are nervous, having been told a lot of lies that they have no means to verify, since the internet is now clogged with bullshit. Sorry you missed the good internet.

You sound like you'll figure it out.

There's one well. It's not flowing. Corexit is not toxic at the dilutions in the Gulf. There's a relief well. It's being closed down, but is very close to being able to pump in cement at the bottom of the Wild Well. The big problem is oil in the marshes. The seafood might taste funny. But then, Gulf shrimp often tastes funny, because old crappy shrimp boats maintained by rednecks often have diesel leaks that saturate the wood planking. It won't hurt you.

There will be more oil leaks.

I hope this doesn't come off as insensitive but I prefer artic sea food. Putting the humor aside, I am actually very sympathetic towards though who are nervous. We have been fed lies and half truths for a while now and most tend to cling on to any bit of information that claims to be independent of BP.

As for the oil leaks, hopefully the leaks that do happen in the future aren't as bad as this one. Actually scratch that, hopefully they are much LESS than this one.

Heiro --

Based on your early posts and how you have progressed as you gathered new information - I believe you have a good career ahead of you... I only hope you choose to bring your talent to the oil industry where you can impact the future of the industry. I have been working for almost 30 years in the industry and have found it difficult to recruit young talent to the industry... the financial services and tech world seem to steer folks that way. I do sense that the new generation genuinely cares about the environment and ironically - this mess may lead to a new focus on on how we attract the next generation to help manage the transition to alternative energy.

Well said...

If her and Allen were so worried about a handful of nuts making up stories with it they should have just opened their yaps and countered the nuts with the truth.

Right, we've seen how well that works once the nuts have wrapped their alleged minds around something.

Like the scientists said, if they wanted to study the gulf and the spill [on BP's dime] they had to sign the contracts which stated they could not disclose their findings for years.

There, fixed that for ya.

BP's dime?

BP's dime to hide the crime.

There, made it so even you can understand it.

If her and Allen were so worried about a handful of nuts making up stories with it they should have just opened their yaps and countered the nuts with the truth.

Actually, Lubchenco has responded to the crazies at least twice, and, to my knowledge, she is the only member of the response team to have done so.

Of course when she said, in response to some pre-Bonnie exaggerated worries, that

Fears of raining oil are unfounded. Oil only covers a small fraction of the sea surface the storm interacts with. Even for a small storm like Bonnie which is about 175 miles wide. The moisture that’s in a storm comes from the evaporation of ocean water. And so the storm does not all act like a vacuum cleaner rather its funneled, evaporated water upward and into the storm.

she was criticized here for lending credence to the claims by paying attention to them. I believe that is known as "damned if you do ..."

You have a point about widely distorted media coverage of the plumes. On TV and MSM websites, the story was invariably illustrated with a picture of thick orange goo on the surface, leading people to believe such things were spreading underwater.. And in Lubchenko's first public statement on the matter, she criticized "media reports" of the plumes rather than the research itself. So I'm sure that was part of her meaning and motivation.

Still, it seems inappropriate for her to scold the scientists, even if some of them were showboating and giving gaudy soundbites to the press, as some were in fact doing. The odd thing is, she, NOAA, and the academic scientists all knew in advance that dispersion of oil would occur in a deepwater blowout and there would be oil suspended in the water column. It was just a question of nailing down how much and where.

Then there is the problem of government science being contaminated by forensic objectives--DOJ and EPA have to be ready to fight BP in court:

USF's first NOAA-sponsored voyage to take samples after Deepwater Horizon, the one that turned up evidence of the undersea plumes, was designed to gather evidence for use in an eventual court case against BP and other oil companies involved in the disaster. At the end of the voyage, USF turned its samples over to NOAA, expecting to get either a shared analysis or the samples themselves back. So far, Hogarth said, they've received neither.

That paragraph answers the question of why the samples weren't returned.

The same problem is behind the apparent high-balling of the flow estimate. I imagine this conversation:

Scientist: We have a range estimate of 2.5 to 4.5 million barrels.
Political: Let's say 3.5 then, so it sounds like we know what we're talking about.
Lawyer: BP will claim 2 million, so we have to claim 5 million.
Scientist: 5 million isn't believable.
Lawyer: 4.9 million it is, then.

Scientist: We have a range estimate of 2.5 to 4.5 million barrels.
Political: Let's say 3.5 then, so it sounds like we know what we're talking about.
Lawyer: BP will claim 2 million, so we have to claim 5 million.
Scientist: 5 million isn't believable.
Lawyer: 4.9 million it is, then.

Speaking as a scientific researcher, this type of information manipulation is infuriating (assuming that it actually happened, which I find very easy to believe; indeed I find it hard to believe that it did not happen). In my experience, bureaucrats love to control information, and they easily fool themselves into believing that they have the right, even the duty, to do it for the common good. Poppycock! Yes, I live in the ivory tower where political realities can be ignored, but its still infuriating. End of rant.

"At the end of the voyage, USF turned its samples over to NOAA, expecting to get either a shared analysis or the samples themselves back. So far, Hogarth said, they've received neither."

This implies that the people at USF did not analyze the samples themselves.

Of course what I find suspicous is that they are taking this to the news media instead of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. If their evidence is so "rock-solid" then why are they not presenting it to their peers for review?

I might be wrong but I don't think simple measurements would be anything to have peer reviewed.

I am sure they will submit all their findings at some point.

In relation to the hiding of the oil plumes Lubchenco said :
"We think that's in everybody's interest."

I think that´s in BP´s and Gouvernments interest to dull people's mind !
Could it be out of peoples interest to be told the truth about all relevant data in connection with the oil spill ?

Oil plumes - lack of oxygen in deepwater - toxic evaporations...there is a lot to hide !

Another example :


How can anybody believe, that this massiv oil spill has no ramifications ?


Another example :
How can anybody believe, that this massiv oil spill has no ramifications ?


The only species of fish that were killed were Menhaden, which commonly expire in hot weather and enclosed embayments, said Lisa Capone of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Weren't undersea plumes expected? Well I wouldn't doubt it. The only concern of mine right now is that they get on with the relief wells and shut this down. But what kind of effects are we expecting from these "plumes"?

Now, I know that plume is often used my the media to scare people, when all it is really pressure which can be high or low.

One more thing, is this account authentic? We've been fooled many times before (mainly me) about the existence of cracks/plumes/ and leaks. If s, I wonder what kind of charges BP will face.

Heiro--"Now, I know that plume is often used my the media to scare people, when all it is really pressure which can be high or low."

Heiro--how could you possibly "know" this? You are jumping to conclusions no less certain than those the doomers--myself at times included--jump to. I sometimes wonder if you are serious.

I see nothing wrong with my statement. Plumes doesn't always refer to massive gushers, ejecting oil out at enormous pressures.

A plume is used to refer to large contiguous undersea three dimensional areas of very low dilution levels of oil, and likely Corexit.

Not to worry. Plumes aren't pure oil - far far from it.

The confusion is caused by the public's lack of familiarity with technical terms, and also the public's lack of ability to form intelligent concepts.

Laziness, mostly. Seen it all my long life. People have been raised for a life of ease and jackpots.

Man, I wish I had bookmarked it, but months ago someone linked to a youtube video of a lab experiment showing the different behavior of oil released underwater at high pressure vs. low pressure. The high pressure release was 'atomized' (not the correct term I'm sure, but anyway) and collected in a horizontal layer right in the middle of the tank. The low pressure release, which was more like big globs, floated straight up to the surface. That was only a very small scale lab experiment, now imagine what happens with all the different currents and thermal zones and water densities in a mile deep section of open ocean.

I got this link about a month ago from a Mr. Bubbles (IIRC). It's similar to the video you're looking for, but according to the description, the first simulation is done with alcohol, not oil.

This paper revealed some interesting things about how differing types of crude behave when released under various constraints, it's about dispersants, but covers a little more.


Skandi 2 is on "BOP inspection" observing some kind of pipe with a constant flow of gas bubbles or bits of hydrate. The flow has been getting a little heavier as I've been watching. That combined with Allen's "we're going to be doing some BOP pressure tests" doesn't look good.

OC ROV 2 is still watching belches of something from the seafloor.

It seems like we're entering another phase of "he said, she said", or maybe "BP says, reality says"

It is coming out of one of the top stacks.


Looks rather curious to me.
But why is the stack gold in color, usually you'd think they'd care less how it looks. But the bubbles coming out of it don't look like oil to me. Probably just gas bubbles.

Well, I don't know what that heavy-walled pipe is, but it's pretty hard to deny the bubbles. Anyone able to identify the pipe?

Those are just shadows!

Blast, now I'm so curious! Darned if that doesn't look like "wet" gas - mostly methane but with some light alkanes, stuff that becomes liquid and floats, but doesn't have the crude oil color. But that wouldn't make any sense at all.

Pink, Are they perhaps in the process of relieving the pressure in the BOP, as Adm. Allen said they planned to do?

That's a pretty small flow. They'd be releasing it faster than that. I just noticed the pressure reading on HOS ROV 1 is now 1000 instead of the 700 psi it's been.

Is the pressure reading BOP pressure or a hydraulic control pressure?

That is absolutely a hydraulic pressure gauge.

I think they may be doing that now, Nubs. I saw OI3 turn some valves and screw in the shaft marked "Choke". No longer showing the bubble-pipe.

OK, thanks, but gotta go now to get my weekly massage (watch spillcam..... or ...... get massage?). The ROV videos can wait.

What's not making sense about that?

What wouldn't make sense is that gas under pressure in contact with crude should leave any liquid alkanes behind unless the crude is also coming out.

Edit, badly worded. It should act much like a wellhead dryer on a gas well, where the liquid fractions are absorbed by an oil and then recovered by heating the oil.

Here's a snapshot, and here's a video

Am I understanding correctly? the most likely failure was in the cement job at the very bottom of the well and it seems no failure of casing/liner. What kind of pressure is the cement at the bottom supposed to withstand? hold the reservoir at 11,900 psi? or it requires certain ppg value in the well. Also, is it possible to blow all fluids from the 18000ft well?

I can't speak for the cement or the cementing job, but it's VERY possible to blow all fluids out of the well. Or a much deeper well, for that matter. All you have to do is let the pressure below exceed what's above.

Went to go pick up my measly BP check today. I was told it would be mailed in 7-10 days. I used to get it at the claim center within 24 hours. It is all a bureaucratic mess. Team Feinberg will get rich, and I get screwed. Thanks BP and America. I bet I get bupkis. There is a special place in hell for people like this, and I hope those folks understand I plan to be in charge of that section of hell by the time they get there.

Ugh, the old 'The cheque is in the post.'.


Relief well info with a quote from John Wright.
Man drilling Gulf oil spill relief well feeling a little pressure

Flame away, I was the ONLY customer at Hooter's tonight. The girls were very PO'ed.

Did you check to see if the KofC monthly meeting was tonight?

+100 Good comment.

LOL~at least you got all the attention....

Did you see this, I was wondering when a media outlet was going to pick up on this:


Home > Breaking News from the Press-Register > Breaking News
Fodder, conspiracy theory edition: Watch out for those strange buses by the beach and stay out of the FEMA camps!
Published: Friday, July 23, 2010, 4:00 PM Updated: Friday, July 23, 2010, 4:11 PM
Press-Register staff
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(Sometimes humorous, sometimes provocative, Fodder is a recurring online Press-Register feature that spotlights water cooler discussion topics of regional or national interest. Today's installment focuses on conspiracy theories and we must stress that we have found no evidence to support any of these doomsday scenarios. Read more Fodder here.)

View full sizeConspiracy theorists have been having a field day with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, with this video purporting to show ominous buses and vans in and around Gulf Shores, Ala., supposedly ready to begin mass evacuations of residents to government-run camps. The Press-Register has found no evidence of such an operation.
It's the largest environmental disaster in our nation's history. It's gotten constant media attention. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that conspiracy theorists have had a field day with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf.

Share And for those who don't know better, the missives are as alarming as they are attention-getting.

A poster on Disclose.TV (where the motto is "Truth Revealed") writes: "

Apparently FEMA is staging evacuation buses in Gulf Shores Alabama. Best guess is that the buses will remove Gulf Shores residents to the civilian prison camp at Maxwell AFB near Montgomery Alabama. The Maxwell civilian prison camp was established under Operation Garden Plot and is staffed and ready to receive "refugees."

But wait, there's more.

"It is critical that you keep your family out of the FEMA camps. Once inside you will be tagged with RFID identification chips and detained until relocation arrangements can be made. It is possible that your children will be relocated before you."

To back up the alarming assertion, the poster includes a YouTube video (see below) that appears to be taken as people drive around the Gulf Shores area, videotaping buses in various parking lots.

The video was taken by Los Angeles-based group called Project Gulf Impact, which appears to be made up of an actor, Matt Smith; a USC film student, Gavin Garrison; and Heather Rally, a veterinary student at Western University of Health Sciences.

The trio says it left California and headed for the Gulf Coast on a mission to report the real truth about the oil spill. And according to them and others, that real truth seems to involve the massive amounts of methane that have leaked out into the Gulf along with the oil.

Conspiracy lovers theorize that this methane has turned the Gulf into a virtual powder keg, ready to explode.

The e-mail ominously titled "MARTIAL LAW AND MASS EVACUATION OF THE GULF COAST" sums it up thusly:

"Investigative journalist Wayne Madson states that his sources inside the federal government, FEMA, and the US Army Corps of Engineers are dealing with a prospective "dead zone" created by the escaping methane within a 200 mile radius from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Madsen reports that Corexit 9500, the oil dispersant used by BP, is viewed by FEMA sources as mixing with evaporated water from the Gulf. This deadly mixture is then absorbed by rain clouds and produces toxic precipitation that threatens to continue killing marine and land animals, plant life, and humans within a 200-mile radius of the Deepwater Horizon disaster site in the Gulf.

The "dead zone" created by a combination of methane gas and Corexit toxic rain, Madsen continues, will ultimately result in the evacuation and long-term abandonment of cities and towns within the 200-mile radius of the oil gusher."

In short, run for your lives!

Who is this investigative journalist? He writes for OilPrice.com, which touts itself as the "No. 1 Source for Oil Price Information."

In the mood for more hair-curling doomsday scenarios? Check out the evacuation scenario on Infowars.com or the musings of one Manfred Zysk.Of course, should any or all of them prove to be correct, we'll be right there to shake their hands and post an apology. That is, if we have not already been transported to the FEMA camp at Maxwell Air Force Base and had the chips implanted in our brains.

Remember the FEMA coffin video? Do not think our government does not intern folks, remember the Japanese during World War II. The US Government also officially apologized and that remains a stain on our country. Even though my mother was born into slavery under the Japanese, that was still wrong. The real story here now is the unknown long term effect of everything, most obviously being the direct economic impact. No news crews, no fishing, no GOM sports, and no tourists. Yet we may recover as early as next year. Only time will tell. Personally, I could use a free vacation, courtesy of the US Government, but last time I said that I got shot at for months.

I can't remember that one off the top of my head, but there information has scared the hell out of fellow C=GC residents, like implanting chips when you get to the camp and all the rest of the crazy BS they post, not just PGI, but so many others profiting off a disaster. I know the beach here is dead except for the Bushwhacker Festival last weekend, although I swim almost daily still and was snorkeling this weekend the tourust are gone. FYI~Next time you need a vacation that bad, don't even consider one by the US Gov't.......don't want to see you shot at again. I am finally starting to relax because my son is coming home from Iraq in a week!!!!!!!!

About 6-8 weeks ago on WKRG's oil spill cameras web site they had some guy with the same story.He had aerial photos of 100's of buses lined up in a field in Fla. that were going to be used for evacuation.Scared the hell out of those people.

glad someone is keeping abreast...

I was watching my recorded video feed tonight and caught this on Skandi at about 7:20 central time. I went back and enhanced 4 frames due to the poor video rez their using, but converted to B&W to see better. These frames are at a heading of 89-90 and alt. of 97', The frame p4 is at a heading of 94.6 showing the BOP stack. Not sure what this was to the left of BOP.





Gulf of Mexico oil spill litigation will be handled in New Orleans

Am I the only one surprised? I thought this thing was going to Houston, and that was the way it was. Interesting.

Edit: Turtles are tough. Fewer turtles being found soaked in oil from Gulf of Mexico spill, researchers say

Scientists have had pretty good luck treating oiled turtles, according to Brian Stacy, a veterinarian with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine. Stacy said less than 1 percent of those captured died in rehabilitation, and most recover fairly rapidly.

Tortoises generally have lifespans comparable with those of human beings, and some individuals are known to have lived longer than 150 years. Because of this, they symbolize longevity in some cultures, such as China. The oldest tortoise ever recorded, almost the oldest individual animal ever recorded, was Tu'i Malila, which was presented to the Tongan royal family by the British explorer Captain Cook shortly after its birth in 1777. Tui Malila remained in the care of the Tongan royal family until its death by natural causes on May 19, 1965. This means that upon its death, Tui Malila was 188 years old.

Researchers have recently discovered a turtle’s organs do not gradually break down or become less efficient over time, unlike most other animals. It was found that the liver, lungs, and kidneys of a centenarian turtle are virtually indistinguishable from those of its immature counterpart. This has inspired genetic researchers to begin examining the turtle genome for longevity genes

CAPTAIN COOK! Tui died in 1965. Geez. Little turtle dudes are BADASS. Last two blocks from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortoise .
Yes, turtle and tortises are in different families and in American common usage tortoises are considered land animals. Americans also call both families turtles. The Brits distinguish.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill litigation will be handled in New Orleans

Stephen French, managing partner of a Houston firm that watches legal spending, predicts to the Chronicle that many cases will settle quickly, given the, uh, "strong feelings" a Louisiana jury is apt to have against BP. “I’d expect the cases BP would get behind them the quickest and fairest to set the tone would be the wrongful death cases,” he reckons.

Excellent advice. That and, as somebody said, can the teevy ad-campaign.

You find:

Turtles are tough. Fewer turtles being found soaked in oil from Gulf of Mexico spill, researchers say

I find:

Oil spill plugged, but more oiled birds than ever are being found

Before BP plugged the well with a temporary cap on July 15, an average of 37 oiled birds were being collected dead or alive each day. Since then, the figure has nearly doubled to 71 per day, according to a Times-Picayune review of daily wildlife rescue reports.

The figures for sea turtles have climbed even higher, with more oiled turtles recovered in the past 10 days than during the spill's first three months.


I declare, tiny, your addiction to bad news for the Gulf just beats all. When there isn't any, you have to try to make some up (viz., that T-P typo yesterday). What the heck is it, girlfrien'? Really, I just can't get my mind around your remarkable devotion to gloom.

I just choose not to view the world through rose colored glasses. It is was it is. The good, the bad and the ugly. Still trying to find something good in this whole situation down here. There is plenty of bad and ugly. Hopefully that will change soon. It seems for every good story you find there is one that shows the other side, and I think that will remain with us for a long time.

When I read the posts here on the technical stuff, I see the same things. One good, one bad, and a lot undecided due to lack of information. ie, why don't they show us the data so we can make informed opinions? show us the videos of the Bop, etc. I do the same thing for the human aspect side.

You also need to remember that I'm surrounded by shrimpers, oystermen, crabbers and fishermen daily, so perhaps my views are slightly skewed, due to what I hear from these folks and what they are experiencing and what my household is experiencing. I think it's quite natural that my views are going to differ a lot from everyone here which is why I very seldom post anything especially when it comes to the human aspect of the spill.

Well, I do understand that none of us not immediately on the Gulf where you are can truly understand what y'all are going through, and I do hate it for the people and the critters both. I also appreciate that we see only a sliver of your consciousness in what you say on TOD.

If Pollyanna-ism is entirely out of place here, so is unrelieved doomery (which, if you were to pull up all your old comments, would be just about all you'd find). But I dunno, tiny, maybe that's your best way to vent pain. Probably it is, so I should shut up and leave you to your coping, huh? Okay, I will.

Anyhow, again, my wish for alla y'all is that this horror pass much sooner than anyone would have thought possible when it began.

All along I have felt they are not going to do the bottom kill.

Allen's wishy washy talk about the relief well today adds to that conclusion.

We will see.

What's the status of that new rule that would ban BP from operating???

Unlikely to ever happen.

U.S., BP Near Deal on Fund:
Gulf of Mexico Oil Production Would Secure Company's $20 Billion Recovery Plan

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration and BP PLC are close to a deal to use future revenues from the oil giant's Gulf of Mexico operations to guarantee its $20 billion cleanup and compensation fund, a move that would give both sides an incentive to continue production in the Gulf, scene of the U.S.'s worst-ever offshore oil spill.

The Justice Department and BP said Monday they had completed talks to establish the fund, which is designed to cover damage claims from residents and businesses hurt by the spill and clean-up efforts by state and local governments. BP paid $3 billion into the fund ahead of schedule.

I think the US Government should never issue any more permits or authorizations to BP unless they are issued to a company named something other than BP anything. That is what the government should do. Take their name. Great PR move, yet it lets BP go back to work. It also lets everyone at the new named company know that things are different now and the people, the government, and even other industry will not allow BP to 'cut corners' on safety anymore. At the very least, we should demand BP act no less safe than the other big oil companies. We also need to figure out how to have a way to give subcontractors more authority on the job to say NO and report safety shortcuts. Whistle blower protection laws for subcontractors might be an option. I do not like whistle blowers or tattle tells either, especially in business, but sometimes it is necessary and it can make a difference.

So, you would be happy with their previous name? " GULF "

Edit: Didn't think so.

Gulf was a Texas creation funded by the Mellon banking bunch. T Boone Pickens of Citgo tried to raid Gulf, but Chevron stepped in as a white knight.
BP started as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and became the Anglo-Iranian oil company.
BP just needs a new name. I wanted 'Green Devil', but I am sure that would not work. How about Amoco. Do the old WorldCom, AIG name backpedal. MCI and American General brands came back and helped the cause so I know it works. Then the new guys can say, "Oh, that was the old company."

"I do not like whistle blowers and tattle tells either"

That's possibly the worst thing I've read that you've posted. Whistle-blowers are our last line of defense against a unified front of lies. Whistle-blowers are the embodiment of selfless sacrifice. They throw themselves in the gears knowing they will be smeared, slandered, and attacked. If you don't like whistle-blowers, it's because you have something to be afraid of.

This differs from a cop telling you "Why can't I search, you have something to hide?" That's the ASSUMPTION of guilt.

The whistle-blower says "I already know you did it. I already know you'll never admit it. I already know no one associated with you will admit it. I cannot sleep at night knowing I am complicit in this lie, and it's wrong. I have to make it right, or at the least, make people aware" That's the exposure of guilt that's been purposely hidden

Every whistle-blower is an American hero, and if you think otherwise, it's because you have an interest in hiding the truth.

I am sorry you are disappointed with my words, but I have worked in upper management before. Over 75% of whistle blowing I investigated was unjustified and that was with a lawyer and HR VP working with me. You are correct however, the other 25% had at least some merit and 10% were downright spot on. Maybe it is a result of my military training. Maybe it is cynicism or pragmatism. It just seems hard to "like" such actions that have a such a low 'verify rate'. Besides, I do not like going to the dentist either but I go at least once a year. With bleaching toothpaste, the six month cleanings are no longer necessary for me. I go annually now. Just because I do not like something does not mean I think it is unnecessary. In fact, many times it indicates something vital. I hope you do not lose faith in me, for I do care about my fellow man. I just like to get maximum done with minimal fuss. That does not include cutting corners on procedure, safety, or ethics.

I understand what you're saying, and I agree. I can refine my point more, saying that I'm talking about the 25% and the 10% portions of your breakdown. I definitely know there are people who hate the people they work for and will use any ammunition they collect to try to screw them over when they become disillusioned with their job, their place in the heirarchy, etc. I've seen it in multiple jobs I've had. People falsely claiming sexual harasssment, discrimination, and the like, because they've had a falling out with someone in the company.

I've also seen voices silenced who should have been heard louder than any voice, detailing non-compliance with basic labor laws, company processes, nepotism...the whole range.

I'm saying regardless of the cost to the bottom line, the truth is of paramount importance.

Here's the little ray of hope I was referring to:

Such a deal could provoke a backlash on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are moving to bar BP from operating in the Gulf. Legislation approved by the House of Representatives in July would effectively prohibit the government from issuing new offshore oil leases or drilling permits to the oil company by adding a roster of requirements BP couldn't satisfy.

And then there's WSJ's "person familiar..."

Discussions continue, however, on how BP will guarantee its remaining obligation of $17 billion. At one point in the negotiations, the two sides discussed securing the fund with BP's oil fields in the Gulf, but the government didn't want to end up owning wells, said one person familiar with the situation.

Guv already owns the oil, in the name of the people. Oil is a racket...

" adding a roster of requirements BP couldn't satisfy"

consider this point. the MMS has been fudging approvals and inspections for years. BP has not had to deal with actual enforced regulations. Thus, BP has no idea how to adjust in order to even actually comply with current regulations, let alone new regulations.

Is this an indictment of BP or the government? Both, I say, but that's not a deflection of blame. That's an indictment of the whole system equally. it's not 50/50 bp/govt. it's 100/100.

Shut up math people. you know what i mean :p

This here non-math person says Amen and Amen.

MMS is now BOEMRE - alphabet soup - or Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

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US Dept. Of Interior -- Testimony Of Director Bromwich Before The Committee On Oversight And Government Reform On The Continuing OCS Reform

07/22/2010U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government ReformThank you, Chairman Towns, Ranking Member Issa, and Members of the Committee for the opportunity to be here today with Secretary Salazar. I appreciate being included in this hearing and being part of the discussions about reorganization of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) program.Overview My appointment as the director of the Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement began one month ago on June 21. I...
path: Public ~> Gulf Oil Disaster
originally posted: 2010-08-11 03:35:22

MMS has a history of corruption and ineptitude,some of it, I believe, by design. Like BP it, MMS, has a branding problem and thus the name change. Unlike BP we're stuck with this government. Without real consequences, such as banning repeat offenders who cause death and destruction we're back to square-one; just more rearranging the deck chairs... I hope, after November, the Senate will pick this up and run with it. Although I'm not holding my breath.

I'm glad to see they've seen the light and are now adding regulation and enforcement. [/sarcasm]

I hope, after November ...

Now come on, greenfloyd. You know the Senate doesn't pick-up-and-run-with even the dullest scissors. Most sclerotic bunch this side of the geriatric ward.

What can I say... I'm in kind-a dreamy mood tonight...

Oh well, carry on then.

by adding a roster of requirements BP couldn't satisfy.

Personally I regard this as government at it worst. There is a litany of sins in this.

Number one, the government is too scared to man up to what it is doing. There is nothing to stop it being totally up front, and pass a law that names BP. But this is the cowards way out. Cast the law in such a form that it is crafted only catch BP by second order effects.

The action reeks of vengence. There is nothing in this that serves the interests of the US. There is no incentive for BP to do better - they can't because they are excluded. There is nothing that provides an incentive for the other companies to do better - they aren't the target of the law. About the only thing is does do is make an example of BP to scare the other companies. Which is hardly what I would call mature government of the modern age.

If the US government seeks vengance, they already have laws that are supposed to do this. But somehow, for some politicians that isn't enough. This sets a very bad precedent for the future, and sends a message from the US to the rest of the world about how the US will treat them. And the message is that it will treat outsiders with a very different rule than insiders, despite the rule of law. This isn't good.

The really bad part is that actions like this almost always result in unintended consequences. They are hard to predict, but the rebound on the US will probably not be worth the fleeting sense of satisfaction some politicians get out of it. The loss to the US treasury of tax and license fees alone will probably be worth some tens of billions over time. But politicians have never been noted for their care with taxpayer's money.

Good law looks only to the future. Laws crafted to look backwards are the work of the small minded.

All very true, Francis. But let us hope that the news rainy found has longer legs. My money's on Obama -- considerably less small-minded and short-sighted than the average Congresscritter (thus, he's where he is and they're where they are) -- to outrun them.

Number one, the government is too scared to man up to what it is doing. There is nothing to stop it being totally up front, and pass a law that names BP.


Apparently, you have never read the US Constitution. It expressly forbids congress from passing a law that names BP. The Constitution prevents Congress from passing a law that even appears to be targeted at only BP.

Gack, you're right, jinn. "No bills of attainder allowed." Can't believe I forgot that one. Bad.

Not being a US citizen, no, although I rather suspected this was the case.

This makes the action worse. Essentially the congresscritter feels that he has a right to attempt to skirt the constitution. The writers of the US constitution seem to me to be some of the brightest people history has seen, they were clearly not fools, and they put things in there with clear intent.

Sounds as if this law may well fail in the SCOTUS anyway.

The MMS has the right to reject any drilling permit request by any company for a vaiety of reasons. One basic reason is that the MMS judges them to be an unsafe operator. AFAIK there is no appeal process for such decisions. Perhaps BP could sue if they are denied a drill permit. Then in 10 or 12 years they might be able to get a permit when the case is finally resolved.

...by adding a roster of requirements BP couldn't satisfy.

The new rules would apply to all operators, not just BP. A sort of "3-strikes your out" law... ha ha

Congress has the power to change the laws and I'm almost sure it's stipulated already, oil companies that do business with the USG agree to be subject to any new requirements, given a reasonable amount of time to comply.

Francis -- Two facts for folks to remember. First, no company has an inherent right to drill in our offshore areas. It is a privilege for any company allowed to drill out there. Second, no company (or country) has the inherent right to buy fuel from BP. It is a privilege for anyone to buy fuel from them. BTW: BP is the largest supplier of fuel to the US Dept of Defense.

All along I have felt they are not going to do the bottom kill.

Allen's wishy washy talk about the relief well today adds to that conclusion.

I don't think it's at all wishy-washy. My understanding is that they're still definitely going to do the intercept. I don't think they have a choice there. The American people want to be ultra-sure that this well will never cause a problem again, and since the relief well is so close, it would be irrational not to make use of it.

However, once they've done the intercept, they will need to evaluate whether there is anything left to kill (maybe they only find mud, or even cement). Furthermore, Thad alluded in his briefing to another possible scenario, where they find hydrocarbons that have been cut off from the reservoir by the cement plug from the static kill. In that case, they may not be able to pump in mud or cement, since there would be no place for the displaced oil to go (unless some of the surrounding rock is porous enough to take some of it).

Nevertheless, if they are able to pump mud and/or cement after performing the intercept, I am sure they will do it. However, in view of the fact that this is not at all certain, I can understand Thad not wanting to commit himself to it at this stage.

In that case does the RW then become a production operation?

The Powers That Be stated recently that neither of the relief wells will be productionised. I figure that the area of oil formation for hundreds of metres around the wild well's drillhole has been badly chewed up by months of poorly-controlled high-flow-rate "production". Drilling into that area is going to be risky and it would not result in a profitable and long-lived production well. It's likely the Macondo oil formation(s) will be tapped by new wells at a later date but they will probably be drilled quite some distance from the damaged and depleted section of oil-bearing strata.

Funny how often the powers that be change their minds when they get dollar-signs in their eyes...

So do you think the pay is mostly spent? Sure seemed to be flowing strong before the cap and Skill...

I think the pay has dried up exactly at the rate public interest has dried up.

I'm sure the oil hands here would give better numbers but a production well in this sort of geology would run at maybe 2,000 barrels per day for several years, not 50,000 barrels a day for a month or two before it dries up because the zone around the bore depletes and the formation collapses due to flow erosion. It's a bit like taking your car out for a run and pegging the rev counter at max -- you get great performance for a time and then something expensive under the hood goes bang.

The relief well bores are all quite close to the damaged area at the bottom of the wild well for obvious reasons. If the RWs were to be converted into production wells they'd intersect the pay formations close to the wild well bottom which is now cavitated, depleted, full of fractured sandstone, liberally coated with drilling mud and cement and likely to get more cement and drilling fluids added to the mess before the job is finished. I can't see any financial benefit to BP to converting the relief wells into production wells, given the extra costs involved to produce a badly damaged zone for a short period of time. Better for them to drill new wells some distance from the damaged area and get a reliable 2-3,000 bpd for several years to help amortise the cost of the wellhead gear, pipelines etc. that will be needed to turn a wellbore into a production facility.

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NOAA -- National Huracaine Center

path: Public ~> News
originally posted: 2010-08-01 00:50:39

Steven Chu

U.S. Secretary of Energy
Posted: August 10, 2010 01:42 PM

BP Oil Spill Update

As you may know, I've spent much of the last three months working to help contain the BP oil spill. I recently returned from my seventh trip to Houston, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to update you on our work to seal the damaged well in the Gulf.

My job has been to oversee the federal science team - a group of top scientists from the Department of Energy's national labs, the federal government, and academia, along with outside industry experts. We have been working seven days a week to tackle this very challenging problem. Our focus has been on collecting as much data as possible and making sure we plot the best path forward based on the facts.

Because of the gravity of the situation, the Administration asserted its authority over BP's actions. As we evaluated the scenarios for stopping the leak, BP was not allowed to move forward on a course of action without the government's approval.


The Lesson We Can Learn From BP

In late July 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that they will conduct a study that will re-examine the impact of hydrofracking, and just last week (Aug. 3) the New York State Senate passed a moratorium on granting permits for hydrofracking until May 15, 2011. The bill passed with strong (48-9) bipartisan support; when the Assembly re-convenes on September 15 it must pass there.

Ironically, most areas don't know exactly what chemicals the companies add to the water in the process because drilling companies claim the mixture should be considered proprietary. States where hydrofracking has been taking place are beginning to require companies to disclose the chemicals being used in the process.