BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Relief Well Intersection Version 2 - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6845.

Both Admiral Allen and Kent Wells (audio only no transcript yet) held press conferences Tuesday. The primary focus in both cases was the weather, with the currently approaching storm producing waves that are causing a halt to operations.

Gathering potential storms (National Hurricane Center)

The storm is not seen as being very threatening, to the point that the riser will not be disconnected. However the drill pipe is being withdrawn, a storm packer inserted into the hole, and the riser filled with sea water. As a result, if there is a problem, the drilling rig can release from the well without creating further complications. But it allows a faster recovery if nothing untoward happens.

The relief well had made it 50 ft beyond the casing and has been surveyed. In the next step it will go another 30 ft before a survey, and then (getting closer to the original well) another 15 ft and so forth. At any time it may intersect the well, and so it might be appropriate to explain (as both parties did) what is expected, and where the intersection can occur.

When I had earlier written about the intersection and the injection of the cement into the bottom of the well it was before the well had been killed from the top. The situation at the moment is that the bottom 5,000 ft of the well inside the casing has been filled with cement.

So that if I go back to the original situation at the intended intersection point, what it may well look like at the moment is this:

The vertical gap between the two outer cement linings which (for simplicity) I have shown as very short is actually likely to be a couple of hundred feet long perhaps. The inner cement plug within the production casing stretches several thousand feet above the intersection point.

The bottom of the well is some 800 feet further down the production casing. At the present time the well is being held at 4,200 psi pressure at the BOP to check and see if there are any leaks. Just as an observation when you put that much pressure on that long a solid confined column it will dissipate out to side loading long before it gets down to this depth, so the test does not have that much value in these particular circumstances. As far as testing the integrity of the central cement plug, neither will the negative pressure test which they intend to follow the current positive pressure test with. In this case they will lower the pressure in the well to 2,300 to 3,000 psi, and see if the well makes fluid. Again, because of the length of the cement column in the production casing, that drop in pressure will not extend down to the intersection point (let alone the bottom of the well) and thus won’t provide that much information on the conditions at the reservoir.
(Ed. note - I originally inadvertently wrote concrete rather than cement in this paragraph - mainly because I was thinking of the work we and others have done on distributed loading, which relates more to the concrete lining of shafts, rather than the cement lining of boreholes, but the conclusions are the same - my apologies).

What it will do, however, is provide some information about what might be going on in the annulus and particularly what might be in the gap, and the condition of it before the relief well runs into it. If the integrity of the production casing remains, (except potentially at the bottom of the well) and all the mud and cement flowed down it, and into the formation, then there may be no way for the fluids in this annulus to have escaped the well. (I have colored them an off yellow since we don’t know if they are oil or mud.) If they are the original drilling mud, and the lower cement lining around the production casing has retained enough integrity to seal this zone off from the bottom of the well and the reservoir, then this may even still be the mud used just prior to the cementing of the production casing.

In that case, the well is really already well sealed, although for insurance they will likely pump cement into the well to fill the gap and back up the annulus a few hundred feet with more cement. Doesn’t matter then what the condition of the bottom of the well is – there is no path for fluid to get up the well.

If on the other hand they find some oil in the gap then this could indicate that the cement had lost some integrity, and allowed some oil passage (but then how did it then get into the solid steel pipe of the production casing?) But again, pumping cement into the well to fill the gap will provide a permanent seal without needing to go much distance down into the lower cement lining to assess its condition.

Because the original well could well now be a sealed system then the actual fluid in this section will be determined by looking at what comes back up out of the relief well as it drills into the gap.

There is a caveat to this, however. If there was a massive failure of the lower cement liner down to the reservoir, then when the relief well strikes the gap there will be a path for mud to flow down into the well, pushing the fluid before it down into the reservoir. The mud weight that they are using is a 13.8 ppg mud, and so this should displace down to the reservoir. By monitoring the flow and the pressure it will be possible then to determine the size of the flow channel, and other values. If that happens it might complicate the analysis of what actually is the condition of the bottom of the original well. But the treatment remains the same. Stabilize the well, then inject the cement to form a plug in the gap and back up the annulus, and the well is sealed.

Because of the currently anticipated storm, it is expected that there will be a delay of perhaps a few days more before the intersection occurs, but with the condition of the rock around the well in the unsupported (unlined) section somewhat unknown, it is not going to be possible to accurately predict exactly when that intersection will occur.

I think they use cement, not concrete.

The difference between concrete and cement is that concrete contains cement plus sand and gravel.

It looks to me as though where HO uses the word "concrete", he means "concrete". Can one even use cement alone, in a well? (This is not my field, though.)

Gail: Concrete is indeed a mixture of Portland Cement, Aggregate( crushed and graded rock)and water. Cement, as refered to in the oil patch is actually concrete. I think they call it that because the rock component is of a much finer grade, than say, concrete used to pour a bridge deck. I can only speak to concrete used in the construction industry where it is concrete. Oh, those oil patch guys!!Heh1 Heh!

Just to confuse things a little further. In the UK we call OPC=cement, OPC plus sand=cement, OPC and/or lime plus sand=mortar, we only use concrete when there is coarse aggregate in it. ISTR one of the oil guys commented that they only use plain cement with no form of aggregate but it is a special grade.


I have corrected the relevant paragraph, since my mind was on the work that justified the comments, which included concrete, I inadvertently used that in the description. Since the terminology of the industry is cement, that is the term I should have used, my apologies.

I believe he really meant "cement". Concrete, as you noted, contains sand and gravel, and has to be vibrated to get rid of any air pockets that would weaken the pour. I doubt there is any way to do that down the drill-pipe or up the annulus effectively.

Ahh!, that makes sense. It would be interesting to see a design mix for that stuff. I noticed the compressive strength was on the low end of things after 18 or so hours.

It is cement Jim, but not as we know it. This ain't the stuff you stick between bricks, far from it. http://www.halliburton.com/public/cem/contents/Data_Sheets/web/H/H03787.pdf

For the the purposes of this discussion, both words work. Technically, I doubt the plug is made of of pure cement, but that goes without saying among the pros here.

Inevitably there are other additives. Then there are the oil patch colloqialisms, which are American southernisms mixed with the unique technical jargon (Someone could probably write a book on this subject as a master's thesis in language). In the south, it's more common to hear concrete referred to as cement, or ceement.

CEEment! thats how I say it! Them cattle you folks trailed up here aint the only things brought along to the high plains! Heh! Heh!

Uncom: Good point.
Trade colloquialisms are words we call "terms of art" if it's our own trade, and "double-talk, "gibberish,", or "gobbledygook" if it's someone else's trade. We use them because they are a convenient shorthand. If they sow confusion for the public they are man-traps for journalists, who must use plain English but love to learn new words and also to sound important by trying them out and showing them off like new shoes. Sometimes the public was confused even before the reporters added their spin. Cement, meaning concrete, is a good example. So is the term asphalt, for a blacktop road, technically a bituminous concrete, and actually called concrete by road pavers. So what we have at Macondo is a process of injecting a special cement which will act like concrete to stop the flow of a hydrocarbon, much of which would have ended its days as asphalt, the cement constituent of a concrete road.

Very nice use of the nomenclature. I can see you are one who eschews obfuscation.

One of my favorites is the use of "tarmac" for any asphalt pavement.

In geology, we have a few terms that are seldom used among ourselves, but which do wonders when you need to answer a question without answering the question. I imagine most trades have something like that. Wiggle room terms.

Is it normal procedure for drilling operations to stop this far out for tropical cyclones? Or are they just being extra cautious?

Act - As a general rule companies don't begin to shut down ops until a storm moves west of the southern tip of FL. The important timing issue is when to start evac'ing the rigs: at anyone time there are about 25,000 hands working offshore and there are only so many choppers to bring them in.

This current move is a good bit more cautious than ususal especially since they aren't evac'ing the hands...just shuting down ops.

At the present time the well is being held at 4,200 psi pressure at the BOP to check and see if there are any leaks. Just as an observation when you put that much pressure on that long a solid confined column it will dissipate out to side loading long before it gets down to this depth, so the test does not have that much value in these particular circumstances.

WTF? Please go back to school, you could not be more wrong.

Perhaps a bit harsh Milo, but I too was a bit dismayed to learn that 36 years of calculations were invalidated in one fell swoop. ;-) Perhaps I misunderstood the point here?

Were the column free standing or of fluid it would be different, but as a simple illustration of what I am referring to - if you cement a 6-ft steel rod into the ground, and then pull on the top, you can pull the rod apart in the first couple of feet without the steel at the back of the hole measuring stress - the experimentation that validated this was, if I remember correctly, done when they were using cemented rebar to reinforce the rock under Edinburgh Castle - I don't offhand remember the date but I believe, without going to look it up, that it was over 35 years ago.

Think the operative term is "skin friction". If you rest a telephone pole vertically on the ground, it is clear that all the weight will be presented at the bottom of the pole. Now sink the pole 6 feet into the ground and most if not all of the weight will be supported by friction between the soil and the side of the wood.

(at least I think this is what we are talking about)

Maybe distributed would be a better word than dissipated...

If the plug is adhered to the casing, the load will dissipate out to the sides, no? Only if the plug is loose to move up and down in the casing, like a long flexible stopper, would the pressure be transmitted to the bottom or otherwise linearly in the casing. I do not think "dissipate out to side loading" means what you think it means.


MILO; you have to ask yourself the question, why is there still 4,200 psi inside this well which is isolated ??? from the 154 bar - sorry 2,266 psi - hydrostatic pressure of the one mile of seawater above the BOP? Accepting that there is no "top plug" of cement in this well; why are they so reluctant to vent the BOP back to mudline pressure?

Great question.

I'll take a shot at the answer...
Maybe they're not sure if the annulus is a flow path or not.

Why not vent the stack if the pressure in there is just residual from the pumping-ceementing operation?

If the casing is ceemented shut and the stack is still under pressure, and they're not applying that pressure with pumps from above via the choke or whatever line, is the annulus still acting as a flow path?
Where is the pressure in the stack coming from?

Good questions.
We're not being told anything or getting any explanations.
Yay, transparency.

Wait, Wait... I got it!! Maybe....

What do you think of the following scenario to explain why they want to do the "depressurization test", and why they have used such strange verbiage to announce it?

They are now seeing a slow drop in pressure that they would like to attribute to the known flange leaks, but what if the rate of of pressure drop greatly increased after they pumped the cement in? Hopefully that would just mean that the flange leaks got bigger because of the increased pressure during the pumping operation, but there is another possibility. What if...

1. the cement got high enough outside of the production casing at the bottom to completely seal the annulus from the high pressure fluid in the formation at the bottom of the well. The well is completely cemented in at the bottom: production casing, annulus, everything.

2. there is a high-resistance flow path up the annulus that somehow communicates with the inside of the production casing, and also a high-resistance path that communicates with the rock formation high up in the well, where the pressure in the formation is less that 4200 psia. (Not to get conspiratorial here, but this would imply that there had been some leak from the well into the muck beneath the seafloor, but let's say it was a small leak). Now the leak is gone because of the cement at the bottom.

3. With this flow path in the annulus now sealed off from the high pressure below, its pressure would drop, perhaps even below the 4200 psia at the wellhead, assuming that there is a flow path to the formation high up in the well

Therefore, if they are suddenly seeing a rather large rate of pressure drop at the BOP after cementing in the bottom, perhaps some flow is now going out the annulus and into the formation high up in the well, not just out the leaky flanges.

Therefore, if they are suddenly seeing a rather large rate of pressure drop at the BOP after cementing in the bottom, perhaps some flow is now going out the annulus and into the formation high up in the well, not just out the leaky flanges.

The current pressure that is being maintained at the well head is more than the hydrostatic pressure 5000' column of mud. so the pressure is being maintained by pumping in mud every now and then.

It is possible that there is a leak in the well via the annulus. They don't know if here is communication between the annulus
above the reservoir and the reservoir. They also don't know what damage may have occurred to the outer casing/liner while the well was subjected to the stresses of being tethered to DWH before and while it sank.

So it is possible there could be a leak up the back side of the production casing that no one knows about since that would be a completely separate path than the flow that was stopped by the cap. That leak could be going somewhere down below the mud line at one of the joints in the casing that lines the well. It is possible but it doesn't seem likely. If it was a big leak we would know about it by now, and if it is a small leak - Why hasn't it gotten bigger after flowing for 3 months?

They have chosen not to drop the pressure down to the ambient pressure at the well head because that has the potential of causing a blow out similar to what occurred April 20. On April 20 they had the production casing plugged with cement as they do now, and it was largely due to an attitude similar to yours that they ended up with 11 people killed and a huge environmental disaster on their hands. They are probably thinking a tad more cautious this time.

Yes, caution seems appropriate. So one can't help but wonder why are taking the risk of reducing the pressure at the BOP before they are sure that the bottom is completely cemented shut from the relief well. Also, why did both Wells and Allen make cryptic comments about reducing pressure in the well to test the annulus? It would seem safer to do this kind of testing after completing the cement job from the relief well.

Uh, excuse me?

My asking about the pressure in the BOP with a 5,000 foot plug of cement in the well really has little to do with eleven dead men or the fact that they did not have anywhere near that amount of cement in the well when it blew out, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

Forgive me for taking the troll bait, but I think you're the one with the attitude.

Acorn - based on the mud weight inside the riser the mud column should be exerting around 3,700 psi internal pressure at the BOP. As far as venting pressure it's always makes for a better cmt job to keep it pressured up. I don't know if that's their primary reason but it is one valid reason.

They've said many times they want as many barriers in place as possible, even temporary ones (like maintaining pressure applied from the surface), until all the permanent barriers are finished. Bleeding off the pressure currently in the stack at this point in the process is about the stupidest thing they could do, given recent history. Anyone who cries about how they should bleed off pressure RIGHT NOW!! just to show the public that the well isn't still flowing needs to have their asses kicked up between their shoulder blades.

The pressure they are holding in the stack right now is kinda like the emergency brake on a car. You park your car on what seems like perfectly flat level ground, does it make any sense to NOT set the e-brake because, I mean, the ground's flat and there isn't even any wind blowing! LOL cars don't just roll away on flat ground, setting the brake is just a waste of time! /s

Rock / comfy. When you say riser, do you mean the mud line that is connected to the BOP? Are they holding pressure via the mud line pumps or just static mud pressure? What happens when the storm arrives and they presumably disconnect from the rig? Would the BOP pressure just drop from the slow puncture we believe it has? I understand that the relief well rig will storm plug the relief well and stay connected.

You ask some good questions.

I think riser is being used to refer to the hydrostatic column above the wellhead. Don't know what the exact plumbing configuration is.

They are maintaining the pressure (4200 psi) higher than just a column of 13.3 ppg mud to the surface would be. To do this they pump mud in to replace leakage.

I suppose, the test where they lower the pressure will provide an answer to your question of what would happen if they have to disconnect the mud pumps from the well. The main concern is apparently the seal between the production casing and the wellhead. That seal isolates the annulus and has been apparently holding with high pressure in the BOP and production casing , but they need to know if it will hold with low pressure.

Assuming the top seal can hold pressure out as well as holding it in, the test should also allow them to get information about the amount of pressure in the annulus. In order to lower pressure they need to pump mud out. How much volume pumped out to reach a given pressure will depend on the pressure difference in the annulus and the production casing.

As usual a lucid and concise analysis, thank you HO...

A storm watch, an intermission of sorts in this long-playing undersea drama. A chance for nature to remind us who is really in-charge and to perhaps consider this:

bookmark image

PISAspeak -- The Deepwater Horizon Spill: The Security Facet

(photo: Oil Burns in the Niger Delta, source unknown) July 17, 2010 by Jon Ehrenfeld BPs Deepwater Horizon spill, catastrophic as it was, affected a prosperous, stable nation. What would be the long term repercussions if a similar spill happened near a fragile, failed or failing state?
path: Public ~> Gulf Oil Disaster
Related Link: NPR audio on Niger Delta disaster.
originally posted: 2010-08-11 05:42:24

In the GoM, after realizing the scale of development over the last few years it's obvious offshore oil rigs represent serious security threats. I have also thought that not enough attention is paid to possible drug smugling off some of the thousands of rigs and support vessels. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems oil rigs would be a relatively easy target for a terrorist with a boat, some dynamite and a really bad attitude.
By virtue of recent events in the GoM and the less than stellar response amid confusion over authority, the soft-underbelly has been exposed to the American people, and probably a few bad guys too. Combined with DoD's still enormous appetite for oil, political, security and commercial interests appear to be on a collision course.

Or perhaps it could more succinctly be stated that: The precautionary principal is on a collision course with civilization?

precautionary principal is on a collision course with civilization?

Not sure I understand what you mean by the precautionary principal? Seems to me, prudent precaution makes civilization possible...

Seems to me, prudent precaution makes civilization possible.

I agree entirely Floyd, but with the word 'prudent' being key...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The precautionary principle states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.

This principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.

In some legal systems, as in the law of the European Union, the application of the precautionary principle has been made a statutory requirement.

Unfortunately, I don't see many qualifications for prudence in this Wiki daffy-nition. If we envision a bear behind every tree, it makes for one hell of a long walk to the outhouse. Since nearly every decision or action/inaction taken could potentially be harmful to someone or something and with advocacy 'science' running rampant, can civilization actually co-exist with the 'full-blow' implimentation of the precautionary principle?

I'm with you Freddy."Advocacy science" is a great term. Hadn't heard it before. Kind of a scary oxymoron. In my world we have an expression, "Scientists tend to find what they're looking for." It's meant as a general put-down of academics. But it's escalated to the pint that it's getting harder and harder to find a refuge of objectivity anymore. As in business, the bad money chases out the good.

The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.

Ah.... and how is anyone going to be able to prove a negative?

If our ancestors operated under these principles we would still be living in unlit caves and eating our food raw due to the plausible risk of fire.

Fortunately there will always be some tribe, state or nation more willing to take risks, and these will prosper and replace those who don't.

"Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems oil rigs would be a relatively easy target for a terrorist with a boat, some dynamite and a really bad attitude."

The biggest factor mitigating against a terrorist attack on an oil platform would be the fact that terrorists tend to choose targets that are symbolic (to them) of either their cause or what they perceive to be the enemy.

This means that the only real threat to an oil platform in the US would be eco-terrorists. Since eco-terrorism in the US has (so far at least) involved simple arsons and there is no indication that any of these groups have the skills and organization necessary for a 'complex attack' - I would say that this also mitigates against an attack at sea.

Other things to consider are: Size of an oil platform (larger things are more resistant to attack) difficulty in getting to the location conducting the attack and escaping undetected, difficulty of getting from sea level to the platform itself, the number of people on board, close monitoring of explosives and precursor chemicals in the US, etc.)

I've worried about this too when I've been offshore. I've seen fishing boats actually move under some overhanging structures or between the platform and support ships parked nearby, completely ignoring the big sign that says to stay 500 feet away.

Note that destruction of the facility is not required for a terrorist to be successful. Raising fear of an attack would be sufficient.

As seen in 9/11, those seriously bent on terrorist strategies will ensure their people get the training needed to know where and how to attack (risers, pipeline interfaces, ballast control areas, position control during critical operations). A few hours boat ride or planning an escape are not issues for attackers who are more committed to ensuring the success of the attack than they are to preserving their life.

They are probably already working on GoM platforms. Do they have TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Card) authentication? They may not even know they are being activated to carry out an attack until one of their handlers tells them their family is at risk if they don't.

Just as a deepwater blowout was inevitable, so is a terrorist attack on an offshore asset. These may be low probability risks but they are not zero.

The issue I see is that there are not any terrorist organizations that have both the interest and the ability to attack an oil platform.

One of the things that has causes us to waste an incredible amount of our Homeland Security budget is that _everybody_ feels that a terrorist attack on their industry/class of facility/organization etc. is convinced that a terrorist attack on them is 'invertible.' As a result we have telephone exchanges in 'Nowheresville' getting upgrades to protect them from car bombs. (Thats $10 million that we could have used to repair the surveillance cameras in the New York City subway system.)

When you evaluate any particular facility for likelihood of a terrorist attack you have to first ask: "Who is opposed the what this facility does or what it represents?" Then after you have came up with a list of individuals and organizations - you evaluate them for history, intent and capability. After you have determined who, why and how - you tailor your defenses to deal with this threat.

If you do not perform this type of analysis - you may wind up spending $100 million to fortify your oil platform - only to have one of your senior executives assassinated in the company parking lot. (Remember that terrorists prefer simple operations where success is virtually assured.)

If Al Qiada hit a platform, our voluntary oil consumption would be reduced 50% the next day. All Obama would have to do is go on TV and declare oil war. Carpool and reduce just the voluntary stuff. The reduction in demand would be unbelievable. I imagine it would be short lived too, unless we had no other choice.

Please explain your thinking on that one... not sure what you mean by voluntary consumption (discretionary vs getting to your job?).

I can't see North Americans reducing oil consumption by more than a single-digit percentage unless there were a major price spike, which the removal of one platform would be unlikely to cause.

As for the declaration of an oil war, Osama already did that in his Oct. 04 videotape in which he indicated that oil facilities which serve Western interests would henceforth be preferred targets.
In Dec 05 there was a 12-page presentation of preferred oil targets posted on an Al Qaeda-affiliated internet forum.
But none of this had much effect on price.

I agree with your final sentence... any drop in demand would be very short-lived unless there was a significant increase in price (or a coincidental economic downturn, which a platform strike certainly could not cause).

But I do think that a major oil shock is something which North Americans are utterly unprepared for, and our existing government plans are long overdue for reassessment.

It would be Sept. 12 all over again. We would carpool and do what ever we could. Then the Middle East would start to collapse. Where does Al Qiada get their money from? They would be killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Al Qiada is fueled by oil too.

Sorry, Hat,
Maybe I'm just stupid (it's been a long hot day, mostly in the fields), but I still cannot imagine severe fallout from an attack on a single oil platform.
As for Sept. 12, I remember it well, but I don't recall any major drop in oil consumption other than the airlines, which were still shut down. There was no move to carpool here that I recall.... just a very sombre atmosphere and silent skies overhead.
I agree re AQ funding source, but if they hate the Saudi regime as much as some say, they will take the temporary hit... what's a decade in the lifetime of a nation or in the extraction of a substance which is millions of years old....

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and I'm very glad you raised the topic of oil shocks... just puzzled by the logic behind what you are saying.

RM in Ontario

I was in the recruiter's office Sept. 12, and a SSGT was telling me I was too old unless I was a chaplin or a doctor. There was a line outside the door and they had to issue numbers. They were on FPCON DELTA (maybe THREATCON DELTA) anyhow and couldn't do much and were supposed to be closed. It is a small town so they decided to get us home quick. Man, I was PO'ed. Everyone was. Since you are Canadian, I do not know of a modern parallel. Maybe if Al Qiada took out a packed CN Tower, God forbid? Bless you.

Edit: I had to find this commercial. It explains how it would go down IMHO.

Al Qaeda is a very myoptic orginization that consistently fails to consider the second and third order effects of their actions. In addition the mass killings of Moslem civilians in Iraq combined with their 2005-2007 defeat by the Saudi Arabian security forces pretty much dried up most of their funding. (The war fought between al Qaeda and the Saudi Arabian security forces was poorly coveren in our news media. But a lot of people got killed and neither side was interested in taking prisoners. (When the Saudis raided a hideout they literally killed every living thing inside. As a result there were few people willing to shelter them. In addition throwing the parents, children , brothers and sisters of al Qaeda members in a Saudi prison had another chilling effect on recruitment.)

I am not worried about al Qaeda striking an oil platform in the Gulf. The first and biggest reason is that al Quaed has a prefered target list that they have been sticking to. Al Qaeda attempts to attack inside the US have all focused on mass transit and air travel. When the attacked thew world trade center they attacked a symbol of America's economic and financial power. When the attacked the Pentagon they attacked a symbol of American military power.

Another chararistic of al Qaeda attacks is that they attack multiple targets at the same time. Thus - al Qaeda would not be likely to conduct an oil platform attack unless they thought that they could attack several at once.

Another issue is that al Qaeda also prefers 'high bodycount' targets in places that have readilly availible media coverage.

Besides - if I were a terrorist who wanted to attack an oil platform - I would hijack an oil tanker and ram the platform with it.

Occurs to me that a terrorist group might not find an oil rig such an easy target. Rig hands aren't your typical fat, lazy air travelers. A wrench in the hands of a big, strong and angry man isn't such a bad weapon.

A wrench in the hands of a big, strong and angry man isn't such a bad weapon.

I got a taste of something like that on my first trip as a deckhand in the Gulf. The rig hands greeted our tug with a twelve inch shackle tossed from about 80 feet up. Missed me by 3 feet and left a two inch divot in our steel deck. I'd hate to have those folks actually aiming at me.

Some links from this morning.

Feds open some more offshore water to fishing. This is the eastern sector of the formerly closed area.

Things looking up for sea turtles, apparently a quite recent development.

A new beach-cleaning machine can go 18" deep. Sand crabs better beware.

Mobile drill rigs holed up in Pascagoula harbor, with photos.

Opinion piece on new climate of safety-consciousness in the Patch. Some info about Transocean's potential liability.

And another one...


Edit...It disappeared..?

Two days ago this article from NOLA about the turtles.

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.....

A total of 428 oiled sea turtles have been recovered, with 222 coming in just the past 10 days.

"The high number of turtles is a bit of a mystery to us," Hebert said. "We're finding oiled turtles feeding on seaweed drift lines, but there's no apparent oil in the drift lines or on the open water."

The prognosis for sea turtles has been much better than for birds, as just 17 visibly oiled turtles have died.


Hmm, the T-P seems to be of two minds regarding the fate of turtles.

However, the earlier and more pessimistic article is based on capture statistics with one Fish & Wildlife guy interviewed on both birds and turtles. The more optimistic one is based on statements by several turtle researchers. They say recent captures have been only lightly oiled.

The report of fewer oiled sea turtles is based on a statement by a representative of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission.

The report of increasing numbers of oiled sea turtles is based on statements by representatives of the US Fish and Wildlife Service who also stated, "We're just now getting into some of the really sensitive areas" and "If we had done so earlier, we could have done more harm than good."

Check again, the "sensitive areas" discussed in the article are bird rookeries, not secret turtle places. They are finding some fledgling birds that blundered into the oil.

I checked again. You're right. The oiled turtles are being found on seaweed drift lines. The apparent discrepancy in the articles seems to be due to an issue of scope. The representative of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission reported that they are finding fewer oiled turtles, while representatives of the US Fish and Wildlife Service reported that they are finding more oiled turtles. I took that to mean that fewer oiled turtles are being found in areas that the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission is looking and more are being found in areas that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is looking.

Regarding the birds, "wildlife officials are rounding up more oiled birds than ever as fledgling birds get stuck in the residual goo and rescuers make initial visits to rookeries they had avoided disturbing during nesting season."

Rescuers are in a race against the clock as the percentage of oiled birds recovered alive has dropped from 56 percent before the well was capped to 41 percent now.
As of Friday, a total of 1,794 oiled birds had been recovered alive, as well as 1,642 that had died, with 73 percent of the birds coming from Louisiana.

The articles were written by two different reporters. Ideally, the data is independent of any intentional or unintentional spin either reporter included in the reporting. One reporter seems to have conflated the scope of two different perspectives.

I have been listening carefuly to Kurt Wells technical briefings, and they usually are very cogent, but yesterday's left me scratching my head about the proposed new pressure test on the Macondo well. Here's an attempt at exegesis:

Kurt Wells said....

And then once the storm goes by, it'll take us about 24 hours or so to get ourselves back to being in a position to drill again. And so what we've decided to do is take advantage of that time to do some additional testing on the Macondo well.

This seems to imply that they won't commence the new low pressure test on the Macondo well until the storm goes by.

Continuing with the quote...

And so since we've done the cementing procedure a few days back, what we've been doing is holding pressure on top of the cement plug, monitoring that pressure, and it's been holding relatively constant with the exception of the pressure we lose because of the bubbles that are coming out of the capping stack. Those are the bubbles that we've had there since the beginning, and they just continue to go on as a result. We lose a little bit of pressure each hour, but it's been very constant. And then we continue to do with all of our other monitoring, as well, and have seen no anomalies.

This seems to imply that they have been maintaining the BOP/capping stack/inside of the production casing as a closed pressurized system. I'm wondering whether this means that they have closed a valve in their manifold on the sea floor to isolate the well from the column of mud in the pipe to the surface, and whether they occasionally open this valve to repressurize the system.

Continuing the quote ....

What we're going to do after the storm passes is we're actually going to take the pressure on the stacking cap down, so right now it's roughly around 4,200 PSI. We'll take it down somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 PSI. And as opposed to – I'll call it getting it to hold pressure on (top of it), we'll be looking to test it from the bottom.

The sewater pressure is 2230 psia, so it appears that they will allow pressure to escape from the capping stack until its almost equilibrated with the ambient water pressure. This should stop the flange leaks.

Contnuing the quote...

So, once again, it's just another way for us to confirm that the cement that we have in the casing is completely isolated, the zone from the rest of the wellbore. And what it'll also allow us to do is potentially give us some information on what might be going on, on the annulus side.

This seems like a carefully worded way to say that they want to test whether there is some communication between the annulus and the inside of the production casing. The fact that the pressure has been dropping due to flange leaks suggests that there can't be much of a flow path, but perhaps they want to make absolutely sure.

continuing with the quote...

And as we're drilling the relief well, the more we know about the annulus (is which will intersect) the better. So this test that we'll do may give us some indication on what pressure we might see when we drill into the annulus, might give us some indication on what fluids might be in there, whether it be mud or hydrocarbon.
But we won't know that until such time as we've done the test, we can look at the data, and then we'll see if that gives us any information that will help us as we're planning the relief well.
And basically, it's a fairly simple test. We take the pressure down. We monitor what the pressure is over about a four- or five-hour period. And then looking at what we saw just gives us more information as we're planning the relief well.

This seems like an attempt to put the most positive spin they can on a potentially bad outcome. In other words, if there happens to be a flow path from the annulus to the inside of the production casing, then it will still be a good thing because it will provide useful information about the what's going on in the annulus. Of course, we should also keep in mind that whenever they want to change plans and do something new, they always call it a "test" (as Rockman said, everything is a test). So perhaps this "test" is the start of taking the wellhead pressure down to ambient, which they will need to do before they can replace the BOP.

Edit: added link to transcript

NUBS. Mr Wells is an expert at telling you nothing. It will come to pass that as this was a dodgy drilling prospect on day one; this well should have been designed to use a tieback liner system instead of a full (production) casing string. The tieback liner would have doubled the protection from blowouts in a gas heavy formation. It would have allowed cementing above the oil/gas formation (pay zone); above the production liner seal assembly attached to the well-bore casing. It will also come to pass that the Halliburton guys new what was required for Macondo. By the way, there are two annuli in question. The space between the production casing (liner) and the inverted telescopic car radio aerial type casing and the annulus between the rock formations and the outside of the telescopic type casing. The latter is cemented in position at each change of size to lock it in position and to prevent inter strata flows of fluids. As far as I am aware there is no facility to vent the annulus between the production casing and the well-bore casing. this annulus is permanently sealed at the wellhead. Outside the well-bore casing; the annulus formed with the rock strata; where there may not be any cement filling that annulus; anything could have happened and may still be happening.

Rockman asked a question the other day, and I have been looking for the answer in between work, research, football practice and "me time LOL", but have yet to find the answer- could be I missed it due to being so busy, but do y'all remember when he asked when was the last drilling accident offshore? Did anyone ever answer or know the answer, and I am not talking about accidents such as Piper Alpha, offshore of the US.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me out a bit......


Mummsie; (when are you yanks going to learn English spelling ;-) ). The nearest you will get to the Macondo problem is Ixtoc 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixtoc_I_oil_spill

I am very familiar with Ixtoc I (that was my starting point for trying to learn about this explosion as everyone was here was comparing it to Valdez and I thought that was like apples and oranges IMO) , but know RM was trying to prove a point and Ixtoc 1 was way too easy to be the answer. LOL~I know my spelling sucks, my brain is faster than my fingers so I am a grammatical nightmare always.

Thanks Acornus for the reply

No need to apologise. Question beachmommy; are you what my mates in Colorado call a "hockey mom"? As I understand it, from this side of the Atlantic, hockey moms are the bedrock of America. If so, do me and the rest of the world, a favour. Find a hockey mom to be your next President. ((()))*** Acorn.

Acornus: Might work. Except when there is practice or a game to get to! Everyone just needs to get off the road then. Especially Mr. Putt-Putt, as I am known to be called by my kids! The secret service will drive her,so, it may work! i would HATE to be that driver.

LOL~Kinda, but not nearly as intense as most "sport moms", I run from work to games, practice and am sometimes on the phone at the games trading:( Being a single mom with no dad around, no child support and little help tends to make you bat chit crazy as is and if I were that intense I'd no doubt be baker acted by now....

But I did meet a hockey mom when she was here for the campaign, over 4000 ppl waited in line with some rain and tropical storm winds wrapped around the coliseum for hours to see her, I had a press pass from a friend so got in ASAP and on the floor, they did make a lil snafu though, I have a full clip to my glock in my purse and they missed it ........I always keep one there and totally forgot until they threw away my spray tan can, I thought for certain I was going to jail. Now I try like hell to remember to take the clip out whenever I'm going to the airport etc., but it's a hard habit to break.

The obvious you already know mummsie: the Ixtoc well was not drilled in the OCS by a US company. BTW: I've gotten no answer from anyone else. So far it's been a tad difficult confirming that "cowboy atitude' some refer to.

Thanks RM~Like I stated Ixtoc was the one I compared to DWH when I started looking because Valdez wasn't an explosion and so many like to compare the two which drives me nuts. I thought you knew the answer, but it was kinda like a pop quiz to the newer TOD students and I haven't been able to find a damn thing so far in the limited time I have searched.....agree on the attitude too:)

Hey momma (my mommy is RIP). Here is a decent list of offshore incidents.

Thanks TFHG~I'm sorry about your mummsie ( I have 4 of my own but can be your "beach mommy" if you need an ear ever)..... IIRC I think RM asked about drilling accidents in waters off the US, at least I think that was the question.

I appreciate it and just a quick note. Though the link is UK, the info is global. You are already my #1 non-related beach momma, I just always thought of 'mommy' to be a compound word of mom and MY.
Warm regards

Thank you TFHG:) I never thought about the mom and MY put together....very astute! I will glance over it before I head to the Dock for a shot and see if I can find anything that pertains to RM's question, don't want to fail the quiz (I already frucked up once when I didn't catch the methane heavier than air bit he did on me) so I am doing my homework when I have the chance.

Mr. Rockman: This wouldn't have anything to do with a natural gas well over by Evanston or Kemmerer, Wyo., a few years ago would it? Or is it strictly an offshore answer?

GW - I was looking for an offshore incident. I think I've read about your incident. Sour gas blow out. Think they were smelling it 100 miles away.

Uhhh..Ixtoc 1 warnt' offshore U.S.A.

Edit: It war offshore Mexico!

LOL~I know, IIRC it was the Bay of Campeche....I think he was saying it was the closest to US waters...I am still trying to find that answer, oh RM I don't have any BBIC, but I do have some B & B and I know you were trying to prove a point so if you are reading, pls come visit:)

What air' IIRC?
You tell me sumpin' I already know and I'm gonna lay off my nightly fix of BBIC!

Not sure I understand "what air IIRC".......are you asking what does IIRC mean? If so, it's If I Recall Correctly:) otherwise clue me in cause I'm at work doing about 5 different things at the moment. Also, I have a nighly bowl (huge one) of ice cream everynight around 11ish. I figure WTF, I could get hit by a truck tomorrow so I am going to enjoy it while I can.

To quote Doctor Emmett Lathrop "Doc" BrownPh.D. Damn!Damn,damn! I knew that. Oh well,come about 2:00 A.M. I'll be Jonsesn' for my BBIC,I betcha'!

Edit: Jonesn'

Sept 9, 1999 (Third item on the page)


ok, ok... your's is bigger than mine...

Stand by for interesting reading: Bromwich says BP will submit to BOEMRE two "lessons learned" documents on (a) spill containment/response and (b) drilling safety.


Oil Surging From Sea Floor Near BP Well

by Fintan Dunne, 11 August 2010 11amEST

Bad news. An undersea robot video capture by website FloridaOilSpillLaw is showing clouds of raw black crude oil surging out of the sea floor near BP's Gulf well --where only light seeps of gases were seen before:

From live feed from Ocean Intervention ROV 1, Aug 11, 2010 03:00 EDT

Watch Live Leak Monitoring Feeds Now :
Rov1: http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:44287.asx
Rov2: http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:44838.asx

BP has deliberately blurred the video to hamper clear sight of what is going on. That's not a new development. In the last week BP have put software filters on the undersea ROV feeds to change the contrast and blur the picture. Those filters were aimed at hiding modest seeps of methane hydrate or methane. Now with something much bigger to hide, we can expect BP to do what they have done before: shut off the feeds or re-run old video from before this latest leak.

What we are witnessing (with difficulty) is the percolation of oil up through the strata in the sea floor. As the oil rises it is fractionated so that lighter hydrocarbons are first to come out of the sea floor. This seepage has been ongoing and intensified since BP cemented in the well at the top. They sealed the pipe, but there is oil coming up the outside of the pipe and spreading via small fractures around the bore. The first seepage was light hydrocarbons. Now raw crude oil is pumping out.

Officials managing the spill are likely well aware of the problem. In response to a question from the Washington Post, at a press briefing on 9th August 2010, Thad Allen admitted that there may be oil outside the pipe:

Press Briefing, August 9, 2010 - Joel Achenbach (Washington Post):

...is there some concern that there are hydrocarbons in the annulus..?

Admiral Allen: … We do not know the status of the annulus, OK?

It, there could be nothing in it or it could be full of hydrocarbons. It could be full of hydrocarbons that are being pressured up from the reservoir....

The next stage in the deterioration of the BP well will see a steady increase in the volume of crude emerging from the sea floor. If BP allows us to see. We cannot rely on the veracity of the BP's live ROV feeds.

In a comprehensive article on the causes and solutions of the well blowout, BK Lim a geo-hazard consultant to oil companies, has argued that shutting in the well at the top (as BP has done), poses significant risk of an uncontrollable oil eruption outside the well bore:

"As only the light hydrocarbons (methane) filter or seep through the Quaternary Sediment layers, no oil seeps would be evident at the sea floor yet. The oil would remain buried beneath the sea floor until weaknesses in the sediment developed into cracks big enough to result in active oil seeps (which would also mean a near calamity). By then the hot oil and gases from the reservoir may have tilted the world into an irreversible ecological disaster, by warming up and vaporising strata of methane hydrates into gas. The result would be an exponential increase in dissolved methane in the deep waters of the Gulf and eventually into our atmosphere. No one knows how much methane hydrates lay beneath the Gulf sea floor.

But one thing is for sure. The longer the gushing well stays “top capped”, the more severe is the environmental damage. There is no logical reason why the gushing oil could not be tapped through the LMRP TOP CAP with a floating platform or subsea facilities; rather shutting it off completely to cause further damage to the fragile sub-seabed structure and sediment."

Sealing the top of the well had PR advantages for BP. But the decision to follow this path a couple of weeks ago was at the time the subject of considerable "debate" (read: heated argument) between BP and the Obama scientific team.

Eventually BP reassured it's critics by admitting the dangers but arguing that through careful monitoring of temperature, acoustic and pressure data they could reopen the well before any sea floor leakage became a serious issue.

Looks like it's a serious issue now.

So what next? Will authorities admit the emergence of crude at the sea floor? Likely no. Will they re-open the well? Dumb question. We await Thad Allen's briefing this afternoon at 3pm CDT on 11th August, 2010.

Addendum 1:
In case you are inclined to dismiss the ROV video above from early on August 11, 2010 you might like to view this ROV video by FloridaOilSpillLaw from two days before on the 9th August. In this ten times speed-up video, you can see clouds of hydrocarbons. The situation has worsened in the last two days. Notice you don't see the heavy blurring which is evident in our headline video:

Live feed Ocean Intervention III ROV 1, Aug 9, 2010 at 6:17 p.m. EDT

Addendum 2:
In case you are inclined to dismiss claims that BP is filtering undersea ROV feeds, you might like to view this video from an article by Alexander Higgins on 10th August. The video unquestionably shows three different instances of BP applying live filters to the ROV feeds.

Addendum 3:
The following graphic is from a series of illustrations by BK Lim to accompany an article on the BP blowout: Why is BP's Macondo blowout so disastrous & Beyond Patch-up. Notice that in addition to seepage around the well, some oil may be following a fault line to emerging from the sea floor miles away.


Can anyone else verify this was seen......only asking because Floridaoilspilllaw is a site that has had very misleading headlines from the beginning like 5 ppl die in waters after swimming in tainted GOM only to find later they drown in red flag conditions, and BK Limk's theory had been debunked by Art Berman point by point? So I hope you understand my hesitancy to believe anything put out by these 2 (among a slew of others) unless this was vetted properly by someone qualified to do so.


Well you can argue about the political slant of website FloridaOilSpillLaw. But the site has been reliably capturing and publishing video of ROV feeds for the last three months. See their Youtube channel at:


At that link you can see previous ROV leak monitoring videos they have published. No reason for them to tweak or alter ROV feeds. The legitimate news value of these ROV feeds is enough.

I appreciate that that have recored them, but are they qualified to comment on what they are seeing....I guess I have seen way to many state absurd information from watching the vid's, but I'd never comment on what I see or think it is I am watching as I am not qualified to offer that opinion. That's why I come over and read ROVMAN to get info.

Dotto on that!!!!

All I'm saying is this: the site is reliable enough that you can rest assured they are publishing real, unaltered capture of the OI ROV2 feed at 3am Wednesday. What you want to make of what you see in the video is your own judgment.

I will state I haven't watched their ROV feeds, so I can't make an assumption about those in particular, but I doubt they are qualified to comment on what they see, much less spread around to other CT's site to scare others. I disagree 100% that they are reliable after reading the story about the deaths I mentioned ealier, swimming and especially 2 yr olds swimming in double red flags is a big no-no around here.

Ocean Intervention ROV (I didn't catch which one) is now showing two large (as in tall) black wispy spouts of what looks to be oil. Few hydrates are present, hence my guess that they might be oil. Not huge, but not inconsequential either.

Nepeta - I have participated for three years in field research of subsea hydrocarbon seeps with a major oceanographic research center. Furthermore, I've designed and built the data transmission systems used to move this type of video (everything from compressed streaming video to HD-SDI) from the ROVs to research centers on-shore in a major multi-year research/educational project and have looked at much of it that move on my network. Simply put, even with a "calibrated eyeball," I cannot distinguish hydrates in even high-res video from bits of "stuff" or other natural occurrences emanating from the sea floor.

Be cautious, every light-colored thing that rises from the sea floor is not hydrate. IMHO, the vast majority of it isn't.


Well then, you are the expert. I interpret the white shooting objects as hydrates melting with methane escaping from them, hence the propulsion. Am I correct to assume this? If not, what are all those white things shooting around? I know that each molecule of methane hydrate contains a ton of methane. It's really packed in. I assume the brown stuff coming out of the little crater formations in the sea floor is sediment released by the pressure of the hydrates being released from the sediment. As with the thrusters, I could be entirely wrong. But if so, please tell me what the white shooting things are if not hydrates.


"I assume the brown stuff coming out of the little crater formations in the sea floor is sediment..."

Well, either sediment or methane mixed with sediment. I've read that methane vents can be beautiful, with orange, blue, red clouds of expelled methane. That sure isn't the case here.

I am far from an expert. My field of science is in computers, networks and information. In these disciples, I’m an expert. But in geology, ocean-bottom biology and ecology, I’m merely a somewhat-informed layman. Because I designed some of the data transmission systems for an oceanographic research center, I got to know a lot of researchers. I am also a Master Diver so I got to do volunteer field work on a colleague’s (and friend) subsea research project for three weeks each year for three years.

Actually, I think that is my point. I have considerable experience (hundreds of hours of driving a research ROV and collecting samples plus thousands of hours viewing the video “take” from ROVs all over the world) but insufficient expertise or understanding in the specific disciples to evaluate or explain the processes being observed. In other words, a calibrated-eyeball alone isn't sufficient to provide analysis.

So, for me, this becomes an exercise in (1) critical thinking; and (2) learning. Critical thinking: What am I being told? Who is telling me what? What are their qualifications? Does it stand up to my own critical scrutiny? Learning: What physical and biological processes could possibly account for the observations?

Personally, before I jump to the conclusion that everything is a result of methane from the well, I am also going to look into entirely natural biological and geological processes.

For example (and this is just one area I'm studying), the bottom, even at these depths, are very complex bio-systems (lots fauna, some macrofauna but lots of microbes). Tons (literally) of organic material rain down from the water column above as “marine snow” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_snow). Also, sediments and additional nutrients settle out from the Mississippi outflow. While the bottom at this depth usually sits undisturbed for a very long time, this particular patch of GOM bottom around the wellhead has been poked, prodded and generally stirred up for considerable distance. Has the mechanical agitation of stirring up this rich biological soup started or sped-up natural processes like bio-digestion or chemical processes?

I don’t have the answers, not my usual field of study. But I do know how to think critically and try to find out what may be happening by learning. A lot of us newbies are here at TOD for exactly that purpose. Great opportunity to learn something new.

One more comment, beach mommy. You said:

" but I doubt they are qualified to comment on what they see "

LOL, but there aren't a lot of different gases and fluids that can be coming up from the ocean floor. Definitely no BBIC. Seems to me the most obvioius things are methane hydrates, methane gas, and oil. I know there are other kinds of hydrates, e.g., CO2 hydrates and probably many others, but these are unlikely here I think. Google methane hydrates and you'll find out what they are (if you don't already know; you probably do). You've made very cogent comments on TOD and are certainly capable of knowing what you're seeing on the videos.

I understand what you are saying about "not that many gases and fluids ect", but I have seen so many popping on FB and announcing the floor of the GOM is getting ready to explode when it was silt, mud etc from the ROV thrusters. I wish I knew more about the ROV feeds but rarely watch them due to my other repsonsibiities as mommy, trader, arm armed paper hanger etc., I try and focus more on other information that is being spread by so many and scaring the hell out of my fellow GC's, and I am trying and thanks to TOD to grasp the technical issues associated with this event so I can answer Q's when my kids come to me and worry about methane tsunamis etc., I want to be able to explain to them in terms they understand why certain issues are absurd and why. Plus, my accounts vacation here and call non-stop wanting to know wth is going on (for some reason they expect me to know a little bit about alot of things) and I do what I can to answer them correctly. Sorry for the bumbling post, it's been a crazy day market wise and my brain is at that bat chit crazy point again..........time for a shot and a beer:)

Ah, beach mommy,

You're a busy lady. If your kids are afraid of a methane tsunami then we need some experts to tell us whether that's a remote possibility. I have no idea. All I 'think' I know is that the seabed is leaking methane and some oil. I've read as much as I can about methane cathrates, etc. Haven't googled methane tsunami yet though. The only deleterious effect I've read about from a reliable source is that the methane will contribute to oxygen depletion caused by the bacteria that eat it. I don't understand why many of the TOD experts here don't explain what the implications of the methane are in connection with the well. It's hard to believe this wouldn't tell them something important. Anyway, my best wishes to you and your children. It's a pity they're being frightened.

PS: It's easy to distinguish ROV thruster activity from something else. There's usually a location graph (?right word?) showing where the ROV is and whether he's moving, turning, etc. If the graph shows him remaining at the same altitude and the same position then you know the thrusters aren't on.

ROV thrusters run to maintain a fixed position against currents and the weight of the ROV.

The ROV's that are doing the sonar scans don't appear to be moving at all. Do they plop down on the sea floor or do they use mud mats to settle on?

Sometimes I can imagine they do that. But if the image is relatively clear you know that thrusters aren't interfering. Also, if the foreground is getting crazy but the far view is interpretable, then you note the far view and pretty much ignore the near veiw. Anyway, methane release doesn't look anything like ROV thrusters.

If the graph shows him remaining at the same altitude and the same position then you know the thrusters aren't on.

Poster rovman has explained several times that isn't true. Thrusters are on unless the rov is in it's cradle.

nepeta - unfortunately, your method of determining is an ROV is using thruster is backwards (and incorrect.)

You cannot judge if an ROV is using its thrusters by its location or altitude coordinates. In fact, just the opposite of what you suggest, if the coordinates of an ROV are not moving, it is a pretty GOOD indication that the ROV is indeed using thrusters. The reason is simple. ROV are trimmed slight heavy. In other words, they almost always have to thrust to simply maintain their altitude and position is the slight current in the DW. They are trimmed heavy in case of loss of control or power failure so they will sink to the bottom. It is safer to have another ROV go get them than going upward out of control (remember how big these things are.)

These work-class ROVs are very large (basically, the size of a UPS delivery van and weigh over 6-7 tons) with very powerful thrusters (several hundred horsepower electric motor drives). They also have auto station-keeping/auto-hover systems. Unless an operator parks one in the mud on the bottom (and manually turns off thrusting), they are almost always thrusting to keep position. If an ROV is anywhere close to the bottom, the thruster wash from these powerful motors will stir-up the gunk on the bottom (even some distance away.)

The bottom in the GOM is very loosely-consolidated sediments; the top-most section isn't much more than pudding. It doesn't take much to cause these types of "blows." Fortunately, they are simply an artifact of ROVs working close to this type of ocean bottom and not HC. Also, the common natural seeps in the GOM look very much different.

I have looked at a lot of posted videos and real-time. All I see is various types of silt and mud stir-ups from thrusters. Sorry, I know this rains in the parade of a lot of dedicated ROV wtachers, but I've not seen anything yet that wouldn't expected when large machines work close to the bottom.

They is a fair body of past comments on TOD discussing this topic. You might find it interesting to review some of these past postings.

Thanks bbfellow. Makes a lot of sense now. I wouldn't want to park a 6 ton ROV in the mud.

They actually do, rather often too. Then, when one takes off again, bunches of mud get stirred up, chunks cling to the bottom and fall off as the ROV rises. This creates a rather big column of mud. If the ROV then repositions itself and turns its camera to this muddy mess, we get a bunch of breathless postings about how the bottom of the GOM just split open and a couple of dozen new YouTube postings.

Thanks, bbfellow. I'm afraid I just used the videos to come up with my theory re: ROV thrusters. Usually, when the ROV is moving from one location to another, the video shows blasts of sediment, etc. When the ROV is holding to one coordinate, the image is usually clear (as clear as it gets anyway). I assume that's because the thruster use to stay in one location is less powerful than that used in moving around. I thought the currents were very weak at the bottom. Most of the oil that was escaping the top hat went straight up after its horizontal escape from the cap. Also, thruster use wouldn't interfere with the view if the ROV is filming something in the distance. If it was filming something at its feet, then obviously it would. Anyway, I've watched these videos for hours. I believe I can differentiate ROV thruster havoc from other movement on the ocean floor.

Video surfaces of the source of the Lake Simmons oil plume.



The water in that video must be heavier than the water in Gulf because that oil appears to be rising.

MS's "Lake of Oil" in 1994? I doubt it, but thats my opinion.

That was TIC.... Tongue-in-cheek

It's what is known as a Black Smoker Vent. It's hot water that is loaded with sulfur, arsenic, lead, zinc and various other nasties.


Them's not "nasties", NU! Them's MONEY! That's a future hydrothermal ore deposit in the making. I love them.

Ooops....now I know what THAT acronym means...LOL (now to learn the rest of them used on here)

Somewhere, Bob Ballard is smiling!

Keep in mind when evaluating video that there are a lot of ROVs working in close proximity to each other. An ROV passing over, under or to one side of the ROV you're watching can also kick up the bottom. In other words, the source of the bottom-stir in the video you are watching can came from a totally different ROV a ways out of the shot.

With so many of the ROV close to the bottom (doing sonar or visual bottom surveys) there is a lot going on that will result in lots of stuff being kicked up in the near, medium and far distances.

You're right, the current at this depth isn't much, but there is some. On the other hand, one of these work-class ROV represents a lot of "sail area" because of their physical size and will catch whatever current is there. It takes a lot of power to do anything with these big machines becuase of their mass (inertia). Even at low power settings, ROVs put out a very healthy water flow for thrust and the bottom is just mush (easyily disturbed).

The HCs that came out of the various caps/hats rose upward because they were first ejected out of the riser at pressure. Then, that ejection pressure equalized to the ambient pressure of the bottom rather quickly and the HC slowed down. From there, they continued to rise because their specific gravity is considerably less than seawater. Currents then started acting on the plume as it rose in the water column.


The stuff I see doesn't resemble ROV thruster agitation of the sea floor at all. I'll try to find a photo from another source of methane hydrates and see if they look the same as in the BP videos.


I have seen smaller oil gushes on the ROV feeds and what I thought were larger ones. There appear to be oil seeps around, but I wouldn't swear to it (although I really think that's what they are). I've read Rockman's comment below and what he says is true about oil seeps being common in the Gulf. Still, these appear to be new seeps since they weren't there a couple weeks ago. Things appeared to get worse after the static kill, both in methane hydrate spouts and in oil seeps. My only suggestion is for you to spend some time looking at the ROV videos on a trusted site. I watch the akamai videos of BP feeds. I do believe that BP has done something to make the seabed feeds less clear, starting today, but you can still get some good images when they zoom in. And watch the seabed videos for a period of time, say ten minutes each, because they do change rapidly from benign images to hardly benign ones. Now I'm going back to check the videos ONE MORE TIME to see what BP is giving us today.

I've been watching Hos – ROV 1 all day ( till he went into his cage moments ago ) and it seems the feeds have been blurred only while he is on the move. Saw him picking up lines on the floor earlier. Don't know if they were dispersant lines or what, but they had a wire attached to them that led me to believe it was for detection, since the lines were covered in silt.


Yes. Some of the videos are quite clear. Others are all fuzz. And some are in between.

fin -- There's a long documented history of oil seeps associated with shallow piercement salt domes as depicted. In fact, mapping such seeps was an early exploration method. OTOH the cross section of the salt dome you display has already been proven to have no bearing at all with the BP well.

Thanks rockman. I will raise with BK Lim the points Art Berman makes. Also the issue of misalignment of the contour map.


I posted BK Lim's analysis as being the only one I know of which could account for the so speedy emergence of oil in volume near the well after capping and killing. Whether it's the correct explanation is another days work.

We have seen escalating seepage, culminating in the latest video. Presumably any sign of significant oil seepage is a concern.

How could it have been seen? After all, BP turns the ROVs away or cuts the feed so you can't see. Tsk, tsk, these conspirator theorists really want it both ways. ;)


They cut the feeds to hide the impending disaster, except when they don't. Cognitive dissonance doesn't bother these folks not one little bit.

I've also noticed that to the CT folks any disruption in the feeds is a result of BP "cutting" the feeds. They seem to ignore the quite likely explanation of interruption of an IP data stream, most likely occurring in the conspirator theorists own ISP.

Many (most!!) consumer broadband access networks are not all that well designed and loose data streams for short intervals throughout the day (a local node or DSLAM gets over loaded and browns out, interior routers are re-converging routing tables with their boarder routers, etc.). Also, the uplink from the ships can get disrupted from time to time. The distribution chain from the ships your desktop is very complex and will be disrupted from time to time. Simple fact of life.

It is somewhat telling that the CT folks always seem to jump immediately to the conclusion that BP is cutting the feed in order to hide something.

There are plenty of really good reasons to be very critical of BP and even be very angry without having to make up things.


I was on the RealityCheck site when the Skandi ROV came across those leaks. I witnessed the ROV viewing a large hole, with a large crack at the mouth of the hole and black oil spewing from that crack.

I have no interest, whatsoever, in the Floridaoilspilllaw, nor do I a direct interest in the Gulf Region.

I do have a deep concern, as a citizen, for British Petroleum's well documented disregard for employee, public and environmental safety. I live in Texas, and our Attorney General has filed suit against British Petroleum this past week for its willful, intentional release of 500,000 pounds of toxic gases at its Texas City refinery over a 40 day period - 40 days longer than the standard 4 hour maximum.

This incident occurred on April 6, 2010, at the, after British Petroleum agreed to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for over 700 safety violations - to avoid prosecution.

Given the corporation's horrific record, along with our government's extensive contractual relationship with a corporation with such a history, I am not surprised that extensive efforts have been made to maintain control over information thus public response.

What I am shocked and saddened by, are the efforts to minimize, therefore support, such practices from so many in the industry's related fields, who may be dependent upon the BP's and others.

British Petroleum's record of violations reflect one of the most willful and egregiously, irresponsible corporations operating in the world, in my opinion. To defend them, on any level, is to not only condone their practices, but to ensure that all such corporations will continue to place profitability above humanity.

It is simply wrong, irresponsible and dangerous to us all for any of us to ever give British Petroleum the benefit of the doubt, much less view their Corporation as worthy of our trust.

I saw the leaks on live view. After months of closely following this story, as a deeply concerned citizen, I am confident I can differentiate fresh oil and gas coming from the ocean floor from thruster silt.

Sorry TIAL~I had to look to see if I had commented on your post since I didn't recognize your nic and couldn't find one (granted I am doing about 3 things so could have missed it) but I looked to see your comments and saw how long you had been a member, so I don't think I had been on and commenting anything about the ROV feeds while you've been here. If I did, please feel free to correct me.

I am a gulf coast resident, but you prolly already know that if you have read here any length of time and I do have concerns, just not the ones the CT's are tossing around, and while BP's record for violations does piss me off and my heart breaks for the family members who lost their loved one in any accident die to negligence, greed etc., and I'd do whatever I had to in order to make sure they felt the pain where corp's hurt the most, the wallet, but I do have problems with people who are suing BP for claims that are silly. For instance there is a couple down the street who don't own the property so they aren't losing revenue from a rental, they are renting the house themselves nor are they employed in any type of job that is dependent on tourism, fishing, etc.,, so I see no valid claim there, but they think since they can't or I should say choose not to go in the water, it has ruined their summer and have already hired a lawyer. That I DO have problems with, it diverts resources and money from those with valid claims who are really suffering from a loss if income, health, dimished property values and to be honest my home's value has also dropped, but I don't intend to sue and take money out of the pocket from someone who can't feed their family due to valid claims.....I couldn't live with myself if I did that.

Regarding the "leak" I have to ask since I didn't see what you are talking about, was it a leak or a seep?
Also, I am no BP apologist of shill, but I call it like I see it, and if I see someone busting their ass in 110+ heat, I will thank them adn have even bought pizza for an entire crew back in June. I see no problem ranting about what they have done wrong, nor fo I have a problem thanking someone for working harder than any other crew I have seen......but that is by no means condoning or defending BP, it is what it is, nothing more and nothing less.

our Attorney General has filed suit against British Petroleum this past week

That would be a bit like trying to sue Amoco or the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. I believe a lawsuit has to use the correct name for the party being sued.

according to the commision report of the incident at the Texas City refinery "The report said chemical concentrations in the air did not exceed state or federal standards, but that the commission could not determine the short-term health effects of the chemicals."

The red circles shown emerging from the sea floor--are those the alien firebugs?

Have you or BK Lim actually seen the 3D seismic data covering the Macondo prospect to verify that the above cartoon is even close to reality? If so, it would be good for your or BK Lim to post it for us to view.

If you go back to last nights thread I posted 4 video grabs from behind the BOP that showed a plume. I have the video, but took the screen grabs and converted to B&W an enhanced the gray levels to show it better. This was from Scandi ROv that been park off the floor at 100'. They been keeping these feeds at low Rez quality. This is one of the stills, go back to last night to see all 4.


Looks like the capping stack lit from the far side. Also, applying filters to low-res highly compressed pics usually doesn't do anything but enhance the compression artifacts. What part of the pics you posted is supposed to show something we aren't supposed to see?

Yeah, right after your 'ominous' pics, there was that from OI3. Look at all that oil spewing out. Check the original filename showing the feed#, time and date captured, and the time/date displayed in the ROV's OSD. What's wrong with you people? Are you just trying to explain things you have no experience with and end up (quite naturally, and without malice) misinterpreting what you see? Or are you actively trying to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt)?


All same date 10/08/10, time stamp 19:20:12, 19:20:23, 19:21:04, last one with the BOP in it is at 19:58:34 with a heading 4 degees different from the 1st 3, I don't vist those crazy site's if your implying. Just been watching feeds for 3 months and never seen this before.

Never seen what before? I still don't see anything out of line from what Herc 14 has looked like the past few days since it's been monitoring the stack from a distance as shown in your pics. What are you seeing?

Doggone it, I thought I debunked the famed Lim diagram once. While there are salt domes all around MC252, the well is not close to any of them. Nor is there a fault that both intersects the wellbore and doesn't die out in the shales. Those listric faults haven't moved in a long time, and their upper ends are sealed by the overlying impermeable shale beds. Someone posted a 2D seismic section a few days ago, and the faults, if you will look, die out very clearly.

Worse, the diagram is so simplified as to be useless. In salt dome regions, especially if the "dome" is as vertical as this one (which should be labeled a diapir, not a dome), the slopes that form in the sediments will not stand. They fail in underwater mudslides, resulting in turbidite flows. Those scramble and seal off the connections that are implied to exist between the reservoirs and the surface. In summary, this illustration might be suitable for a beginner's text on how oil reservoirs form, but not much else.

Uh, Fintan, it's just silt.

I looked at your videos and, except for a few small blobs heading straight up, the "clouds of raw black crude oil" are:

1) so thin that other ROV lights show clearly through them

2) moving too slowly to be buoyant oil or gas

3) moving laterally or diagonally which indicates a lack of buoyancy; and

4) I'm pretty sure they are the wrong color; in all the vids I've seen oil has a much warmer color but these clouds are a fairly neutral brown just like the silt on the bottom.

There are dark areas in the cloud in the first vid, but they appear to me to be either shadows or artifacts of video compression. And as I said above, there are a few black "bubbles" shooting straight up in the first video that could be oil, possibly from a natural seep, but the rest is just silt, sorry.

I didn't realize you were and independent journalist, I found this one of the CT's Facebook sites:

BP's Immaculate Deception
Page presentation by Fintan Dunne - 9th August, 2010

by Fintan Dunne - 9th August, 2010

You think you've been watching video feeds from BP undersea robot vehicles working on a blown well.


Due to BP's immaculate deception, you've actually been seeing images from two different well locations approximately 300 feet apart!

One of these wells is MC252A; a second well is called MC252B. One was where the Horizon rig was working before it moved to drill another well --when it caught fire and sank.

The giveaway is the Lamber X,Y longitude and latitude coordinates which undersea ROV's display in their video feeds.

These coordinates show that ROV's have at different times over the last three months been working at these two well locations close to each other. And showing BOP's at each location.

BP's official plan submitted to the US Minerals Management Service in Feb., 2009 was to drill two wells: MC252A and MC252B.

On page 3, BP gives the Lamber X,Y coordinates in feet for:

Well MC252A at 1202799, 10431610;

Well MC252B at 1202514, 10431494.

(The last three digits in feet from these coordinates are the significant figures.)

But as ROV's toiled away on the sea floor, online viewers could easily see the East and North, Lamber X, Y coordinates which show their current working position. See the lighter white figures below:

I've prepared a map showing a small sample of ROV positions and also showing the location of BP's well A & B.

In May as the crisis unfolded, the ROV coordinates in a Youtube video show it hovering above location MC252A.

But in June and July the ROV's are seen working around MC252B?!

And they are displaying images of a leaking BOP there!

So, which well blew up?

Now in August, we see the ROV's back again around the location of BP well MC252A.

It's unclear from this small sample on what dates the BP focus moved back and forth.

So, are both wells leaking? Do both wells have BOP's? Are the positioning data being massaged, and if so -why? Which BOP have we been watching, and when? Did BP drill the B well first or the A well first?

More investigation required. I will update the map based on incoming info and tips.

The first well encountered serious problems during drilling operations. A CBS 60 Minutes report on those difficulties stated the well was cemented and abandoned. (But official BP accounts say that a new sidetrack was drilled.)

President Obama was informed of these problems on 13th February, 2010. Over the following weeks, senior BP executives Tony Hayward, Byron E Grote, Andy Iglis and Ian C Conn sold hundreds of thousands of their BP shares. All of this was long before the explosion at the second well.

One interpretation of that share dump is that the problem the Deepwater Horizon had with the first well in February was very serious and unresolved -even as the Horizon began drilling the fatal second well.

It is also possible that wells A and B have oil flowing from one to the other. After all, they are separated by less than 500 feet.

As of 9th August, 2010, ROV footage shows increasing seepage of hydrocarbons from the Mocando 252 block sea floor.

This comes despite a topside 'static kill' of the well by mud and cement. Coast Guard response team Leader Thad Allen has admitted that 40% of the cement injected to stop the oil escaped into the surrounding sea floor sediments.

In light of that, I highly recommend reading the analysis article to the right, by BK Lim --which cogently explains what went wrong and why the current cap will not prevent a slow escalation of seepage.

An updated ROV map and further analysis will be here on this page in coming days.

Fintan Dunne
9th Aug., 2010

See also:
• Interviews & Discussion

• FloridaOilSpillLaw.com
• Blog.AlexanderHiggins.com
• Spill Timeline
• Questions by 'dougr'

Research Survey
This is an intriguing is a 3D map of
hydrocarbons in the water column,
presented by the US research vessel
'Thomas Jefferson which surveyed
the area. It seems to show two tall
columns of oil. Could they be from
two leaking wells?

Read More >

"It's ALL About BP Minimizing BP Liability"

2nd August 2010

Oil Seeping Up from Below Beaches
6th August 2010

The video above is the best presentation of the issue of two well locations at the spill site. Citizen sleuths have uncovered video captures of ROV feeds seen on this chart.

You can clearly see ROVs have clustered at each of BP's A and B wells.

In May and August, we see ROV's near the location of BP well MC252A. In June and July the ROV's are near BP well MC252B.

So, are both wells leaking? Do both wells have BOP's? Which BOP have we been watching, and when? Stay tuned to this page....

View Larger Map

Date East North YouTube Sources
05/27/2010 1202812 10431617 Watch bit.ly/dougr
06/04/2010 1202562 10431585 Watch at 2:35 barich1979

06/07/2010 1202476 10431302 Watch bit.ly/dougr
. 1202497 10431358 Watch bit.ly/dougr
06/10/2010 1202882 10431625 Snapshot Source Source
07/10/2010 1202542 10431527 Watch
08/04/2010 1202771 10431620 Watch bit.ly/OilFlorida

View Larger X,Y Map 9th August 2010
You Can Help

Can you find more video or screenshots of ROV's near the 'B' well location?

B is 1202514, 10431494
A is 1202803, 10431617

Give me Date, East, North, Link and Source -if poss..

Email me: fintan at
fintandunne dot com

View our larger map with an X,Y number grid.

READ: Oil Surging From Sea Floor Near BP Well Dylan Rattigan Asks Questions

11th August 2010 4th August 2010

Why is BP's Macondo blowout so disastrous
& Beyond Patch-up.

By BK Lim 25 July 2010

There has been so much information (or mis-information) on the disaster it is difficult to separate the facts from the myths, let alone decide who is or are to be held responsible for the oil spill disaster.

There is a need for a working geological model to integrate all the scattered pieces of information and evidence together, so that law makers can zoom into areas where data had been lacking (or withheld) and the wrongs be corrected in order for the industry to move forward. The fact that so many wells (even in deeper waters) had been drilled successfully in the past in the same Gulf region suggests that there may be more “hidden” factors that caused this blowout to be so disastrous.
The geological model presented here is based on facts derived from past blowout investigations that had been equally puzzling. It provides a fresh perspective into the blowout investigation which until now had been overly focused on the drilling itself. If the well blowout was already a disaster in waiting, there is absolutely nothing the drilling crew could do to prevent the blowout, short of abandoning the well prior to reaching the reservoir. The fact that this geological model had been independently generalized from data and information available on the public domain means that there is room for more detailed infill and ample opportunities for BP’s technical experts to prove the model wrong. On the other hand, if subsequent revelations (from yet to be published data or information) substantiate or improve on the accuracy of the model, then this geological modeling effort, is heading the right direction in providing a more sound basis for corrective measures towards making the oil industry safer from such future disasters.

1 Key components of the qualitative geological model.

It is reasonable to assume that BP was targeting a structural reservoir in the vicinity of a salt dome. In BP's bathymetric chart, both Macondo’s wells (A & B) were located on an escarpment discernible on satellite images of the seafloor obtained from Google Earth. Texaco Rigel well which is about 2.43 km from BP Macondo A, is about 1 km away from the edge of the escarpment. Thus, while a salt dome is selected for the model, any vertical geological structure like an intrusive dyke or a vertically inclined fault zone (lateral fault), would essentially produce the same effects. The present qualitative geological model can be converted to a quantitative one when sufficient quantitative data is available. For now this qualitative model is sufficient for us to understand how the blowout occurred, why it occurred, what should have been done to remedy a bad situation from getting worse and how it could have been prevented in the future.

2 Information substantiating the qualitative geological model

There have been “unconfirmed” reports that Macondo Well A which was first drilled by TransOcean Marianas and aborted on 9th Nov 2009 after reaching a depth of 4023 feet (1226 m) below seabed, was re-entered by TransOcean Deepwater Horizon on 13 or 15 Feb 2010. Thus the present blown out well is Macondo B. There were also unconfirmed reports that Macondo B was so badly blown, that the well which is been shown to the worldwide audience is the first Macondo A well which blew earlier in early March (??), before the 20 April blowout. While such “unconfirmed” information would fit in quite nicely with the geological model, it does not affect its validity even if they are not true.

On 13 Feb BP told MMS they were trying to seal cracks in the well. It took 10 days to plug the first cracks. In early March , BP told MMS they were having trouble maintaining control of surging natural gas (according to emails).

A March 10 e-mail to Frank Patton, the U.S. Minerals Management Service’s drilling engineer for the New Orleans district, from BP executive Scherie Douglas said BP planned to sever the pipe connecting the well to the rig and plug the hole. “We are in the midst of a well control situation on MC 252 #001 and have stuck pipe,” Douglas wrote, referring to the subsea block, Mississippi Canyon 252, of the stricken well. “We are bringing out equipment to begin operations to sever the drillpipe, plugback the well and bypass.” Bloomberg News (31 May 2010).

According to Bloomberg news, Douglas or BP received verbal approval at 11pm on 11 March to insert the cement plug about 750feet (229m) above the bottom of the hole. The Federal regulators gave BP permission to cement the well at a shallower depth than normally would have been required after the hole caved in on drilling equipment.

In the congressional hearing on 15 June 2010, BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward and other top executives gave the impression they were ignorant of the difficulties the company’s engineers were grappling with in the well before the explosion… according to U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “We could find no evidence that you paid any attention to the tremendous risk BP was taking,” Waxman said as Hayward waited to testify. “There is not a single email or document that you paid the slightest attention to the dangers at this well.”

BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles and exploration chief Andy Inglis “were apparently oblivious to what was happening,” said Waxman, a California Democrat. “BP’s corporate complacency is astonishing.”

Perhaps Henry Waxman was not aware that there was a massive share sell-off (531,461 shares in total) by 4 BP directors just days after the 11 March incident. Tony Hayward sold 223,288 shares (a third of his total holding) on 17 March. This was followed by Byron E Grote on 18 March (58,536 shares), Andy Iglis on 23 March (219,500 shares) and Ian C Conn on 30 March (13,073 shares). And that were only BP’s directors. What about the shares sell off by BP’s executives? See Massive Shares sell off prior to expected disaster.

It is not that BP directors and executives were ignorant to the problems on the Macondo wells. Their personal fortune mattered more. It is not that they do not know a blowout was inevitable. They were only wrong in thinking that the blowout could be controlled. They had not expected the blowout to spin so badly out of control.

It did not matter whether Macondo A or Macondo B was eventually drilled to reservoir level since both wells were located right on top of the seabed escarpment which is clearly an indication of some massive geological structure beneath.

Would moving the location have made a difference?

Texaco’s Rigel well 2 km from BP’s Macondo wells (but 1 km from the edge of the escarpment), was drilled safely in stark contrast to BP’s ill fated wells. Why? The reason is obvious on Figure 1a.

The Rigel exploration well, the Texaco OCS-G-18207 #1, was drilled in 1999 in Gulf of Mexico block MC 252 in 5200’ water depth. The well targeted a Miocene age, low-relief downthrown closure/stratigraphic trap that was supported by a strong amplitude response on the 3D seismic data. The results from the Rigel exploration well were disappointing. The well encountered what was interpreted to be a 176’ thick gas-charged, low-permeability siltstone in the Rob E-age target. This reservoir was believed to be uneconomic at that time. This presentation focuses on a few stalwart individuals’ efforts to continue to pursue appraisal of this marginal discovery. These efforts included pre-appraisal geologic modeling, reservoir modeling, and analog work. (Westside - Rigel Deepwater Field Appraisal and Development 16 Nov 2005.)

3 What possibly happened?

Figures 1a shows the geological setting just prior to drilling BP’s Macondo well. Problems started as soon as the drilling entered the GWSF hazardous zone. The top hole condition would have deteriorated as escaping gas swirled outside the well casing, enlarging the well bore. With heavy circulation losses, the drillers would have reduced ECD (effective circulation density) to limit mud losses and minimize damage to the pervious (weak) rock formation. Unfortunately, each time the ECD dipped below the previous charged pressure, gas influx would kick in. Thus the drillers would have no choice but to keep ECD high enough to keep the gas out. Cementation to isolate the hydraulic connection between layers would be futile as the cement would not remain static long enough to set. This was partly due to pressurized gas and cavitations in the GWSF zone caused earlier, by drilling in an open hole. The dynamic movement of fluids in the GWSF zone gradually increased the fractures and permeability in the vicinity of the poorly cemented well bore as the drilling continued deeper.

The presence of gas-saturated weak rock formation immediately underlying the non-lithified sediment is a slow acting hazardous condition (GWSF hazards) not readily recognized or understood by the industry despite being the common factor in most blowouts. Although GWSF hazardous conditions do not immediately caused a blowout, the seeds of destruction are sown at this shallow sub-formation depth. The deterioration of the well bore outside the casing and damage to the rock sub-formation is beyond the control of any drillers. Pumping in cement to seal the cracks would not work under gas-charged conditions.

The drilling problems were further compounded when up-dipping beds were encountered with sudden loss of circulation. To cut mud loss, ECD had to be reduced. But when pressure in the well dipped, gas influx kicked in as the Extended Gas Charged Pressure (EGCP) zone had previously been charged to a higher mud weight. See illustrations in figures 1d &1e.

The permeable contact aureole of the salt dome or an intrusive dyke, obviously added to the problem. It is like having a “U-tube” counterbalancing the mud column inside the well. No wonder the drillers described the Macondo well as a “Hell Well”. Compare this nightmare scenario with the Texaco Rigel well which was drilled safely just a km away from the salt dome. BP’s management should have correlated the drilling problems with the geological structure. If they had done that (which is the gist of this article), they would have realised that the Macondo well was just a disaster waiting to happen. They should have taken the responsible way out by abandoning the well before reaching the reservoir.

By failing to do that, they were just postponing the inevitable. The “giant aquifer system” was fully charged and just waiting for any mistake to trigger the blowout. No wonder the directors and top executives were rushing to sell off their shares after the 11 March incident, in anticipation of the worse to come. Perhaps BP should stand for “Before Public-interest” for the blatant manner in which personal profits come before the welfare of the environment and public.

As soon as the pressure in the well dipped below the EGCP (replacing the drilling mud with seawater) gas influx kicked in at the largely unsealed well bore at the GSWF zone. When the gas bubble in the well started to rise and expand with lower pressure, it rapidly displaced the seawater column (>5,000 ft) in the riser. This is like sucking liquid out of a glass with a straw. The tremendous suction and static pressure exerted by the reservoir created a sudden jump in differential force, resulting in the breach of the bottom cement plug. This triggered the uncontrollable continuous gushing of oil and gas out of the reservoir through the blown well. See figure 1f.

The futile attempts to “Top Kill” or “Top Cap” the gushing well only made the bad situation worse by increasing the damage to GWSF zone and increasing the EGCP size. See previous article; The high risk of top capping the gushing well.

After quickly reaching 6,400 psi in the pressure test using the TOP CAP, the increase in the well pressure slowed down to 10, then 2 to less than 1 psi per hour. Oil and gas are obviously being forced into the “giant aquifer” which kept expanding and finding new pathways in the rock formation. That is why the initial 8,000 to 9,000 psi passing mark would never be reached. After 41 hours, the pressure inside the top capped well was 6,745 psi and still rising very slowly. Of course, the pressure inside the capped well would never decrease (until the reservoir is depleted) even as oil and gas are being forced further into the EGCP zone and into the giant aquifer.

As only the light hydrocarbons (methane) filter or seep through the Quaternary Sediment layers, no oil seeps would be evident at the sea floor yet. The oil would remain buried beneath the sea floor until weaknesses in the sediment developed into cracks big enough to result in active oil seeps (which would also mean a near calamity). By then the hot oil and gases from the reservoir may have tilted the world into an irreversible ecological disaster, by warming up and vaporising strata of methane hydrates into gas. The result would be an exponential increase in dissolved methane in the deep waters of the Gulf and eventually into our atmosphere. No one knows how much methane hydrates lay beneath the Gulf sea floor.

But one thing is for sure. The longer the gushing well stays “top capped”, the more severe is the environmental damage. There is no logical reason why the gushing oil could not be tapped through the LMRP TOP CAP with a floating platform or subsea facilities; rather shutting it off completely to cause further damage to the fragile sub-seabed structure and sediment.

4 What you don’t see can be covered up.

Perhaps the botched-up “photochop-chop” photos put up by BP was just a test. To see how keen the public eyes were in following BP’s clean up efforts. It would be hard to believe BP paid professionals for such a shoddy job. We should give BP more credit than that (remember the shares issues)? Let’s play dumb and the problems will go away.

Many experts in the oil industry were surprised and questioned the rationality of capping the well when the relief wells were so close to achieving their “bottom kill” objectives. They could have installed the TOP CAP much earlier. This means that BP knew if the gushing well was completely shut at the top, the oil and gas would spread beneath the sea floor and gas seeps would start appearing. So the TOP CAP had to be placed just before the relief well was ready for the “magic show”. Hurricane Bonnie spoilt the show and the delay is already showing signs of stress (gas seeps).

This could also mean that BP was getting less and less confident that the relief wells would work. The relief wells were held up as the last Trump card. If it fails in full (ROV) view of the concerned public throughout the world, BP’s shares would drop like a stone. There are good geological reasons why the chances of the relief wells’ success are less than 30%. But that would be in the next posting.

So instead “of going on a public stage with a final trump card of 30% chance of success” and risking everything BP stands for, a magic show will be set up so that what ever happens, it will be a success. How?

With a gushing well in full view, a successful bottom kill would show oil slowing down to eventually a tickle. With the cap on, it would be easier to manipulate the data. Thus botched-up photos were a test to check the keenness of the public eye. If the bottom kill fails, there is no independent monitor to prove it. BP could quickly pack and leave the site. Without ROVs’ video, the world is blind. Independent scientific researches later on could be disputed or controlled in post-recovery mopped up battle plan.

The TOP CAP had to be installed and the integrity pressure tests used as an excuse to completely shut down the flow. There is no need to prove the well is leaking. It is already a fact. David Copperfield could not have performed better.
For complete appendix to article see Diagrammatic Illustration of blowout

Source article by BK Lim



For people concerned about whether seafood is safe, never mind the folklore about Corexit; the main concern is a group of hydrocarbons called PAHs that make up a small fraction of crude oil. Here is a non-technical explanation from Florida state government. They say PAHs are of least concern in finfish, of most concern in molluscs, with crustaceans (crabs and shrimp) in between.


PAHs are problematic because they biodegrade more slowly than many crude-oil components, they are toxic, and they are fat-soluble, which makes them capable of bioaccumulation, especially in molluscs, although, fortunately, oysters and scallops don't have a high fat content. Lab testing of seafood and EPA sampling of water and sediment emphasize PAH detection.

PAHs have a sweetish chemical odor that people can detect in very tiny concentrations.

PAHs are also found in tobacco smoke, smoke from the backyard grill, air polluted by combustion of hydrocarbons, etc.

So if I grill some shrimp on a backyard grill - I will get the PAHs anyway?

Maybe I should just give up and eat tofu like my wife wants me to. (I avoid tofu unless I am making Miso soup.)

Don't give in to the bean curd!!!

Wow! All the feeds went blank.

Probably a short protest as a result of the news that Thad Allen could phase out as National Incident Commander in late September.

Looks like Hos – ROV 1 is going in his cage.

What is this? Why is it spewing blue goo?

Is this is wide view of blue goo?

I was waiting for someone else to ask. I've been looking at it and have no idea.

I know. I'm a nut. No credibility. Just drove 100 miles home from a camping trip in the Rockies, and I'm pretty tired. Is this the BOP? Grabbed it during a quick tilt of the ROV. Directly under the big yellow thing. Also had to stretch the grayscale pretty radically to see anything.

Unretouched, no greyscale stretch. This is a straight screengrab.

So, guys ... WTF ??

A one-night camping trip in the Rockies??? I could have sworn you were just packing the car yesterday.


You're still here! I was preparing to miss you while you were on your camping trip...

One night was enough. Pretty cold at night at 12,000 ft. I came home completely ready to accept that I was wrong, had to publically apologize to BP and readers on four continents because I misinterpreted everything I thought I saw.

So, what the heck is going on in these pix?

avon, how can you say what you said??? You 'had to' apologize to readers on four continents? Talk about conspiracy theories. Please tell me why you thought you were wrong in some detail. I'm willing to accept that I'm wrong, I guess, but it seems unlikely to me. This whole situation just keeps getting stranger and stranger. There can be no doubt that there is a massive methane leak (unless it's some other sort of hydrate). I've commented little on the stack, BOP etc., because I really don't know the mechanics or anything else about it. I've enjoyed learning the basics of how oil wells are constructed but far be it from me to think I know anything about oil drilling compared to the TOD experts. But the seafloor? Hey, it boggles the mind that some people seem to see only a normal seabed.

I do not know about the others, but before this incident I thought the 'sea bed' was where mermaids slept. I really never studied it at all, save for some stuff in college. Do you know what a 'normal' or 'abnormal' sea floor really looks like? I sure do not. I have seen swamp mud bubble. I have lit the gas before although I imagine that is a fairly stupid move. I was young. I also imagine the sea floor is a completely different animal.


I think I've seen enough ocean floor footage on TV, things like National Geographic specials, Discovery shows, etc. during my life to have a reasonably decent idea of what the sea floor looks like. Also books and magazines. I'm pretty darn sure that a natural sea floor does not have methane spouting from it, even at a mile deep, although I understand that the Gulf is a methane hot spot on the globe, as is the Arctic tundra and Siberian peat bogs. Methane was not spouting from THIS seafloor until a short while ago.

This video was taken while on board the human operated submersible Alvin in July of 2007. What you see is a vent bubbling methane gas, which is captured inside a cylindrical tube and and methane hydrate is formed. The depth is 800 m beneath the sea surface, where the low temperature and high pressure lead to the formation of this ice-like structure from water and methane gas. You can see in the beginning that the bubbles from the vent are slowly filling the chamber. By the end, the chamber is completely filled with the ice-like methane hydrate. The pilot (of Alvin) then tries to break up the hydrate, and in doing so the buoyancy of the gas trapped in the ice forces the remaining hydrate out of the tube.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find footage and writing about 'natural' methane bubbles coming from the sea floor. You are still in the area of science IMHO. I hope you accept your mission and stay in the science world and try to avoid the speculation world.

so if neither side knows, that still leaves the question is this normal or is it not? and if its close to the well, science would instantly question it as being suspect.

the speculation might actually be the one attempting to suggest its normal with no ability to know what is normal or not.

Tinfoil!!! I know there are methane vents, landslides caused by methane (Norway), etc. If methane had been spouting from the seafloor around the well from the beginning, knowing that the GOM is a hot spot for methane venting, I would have assumed (or easily accepted) that this was a natural occurence in this area of the seafloor. But everything has changed! Instead of sonar surveys taken on a quiet seabed they are now taken in front of a bubbling seascape. For some strange reason, the seabed reminds me now of what cream of wheat looks like when it's thick and boiling. As I said before, one of the dangers of global warming is that water temperature will rise enough to melt frozen methane cathrates. I don't know about at a mile deep, but in shallower water it's a distinct possibility. The threat of that is that methane is a more potent global warming gas than CO2. Btw, I'm not saying that the current methane production on the seafloor around the well is pertinent to global warming in any way. It's a future threat due to warming wates and huge methane release. I did read one article that said drilling oil wells in the ocean does disturb shallow methane deposits, mostly by the warming caused by hot oil rising through the well bore. Wow. Just thought of something. What if hot oil is escaping near the reservoir. That would have a huge impact on methane production in the surrounding area. The methane leaks have gotten much worse since the static kill. Any TOD experts want to comment?


I put a grin after those exclamation marks in my last post. Unfortunately, because it included what's ya call its, angle brackets (!), it didn't appear.

Now a comparison on the sonar with other readings from similar areas and such would be a good science move. Quantitative analysis can also be sometimes estimated from video. I know the problem. If it ain't on YouTube or you do not know how to ask for it, it becomes like the old library days. Could you imagine if we had to do this all on a radio show? Is there a better search engine for YouTube videos that allows reverse date sorting or more advanced option than those given? Whenever I search YouTube through Google, I seem to miss some things although I can sometimes find a gem.


Here's an article that I found interesting. Scroll down to see the GOM info.


The first image is from one of the Q4000 ROVs that seems to have the color saturation turned up too high.

I think some of the spacer or hydraulic fluids used were dyed blue, which may be to help identify leaks. However the leaks of blue fluid appeared more viscous and adhered to the equipment. In this case I suspect what your image shows is just a color cast in the video feed.

I find staring at low res highly compressed video of nothing in particular for too long is a bit like staring at a rorschach inkblot.

Sure. I'm a nut, fine. What is the big yellow thing?

the "big yellow thing" is the top of the suction pile that anchors the floating riser. and the vertical thing connected to it is the bottom mechanical connector of the riser

Whew! Thanks, daavery.

They rise every day in the late afternoon.
Sea life. It's ALIVE.....


*The amphipods are not screwed.
**I'd bet they don't care.

Thank you, Uncomformity. I read the Wikipedia article, looked again, and sure enough they launch themselves like little cannons and that in turn creates a plume of silt. How silly of me. I can go back to Plan A and apologize, resign my job and forget the whole thing.

BTW, what's the big yellow thing clamped to the riser swivel spool?

That's a 'thing' hanging from the Q4000, been there not connected to anything, for weeks now. It's not any part of the active capping stack/BOP. Most of the time one of the Q4000 ROVs is parked near it. It's been shown in the Q4000 feeds for well over a month. Don't know what it is, but it hasn't been used for anything, yet.

I thought you'd been diligently watching these feeds, how come you don't know that?

Hi comfy. It'll take a while for me to write something, but I'm going to publish a nice summary of all of my mistaken worries and foolish remarks. Full retraction and apology to readers of Seeking Alpha and Alrroya Abu Dhabi. Going to resign from my firm as soon as we can work out succession.

Time to retire.

Er, why are they working on a suction pile that leaks blue goo?

Stay away from the hot tub.


I think you cut your camping trip too short. Go back to the mountains (to a lower elevation so you don't freeze!) and get away from all of this for a week or two. With a little luck you'll start to feel less embarrassed and more bemused by yourself. Whatever you do, don't give up your passion, and in this economic climate, man, think twice before giving up your job.

take care, James

That's my Avonaltendorf!

Wow, y'all, Jim Fallows, posting about Alaska flying, includes a YouTube of an incredible little plane popular up there. Just look at this little scamp (I'm guessing it's maybe 30', nose to tail) doing touch-and-goes. It's like a baby Harrier -- the takeoff roll (so to speak) needs only 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the plane, and landing (floating down nearly vertically) something like 2-3 x fuselage-length. In other words, it can get up and down within the footprint of (a) an average ranchhouse or (b) a rig's helipad -- with room to spare.

AK_geo, are you familiar with the Aviat Husky? Zounds!

AK_geo, are you familiar with the Aviat Husky? Zounds!

I haven't seen the Aviat Husky. I have flown as passenger in Supercubs on several occaisions, and they are amazing aircraft. Scarred the crap out of me! If the Aviat Husky is more capable of short field operations than the Supercub, it must be a most amazing aircraft indeed. Alaska is full of aircraft that one doesn't often see elsewhere. Fallows is correct that Alaska flying is very demanding and dangerous. It sounds as if the pilot flying in the Ted Stevens crash was very experienced indeed, the local paper said he was a former Alaska Airlines pilot with > 29,000 hours. However, several pilot friends have told me that hours in type are more important than total hours. Also, one of the quotes in Fallows article talked about "...the weather required an experienced hand that knew every rock and tree on the route."

WOW! indeed! I could hardly believe my eyes! There are no old, bold pilots, eh?

GWS, didja click through on the "Aviat Husky" link and see that suckah take off from a trailer behind a pickup truck? Mercy!

Now if he had landed on that trailer....................


I have a friend that ferrys old planes to a salvage operation. He was once flying an old Cessna 310 twin that lost power on one engine and would not hold altitude with the other. The only place he could put it down was on a flat bed truck driving on a busy highway and he pulled it off.

Ye gods, Hank! How long did he have the shakes afterward? Criminey, what a story.

He is not the kind of guy that gets the shakes. In his business of flying worn out junk you have to have steady nerves because anything can happen.

I am a pilot myself and know some that can really tell some stories, one I have known most of my life and was a crop duster for many years, the only crop duster I know of that had a waiver to fly with one eye. You can just imagine how important depth perception is with that job. His story is that he lost his eye when he hit a bird, the problem was the bird was sitting in a tree. :)

He has crashed more airplanes than most pilots have flown.

BTW he was a wildcatter too, so he likes to take risks.

Well, if you could just kinda keep an eye on 'im and let me know if he heads this way, I'd like to find a good burrow timely-like, 'kay?

Well he has quit flying so you are safe, but the what he does with his time now is pretty wild also. He has taken a liking to jet turbine engines and has mounted one on a motorcycle and another on a golf cart. I have riddin in the golf cart, but he has had not takers to even try to ride the bike. Also building a small homebuilt airplane with turbine.

82 years old and still going strong having been in a coma for 3 months one time from almost drowning in a farm pond after turning a crop duster upside down with a load of parathion dumped in the pond. He is one of those guys that they broke the mold. I worked in his oil field supply store in highschool and we delivered supplies to rigs by flying out and landing in cow pastures or on dirt roads.

AK_geo, y'all have a stunning-beautiful state (that I don't terribly mind admiring from afar, if you know what I mean).

AK_geo, y'all have a stunning-beautiful state (that I don't terribly mind admiring from afar, if you know what I mean).

Yes, it is amazingly beautiful. Generally speaking, people who move here fall into two groups: Either they love it and never want to leave, or they hate it and can't wait to get out. I definately fall in the first group. There is a down side of course. The winters are long and dark, and the climate can be demanding. It helps if you like winter sports. Also, depending on where you moved from, it can be a long way to visit family, aging parents, etc.

Local Humor: "Alaska has four seasons. There's early winter, mid-winter, late winter, and next winter." Summer is the short break between late winter and next winter.

Speaking of Super Cubs and similar aircraft, some people around here refer to them as "Doctor Killers". Doctors and dentists are one group that has enough money for that kind of expensive toy, but not enough free time to build and maintain proficianecy for bush flying.

an incredible little plane

Isn't that something? I nearly broke my jaw when I watched it about an hour ago. Looked so natural and effortless, it wasn't until the second takeoff and landing that I really got just how extraordinary it was. What is it that's so different about the way it's built? Wikipedia says it's its "high power loading and low wing loading," but I have no idea what that means.

I sho' doan know, SL, but it's really hard to fathom how anything non-rotary can pull that off. (Hope some aero-engineer happens along to splain it to us.)

Ever seen a C5A do a short takeoff? High wing load I think means lots of lift for the wing size. Short takeoff is factor of aircraft design, pilot skill, and atmospheric conditions. If a plane sits on a moving truck, its wings still generate lift.

All I really understand is that if air flows over a certain shape (i.e., a pair of wings) at a certain speed, what's attached to the wings has to fly.

Lest ye forget, air is a fluid in the world of aerodynamics. The same principles apply to submarine bow planes. It seems to help the mental pictures for the non-technical.

All I really understand is that if air flows over a certain shape (i.e., a pair of wings) at a certain speed, what's attached to the wings has to fly.

I don't understand that any better than I understand the mechanics of oil drilling, despite all the patiently detailed explanations-for-dummies here. I still think flying is done with mirrors. I'm just too left-brained, or something, to get any of this kind of thing. Very frustrating.

Next time you go driving, cup your hand and stick it out the window, palms down at 35 mph or above. You can feel the lift being created. The Bernoulli Principle is what is providing the lift. Air takes longer to go around the top your hand than the bottom resulting in decreased air pressure above your hand and increased pressure below. That is how an airplane wing or heli rotor blade works. Applies to boat props too. Each blade on a prop is a little 'wing'.

Next time you go driving, cup your hand and stick it out the window

Thanks, that's helpful. But...the Husky's wings look flat on top. So do those of the B1B in the video you linked to (what a gorgeous thing!). Doesn't seem like the difference is enough to lift something big into the air. (My capacity for understanding this stuff is *so* limited that you'd be in for an interminable string of dumb questions if you continue giving me answers, so you're probably better off stopping now. This isn't really the place for it anyway. But I do appreciate the attempt!)

Last one I promise, and it is short. Wings must 'look' flat for laminar (smooth) flow of air over the wings. Sometimes this is altered for control reasons, but that is a different problem. To see the proper curves you need to look at a cross section. Hard to do on a parked aircraft, especially a large one. The better, more obvious model is a Frisbee.

Take a look at the link below it will help. Check the image of a selection of wing sections, you'll see there isn't a huge difference and it can be hard to see on a big wing. Also they cheated :) They used a high angle so the lift was more like holding your hand flat and tilting it.


Wuz doin' fine until I got to the part with all them Greek letters an' sh*t and got skeert off.

He'p me, Momma!

Don't tell anyone but that's where I stopped ;) The rest of it is ok.


TFHG: You know, it always amazes me that thing can rotate and slip into the air the way it does! Its SO BIG!! Never seen it do a short take off. does it involve a RATO package or something?

What boggles me is that it can climb at a 60 degree angle at about 30 mph and not stall out (meaning the wings lose lift and it goes into a nosedive accidentally).

I think the shorter takeoffs are due to the M model new wings and engines. You can usually spot RATO a mile away. As for degree of climb after takeoff, the B1B wins in my book. Variable geometry wings allow the wing load to be adjusted 'on the fly'. Looks like the dang thing takes off like a rocket.

Agreed. When that B1B takes off, I could have sworn the ground was shaking under my feet!

Amazingly good stall characteristics in that little plane, eh? But then these guys build that Pitts special.

It's a Vulcan short take off that you need to see. Trouble is you need to experience it first hand not see it on video. When it stands on its tail and goes out Cape Canaveral style you need to feel the vibes.


Just checked it out. Delta wing wins again. Variable geometry sounds great, but there is a reason we do not go there anymore. Good call.

That is the only flying one left, that has been painstakingly restored, and they handle it VERY carefully. I watched some operational ones on an air field I had some work on. The Vulcan sits at the end of the runway, winds up and hacks down at a rate of knots. About 1/4 the length of the runway it jumps (only way I can describe it) some 50' in the air, still parallel to the ground. It then cleans its gear and suddenly sits on its tail. The Vulcan then leaves in an accelerating true vertical climb around the centre of the runway and never leaves the perimeter of the airfield, not a big field either. The runway is just jelly and the noise is head splitting even with fingers in your ears. The Vulcan was designed to be scrambled, the crew could get in and start all 4 engines together without need for a startup. With a takeoff like that it could be up and away in minutes. It could out climb jet fighters until the F15 F16 generation came along. Really, that demonstration was very tame.


I was first introduced to the Vulcan at a young age in the Bond movie Thunderball. I think I am not alone.

TFHG: You are not alone.

They showed off the Avro Vulcan prototype at Farnborough Airshow back in the early 60s. It had just been fitted with the first production Olympus engines, it had no payload and was light on fuel for the show circuit instead of being tankered up for a round trip to Moscow. The Avro sales reps told the pilots to let the audience get a good view of the plane, so they did.

End of the runway, brakes on, 100 percent thrust plus reheat. They reached V2 about a quarter of the way down the tarmac, lifted her nose and unstuck her, levelled off at a couple of hundred feet and then barrel-rolled her. Heh.

In the 70s a RAF team flew a pair of Vulcans to Nevada to take part in the Red Flag bombing competition there. They finished the trip on Visual Flight Rules and did some sightseeing before landing at the USAF base hosting the competition. It was only then they discovered that the area around the Grand Canyon was "not below 20,000 feet" for military aircraft and they got a bollocking for flying down into the Canyon to get a good look.

Two Brit moments I remember from the 90-91 war.
1. Tank crews removing seats from Challenger 1 tanks to carry more ammunition, comfort or crew safety be damned. Our forces do not openly take such risks, but even the most 'conservative' among us admired that move.
2. Tornado jets going supersonic 150 feet above the deck with terrain guidance radar. Behind them they were shooting 'rooster tails' in the sand of over 150 feet in the air. Damn impressive, even in theater.

Flying those Tornadoes at high altitude then? :)


Well you probably already know, but for the new folks, air is generally more dense the closer to the ground you get. No way those guys weren't beating themselves and their airframes to hell. They just called it a 'free massage courtesy of the Queen. We will get new planes if we have to.' War Brits are NOTHING like peace Brits. Nothing. I swear I think they wanted to destroy their own equipment just to make sure they dealt 200% of maximum effort. They even got EXTREMELY PO'ed when we called it quits after only 100 hours. I think they were ready to go all the way to the Turkish Border. I would fight next to a Brit any day, and twice on Sunday.

Also for those not in the know. Many Tornado ground attack missions are flown 50' or less. Sand dunes used to get in the way and they did rolls to get over them. JP233 runway attacks were regarded as suicide missions. Final run navigation by fenceposts.


I did a lot of work at Vandenberg AFB in the late '80s and early '90s. They used the old SAC runways for testing various things. One day, I got invited to watch a BUFF (big ugly fat "fellow" - translate as needed - or B-52 to civilians) doing low passes as low as 50 feet. Something that big flying that low was impressive. From on the ground, coming head-on straight at you, you wanted to piss yourself and run.

What I saw was a sanctioned test (of something). I found out later that low passes at slightly higher altitudes were a fairly common air-show performance for the plane. Saw one myself at Addison, TX about 1989. Unfortunately, in 1994, at Fairchild, a pilot stalled his BUFF into the ground doing a high-rate turn showing off at an airshow; had the thing almost vertical on its wing tip. Fell out of the sky from a couple of hiundred feet. B-52s stopped doing hot-dog maneuvers at airshows. Video of the Fairchild crash is out there somewhere. Saw it when it originally made the news but can't bring myself to watch it again.

Where I used to live there were some fields in a small dip with trees on top either side. We seemed to be on some route for jet fighters. Occasionally we would get Tornadoes or Jaguars doing a run through the dip, below the trees. Let me say again, this was no big dip!


High wing load I think means lots of lift for the wing size

Yeah, but Wikipedia says the Husky has low wing load.

Sure. That would mean it has low drag wings, less power to achieve a certain speed. Always a trade-off. Should have been more specific to the post. Thanks for the point.

Love the site, and registered now that I can actually contribute... Now that we're talking about air and not oil!

Short take off looks like it's made possible by a pretty stout headwind. When I flew ultralights, we didn't fly in wind over about 20 knots, since cruise speed is not much above that, and you wouldn't want to get stuck downwind where you couldn't make it back.

However, we could take off almost stationary in 20 knots. Speed of air over the wings is the key!

PF: It's just us'ns sitin around shootin the sh..... lotus brought it up!!

They still 'turn the carriers into the wind' don't they? I love that line. Especially in the plural.

Edit: Only a few men/women can still say this, all of them American. I hope that does not offend an ally or make others think I am a warmonger, but I do have that Military History minor and am a vet. I still strive for peace though.

Dandy handle, PFui. Glad you piped up.

That guy had one heck of a headwind, and that makes all the difference. Hear the sound of the wind rattling across the microphone? That's a good clue. On a calm day, the performance would not be quite that impressive.

My first flight in a Piper Pawnee was kindof like that with a strong headwind. This plane is single seat so you gotta learn to fly it yourself. I made a few slow taxi runs, lots of turns on a grass strip. Then lined up with the wind and planned to do the same but a little faster. A bit too much throttle and it got happy and was off the ground -- oh well I was committed now. We used it for glider towing.

And wonder where that video was taken? There is a whole fleet of sailplanes in the background. Bet a Husky would make a fine towplane.

Another aircraft with fine takeoff performance is a Maule. Check out this photo - http://www.mauleairinc.com/img/Clears_the_hangar_color.jpg

BTW -- power loading means power to weight ratio. Pawnee was 270hp for 1500lb empty weight. Imagine the performance of a car with those numbers.

Wing loading is the ratio of the surface area of the wing to weight. In general, a larger wing has a lower loading and better low speed lift characteristics. And a lower stall speed.

Thanks for the post -- good change of pace

Thanks for the def of high load wing. Of course, any of us could have looked it up but I love the posts where we all fly solo. I always make sure to try and include the I think part when I outside my expertise (common) but have some knowledge of a particular subject. Missed on that one. Not bad though for a few ROTC and physics classes, huh? Thanks.

Thanks back for all this info, Sam. Glad you enjoyed it too.

Sam, good post, I bet the gas tank was almost empty too, to keep the weight down.

Lotus, thanks for the video link. Try this video from the Valdez airshow for more STOL action:

From comments by nestokes, the video uploader:

The video was filmed at Sleap Airfield in Shropshire, England. Pilot is Bob Pooler.

Aircraft is a Standard 180hp Husky. Wind was about 25 knots at ground level. Take off and climb speed was 39 knots IAS.


I'm very familiar with the Husky - made by Avitat in Idaho, I think.

Very good short takeoff/landing aircraft, but in the video link you sent, he was facing into a stiff wind which greatly reduces runway length - average takeoff roll for a Husky in normal wind can be less than 100ft & land in 150-200ft.

Football field is usually plenty big - depending on wind, air temp, load factor, altitude, humidity & field surface - a helipad is probably not gonna be enough

Thanks, tom. Not sure how broad rigs' helipads might be (but assuming they're much bigger than they seem on video), I guessed wrong on how a Husky might fit on one. (Truth be told, I wuz trying any way I could to sneak the topic even vaguely onto an oilpatch open thread.)

Anyhow, sure was a hoot and a marvel to watch this one perform (and to learn more from everybody's responses).

Found it again.

BOP failure in south Louisiana early this morning.


The blowout preventer on a well that has been spewing oil and gas about 200 feet in the air since this morning appears to have failed ... The well had been drilled and was in the process of being finished for production at the time of the blowout

Perhaps Mantle Oil and Gas LLC of Friendswood, Texas have not learned many lessons from recent events.

FOR ALL - Re: the onshore blow out today. From the well's operator: "Barden said at this time, it appears the well’s blowout preventer failed and that there were no problems with how the well was being operated."

Once again I'm embarrased by one of my cohorts. Obviously no one would activate a BOP if "there were no problems". A BOP is functioned in response to a serious problem. Sometimes a "no comment" answer is much better than an obvious stupid/incorrect answer. Not enough details but perhaps another blow out happening at an unexpected phase: during completion and not during drilling. Just like BP's little problem.

not completely certain, but I saw somewhere the rig is a 12 hr operation which is shut down for the night, BOP closed and everyone goes home. Something leaked during the night I suppose. Well is in the boondocks and is misting oil and gas with no fire yet. Cudd is on the job and the BO will probably be short lived.

So now a "black eye" is dealt to the land drillers as well.

Not ver' helpful to Cameron either, I should think.

Ah, yes. Alexander Higgins is trying to make a few more bucks:
Did The CIA Assassinate Matt Simmons For Blowing The Whistle On The BP Gulf Oil Spill Coverup?


You'll forgive me for not clicking that link, I know, snakehead. Just too tired of bilge-merchants.

I second that.

Oh, sheesh. I had never heard of Higgins before the BP blowout. Are conspiracy theories his bread and butter? Wayne Madsen I familiar with. His CT are usually of a political stripe. Actually, I'm sure he'll chime in with Higgins on this one.

Isn't it something, nepeta? I first ran across Wayne Madsen -- I dunno, 5-6 years ago -- and it didn't take long to see that he's a raving nutter. But here he still is, pullin' in the gullible, no end in sight. Ay yi yi.

I don't know how Madsen is still around.
I thought I'd iced his credibility here:

Wayne Masden's Vote Fraud Tale Spin - Debunked

As to Alex Higgins and "The CIA Killed Simmons"
That's IS highly speculative. I like to see at
least SOME evidence before even speculating.

(shaking head) I know, and it's spreading like a wildfire thru the CT's blogs and FB's, most think they are in danger of being killed and being watched LOL, and someone asked the other day about open carry laws here in Florida.......DAMN! I live ~2 miles away and may rethink putting my glock back in my purse since he thinks ppl are watching him as he reports on the spill and damage incurred, he stated over and over that he is a marked man, he even emailed Vesse Ventura?? People that aren't playing with a full deck scare me more than when I had to drive thru the inner city areas of Chicago, at least you knew they were packing, and these loons are just flat out nuts.

he stated over and over that he is a marked man

Indeed. He's marked himself as a howling lunatic.

To those who aren't busy sending him cash non-stop, airline tickets and hotel rooms...but then again the prophets spoke to him LOL, lunatic is far nicer than I would state, I'd go with narcissistic con artist, but that's just my take.

Pardon my ignorance but what are CT and FB?
my 2cents: These people are basically hoaxsters, and the people who buy into it are not dumb but naive. Sort of like National Enquirer in the old days, "Aliens stole Elvis's Baby!" and remember that the Enquirer had a really HUGE circulation. Consider that if the average IQ is 100 then by definition half the population is below that. All well and good. What concerns me is the willingness of so many to believe that the worst will happen/is happening/has happened. There's plenty of bad actors, exploiters of fear, from self-seeking politicians, popular media, and frothing clergymen, but why do these loons get traction? My theory is that the real benefits of globalization (incredibly cheap food and clothing and communications and consumer products) masks the fact that the US is growing poorer and the middle class, which is nearly everyone, is dimly aware that they aren't getting ahead. Our culture of blame and narscicism and retribution makes us see bogeymen. Our problems are the result of Big Banks! Big Government! Mexican Immigrants! Gay Marriage! Globalization! Socialism! Conservatives! Nazis! Communists! How about instead we go back to some basic all-American values like love thy neighbor, fear no one, take care of business, be grateful, improve yourself a little every day...

CT: Conspiracy Theorist[s]

There is a School House Rock spoof video on the JFK conspiracy I found when I was looking for the energy video. It is great.

What is your opinion on the Sand Shark? Of course, AP picked it up too. BP unveils 'sand shark' device to clean Gulf beaches of oil.

From the article: "Where the unsoiled sand remains powdery and retains its characteristic squeak, oiled stretches are silent underfoot, and possess a quality that mimics dampness."

Ooof, that just by itself gives me the creeps. What a shame.

Cut my foot on a shell fragment 20 years ago. I always wear sandals to the water now. Riders are great, they self drain. Just rinse off when you hit the boardwalk and in ten minutes you are dry and clean.

Now I want them to make a machine, to put the oily sand they have collected into, that removes the oil and returns clean sand they can put back on the beach instead of dumping it.


They already have one. Does anyone have more information on this?

Edit: Check the link out. Is it just me or does the deepwater site look much 'cheaper' since the cutover? Looks like they need me to write the code and that is not getting very much in the deal. Something tells me that is how things are going to be. You think BP is bad, wait till Team Feinberg and Team Obama take everything over. With every step outside of BP that the money takes, it gets 'taxed'. Maybe 'vig' or 'juice' is a better word. We use juice around here.

They could redeploy some flail tanks.
To disperse the oil on the beach, because we all know dispersal is a good thing, right?


There is something coming from the sea floor on Ocean Intervention III - ROV2

Edit: The picture was twice as clear 5 min. ago and they weren't still shots then.Whatever it is it is seeping from the floor.

Been going on for a while, to a greater and lesser degree since around 3.Reflector 44287 is showing a little murk that may or may not be related. ROV appears to be dealing with some type of action but I can't tell if it's from the line or the floor.



Those are the little critters who live in the seafloor mud. They arise every day about this time by the hundreds of thousands.

I remember that from someone telling us the other day.Just didn't reallize it was that late when you're having fun and get dumbed to the screen. Sorry bout that folks. Now I'll be put in that category,won't I?

They are called Amphipods. Shrimp like mud dwellers. When they emerge, they leave wispy trails of silt in the water.

How do they know what time it is?

Yeah, want to take a guess on what they like to eat?

Yes I see it. Confirmed there are misty clouds in the foreground and large gas bubbles with darker clouds in the background.

Feed: http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:44838.asx

The clouds are amphipods.
Little living creatures, swimming.

Not gas. Not oil.
Not confirmed.
No tinfoil required.

Yeah, there were 65,000 barrels of those Amphipoda
coming out of a pipe somewhere nearby, for months. (wink :-)

Christ, man.

Please seek help.

Deepwater Horizon rig will not be salvaged

There are no near-term plans to salvage the Deepwater Horizon, the rig that exploded on April 20 and unleashed the months-long oil spill, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said in a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

The rig now sits on the ocean floor several thousand feet away from the wellhead and is slightly inverted, Allen said.

"Once we've finished our response activities and put equipment in place, we will survey the rig," Allen said.


What happened to the disappear from sight soon due to the soft seafloor crowd? Is there a recent wide view photo or video of the scene?

Not enough light for 1 photo. You'd need a National Geographic type effort used for an image of the Titanic.


Hi-res radar or sonar maybe?

What I can't figure out is why people think that there would be any evidence left on the thing at all. The thing burned, sank, fell a mile to the sea floor then sat under water for over three months.

Remember TWA 800. Not as deep as I recall, but they put that thing back to 80% and it blew up in the sky. There is plenty of evidence there for sure, but does anyone think it is worth getting at? If what they have is not enough to send folks to jail, how much could that evidence help? Besides, it is also a tomb and final resting place for 11 souls or were remains recovered? Remember the 11, I am wearing my tribute shirt right now.
BTW Did you see my BOP post where I mentioned you on al.com? I will repost a link if you did not catch it. Thank you again.

TWA 800 didn't burn at +2000*F for 2 days before going to the bottom. Eyewitnesses said large pieces of the rig melted off.

Debris spread over miles. Made of metal thin enough to dent with a tire iron. Are you sure that DWH took it harder on the chin than TWA 800?

Here are some pictures from an ROV one day of wreckage.


Cement may have entered the outer casing of BP's runaway well last week

There is a small chance that BP sealed off the outer casing of its runaway Gulf of Mexico well when it pumped cement into the well last week using a 'static kill' procedure, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said in a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

BP will test the well after a tropical system passes to get a better handle on what the condition of the outer shell, also known as the annulus, is. The results of that test will determine how BP proceeds, Allen said.


Here's a solid article at (surprise!) HuffPost by Georgianne Nienaber. It includes Samantha Joye's critique of the government's "oil budget." A couple of interesting claims by Joye were that only 10% of the oil would have evaporated, and that more than 50% of the oil/gas is probably still in the Gulf.


In the article is embedded a good video ("Black and Blue") about the Walton Smith cruise that includes photographs of the oil in the plume they studied. Some of it appears to be rising.

I thought Joye had scheduled a press briefing for yesterday, but I see no trace of it on the web.

A comment by Nienaber:

No one is comfortable with uncertainty except scientists. It is reasonable to assume that the political administration of Barack Obama wants all uncertainty about the lingering effects and potential environmental damage completely out of the headlines by November's mid-term elections. BP sees legal and financial risks in uncertainty. Journalists and bloggers often see uncertainty as evidence of a cover-up or conspiracy. Scientists, on the other hand, view uncertainty as their cue to get to work. . . .

Thanks for this heads-up, Gobbet.

I object to how Nienaber misstates the report here:

This is especially troubling when one realizes that the painfully inadequate "BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Budget: What Happened to the Oil" document, which the administration quoted in a White House press briefing last week, is riddled with speculation. The report says that all but 26 percent of the 4.9 million barrels is "gone," and that any remaining oil is so diluted that it does not matter, implying that the crisis is over.

Instead, the text actually says that the 50% NOAA categorizes as "dispersed" (naturally by agitation or chemically) or "residual" is still out there in some form and won't be safe until biodegraded (which they don't yet call it).

She also mischaracterizes the report as "sunny" -- it isn't; it's as neutral as government-written prose can be. And

A global search of the document for the word "exact" produced this prompt from Adobe Reader: "Reader has finished searching the document and no matches were found." No matches found for the word "exact," but 22 occurrences of "estimate," including "best estimate" and "precise estimate" were found

is just silliness.

Nienaber quotes Samantha Joye, "The refractory, dissolved and dispersed oil components REMAIN in the system. So rather than 75% having 'disappeared', I would argue that probably close to 60% of the oil is still floating around in the seawater invisible to our eyes ... ." Where Joye says 60%, NOAA reckons 50%, but otherwise they reach the same conclusion about how much hydrocarbon "remain[s] in the system" undergoing biodegradation.

Joye on the "dissolving like sugar in tea" image:

This comparison is somewhat misleading because it suggests that sugar dissolved into water "disappears". It is invisible to the eye, yes, but it still exerts a strong effect on the solution, mainly it sweetens the tea! I would use such an analogy in the different way: Dispersed oil in seawater is much like dissolved sugar in tea -- both are invisible but both exert strong impacts on the respective solutions, sugar by sweetening the tea and oil by exerting positive (possibly increasing microbial metabolism) and negative (toxicity effects) affects on the biological components of the system.

Jane Lubchenco wouldn't and didn't disagree, did she, or call the dissolved oil "disappeared"? That's nearly exactly the point she made in the WH presser: they can't pin down where or in what condition all the renegade oil is now, only that it's out there somewhere, degrading more or less quickly depending on where it is.

Joye's final quote:

I'm very concerned that funding for research will wane and much of my concern stems from the report released last week concluding that most of the oil is gone. The fact is that at least 50% (probably closer to 60%) of the oil is still out there, it's just not on the surface, and it will continue to have effects. Further, officials continue to refuse to admit/discuss the impacts of methane and other alkane gases that were also emitted from the wellhead. Methane and other gases were not mentioned in the "oil budget". Those hydrocarbons are trapped - for the most part - in the deep water and their metabolism will continue to have impact(s) on the oceanic system. We have to keep our eye on the ball, so to speak. There's a lot more work to be done. I'm very concerned that many things (including the impact of hydrocarbon gases) will be ignored and thus we won't fully document and understand the impacts of this horrendous hydrocarbon spill

Joye is the one who says "gone" -- a word that appears nowhere in the report. Otherwise, she and Lubchenco agree about the "lot more work to be done" (Lubchenco said so in that many words). Joye's fear for future funding is understandable -- academic scientists got minimal budgets and respect during the Bush years. But maybe she should wait and see whether past is prologue before assuming this will continue? Isn't she doing here what she accuses others of?

I have great respect for Mandy Joye, but on the basis of this post, a good deal less for Georgianne Nienaber.

While it's worthwhile pointing to this article as an further look at the "transport and fate" of the spilled oil, I see little helpful here. No data. No sense of process. No improved understanding for the inquiring mind, as far as I can see. Just contested claims. Certainly no science.

The item of most value IMO is

Joye thinks it could take as long as next March, a year after the disaster began, before concrete answers begin to emerge.

presumably because that's when the peer-reviewed results will start to appear. Scientists work hard to develop new knowledge and dare not bypass the validating/corrective peer review step. They know that journal editors will reject their manuscripts if the info already has been released into the public domain without peer review).

Yet, until we see actual analysis of samples we won't know what is/was in the water and how it moved in space, got decomposed over time, sequestered, etc. What we do know from prior research is that dynamic processes are in play.

The HuffPo article suffers from terminal mis-framing at the outset. Either the oil is all gone or all present. Everyone hates uncertainty except scientists, who thrive on it. Both these contrasts are nonsense.

Completely missing, including from the interviews, is the reality that the released oil undergoes changes that matter enormously. The public doesn't seem to understand decomposition or organic chemistry, and this and other reporting we've seen doesn't attempt to bring readers along. Probably the reporters are not capable of doing so.

[Now I'm really grumpy, should go to sleep.]

'Nother tidbit:

Once BP's runaway Macondo well is killed, it will no longer be considered part of oil spill reponse and the Department of Interior will take over control of the well, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said in a briefing Wednesday afternoon.

The well's blowout preventer will be removed, and the well will be plugged and abandoned under standard procedures that the Department of Interior oversees, Allen said. ...

They can have a park ranger swing by there every couple of days and give it a look-see, pick up any trash, answer the occasional tourist question.

That's a reference to the MMS (now BOERM or whatever it's called) standard P&A process. Then the BOP will be removed under the watchful eye of the Marine Inquiry Board.

The briefing transcript is not up yet, but the audio is available.

Allen also spoke of the conditions that must be met before he transitions out as NIC, and responsibility for the followup transfers to others, which is likely to occur around the end of Sept/early October.
Conditions to be met include:
- the well is killed
- something about the completion of NOAA's oil surveys
- the completion of Sec. Mabus' Gulf restoration report - due late Sept - and identification of the person who will lead the restoration effort (this is the lucky person who will also hold future press briefings.)
- the establishment of the Gulf Coast Claims process/locations. (Allen met with Feinberg this am before he left DC)

As was expected, there were a lot of followup questions on the upcoming pressure test and what different results might mean. Joel Affenbach (WaPo?) was allowed numerous good followup questions.

My understanding ... in my non-oil techie words.

There are three possibilities for the presence of HCs in the annulus. The pressure test is designed to get more information on what that state is via determining if there is any remnant flow coming up the annulus, pressing against a possibly damaged seal at the top of the casing (that might have been breached or damaged sometime during the blowout.)

The three possible states and how the bottom kill would respond to each one:

- no HCs in the annulus. I assume this would mean the oil in the reservoir never blew through the original cement covering the reservoir and lower annulus. Presumably they would still fill the empty space with mud and cement "in an abundance of caution."

- some HCs in the annulus, flowing from the reservoir. Pump mud and cement to push HCs back into the reservoir and seal (the original bottom kill.)

- some stagnant HCs in the annulus, remnants of an old HC flow that is no longer active, cut off by the recent cement rising from the bottom of the casing during the static kill. They consider this a very low probability. BUT, if it turns out to be the case, they might, under this scenario, decide to leave the HCs in place rather than pump in mud&cement. There would be a concern that adding material to a closed system would increase pressure at the top of the well, possibly breaching the seal and moving HCs into the BOP. It sounded as if they are not worried so much about the risk of HCs' escaping into the environment - altho' Allen did note the pressure rating of the BOP - as much as they don't want to alter the condition of the BOP anymore before it is raised for inspection.

Many thanks, rainy.


The transcript is now available.

Good link rainy. See this link for a diagram of the seal assembly at the well head where the full string production casing is anchored. Shows the "There would be a concern that adding material to a closed system would increase pressure at the top of the well, possibly breaching the seal and moving HCs into the BOP"; as rainy says in last paragraph.


Experimental natural estuary decontamination--helpful oysters ordered "Out!" Oh, well....

It's my [virtual] drinkin' buddy! But gee, erain, this story's a bummer all around, huh? Ratz.


`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Indeedy, and mind you beware them frumious Bandersnatches out there today, awright, erain? So's we kin confer again when the sun's next o'er the yardarm . . .

More on the SERPENT project* mentioned in the last open thread (Here. Click the links - lots of great stuff, like this).

*Check out the squid @ 3:05

EDIT: Almost forgot. A while back someone (Lotus?) asked about training for ROV operators. The SERPENT site has a link to this seller of ROV simulatior / training software.

It runs on a regular PC, but it aint cheap ($695, $795, and $????). A demo is available, but only "to qualifying companies, organizations, schools and individuals," whatever that means.


Love the tripod fish - it looks like something pixar might come up with.

Okay, I'm floored. Where's SL? She ain't gonna believe it. How'd we get so old and never know from tripod feesh? Whoa!

lots of great stuff, like this

I'll say -- but gosh, who to root for?

ya' know, I've learned a lot on TOD the past 100+ days, and one of the most disturbing bits is just how crazy some of my fellow citizens are. And how many others are easily led astray when anxious.

Sure doesn't say much for the state of science education in this country.


I have a question. How did they clear the lines after they pumped the cement in?

Quant - they pumped another fluid behind the cmt. Not sure but I think they used some oil as a spacer with the 13.2 ppg drill mud behind it. The cmt was long cleared from the lines by the time they stopped pumping.

Seems Matt Simmons is dead of a heart attack. Of course the popular conspiracy theory is that he was silenced.
But a more likely possibility is that a bad heart was effecting his mental abilities.

Matt did not have a heart attack. He died of an accidental drowning.

His death was 'ruled' an accidental drowning. Barring a CSI moment, only God and possibly the soul of the deceased knows how he 'died'. Case closed. I am not a lawyer and this does not constitute legal advice.

The autopsy ruled out heart attack. We know that.

You sure about that? I am no ME (medical examiner) but would not something like 'congestive heart failure' sound more like what is on the report. I honestly cannot recall an ME saying 'heart attack'. Myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI) perhaps, but not heart attack.

Accidental is accidental.

It had nothing to do with a disease.

He had a heart disease and it was listed on the autopsy report just like any other disease he might have had that the state ME saw.

The disease was not listed as a cause of death.

Fair enough. It was not a 'heart attack' as would commonly be said, nor you or I. That just leaves the rest of the universe, assuming the autopsy is accurate.

It was a huge methane bubble. He sank like a ship in the Burmuda Triangle! ;)

Edit; sorry...bad humor

TFHG~I actually googled to see if I could find any statistics of how many tub and hot tub drowings were recorded, and plenty. Most were as I expected, people (and I raise my hand as guilty of this too) usually get in the hot tub to relax and when they add a drink to the mix the incidents skyrocket, I actually fell asleep once in my BF's hot tub after a few glasses of champagne, I woke up when my face hit the water and he grabbed me, that was my first theory and still is. Add in stress, and heart issues and it happens alot more than I ever thought. Let me see if I can find the link again, kind of an Occam's razor moment.

Also, I got home from work, grabbed a beer and headed out to the beach since the wind was so nice, damn - when I got there I was still in my sundress and received a free microdermabrasion (plus the tourist on the beach were flashed for a split second until I decided to head back in and put on pants)....hopefully they will recover from the traumatic experience LOL.

Have you got any strong wind yet? This was much stronger than Bonnie was even though it's already been downgraded.

To suggest that he died from drinking in the hot tub or falling asleep and for some unknown reason did not wake up like a normal person or that it had anything to do with a heart condition is just as bad as the people saying the CIA did it.

It is all speculation and the only thing we know for sure is he died from accidental drowning.

Really?? Thanks for your opinion, but I disagree. When you state someone murdered him and I've read many theories, electrocution, corexit in the water (no kidding), held him under water etc., and most of those would have left some foresnic evidence, and it's also an accusation of yet another conspiracy + assasination. My suggestion was a theory and yes it's based on speculation from finding many other incidents where it had been documented, and IMO that is a far cry fro, accusing someone of murder.

Also it's not illegal to my knowledge to have a drink in the hot tub, but murder is.

If I drank while I was in a hot tub, I would pass out. Seriously...
Then I guess I would drown after that.

He could have had other health problems too. Autopsies don't always pick up everything

Here is the study I was referring too, I emailed it to myself and am still trying to find how I found it to get the link:

Someone drowns in a tub nearly every day in America

An America...someone drowns nearly every day in a bathtub, hot tub or spa, and the deaths occur disproportionately in Western states, where victims often drink or take drugs while soaking in hot water.

Some rural areas, including New Mexico and Wyoming, report these unusual drownings at three times the national average, according to a Scripps Howard News Service study of federal mortality records from 1999 to 2003.

The study found 1,676 Americans were reported to have drowned in a tub during this five-year period, an average of 335 a year. Infants, very young children and the elderly are at risk, but more than half of all tub deaths are among able-bodied people between the ages of 5 and 64.
"You get into a hot tub to relax and you drink to relax. When you put those two things together, you get more than you bargain for," said Jonathan Howland, an epidemiologist at Boston University and a national expert on death by drowning. "The heat leads to dilation of the blood vessels, along with the alcohol. People are basically having a drop of blood pressure and having the equivalent of a faint," Howland said.

Tony Gomez, manager of the Injury and Violence Prevention Division at the Seattle Public Health Department, said in some years as many as 70 percent of all adult drownings in tubs and pools investigated by his department involved consumption of alcohol.

"What we hear from those that survive or those that witnessed a drowning with alcohol impaired swimmers (and) soakers is that they just fell asleep or went unconscious and slipped under the water," Gomez said.

I now have a cartoon image of some overweight, late middle aged guy in shorts. He has a towel over one arm and a drink in the other hand. He is staring, frustrated, at a hot tub through a safety fence like the child safety fences around swimming pools.


No wind, no rain, clouds and humidity. Weird, you are so close.

I know, it's amazing how different it can be when we are so close, but also the beaches.....for instance just west of the pier there is far more oil under the sand in layers, and here I have dug up about 4 holes ~4 ft deep and so did UWF last week at every crossover, and we didn't "see" any oil, where a few miles down the oil is visible when you dig down. Course you mentioned having brown mousse IIRC not too long ago, and it has been crystal clear here until the sargassum came back for another lil visit (arghh-I hate that stuff)went to work Monday after tow showers from my snorkeling trip and still had some in my hair LOL

My cousin, the author J. J. Growl, had this to say:

The only person who can say for sure what happened is the one who held Simmons' head under water until he stopped struggling...

While on the same email thread, a doctor friend at Johns Hopkins offered some medical advice:

Jerking off when vasodilated is not good!

If you go back to last nights thread I posted 4 video grabs to the left of the BOP that showed a plume appear. I have the video, but took the screen grabs and converted to B&W and enhanced the gray levels to show it better. This was from Scandi ROV that had been park off the floor at 100'. They have been keeping these feeds at low Rez quality. I merged the pix's to see all 4, L to R, L to R. Heading on the last bottom right is 4 degrees to the right of the 1st three. First 3 are 1 minute of time gone by time, last one is after 40 minutes after.
This happen at 19:20:00 hours Wednesday.

plume combo

What do you mean by plume?

I saw something that looked brown and hazy around a vertical pipe last night, but the resolution of the image was just too poor.

It did not appear to be an "undersea plume", but something from the piping.


Here is the color screen cap, this ROV is always keep away from the BOP, and with the lower rez, so hard to get better detail. It has been cloudy around the BOP since the kill, even when they move in to take a look at the BOP, seems the current never clears the cloud. Also at times you may have 2-3 ROV's at the BOP and 1-2 feeds only. Just seems after the kill, most of the video grade has taken quality dump. This cloud of whatever it is, at least 90' tall and a large moving cloud next to it, This can not be thruster wash.


I can't see anything in the pic.

Wish there were better quality ROV feeds. How about if BP collects Pay Pal donations to up the ante on their feeds.


In the color screen cap, that's not the BOP in the center, it's off the screen on the right side. So please don't tell me there's nothing there but clear blue water with no clouds.

The BOP is not 'off the screen on the right side', it's off the screen to the bottom. It's under the capping stack, which is the backlit thing in the color pic. It's big and white. You can see the bottom of the big white capping stack, and below that is the transition spool adapter thingie, and below that is the BOP.

Funny how the same scene viewed from a different ROV doesn't show the ominous cloudiness.

Up close, agree

I agree, the video feeds have been going down-hill fast... hardly worth watching any more...

I wonder what a water-sample around the BOP might yield?

Anyone know what this is? Looks like a leaky hose, pipe? Interesting camera angle...

The clouds are amphipods.
Little living creatures, swimming.

See amphipods.
See amphipods swarm.
Swarm amphipods.

Stretched grayscale to emphasize the darker tones. It's been like this five days since they pumped mud and cement. Occasionally the current blows it into a plume anchored a little north of the wellhead. Not lighting artifacts. Not silt stirred by amphipods or thrusters (waaay too tall a column). Not an artifact of low light imaging.

Er, about that big yellow thing bolted on the stack. Remember?

Any old theory will suffice. Thanks. Hoping to apologize, resign and retire just as soon as this little thing is cleared up. Glad I don't own a hot tub.

Hooray, daavery solved the puzzle. It's a harmless suction pile, does nothing, not connected to the BOP stack. Super duper. I'm a nitwit (again).

it is my belief, that over time, if something is natural and ongoing, the earth will create a structure that matches the event. that the release of energy will create an earth structure around it and that structure will have some type of formation that matches the energy. very similar to the structure life creates around its own living force. releasing energy forms structure, or structure forms around releasing energy.

if you are seeing things coming out of nothing but cracks, it is again, my opinion only, that you are witnessing something new on a geological scale. not necessarily due to a totally recent event, but recent in geological times.

Link below is to an NBC Nightly News on 8/11 report that says BP is rejecting booms they ordered on an ASAP basis as not meeting specs and not paying the manufacturers.

There are two sides to every story.

NBC also shows the BP commercial about how they are cleaning up the GOM so at least they are not influenced by advertisers bucks. Go figure


Roto-Rooter franchise convicted on grease-dumping charges; execs guilty of lesser crimes
By Gaines coworker Brendan Kirby.

I think it is significant because this was a federal jury in the impact area. What do you think?

Edit: How does only one man get convicted of conspiracy? This was also a Clean Water Act conviction of a manager and an executive, how often does that happen. THIS IS A MUST READ I THINK. New Orleans will be tougher on BP.

What I think is that a smarter company would have sold the grease to someone making biodiesel or else donated the grease to a local university bioenergy lab to make same (accompanied by a good-corporate-citizen press release).

Now THAT was a good laugh.

My wife and I were chit-chatting about this and that as I clicked on the OI2 ROV feed. I turned away from the computer screen to talk with her and she says "WTF was that???" (looking at the screen over my shoulder) I turned around and saw a man's face in the camera. Scared the crap out of both of us. Then realized the ROV was on deck.

Still chuckling over that one...

That happened to me too once. I also admired the nice clear view for a minute before realizing it was a view of the ship. Ha.

If anyone wants to get into heavy reading about methane hydrates in relation to temperature, take a look at this article. Scroll down to see what they have to say about the GOM hydrate situation (not related to the BP blowout). Interesting info although I'm having trouble applying it to this situation. I was intuitively wrong in an above comment. Believe it or not, shallower water is actually colder at sediment level than deep ocean water. Strange, huh?


Out of curiosity, what is this in the video? A hole in the seafloor, or a shadow? And are the black gobs consistent with oil?



Hard to say what this is, it's low resolution. But some of the black stuff can be seen falling back down, so it's probably not oil. My guess is silt and muck being blown out of a small depression by an ROV's thrusters.

Thx for the response. I have nothing to add since I'm not an expert.

I'd like to pose a question to this erudite online group. It might sound like doom-mongering but the question is this:

What could go wrong at this stage in the sealing?

In particular, I'm curious about all this talk of the (chuckle) annulus... What is that?

See the diagram at the top of the page for your second question.

I'm curious about all this talk of the (chuckle) annulus... What is that?

Take a cheap ballpoint pen, ideally the type made from clear plastic. The blue ink is contained in a narrow plastic tube. That tube is contained within the outer casing of the pen. The shape of the space between the inner tube and the outer case is annular, it is an annulus. Now poke your ballpoint pen deep into a large slab of modelling clay, wiggle it around a little. The narrow space between the outer case of the pen and the hole in the modelling clay is also annular.

An oil well is a bit bigger and drilling mud isn't blue.

An oil well can have many concentric annular spaces because there can be a drill pipe inside a production casing inside a liner inside a hole. The liner is also like a part-way extended telescope, there are annular spaces where the sections overlap, these annular spaces are closed off by a seal at each end.

Just my ¤0.02 worth.

Very nice comparison, RGB. Should relieve lots of noob confusion.

ps - At the moment the cmt pumped down the csg and then back up the annulus appears to have arrested the flow. The remaining question is whether there is a flow path up the annulus between the production csg and the series of lines. This path would lead directly to the well head/BOP. They seem to indicate that there's little no pressure at the well head and thus shows this annulus isn't open to the reservoir. The upper seal of this annulus could fail. This could be your worst case scenario. We could see oil flowing into the GOM as we saw earlier. But I suspect the chance of this is rather low. But this would be the prime reason to do the bottom cmt job with RW1: seal this annulus at the potential source. Even after this is done they still re-enter the well with drill pipe later and spot additional cmt plugs to add additional barriers against future flow. And to double up on that effort they'll probably leave a heavy fluid in the hole that would put sufficient back pressure on the reservoir to also prevent it from ever flowing again.

Hi rm, rainy,

I'd be pretty surprised if they managed to get much cement above the reservoir in the annulus in the recent job.

In a normal job the casing is not hung off during the cement job, and mud displaced from the annulus can escape out the top. In this case the casing hanger is set, so the cement will have simply pressured up the annulus and probably a fair bit escaped at the weakest point (the reservoir with it's low frac gradient). 

The production casing hanger does seem to have integrity; we apparently don't see pressure  at surface consistent with a communication route to the reservoir. And I would think that if the original cement job failed in the lower annulus and shoe it is likely very poor in the upper annulus and would provide such a route.

If they intersect the annulus some distance above the reservoir, and there are presently an open channel or two to the reservoir, they will probably lose some mud to the formation. But they have the advantage that any pumped cement may fill downwards and again leak to the reservoir, resulting in several hundred feet of slurry above the reservoir top.

It may of course leak off somewhere else in the open wellbore, and may again be a poor job. They may have to supplement with a squeeze via perforations during a later re-entry phase to be really sure, prior to setting further plugs higher in the casing itself.  But this would require drilling out most of the cement column they already have in place. Not a nice decision.


TRUST AGREEMENT dated as of August 6, 2010 (this “Agreement”) among (i) BP
EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION INC., a Delaware corporation (“BPEP”), as grantor
(together with any successor-in-interest thereto, the “Grantor”), (ii) JOHN S. MARTIN, JR., and
KENT D. SYVERUD, as individual trustees (each (together with any successor to such Trustee),
an “Individual Trustee” and, collectively (together with any successors to such Trustees), the
“Individual Trustees”) and (iii) CITIGROUP TRUST-DELAWARE, N.A., as corporate trustee
(together with any successor corporate trustee, the “Corporate Trustee” and together with the
Individual Trustees, each a “Trustee” and, collectively, the “Trustees”).


And so . . . ?

Just put it out there if anyone is interested. Read an article on Huffington about it and clicked the link. I suppose I could put a clip of the article here:

BP has managed to link the fate of its $20 billion oil spill victims compensation fund with its continued ability to pump oil from the Gulf of Mexico.

The voluntary trust agreement negotiated with the Department of Justice is not with the British-based multinational, or even with BP America, but with a fairly remote subsidiary, BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BPEC) -- a Delaware corporation that operates BP's Gulf oil leases.


Hmm, tiny, I don't think Dan Froomkin paused to check with either his brother and sister-in-law (my old law professors) or my friend the securities-law specialist about this one.

Thing is, what Dan's arguing makes not one whit of difference: Any criminal sanction that shut down its US leasing rights would bankrupt BP (or at least its American subsidiary). And since BP America would probably be the only part of BP liable anyway, its bankruptcy would kill the only source of payment for claims, escrowed or not. So, basically, BFD that they created a special-purpose subsidiary to hold the collateral. No one who wants these claims paid (including any arm of our government deciding what form sanctions should take) wants to bankrupt BP.

Seems the cleanest most honest way to do it would be to nationalize BP's assets and use the revenue to fund everything. We get rid of a bad player and reinforce the regulatory environment.

Maybe, greenfloyd, but I doubt you'll find, in either any of the three branches or the public at large, much interest in having our gummint become an oil company (or vicey-versy).

What I'm suggesting does not make "gummint" an oil company. It does replace the upper management, the corporate culture. Actual operation would be performed by other qualified operators, under direct government supervision. Although I do believe a state run oil company is in the future...

Although I do believe a state run oil company is in the future.,

Of course, when this new state run oil company causes a huge spill in another country, we can be absolutely sure that they will pony up for the costs and damages, and not hide behind sovereign immunity, and thus not pay a cent. Won't we?

State owned large corporations are the worst possible mix. You get the ability to make your own law, and a government that becomes beholden to the income derived. Accountability vanishes, chronic under-performance becomes entrenched, and absolutely nobody wins. Eventually you have to have the entity shot.

I think it would be safe to say that hell will freeze over before the US government nationalises a company. The recent bailouts got them uncomfortably close, and the only reason it went ahead was that there was a clear exit plan. Nationalising a company to ensure payment of damages is pretty much guaranteed to result in a lingering and costly disaster.

You also need to answer the fairness question. If say, the company is on the hook for 20G$, but their assets are reasonably valued at 40G$, what happens to the excess value? Do you just plug it into general revenue? Do you give the parent company 20G$ ? The former is simply theft. Pure and simple. The latter is lunacy.

Rule of law is one of the most basic points of our society. The ramifications of riding roughshod over the law always entails consequences that are vastly worse than any reason that might justify it. A society that prides itself upon these principles (and the US would have to be one of the proudest) damages itself deeply if it ignores them. The world notices. An executive branch that believes itself above the law is not a happy thing to witness. Gauntanamo Bay is not the USA's finest moment.

Francis - maybe but some NOC's are doing playing this game well. The Ecuador state owned oil company has been the single source of all oil field pollution for almost 20 years yet they have much of the world turned against Chevron for the problems documented on the ground today.

Gentlemen and ladies. We are coming full circle. I was doing research on state run oil companies and came across this report on the aljazeera (AKA I hate the West) network. Does not matter to me, in fact it made we want to read it even more. It turned out to be one of the best pieces on historical oil spills I have read recently.
It is all about Petrobras and the 2000 spill, and it did not seem biased to me. What say you? one comment had an updated picture of the Mangrove swamp that looked much better than the provided photo. Is there a growing resentment about Peak Oil in the Middle East? I would think they would just say, more profits for me. That is what I might say if I was from there.

Francis, I've been meaning to ask you to translate this "G$" abbreviation. I'm guessing it stands for "billion dollars," but because I've never seen it anywhere else, I'm not sure. What does the G denote?


Francis (my middle name IRL) I read your whole post and I will try to summarize. Let me know how I did. We need to be more responsible for our own lives. Whether at work or home. Trying to get the government to do it for us is costly and cannot succeed. Ask the Communists. We need to be more independent, not less. We have all the tools RIGHT NOW to deal with peak oil, we just CHOOSE not to do so. The only thing the government is good for on domestic policy at this point is taxation and redistribution, a model that cannot mitigate the peak oil situation. It would only exacerbate it.

Isn't BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BPEC) just a small part of the global BP profit structure?
Why do I have a creeping feeling that BP could let its U.S. oil exploration and production unit become a sacrificial liability lamb?

All the smart minds know that there is plenty of money to be made elsewhere in the other echelons of the energy business. Once you've got money, it's easy to make money.
"Beyond Petroleum" isn't just a slick marketing phrase:

BP diverse: http://www.bp.com/extendedsectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9&contentI...

Believe it or not, I do have a question regarding drilling fluids...I came across another article about the composition of the fluids. I'll link the article, just please don't blast me about the source, I find information where I can since most main stream media outlets are basically not reporting on it. In my mind it raises a valid concern so I'm presenting the information to you experts to clarify it for me.

Then there are the drilling fluids contaminating the seafloor near the wellhead. Euphemistically called muds, these heavy fluids are pumped into wells to keep the highly pressurized oil and gas from exploding upward. BP's drilling muds have been pouring out of the wellhead, along with 30,000 barrels added in its failed "top kill" and other efforts to plug the leak. Along with oil, methane, methanol, and Corexit, drilling fluids add their own frightening recipe to the disaster: arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, barite, fluoride, chrome lignosulfonate, vanadium, copper, aluminum, chromium, zinc, radionuclides, and other heavy metals. Relief wells require pumping thousands more barrels of drilling fluid into the reservoir, with all the same risks of explosion attending the original well. The EPA estimates these drilling fluids will pose a threat to the seafloor and surrounding waters for up to 40 years. Plus a recent study finds that oil spills create a whole new pathway for arsenic (pdf) pollution in the sea.


Edit: Also are drilling fluids ingredients proprietary information?

The trick with almost any analysis done (and we have seen posting about Corexit in a similar vein) is that a good laboratory analysis of almost anything you care to find will find lead, arsenic, copper, chromium, mercury and the like. The point is that these are not ingredients. They are contaminants. They contaminate everything in life, you, me, the soil, and the drilling mud.

The arsenic content of ordinary soil is of the order of 10 ppm. Rainwater leaches arsenic out of the ground, and has done for billions of years. This is why your drinking water has arsenic in it. And the mud being deposited into the GOM by the Mississippi pours arsenic in. Some bottled mineral waters have remarkable arsenic content. It isn't a nice metal, but it is part of our daily lives, and always has been.

It really goes on from here. Lead is not a lot different, mercury too. After all, most of us have mercury in our teeth. It isn't in the drilling mud as an ingredient, and any trace amounts are because it is pretty well impossible to find anything that isn't contaminated with these materials if you look hard enough. I would feel safe betting that the natural content of the sea-floor of the GOM has higher concentrations of some of these contaminants than the drilling mud.

Now some of the compounds on that list are ingredients in drilling mud. Barite for instance. Quietly including it in the list with the other metals taints it by association. However it is a remarkably inert and innocuous thing. If you have ever had a barium meal (for an X-Ray of your gastro-intestinal tract) you drank a cup of barite. About the worst thing it does to you is clog your guts up.

And so it goes. The list includes Aluminium!!! Get a grip guys! We use aluminium to defloculate drinking water, and treat poorly guts.

The answer is that, again, this is pseudo-science maskerading as the real thing.

Francis, thanks for this fine example of what Swift Loris and TheraP (et al.) were celebrating the other day: the breadth and depth of TOD's hive-mind, and how lucky we all are to have access to it!

These poor reporters (by necessity, generalists) so often lack the resources to evaluate what they get hold of. But here, just about any topic that comes up is gonna fall within one or more TODers' expertise, so within minutes, we're all benefitting from information we'd likely never run into on our own.

What a feast.

tiny: I believe the basic ingredients of drilling mud are bentonite and water. I am pretty sure it is the main ingredient in my kitty cat's litter box.

Quoting Julia Whitty of Mother Jones:

"Euphemistically called muds, these heavy fluids are pumped into wells..."


As a tyrannical client of the ad agency I worked for many years ago used to scribble angrily on copy he didn't like: "Bad wordage!"

Per Merriam-Webster: "euphemism: the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also the expression so substituted."

What's the offensive or unpleasant expression the writer wishes us to believe "mud" euphemizes, "disgusting poisonous glop"?

Use weasel words much, Julia?

Between this and the preposterously gratuitous quotation of the Acrobat Reader search prompt in the article by Nienaber that lotus analyzed, I'm foaming at the mouth. There ought to be a jail term imposed for such atrocious assaults on the use of language to convey information.

(Righteously high-fives Swift Loris, dang it!)

Here we go, SL: "1 - 2 - 3 - Ptui!"

Along those lines the Att General of Texas just files a suit against the feds over the "moratorium". We might see some more legal actions by the states over the unofficial moratorium of shallow water drilling also. The economic fall out of that shut down won't be felt for another couple of months or so but folks are starting to see it coming.

Can ROV’s inspect the DWH and see if a mud pump pulsation dampener relief valve was popped? Can they determine what standpipe manifold valves were closed or opened? The very high standpipe pressure before the blowout needs to be understood. Despite the hot fire, other clues to the Macondo blowout can still be found on DWH rig.

The DWH’s BOP definitely needs to be brought to the surface and examined. Remember when they cut the bent riser piece off ( it contained much flow information), and did not bring it to the surface for many weeks, and never did reveal to the public data on kink cross sectional area, holes in kink, pipes in kink, etc? The diesel fuel onboard DWH should be retrieved.

Best guess now is that main cause of blowout was not shutting in well sooner, but guesses (which BP likes) are not good enough. Hopefully the investigations will bring out the causes of the accident, like most all FAA accident investigations do. We need to know what caused the blowout, not to hang someone, but to make another one less likely.

My hat is off to all those who worked on stopping the flow, especially those aboard vessels floating in flammable hydrocarbons above the blowout. They could see and smell the danger. Their lives were at risk, and they knew it, just like the 9-11 firemen going up the stairs, or the DWH rig floor hands who knew they were in trouble, but did not run. We owe it to those 11 heroes to find out the causes of the blowout, and make safer needed offshore drilling/production operations.

todfan: Agreed. I often wonder how the injured survivors are coming along, as well. Hopefully, they are in good shape.

Has there been any comment about why dispersants are still being used over the wellhead if there is no oil leaking? The article does not state when the liaison was reached for comment, but the article is from August 10.


When reached for comment, Lt. Cmdr. Dale Vogelsang, liaison officer with the United State Coast Guard, told The Log he had contacted Unified Command and they had “confirmed” that dispersants were not being used in Florida waters.

“Dispersants are only being used over the wellhead in Louisiana,” Vogelsang said.

Hi, ruby. Dunno but I bet $5 that Vogelsang's talking about that small blowout just offshore Grand Isle (wasn't it?) the other day.

I don't know what different aircrafts look like. The photo at the top of the article states its a C-130, and it shows it spraying something. Then in the article it states:

Vogelsang also said Unified Command confirmed to him that C-130s have never been used to distribute dispersants, as they “typically use smaller aircraft.”

Maybe some else can tell.....

Perhaps the most relevant question here is if there is oil is being released from sizeable natural seeps, or from additional leakage from the well for whatever reason, we should be seeing this now at the surface. A few weeks ago after the capping procedure, photos were shown of clear seas with skimmers with little to do. Is this still the case? Does anyone have any data on this, or on how much oil is being/ has been skimmed in the last days since the cement job was carried out? That will surely show if there is a problem and indicate its size?

That said, one other thought on natural seeps. Perhaps whatever is going on down there was the cause of the circumstances that led to the blowout (technicalities and BP procedural issues aside) and any continued natural seepage does not have to be linked to the BP well or its capping. Wrong well, in the wrong place, at the wrong time? If this were true, then the interesting question is what will be done about it and how TPTB can distinguish effects of BPs spill and a natural problem that is ongoing anyway?

Since everyone seems to like deconstructing news articles this one should be fun for y'all:

Adm. Allen Confused - So, Now, Everybody Else is, Too


In actuality, this "static kill" did nothing that BP and Allen said it would do. Certainly the well is not dead or "static". It hasn't accelerated the relief well, but it has obscured the well's pressures, making it more difficult to kill. Hence, these new tests to figure out what's going on. BP and the government don't really have a clue where the 2,300 barrels of mud and 500 barrels of cement went. They originally claimed it all went down the casing and out to the reservoir. I would set the probability of that actually having happened at zero. Here's why: The positive test on the casing the night of the blowout was rock solid. The casing was good. It is possible that they may have collapsed the production casing during the blowout, but that would have been relatively high up in the wellbore, probably where they had displaced with seawater on the inside. If that happened, it would be communicated with the backside. In addition, at the bottom of the production casing is a float shoe, 134 feet of cement in the shoe track, then a float collar, then 2 cementing plugs with probably cement on top of those. Oh, and don't forget about the 3,000 feet of drill pipe hanging inside all of that. There is no way, unless that entire float assembly blew off, that they pumped down the casing and up the backside. On top of all that, there are HUGE lost circulation zones both below and above the reservoir. During drilling they lost 3,000 barrels of mud trying to drill that last section.