BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Is the Well Dead Already? - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6849.

Much of the focus of recent efforts at the Deepwater Horizon well site have been focussed on getting the relief well down to do a bottom kill of the well. However, in recent remarks the possibility has been raised that this may already have been done, and that the well is effectively dead already.

In his press conference on Wednesday, Admiral Allen noted, relative to the understanding of the conditions at the bottom of the Deepwater Well, that there may have been some communication (in other words a passage) from inside the production casing, out to the annulus outside the casing.

Following the cementing of the casing itself in the well last week and successful pressure test, we had discussion between the government science team and BP engineers, we believe there may be a chance that the cement that was forced down through the casing of the well entering the reservoir might have actually moved over and come back into the annulus which is the area outside the casing but inside the well bore.

We want to understand the condition of the annulus before we actually drill into it so we are working with BP right now to establish procedures to do a pressure test that will tell us whether or not there’s free communication between the annulus and the reservoir itself or there’s cement that actually works its way over there from the static kill.

He also noted

. . . Just to project out a little bit further for everybody’s information, once the well is killed, it is no longer a threat of discharge at that point it will no longer be considered part of the response to the oil spill per say because there won’t be any source of the oil.

In other words if the production casing passage is sealed, and the annulus is adequately sealed then the well is no longer a threat, and no longer part of the response activity. At that time the well moves into the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior and their regulations, which have been discussed here earlier, relating to the steps needed to abandon the well.

The problem that the Admiral relates to is actually in several parts. Let me try and explain them in a little detail. Firstly we will start, this time, at the bottom of the well, where the shoe sits that was meant to seal off the inside of the production casing. Very simply, at the end of the operations with the Deepwater Horizon, the bottom of the well might have looked a bit like this (which is definitely not to scale, but drawn just to illustrate some thoughts):

At the end of the drilling a plug of cement had been pushed down the production casing and out of the end so that it flowed back up the annulus several hundred feet. The well should have been plugged at the bottom.

We now know that there was a failure at the bottom, since all the cement that was injected went down the production casing. This means that there had to be a passage between the well and the oil-bearing sandstone. I show this as green and it has eroded a path through the cement down to the bottom of the casing and then up the inside of it to the BOP and thence to the Gulf.

Note there has to be a passage through the annulus to the sandstone from the central section of the production casing for the oil and gas to flow.

Now consider that in killing the well the cement was pumped down to the bottom of the casing and 200 barrels then went out into the annulus, and up into the oil-bearing sandstone. That may have been enough to totally seal the passages to the bottom of the casing as well as any erosion that had taken place eating upwards along the outside of the casing through the annulus to the top of the cement.

I wrote about that the other day, and as a reminder, this is what it may look like.

Now the original assumption had been that the leak was up through the annulus of cement to the Gap that I show – but that turned out not to be the case. And remember that this is 800 ft above the shoe we were just talking about.

So if the relief well intersects here it has to drill a fair way down to check on conditions at the bottom of the well, if the cement lining at this point has integrity. If there is no oil found here, which means there was no passage down to through the annulus (at this level, obviously there was at the bottom of the well) then as insurance they can inject cement back through the gap and annulus, but in reality the well is already dead.

However if that is the case, and they want to fill the annulus here with cement, they have to be careful. For the outer annulus up at the BOP is protected by a seal. The Admiral described the problem and solution.

The casing in which the drill bit and the well and the well pipe sits (hang) from the top of the well head. And then they kind of telescoped down to the smaller diameters. In that mechanism where they hang off the top of the well head, there was a seal and if enough pressure is applied from the annulus, this is outside the casing, on that seal it is meant to give way so it won’t cause damage to the well bore.

In other words it’s like a relief valve, and the seal which completely circles the casing at the top of the well if enough pressure is exerted will rise up and allow oil to flow. One of the theories was that somehow sometime during the explosion or what happened that that pipe was lifted up to allow that seal to be opened. It might have allowed oil to move up into the blow out preventer, it might have been the source of the hydrocarbons coming up other than the actual casing itself.

We don’t think that’s the case right now we think it’s seated where it should be but what we wouldn’t want to have happen is to start pumping mud and cement into the annulus at the bottom is filled with cement and you have stagnate oil there. And we increase the pressure as we’re doing that so that stagnate oil is forced up and that forces that seal to rise up open itself and go into the blow out preventer.

And as you know we restricted the pressure on the injectivity tests in the top kill to be less than 8,000 psi. The cap itself is rated at 10,000 psi and what we want to understand is we go ahead with the mud and the cement for the bottom kill is there any chance at all that that would force stagnate oil up to the point where it would lift that up again, open those seals, push that up into the blow out preventer and the capping stack and at some point erode, approach pressures that might be a concern to us.

We think it’s a very low probability outcome but the discussion of those seals and whether or not that pipe has ever been lifted is something that’s been discussed for some period of time. But we think we just need to rule it out before we go forward.

By the Thursday press conference, the storm had largely passed, the storm packer was being removed from the relief well, and a negative pressure test was being carried out at the top of the well, under the BOP, to ensure that the cement had no problems, and to see if with that lower pressure there was any flow out of the annulus. They are anticipating that once drilling restarts it will take 96 hours to intersect the annulus.

The science team believe that there is a “low probability” that the leaks through the annulus to the well were sealed by the cement injected during the static kill (which suggests they still believe there was a passage up to the gap at the top of the cement) but the results of the test may indicate whether they were right or wrong. However, as the Admiral noted,

I guess what I'm saying is if the cement is already there it would obviate the need to do the bottom kill because the cement from the top kill had worked its way into the annulus. That's what we're trying to find out.

The way that they are doing this is to lower the pressure above the hanger that the production casing rides on, so that the seals to the annulus open.

. . . lowering the pressure in the stack enough where it would raise those seals on the hangar which would allow oil to flow up and if there was communication with the reservoir we would see an increase in pressure.

That would tell us there is no cement in the annulus and we should proceed with the bottom kill. If for some reason the pressure stays level that would indicate that we have some kind of a static condition in the annulus and that would present the possibility that the cement had entered the annulus and we might either a full or a partial kill from the bottom accomplished with the static kill. . . . . . . .

What we hope we'll find out is there will be an immediate rise in pressure which will tell us there is hydrocarbons being pushed up from the reservoir and we should go ahead and proceed with the bottom kill.

It will be more problematic and quizzical if there is no discernible change in the pressure readings. That would indicate that the oil is being held in place and its' static. That won't tell us how much cement and to what extent the communication between the reservoir and the annulus may have been filled with the static kill.

And at that point there will have to be a determination made on whether or not we'll go ahead and proceed to drill in with the relief well and be prepared to go ahead and put the cement in. That will be a discussion that we'll have with the BP engineers when we know the results of the test.

That may still leave up to 1,000 barrels of oil trapped in the annulus, but this could be recovered during the plugging operation later in time, and under another jurisdiction. But the well would be dead, and no further steps, including intersecting the bottom, might be needed. But they will likely do that any way, just to be sure.

AOL reports "BP May Have Already Plugged Oil Well for Good" http://tinyurl.com/2vcumeb

See? I told you so!

BP or Allen never claimed the well is dead.

What BP has said is the flow path that was flowing oil that we all saw for 2 months has been identified and they have established 3 barriers to stopping the flow in that known flow path. They put a cap on top. In the middle there is weighted mud. At the bottom there is cement. So that flow path that was clearly the source of most of the pollution has been taken care of.

However that doesn't mean they said there are no other flow paths. They don't know very much about the condition of the space that surrounds the production casing. They don't know if this annulus is in communication with the oil producing formation. And they don't know if the annulus has any leaks elsewhere. So it is theoretically possible that there is a flow path from the reservoir to the annulus and if the annulus has a breach somewhere then it could be still flowing under the sea floor. It is also possible that any communication of the reservoir to annulus was plugged by recent cement job. And it is also possible that the original blowout was caused by a flow up the annulus that lifted the production casing and bypassed the seal at the top. If that is the case and since the seal and production casing now appear to be holding pressure that means that once the oil started flowing up the production casing from the bottom the top hanger and seal settled back down.

Any claim of "I told you so" at this point is idiotic with all this uncertainty still present.

It seems unlikely that there is now flow in the annulus. At any rate the RW should be able to kill the annulus, which is what they have been saying all along.

What seems to be the main concern at this point is not flow in the annulus but the opposite - that there is trapped gas and oil in the annulus. If the annulus is now a tightly closed container with light oil inside then when they intersect with the relief well it may experience a rather drastic pressure spike. The relief well at the bottom of its hole has more pressure than the reservoir (for obvious reasons) and if there is no way pressure can get out of the annulus there is the possibility that the relief well cutting into it could cause damage to the casing due to a sudden increase in pressure. If they determine this is a likely scenario Adm. Allen said yesterday there is a possibility they may not use the relief well at this time. I assume the relief well will remain poised to intersect if anything bad happens during plugging and abandon procedures.

They will be eventually doing a P&A which should include perforation of the production casing and plugging the annulus with cement. There will also be more cement plugs to the production casing.

Well, when I see the increasing amount of oil seeping from the seafloor I know that they are lying and twisting stories around. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV-DkVOX7qE&feature=player_embedded#!

Well, when I see people endlessly talking about the amount of oil seeping from the seafloor, I know they have not read these threads much. Here is a novel thought: Maybe there are other explanations for what you observe than "Lying and twisting stories around."

1) If they were lying, why would they provide that video feed for you to look at?
2) In the feed, you see another ROV, possibly what is causing the silt to be stirred up as it sits close by the bottom.
3) That isn't a seep. It's disturbed silt. No Gas, No Hydrates, No Clumps of oil.
4) Seeps are common and natural in the GOM Geology. They have been there for millennia.
5) Wells are dug near seeps because that pretty much guarantees success.

If you really want to be an independent thinker, look to all the other possibilities for what you are observing. Every whisp of smoke down there is not oil. There are also eels and fish too.

No, there is more to the story, 1:35 in the video below, as well as another smaller venting further in the video.


I specifically remember before they put on the " 3 ram capping-stack, that they expected to see some gas venting in the surrounding area. I also remember Ken Wells saying this gas was from a biogenic source. That video is not biogenic gas production. That is a rather large bubble of gas rising up through the mudline, breaking the surface, and being forced into a vortice by ambient pressure. I observed the same event several times when the cap was initially applied.

From what I have read and learned so far, although my edumacation is lacking....and I am dense too. If this has already been covered here please just point me in the right direction. I'm kind of like Waldo.

.......The hydrate stability zone only extends to around 1000' down.

.......Hydrates normally form in the mudline/stability zone because of contact with liquid (seawater)and temperature/pressure ( P/T )but also dependent on inhibitors to formation like salt and methanol.

......let's say that a flow of crude has found it's way from a lower level leak around the wellbore/wormhole/outer production casing/annulus/whatever..

.....let's also say that it has eroded a pathway through the solid lithofied layers of rock ,up through the mudstone, all the way up to the mudline.

.....the oil would cool down, the contraction of the cooling oil , and the reduction in pressure from vertical migration would allow gases to sublimate from the fluid.

.....normally, this gas would start to form hydrates as soon as P/T and seawater allowed it.( as it migrated upwards through the silt/mud )

.....however, ...we have all been watching various gases venting from the seafloor for almost 4 weeks now.

.....so...in the mud/silt...there's water for the hydrates to form...

......there's gas necessary to form hydrates........

......the pressure is conducive to hydrate formations.....

......what's missing from the equation here.....?

......Temperature's cool enough to allow hydrates to form...that's what's missing.

......not only temperature,....but over-saturation of gases in the mudline.

......since any leaking oil migrating through alternate channels would be rising against ambient pressure in the seafloor, it would be rising slowly.

......so my question after all that conjecture is :

Is crude oil building in a massive deposit under the mudline....?

Basically pooling under the mudline....?

I do not how only gases would be leaking form this well at any point of damage/escape....

Is it a physical impossibility for that to happen ?

Thanks again for your patience in answering my questions.

I would like to include a lil something extra too :)

Coltrane and Miles Davis : So What


" The scientist does not study nature because it is useful, he studies it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living . "

~ Henri

A couple of other questions:

How can you visually distinguish a bubble biogenic methane from a bubble of thermogenic methane? Gas is gas. I'll answer than one myself. You can't. But you can by chemical and isotopic analysis, which IIRC showed that the ROV sample had a biogenic signature.

If the gas turns into hydrates when it meets the water below the sea bed, how come it breaks out as bubbles?

I would venture to say that ALL methane under the seabed is biogenic methane. As far as I know there is no other kind. Increased temps don't produce a different kind of methane, they cause biogenic methane held in the form of hydrates to destabilize, i.e., produce gas. The fact that methane escapes as gas assumes a thermal increase caused by 'something' that warms the sediment enough to allow hydrates to destabilize. After it enters the seawater it dissolves in the water and eventually is released to the atmosphere. I think perhaps you're thinking of oil seeps that have a hydrocarbon signiture. Most natural methane seeps come from deep ocean vents. The temps closer to the core of the earth are higher and the vents become like heat funnels, warming cathrate deposits that release gas. I've spent a lot of time looking for photos of "natural" methane seeps. There aren't any that I can find, only in cases where temps are higher for one reason or another. There is plenty of methane in gas form around oil deposits (hot) which can be released by drilling, as unfortunately evidenced by the DWH catastrophe.

What was being discussed originally were small bubbles coming up very near the wellhead at the time the sealing cap was installed. It was conjectured and then confirmed that the bubbles were from natural bio-digestion happening in the mudline. They had an ROV take a sample an analyzed it topside. It was confirmed that the bubbles were methane from bio-digestion happening in the mud. This is determined by isotope ratios as I recall.

With the "marine snow," natural microbes in the mud and nutrients flowing out of the Mississippi, the mud is very biologically active. Microbes and even larger fauna digest stuff and produce methane as a by-product of digestion (just like us ;-).

Totally normal natural process. This was checked out immediately when there was some concern about a possible shallow leak in the casing. Turned out to be a false alarm.

bb, thanks for that info. Coincidentally, I just watched a video (put on the web by Higgins, argh) showing about three or four places that are bubbling within a couple feet of the stack. It's good to know they checked it out and that that bubbling is harmless. (My problem is whether to believe them or not). The ROVs sure have been busy monitoring the seafloor at some distance from the well-head for quite a long time now. Doesn't seem to me they would be doing so much of that if things weren't 'developing' in one way or another.

"ALL methane under the seabed is biogenic methane".

Incorrect. Most of the methane deep under the sea bed (e.g. that produced from the Rigel gas well) is thermogenic - formed as kerogen (organic matter in the sediments) is exposed to heat. If the organic matter is coal it goes straight to gas. If it's oil-prone, it goes to oil first, but if the organic matter, or any expelled oil, gets hot enough it cracks into gas and bitumen, just like in an oil refinery. Some of that can seep to the surface, in the same way as the oil does. As an added complication, if the oil hangs around in a cool enough environment, it gets biodegraged and the gas produced can look biogenic on isotopes, but it is not from recent near-surface organic debris.

Methane is also produced at shallow depths direct from decaying organic matter. My suspicion is that large hydrate accumulations are thermogenic because they often cap mobile gas below, which is why they are a shallow drilling hazard. There is a chicken and egg situation about getting a large cap of hydrate in place by slow decay - as opposed to small, discontinuous chunks. Much easier if a deep source leaks thousands or millions of years worth of methane which hits the cold water in a rush and freezes.

The only things that makes me question the origin of the gas are: the characteristics of what I observed in that release, compared to all of the other videos on natural methane seeps, those of which are from footage pre-Horizon. Normal natural releases of methane are released as bubbles in a fairly steady stream. Not one of any of the videos I have watched of natural events have I seen a large release like that...that's all I am saying about that video . The gas content in the oil in the chemical analysis showing <20ppms methanol, 1800ppms nitrogen, >1 ppms H2S . Maybe I don't understand , but don't those 3 different things reveal some possibilities ..? I know nitrogen is naturally found in some quantity in crude oil, but I also know it's used in drilling mud in underbalanced drilling, which is one great way to avoid what's called "differential sticking", which is where the drill head can " stick " to the bore wall because of underbalanced pressure in the bore, and become almost impossible to remove, sometimes causing boreholes to collapse...necessitating severing. ..then there's the fact that nitrogen hydrates are possible, not just methane hydrates, all hydrates dissociate at a disproportionate ratio in the presence of methanol, but also according to P/T gradients.As well there is the question that has yet to answered for me, at least, which is why the lighting has been changed so many times to different spectrums.?

The more I learn, the more questions I have, although I keep in mind something a friend sent me yesterday.

" Remember not to let yourself become jaded when all the misapplications of the science are weighed in. It is the application of the science when inappropriate or the lack of application of the science when it is appropriate that causes distress in the reasonable man."


"Normal natural releases of methane are released as bubbles in a fairly steady stream"

I think you're right, judging from the deep vent releases I've seen. I think a lot of the stuff coming out with the gas here is sediment. You don't see that in a natural release because it's been going on for a very long time and all of the sediment has been washed out by the gas movement.

I wouldn't compare deep vents with a seep or a leak. Entirely different structure, pressure and temperature. A totally different thing.

Thanks all for the insightful answers, I know you guys have probably been answering the same questions for 3 months now.

" Preliminary Evaluation of In-Place Gas Hydrate Resources:
Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf "

" The rationale is that, if there is sufficient methane
flux to vent methane to the seafloor surface (in gas and/or solid phases), the available pore volume must be fully saturated, and, if biogenic gas is not available to completely saturate the section, thermogenic gas is available to do so. "

Great link here, but I also have many more if anybody wants them.


Originally for me , the confusion was because the terms of biogenic, methogenic, & chemosynthetic have been used rather loosely in a fair amount of the literature I have come across.( That's about 8-10 hours a day , 7 days a week reading and studying many of these topics ) Than there was petrogenic and thermogenic gas as well. Phew..

I did not find and have not found any studies showing natural hydrate formations in any alarming amounts in the Mississippi Canyon area.



As far as it being thermogenic gas that is migrating, the only reason I could imagine this as a possibility, is because of where the borehole is located in relation to natural fractures/fissures in the deepwater G.o.M. ( map 3 )


Here's a great site about salt tectonics

Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Porto, Portugal


So regardless of the source/s of this gas we see, I am still curious. There were no ROV's looking for gas seeps on the ocean floor before the " cap " was installed. I do not understand why BP would be scouring the ocean floor for venting, when natural occurrences are inconsequential as many say. I find it very difficult to believe that the sinking of the platform with the riser still attached, did not damage the wellbore and it's structure in some way. I do not fall prey to the " giant methane bubble theory ", but I do tend to examine track records in terms of honesty, and there has been little bit of wobbling and flip-flopping surrounding this event until recently.There is still the question of the changing of lighting, I have started to see ROV videos that people are running through various filters that supposedly reveal things not normally seen, ie: venting of gases suspended in much finer size bubbles, but I do not know how much truth there is to any of this.

Don Ho: Tiny Bubbles


...and yes, there were blueberries( high-bush). Enough to pull the branches down and eat them straight off the twigs... until I bit down on a stinkbug. Yech.

It's nice to see someone here who's doing some significant gathering of information.

Too many people are throwing around wild theories, allegations, conspiracies, speculation, stealth sources of information about motivation, etc..

I've been pretty critical of BP too, but I'm not quite prepared to attribute Jesus's crucifixion to them yet, although it wouldn't surprise me to hear that sometime (I hope I don't get cited as the source).

Thanks for your diligence.

Isaac, re: "There were no ROV's looking for gas seeps on the ocean floor before the " cap " was installed."

Maybe they had other things to do? Maybe it's Thad who's ordering the activity not BP? Maybe, with the well not flowing, there is an over-abundance of caution and people have the luxury of considering thousand-to-one or even million-to-one possibilities if they represent a bad outcome? Maybe they're looking for crabs to entertain the ROV watchers? If it is a long-lived natural seep, there's probably a chemosynthetic community there which would attract hungry critters as there's not a lot to eat in the deep sea. Hence everything moves slow and the crab-eel vid had to be speeded up.

I'd be pleased to think people are considering even long shots before making a move. But I wouldn't lose sleep about them coming true, any more than I would about having my house struck by lightning, even if I was cautious enough to fit a lightning rod just in case.

Hi Isaac,

I didn't get back to you after your very kind posting of the oil analysis data a few threads back.

What you have there is part of a crude 'assay' which is a type of analysis performed to look at impurities in the oil and properties of the distillates - this is of interest to process engineers, buyers and ultimately refineries.

There are other analyses that are normally made too which are more focussed on the hydrocarbon composition of the oil, and the way it behaves in the reservoir, wellbore and surface facilities.

The problem with your assay is that it looks like its on a sample that has been recovered from the spilled fluids rather than on a properly taken sample from the surface vessels. What makes me think this is that the density of the fluid is very low (23.5 API gravity). This is lower than the 38 API reported for the produced fluids and suggests weathering and removal of the light ends. It was also commissioned by Aaron Oil which appears to be an oil spill response company.

After being flashed to ambient at the sea bed, floated to the surface, washed around in the surf and then collected in some way, I fear the results may not be very representative of the whole crude. Nevertheless I see nothing that stands out in the numbers presented; levels of metals and other key impurities look quite normal.

Thank you for that, BigNerd, I was wondering if the API gravity is different in a reservoir/deposit/etc, but then I just thought to myself.."... duh " ( deep thoughts today ) Thanks again.


Biogenic gas can be distinguished from thermogenic gas. I'm not an expert in this field, but I believe it's done by isotope ratios. Regards.

I agree with you completely. Check out the drawing that HO posted showing oil escaping from the casing into the rock at the bottom of the well. The oil is hot in the well and probably still warm enough as it makes its way through the rock to warm the hydrates either at sea level or possibly pressurizes the gas at lower levels. I wonder if this is no big problem, hence BP's and Allen's lack of mention. This amount of methane production, although it would be an added toxin to the Gulf at the moment, possibly isn't of huge concern since it will eventually be released to the atmosphere and the oil reservoir, in the worst case, will eventually release all of its hot oil. A brighter scenario would be for the final steps at shutting the well to include stopping the casing leak. Maybe an oil expert can speak to that.

Question for oil experts: Is oil coming out of the well hot at rig level? Really hot or just warm? Also, last sentence in last paragraph.

To all of the dedicated ROV watchers:

This is the first YouTube or live video I've seen that is NOT thruster-caused mud blows or wafting sediment. Something appears to be venting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV3U_r2gMAg&feature=player_embedded does show something seeping from the sea floor.

First, does anyone have the coordinates of this location? How far is it from the wellhead?

Does anyone know if this is the seep that was reported several weeks ago but later determined to not the related to the Macondo well?

Based on my past work on natural seeps this video does have some similarities to a natural seep, particularly its intermittent nature. However, it also has differences too. Note that in my past work we DID NOT look at natural seeps at this depth or in this type of loosely-consolidated bottom so I don't have a complete frame of reference.

Something is venting but I wouldn't make any further assumptions just yet.

To the newbies and CT folks here, any place where you find HC in any quantity, you will likely find natural seeps, on land or under water. The GOM is rich in natural seeps. One source, http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10388&page=191, puts the seepage estimate from 80,000 to 200,000 ton of HC per year are put into the GOM alone. Natural seeps are common any place where you would drill for oil.

To restate, I don't know if this is or is not a natural seep. It could be a natural seep or it could be something else. IMHO, the place to start looking into this further is to try to correlate its position with any past reports. Also, its distance from the wellhead could provide some indication if it is likely associated with the Macondo well since some of the 2D surveys are apparently public.

That's the one that has been goin' on all day.Someone is saying now that the feed has been cropped so you can't see it and I say it hasn't.They even said the ROV moved.

My assumption for now is that the video has not be manipulated. Worth checking into though.

BTW, the YouTube link I posted was the same on posted by Isaacnd200. I was replying to his comment.

Oh, bbfellow, you finally make me smile. This is the sort of thing I've been seeing for a very long time. Not just one, but many at one time. Also, please see my comments above. It is my contention that methane seeps are not natural at this ocean depth. The hydrates have to be warmed by something, usually oil drilling or deep ocean vents, to destabilize. What the GOM has is a huge amount of methane hydrates and underseafloor methane reservoirs. I don't believe it has methane seeps since the conditions for that are simply not in existance. Perhaps methane bubbles exit the seafloor at a slow rate from methane reservoirs? Hmmm. I couldn't find any photos of such.

I've also seen on the Discovery Channel when they have a Devil's Triangle show that sometimes they have a simulation of a methane bubble. They say that there have been methane bubbles that could possibly cause a ship to capsize. That is a credible channel as far as I know.I'm not one to take it one way or the other unless I see proof first hand.What do you call them? Skeptics?

bpshareholder (edited),

I think that kind of big methane bubble has to come from a reservoir. I doubt that is the case here. If there were only one discharge point that was getting really big, then I would be worried. There are many small ones here. I think this is an example of sediment level methane hydrates destabilizing as hot oil leaking from the oil reservoir is heating up the seabed.

That's what I think. What we are seeing is sediment stirred with it.

It was something else in the Discovery Channel conjecture.

Again, don't get too hung up on your hot oil conjecture. There just isn't that much thermal energy to disassociate hydrates except in a very localized area around a pipeline or riser (even a big one.) As I suggested yesterday, calculate the BTUs required to heat that much mass (of water and sea floor) and you will see there just isn't enough heat in “hot” oil (approx. 200F as I recall) to do it except in a localized area.

It takes a lot of BTUs for hot oil to heat that much bottom mass and the mass of water above it.

The Discovery Channel conjecture (I saw that episode too), was talking about the mechanical disturbance of an undersea landslide first uncovering and then mechanically disassociating a large volume of hydrates in a single event.

One of the links you posted yourself last night discussed this (mechanical disturbances). See http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/oil-gas/FutureSupply/MethaneHydrate...

BTW, before the CT "methane bubble" crowd latches onto this, the methane released was conjectured to be large enough to disrupt the buoyancy of a ship but not "huge" like has been discussed wiping out New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf.


But if not hot oil, then what? The hot oil theory is the only relatively 'unalarming' theory I can come up with. Either the hydrates are warming up (or the pressure is decreasing, which it isn't). There's no other way for hydrates to destabilize. If you don't assume this scenario then you're talking gas reservoir. That's pretty darn scary. And no reason I can think of for such a reservoir to leak in such a way.

About that landslide, 10,000 years ago, right???

Note that my comment at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6846#comment-701065 was directed to the Discovery Channel scenario.

The conjecture of mechanical disturbances theorizes that they happen every day somewhere in the world (yes, even now). Hydrates are common and the topology exists for landslides in lots of places. As I recall (I read about this years ago so working with only what I remember), the landslide and resulting hydrate blow leaves a very characteristic pattern (a signature) in the sea floor and they have looked and found lots of these. They are not always big. Again, as I recall, the exposed hydate blow could be only several cubic yards and still leave a lasting (short term anyway) "divot" in the sea floor (along with the landslide itself) that could be found.

Actually, a reservoir could NOT produce enough volume in a short period of time (seconds) in the Discovery Channel scenario. Had to be something much larger and almost "instant on" (almost instant off too). That's the reason for the landslide theory.

I wasn't suggesting that this mechanism was happening at the Macondo well (no sea floor ridge to cause a landslide), just the Discovery Channel scenario.

My own conjecture (and it is just conjecture) is that the video shows a natural seep. Note that the seep would not come from the Macondo reservoir but another one that is much shallower. There are many HC reservoirs underground at various depths. Many aren't commercially viable and get bypassed for drilling, but can produce seeps. In my study, almost all of the seeps came from very shallow small reservoirs.

Part of my conjecture is based on an additional conjecture that this venting isn't very close to the wellhead. IMO, any leak from the well casing would be expressed on the bottom relatively close to the wellhead; say less than a hundred feet or so (maybe slightly further).

I just don't see a mechanism (including hot oil) that would produce a hydate disassociation and it looks much too large to be bio-digestion gas.

If the seep isn't from a casing leak or another scenarion, then what is it? Next most likely scenario, IMO, is a natural seep totally unrelated to the Macondo well.

Note, my conjecture is way too early and has much too little data for it to be anything but the most rank raw speculation. Take it for only what it is intended.

Could be spilled/sprayed methanol and other chemicals spread around during the three months of subsea ops are dissociating hydrates as they seep into the sea bed or it gets churned up by ROVs?

There's a reason methanol is used to prevent hydrates forming in pipework -it lowers their freezing point.

This video is the first one I’ve seen. MTW, I’m referring to the vent (jet) itself, not the background smoke (that still looks sediments to me).

IMO, I wouldn’t get too hung up on hydrates being the only vector for a seep (natural or otherwise). You might look to the physics of the formation of hydrates to begin with. Methane doesn't necessarily form always form hydrates in water even at depth. For instance, most of the methane released from under the cap weeks ago did not form hydrates.

Certainly, there are hydrates in the GOM but there is a darn lot of methane too.

As to pure methane seeps, I cannot comment. The study I participated in was specifically looking at oil seeps because of the remote sensing technique we used to find them). Actually we weren't studying the seeps themselves but the biologic life and ecology that develops or exists around them (flora and fauna).

A certain amount of methane is often present in oil when it is released in a seep (some more, some less).

As to a "pure" methane seep (i.e. methane seeping without an oil component), I've never seen one but our technique for finding seeps (looking for the resulting oil slick and working backwards) would not have located any anyway.

Perhaps a geologist could comment.

Thanks, bb (may I call you that?). You said, " For instance, most of the methane released from under the cap weeks ago did not form hydrates." I believe that's because BP was providing heat to keep the cap from forming hydrates and clogging up the works. Right? Didn't the first cap get clogged with hydrates? Or at least it was a known problem.

I was talking about once the cap overflowed and the methane was in the open ocean.

Look up the physics and chemistry of hydrate formation.

Sure, you can even call me "b" ;-)


I don't know anything for certain here, but I assume the methane released from the cap into the ocean was almost instantly dissolved in the seawater through the pressure of the release. That's just a guess.

nepeta, BP used a combination of heat and chemicals to prevent hydrate formation while they were getting the cap cranked up. They started with the HC flow choked down to a rate where hydrates could form inside the cap. They were never concerned about hydrates forming in the flow above the cap--that wouldn't matter.

I read an account of an experiment in Norway where they released oil and gas at depth (800m). They said no hydrates formed in the plume, even though the water was cold enough. The explanation was that hydrates only start forming when the cold water is saturated with methane, but the rising methane had plenty of fresh seawater to dissolve in, so the saturation point wasn't reached.

Thanks, Gobbet. That's what I would have assumed. But this sentence of yours: "They started with the HC flow choked down to a rate where hydrates could form inside the cap." Did you really mean to say "could form inside the cap?" And I agree with you about them not caring what happened to the methane outside the cap. It dissolves in the seawater and that's why the methane concentrations have been so high in the water column.

Would form inside the cap if there was enough gas to saturate the cold water and not enough HC flow to warm it above the critical temperature. Hydrates did form on the bottom of a service module that was hanging above the top hat. Maybe it slowed the flow enough to allow saturation to occur just there.

bbfellow said :
"As to a "pure" methane seep (i.e. methane seeping without an oil component), I've never seen one but our technique for finding seeps (looking for the resulting oil slick and working backwards) would not have located any anyway."
Hello bb - there is a pure methane seep in the north sea, leaking for 20 years now.
1990 Mobile Oil (now Exxon Mobile) drilled for oil when they pierced through a methan layer.
This caused a blowout and a crater of 15 meter.
Ca. 1000 liter per second of nearly pure methane is seeping out of the crater since then.

Sorry - link is in german :

It´s difficult to find pictures of the seep. Here are a few pictures when you go to 2´15 in the video :


The US Department of Energy is spending many millions of dollars to study hydrocarbon gas seeps and related phenomenon in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The Department of Energy's National Technology Energy Lab website offers a large body of research dedicated to the phenomenon in the The National Methane Hydrates R&D Program section of the website. The projects page is interesting.

This 2002 study funded by Exxon and titled, "Hydrocarbon Systems Analysis of the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Delineation of Hydrocarbon Migration Pathways Using Seeps and Seismic Imaging" explains one way scientists can determine the origin of hydrocarbons that seep from the sea floor.

Excellent resource, thank you.

Me-tooing what snakehead said, pcw.

pcwick - in your link about "projects" I found an interesting sentence :

"At the water depths of interest, it is extremely difficult to generate seismic signals in a frequency band applicable for studying hydrates, which are generally located within the upper 700 meters of sediments."

My theory is still, that BP has drilled through an MH-layer and the upcoming hot oil has melted this methan.
And if you take a look in the projects, you find, that BP has not a strong foot in the door of the MH business.
May be, they had known about lots of methan can also been found in Macondo.
May be, they wanted the oil production first and then the MH production ?!

It's a leak from one of the hoses in the bottom left corner. If you watch the foreground carefully you can see it.


Intesting. Any idea as to what these hoses/cables are?

Also, any coordinates on the location.

I can't read the coordinates of the live feeds from Ocean Intervention III - ROV2 from the real-time because of the lighted mud bottom behind where the coordinates are displayed obscures the numbers.

Therefore, I tried another approach. I just check the real-time ship location of the Ocean Intervention III itself and it is approximately 600 meters northwest of the Q4000 (assumed wellhead location).

Having the coordinates of the ROV itself would be more accurate but based on the host-ship location, Ocean Intervention III - ROV2 doesn't appear to be close to the wellhead.

Anybody have better information?

IMVHO, the further this venting event is away from the wellhead, the less likely it is to be related to a casing leak at the well.

I know little about geology but from what I have read while lurking here is that this is a very long distance laterally for a leak to migrate through this type of geology.

Please, someone better informed please correct me.

bb, Since no one responded to your question, I'll just say that I think your point is well-taken. Can you tell me how far away from the well-head these videos are taken? I don't have a clue.

I've checked Ocean Intervention III - ROV 2 off and on through the day and haven't seen much activity or any more venting. Even if something happened while I wasn't looking, this is very intermittent and doesn't seem to behave like a seep. The proximity to the hoses (cable?) bears some looking into.

They are parked here for a reason but it's anybody's guess as to why.

I've got no explanation of what this was/is. BTW, unclassifiable events happen all the time.

For myself, I'm closing the book on this unless new info pops up.

bb, Your link describes oil seeps, not methane discharges. I was quite aware that there were oil seeps all over the GOM. From what I've seen online, oil seeps tend to be black and thick. That isn't what we're seeing on the videos, although there are some areas that are black on the seafloor. It looks like oil, but I can't make a determination on that. Methane leaks are more rare because they require either an increase in temperature or a decrease in pressure.
I agree that organisms that feed in the seabed would produce methane, but then you have to assume that the seafloor has always looked like this (which it hasn't) and that anywhere there's seabed sediment you would see this sort of methane discharge, and I don't think that's the case.

"...then you have to assume that the seafloor has always looked like this (which it hasn't) and that anywhere there's seabed sediment you would see this sort of methane discharge, and I don't think that's the case."

And the evidence for these conclusions is what?

The ROV videos of the seafloor before the static kill showed few or no discharges. It was a quiet seafloor while they were doing sonar scans and other sorts of seabed tests. After the static kill, the seafloor became a boiling soup. Also, if seabed organisms which dwell or eat in the sediment are producing these methane discharges, then every inch of seabed in the GOM at the same depth and with a similar biological environment should look just like this seabed. It is an assumption on my part that this is not the case. I believe that direct observation is one of the tools included in the scientific method.

I love to speak with a sense of authority. Unfortunately that's often when I get into corners I don't like.

Statements (let alone assumptions), no matter how authoritative they sound, are not the same as evidence.

I don't like to speak with a sense of authority. In fact, I don't like authority in any of its guises. Also, my use of the word 'assume,' on this website at least, is an attempt at humility. If direct observation of a change in the appearance of an object, a person, a sensor, a seascape isn't evidence of something happening (changing), then I pity scientists who use direct observation as a tool in proving their theories. I guess the reason science, at least physics, is so difficult these days is that direct observation at the astrophysical or submolecular levels has become almost impossible and other methods of observing must be designed and depended on.

I would agree that direct observation, when there is neither complexity nor ambiguity, is a very useful tool. But for the ability of direct observation to be useful, we have to focus our attention on a very few, and preferably only one variable.

AS we have seen in this discussion there are an enormous volume of variables which potentially come into play in the events and environment upon which we are focusing with the direct observations in question, for example:

Images we see are in 2 dimensions when we are accustomed to 3 dimensional vision.

The lighting we are seeing is artificial, and often from multiple sources.

The images are often obscured by the suspended contents of the water through which we are looking.

It is possible that the whole area around the well site has had so many ROVs and other equipment, traversing it, settling into it, disturbing it with propellor or impeller wash, being pulled from it, etc. that it would be a miracle if there were a few square feet which are totally undisturbed.

There is the factor of all that mud which spewed from the well during the dynamic top kill attempt. It had to come to rest somewhere.

We have had opportunities to view the activities of crabs, eels, amphipods, sharks, etc. who are either on the bottom or in close proximity to it, and thus stirring it up.

It is conceivable to me (although thus far no one has had an opportunity to respond to my inquiry regarding that, that the sonar surveys that have been conducted, depending on the equipment that has been used in each case, could have generated significant disturbance in the silt via their transducers and other means by which they generate the impulse upon whose returns they are dependent for information.

If you have been able to account for half of that short list of variables, I would be very surprised, and in the apparent absence of clear criteria (so far as I am aware) that would demarcate what you believe you see, I, if I were in your shoes would have a hard time drawing any conclusion, even as a hypothesis.

I'll grant you that i have an advantage over some people, because I am acutely aware of how subjective direct observation can be, and how challenging it can be to adjust for either physical or experiential viewpoint. Need I cite the number of controversies that routinely arise among experts in making certain calls in the sporting venues even though they are witnessed in person, and involve relatively few variables?

I have no quibble about asking questions, although it would probably be helpful if more people, including myself, were to do a bit more investigation before asking them.

I do challenge the ability of rank amateurs in this field (including myself) to make sound interpretations of what they see, or what should be done, or what images prove, or any other assumptions, declarations, statements, implications, etc. about much of anything going on here without presenting solid and irrefutable evidence to support their comments.

David, you're cracking me up. I'm tempted to ask how much BP is paying you to be here muddying the waters, an apt metaphor, huh?

Just a few quick answers to your questions. Looks like fun:

1) Images in 2 dimensions. Books, TV, photographs, paintings. We're not THAT unused to viewing things in 2-D.

2) Artificial lighting. You're kidding. You don't use artificial lighting at night?

3) Obscured images. That's for sure and they're getting worse. On a foggy night, even though you can barely make out the street edges that you're driving on, do you give up? No. Having driven the street many times, being familiar with the curves, the potholes, etc., allows you to navigate safely home. Same with the videos. Once you're familiar with the unobscured sight it's easier to decipher the obscured one. Of course, not if the fog completely blocks one's vision.

4) ROVs, mud. We're not talking about things that have come to 'rest' on the seafloor, we're talking about something coming OUT of the seafloor in a defined stream. I needed a lot of instruction on ROV thruster activity and resultant sediment storms in the beginning. Now I automatically exclude any image that could possibly be ROV thruster interference from the get-go.

5) None of the animals you mention produce streams of sediment, and dare I say it, methane, coming out of the ocean floor. We're not talking about 'stirring up' the ocean floor. I see things that are much more defined than that.

6) Sonar impulses. I rather doubt that sound waves, no matter what magnitude, would disturb anything in the ocean floor as they're reflected back to the machine. If so, there are a lot of patients who receive sonagrams that are in big trouble.

Thanks, that was fun. For the rest, direct observation of people or animals is a lot trickier than observing nonliving things. Some people cry when they're happy. Other people laugh when they're sad (I'm one of those). I'm a gardener. You're telling me that when I see wilted leaves, I should not 'assume' that the plants need water? You're right, they could have a disease that is causing them to wilt, or a fungus, or maybe an animal has chewed on the root or stem, but the first natural assumption is that the plant needs water and that assumption is correct 99% of the time. If one had to seriously consider and contend each and every variable in any circumstance in our lives, we would become paralyzed and unable to act. That's it.

Edit: Withdrawn:

Syncro very kindly challenged my methods.

Thanks Syncro. You do good work.

Hey, it's easy!

Until the next time I put my foot in my mouth, that is.

I'll post these here too since you replied in two places:

Check the footnotes/references. Some of the definitive works on the subject. Don't know if you will find the info you want on methane though.

bb, was your comment to me? I have to go back over this thread and carefully check out sources given to me. I'm pretty sure I got yours already. If I can't find it, I'll let you know.

Isaac - yes, yes, yes! Those are some of our real questions. You've done some of us a service by presenting them coherently. Hooray for you. Also - thanks for the early Coltrane & Miles video...Miles was always so coherent in his phrasing. Loved it.

this isn't disturbed silt or even a "seep"


It's definitly venting something.

Watch the video around 2:00 and tell me that is biogenic gas or propwash from an ROV. Maybe I am truly dense, but I think Stevie Wonder could see that is not .

I've been watching it live all day on my other monitor.My thought is that it is a natural seep.Nothing more. Move along.

Ok I'll take your word for it :)

I'm gonna go pick some blueberries on the parkway and forget all about it.

'Slowly shuffles towards exit, mumbling to self '.." I just can't believe it's not butter...".


Nice video. Wouldn't want to speculate in public on what it is, but just to lighten the mood, perhaps they should send this guy down to check it out.

Hope you find lots of blueberries.

Your expertise is based on what? The fact that you are a BP shareholder, or the fact you have 2 monitors?

If you can't see the change of position, which is obvious, why should anyone give credence to your observations?

I think what is happening in the photo deserves some comment or explanation from someone who actually knows something in the industry.

The comments of "move along" by people who have no more expertise than I do are just as tiresome as the CT BS.

Actually, I have three monitors to consult if I really want to watch where the other ROV's are when things like this pop up.I only said that it looked like a natural seep that happens all the time.

Oh wait. It moved again.


If you would, could you show me a natural methane seep that isn't related to some sort of thermal disturbance? I believe they can be common around oil drilling locations and deep ocean vents but that's about it. I spent hours trying to find a photo of a methane seep of natural origin and couldn't find one. Do they even exist?

According to the Discovery channel they do.I've never gone around looking for them.I was just commenting on a seep. I have no idea if it was methane,oxygen or what. Whatever it was, it stirred up the silt for a few min.

Gas can seep from a reservoir if the gas column is sufficiently tall to increase the pressure at the top of the reservoir high enough to breach the seal. This is something we observe all the time. Such breaches are natural. Breaches also take place due to earth movements (fault planes slipping).

Thanks, fdoleza. I spent hours last night trying to find a photo on the web of a "natural" methane leak. All I got were photos of methane hydrate photos plus some bubbles coming out of a deep ocean vent. If you could find a photo of what you describe I'd be grateful. I believe what you're saying but am curious if such leaks look like what's going on at MC 252.

There are a number of naturally occurring gas seeps in the deeper waters of the GOM associated with salt diapirs. The LouAnn salt, laid down ~145 - 200 million years ago when the GOM was a restricted basin, has been extensively deformed during subsequent sediment deposition (salt tends to flow like toothpaste under the right conditions). While it has been distorted into a fascinating variety of shapes, the diapirs generally migrate up toward, and often reach, the sea floor. Many times these also provide conduits for oil & gas and other fluids which may breach the sea floor and form seeps. Colonies of (sometimes exotic) critters often develop in association with the diapirs/seeps.

This has been known and observed for a number of years; by the oil & gas industry, by academic researchers (e.g. Deep Sea Drilling Project, Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES)), et al.

For one example, see the 1990 paper: "Chemosynthetic Mussels at a Brine-Filled Pockmark
in the Northern Gulf of Mexico" by MACDoNALD, et al (Science, Vol. 248). The paper also includes a 2D seismic line showing a salt diapir and its associated features. I've included an abstract from the paper below because there are a couple of things that are relevant to your comment/request: 1. the survey area is very close to the Macondo area, 2. methane levels are high (it is also anoxic) and 3. some of the critters eat the methane. The article also mentions the presence of hydrates.

"A large (540 square meters) bed of Bathymodiolus n. sp. (Mytilidae: Bivalvia) rings a
pool of hypersaline (121.35 practical salinity units) brine at a water depth of 650
meters on the continental slope south of Louisiana. The anoxic brine (dissolved oxygen
-0.17 milliliters per liter) contains high concentrations of methane, which nourishes
methanotrophic symbionts in the mussels. The brine, which originates from a salt-cored
diapir that penetrates to within 500 meters of the sea floor, fills a depression that
was evidently excavated by escaping gas. The spatial continuity of the mussel bed
indicates that the brine level has remained fairly constant; however, demographic
differences between the inner and outer parts of the bed record small fluctuations."

Thank you! Very informative. When you say 'a number of gas seeps' in the deeper water of the GOM, what would be a good guess for that number?

I honestly can't give a good guess....there appear to be a significant number of them. The JOIDES website has some useful and interesting information; see http://joidesresolution.org/ and there are professional organizations, such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) that have archives of published articles for sale. Much of the work associated with articles pertinent to this discussion go back as far as the late 1970's.

In addition to those, the US Geological Survey (USGS) is a useful source of public information; see in particular
woodshole.er.usgs.gov/pubs/of2004-1358/pdf_chapters/Chapter2.pdf This publication contains a lot of useful information and it also contains a couple of 2D seismic lines that illustrate some of the near-surface & subsurface complexity in the Gulf of Mexico. Not all of those complexities culminate in an oil/gas seep, however after looking at the seismic lines and areal maps of the GOM sea floor, I think you'll be able to appreciate the possibilities.


Thanks for THIS information and link. I definitely plan to explore the resources you've listed when I have a couple free hours and can restrain myself from yakking here.

N - in case you missed it, see http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6552#more

bb, Again, a good article on oil seeps except for brief mention of hydrocarbons (including gas) leaks in the first couple sentences. God, I'd love to have an Oil Drum post on methane release in the GOM, from all sources, biological, thermal, structural, etc.

Wow. Thanks, Snakehead. I'm going to google this lady's name and try to find the whole article. Sheesh, this doesn't sound good for global warming though. But, at least I know now that methane 'leaks' are common. Still, they weren't so common on this seafloor until recently. That's a problem, no?

I can't say. Before the well was capped, I was paying attention to the well and the ROVs, not the sea floor. Except when someone posted a "SEA FLOOR EXPLODING!!!!" video.

Check the footnotes/references. Some of the definitive works on the subject. Don't know if you will find the info you want on methane though.

Thanks to you and fdoleza for informative answers to what we saw.

" "methane seeps" are found all over the world on continental slopes some 500 to 1,000 meters (1,640 to 3,280 feet) beneath the waves. There, where pressures are 50 times greater than on Earth's surface, compressed natural gas becomes trapped in a lattice of water ice crystals to form gas hydrates at temperatures of 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) or even warmer, depending on the crystal structure. The hydrates pile up in layers and mounds several meters (several yards) tall."

Café Methane
By: Lee J. Siegel
NASA Astrobiology

This is a an article I found easily using Google and searching for "methane seeps". There is much more in depth detail at the DOE's NETL site about Methane Hydrates that I posted above. Note that the seeps are often referred to as hydrocarbon seeps because there can be other hydrocarbons mixed in with the methane.

>500 to 1,000 meters

That's the depth range I keep seeing. I haven't found much that's explicitly about methane leaks/seeps at ~1 mile, however.

As soon as I caught the shot, the ROV changed position and now you cannot see it. A comparison of the screen cap and current feed clearly shows they moved to obscure the stream. Why?

I brightened the original shot so the stream can be clearly seen.


Ain't moved an inch.

The view in the photo I posted is most assuredly different from the view currently shown. I'm not sure how you can miss that. Look at the position of the cables in the 2 views.

I was saying the ROV hasn't MOVED!!!!!! He moved the camera when the eel came by is all.Jeez.

I think you misunderstand. Gmf (hope I remember that right) is saying the live video feed is different. The discharge is no longer being shown. The frame as been cropped by BP.

I was replying to this." As soon as I caught the shot, the ROV changed position and now you cannot see it. A comparison of the screen cap and current feed clearly shows they moved to obscure the stream. Why"?

Try double click on image to full screen check right side of screen, then go back double click on text to open in new window right side of screen gets cropped.

Duplicate removed

And this is only a single seep! A few days ago you could see fifty of these on the sea floor. Btw, the live video has now been cropped
to take out this methane spout out. The right margin of the live feed ends at about the rock to the left of the spout. Otherwise, everything else is the same.

They didn't move it that far.I can still see the spot where it comes up every now and then. It's been awhile ( about 45 min. ) but I haven't been watching it too much.

Excuse my silliness. I feel like I'm having silly arguments with my husband with you guys. Back and forth. Back and forth. Funny! BPShareholder, you can no longer see the spot where it comes out or the spout itself. Use the rock as a marker for where you are in the frame. Of course this camera angle change could be entirely innocent...

bbfellow has a recent link upthread you can click onto.It shows it in the new position,so that will satisfy any CT

I'm not a CT...and my live feed no longer shows the discharge. The rock is at the right margin of the frame.

Yeah,I know. I was talking about a lot of them on here.Sorry if you took it that way.

BPShareholder, this place is turning into another GLP.

Tiresome to have to scroll through so much to find the good talk. Probably why the good talk has really dropped off so much.

This is rich.

I did not propose any CT, nor did anyone else on this thread.

The "move on" nothing to see here folks are as tiresome as the CT and create as much or more noise.

I have never debated the answers given by industry people. When I post something or ask about it, it is to learn, not propose any CT.

If the camera view changed because it had followed an eel, bpshareholder could have simply said that.

I agree, it is tiresome to have to slog through blabber by recent members who don't have any expertise trying to feel superior by dismissing everything posted as "silt storm".

The Hanger Seal Assembly needs about 10,000 psi to compress and lock it to the well head. You have to shut the BOP and plug the production casing with a drill bit tool first. Then pressurise the top of the seal with the kill line pumps. The unseating of the hanger for any reason is considered a catastrophe. Every cement bond associated with the casing on that hanger is considered f*****.

Back in April and May it was a common theory in the oil industry that the flow path was up the back side thru that hanger seal.

As for the cement that holds the production casing almost every one assumes something is fubarred down there.

The present concern is that the space outside the production casing may be filled with light oil (there may be different explanations how the oil got there). If the bottom of the annulus closed in and is pressurized with the heavy mud influx from the RW there is going to be an increased pressure on that seal and that could be a problem.

If the annulus is already communicating with the reservoir then the pressure on that seal won't change much because the reservoir will absorb the pressure of the mud influx.

They actually meant to say the well may be killed for good. It won't be plugged for good until BP re-enters the well and sets the MMS required shallow plugs. Then the upper csg will be cut and then the well will be finally plugged and abandoned.

I suspect BP and the feds are as surprised as anyone that the cmt job has apparently competely sealed the reservoir off. They still might cut the annulus with the RW to make sure there's no flow potential. Also the well is dead now with the heavy mud on it. They might cut the mud weight back in the riser as a method to test the cmt before they remove the cap/BOP. They'll have to put a new BOP on the well before they can go in hole with drill pipe to set the final cmt plugs.

Rockman - You are a voice of sanity. The Unified Command seems incapable of setting proper priorities. The number one goal is to properly plug and abandon the well. To do that they will need to insert drill pipe into it. Before they can insert drill pipe they need to clear the 3,000+ feet of drill pipe in the damaged BOP out of the way. So they need to connect a riser to the capping stack, fill it with mud to get back to the status quo ante, then fish the old drill pipe out of the BOP so they can proceed with the plug and abandon routine.

When will they ever start working on their primary goal? Who knows!

Glad to write a full retraction and public apology to BP, just as soon as they detach and recover the old BOP. Meanwhile, what's this new chemical injection apparatus for?

Are those ROV cages? The images are a bit small!

Chemical-injection apparatus? ROV cages? Naw. Hobbyhorses. (They come in all shapes and sizes.)

They're not hobbyhorses. Even I can tell that. What's that hose/nozzle doing in C1R2, for instance? Got a clue?

Got a clue?

Me? Never! ;~}

Competition: Name that doohickey.

Adjudication: Oilfolk (ROCKMAN Rovman ...)

Prize: Winner awards self 1 bbl BBIC

Here's my entry:
1. ROV cage
2. ROV cage
3. ROV cage on a string
4. Abandoned homestead stove
5. ROV intervention panel (for ROVs to stab)
6. The name of our favorite ROV maker.

+100 for number 4!

1. Deep sea grill
2. View showing two side burners
3. Piezo igniter
4. Custom warmer for side dishes
5. Methane/crude oil fuel injector
6. The finest name in underwater hydrocarbon grills

Hey, where'd that eel go...?

I'll take #5 for $10.00,Alex.

ROTFL!!! cleaning coffee spill now!

Row 1: Havahart giant crab monster traps.

Red -- I'll have to pass. I don't watch the ROV's, haven't in the past and won't in the future. Once I heard they were being produced by Disney I figured there was no point. LOL

Cute :-)

A blue dye injection apparatus?, or a really high end grease gun for ROVs?

Actually, I think you will find that they are cable racks that they wind the cables on for the magnetic well bore signals they generate in the Macondo well so that they can range the RW. The smaller one is the power source from the surface which has its own cable hooks for the power cables.

Edit: I stand corrected... see meisje comment below

Yes that's a new dispersant manifold, they are using a time machine to play the video feeds backwards so that it only appears to be the same one that's been down there for a long time, which also explains how what looked like the manifold being recovered to the surface was really the manifold being lowered to the seafloor. Those guys sure are tricky.

(translation to not-crazy: The work shown being done around that device in recent days was actually the lines being disconnected, and the manifold was raised to the surface, as it's no longer needed down there. I guess you could call it a bit of housekeeping while there's nothing else to do.)

Mr. Von Altendorf, I sure hope you're better at gambling with other folks money than you are at watching ROV video.

Also, do I even need to point out there are two different pieces of equipment shown in the composite pic? One is still down there (currently visible from Hos Achiever Maxx2), Maxx1 escorted the device shown in frame 4 part way to the surface, then went idle.

Actually, a line was taken from the unit on the sea floor(manifold) and tapped into the other unit(Injection), the ROV's then backed off.


Thanks for pointing that out... thought I had seen these before.

Whoa, wait a minute. This is new equipment splashed yesterday, connected yesterday. Forget about investment strategy or hedging (oil companies do it, too). A simple question, no axe to grind. What is the injection apparatus that didn't exist until yesterday?

Herrrreee weee go.

Edit: Why do I get the feeling that the answers to this question are going to go the route of the answers to ruby's video question yesterday?

Those are two different things.

The bigger one standing on the ground is a dispersant manifold. It fed all the dispersant wants we watched the ROVs using in the oil stream when the well was open.

The smaller one with the yellow vertical tube on top is hanging from a ship on a thick line that contains several tubes. Judging from the ports on that thingy, there are at least three "Chem" lines coming down plus one hydraulic line.

This stuff has been on the ground for about two month I believe (I could check my pic archive if needed).

The one hanging from the ship by a supply line had to be disconnected and pulled up before the recent storm warning. It was put down again yesterday and a ROV reconnected it the manifold.

So dispersant was coming from a ship down to the hanging thingy from there to the dispersant manifold and from there through the wants into the oil.

Van Altendorff seems to have been to busy watching the decline of the BP shorts he has to have not noticed that this NOT new equipment.

Thank you, Bernhard. Dispersant reconnected for what purpose?

They will at least still have to vent the BOP which still contains a few barrels of stuck oil. So a bit of dispersant may be handy to have around.

This is not a dispersant manifold system. It is a hydraulic manifold system. The dispersant system was set up and managed by the skandi neptune, the skandis being its rovs. The system the hosses are working on relates to hydraulics related to the sealing cap.

Well, in any case, I think they're setting up to displace, detach, etc. Oil & Gas Journal reported that pressure testing has been completed. Doubt it was a leak off test.

I'm certain it wasn't a leak-off test. That's what was done after the cap was installed, with the well open to the reservoir and sealed at surface, to evaluate the wellbore and reservoir. This test was done with the reservoir sealed from the well and open to surface (against the mud pressure in the pipes). More of a negative-pressure test, to evaluate the seal.

Moon, etc, you're close but not quite. It's a manifold system but not for dispersants. Its for the hydraulics.

It is feeding the hydraulics that are used to power the connections between the legacy bop choke/kill lines, the q4000 connection, and also the hose that is still connected to the helix producer riser, which is still on site (the just-in-case system). It's a fairly complicated system. The chem ports and hyd ports are basically for the glycol that is used as the hydraulic power. the coiled hose coming down contains glycol, which is stored in the accumulater (the round thing that looks like a laundry basket).

The system had to partly but not completely be taken apart before the storm, but has had to operate through it, also, obviously

The dispersant system is controlled by the skandi neptune, via the skandi rovs. They haven't been using dispersants since the well was essentially shut in. The have been using hot water and/or methanol to control/clean out the hydrate formations caused by the hydrocarbon leaks.

Here is a link to a set of pictures of the various manifolds used in the hydraulic system: http://picasaweb.google.com/111678399620027185887/ChemicalManifold#

Will that make it harder to return the consultant fees that have been collected for the false advice? Surely all the high priced advisors reserve for that.

I have been mostly impressed with your comments, avon, especially that you had the courage to provide retraction and apology. That takes courage, a courage that is sorely lacking these days.

There's a deep subconscious meme in our global culture that says "something's not right" and many of us look to events and say to ourselves and to others, "see, look there...see what's really going on." Many times we deceive ourselves and we deceive others in the process. I've been there in the past. For the damage that I've done to others, I plead guilty.

Even if the hole isn't leaking. Even if we aren't on the precipice of some other life-changing event, even still, something's still not right. That I know. What I've found is that I must fingerpoint inwardly first and seek reconcilation second. In many ways, you're doing both.

Good work, avon. Keep it up. We need more men and women like you.

I would concur with the bulk of what you say.

But I would also suggest that there is a vast difference between acknowledging that we don't understand something, vis a vis declaring that something's wrong.

The psychology is such that when we decide something is wrong, any explanation that doesn't support that view tends to be subconsciously discounted because we are most comfortable when our concerns are validated as accurate.

On the other hand, acknowledging that we don't understand something opens us to weighing alternative explanations and selecting the one that makes the most sense, regardless of whether it identifies what we are observing as being evidence of something being "wrong."

One of the ways that therapists get around this is to differentiate between feelings and knowledge. My feelings are always valid, because they are a product of my perception. So therapists try to validate feelings as appropriate (given the perspective on which they are based).

Having those feelings validated gives us more freedom to examine the perspective on which those feelings are based, and have more freedom to entertain alternative explanations for our observations.

I agree, that something's not right. There's a company that can't seem to do its work without killing people and blowing shit up, based on a very long timeline of events stretching back many years. And nobody seems to have the balls to do anything about it. Other companies doing similar work are able to maintain healthy profits while not killing people and blowing shit up.

If they can't get it together and follow the rules, what are we going to do about it? Just let them keep paying the fines and accept the resulting carnage as inevitable?

From the previous thread:

Ya' know Speaker, I appreciate your point of view on many occasions and I have stated this before. Then you make a comment like this;

It isn't a matter of being 'mentally inferior', rather it's a matter of being taught to make decisions based on a naturalistic view using sound logical principles.

...which is total BS IMHO.

What you believe is true and set in stone will be proven false in years to come. Maybe next year or fifty years from now but that's how it's been for centuries. So my take on what you stated is all those before you were mentally inferior based on their naturalistic view. Science is always stated as factual and anyone who disagrees is out of step. What does science do when science proves science wrong? Try compiling a list of all the science that has been wrong in the past as in, just totally off the chart wrong. Yet when it was presented it was presented as factual.

This thinking is the same as "corexit is safe." Yeah it is today because we have no reliable data to prove otherwise. We chose corexit as the lesser of two evils and the question remains to be answered as to how evil coeexit really is. Trust all, we will know in a few years but today it's safe because science says it is.

I don't want to break your capsule/bubble but science doesn't always approach problems using sound logic even when the logic is tried, true, and tested.

What I hold as a working hypothesis is that a logical framework based on naturalistic principles is the best way to come to an answer. This opinion is based on empiricism; that no other view has proven as useful over time. It is true that sometimes that answer it gets is not correct because people make mistakes or additional information comes to light which causes the answers to be revised. However, unlike many other ways of thinking, it makes allowances for revision.

It is pretty distressing that you perceive these answers as being presented as factual. That is NOT how science is supposed to be. These ideas are working theories, whose weight or value depend on the predictive power of the idea. Your teachers have failed miserably if this is what you have taken away from this.

Many of the answers that have arisen this way have stood the test of centuries. Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from various churches, the idea of the sun as the center of the solar system with the planets travelling in elliptical orbits has held for 5 centuries. Darwin's Origin is more than 150 years old now; it hasn't failed in 1, 50 or 150 years. The foundations of thermodynamics have held for 3 centuries. Newton's Principia is still correct under non-relativistic conditions after 3.5 centuries. Pasteur's advances as well have stood the test of time. We have passed the centennial of Einstein's Anno Mirablis with no fundamental revisions. There are many more such examples.

This is a far better approach than relying on a dogma and that anything that shows otherwise must be false. No progress is possible when that mindset is adopted. Methodological naturalism on the other hand admits that it is subject to error and allows for revision when new information is made available. Which would you rather work with?

Even more fundamentally the naturalistic approach has its roots in the pre-Socratic Ionian philosophers of the 6th century B.C. That world view and the first ideas from it (Pythagoras and Euclid's Geometry) are now nearly 3 millennia old. The results are quite clear - this method of inquiry has given the best answers over time.

What did the rise of Christianity lead to? The Dark Ages. One thousand years of practically no scientific progress in Europe. Is this what we want to go back to?

I know my ideas may not be popular, and I don't mean to cast aspersions on anyone, only to try to open minds.


After I wrote this article I came across this:

70% of middle school students don't understand meaning of equal sign.


This goes back to my original complaint about the school systems in the US.

2nd Edit:

Some years ago I ran across this horror - it is a writeup by Richard Feynman of his experiences on a school textbook review board.


Worth reading by every parent with a child in school.

>>What did the rise of Christianity lead to? The Dark Ages. One thousand years of practically no scientific progress in Europe. Is this what we want to go back to?<<

Ah, I see now. Your type of logic is merely anti - Christian.

>>I know my ideas may not be popular, and I don't mean to cast aspersions on anyone, only to try to open minds.<<

LOL Really? Thanks for opening my mind to the "logic" that Christianity = no scientific progress.

"God created everything by number, weight and measure."

~Isaac Newton

Darned religious scientists!

Belief in existence of God has nothing to do with the use of naturalism to explain the world.

From the Newton's Principia:

Rule I. We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.

The word God does not appear in the body of the Principia, only the conclusion where he infers the existence of God from the beauty of the structure he just invented. God is NOT used to explain any observed phenomena, much unlike what you find in the vernacular today.

Your type of logic is merely anti - Christian.

Anti-Religion, wherever religion interferes with using naturalism to explain the world.

If you want to adopt Newton's view that the structure of the universe is so beautiful that there must be a God, but then proceed to describe the operation of the universe without invoking God as a hypothesis, go ahead. Quite a few scientists work that way.

My quarrel comes when religious views are invoked to explain of natural phenomena.

We could go in circles all day but this is not the place for theological discussion. I appreciate you taking the time to explain your views, I simply don't agree. But you are entitled to them nonetheless, as I am mine.

I leave the discussion by turning to music (which makes no sense to anyone but me) ...

The scientists say
It'll all wash away
But we don't believe anymore
'Cause we've got our recruits
In their green mohair suits
So please show your I.D. at the door

~flying burrito brothers (1969)

Newton was merely quoting the Bible to support his experimental approach.

"Yea, and without these might they have fallen down with one blast, being persecuted of vengeance, and scattered abroad through the breath of thy power: but thou hast ordered all things in measure and number and weight"
Wisdom 11:20

Newton was not a Christian but probably a unitarian at a time when heresy was a crime against the State(so it's somewhat difficult to confirm).


What did the rise of Christianity lead to? The Dark Ages. One thousand years of practically no scientific progress in Europe.

Wikipedia has an interesting discussion of the term "Dark Ages" and how it's used. Excerpt:

The public idea of the Middle Ages as a supposed "Dark Age" is also reflected in misconceptions regarding the study of nature during this period. The contemporary historians of science David C. Lindberg and Ronald Numbers discuss the widespread popular belief that the Middle Ages were a "time of ignorance and superstition", the blame for which is to be laid on the Christian Church for allegedly "placing the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity", and emphasize that this view is essentially a caricature.[38]

For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th century[39][40] and is still very common in popular culture is the supposition that all people in the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. According to Lindberg and Numbers, this claim was mistaken: "There was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference".[40][41]

Ronald Numbers states that misconceptions such as "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy" are examples of widely popular myths that still pass as historical truth, although they are not supported by current historical research.[42]


The Wikipedia article "Science in the Middle Ages" provides a more detailed discussion.

Most scientific and mathematical progress during this time occurred outside Christian Europe, and given the time span precious little indeed was accomplished.

Compared to the other civilized parts of Eurasia and North Africa, Western Europe during the Middle Ages was the poorest and most disorganized area. It was not Christianity, but poverty and instability that caused the slow rate of intellectual innovation; nor did Christianity cause the poverty, instability, and ignorance. The Church preserved literacy during the early Middle Ages and later created the system of schools and universities. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Western Europe, by way of Arab intermediaries, reconnected with the classical intellectual tradition. From then on, priests and friars in the universities reconstituted the natural science of the ancient world and went on to do original work. Franciscan scholars at Oxford were on the cutting edge of natural science in the 14th century. If you read or saw The Name of the Rose, the character William of Baskerville represents that tradition. Copernicus was a priest or at least had taken holy orders. By and large the medieval Church was a big tent intellectually, except when the authority of the hierarchy was challenged.

This is not an argument against Speaker's naturalistic world view, just against a cartoon version of medieval culture.

the one truth is a relious concept. modern science thieved the idea and we still sit in that world of the "one" truth. which is why science fails so miserably and must be changed every day.

i do agree with animalspeaker, that a long an insightful path must be dug deep into events to expose any truth in them, but one must not get caught in the one truth belief unless that one truth has a gigantic manifold of other truths attached to it. a massive interplay of forces undeducable by simplistic reason and logic.

an ancient greek philosoher said that after he saws sharks feeding he believe man had evolved from them. that is the type of nonlinear science needed today. yes things evolve and change, which has been known since man began to write, but the question remains, how and why do they change and does it form a straight line or is it crooked to the point of being circular. science really hasnt brought us any closer to that. infact, some may say it has confused us to the point of destroying what we are(nature) and where our future lies(nature).

let us start with the science of water. as any fool should see how important it is to us.

Agreed, and let's not forget they (Europe) were the Goths, Visgoths and Vandals who had destroyed the "civilized" world and after the party (looting raping and pillaging) got to enjoy the "fruits" of their labors. When portions of the Third World destroy vast swaths of the "First" World order, we'll get to see a replay. Blaming the chaos that follows on a religion won't be very accurate. Losing 60-80% of the population to plagues and constant warfare didn't help a lot either. The Church was clearly wrong in a lot of views, but at least didn't push the phlogiston theory - actually one of my favorites. ;)

Since you mention Copernicus, it is interesting to consider the De revolutionibus orbium coelestium along with Johannes Kepler's Epitome astronomiae Copernicianae, and their presence on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

Speaker, the Catholic Index didn't exist until 1559, and Copernicus' book wasn't banned until 1616. After the Reformation, the Catholic Church was no longer a big tent.

The Wikipedia article "Science in the Middle Ages" provides a more detailed discussion. Most scientific and mathematical progress during this time occurred outside Christian Europe, and given the time span precious little indeed was accomplished.

Just skimmed the article, but it appears that the period of "darkness" in Western Europe began to draw to a close around 800; and that in any case the darkness wasn't attributable to the rise of Christianity so much as the end of the Roman Empire and lack of access to classical texts. (Interestingly, what science there was in those early centuries seems to have been undertaken in pursuit of religious ends--e.g., astronomy to calculate prayer times for monks and the correct date for Easter.)

Like Gobbet, BTW, I don't dispute the overwhelming advantages of the naturalistic approach; I just think it's simplistic to blame the lack of scientific progress in the Dark Ages on Christianity.

SL, I won't be surprised if, back in the 70s, you watched PBS's replay of Jacob Bronowski's marvelous BBC series, The Ascent of Man. Bronowski was a mathematician trained in physics, who, in middle age, wandered into the life sciences too. Because he was also a wonderful writer/teacher, the BBC got him to write and present this series of programs (and later a book based on it) on the history of science. I don't know whether the book is still in print, but even nearly forty years later, I recently thoroughly enjoyed rereading my copy.

Ah: yes, Amazon has it.

SL, I won't be surprised if, back in the 70s, you watched PBS's replay of Jacob Bronowski's marvelous BBC series, The Ascent of Man.

Didn't get to see it; not sure why now. Just ordered the book from Amazon, though. Thanks for the tip!

Enjoy. He did for science what Kenneth Clark did for art in Civilisation and James Burke did for technology in Connections. Gooood stuff.

Another excellent book on the subject is: "Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel - Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages" (1994) By frances and Joseph Gies.

If we had true worldwide complete Christianity, we would be in other solar systems by now. Christianity is a goal, and a damn fine one IMHO. The Church is what launched the Dark Ages. It is not Jesus's fault they misread the manual. As for education and science and the church now, one of my degrees is from a Jesuit institution. The priests and nuns make GREAT scientists.

Edit: I can recall MANY times when the Nuns and Priests taught things in contrary to the church's teachings. There was sort of a veil of protection from the Dioceses powers when it came to the University. I never saw the priests or nuns act or teach in a manner that was 'Unchristian'.

And I bet you got the knuckles to prove it if you disagreed. Right?

That is Catholic Elementary School. Not even in the same ballpark. I went to public prep and grade school. We even got hammered one day in class @ Jesuit U. Gotta love those Catholics.

Speaker -- The Feynman essay link took me to one of those "been there, done that" moments.

Much obliged.

What I hold as a working hypothesis is that a logical framework based on naturalistic principles is the best way to come to an answer...
It is pretty distressing that you perceive these answers as being presented as factual. That is NOT how science is supposed to be. These ideas are working theories, whose weight or value depend on the predictive power of the idea. Your teachers have failed miserably if this is what you have taken away from this.

For the record, the commenter in question (my314tin) perceived certain working hypotheses as being presented as factual because they were being presented as factual.

I mostly agree with you otherwise. Fundamentalists are the enemies of truth, whether they be Priests, scientists, politicians, or CEO's.

"What did the rise of Christianity lead to? The Dark Ages. One thousand years of practically no scientific progress in Europe. Is this what we want to go back to?"

You need to learn some history.

Here is a very partial list of innovations from the Middle Ages:

Illuminated manuscripts*
The Mechanical clock*
the compass
the flying buttress*
three-field crop rotation
legumes as a food crop
the suction pump
the mouldboard plow
the cam*
the trip hammer*
the spinning wheel*
international financial systems
the modren credit system
our current legal system
mass-production of paper
the hospital*
formal education for doctors*
the chimney
the fork

Note all of the items maked with an asterisk were devloped by the church or in monastaries.
and many more that I am not going to look up from my collection of books on medevial history

FYI - the period between 1000 AD and 1400 AD was known as the 'medieval industrial revolution.'

the modern credit system
our current legal system

You forgot papal dispensations and the rack.

Did you see my previous post about the difference between Christianity and the Church? Still different from the modern Roman Catholic Church. The point is, we were ignorant back then in many ways. Just like we are now. Would it make folks feel better if the crap was done in the name the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Ever see the Monty Python' Witch scene from 'The Holy Grail'? The church really was not a direct part of the scene.

Edit: Papal dispensations are just 'pardons' from Canon Law. The Pope cannot 'sell' them now. Besides, who would pay for one? The rack was used by many others, stretching folks has been around a long time. Now the orthopedists and chiropractors do it, for therapeutic reasons of course.

man needs a goal.

science wont tell us when weve gone past the point of no return. and i believe in science.

disasters like this are just more nails in the coffin. it wasnt an oil spill, it was a disease that will plague us into our future causing untold hardship on the complexity that keeps us alive.

we must seperate the cruelty of man from inert things like churches and science, which can be whatever man wants them to be. do you see its just man doing it?

for a real science to evolve, we must first understand our direction and our place in it-- or else you only have numbers, and the numbers always run out.

Why before how.

Yes, but what is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

as if i need to tell YOU that. wink wink nudge nudge say no more.

"Would it make folks feel better if the crap was done in the name the Flying Spaghetti Monster"
Ah, but it wasn't. FSM worshippers are totally non-violent. Haven't read of one death in Her name in all these years. yet.


From yer previous post,
"It is not Jesus's fault they misread the manual."
True. It's not even his fault some people came along after he died, and wrote, "The Sequel According to Jesus". It lost a lot in translation.

...innovations from the Middle Ages:
...the fork

1 Samuel 2:13-14

Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand.
He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up.

Did they make the fork bigger?

TFHG: My comment was unclear. I meant to favorably compare papal dispensations and the rack to their modern counterparts, the credit and legal systems.

I was talking about the fork as an eating utensil.

There is a book called (I think) "The Evolution of Everyday Things" that had an entire chapter devoted to eating utensils. (One of these days i am going to have to organize my library so I can find books.)

The Evolution of Useful Things : How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are. by Henry Petroski. A lovely book. Henry is a must read. I would really recommend that everyone read at least one of his books. The classic is To Engineer is Human, but The Evolution of Useful Things is up there. I also particularly like The Pencil. Which as its name suggests is totally devoted to the humble pencil. You never realised there was so much to it.

Henry brings a much needed understanding about the nature of engineering. I consider To Engineer is Human to be compulsory reading for any engineer or scientist, but also compulsory for anyone wishing to have any semblance of a wider understanding of the world.

More recommended reading along these lines
"The existential pleasures of engineering" by Samuel C. Florman

Excerpts are available via google books -- just search on the title. I stumbled upon this book years ago quite by accident. All this discussion makes me wanna visit the library...

Activated, the Romans not only had personal forks, they had this:

Wonder who introduced these to the Swiss?

Didn't the West lose the formula for concrete for over 1300 years? It was not until the West got the formula from an Arab copy of the Roman formula that it was 're-discovered'? I could not find a reference for that story.

TFHG, there are all sorts of stories out there, the trend is toward concrete being more common through history than we thought a few decades back. The Romans apparently used a quicklime/pozzlan cement, different from the Portland cement which dominates now. I wouldn't discount the Arab link, but it wasn't the only source. I can't find my concrete "bible" online, but Wikipedia has some history, including this line, "However, the Canal du Midi was constructed using concrete in 1670 suggesting a continuous unpublished use since Roman times."


That's a nice multi-tool. I thought it must be fake, but no. Here it is at the referenced museum's website. Lots of pictures. Can the one with the blade be authentic? It looks too good.

PS: From the comments at oilfield brat's link:

In Egyptian antiquity, large forks made of bronze were used at religious ceremonies to lift sacrificial offerings. One of the earliest dinner forks is attributed to Constantinople in 400 A.D.; it can be seen in the Dumbarton Oaks collection in Washington, D.C.

By the seventh century, small forks were used at Middle Eastern courts; one such fork, a small, gold, two-pronged tool, came to Italy in the eleventh century in the dowry of a Byzantine princess who married Domenico Selvo, a Venetian doge. After witnessing the princess use the fork, the church severely censured her, stating that the utensil was an affront to God's intentions for fingers.

- Steve, ex Pat ex Wales now USA, 30/1/2010 9:11

God, that's beautiful, ob. What a family heirloom it would have been. Thanks so much for the link, which I'll be sharing.

Fair enough, but it fed a decent thread. I love to talk religion and for the record I am defender of my faith which includes rooting out evil no matter the source. Only God is free from evil, not any man the serves him or claims to do so.

Trip Hammer: China 300 BC

Cam: Greece 3rd century BC

Spinning Wheel: Iraq 1237

Compass: China 1086

...and many more that I am not going to look up from my chair.

Metal movable type, Korea, ~1230. Oh, wait. Gutenberg got around to that in the 15th century. Nevermind.

The knowelage of movable type never left Korea. And in fact this knowelage was lost once the project it was invented for was complete and was not seen again until re-introduced from the west.

I am not strong in Oriental history, but China seems to be an odd case of inventing things but never putting them to practical large scale use.

Well, that brings up one very large mechanism by which Christendom advanced European technology and ideas. The Crusaders didn't get to Korea.

You forget about independent discoveries. For example the Iranian wheel was horizontal while the Medieval (and modren) wheel is vertical.

The Cam and trip Hammer were discovered before the defeat of the Moors allowed for acces to the ancient libries from the classical world.

The compass was not exported from china. Again - discovered independently for use in sailing ships.

(Are you sure you want to challenge me to a historical knowelage duel?)

Are you sure you want to challenge me to a historical knowelage duel?

I'm sure I don't. How could I possibly win?

You claimed that the common fork was an invention/innovation of medieval christians. I cited a passage from the OLD TESTAMENT which mentions priests using three-pronged FORKS to spear hunks of meat from a pot. You refudiated my citation with, "I was talking about the fork as an eating utensil."

Of course you still haven't offered a single citation for any of your claims.

You discount the Iraqi spinning wheel because it wasn't an upright model. You didn't even bother to address the Chinese spinning wheel, but if you did, I suppose you'd say that medieval Europeans developed it independently, afterwards.

Late, allegedly independent innovations are good enough for you to claim the compass, trip hammer and moveable type also, too.

In case of ancient inventions such as the cam, you say the knowledge of it had been lost to antiquity until, surprise, some heroic white european crusader invented it in the middle ages. I guess you would have resorted to that excuse for the fork as well, but ah... you know.

EDIT: Fixed - refudiated.

The difference between us is that I understand history - and you do not.

You are pushing an agenda - while I am merely correcting your history.

BTW - is sounds like you know nothing about the crusades either. The first uses of the cam and trip hammer in Medeival Europe was papermaking. (And if you want a reference try the Book 'Connections' that several of us have recommended.)

And - since you obviously were not paying attention - another poster assisted me in providing the name of the book for a reference on the development of the fork as an eating utensil. (I could not find my copy.)

...I am not going to look up from my collection of books on medevial history...
...One of these days i am going to have to organize my library so I can find books...
...I am not strong in Oriental history...
...I could not find my copy...
-- Inactive4F

You are the laziest commenter on this board. Time after time, thread after thread, you make claims based on some book or textbook you own, but never post so much as a link to wikipedia.

Since Francis agrees with you and has access to your source, maybe she could explain to me the great medieval advance in silverware that rendered the three-pronged fork mentioned in 1st Samuel obsolete.

As for you, unless you're willing to cite some authority other than your lazy self - because for all I know you're just some enormous fat guy in his mothers basement whose only book is Cheetoh stained p0rn - don't bother replying.

Sigh. I shouldn't buy in here.

One. Francis is the masculine form. Frances is the feminine. St Francis of Assisi, Sir Francis Drake, etc.

Two, I was recommending the book as a whole, not supporting some odd argument, one way of the other.

Three, Chapter 1 of The Evolution of Useful Things: How the Fork Got Its Tines. This chapter is not about the worldwide history of the fork, it is about engineering. It mostly covers the incremental evolution of the fork in Europe that can be traced well. Only two sentences cover the history pre-European introduction of the dining fork - as opposed to forks used for other purposes.

"It is believed that forks were used for dining in the Middle East as early as the seventh century and reached Italy around the year 1100. However, they did not come into any significant service until about the fourteenth century."

Some civility would help the tone of conversation.

Admirable restraint, Francis. In any duel over knowledge of history (or logic, manners, or proofreading), my money's on you.

Iraq came into existance in 1932.

What is your point -- that the spinning wheel couldn't have been invented in Iraq because Iraq didn't exist in 1237? Or are you just pointing out that I should have named Baghdad as its place of invention instead of Iraq, as it does in the page I linked at Serving History? Fine - Baghdad.

As long as we're nitpicking, "existence" is spelled e-x-i-s-t-e-n-c-e.


I'll open with the link because in essence part of yesterdays topic was about trust and the lack of trust which opens the doors to many theories especially conspiracy.

What difference does it make how accurate the books are or if the student knows the significance of the = sign in a math problem? When the student completes college their job is already outsourced. Why do you think the students in India and China excell in some studies when compared to the US? They know they are going to get the job and need to be educated in order to do so. There is an overwhelming sense of apathy in the US regarding career choices and for good reason. In your book example along with what is taught and what is learned I'm surprised you didn't pick Texas as your example of distorted education. OK that's my cynicism for the day.

Many of the answers that have arisen this way have stood the test of centuries. Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from various churches, the idea of the sun as the center of the solar system with the planets travelling in elliptical orbits has held for 5 centuries. Darwin's Origin is more than 150 years old now; it hasn't failed in 1, 50 or 150 years. The foundations of thermodynamics have held for 3 centuries. Newton's Principia is still correct under non-relativistic conditions after 3.5 centuries. Pasteur's advances as well have stood the test of time. We have passed the centennial of Einstein's Anno Mirablis with no fundamental revisions. There are many more such examples.

I wasn't casting doubt on the achievements I was explaining the posturing science takes when presenting theories. I was presenting science within the arena of resistance to being questioned. Actually you have presented a good example in your response. You open with our comment on churches and our universe. How many "big bangs" are you aware of where the alignment is as precise and predictable as our universe? The "Big Band Theory is just that, theory. What you are saying is your thinking is as simple as; WOW this actually happened and I had no control over any of it. When you stop and think about it most big bangs are a lot like the DWH, a real Cluster**** with S***scattered everywhere along with the Humpty-Dumpty coordination that follows. When you can explain the precision of our universe and present facts I will accept your expression of how solid your scientific foundation truly is.

I'm not denying what's been proven through science, I'm just not accepting your position of education through open minded critical thinking. After church & universe you open with Darwin and I wonder why. With the advent of DNA testing many of Darwins theories are in question. You can believe DNA or Darwin's science.

In regard to science being open to revision; it's just not true. When people spend their life trying to prove their theories they are reluctant to accept they are wrong. This is true today when you see innocent people released from prison due to wrongful convictions. It's human nature along with prejudice and bias which leads the prosecutor to non-acceptance of a botched case.

Speaker, The moment you blend your position with how you think religions believers think you lost your position. It's unfortunate when people choose to think black & white while trying to convince others how to solve a problem.

What Gobbet explained yesterday backdrops the Bloomberg story this quote summarizes:

“In a year or two we can forget this ever happened,” said Roger Sassen, an adjunct professor of geology and geophysics at Texas A&M. “The fact that the Mississippi is the drainage ditch for the fertilizers and nasty agricultural chemicals of the entire central U.S. is much worse than this transient spill.”

Recommended, though not happy, reading.

That's a very good article. Bloomberg has done some of the better reporting on the spill.

Yesterday at a meeting of the National Academy of Engineering (which will issue its Interior Department-requested, peer-reviewed report on DWH this fall), BOEMRE director Bromwich said (emph. mine), "I think there is the perception and the reality that we have been heavily reliant on the domestic oil and gas industry in setting standards. We're going to be exploring borrowing from alternative models."

P.S. The TPM post that alerted me to WSJ's report includes an interesting photo (that I think someone brought here, back-when) of what appears to be a fire-induced waterspout.

This is not just a photoshop, but a bad one. Fortunately I now know who did it.

Please help me out here, w'red. I checked out both your links but see nothing on the waterspout shot either place. More guidance, please?

Meanwhile back at TPM, a larger version of that image first appeared on May 3 as #5 of a 9-photo gallery credited to the Department of Energy. Now BP may be given to photoshopping, but I very much doubt DoE is -- and why would they want to make up a waterspout? Much more likely, roiling hot gases produced that effect, doncha think? My only surprise is that it lasted long enough for DoE's photographer to spot and snap it.

Alabama sues BP over oil spill "catastrophic harm"

BIRMINGHAM | Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:08pm EDT

Alabama (Reuters) - Alabama is suing BP Plc and Transocean for damages sustained from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the state's attorney general said on Friday.

"We are making this claim because we believe that BP has inflicted catastrophic harm on the state," attorney general Troy King told Reuters.

"We are suing them for the amount it will take to make Alabama whole," he said, declining to name a figure.


More here, snakehead.

Right, read that. Reuters appears to have different quotes from King. I'm waiting for Reuters' next update, anticipating that Bear Bryant will be invoked.

BP P L C 39.32
Last Trade 0.94 (+2.45%)

Headlines I'd like to see.

The Gulf of Mexico is suing Alabama for damages sustained from the pollution of the gulf, the watery realm's attorney general said on Friday.

"We are making this claim because we believe that Alabama has inflicted catastrophic harm on the gulf," attorney general Troy McLure told Reuters.

"We are suing them for the amount it will take to make the gulf whole," he said, declining to name a figure, whilst perusing a Bugatti catalogue.


"We are suing them for the amount it will take to make the gulf whole," he said, declining to name a figure, whilst tenderly stroking his pet pig.

Made me laugh thank you.

But the Gulf cannot sue, it is not a person. Now if only it can manage to incorporate...

I guess Troy King ain't considered much of a credit to the force in Alabama. In the recent primary, even up against a guy with the awful political name of "Luther Stranger," King got himself elected lawyer.

King lost to Strange this go round. General election later. No Dems win anything here anymore. The Blue States pay for the Red States, but the Red States want nothing to do with the Blue States. Thanks GOP. Of course, the Dems do the same things.

TF, the guy's name is Strange, not Stranger -- the paper had that wrong? Well, that's a little better (but still not a good politickin' name).

(I'm not gonna come down as I'd like to on "The Dems do the same things," lest we get off on another sidetrack where there's more heat than light.)

I am actually glad you have not given up on the Dems. My faith in everything has become so eroded. The only thing that seems to try and get better these days is my family. Is it a crime or bad taste to say I would just as soon take a flamethrower to Congress?

"Attorney General Troy King filed the lawsuits in federal court on Thursday against the wishes of Alabama Governor Bob Riley, who wishes to reach a settlement with the companies outside the courtroom."
-- BBC

Fertile ground for TV soap-opera script-writers. Drama. Tragedy. Comedy.

Getting on Admiral Allen's press call in 45 minutes; thought it would be fun and illuminating to poll you all about what question I should ask, should I get the opportunity.

So what would YOU ask him?

Easy, Captain Sassy. Ask him about the methane destabilization in the seabed.

My question would be one of:

Q: Why he cant assemble a huge team to provide a running audio commentary on the ROV videos, in 1080i, with annotation naming all the objects, artifacts and wisps of odd-looking stuff.

Q: Who's in charge? (just to see if there's any veins throbbing on his forehead)

Q: where's your next vacation?

I'm betting that they vet questions pretty carefully.

Actually, to their credit, no, they don't vet the questions. They DO, however, seem to vet the questioners, i.e., "big name" journalists and their agencies/affiliations. Nonetheless, I keep trying with my teeny little self. :)

One other thing I can say positive about them is that they do quickly follow-up with you via email if they weren't fully able to answer your question or if they misstated something; I've gotten a few such emails.

I've got one Captain. Ask them if they will include the number of sonar runs on their daily summary reports.

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.

George Santayana, Life of Reason (1905) vol. 1, Introduction
US (Spanish-born) philosopher (1863 - 1952)

Hi, Cap, and good luck getting your question in. I'd like to know what role John Wright may have played in the decision to try the static kill (and just generally what voice he's had in the whole decision-making process).

Why don't you give BP permission to stop paying for further work on Gov. Jindal's berms?

they're not screening people today, hop on: 866/742.3130. In case you need it, conf. ID is 94327542

OT, but I'm bored with waiting for the BOP to fall over.

Cheryl Crowe 2010 rider demands recycled toilet paper, offers promoters “greening” tips

Cheryl Crowe tickets, Cary, NC 8/15:
Sit on the grass, $64.99
Sit in a chair, $140.00

Perhaps she could provide the recycled teepee herself.

I am increasingly confused by what seems like ambiguous breefings and MSM information.

Are they going to stop pressurizing the well to see if it is actually DEAD?

They seem to have tons of cement in there. What is going on?

This is from this morning's BP Subsea Operational Update:

>>Last night BP completed the four-hour near ambient pressure test on the MC252 well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Under direction from UAC, results are under review this morning between BP and the federal science team and a recommendation on the path forward is expected to go to the NIC.<<

I take it that means they bled the pressure down? Dunno, to be honest.

I am not sure either.

They anounced a while back now that the static kill was successfull. I took that to mean that the have achived static conditions - i.e. they can remove all external pressure and get NO flow from the well.

Now I am not sure what they meant.

Thrasher - I not sure either what particular pressure they’re talking about. “Ambient” just means the pressure of the medium surrounding an object. The pressure on the outside of the cap/BOP is around 2,300 psi from the 5,000’ water column above it and will always be 2,300 psi. The pressure inside the cap/BOP is reported to be around 4,300 psi. This would be due to the 5,000’ column of mud inside the riser plus what ever pressure they might be applying with the mud pumps on the rig. If they remove the riser or displace the mud with sea water the pressure inside the cap/BOP will be 2,300 psi and will always be 2,300 psi at the lowest measure. Not sure but I think they have 13.2 ppg mud in the csg from the cap/BOP down to the top of the cmt they pumped the other day. Thus the pressure in the csg will range from 4,300 psi at the top to around 12,000’ at the bottom of the well. And remember the original reservoir pressure was about 11,900 psi.

Thus if the flow path from the reservoir is 100% sealed off and if they displace the riser with sea water, the lowest pressure they can measure at the cap/BOP is 2,300 psi…not zero. They should know exactly how much pressure the fluid in the riser is exerting along with the pump pressure. If they are measuring pressure great than that value it could be an indication the cmt plug is not holding 100%.

Yes. Thanks ROCKMAN. I assumed (which is always dangerous) that they bled the 4300 PSI down to something closer to the 2300 PSI and were looking to see if the system pressured back up again. But with leaks in the containment cap assembly I'm not even sure how feasible that is. This is all new to me. I appreciate your input!

Well done ROCK, I think you are finally getting the pressure message over. Elsewhere; I have seen comment about purging the riser tubing with compressed air to blow out the mud/oil/whatever - into the choke line I presume. Then venting the riser back to atmospheric pressure!!! The flexible hoses would probably collapse under that sort of external pressure. And, if there is an interface of compressed air with any hydrocarbons; it will be a good way to re-invent the compression ignition Diesel engine.

They seem to have tons of cement in there. What is going on?

Was it a good cement job or one that was incomplete? Would you not advocate a test?

Was it a good cement job or one that was incomplete? Would you not advocate a test?


That is a loaded question that serves no useful purpose.

As far as the evidence available indicates the cement job is good, but plugging the well is not completed. There will be more cementing done. The process of plugging this well will is ongoing and will continue for many more weeks.

I have been lurking here for awhile and will return to lurking; meanwhile, I am compelled to respond to this post:

[new] geoffreyf on August 13, 2010 - 10:06am well, when I see people endlessly talking about the amount of oil seeping from the seafloor, I know they have not read these threads much. Here is a novel thought: Maybe there are other explanations for what you observe than "Lying and twisting stories around."

1) If they were lying, why would they provide that video feed for you to look at?

BP did not voluntarily provide these video links. They were provided only at the insistance of Sen. Edward Markey, and it seems that lately, the quality of these video feeds has dropped dramatically. Some speculate BP is using video filters in order to conceal or distort what is really occuring with the seaflor, and speaking of the seafloor, I would feel better if these ongoing explosions and methane
plumes were addressed by the " experts " rather than ignored or ridiculed.
I am happy that BP's explanation suffices for you; however it raises more questions, such as " what is happening with the sea floor " which still has not been addressed.

What specifically is it about the sea floor that's on your mind? "What's happening with the sea floor?" is pretty broad.

snake: I think he is concerned about the ongoing explosions and methane plumes, yes?

Well, yeah. Implying that the sea floor is going to 1) collapse 2) erupt 3) continue to live out its existence in flux. I was just wondering which.

snake: Ten-four. Thats why you're the expert.

Turdhead er Snakehead He is talking about hydrocarbon leaks on the seafloor. I guess he thought you were smart enough to figure that out for yourself,you have impressed so much with your seemingly infinate knowledge of everything from pig shit to perfume.

Shucks. Someone noticed.

Glad you spoke for him. I thought he was talking about the condition of the sea floor itself, not what was coming out of it.

Allright experts ....

Explain this away ...

I'm curious


(video made about 3 hours ago , got more of course)

Shoot. That's just Oceaneering's hydrocarbon grill getting fired up. It's gotta be way past lunch clear down there....

Hah. Pressure testing.

Pretty scary looking. So, just as soon as I accept that the white blobs are amphipods, I see them sort of fizzing out, like pieces of dried ice. And this time the current force is coming from above and to the side (from the NE). Strange. I have no clue as to the red coloring.

GJNL - nothing to worry about. It's just more mass suicide by the Amphipods. Notice how they always leap up and most will just dissolve into oblivion? Maybe it's a breeding ritual? Live & love. Seriously, this one possibly could have fit into the "companion ROV" category. Thanx for the video.

Just reading BBERG headlines:

The RW will be finished
Annulus contains ~1,000 barrels of oil
Allen says oil monitoring in the Gulf will be intergrated
Allen says focus will be on subsurface oil from BP well.......

More to come:)



Well, nobodysfool, you just gifted everyone who is now or later will be on this thread while it's live with having to revisit your comment every time we refresh.

PLEASE, NEW COMMENTERS: Do NOT include the bracketed "new" in your copy-&-paste. Very bad move.

n'fool, unless/until someone replies to that, you'll be able to go back and edit it. Please do if you can. Thanks.

Officials had been testing the pressure beneath the cement plug currently in place. Steady pressure would indicate the presence of cement in the space between the inner piping and the outer casing, likely indicating a permanent seal.

But because pressure rose during the testing, the scientists concluded that space still needs to be plugged in.


testing the pressure beneath the cement plug

By what means? Psychic impression?

From above: Thus if the flow path from the reservoir is 100% sealed off and if they displace the riser with sea water, the lowest pressure they can measure at the cap/BOP is 2,300 psi…not zero. They should know exactly how much pressure the fluid in the riser is exerting along with the pump pressure. If they are measuring pressure great than that value it could be an indication the cmt plug is not holding 100%.

It seems the new press release has confirmed my postulation. I'll assume they either backed off the pump pressure or lightened the fluid in the rise (or both) to lower the bottom hole pressure of the column to less than the 11,900 psi original reservoir pressure. What's still unclear is how are they able to distinguish between flow up the annulus and that up the production csg. Just a guess but they may have great confidence in the cmt job even though there's no way to test it directly as far as I can tell. Also, not sure what the annulus volume is but I pretty sure it's a good bit less than 1,000 bbls. The volume of the much larger production csg was reported to be 1,200 bbls.

Lost circulation zone could be quite large after blowout. Failed test does not necessarily imply that a "5000 ft cement plug" is leaking. Much more likely that the casing is cracked and they squirted mud and cement randomly without killing the reservoir. No wonder dispersant system was overhauled and reconnected.

It does not really matter where the mud and cement went. They have both contributed to stopping the leak of oil into the GoM. Some seem gleeful to consider that there are additional leaks and postulate that the GoM is still being polluted from the well. BP stated on day 3 of the event that a RW bottom kill was the only way to stop the flow with certainty. they will make the intercept and pump the cement to accomplish that. Some advisors have suggested that they should have to do that more than 5 times. I don't understand why the frail to understand what the bottom kill accomplishes with the cement across the formation. How much should a high paid consultant know to get a check?

I wonder if her meant 1,000 gallons OR the info was reported wrong...OK he just called the Env Prot Agy the AEP, so it's plauible he misspoke:)

I was trying to transcribe it, but he is confusing me when he jumps from being worried about the spool, hangar etc and the upper threshold of 7500 psi. He did talk about some issue in well communication.

Not much help I know!


He did talk about some issue in well communication.

The negative test confirmed no evidence of communication. However it left open the possibility/probability? that there is "stagnant" (Thad's word) oil/gas trapped in the annulus but held back by the well-head seal at the top and cement at the bottom. So if they drill into the annulus with the RW at higher pressure they may send a pressure shock up the annulus and blow the top seal and risk damage to the BOP/Stack.

It is nice to see that static kill has been a smashing success and will not in any way impede or complicate the RW bottom kill.

See, all of those risks were worth it, you silly naysayers!

If we had stuck with RW bottom kill plan, it would be over already and we would have missed all of the extra excitement and uncertainty. How boring that would have been!

and there would be a hell of a lot more oil in the GoM and it'd still be gushing. If I recall correctly, they were looking at today's date for the bottom kill.

Not really. But it's still not over.

Welcome back, tanned-fit-and-ready syncro! Hope you had a wonderful time with the trout.

Thank you very much, Lotus. You are so nice.

I only ate one trout. My son loves letting them go as much as he loves catching them.

Sorry about the sarcastic post. But it is funny, sort of, to come back and see where we are.

I won't have as much time to post, but it is nice to be reading TOD again. And great to hear from you, Lotus!

syncro, I would have replied earlier had some Firefox glitching not shut me down last evening. Anyhow, it's wonderful to have an active lawyer back in our mix; I'm too rusty to do much good on that score. And of course we missed your good company in general.

Today's date was the targtet date for the bottom kill. Then the person in charge of the entire operation, Secretary Chu, decided to delay the operations to kill the well with his plan for science experiments. That delay was extended by weather events. The leak may have been contained within a few weeks if the Secretary had not called off the original Top Kill operation. The video streams are what the Secretary wanto to allow you to see of his experiment. We know that the US Govt. is in complete control of everything that is being done. Obama announced that months ago but some people forget that BP is acting under orders from Secretary Chu for every action.

Another mind reader, apparently.

Or it may have taken till Xmas to complete the bottom kill with oil spewing into the Gulf every time there was a collection problem or a hurricane. Sometimes you have to apply a tourniquet to keep the patient alive until a surgeon can fix the artery.

mummsie -- I think most have lowered their expectations by this point with re: getting clear answers. As avon says above all they may really know is that there's a leak in the system somewhere. After that it seems to be pretty much a guessing game.

Perhaps it's time to open up the new contest: WHERE'S THE LEAK? There's about three obvious possibilities but I think we should award extra points for originality (STD's not included). We need to get something going to distract ourselves. I'm noticing with all this dead time we're starting to chew on each other a tad.

Your well has tapped into a fault that connects to our Athabasca Tar Sands and you are polluting our pristine tailing ponds.

The Athabasca Tar Sands (ATS) hypothesis? Don't be a fool! The source of the leak is the the battleship with the big screw (remember the big screw) that they used to surreptitiously plug the other well. Let's call this the Big Screw (BS) hypothesis. According to the BS hypothesis, in their haste to do the deed, they forgot to empty the battleship's fuel tanks before they deep sixed her. As for how the fuel oil got from the BS to the WW, that is left as an elementary exercise for the reader. Q.E.D.

Geez! Better be moving the strippin shovels afore they sink!!

I suspect that this won't quite conform to the spirit of your question, but as a confirmed PSCHOtherapist I have to justify the first half of my label periodically or I lose some of my lack of credibility! `(:<))-<=<

My nomination for the source of the leak is a wormhole!

Edit: PS: In my defense, remember that I like to consider alternative perspectives.

PPS: Damn I just undermined the assertion in my first sentence.

...as a confirmed PSCHOtherapist...

David, I can't resist asking. Are you a therapist who is also a PSYCHO, or a therapist who provides therapy to PSYCHOs, or perhaps both?

Just kidding ;-) I usually enjoy your posts, though I must confess I sometimes skim the longer ones.

It would be fair to say that it would likely depend on to whom you were talking when the question is asked. My clients might well say the former, while the opinion might well be divided for any of the population who know in any detail what I do.

As for my own read on it? I think it's fair to say that if you attach the prefix "wannabe" to both parts, that would reflect how I look at it. My therapist keeps denying that the diagnosis applies to me, and insisting that the therapist part is valid, but I have to wonder, in my more rational moments, what the level of sanity would be of a therapist who takes me on. And there's a certain weird attraction to being considered a psycho (as long as it doesn't lead to jail or inpatient time).

As for you sometimes enjoying my posts, I'm glad. I try to make them relevant, contributory, and not too heavy.

Then there's the length. It's a measure of your sanity that you only skim the longer ones. In truth, I'm not offended, especially because they're written as much to stimulate my own thoughts as those of others.

I feel bad that some people seem to trip over them (although apparently I'm not consumed by guilt over it), but am encouraged by comments like yours that suggest they aren't disrupting the conversation too much, nor perhaps unfairly imposed on those who don't find them helpful.

Edit: PS: The way I characterized myself once to someone who didn't know me is that I'm a serious person who (at least in those moments when hubris hasn't taken over), doesn't take himself too seriously. It seems apt.

My guess is the opposite point on the planet. Actually the 'worst' guess but WTH.

It seemed to me (right or wrong) when they shut in the well that 7000 psi was balance at 12,000 ft sand and the depleted main reservoir with a column of oil over it.

Implication is the 16" casing or expansion thingees failed. Did Horizon inherit weak casing by drilling out a Marianas temp plug?

Just asking questions here. I'm not an expert on drilling.

I know, he really confuses me when he speaks and I'm starting to wonder if it's on purpose, it's like a game of who's on first. I have noticed the snarkiness too, so I'll play the game. The leak is coming from China, they drilled to deep and tapped a resovoir in China and thus caused the spill there too (kinda like when my parents used to tell me when I stuck the water hose in the ground that it would go to China LOL). Sorry, not that original but I am walking out the door, meeting my friend (bikini girl) and some others at the Sandshaker for a drink. Chat with y'all later this evening.

Every kid knows that the underworld is full of gnomes, most are mischief makers. So when they are bored, they play with drillers and fart into the wells.

But because pressure rose during the testing, the scientists concluded that space still needs to be plugged in.

I watched the briefing online and Thad did not say that. He said pressure did not rise after the negative test. The Washington Post got it completely wrong.

That would be nice, if true. I'd like this to be over and finished, pull up the BOP, end of story instead of dragging on indefinitely while they complete both relief wells.

Thad did say that they were now considering just that - ie the option of removing the BOP and completing the Plug & Abandon that way. He said the top-kill may also have been an effective bottom kill.

They are still deciding on the best way forward.

You called for three RWs, IIRC.
It seems that only one may be necessary.
Why should a second RW be drilled into the borehole if the first one makes the intercept?
I understand that you are interested in bleeding BP for all that you can get to enhance your short position.
But from a practical engineering standpoint, why should two intercepts be required for a well which is no longer leaking.

2nd RW is a backup in case there are problems with the first. It takes so long to get down to those depths that they needed to be ready.


I understand the purpose of RW#2. It seems that some consultants to the Secretary now want to insist that BOTH relief wells be completed, whatever they consider completed to be. IF RW#1 makes the intercept and pumps the cement across the producing formation, what is the necessity of an intercept with a second RW? I'm not paid much for what I think about the situation. But I would like to be able to understand the purpose of disturbing the successful intercept of RW#1 with a requirement that RW#2 attempt to perform the exact same activety. On a previously sealed formation. Is it to keep bleeding BP to enhance a short position?

You appear to have a number of sources (see my comment above) to which the rest of us are not privy. Would you mind describing them in general terms, or preferably identify and/or cite them?

bleeding BP for all that you can get to enhance your short position

It gets a bit tiresome to hear this every hour. I took that hedge when there was considerably less clarity. Mister Market is a weighing machine with lots of inputs.
So far BP is doing just fine. Let's see how it ends.

For the record, my chief concern is the moratorium affecting GOM exploration.

If you're tired of hearing it, you can always go back to your World of Warcraft gold-farming site (or whatever it is).

That's what I heard too that it didn't rise appreciably was the exact stmt IIRC.......ok, really going now! I'll have a drink for y'all


Transcript available now.


Finally, we have finished approximately 24 hour period of doing an ambient pressure test on the well head. The pressure has not changed depreciably over that time period. So the one thing we can rule out right now that it has direct communication with the reservoir. Had the pressure risen, we would have known that there were hydrocarbons being forced up from the reservoir. So we know there’s some kind of a – something that is between the annulus and the reservoir that is not allowing the flow of hydrocarbons forward.

Actually he said "appreciably" not "depreciably" but that's beside the point. He said "Had the pressure risen" (but it didn't) and the idiotic morons in the press ran with "the pressure rose"

And now we also know there's "some kind of a – something that is between the annulus and the reservoir"

I was listening to it while I was on the phone, working and trying to trade yet still was able to pick up on the "appreciable" vs depreciable ......the reporting on this has been subpar at best IMO, ...........that being said, after I listen to the pressers I continue to have more questions than answers. I thought I was just too naive to know the difference, but now I wonder if it's intentionally confusing and vague.

@TFHG (bikini girl tole me to tell you hello after I mentioned you jokingly mentioned driving here to meet her LOL)

Surely that something is the casing hanger seal.

I don't really understand what this test was trying to accomplish; it is not diagnostic of the condition of the cement in the annulus.

And if the casing hanger is sealing then they may still have the 'problem' of having to pump cement from the RW into a closed system.

Couple of guesses:

Feds/BP want to know if the hanger seal was leaking or could be dislodged in a negative pressure test. Not just for attributing blame (bad well design vs. bad operational decisions on the day), but to know how to stop it happening again and killing someone else (tighter design regs vs. tougher operational and training requirements). The pleasure at bleeding BP dry and kicking them out of the Gulf will soon be forgotten if it happens again next year because the underlying problem was common to all operators and everyone got complacent (it can't happen to us, we're the good guys). There must be a risk that the annulus gets pressured up in the RW intercept and lifts the hanger then, at which point we won't know it's post-blowout condition

They want to know if the annulus is sealed because it affects the cement job if they can't force mud or oil out the top.

After a "contentious but productive" meeting with USCG and BP, Jindal says oil cleanup equipment in Louisiana will stay in place for at least seven more days.

"contentious but productive"

USCG: "WTF are you doing with all that equipment?"
BJ: "It's mine now."
BJ hides "Berm resort" and "secret lair" blueprints.
USCG: "Give us that equipment back!"
BJ: "Shan't."
USCJ: "We'll come and take it back in a week."
BJ: "I win!"
Cut to shot of offshore sandcastles crumbling into the ocean.

Snort! Oh well, more tea where that came from, RGB. (mop mop mop)


New monitoring plan to be created to find oil from Deepwater Horizon spill

... Allen said he'd talked to NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Geological Survey director Marcia McNutt, and officials with EPA about gathering all information about the presence of oil.

"I think what we need to do is mass our forces and then go out and try and find where that oil (is), the implications of it, in maybe a more comprehensive task force approach," he said.

A variety of efforts are underway to identify oil on the surface or just below, on shorelines and in deeper water, including research vessels operated by federal agencies and universities. Allen said the federal-BP response team also is monitoring for oil using crab traps filled with absorbent materials and other devices in waters near the coast of Louisiana and other states.

The information gathered under the combined effort would help direct both long-term recovery efforts and could be used in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process that eventually will identify what mitigation projects BP will be required to pay for. ...

... Allen said he'd talked to NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Geological Survey director Marcia McNutt, and officials with EPA about gathering all information about the presence of oil..............

and then burying it so deep in the landfill at Gulf Shores that no one will find it till this admin is out of office and BP stock has gone back to normal.

The landfill is in Magnolia Springs by name and Summerdale by the map and yes some of the oil was buried, but no longer. I visit it monthly now, but they will not let me take pictures. It could be a dog and pony show, but it would not be worth the trouble to them. They are working on using the sand for road base. They are going to look at some waste to energy systems. They make biodiesel and mulch. It even smells nice, though it was some sort of deodorizer. I still use some in my pits.
Contact Jim Ransom - Solid Waste Director (Hell of a guy too)
Baldwin County Solid Waste
- www.co.baldwin.al.us
15140 County Road 49, Summerdale - (251) 937-0249

I think the greater issues are with the private run facilities. I honestly believe when done properly, government run landfills in one county or smaller systems is the way to go. I also believe when done properly, private systems HAVE to be evil. I am sure the wise posters here can offer a more positive outlook on that last comment. I am just too cynical.

They make biodiesel and mulch. ... I still use some in my [arm]pits.

You love the smell of napalm in the morning?

Got 2 clips...

Any Ideas on what we are watching?


Second link gets a little nutty around 1 minutes and again at 2 minutes in.

Plankton poop--today's hottest topic!

Well, maybe not, but I was curious about something I read concerning the fate of oil after the Ixtoc spill, so I skimmed some scientific papers and abstracts on the subject.

It seems that as much of 20% of oil from a spill can end up mixing with bottom sediments by way of zooplankton fecal pellets.

Scientists in the 1970s discovered that plankton poop plays a critical role in the vertical transport of organic matter (and pollutants) in the oceans. Left to their own devices, tiny fragments of organic matter could take hundreds of years to settle out in deep water. But the fecal pellets sink readily because they are larger, more streamlined, and much denser--denser because they contain lots of silica (from diatom skins) and bonelike material. So the zooplankton are constantly vacuuming up bits of OM and mailing it to the bottom. The pellets are a major constituent of the "marine snow" that we've been seeing on the ROVcams. Without this process, the oceans would be a much less efficient carbon sink.

Most zooplankton are passive feeders, just eating whatever they bump into that is of the right size. So they eat microscopic oil droplets, package them with ballast, and send them down the water column. Crustacean types are able to metabolize the oil partly before releasing it.

Of course, too much oil can be toxic to zooplankton and can impair reproduction of the critters that aren't killed. If that happens on any considerable scale, the productivity of the Gulf will be temporarily reduced. I don't know whether zooplankton might play a role in bioaccumulation of toxic oil fractions. Lots of research to be done.

But remember, every plankton turd is a proud member of Nature's cleanup crew!

Cool! Good thing we don't have to follow them around, like our dogs, with little plankton poo scoopers.

All kidding aside I marvel at the balance of nature.

Thanks for the article.

Plankton poop -- well, did you evah. Gob, the paucity of my knowledge, were it not exposed to your questing intellect, would be a much sadder affair than even it is now. Look out to the next person who challenges me to a round of Trivial Pursuit!

Cute # 2 for today. :-)

I guess the Gulf of Mexico is going to be one of the most studied bodies of water in the galaxy.

I've commented about this before. This little patch that we've been watching for 3+ months and the MRI-equivalent that was done probably make this the most observed and evaluated undersea piece of real estate ever. Black smokers are okay, whatever the sea floor may be leaking over in the next canyon is okay, everything is unremarkable except this. The N of 1 video watchers don't seem to get it.

I'll bet that Costner is studying them to in order to figure out how zooplankton got around the EPA requirement for low ppm when dumping HC overboard.

Sorry ... couldn't help myself.

Interesting article; nature is indeed marvelous. Why don't we all hoist one tonight to toast all plankton turds everywhere ;-)

After lurking for a few months I think I finally understand the structure of the well - but forgive the odd wrong technical gaff! :) I understand the differences between the lining, the annulus, the production casing and the processes involving the drilling of the well, but one thing I can't seem to understand is how they complete the bottom of the well including the drilling through the oil/gas bearing layers and the setting of the cement at the bottom?

Could anyone explain the process?

They drill though the oil/gas bearing layers just as they drill the rest of the well. The producing layers may or may not require weighting the mud up to a higher weight depending on the pressure encountered. They drill somewhat deeper (maybe 50 to 100 feet) so they can run casing completely thought the producing zone.

After running casing or maybe a liner they pump cement down the casing followed by a plug and then drilling mud. When the cement reaches the bottom of the casing it is forced out the bottom and comes back up the annulus until the plug hits bottom. Then the cement is allowed to cure and then is tested.

At this point the the well may be temporarily abandoned and a rig is moved in later to complete the well. A perforating gun is used to shoot holes in the casing in the producing layers and the then usually the holes are acidized to clean the cement out of them. The well may or may not require fracking depending on the permability of the zone. The well is then produced though the perforations.

Thanks Rio - one more question.

I presumed as much about the mud weight to push through without a kick, and then the process of running the casing down, but am I right in saying they pump the cement down AFTER they have hit the bottom or do the plan in advance with a plug and the cement a few hundred feet after they know they are going to stop so only a minimal amount of mud rises up the annulus to make way for the cement?

As they pump cement an follow it with mud an equal amount of mud comes up the annulus and back into the mud pit. In other words any volume you pump into the casing an equal amount has to come out the top except if a formation takes some of the fluid. That is what is refered to as lost circulation.

When more fluid come up the annulus than you are pumping in the well is taking a kick, ie fluid coming into the hole from a formation.

Thanks Rio - much appreciated for the simpletons explanation. I'll sleep easy tonight :D

No BBIB for me though - Haagen Daaz for me and a whisky!

Thanks again.

Ice Cream of the 'Devils';) For the record, I like the local stuff from the corner shop. With the way supermarkets have gone up and eating out has come down, it is much closer in price by the quart now. I think I pay 3.99 a quart for some 'Rocky Road' that has nuts as big as kidney beans in it. It is better than the 'national or regional' brands, though there is much good stuff there too.

There is a lot I don't understand about why the casing cement program was such, but it seems to me somewhere along the line in plans to temporarily abandon the well some one would have looked at the way the cased annulus ran so far down and said" You know it might be a good idea to shoot some holes and squeeze the TOP of the production zone" Or do this and squeeze anywhere up and down where the 7'' was in open hole.

Earlier I posted a ROV vid of some high energetic fluids and gass movements around Olympic Challenger 30 while hanging high above the seafloor

I've got part 2 uploaded ,

Part 1 :
Part 2 :

And a 3rd vid to illustrate a possible different angle of the view above :


(you can compare the 3rd vid with the same view a little earlier :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPPK_bkCMhM )


I'm not in the oil patch or involved in it in any way but even I can see that is only Silt kickup from another ROV's thrusters!

I've read this site daily from May and ingested everything ROCKMAN, Rovman et al have said and can whole heartedly say it's just silt.

( No need to get pickey , its allready sad as it is )

Not being Picky, just relating to so many ROV feeds I've seen but I still enjoy watching them so thanks for posting - it's always interesting to see what they are doing down there. Fascinating at times but I have made my own mind up as to what is going on.

I appreciate new video's and theories but so far I'm going with the clever people on here that it's no more than silt from ROV's. But entertain me with another that looks more realistic.

Not having a dig, but with that many CT people on here it seems these days it's hard to cut the wheat from the chaff ;)

Hi H_M - the theories of all of these purported releases HC can quickly and definitively be proved or disproved. If these are HC, they will produce evidence on the surface rather quickly. Even if Corexit is used (as one camp believes), a significant portion of the HC will still make its way to the surface and be too large to hide.

While a portion of HC/HC-Corexit mix may remain suspended in the water column and drift way as a dilute plume, a large portion of any released oil will get to the surface because of the specific gravity of oil. Actually, no way to keep it off the surface.

No slick, no leak.

bbfellow - I whole heardtedly agree! - as my last comment comes across I hope!

If it didn't come across in the right way I blame the beens on toast.

Written for the non-technical reader, this link takes one through the entire drilling of Macondo to the blowout. Contains lots of good illustrations of the BOPs, wellhead, casing strings, etc. Click on Part 3 after link loads. It's about 45 pages.


Thank you very much indeed for that link. Anyone wishing to know how the Macondo prospect well was construted and what possibly went wrong will be totally fascinated (and educated). The best single source of information I have read to date.

I've got a saddening video of just 30 minutes ago

Seafloor , ROV , Olympic Challenger 30 after resurfacing and returning :


I'm off to bed ,
Keep the watch

Apparently a stream of oil and then dispersant being sprayed.

I'm not good at figuring out the coordinates. Was that shot at the same location as they have been claiming is the original BOP or was that from the seven miles away leak that Matt Simmons and other high priced consultants have been concerned about?

Claiming? Seven miles away? Matt Simmons and other high priced consultants? Is the later from before or after Mr. Simmon's death?

That does not look good at all.

I've been reading about the weird sea creatures, that thrive in methane environments like we have here in the GOM. Very interesting stuff.



Don't think there are creatures of any sort in this video, however. No worms, no eels, just stuff that doesn't look very promising.

Can someone with knowledge comment on what we are seeing here?

Thanks Alan V.,

That' s kind of what I was thinking too, but that doesn't mean much since I am ignorant.

IS there any way of finding out how much dispersant Nalco is selling to BP or the government? That could tell a story.


Since Larry' Fink's BlackRock Group owns a sizable portion of Nalco , and Larry Fink has buddies that he advises in Goldman Saks, and other high places, would I be wearing a CT hat if I wondered if there are big financial reasons to keep quiet the fact that the GOM is fractured with oil and gas leaks that are being kept at bay, and removed from the public's eye, through the usage of the dispersant Corexit?


Radio personality, Irv Homer, now deceased, who once ran for president on the Libertarian ballot, often said, "Follow the money trail to find the truth." He was usually right.

There really should not be any concern about the products of Nalco. It is one of the largest investments of Al Gore's environment protection investment fund. The guy really knows his stuff about the environment and would not own shares in a company that sells hazardous products.

I'm not going to touch that one beyond asking when you stopped beating your partner?

Scientists Discover Methane Ice Worms on Gulf of Mexico Sea Floor

July 29, 1997 -- A team of university scientists using a mini research submarine on a NOAA-funded research cruise has discovered, photographed, and sampled what appears to be a new species of centipede-like worms living on and within mounds of methane ice on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, about 150 miles south of New Orleans.

[scary photo warning]

More: http://www.science.psu.edu/news-and-events/1997-news/iceworms.htm

a new species of centipede-like worms


When they say "new," they mean new to us, as in just discovered, not that the species developed just recently, right? What a wonderfully science-fictiony name, "methane ice worms." Sounds like an alien life-form that would be encountered by humans exploring one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, or maybe in a bar on a planet in another solar system far, far away.

When they say "new," they mean new to us

Of course. Doesn't the universe revolve around people? On the other hand, they could be new, since no one had seen them before.

"Methane Ice Worms" : yet another good band name.

It is saddening, GJNL, in more respects than the obvious. I notice how they've distorted the image in the mid-distance. For people like me who aren't CT-prone, but rather search for info to explain what I see, this trying to hide what's going on just makes me nervous. If there's nothing to worry about, why don't they just say what is going on and what the implications are. I was watching a Rov just a few minutes ago who practically twirled around after focusing on bubbles escaping from the seabed. After moving to the left it caught another spout and had to turn quickly back to the right. Pretty soon the poor ROVs won't have anywhere to focus.
PS: This is the first time I've seen bubbling without sediment. Has that been going on for long?

I know that I'm different from other folks in certain respects, but I don't have the kind of fantasy life that suggests that someone is always monitoring my mind, and/or the questions that occur to me.

Nor, in spite of an abundance of hubris, do I have the belief that simply because I have a question, not only will someone in a position to respond, automatically give me an answer simply because I've ever thought it or articulated it, but that the answer will be always be framed in terms that will be comprehensible to me, as well as satisfying to my curiosity.

Nor do I believe that simply because someone is not responding to my questions (articulated or not), therefore they're trying to hide something from me.

Nor, though with the internet it has become tempting, and in spite of the fact that I remain somewhat sedentary, or, as some would say lazy, do I expect that answers will be spoon fed to me without any effort on my part. Which is just as well, because I do still have some pride (or hubris, if you prefer).

In fact, in this day and age we have ready access to an unbelievable amount of information, but even when the information almost automatically intrudes upon our awareness, we have to do a certain amount of processing to assess both its validity and usefulness, then fit it in with other information that we know (or think we know), find information that will fill the gaps that remain, evaluate whether it now makes sense, and, if it doesn't, figure out what we're missing, until it does make sense.

The alternative is to let other people do all the work, without you having any idea about their competence, or motives, then decide between what are usually a number of useless perspectives which are spectacular enough to catch your eye and divert it from the truth, which sits patiently in the corner, usually adorned with relatively quiet attire and demeanor, knowing that it will survive all the alternative perspectives, and knowing that you will arrive at it eventually, or perish in the attempt.

Perhaps this may be a better way to put it. If I were Satan I would call you up, and shout (he always shouts), "This is God speaking. The world is a dangerous place. Everybody is against you, but I'm your friend, and will guide you through the danger ahead. You just have to do one thing, distrust everything you see or hear and listen only to that voice you hear that warns of lies, deception, evil, etc.. That voice will be me. Salvation is at hand if you just follow my directions."

Can you imagine how much fun Satan could have then? And how screwed you would be?

For those of us who have been at it for awhile, many of us have discovered that the journey is more fun, and rewarding, than the answers we gather along the way. The answers have value because we've done the hard work to gather and verify them, but it's the hunt that's fun. Which is just as well, because the answers only generate more questions.

Try it, you might like it!

Good post.

But I do love it when all the chaff is scattered on the floor and there's still something in my hand.

What can I say?

Chaos has a certain attraction.

Otherwise why would they try to come up with a theory (which, if successful would take all the fun out of it)?

Edit: Did I just jump to a non-sequiter to your post?

Maybe I should be sentenced to rereading all of my posts to do penance.

Let us suppose and the gloom and doomers are correct. We would not do anything about it but hide it anyhow. Better to party like it is 1999. I would love to have a beer with Satan. Has to be in the top 5. I think God would protect me, but maybe that is the biggest hubris of the day. Sort of like the whole 'peak oil' story, eh?

David, David, now who's making the assumptions? You 'assume' that I don't do my own homework but expect to be 'spoonfed' by BP? I've actually done a fair amount of research (from scientific sources) on the methane issue. I'm refining my knowledge by having my assumptions corrected or refined by people on this site. I do not deem myself an authority on the methane issues. (There may be no methane issues!) But I am enjoying the chase. I regret the lack of confirmation or negation by BP because it allows the continuing fear drummed up by CTs to make people afraid. At this moment in time I don't see the methane as a big threat, but I would like to know from experts what they think or from BP itself who has all the data from the seabed. The drilling issues are beyond my grasp, no matter how good a job HO does in explaining them.

I never let other people do all the work on important issues that grab my interest. I've been most interested in political issues for the past decade. As we see from frequent exposes, for example the recent 'wiki-leaks' concerning Afghanistan, the government, the military, the powers-that-be, the courts, corporations can not be trusted to act or communicate with the people in a completely open and honest way. Do you believe everything anyone tells you without skepticism, particularly when it is obvious that what they tell you serves their interests?

I quite honestly don't know why you've taken an interest in me in particular. I don't think we'd like each other in normal circumstances, but you never know. I do know I wouldn't put up with the continual head-shrinking. How can you enjoy the journey when you don't allow people to be who they are, screwed up here or there or not? I find it to be presumptuous.


I regret if my replies are disconcerting you. I'm glad you're doing research to broaden your understanding, but the simple statement that you have done research does not provide much support for some of the statements you've made.

In the first post that I challenged (may I point out that I did not have any significant concerns about your previous posts?) you said:

"I agree that organisms that feed in the seabed would produce methane, but then you have to assume that the seafloor has always looked like this (which it hasn't) and that anywhere there's seabed sediment you would see this sort of methane discharge, and I don't think that's the case."

I asked for evidence to support your statements.

You responded with more statements, then cited direct observation as the rationale for making those statements.

I reiterated my concern about making unsupported statements, then pointed out some of the problems with direct observation, especially when there are as many variables involved as in this situation.

That seemed to be it, and I accepted that you understood my points, till I ran into your reply to GJNL, which started this latest exchange, in which you said, among other things:

"I notice how they've distorted the image in the mid-distance."

"...this trying to hide what's going on just makes me nervous."

"If there's nothing to worry about, why don't they just say what is going on and what the implications are."

Then you insinuated, as have many others on here, that at least some of the operators of the ROVs are trying to conceal what's happening on the sea floor.

The combination of the allegations, and the implications that because you and others are asking questions, then BP and/or the government should answer them triggered my most recent post.

All that I'm asking for you to do is cite the sources for your allegations and your statements.

I doubt that you have access to information about the motivation of any of the personnel or management involved in these complex operations. If you don't, then don't pretend you do, no matter how much you believe those are their motivations.

If you have evidence of what the sea floor looked like before the blowout, then cite it, otherwise don't make those kinds of statements.

If you have evidence pertaining to what the present condition of the seafloor is like and can explain the difference between the two situations, before and after blowout, AND account for all of the variables, then present the evidence and make the argument. Otherwise don't make those statements.

I can imagine that you have questions about discreet aspects of what's going on, and will, as others have done, get answers from someone qualified to answer them if they hear them because you have asked them. Otherwise don't complain about not having the answers.

I can imagine that you might like to voice some speculation about why things are being done the way they are, but I would suggest you'll get more credibility and useful responses if you can speculate about more than one or two possible motivations, no matter how much you believe (as differentiated from "knowing") you know what they are.

If you try to ask rather global questions like "what are they hiding?" or "why are they hiding things from us?" or make observations like "I notice how they've distorted the image in the mid-distance." don't be surprised if you get challenged.

I understand that not everyone (including me) always tells the truth. But the most inveterate liar doesn't always lie, and accusing them of lying when they haven't has a way of backfiring. It is appropriate to be cautious about accepting the word of someone you have reason to believe has been somewhat loose with the truth before, but I would be careful about accusing them of lying unless you have solid, available, first-hand evidence to support your allegations. People have ended up somewhat poorer for not having followed that dictum.

A large part of my concern arises from the truly incredible amount of misinformation, wild speculation, distortion, unwarranted distrust, allegations and mistruths that are floating around about this and other issues.

I know it's hard for us to believe that we might be contributing to that atmosphere of conspiracy theories, but people who thrive in that atmosphere will pick up the most innocent misstatements or exaggerations from any source they can (and I could imagine this would be a prime source for them), and distort it like you wouldn't believe with little or no regard for the truth of the matter.

If we're seriously concerned about our nation, our culture and our environment, I would suggest that we all resolve to do our best to contribute in a positive way to clarity and understanding, not obfuscation and confusion, to solutions not condemnations, to progress not paralysis. Some of us don't have many years left in which to contribute to growth. Let's make the best use of it we can.

Finally, if you think I've been "head-shrinking" you, you don't know what it's like. I don't want to scare you off, but although it can be very beneficial in the long run, like surgery psychotherapy can be pretty painful sometimes in the interim; a lot more painful than this has been for you.

David, while I believe you are well intended, your rules are a little too over-restrictive. People can judge for themselves. The best cure for bad speech is more speech, not censorship of the offensive speech.*

Did you know unpopular, offensive and irritating speech is the speech most in need and some would say deserving of first amendment protections? The court's view it that way. Sure, crying fire in a crowded theatre is not protected speech, but no one is doing that. The internet is not a crowded theatre.

Ideas, allegations and accusations will rise or fall on their own merits, and so will the reputations of those who put them forth.

With all due respect, I don't think anyone but the moderators has the right to state rules on what to post and what not to post.

EDIT: * Not to suggest anyone's speech was offensive IMO.

Point taken, thanks.

Sometimes I get carried away by my hubris, but that's no excuse.

Actually, I think they would have been valuable if presented as guidelines, but are too restrictive as posting rules. Of course, expecting perfection from anyone in these posts is unrealistic. Especially in a heated debate!

Edited first sent. slightly.

Sometimes I get carried away by my hubris, but that's no excuse.

Are you aware how passive-aggressive some of your comments sound? E.g., "I regret if my replies are disconcerting you." This in response to someone's (quite reasonable, IMHO) objections to a lengthy critique from you of the commenter's approach. The more appropriate, more neutral term (again IMHO) would have been "annoying." "Disconcerting" implies a greater level of upset than was evident and suggests that, as a therapist, you were able to discern that your critique was more penetrating than the commenter cared to acknowledge.

Thank you for archiving and posting these videos, GJNL.

What on earth is saddening in this video, GJNL?

In the first few seconds some critter shoots up out of the muck as the bright lights of the ROV hit it, then does a 90 degree turn to horizontal and swims away, leaving a dissipating trail of dark mud behind.

Then we see dark shadows of (drum roll, please) the big clouds of silt kicked up because the ROV is maneuvering just above the bottom. Go back and look at the :16 mark and you can see the top edge profile of the dark area matches the top edge profile of the light stuff below. It's a shadow cast by a spotlight located below the camera.

I'm glad folks are watching all the feeds, all the time. The rest of us have gotten to see some interesting stuff thanks to y'all. I am a little concerned that some people get carried away with excitement or sadness or fear and forget their physics. Oil floats. The oil coming out of the BOP shot out of the pipe and headed right for the surface; the black oil bubbles from natural seeps dance around a tiny bit, but their path is straight up.

Next time something dark or cloudy in a video worries you, ask yourself if it is just swirling around in a small current (like stirred up mud), or is it trying (like oil) to head right for the surface?

The large number of pressure tests BP has performed in the last few months have been done to determine downhole conditions. The pressure readings are taken inside BOP, 5000’ below ships, and 13,000’ above bottom of the hole. Many different downhole conditions can produce a single particular pressure reading in the BOP. Large uncertainties still exist after all these tests about what’s up down there.

The side relief well entry measurements, and future central entry from top of Macondo well will reveal much when Schlumberger logs the 7” production casing before final plugging and abandonment steps. Will BP release this information to the public (dream on) , and when?

Will the 22” casing attached to the wellhead be cut off a little below the mudline, with the 36” and 28” casing left intact?

BP’s intentional lack of openness about the causes of the blowout, efforts to stop it, and efforts to clean it up have been disgraceful. Hopefully a US oil company will buy out BP’s GOM operations.

Thad Allen’s remarks today indicate they still (even after static kill) do not know about reservoirs isolation, and well bore conditions. Doing the bottom kill first would have been easier, safer and faster. Just pump heavy kill mud up through all open flow routes. Could get desired down hole pressures, and have control of what you are pumping against. Once kill mud got to seabed level well would be killed, then cement it from bottom, then replace BOPs, then P&A. Instead they stopped work on RWs, did static kill, cemented inside 7”, and who knows what else, and are scratching heads now wondering where did all the mud and cement go considering annular volume was not known, and can the reservoirs still send oil/gas to seafloor once BOPs are removed.

There is a significant difference between using an abundance of caution, and not knowing what is going on.

At this stage there is no hurry for them to proceed, so if they can gather further information first, that seems very prudent to me.

BP’s intentional lack of openness about the causes of the blowout, efforts to stop it, and efforts to clean it up have been disgraceful.

It always surprises me how different people can have such radically differing views of the same situation.

When an aircraft crashes, often we hear nothing after the initial superficial media reports until an investigation report is issued a year or so later. This is a different kind of situation but the contrast is notable.

In this case BP is threatened with lawsuits, normally this has the effect of making people clam up totally until the court cases are over.

I'm amazed by how much information has been released. There are numerous documents from BP (and others) about the causes of the blowout, efforts to stop it and efforts to clean it up.

As one example, here is a report where BP identify the critical factors in the failure of the Macondo well. It follows the usual style of investigative reports where the aim is to provide a dispassionate presentation of the facts in order to identify how such an occurrence might be prevented in future. In this case it is an initial presentation and also identifies remaining investigative work that needs to be done.

Often, I'd enjoy more detailed information, or clarification of what exactly is going on at any of the thousands of locations where BP are active every day - but I'm not concerned that educating me in depth, for free, isn't a top priority.

Clearly, others feel differently!

Allen said scientists from BP and the government are working to ensure the bottom kill does not damage the cap and make the disaster worse. New equipment to ease the pressure inside the well might have to be installed, which would "significantly affect the timeline" for the final fix, Allen said, though he did not specify how much.


I get more confused by the day. I thought when they put the cap on they said it would facilitate the "bottom kill" because they could control pressures. Now they have to protect it? Maybe I just don't remember that correctly.


>>The new cap assembly should have a positive impact on future well kill and cementing procedures that will be part of the relief well operations.<<


At least there was never a direct measurement of flow.
Mission Accomplished.

And look at all the extra excitement we get! BP is awesome!

Would sonar surveys by ROV's generate any disturbance to sea floor conditions by the signals emitted by their transducers?

I'd imagine there'd be more effect from the hot rod lighting systems they run. The water volume is too great to do much to the water temp directly, but those lights aimed at a solid object (or the seafloor mud/silt) could raise temps quite a bit, even if the range would be pretty limited.

I hope that this has been brought up already. If not, here goes.

Has it been determined if the two (2) drill pipe stems that were found to be on the casing when the crimped riser was cut were ever fished out prior to the static kill? At least one of these should reach the reservoir or close to it. Even if these stems had clean cuts at the top (they are crimped but not necessarily sealed- in effect a one way valve) leaving a channel of communication for pressure from the bottom of the well to reach the gauges at the three valve cap. If these drill stems had not been removed they should have.

If these stems are still in place shame on Tad Allen and BP. If they are still in the casing there are two thing that need to be done during the bottom kill: 1)the top of the drill pipes at the mud line need to be milled to remove the restricting crimps at the top 2) when the casing is milled at the bottom from the RW they need to mill until the perforate the drill pipe. This will allow the cement from the bottom kill to flow up the drill pipe toward the surface and fill the likely channel of communication from the reservoir to valves. The sippie straw must be filled with cement using a "bottom kill".

Ricardo, New Orleans

While Oil Gently Seeps from the Seafloor

Oil naturally leaking into the ocean offers a 'laboratory' to study accidential spills

Christopher Reddy
Coastal Ocean Institute
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

I had learned about natural oil seeps in graduate school, and I knew that they account for about 50 percent of oil that ends up in the coastal environment. That's five times as much oil as is delivered by accidental spills.

The Santa Barbara seeps, for example emit 5,280 to 6,600 gallons (nearly 20 to 25 tons) of oil per day, and natural seeps have been active for hundreds to thousands of years. Local Native Americans used the oil to waterproof their boats. But I just didn't appreciate how spectacular they were and what a powerful opportunity they provided to study oil spills.

In our initial research, Dave and his scuba-diving team collected bubbles of oil that trail out in a line from a seafloor seep (we call these "stringers"). We compared this oil with samples extracted from a nearby offshore drill rig, which tapped into the same reservoir that leaked oil out of the seafloor seeps.

We analyzed the specimens using a technique called "comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC)." The instrument reveals distinct chemical "biomarkers" in the oil, which, like genetic markers, allow us to track the oil's source and lineage. It also lets us identify and differentiate the thousands of compounds that oil is composed of.

To our surprise, we discovered for the first time that on the oil's journey up to the seafloor, approximately 1,000 compounds in the oil were devoured by microbes living in the rocks beneath the seafloor. Some are [ed. probably should be "ate"] the oil and created intermediate byproducts. These were subsequently eaten by other microbes that likely converted the oil into natural gas.

We also compared the compounds in oil seeping out of the seafloor with those in oil at the sea surface. We discovered that about 10 percent of the remaining compounds in the oil evaporated within seconds or minutes after it had floated to the surface. That was something we had never been quick enough on the scene to measure before in accidental spills.

More: http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=57272

Very interesting, thanks snakehead.

So, oil in seawater is Natural?
Who Knew?

I'm beginning to understand you better. You look for opportunities to distort, accuse, deride and otherwise try to do mischief.


I love Google earth and today I noticed that the spot that had been marked for the last 3 plus months in red where the DWH oil spill had occurred has been removed. I guess that's a good sign. At the spot where the spill had been marked was something from the census of marine life that I hadn't seen before. In the box, we read about a new species of bugs Census researchers described as a new species of amphipod from the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico Photo: Yousra Soliman, Texas A&M University, Galveston.

I hope Lotus won't tell me I am violating the fair use doctrine but it also said "Census researchers described a new species of amphipod, Ampelisca mississippiana, inhabiting the head of the Mississippi Canyon about 460 m deep in the Gulf of Mexico These small crustaceans, less than 6 mm in length and living in tubes, carpeted the seabed in densities up to 12,000 individuals per square meter. Based on its abundance and the stabilizing effects this “carpet of bugs” has on sediments, researchers believe this amphipod may have great ecological importance."

I thought this was very cool information but could not follow a link to a story with additional info or find a date about the discovery. I am kind of computer illiterate. Does anyone know where I can read more about these creatures and this discovery? If so a link would be greatly appreciated.

Here's your link: http://comlmaps.org/ge_layers/Carpet_of_Bugs

Look up "Phronima" after you pour some whiskey.

Sheesh. I don't drink whiskey but I did need another chardonnay after that one.

Hope they have good digestive tracts, these butt-ugly critters.

Is that maybe Corexit amphiturds we are seeing rising from the seafloor in these feeds?

I think I've seen something like this many times (when they focus the camera). Very interesting - Thanks.

Fascinating! Thanks for link...

With all this attention to sea floor around the well, it seems to me regular water-sampling in the area would reveal helpful data, measure impacts, etc... Is that being done?

Intersting. Did a little follow-up on my question @ http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/860951/ ... "For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit www.epa.gov/bpspill ... "

That epa site was not found when I clicked the link...

I'll try again later...

"For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit www.epa.gov/bpspill ... "

The link is working now. However, nothing in there about water-sampling around the wellhead...

I captured some screen shots of critters one of the ROV's was studying the other day. They were intently scanning the sea floor and focusing briefly on various creatures. They are posted on my Facebook. Here is a public link. Would love to know more about these things, especially the star shapes and the swimming spider. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2046364&id=1465825007&l=ba66f5fe85

Cool. That last one looks like a Roomba. I had no idea that they had a marine division.

screen shots of critters one of the ROV's was studying

Michelle, these are fabulous. What a treasure trove! Great captions, too.

I'm wildly curious as to why they're studying these things. One of the ROV operators has an interest in marine biology? They're bored? Somebody's paying them to do a little research on the side? Gee, it would be neat to have the whole tape. But these screen shots are just fascinating. Terrific job!

SL, thanks to aethervox, we know that that ROV is part of a biological survey called the Serpent project - see his post on 8/10 at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6832#comment-699196

And thanks for the screen captures Michelleb. I understand why deep sea creatures would be mostly pale or near translucent, so it is always a bit surprising to see one with color.

The crab may have lived high above and drifted down after dying. Food from above.

If the crab you are referring to is the orange one about 1/2 way down on the left then it looks like one of the spider crab family and the colour is normal. They live at depth and would not have 'floated down' as they are walkers not swimmers (unless thrown off a boat) so likely to be healthy.


I don't know about the particular crab in the photo, but there have been shots of at least one crab most definitely alive, walking around, and quite colorful.

Thanks so much for the links. I've been trying to find out about this on my own. I have seen these white organisms attack a fish, an eel and coating a crab. When the ROV went over the dead fish, there were a dozen of them on it and they scattered in the light. The camera went to b&w and they moved back onto the fish. There are many opaque creatures with iridescent insides, sometimes you can see detail. Those little white floaty things we've seen so often, when the ROV does a close up actually look like creatures. Appears to be millions of them.

thanks to aethervox, we know that that ROV is part of a biological survey called the Serpent project

Oh, gee, somehow that sequence of comments went in one eye and out the other. Thanks VERY much for reminding me of it, and to aethervox and M Onan Batterload for having scoped it out in the first place.

I went back and looked at all the links. What an absolutely stunning project, and how extraordinarily ironic that an undertaking so fabulously valuable and productive should be made possible by the cooperation of an enterprise that is doing so much damage.

SL, did you notice that the credits of serpentproject's orientation video thanked a list of rigs including DWH? A flash of sadness there.

Thanks. You know, I was watching the Olympic Challenger ROV 1 & 2 and for a couple of days they were intently scanning the sea floor. It was clear they were looking for something in particular, not seepage. A pattern developed where the white dots were of interest to them. It wasn't until the 3rd day that I noticed them focusing clearly on the dots. It appeared they were snapping pictures, so I thought I better do the same. I can't get my recorder to work so screen shots were the best I could get. But that spider would have been well worth a video. It was shocking as it happened. And they gave me a nice clear shot of the whole "unveiling" of it's legs. Hope these mean something to someone here.

+100 from me. Bookmarked your page and sent the link out to people who won't abuse it.

Cool shots Michelle! Definitely the stuff sci-fi is made of.

Newsflash: BP unwittingly opens portal or stargate. Alien creatures emerge. We'll be taken over soon, Bloomberg reports. Allen denies alien activity but acknowledges that the well is still leaking HC's.

Orgone blasters are hot as hell, and as a result BP puts have lost all intrinsic value.

Thanks BP for taking us where no man has gone before.

I was thinking bigger - metal eating organisms released by BP oil disaster in Gulf. No submarine safe! Mass panic of world military ensues as ships sink without notice! :)

When Seafloor Meets Ocean, the Chemistry Is Amazing

In more and more places, scientists are finding large amounts of natural gas on the ocean bottom

Jean K. Whelan, Senior Research Specialist
Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Dept.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Far more natural gas is sequestered on the seafloor—or leaking from it—than can be drilled from all the existing wells on Earth. The ocean floor is teeming with methane, the same gas that fuels our homes and our economy.

In more and more locations throughout the world’s oceans, scientists are finding methane percolating through the seafloor, bubbling into the water column, collecting in pockets beneath seafloor sediments, or solidifying in a peculiar icelike substance, called methane hydrate, in the cold, pressurized depths of the ocean [snip]

Recent work by a number of laboratories suggests that free gas streaming through the seafloor or seafloor hydrate deposits may constitute yet another large oceanic methane source. On the northern continental slope of the Gulf of Mexico, for instance, a process known as “gas washing” fills subsurface petroleum reservoirs with natural gas that flows upward from even deeper reservoirs in the Earth’s crust.

More: http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=2441

The understanding of and utilization of the methane hydrates will overcome any concerns about peak oil.
It will become the utilization of these resources rather than the ethanol from the microbes eating corn.

Is the Macondo 252 well near a salt diapir? If so what implications would that have on how to proceed with RW bottom kill after the static kill?

Good comments by snakehead on WHOI's C. Reddy and J. Whelan science of seeps.

NO! Darn that Lim diagram. The well is not near any salt diapirs. But if it was, there would be no special implications unless the salt was actually drilled into.

Poor baby. Even he can't figure it out anymore.

Note the date. Today is 08/13/2010, not 08/14/2010.


Friday the 13th? Best way to get rid of it is to set the clock ahead.

"You IDIOT! You are streaming the wrong file! Open the video footage we prepared for today, IMMEDIATELY!"

"But sir, we don't have a file for today, we just superimpose the current timestamp and the ROV data on some old footage..."

"Then set the damn timestamp correctly, NOW!"


You can see a whole bunch of methane chimneys spewing away on the Hos Achiever live feed right now.

Screw that. I'm watching "BP giving birth to tribulation judgment - Video footage from ROV" right now.

LOL - great example of people seeing what they want to see. Or, more likely in this case, of selling an agenda. This is the same guy as the heaving sea floor, the giant methane bubble and evacuate the coast.

Good one, but the narrator is as annoying as one of those guys on QVC.

For some reason I find this lunatic soothing. You've seen his video's before. He sounds a little like Benecio DelToro from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

Emphatically agreed, both assessments. BeePeeOilDisaster is the Walter Cronkite of Macondo loons.

Guess I'm late to the party. All I see are two dark, nearly horizontal lines. Nothing, that I can see, appears to be coming up from them.

Are those 'fractures' or 'seafloor rifts'? Or are they trenches made by ROV tether cables being pulled thru the mud as the ROVs move? If they are 'fractures venting (x)', why do they stop venting for such long periods? If they are trenches from ROV tethers, what would happen to the sediment when the tether was in motion? What would it look like? Isn't it strange that the interval between 'venting events' seems to match up so well with the amount of time the ROVs are sitting stationary, before they reposition? Just maybe?

If the white stuff in the water is venting methane/hydrates/some other inanimate material rising and drifting with the water current, how come a few of the particles are able to change direction, sit motionless for a few seconds, float back down towards the bottom, then take off again upwards but in a totally different direction than all the other rising particles?

During his July 15 Technical Update Kent Wells gave an indication of the pressure they would like to see during the integrity test:

"the best indication that we’ve got integrity and the pressure will be in the – you know I’m not sure exactly what it will build up to but clearly the higher – anywhere up in the 8000 psi range and above is great."

As I recall they were looking for 8000-9000 PSI.

When asked where the pressure was being taken he replied:

"it’s all about the pressure measurements we’re taking in the capping stack that allow us to make that determination on the integrity on the well."

In today's NIC Press Briefing Thad Allen commented:

"Between the BOP of the deepwater horizon and a capping stack, if you’ll remember, we installed something called a spooling tool where we unbolted the phalange from the riser pipe. We put that piece in and then we connected the new capping stack to it. The threshold of pressure that that can stand is 7500 psi."

He added:

"we wouldn’t have those stagnant hydrocarbons come up into the blow out preventer and then would you increase the pressure in the blow out preventer and the capping stack in excess of 7500 psi which will put that link in between them at risk"

So my question is ...

How come on July 15 it was expected and hoped for that the pressure would be higher (8000-9000 PSI) than the spool can actually tolerate (7500 PSI)?

Thanks. I am just trying to understand.

Best question I've seen here in a while. Well done.

And what about (paraphrasing) "may have to install equipment to relieve pressure"? Do they not have choke and / or kill valves on cap stack they can open to vent any pressure they might be concerned about?

Why do I get the feeling this is becoming a clusterf*** like April 20?

Has anyone found an up to date picture of the connections to the BOP/LMRP/Capping stack? I am assuming that the original choke and kill connections were used for the static kill - the same as the previous top kill. Also, there is a mud booster spool line to aid mud return up the original riser. I don't know what connections are on the (3 valve ???) capping valve stack. Was this meant to be connected to No: 2 floating riser? Were there any choke or kill connections?

EXCELLENT question, thrash.

My knee-jerk guess is that someone screwed up and they're talking around the truth, which makes this all appear extra awkward.

Here's my shot: Back when they installed the new stack, I found tech literature for an HC connector similar to the Cameron model (it was the GE Vetco type, find it by Google) that gave the maximum operating temperature for the seals inside the connector as 350 degrees. HOW HOT was the oil that flowed through there for three weeks or however long it was?

If they fried the seals with hot HCs, they might have down graded the pressure holding ability of the HC connector to 7,500 psi. Also, why would they install a piece of equipment with an uppoer limit of 7,500 psi on a wellhead that was free flowing from a 12K psi formation?
It stinks from the head, kids.

I saw Allen on CSPAN last night (not live) saying there is still leaking around the flange, too. So pressure is going somewhere and coming from somewhere.

Seems the "static" sharade has been quietly abandoned and we're being bamboozled by omission.
We're into some other kind of kabuki wherein they can't tell us what's going on because it would reveal that they don't actually know, which is a Huge no-no in the technocratic hierarchy.

[This is also a product of the culture of blamelessness among the corporacratic elites that's grown up in the past 30 or so years. Admitting a mistake puts everyone in the awkward position of perhaps having to assign blame. This makes for very awkward moments in fine restaurants and cocktail mixers in all the chick venues, so such things are simply avoided, consequences or appearances be damned. We're seeing this in play across the spectrum as our economy and society contracts into oblivion. Note that nobody is to blame. No person is held accountable -- nobody will do time for this disaster except small people. Isn't it awesome that a group of people can have the rights of a single person but in the end no single person is held responsible?]

How come on July 15 it was expected and hoped for that the pressure would be higher (8000-9000 PSI) than the spool can actually tolerate (7500 PSI)?


If you recall they had absolutely no expectation of shutting the well in on July 15. If the pressure had risen to a level that was deemed not safe the valve would have been opened and the well would still be flowing today. The whole stated purpose of the capping stack was not to shut in the well but to facilitate all the containment equipment they had assemble. They built millions of dollars worth of equipment that was supposed to be capturing 60K-80K bpd. After the capping stack was installed. It was the collection equipment that took 2-1/2 months to build. The capping stack could have been fready to go in couple of weeks.

The purpose of closing the valves on the capping stack was to find out what they were dealing with. The expectation was that the pressure would be below 6000 which meant there was a leak down in the hole. A leak in the well bore would mean opening the valve and collecting the oil with all the fancy containment equipment they had built and assembled.

If the well had integrity (and it is clear they didn't think it did) they expected to see more than 8000 presumably because there was an assumption that excessively high reservoir pressure had led to the blow-out.

Pressures that were too high or too low would indicate that it was not safe to keep the well shut in and would have meant the well needed to flow and the oil collected.

As it turned out the pressure in the reservoir that settled in at 7000 psi at the well head was pretty much the same as they believed it was prior to April 20. That is about 11800 PSI (12.6 pp equivalent) at the reservoir. That works out to 7180 PSI at the well head with 6.7 ppg static column of oil in the well.

The 8000 or 9000 pressure they said they might see if they closed the valve is much higher pressure than the original measured reservoir pressure minus the weight of the oil. And they never claimed or even hinted that they thought the cap would be able to hold that kind of pressure for a shut in.

Thad Allen today: "We have finished approximately 24 hour period of doing an ambient pressure test on the well head. The pressure has not changed depreciably over that time period."

Neologisms blur everything. There is no such animal as "ambient pressure test." What we needed to know was simple. When they shut off the mud pump, did they gain or lose mud? Saying that pressure did not change tells us nothing. Did they displace riser mud to seawater? Hell no (my guess).

Did they resume pumping mud after the test?

What is the red "plume" or "light" in the field from Ocean Intervention III - ROV2? Sorry if I missed this discussed.

Hello, is there anybody in there? Does any one else see this? I do not know how to copy video feed--and then the context would be missing--but this looks like the same area that was shown earlier today upstream in the comments. I have not seen anything like this before.

Ruby, it's lens flare (light bouncing inside the video camera lens). I just watched an eel swim right in front of the lens and I could see the red flare on its skin.

Ruby, Still here? Are you talking about the red stream in the Ocean Intervention video?

Ruby, the red stripe is a lens flare, in my opinion. Internal refraction in the glass of the lens from a bright object at a critical angle. When the fish swam close to the ROV the red stripe did not diminsh, but as he swam away it briefly blinked out. Flare is exaggerated in a zoom lens with multiple elements, which could be the case.

Thanks. I thought the red coloring didn't look natural in some way but I couldn't figure out why. Lens flare. Good enough for me. Sort of weird that the lens flare corresponds exactly with the discharge, though, isn't it? I've got to get to bed...after one video game (only!). (grin)

I tend to agree that more info would be nice, But nobody in the press asks for the specific facts and when BP or Allen voluntarily release previously unrevealed facts the press tends to get very confused. Given that it is understandable if they don't respond until somebody asks the right questions.

The press and the public tend to believe that the government and BP know everything there is to know. They can't grasp the idea that they are discovering things and learning new facts all the time. So when a new fact is revealed the public and press immediately jump to the conclusion that this is info that has always been known and has been been withheld. When they do release info they are accused of withholding info and when they don't release info they are not so accused.

It always astounds me when Allen releases so much info on his own. He goes to great pains to let everyone else know his current understanding of the situation. You would think he would have learned by now that is a thankless job.

Wells on the other hand, has much better technical understanding of the facts but tends to avoid saying anything until the question is directly asked. And usually it requires several askings to get an answer.

Oh, great. The Ocean Intervention video that many of use were discussing upthread now shows a RED stream exiting the sea floor. Earlier it had been brownish. What's going on? Anyone know?

Nepeta, just light refracting in the lens.

eel 14aug10

It took me forever to get the darn eel to swim in front of it, had to promise her free amphipods for a week!

That was a lucky break! Thanks to all for your answers. I just about crashed my computer downloading the video.

Nepeta, the red line appeared at the same time as this video was shot the other morning. It is a lousy video taken with my camera but you see silt coming up the left side on the inner side of the arm and it is red in the video. You also see that red silt out in front of the ROV on the left side. Also the video camera experienced trouble with the auto focus at the same time making everything appear to pulse for over an hour. He has not moved from that spot since.


A lot of speculation would cease if they'd show us the damn wellhead.


Still, there does seem to be a bit of whirling around on the left side of the screen--or are those compression artifacts? More lens, zoom-type problems? I'm not sure what to make of it. There is a similar hint of red to the area.

I called Markey's office and spoke to Jeff Sharp again as I had not received the email I was expecting about the reason for the deteriorated video feed. Here I will paraphrase: Sharp said he sent a message to BP but that they must be very busy doing sonar scans, etc, and perhaps did not have an ROV to dedicate to the BOP. I told him I believed at least one is there most of the time, but the video-quality is so poor, nothing can be seen clearly. It's hard to be sure we are even seeing the outline of the BOP. I asked if he did not find that suspicious, and what about the public's right to know, blah, blah, blah...and has anyone noticed that the big events usually start late Thursday or Friday, running over the weekend?

Olympic Challenger UHD30 now.

To get an impression of the upward force from the upward streams from the seabed ,
see if you can spot Mr Eel whose territory we have been roaming for the last few months at around 0:15


From the radius of the curve and its rotational speed we can estimate his centripetal acceleration

a = r * w^2 ,

so taking 1 revolution in 6.28 seconds ,
a radius of approximately 5 meters would give about .5 G

So if Mr Eel weighs say 20 Kg , he would suddenly feel like he gained 10 Kg (= 50 %) pulling on him.

Thats roughly 20*5 = 100 newton = 0,1 HorsePower ( SeaHorse that is)

LOL LOL That is a great vid! Hope it goes viral.

Caught me by surprise as well:

I saw that live. I wonder what is causing that? It was obviously not anything to do with the ROVs, hoses or marine life (I think :)). Be useful if one of the reporters at the press briefing asks Allen about it. A darn shame that the ROV's co-ordinates are not being transmitted in the feed.


The closest I could match the area for coordinates in a crop from mash view of screens (month old) looks similar though?:

This little guy seemed to enjoy something about the area right after:

The other day, tiny wondered whether the Gulf seafood the White House served came from anywhere near Macondo or from, say, southwest Florida. Think I found the answer for you, tiny: according to the Saints' Zach Strief on the White House blog (with video and ZS's easy-peasy recipe for grilled shrimp and andouille), it was "from near Houma, Louisiana."

Which tells me absolutely nothing....It could have some from the west side of Louisiana, Texas or god knows where. Most of the shops I know of around here are getting their products from the East Coast, Texas, Georgia, etc....from near Houma, Louisiana, is a little bit too vague JMHO.

Oh well, as you wish, tiny. Maybe somebody else will like the recipe at least.

Now if it had come from some place like Grand Isle, LA or one of the other areas directly affected, it would be a more credible, relevant, worthwhile news item. JMHO again. Look and see where Houma LA is.

Houma is, what, ~ 20 miles from saltwater, maybe? That's "near" in my book, but as I say, suit yourself. (Wrangling over something like this is way too silly anyhow.)

The photo accompanying a T-P editorial today reminds me that I've been meaning to ask . . . when these rigs move either short or, especially, long distances, are they under their own power, or are they hauled by or on oceangoing tugs or the big honkin' transporter ships? (My guess would be that they prolly catch a ride, but maybe not?)

The Obamas head to Panama City today for a spot of demonstrative tourism, but I'll be surprised if anyone hoping for more beefcake beach pix of POTUS is gonna be in luck.

I'd bet BP's lawyers are salivating at finally getting to take the
U S government to court (Admiralty Court in London or World Court?) for assorted things including demurrage


I dunno about that.
Of course, there will be "negotiations."

[Special for the pilot who delurked for our Husky discussion the other day: You (sorry, I can't recall your handle) made the point that not overall flying hours but hours in that equipment matter most. Well, the Anchorage paper reports that the fellow flying the Ted Stevens party had only 45 hours in the Otter, 10 of them over the three days he'd worked for that company (but also "1,215 hours flying a de Havilland Beaver and 2,378 hours of total time flying amphibious, single-engine aircraft").]

Okay, experts, how d'ya like this suggestion?

Rather than intercept the damaged well, Allen could order BP to drill into the oil and gas formation and inject thousands of tons of mud around the base of the well to cut off any possible flow, Nansen Saleri, Chief Executive Officer of Quantum Reservoir Impact LLC, a Houston-based adviser to oil companies on how to improve production, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

“That’s a standard procedure,” he said.