BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Future Precautions - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6869.

The decision as to how best proceed with the final stages of closure of the Deepwater well is still apparently being debated. The issues relate to the problem of dealing with a column of fluid in the annulus of the well that sensibly has nowhere to go, and no easy way to be circulated out of the well, following an intersection by the relief well. Admiral Allen, in his remarks on Monday noted that the protocol would be

The science team will meet later on today and then they will brief Secretary Chu and Secretary Salazar. And the science team and Secretary Chu will make a recommendation on how to proceed.

In the meantime we are continuing an over abundance of caution to make sure we have mitigated risks at each point prior to directing the intercept of the well and we will continue to do that.

There does not appear to have been an update on Tuesday, from the Admiral; BP or the Secretary of Energy’s oil spill page which suggests that while the relief well will still intersect the original well, the precautions to be taken before that occurs are still being hashed out. So, while we are waiting, I thought I would mention the state-of-the-art in the plans that the major oil companies have put together to ensure that this large a disaster does not happen again, and then a short additional technical note about something that even I failed to note, during work on the BOP.

ExxonMobil has posted a blog (H/t Jane Van Ryan) which covers a presentation of the proposed system which will be built and held in case of need, to “ensure safe and effective drilling practices in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico.” It was presented before the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and recognizes the need, by the industry, to restore confidence in the ability to drill safely and effectively. SpecificallyChevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell have started to develop a new system that will

• Fully contain oil flow in the event of a potential future underwater blowout.
• Designed to address a variety of scenarios.

• New Specially designed equipment (will be) constructed, tested and (will be) available for rapid response.

• Can operate in deepwater depths up to 10,000 ft.

• Adds containment capability of 100,000 bd (4.2 million gallons per day), exceeding (the) size and scope of the Gulf spill.

The intent is to have the initial system, which is expected to cost around $1 billion, in place in 6 months, with further improvements and expansions developed as they become available over the following year.

Based on the development of what was needed, and what appeared to work from the current disaster, the primary initial emphasis is on the need to contain and capture the leaking oil as soon as possible. The overall layout of the system looks somewhat familiar:

The system takes the flow that is collected from the well, and then sends this, through separate risers attached to suction blocks, up to the surface for collection. There is an underwater dispersant system, and an accumulator, or power pack, to help provide additional power that may be needed.

To capture the oil/natural flow from the well has to be a flexible system, given that each failure is likely due to a unique circumstance, and will have its own geometry.

In all cases there will be a complete seal created around the well, but whether this comes from some form of containment that fits to the existing infrastructure of the well, or whether it requires that a separate caisson be created around the well, sealing into the surrounding rock; the equipment and protocols for its use will be available.

If there is a failure where the upper casings and liners of the well have retained their integrity, then, depending on what is available the new assembly (which will contain 3 shut-off rams as with the current stack, as well as flow lines for choke and kill circuits) can be attached either to the mandrel, the BOP, or to the riser itself.

If the integrity of the end of the well is compromised (i.e. the rock fragmented, the liners broken or the wellhead destroyed in some way), then a different approach will be required.

Here a caisson assembly will be constructed around the remnant BOP, large enough to surround the well at a point where the rock has enough strength and quality to allow a seal under the wall. This will then allow a cap to be placed on top of the caisson, with the containment system from the last slide, mounted on top of the cap, as a way of capturing the hydrocarbons that are bled off from the well, without their coming into contact with the seawater, and forming hydrates.

(ExxonMobil )

In both cases the oil and gas recovered from the well will be sent up to the surface using the flexible risers that were planned for use at the Deepwater Horizon site, but were never used. The use of flexible risers allows these feeds to be moved away from the immediate vicinity of the well, to allow other operations.

As with the surface vessels used in the present situation, the support vessels will be able to separate and flare the hydrocarbons, though the main intent is to be to flare the gas, while collecting and trans-shipping the oil.

The system will be available and thus will require the formation of a separate organization, the Marine Well Containment Company, to construct, maintain and operate the technology, as well as to maintain expertise in the most effective use of it.

And in closing, a small additional technical note. After the oil spill was being partially contained there was some problem with hydrate buildup on different parts of the BOP, and on the cap. I remember noting the ease with which one of the ROVs was moving a lance that dislodged the hydrate crystals, and thinking that they must have been very loosely attached. Turns out I was merely unobservant, the lance was an ultra-high pressure cleaning lance that was fed water at a pressure of 36,000 psi from a pump lowered to be adjacent to the operation. It was the resulting jet of seawater and liquefied gas that was actually doing the cleaning. There is a Youtube video for those who were wondering what that particular operation and structure were doing.

Forgive me is this has already been answered.

Where does the BOP separate? How far above the wellhead? How is it attached? Bolts? Hydraulics? Will they need Pincher Bot? Will they remove the Mini-BOP as well as the main BOP at once?

Have a look at http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4552485336/in/photostream/
The ladder looking device in the middle of picture. The lower half is the BOP with its five hydraulic valves for sheering off drill pipe and casing. The top half is the LMRP (lower marine riser package", usually with adjustable valves that can grip the drill pipe and seal the well around it.

The two bits are clamped together but can be separated hydraulically. The LMRP is attached to the riser casing which goes all the way up to the rig at the sea surface, about 21 inch diameter in the DWH case. The riser is held in tension by hydraulic rams on the rig.

In case of a storm etc; the LMRP would disconnect from the BOP. The BOP would stay clamped on the well head; valves closed. The BOP/LMRP are part of the rigs tool kit. They do not stay on the well head when it is completed.

The white hydraulic wellhead-BOP connector is a few feet above the seafloor.

The control panel for it is at the lower end of the BOP.

These will likely be two lifts, the upper stack and then the original BOP.

(Bonus: They made a lot of inspections on the lower BOP tonight with a special 3D video cam. Unfortunately we do not have those pics but in between the ROV met a new friend: Boppy the Jelly Fish as captured by TOB.)

If anyone would like to buy a practically new BOP/LMRP sub-sea package; I know where you can get one. To you my friends, I can let you have it for $26.5 million. Don't all rush!

I don't know Acorn! I looked at it and it's leaking oil, someone said they saw it smoking a while back, the radio doesn't work, and the battery is dead, and the paint is pretty rough.

"Show me the Cah Fax!"

LABTEC! ... LABTEC; would I sell you that smutter!!! This is from my friends at Marcus and Spencius; the number one UK retailer (not). It comes with a boot full - sorry, trunk full - of spares. How can you turn this offer down? http://www.worldoils.com/equipmentpages/bopstack1.php . I will throw in a BP T-Shirt.

All - the ROV watchers need some help.

We do see public video feeds from most Remote Operated Vehicles at the Macondo Well.

But there are two ROVs down there which do not have a public video feed. Unfortunately those two are the ones that currently do most of the BOP inspections.

It would help a lot in interpreting what is taking place at the well if we had those two feeds available. It would diminish rumors and scare stories.

Please help and ask BP to make the feeds available.

The two ROVs in question are from the ship "BOA Sub C" (not "BOA Deep C" which has left the scene). We know from photos that BP has video feeds from this ship and its ROVs in their Houston control center. It should only take a minute for them to make these public.

Please contact BP and ask for public video feeds from the Remote Operated Vehicles from the ship "BOA Sub C".

You can submit a request to BP via the web here. There are also several 800-numbers to contact BP on that page. Also the BP representative at the UAC Joint Information Center can be reached under: (713) 323-1670



[deleted for futility]

From some of the responces, I understand your frustration. Just sit back a few minutes and take deep breaths then let out a primordial (?) screem.


I'm wondering if these two ROV's are working for Cameron. I believe a week or so ago, they requested to do an in-place inspection of the BOP before it was removed. Never heard whether or not they had gotten that permission, but would explain why these feeds have not been made public.

Maybe someone else can confirm as I am only relying on recollection here?

No. The rogue ROVs certainly work for BP. They have been active for weeks and are doing all kind of stuff. Unfortunately we can NOT see directly what they do.

And again here's the Boa Sub C ROVs on the video wall in the BP control room in Houston for those who think we are hallucinating

Curiously the first copy of this pic I posted has vanished completely from ImageShack. Never, ever, ever had an image I posted vanish from ImageShack so that's a first. Sneaky ROVs indeed these.

Done! Thanks for the alert and making it easy to send the request.

It would probably take a congressman to get them to do anything, so maybe we should be petitioning Ed Markey or the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming:


Maybe even on facebook, sigh, if for no other reason than to publicly embarrass them for NOT having the rovs online:


That's what it took to get the videos online in the first place, congressional whining, wasn't it?

I'de like to think Markey did a good thing, and it wasn't just politics...

Morning, HO (with whom I did not compare notes before my last comment on the just-closed thread. Rockman, thanks for your reply to that. Boy, that ol' Law of Unintended Consequences sure is a beeyotch, innit).

From a story on the USF/UGA reports:

"It looks as if we'll never get over this oil spill," said Sandra Cummings, owner of the Seafarer's Pride restaurant on Panama City Beach. "At least, not in my lifetime.

"We have relatives in the United Kingdom who think all we're doing is conning BP for money. I wish they would come over here and really see how it feels when we have to close down a business it's taken so many years to establish."

This kind of thing makes me fear more Capt. Kruses. I really hope people can keep their grip pending better news (which has to be out there somewhere, sometime -- cue Bernstein/Sondheim).

Haven't found any yet. Just more disturbing articles:

Urgent Concerns Regarding FDA Reccomendations To Open Offshore Shrimp Fisheries
S. Smith (504) 593-9600
C. Brylski/H. Harper (504) 897-6110

August 17, 2010

Independent toxicologists issue warning:


Data indicates minimum 8-month recovery time needed


FDA Claims about Dispersants Challenged
S. Smith (504) 593-9600
C. Brylski/H. Harper (504) 897-6110

August 16, 2010

News from
Stuart Smith, Attorney
Smith Stag LLC

Independent toxicologists issue warning:
We object to the FDA Claim that chemical dispersants have a low potential for accumulating in seafood and do not pose a public health concern


And still trying to find verification on:

Fisherman Forced To Sign Waiver Making Them and NOT BP Liable For Contaminated BP Gulf Oil Spill Seafood

I heard something about some kind of waiver from my fiancee yesterday and this is what came up from a google search, but no reliable verification as of yet.

Tinys, I'm working on this. Just got off the phone with one of my shrimper contacts; he says it definitely exists in Mississippi and that he'll try to get a copy for me. I'm thinking that if it indeed exists, it has to be signed at the wholesaler's; I've got a call in there, too.

Thank you

This looks like a crock to me. The 'independent toxicologists' is one toxicologist without any marine work on his resume. Lots of forensic work though, and the fact that this 'news' is being released by a lawyer makes me wonder if the two are looking to establish a tort background related to this seafood.

Well the AMA might be complicit as well.


It's not just 1 lawyer:



Smith Stag, LLC
365 Canal Street, Suite 2850,
New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504)-593-9600
Stuart H. Smith Cell: (786) 879-9601
Michael G. Stag

For more information and commentary from Stuart Smith about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster visit oilspillaction.com

Liska, Exnicios & Nungesser
365 Canal Street, Suite 2290,
New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 410-9611
Val Exnicios Cell: (504) 495-9666

Perrin, Landry, deLaunay, Dartez & Ouellet
251 La Rue France,
P.O. Box 53597,
Lafayette, LA 70508
Phone: (337) 237-8500
Warren A. Perrin


The Bilek Law Firm, LLP
808 Travis, Ste 802,
Houston, TX, 77002
Phone: (713) 227-7720
Toll Free: 1 800 909 4645
Thomas E. Bilek
Kelly Cox Bilek


Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock Liberman and McKee
700 S.E. Third Avenue, Suite 100,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316-1186
Phone: (954) 763-8181
Robert McKee

Working in hand with:

D. Michael Campbell, Esq.
Campbell Law
523 East Central Avenue
Winter Haven, FL 33880
Phone: (863) 292-9929
Fax: (863) 292-9949

David B. Mishael, Esquire
David B. Mishael, P.A.
8603 South Dixie Highway, Suite 315
Miami, Florida 33143
Phone: (305) 668-3226
Fax: (305) 668-9866


Murphy Falcon Kuykendall Ravenell and Murphy
2013 First Ave N. Ste 450, Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: 205-960-7279
Frederick T. Kuykendall III


Morris, Sakalarios & Blackwell, PLLC
Post Office Drawer 1858 (39403-1858),
1817 Hardy Street (39401)
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Phone: (601) 544-3343
Stacey L. Sims


Sacks & Weston
114 Old York Rd.,
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Phone: (215) 925-8200
Andrew B. Sacks
Julie Parker
John Weston


Not just one lawyer, but a massive ambulance-chasing project hoping to toll people away from using the $20b compensation fund that doesn't require litigating and paying a cut to lawyers.

This is such a cartoonish response. How can smart people be so gullible?

There is not one word on their website that can be construed as luring people away from the $20b fund, or that these folks are fairly portrayed as ambulance chasers.

There are going to be many claims that are not readily amenable to the $20b fund, where it would not be advisable to attempt to get adequate compensation. There will be other cases where an attorney may be needed to help persuade the administrator on a point, or to present the damage claim. And there are going to be people and businesses who simply do not know what to do and need advice and help.

These attorneys have provided a valuable cross-jurisdictional alliance that can at least compete with BP's massive legal army. It is a great resource for those in need of help. This team is going to be competent and focused, with lots of shared resources. That's a real plus for those who have been harmed. Needless to say, BO will respond differently to someone with a team like this behind them than to a solo who has no expertise and resources. These attorneys are going to keep BP honest.

I am saddened to see smart informed people act like junior high kids when it comes to attorneys. Many people have had their businesses ruined and lives upturned due to no fault of their own. It is terrifying. This was a major disaster. Yet the immediate assumption here is that no one is allowed to have an attorney. Any one who might want legal advice is a scammer, a free-loader, a faker, has the cooties and is a retard.

Seriously, if you may lose everything or your claim has been unreasonably rejected and you don't consult an attorney, I'd have to say you're an idiot.

OK, syncro, sorry. Certainly everyone will agree with your last paragraph. However, do you expect many claims will be unreasonably rejected by the Feinberg operation? I don't.

What set me off is the nonsense on that website about Corexit. It looks like they are gearing up to appeal to the false folk beliefs on this topic that local juries are likely to share. The toxicologist even claims that Gulf people have been injured by having a lot of the oil confined to depths 2/3 to 1 mile beneath the surface offshore. That's complete BS and they know it.

Gobbet, it's not that I take it personally, and it's not that there are no sleazy, unethical ambulance chasers out there (there certainly are, and I hate them as much as you do if not more), but obviously in a situation like this a lot of people are legitimately going to need legal advice, and a good attorney can save people time, money and anguish and make the difference between suffering a nightmare and an inconvenience.

The fund has done away with the need to prove liability, and all the time it would take to get to the point where a determination of liability would be made. That shaves possibly years off of the process. However, you still need to prove your damages to Feinberg.

Feinberg comes from a corporate background and is on the conservative side. He is going to use a standard that is tough. The law places strict limits on damages. They cannot be speculative and must clearly fit within defined categories. He is going to reject claims that are not adequately supported by evidence and that do not fall within the measure of damages provided by law.

For this reason, there are many people who will need the assistance of an attorney to help them prepare their claims, especially any business. Attorneys know what damages are recoverable, what evidence is needed to support them and how to best present it all. This part of the job is typically far less costly, much easier and less uncertain than establishing liability. It is something that can be done at an hourly rate, and with the right attorney the cost will be nominal relative to the claim. Accountants may end up costing more.

I don't have the time at the moment to look into the corexit claims you mention. But when you look how much oil was dumped into the gulf and how recently that was, and what the stakes are for the fisherman, it would be almost dumbfounding if everyone agreed already that everything is fine and dandy and people can eat the fish. (Remember, he represents the fishermen.) Way too early for that. I'll try to take a look at it and give my assessment of what they are up to.

I am sympathetic to the idea the legal profession provides mechanism for people to receive address for their grievances. I've been on the complaint side myself when my wife was seriously injured in an accident caused by some quite negligent behaviour in a place of business.

This article however is very questionable. It starts off with some exaggeration - i.e. toxicologists when there is only one toxicologist involved and then proceeds to go downhill - claims with no science behind them - no measurements, data etc. and just a lot of speculation by someone who is forensic toxicologist and whose resume indicates that most of his background is that of a lab manager. This is really the province of an environmental toxicologist.

For this to appear on a web site of a legal consortium really has to raise doubts. This is not an instance of someone representing a client but rather someone muddying the waters in advance of what appears to be anticipated tort opportunities aided by a relationship between a forensic specialist and a legal employer.

This is awfully reminiscent of the Lancet thiomersal scandal where scientific corruption led to a drop in vaccination rates and rise in death rates from childhood diseases due to fears of autism from vaccination.

It is a real horror story which unfortunately is still having repercussions.



I have not had time to do due diligence on this team of attorneys except to note that they appear to be well qualified, experienced and have the resources to fight BP.

I think the problem with the site is that this guy Stag Smith appears to be the guy who put the group together and the talents of whoever he put in charge of editing or providing content for the site are lacking. The content management is not great.

I would disagree with you though that law firms should not print articles that fail to meet scientific standards for publications. Most newspapers don't come close to meeting that standard either.

Although the "article" in question is not terribly impressive to me, I don't find it offensive, either. It does not raise doubts for me about the ability and ethics of the attorneys at some of the firms listed. They stand on their own. Several have been around for decades. It does raise questions for me on who is in charge of providing content for the site, though. They could do better.

They're not pretending to be objective and neutral. They are advertising their services as advocates. Whether or not there are viable claims due to the use of dispersants is going to depend on the science and the data. You can't just make stuff up.

It is more than just 'content'. The toxicologist who authored the article is a Dr. William Sawyer.


"Dr. William Sawyer, a toxicologist, is part of a team of scientists hired by law firms — led by Smith Stag of New Orleans — that are representing Louisiana fishermen and environmentalists."

In other words he is being compensated by someone with an advocacy position. It is exactly the same conflict of interest question that would arise if there were a scientist in the employ of BP making statements on this topic.

In the case of Lancet and thimerosal it was found to actually have been made up. To this day, despite the proof of fraud, there are people who refuse to get their children vaccinated with sometimes tragic consequences.

I am sorry, Speaker, I disagree. They are advertising as advocates on oil-spill claims. They are not posing as a science journal.

No one is going to read their website and not get their children vaccinated.

I think your comparison to BP is apt, but you got it wrong. BP is buying up entire university departments and silencing scientists. What about the ethics of that, particularly on the science side? I don't recall you complaining about that. These folks have one hired gun. Big deal! He still can't just make stuff up in court any more than BP's hired guns can.

P.S. I will grant you that Mr. Stag Smith is a bit on the sleazy side for my tastes in how he presents himself, or in how he is presented by whoever is doing the content on the site. But i have checked out a couple of the other firms, and some of them have been handling environmental contamination class actions for 20 years or more. That is a whole different level of competency and professionalism from what you might expect of the sleazy lawyer advertising on TV late at night. Class counsel has to be approved by the court, and their are strict guidelines for approval.

The problem is NOT the lawyers trying to help people who are harmed, but rather the BP lawyers who are going to stall cases and seek every avenue to prevent people who are harmed from getting some compensation. Please don't ever forget that BP has highly paid lawyers working for them, writing contracts that benefit BP not the people of the gulf.

Early on they were running around handing out contracts where people would get $5,000 cash for agreeing not to sue BP. Our attorney general here in Alabama is not someone I like, but he stepped out and warned people about taking such contracts. He moved up a step in my opinion.

BP is no doubt circulating stories of people who are not eligible trying to horn in on the take, and stories of those bad lawyers who will cheat you to make a buck for themselves. While a bit of that may be going on, since BP has lied and covered up from the start, I am quite sure they have people putting out false stories to sway the public. Perhaps even doing so via blogs and discussion sites.

Don't despair lotus. Remember when Saddam blew up all the wells in Kuwait, and the oil ran into the Arabian Gulf. There were lots of well head fires burning some off. There were some "red Adair" type guys putting fires out. But, most of the wells put there own fires out. When a well flows uncontrolled - unchoked - the stuff coming out contains a lot of water; sand and bits of strata material, as the formation crumbles at the well bottom.

You won't see any of that oil now on Gulf beaches; I swam in it recently. You will find some further down in the sand that the bugs haven't eaten yet. It will be the same in Prince William Sound I expect.

Thanks, Acornus. I'm not despairing (about this anyway), just worrying about others dealing with more than they can stand. Whether Feinberg, NOAA testing, or some other source, I hope something brings them sufficient cause for hope soon enough to keep them putting one foot in front of the other.

Acornus...I must differ with you on this. From Aug. 30, 1993 Oil & Gas Journal:
"Bechtel Corp. has disclosed more details of the massive 2 year effort to restore Kuwait's petroleum industry.
Bechtel last month completed a project management contract for Kuwait Oil Co. (KOC) in which it helped kill 751 wild wells-647 of which had been set ablaze-caused by Iraqi sabotage and helped restore KOC productive capacity to about 2.1 million b/d."
Several US well control companies were involved, as were crews from Canada, Russia, Romania. Many were simple kills simply because they were low rate producers or because the Iraqi's being inept at setting charges.

Accepted hasbeen, I was being economical with the facts. I was swimming further south. I met some of those guys in Dubai. Managed to start an international argument on the very points you state. I only speak English; by the time the conversation was interpreted; oh dear! I did get out alive.

The latest pressure readings from inside the BOP

From BP's page:

There is a near-ambient pressure test being conducted on the well to continually measure the pressure in the blowout preventer and the capping stack as responders prepare for the final stages of the relief well. Sensors measure the pressure in the well bore above the cement plug, as monitored at the capping stack. The differential drop in pressure on the morning of Aug. 14 was planned and expected – necessary for a scientific testing subset as part of the ongoing pressure tests.

BP plans and expects an increase in the ambient pressure of the well head to climb to approximately ~ 2500 psi this afternoon (Aug 17).

"BP plans and expects an increase in the ambient pressure of the well head to climb to approximately ~ 2500 psi this afternoon (Aug 17)."

BP is now increasing the depth of the Gulf of Mexico over the site?
Isn't that the only way the ambient pressure can increase?

And how can an increase in pressure climb?

Gawd we are doomed...

[Ambient -- adj., of or relating to the immediate surroundings of something.]

Apparently all those physicists from Lawrence Livermore and the other national labs have no idea what ambient means. Keep up the good work there Uncon.

I'm assuming they mean gauge pressure

The drill-ship Discoverer Enterprise has lowered a riser with a connector from the ship and moved over the wild well. It is now in the process of connecting the riser to the capping stack above the BOP.

This will likely be used to prevent releasing any additional fluids and mud from the relief well interdiction.

Hi moon,

I guess you know this already, but just in case, Allen has said that they will be circulating the trapped oil/gas out of the top of the stack using this riser and the existing one from the Q4000.

They attribute the slow bleed down in pressure to gas escaping from the stack, and want to eliminate this effect by getting water at balanced pressure both inside and outside the cap to see if the system is more stable that way. Someone is clearly looking for a case iron guarantee on integrity.

Nevermind - BP's latest press release - see http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6866#comment-704201 - confirms they are only flushing areas above the wellhead.


On reading the transcript of today's briefing, I noticed that several times Allen seemed to be saying that they will be flushing out the production casing, as well as the BOP and cappying stack.

we will use the Q4000 and the Discoverer Enterprise to actually circulate any extraneous materials and liquids that are in the blowout preventer, the area of the well above the cement plug, and the capping stack to purge that system completely.


We have the opportunity to develop more vital signs for the well, one of them being to remove all foreign objects – all foreign liquids from the current well, flush it, and fill it with seawater, so we have exactly the same density of material inside and outside the BOP that will allow us to do an ambient pressure test ..

I understand what they are trying to test, but I don't get how they are going to flush out the casing below the seafloor, which, iirc contains base oil immediately atop the cement plug and then mud above that. I doubt the mud and oil are lighter weight than seawater..they wouldn't have chanced that during the static kill, would they?

(and kudos to the ROV operator who is carefully mating the connector at the end of a mile of pipe to the top of the cap.)

Latest published pressure readings ...

Last night comfy wrote

what are you going to do when they remove the stack and nothing explodes?

Write a retraction and apology, publish it.

p.s. - Rockman estimated 17ppg to balance the well at the mudline, which I quoted.

"Write a retraction and apology, publish it."

Who will care?
Anyone here?

After your constant and persistent non-reality-based commenting, I'm a bit skeptical that anyone is paying much attention to anything you say/write/do.
Or are you just trying to see how much valuable space and time you can consume before you get moderated?

Thanks a bunch. No, I wasn't referring to TOD.

Yer welcome, Alan von Altendorf.
The people over there need to know what you're doing over here, I suspect.

Let us not forget how much valuable space and time this event has affected every one concerned.

I do not expect to even get a note of sympathy from US/BP for the thousand hours of my concerned citizen observation time.

Lighten up guys and stop being defensive, we are all human--Oilmen, Government Officials and Conspiracy Theorists.

I'm just glad I live in a country where free expression of thoughts and concerns are possible.

We will all be better off if we survive this event.

Hear hear!

Take that giant redwood log out of your eye before you start condemning others. (Not you, Hex!)

When someone owns up and tries to make amends for human errors, it is petty and small to throw it back in his face and pretend you are from some superior species.

I can not think of one group of professionals (doctors, lawyers, insurance, farmers, industrial, etc) who would care to open up the inner-workings of their field to the public eye.

BP has had to exposed much about deep water hydrocarbon production, to the expense of many of their peers, including the government.

There are no heroes in this situation, only responsibilities.

I can understand the defensiveness from some in your industry, but we the people (if only a very small portion of the population) are not going to be bullied away, not in America, not this time, and hopefully never again.

So, I suggest we all find a common ground of civility to get through this together.

When the crisis is really over, we will gladly move on to other interests.

And again, thank you for having an open forum....

We need more people in our world who are willing to provide public apology. It's humbling and healing. Good for everyone. We need leaders who are willing to do that.


On Thursday, Wayne Riser received a letter from BP PLC.

The four-paragraph letter twice referred to an enclosed check to compensate him for income that he lost when the Gulf oil spill all but sunk his boat painting and fiberglass repair business. ...

All well, Riser said, except there was no check in the envelope.

"I said, 'These hammerheads are holding these checks to where they can draw the interest on the money,'" Riser recalled.

Riser was one of hundreds of claimants who received such letters in recent days.

"It's cruel," said Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon. "It shows just how dysfunctional (BP's) whole process is, and it again counters everything they say about the job they're doing."

BP spokesman Ray Melick said that Worley Catastrophe Response, which the oil giant has hired to write claims checks, described the omissions as the "result of systems issues."

Riser's check finally did show up -- with his name misspelled.

BP spokesman Ray Melick said that Worley Catastrophe Response, which the oil giant has hired to write claims checks, described the omissions as the "result of systems issues."

Not to be Pollyanna here, but it's not inconceivable they screwed up because a fire had been lit under their tails to get the checks out pronto, and they were rushing to comply. Doesn't build confidence in their competence, but it could be a sign they were trying to speed things up rather than slow them down. This fella did get his check two days later. ("Systems issues" might mean, "Somebody forgot to tell the clerk not to seal and mail the envelopes with the letters until we gave him the checks to put in them.")

I'm guessing BP has outsourced to someone like this who well may have had a glitch in their fulfillment operation. I'm guessing they have output several hundred thousand checks, there is no "clerk" that seals envelopes at that scale, it is highly automated machinery.

And in Mississippi, some Gulf fishermen are circulating a petition calling for that guy Walker (head of the state Dept of Marine Resources) to resign.

"Two weeks after the oil stopped, they reopened the Mississippi Sound ... That was too early. They should have kept the Sound closed the rest of the year, then reopen it next year. Bill Walker is doing a poor job. He is not telling the truth, and I had to call him out on it. He needs to go.”

Etc., etc. (As I believe 'twas SL pointed out, their complaint is actually with Walker's bawss, Haley Barbour.)

I can guess at their feelings about Barbour but, trust me, the venom aimed at Walker's head is approaching lethal. :)

On a side note, I've had quite a few military jets flying over and by my place in NOLA today; I'd say at least 8 passes so far. I wish I could say what kind they are, but they're the ones that are already gone by the time you hear them. Not paranoid, just curious. :)

Someone refused to eat seafood, probably.

Hiya, Cap. I will say that the story the other day (which I won't try to find because the Sun Herald's pay-only archive snaps 'em up so fast) about Walker's mushmouthily stopping BP-funded work did make me think of him as a flake. Still, he's just an orders-follower flake. Why aren't they hollering at Haley?

Wishing you a quieter morning here direckly.

Apparently, the fishermen/shrimpers had a meeting with Barbour yesterday and he definitely got an earful. I'm told that they'll be posting video of that meeting today; I'll make sure to post the link when it comes out.

Is this the meeting you are referring to?

Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources Meetings Part One

Yes, thank you! Leaving my post up for Part 2.

Another military jet pass; I think it's trying to knock out my phone service prior to this press call. :)

Calm down, Cap'n, probably just skeeter control trucks.


Mississippi Commission Meeting on Marine Resources, Part 1. At about 3 minutes in, this fisherman calls Walker out pretty well. :)

Here's Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m334lfIU464

Haven't watched either one of them in their entirety yet and still waiting on the video of the meeting with Barbour; I think they were two separate meetings, though I'm not entirely sure.

Did you see contrails? One usually means F16, two mean F18 or F15. I doubt it was a F35, but maybe. It could have been something other than a fighter, but 8 passes makes me think fighter.

I think there is something in this article about ^that^.

As I believe 'twas SL pointed out, their complaint is actually with Walker's bawss, Haley Barbour.

Not me...

Lifting tool now 100 ft from the stack. Today's the day, I guess.

Press conference in 45 minutes; Admiral Allen with Dr. Lubchenco. Should be interesting ....

Sassy; where can I see or hear it from the UK???

I honestly don't know if it's being publicly broadcasted. If you look at the press releases on the Deepwater Horizon site, there should be info there for media call-in.

Thanks Sassy, I will try and follow on twitter:- http://twitter.com/bp_america/status/21501181027

Proly too late for this one but some of the news conferences you may need to use a proxy such as Proxify for if you are not in the USA. CNN has a nasty of changing cnn.com to cnn.com.mx just because I am in Mexico. The story does not exist on the mx servers so I am prevented from viewing the article. You would think that their web site could understand that as I am looking for a specific story I want THAT story and not be pushed off to a generic page in another country. Sheesh /rant


In yesterday's thread, Doug_in_LA asked,

I have a question about Corexit.
Where would we be if it had not been used?
Would it have been better for the oil to be on the surface as opposed to being suspended in the water column?
Seeing how inefficient the boom and skimmers were, I'm not sure if I like the idea of that much more oil on the surface.
I realize that Corexit is toxic and that we don't really know the long term effects of it on seafood and wildlife. I wonder if using it may have been the lesser of two evils.

And CuriousCanuck added a useful note:

I asked myself a question why they do not use anionic surfactants (dishwashing liquid) the answer is..because they "emulsify" bacteria that are supposed to eat oil...

The government's inept oil budget estimated that only 8% of the flowed oil was dispersed by chemicals as opposed to a natural process, the turbulence of the release. That would be 10% of the spilled oil according to the government's (probably inflated) flow estimate. This estimate--that 10% of the spill was dispersed by Corexit-- was based on models and is probably quite uncertain, but it's the best information we have. It is an interesting question whether that modest result was worth the addition of further pollutants to the mix. But because only a fraction (30%-40%?) of the oil reached the surface to form the slick, the reduction in the slick achieved by using dispersant was considerably more than 10%, and remember, it was the edges of the slick that threatened the marshes and shallows. So the dispersant may have saved quite a lot of marsh area and birds, and may have helped the air-breathing creatures like turtles and dolphins who would be harmed but surfacing through a slick. But we have no way of knowing how these benefits trade off against damages.


"All along the way they found microscopic droplets of oil on the ocean floor...."

" 'Fish will degrade that oil and process it--naturally, so it doesn't bioaccumulate...'??? Lubchenko 'So it's not a situation where we need to be concerned about that.' "

" 'Fish will degrade that oil and process it--naturally, so it doesn't bioaccumulate...'??? Lubchenko 'So it's not a situation where we need to be concerned about that.' "

Seeing as there has not been any studies published with respect to the effects Corexit 9500 has on dispersed oil, that statement seems premature and disingenuous IMO.

The AMA (American Medical Association) released an article on 8/16 regarding the health effects of the oil spill. Below is an excerpt.

"Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)… include mutagens and probable carcinogens… these chemicals accumulate for years in invertebrates. The Gulf provides about two-thirds of the oysters in the United States and is a major fishery for shrimp and crab."

It is almost as if the information released by the various sources are deliberately trying to confuse.

Finfish, shrimp, and oysters all have different metabolic processes that make them susceptible in different degrees--finfish least (see Lubchenko quote) and oysters most susceptible to buildup (see JAMA quote on invertebrates). So both are correct.

The key word in that snippet is "invertebrates" - oysters, shrimp and crabs are invertebrates, fish are vertebrates.

Nasty stuff does bio-accumulate in oysters in particular. I'd say I'd be reluctant to eat Gulf oysters now, except that I'm always reluctant to eat oysters.

Note that fisheries are being opened selectively, with fin fishing resuming before the catching of other types of seafood.

Here's an article on how fish can metabolize PAHs. It also talks of possible negative effects of exposure to hydrocarbons.
Responses of fish to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Thanks @rainyday and @Gobbet for the clarification.

I wish people who make such bold statements as "Seeing as there has not been any studies published with respect to the effects Corexit 9500 has on dispersed oil" (emphasis mine) would do some fact checking first.

My Google-Fu came up with a quite an impressive list of such studies:


So in fact that is quite incorrect.

I guess the almighty Speaker To Animals has spoken so that is the end of it.

If you cared to read, (which I am not sure you can), the context of my statement was with regards to the COREXIT + THE OIL + THE EFFECT ON THE MARINE LIFE.

There was nothing bold about my statement whatsoever.

Without a component list for Corexit no one really knows what is in it.

Show me one study where someone has mixed corexit with crude and exposed marine life directly to it and studied the results.

There is none. I have "fact checked"

So in fact you once again jumped the gun and made a comment that shows you ignorance.

I can point out at least a couple just today.

You are two weeks behind the times. The study was published Aug. 2, 2010.


Oil + Dispersant + toxic effects on aquatic life.

For a readable summary try:


Show me one study where someone has mixed corexit with crude and exposed marine life directly to it and studied the results.

Just one of the articles I found:

Couillard, C. M., Lee, K., Légaré, B. and King, T. L. (2005), Effect of dispersant on the composition of the water-accommodated fraction of crude oil and its toxicity to larval marine fish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 24: 1496–1504. doi: 10.1897/04-267R.1

They exposed newly hatched mummichog to various fractions of dispersed crude oil or crude oil. They used weathered Mesa light crude oil and Corexit 9500 in various concentrations. Highest mortality rates (89%) were observed in a group exposed to dispersed crude oil (0.5 g/L ; total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons of 479ng/ml).

Not a great answer by Lubchenko, but not a lie either. You have to give people a little slack when they answer impromptu.

It is true that finfish can metabolize and degrade some oil components without it building up in their tissues. She is making a fair statement about the safety of eating finfish. She is not making a statement about how all the oil will be disposed of. Bacteria will do most of the disposing.

Regarding the CNN report, it should be no surprise to anyone that a scattering of microscopic oil droplets should be found on the sea floor wherever the oil has been. One mechanism for this deposition is that plankton in the upper levels eat dispersed oil accidentally and excrete fecal pellets that sink readily. Also the oil that was dispersed into a fog of droplets at great depth is being carried horizontally by deepsea currents--I'd guess a small fraction of this would brush along the seafloor and stick.

But don't take these reports as indicating there is a goop of oil all over the sea floor, or anywhere except where patches of weathered tar accumulate in the shallows.

Video of the Top to Bottom BOP inspection last night:


Red JellyFish visits the BOP:


Dead fish falling to the sea floor.


Creatures pass by the ROVs:


TOB, many thanks for the creature-feature links. I could watch them all day; they're practically a mystical experience, totally captivating.

Crab eating in highspeed

Love it. The resemblance of those front claws to human arms and hands as it's putting bits of eel in its mouth is startling. At one point it looks as though it takes a piece of something out of its mouth that wasn't particularly tasty and tosses it to the side.


Thank you for the acknowledgment!

I like the dramatic music.

But what really got my attention was this favorited video from the same (Bagua) channel.

In the process of writing my old blog (whose Search function disappeared after I put the blog on hiatus last year, so you have to find posts there by Googling "www.folo.us" + search term), I grew more familiar with the Mississippi and Alabama attorneys general, Jim Hood and Troy King, than I really enjoyed. Suffice to say, they're both goobers with, um, distinctive ethics. But the interesting thing now is that the one who's always tended to make more noise than a good AG would is suing BP, and the one who's generally done less than a good AG would isn't. How this works out for them will be something to watch.

That looks like a Cameron Deepwater Collet Connector DWHC on the end of the new riser http://bit.ly/bR34fa

Just listening and learning from you all. Have been saving selected video--and this am at around 11:35-11:40 one of the ROVs made a wild dash..and I was able to collect a seafloor "pipe"..and a "bent piece of equipment" in two png files. Just dont know how to paste into this site,however.


Just upload them to an image service such as photobucket or flickr and then copy/paste the links that they provide. (you may need to convert them to jpeg format before uploading.)

I wasn't at all impressed with today's call -- after such a lack of info the last couple days, they spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the release of Kemp Ridley turtles in Cedar Key, IMHO.

Seems the most important thing is their plan to flush out the system and fill with seawater for more testing before the bottom kill. They still don't know if they're going to replace the BOP before or after ...

they spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the release of Kemp Ridley turtles in Cedar Key,

'cause that is what Allen and Lubchenco did this am.

NOAA administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and Adm. Thad Allen joined state, federal, and partner biologists today as they released 23 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles back into the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key, Fla., after the turtles were successfully rescued and rehabilitated from the effects of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

Scientists Release the First Rescued, Rehabilitated Sea Turtles Back into the Gulf.

'cause that is what Allen and Lubchenco did this am.

I know, trust me, I heard all about it. I love turtles as much as the next person but, with no information forthcoming the past couple days, I would have liked to have seen the time spent more focused on what's going on at the well.

BTW, just as a personal observation, Allen wasn't his usual self today; he was talking incredibly fast, stuttered a few times and was a tad defensive and abrupt. I would think he'd be less stressed after spending time at such a "joyful occasion" (Lubchenco).

BTW, just as a personal observation, Allen wasn't his usual self today

I wondered about that on Monday also. Although, uncharacteristically, the audio of that briefing has not been posted, the transcript alone contained indications that Allen's patience was beginning to wear thin, both in the abrupt "We will start the bottom kill when we're ready Harry." and the "Nobody wants to make that declaration [that the well is dead] any more than I do."

It's been a long haul - and I imagine presiding over the current debate between replacing the BOP and designing & installing a "pressure mitigation device" is getting old.

Yep the call was bad - we need more technical information of what they are planing to do - and why. The pressure data is fine, but without explanation hard to interpret.

What is the mystical "pressure mitigation device" Thud said they might need. Any ideas anyone? What would be its function? Where? How?


I guess the scenario they are concerned about is :

The RW penetrates the annulus, AND for whatever reason they decide to pump mud or cement, AND there is insufficient flow into the reservoir/formation so that pressure rises in the annulus, AND this is enough to lift the production casing hanger, AND the resulting pressure rise in the BOP and stack above exceed their working pressure limit of 7500 psi

According to Allen they would be happy to take this pressure spike in a replacement BOP with higher pressure limit. But in that scenario I don't think they would be able to do much with the RW - if they wanted to get kill mud or cement into the annulus they couldn't do it.

The alternative is that they install some sort of pop-off valve that vents the existing stack to the sea if pressures rise to high, or they try to manage the sudden pressure surge and the fluid displaced up the annulus via one of their riser options to surface. Sounds pretty hairy. But it would allow kill mud and then cement to be displaced from the RW up the annulus should they want to do that.

big -- Perhaps I missing a detail or two but it seems as thought the big question is whether reservoir is in communication with the upper part of the hole via the annulus. Just because they cut the annulus with RW1 doesn't require them to pump anything down. They can simply back off the pump pressure or cut the MW back in RW1 and see if the annulus will flow up it. If the annulus isn't in comminication at the cut then the shallow portion of the hole can't be. Thus a biq question is answered and they know it's as safe as it will ever be to replace the BOP. If the RW finds the annulus will flow it won't prove the reservoir is in communication with the shallow hole. But then they'll be right back where they are now.

RM, yeah that's the slightly confusing thing about their obsession with the surface annular pressure.

In the case that the RW communicates with the reservoir, they can just go ahead and pump cement (it's not a closed system - they can force it into the formation the way they did with the most recent cement job).

If the RW doesn't communicate with the reservoir then there is no need to pump anything immediately.

So the circumstance where they would overpressure the annulus is not very clear. unless they think there is some scenario where they are already close to a hanger lifting pressure and the extra pressure from the RW entry with higher mud weight would be enough to make the difference. Or they do need to pump cement and don't get the injectivity they want and so raise the pressure that way.

I believe they do have another concern which is the question of which mud weight to use for the relief well intercept.

Consider this:

The (blue) relief well intercepts into the wellbore annulus outside the production casing. There MAY be (red) oil there with a path from/to the reservoir.

The annular space may be open to the reservoir and closed above by the seal assembly, or the annular space may be closed to the reservoir and closed above by the seal. In both cases we do not know what pressure the annulus might have.

The only seal from that annulus towards the BOP is the seal assembly from which the production casing hangs. The seal lockdown sleeve that should be there has not been installed. The seal assembly is thereby quite critical. If it breaks due to overpressure from below the old BOP would receive a sudden high pressure "water hammer" kick it may withstand - or not.


(The basic image was taken from this BP presentation, page 4)

Now consider the relief well intercept and remember that we do not know the pressure in the annulus.

a. Expecting high pressure in the annulus would require a high mud weight in the relief well.
But if there is unexpected lower pressure in annulus the height mud weight in the relief well will increase that annulus pressure and possibly break the seal assembly or, if the annulus is not well cemented towards the reservoir, may break that cement collar and reopen the reservoir.

b. Expecting low pressure in the annulus would require a low mud weight in the relief well.
But if there is unexpected higher pressure in the annulus it will kick the intercepting relief well and they will immediately have to circle higher weight mud to fight back the kick. But then again - putting too high weight mud into the relief well can break the seal assembly.

So there are two unknowns here. Is the annular a closed space or open to the reservoir? What is the pressure in the annular?

Both unknowns make it very difficult to chose the correct mud weight for the intercept. A wrong mud weight may lead to a blow out at the relief well or to a failure of the seal assembly and with that a high pressure "water hammer" kick inside the old BOP.

Both of these situations would be quite uncomfortable.

....Expecting high pressure in the annulus would require a high mud weight in the relief well.
But if there is unexpected lower pressure in annulus the height mud weight in the relief well will increase that annulus pressure and possibly break the seal assembly or, if the annulus is not well cemented towards the reservoir, may break that cement collar and reopen the reservoir.


There is another possibility. Suppose there had been two paths of flow prior to cement being pumped into the well. One path is the production casing which we all know about. But if the reservoir was communicating with the annulus and if there was a breach in the wells external liner casing then there could be another flow path about which little is known. In other words an underground blowout. Now suppose the cement job had stopped that flow - that would be a good thing because the RW might have had trouble stopping an underground blow out.

Of course this scenario assumes there is data about this secondary flow that is being withheld from the public. When the production casing was static with mud or even before the mud was pumped for the "static kill" if there was ongoing flow in the annulus there should have been evidence of that (acoustic sensors if nothing else)

I find an underground blowout unlikely - the original well liner seems well cemented and the formation where the production liner is only running in the the bore hole must is supposed to be stable.

From Allen's just finished briefing, according to coverage on #theoildrum, they are still considering whether to remove and replace the BOP or to install a pressure mitigation device before proceeding with the RW.

Meanwhile, work on preparing the DD2 BOP is proceeding and the observation of pressure in the MW BOP is continuing.

and, from BP_America Regarding seafood safety, fishing areas that have been reopened have been put through three-step program and determined safe. -Adm Allen

BP Oil Spill

BP Oil Spill

So here are the two images. Dont have a clue--but was not online in video very long. ROV then settled down to wait/rest.

DWH wreckage is strewn over a wide area N-NNE-NE of the well.

I caught those too, today. The first object has been seen a few times. The second looks like a float, but i don't understand the brown cone at the end.

It was following along the old riser from the DWH. After doing the run you saw, it followed the old riser and then settled down all day. It had in its hand the same instrument it was using last night, something kind of like a camera, to survey the entire well stack.

Also, after the big event with the new riser, oi 2 eventually retraced the path back to it's cage. On the way back it also saw a tall bent object next to that float. Part of the DWH wreckage, probably.

I saw the same thing, and came to that conclusion also.

Here's a map showing all current closure areas:

Current (as of 8/15) SCAT, Louisiana confirmed oiling:

Current (as of 8/17) SCAT, MS/AL/FL confirmed oiling:

Couple of whale shark items.

(1) Unusual number of WS and other large fish off the central Florida coast (wise move, even if it's uncomfortably shallow there). Video included.


(2) NBC News video--tagging sharks with buoys so they can't die unnoticed.


Thanks for these treats, Gobbet. That one in the first tape must be a youngster (or at least not full size yet), huh?

Thanks Gobbet...

as one of the participants there was quoted:
Unusual distributions of fish are common, however, he emphasized.
“Everybody’s going to attribute things to the spill, but it’s very hard to say whether it’s causing these unusual fish distributions,” said Peebles.

Wonder how they plan to determine to what extent the change in distribution is linked to the oil spill.

I know some TODers don't much trust MotherJones as a source, but I think most will be interested in this:

Where's the Math on Gov't Oil Spill Report?

One of Kate Sheppard's sources, a congressional aide, shares an email exchange showing that -- whaddya know -- on the calculations underpinning their "oil budget," NOAA is stiffing Congress too.

The email exchange is priceless. The only thing wrong with the MJ story is this part, "When the federal government released its report claiming that the vast majority of the oil in the Gulf has disappeared. . . ." Every reporter repeats that, but the report didn't say that. It was written so that most readers thought it meant that. I hope they writers were not stupid enough to deliberately mislead. I think it was a mishmash resulting from a clash of agendas, including legal, political, and scientific. The blackout on calculations suggests something fishy, such as selecting numbers from one end of a range estimate rather than the middle. The anonymity of the release means no one needs to take responsibility, although Lubchenco should do so.

This recent article is a well-informed update on issues surrounding the government oil budget. Carol Browner looks really bad. Either she didn't understand the report, or she was lying. She has corrected herself but without admitting her error.


A point that should be made: there are actually no large contradictions between the UGA oil budget and the government's.

Nice work, Gobbet (thanks especially for the Politifact link). Yes, that sentence you ding deserves it, and I imagine your "mishmash" guess is correct too: this seems to have been a too-many-cooks draft that could have used Swift Loris on its final revision. I do think Lubchenco, as head of NOAA, pretty much has her name on it, so you'd think she'd have demanded a smoother final product. I dunno -- maybe they're all exhausted by now and getting raggedy? But they really need to cough up those numbers.

Lubchenco, unfortunately, seems to not believe in sharing many numbers with the pubic. During her recent disappointing online chat session, Open for Questions on Gulf Seafood Safety with Dr. Lubchenco, she never addressed any of the questions asking for specific numbers that were submitted on Facebook or via the webform.

The only numbers she shared were generalities like "37% of federal waters were closed at one point, 22% are still closed, and over 1,200 samples have been tested."

Is NOAA the new "MMS?"

Surely NOAA does a lot of good science and, overall, deserves respect. I understand there is some concern that fishery quotas get warped by political concerns, and I wonder if anyone here can weigh in with a well-informed view. The MMS-like bit is the fisheries enforcement division having the power to levy fines that the agency gets to keep.

With so many competing interests at stake, the situation in the Gulf would tax the most righteous agency. I haven't seen them do anything overtly wrong except release that stupid oil budget. (Even there, it's not clear who exactly is responsible for it.)

Thanks for the info, Gobbet. I am glad my cynicism may be misplaced. Dr. Lubchenco has not inspired confidence in the Agency with her performances to date.

Dr. Lubchenco has not inspired confidence in the Agency with her performances to date.

Hi, syncro. You missed her best one:


I am glad I missed it, Lotus. I am glad i could read it, but i am also glad i did not have to watch it.

It makes me long for Mr. Science. "I have a mater's degree, in science."

Looks like the Stack retrieval tool popped a leak on Enterprise ROV1

Is Enterprise pumping mud down their riser?

Edit: Haha, jinx, Doug!


Gubmint is injecting supercritical green methane, which is heavier than water. It's time to thin the herd on the Gulf Coast and readjust the Electoral College.

Looks like the connector is not far above the seafloor.

Good catch. This is getting extremely frustrating, particularly with my obsession with the seafloor. I can still see vents but I wouldn't expect anyone else too. The action around the well today is beginning to compete for my attention though.

Looks like ethylene glycol, anti-freeze, no?

Good call. Why douse the ocean with anti-freeze?

Maybe they have to bleed the hydraulic lines on the ROV's ..?
Maybe not...

Green in subsea application = methanol typically -- used as anti-freeze to avoid hydrate formation. As they were in process of hooking up to the BOP to circulate out the remaining oil/methane out, and don't want the riser icing up with hydrate formation, so they keep slight positive methanol flow until hooked up to keep water out of the riser. (and they've typically tested that the methanol injection lines are actually working right before hookups like this previously, e.g. original top hat #4).

Note both methanol & ethylene glycol are actually colorless liquids, but they are dyed florescent green intentionally.

So many cameras to watch today,so little time.

Is it my DSL or is it the feed from O I III ROV 2 that is bad?

Mission accomplished. No mo well.

Very creepy. Like it was deliberate.

Pine-Sol? Harpic?

Its either fluorescine or liquid Kyptonite, and from whence is it coming from, the seabed or is that a pipe?

What color is Liquid Wrench?

Not green, I'll have to bet Fluorescine Dye, they might be injecting it to do a leak trace.

[deleted] Not accidental. Planned.

They took the BOP off while nobody was looking and mailed it to General Delivery, Skagway, Alaska. With no return address. Heh.

After the BOP was xrayed someone from BP said it was impossible that there were 2 pieces of pipe in the BOP. Does anyone know who that person was? I find it strange that BP and Allen went so long not knowing what those pipes were when in 2006 BP ended up with two pieces of drill pipe in a BOP according to this article.

The BOP and riser were circulated to seawater to enable use of a 1 11/16-in. TV camera (Fig. 4), which was lowered on electric cable to send back a picture of the problem inside the subsea BOP. This was the first confirmation that two fish were side by side, Fig. 5.


I'm pretty sure (95%) that was Tony Hayward.

I just got home and am totally confused by what's going on at the well; can anyone give me a nutshell (which does not include the word "kryptonite", lol).

Ambient Pressure Test Results from PT_3K_2 Transmitter

There is a near-ambient pressure test being conducted on the well to continually measure the pressure in the blowout preventer and the capping stack as responders prepare for the final stages of the relief well. Sensors measure the pressure in the well bore above the cement plug, as monitored at the capping stack. The differential drop in pressure on the morning of Aug. 14 was planned and expected – necessary for a scientific testing subset as part of the ongoing pressure tests.

BP plans and expects an increase in the ambient pressure of the well head to climb to approximately ~ 2500 psi this afternoon (Aug 17).

If you have questions, please contact the BP representative at the UAC Joint Information Center: (713) 323-1670.

18-Aug-10 15:00:00 2503.1

18-Aug-10 13:00:00 2508.0

18-Aug-10 11:00:00 2508.0

18-Aug-10 09:00:00 2512.5

18-Aug-10 07:00:00 2517.0

18-Aug-10 05:00:00 2517.1

18-Aug-10 03:00:00 2521.8

18-Aug-10 01:00:00 2526.7

17-Aug-10 23:00:00 2540.6

17-Aug-10 19:00:00 2437.5

17-Aug-10 17:00:00 2446.9

17-Aug-10 15:00:00 2465.6


I dialed the number and UAC Joint Info said there was no green liquid being sprayed on the well. I suggested they look at the ROV pix. No reaction. Doesn't exist. If there are any official announcements it will be on Twitter and Facebook.

Update on BK Lim

Just an FYI: I put some questions to BK Lim regarding critique of his ideas by Art Berman and others here, plus a few of my own questions. With very poor results which are pretty self-explanatory:


Lots of important issues to be watched regarding the Mocando, but I'm not anticipating BK Lim providing useful insight.

Lots of important issues to be watched regarding the Mocando, ...

Still with the "Mocando", hmmm. ;-)

Lemme try again:


You gave Lim a few accurate jabs and, instead of putting up a good defense, he/she ran away from the fight while mumbling something incoherent about whipping you later. Hilarious, thanks for the link and good luck over on newsvine.

Great post there Fint, I know all about the plans that BP has for this well. They are "hidden" in my previous posts. Anyone who studies the Bible codes will see what BP will do next if they scan all my earlier posts and run it through the proper filters. :-)

They're going for it. Hovering right over the stack.


Does Thud know about this?

And here is the dance that Discoverer Enterprise did setting itself up:

DE Track

Jeez. Just do it for Christ's sake.

The Science Team is meeting later today.
Nothing to see here, it was a nonevent.

Whaoozers. Didn't even hear a perclunk.

BP's latest press release - BP Begins Flushing MC252 Subsea Equipment In Advance of Ambient Pressure Testing

HOUSTON – Under the guidance and approval of the Unified Area Command, BP has been authorized to begin flushing drilling mud and hydrocarbons from the MC252 well sealing cap and the original Deepwater Horizon Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) and Blow Out Preventer (BOP). The flushing is in advance of a pressure test procedure that will study the well’s BOP stack and sealing cap under ambient conditions.

The work began Wednesday afternoon and the flushing procedure will involve the following steps:

* The Discoverer Enterprise will attach a drill string to the top of the existing sealing cap.
* The middle blind shears of the sealing cap will be opened.
* The Q-4000 will pump an ‘anti-freeze’ mixture down through the existing manifold and into the BOP’s choke and kill lines. The liquid used in the flushing will be completely contained and carried to the surface through the Enterprise drill string.
* Following the flushing, the sealing cap’s blind shear ram will be closed.

Following successful flushing of the subsea equipment, BP will conduct an ambient pressure test to reassure that the well is secure. The test will be conducted over a 48-hour period, which mimics twice the time estimated to remove the original BOP and replace it with the Transocean Development Driller II (DDII) BOP.

In anticipation of a successful test, and as directed by the National Incident Commander, the DDII is preparing its BOP for further use on the MC252 well. In doing so, a storm packer will be set in the DDII well prior to moving off the second relief well site.

I read somewhere in all this that they had completely frozen the choke and/or kill lines in one of the last attempts.

Hence the anti-freeze.

Hydraulic lines have been disconnected.

Congrats on guessing anti-freeze.

Not certain if this is a duplicate of another post:


"In a conference call with reporters, public health practitioners, and members of the Gulf Coast community, Dale Sandler, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), said that the sweeping research project will prospectively track the health of about 50,000 adult workers and volunteers who contributed to cleaning up the oil spill. The study will include pulmonary and neurological function tests, mental health monitoring, DNA damage analyses, immunological assessments, and other screens."

Participants must be over 18, but perhaps the work can be extended to children and other residents if there are strong indications of harm.

Did anyone notice the "liquid" (anti-freeze) was, per the BP release, to be contained and pumped back up? The "liquid" sure looked like it was just billowing away--without attempt to trap or "contain" the green stuff.Anyone see any captures going on? And BP sure did it fast--probably hoping no one was "lurking." Sure hope it was "potable anit-freeze" cause its pretty toxic otherwise. I keep thinking of the "Creature from the Black Lagoon"--who was created by a "chemical spill"....might be why the sea life keeps trying to leave???

Yes, I saw it escape with no apparent attempt to corral it. But it's probably ethylene glycol, which is indeed toxic in any concentration, but infinitely soluble in water. In my misspent youth, I got a mouthful of that several times while siphoning it in a junkyard. I was too poor to buy antifreeze. It tastes terrible, but I'm well over 60 now - didn't kill me.

I like the procedure. Q4000 pumps anti-freeze through a line currently filled with mud. Something flows up the riser/lifting tool to Enterprise. There's light at the end of the tunnel. No relief well penetration. Just a few more days before they detach.

The sorry state of science is, unfortunately, quite visible here, today.

The sorry state of science is, unfortunately, quite visible here, today. You would do well to do a bit more homework before you speak.

My guess is they are more concerned about not releasing any of the hydrocarbons that still remain in the capping stack and transition spool.

The real deal is displacing to seawater, mentioned below.

The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill

“In addition to that, we are bringing the Discoverer Enterprise in over the well. And over the next day, we will use the Q4000 and the Discoverer Enterprise to actually circulate any extraneous materials and liquids that are in the blowout preventer, the area of the well above the cement plug, and the capping stack to purge that system completely. And when we are done, we will fill it with seawater, and then we will do an ambient pressure test with the same type of liquid that's inside the blowout preventer that is outside the blowout preventer to ascertain if there are any issues regarding well integrity with the annulus and any types of leakage,” he said.

Dead or drunk fish should be the only damage from the release of the dyed green methanol.

Wasn't methanol. That's SO soluble that it would have vanished as we watched. Edit: Whatever it was, it had some viscosity and dissolved slowly. EG does that, which is why I assumed that up above.

Methanol is miscible, that is, capable of being mixed in all proportions. One of the few things I remember from chemistry.

Needs time still to mix before it goes away, and the dyes are highly visible even at low concentrations. Easy way to tell -- after initial injection into water, if it starts drifting up and appearing to disperse, its methanol, if it starts sinking (with less dispersion) its ethylene glycol.

Rising, so Methanol, what they used before.


Thank you! That's very helpful.

If you wonder why "normal" people get paranoid, this is one of the reasons. The NOAA Henry Bigelow has been doing its seismic or sonar runs (can't remember which); I like to watch their paths. But, all of a sudden it drops off the map, as shown below (this happened before with the Geco Topaz, as well, which was doing seismic tests). Is this screwy or is the world indeed flat and they've fallen right off?



BTW, that "nipple" to the west of where it disappeared has apparently been an area of concern, judging by the testing runs they've been doing.

Thank you. And I'd like to add that us normal people are starting to wonder what is happening to the radar satellite images from cstars.miami.edu?

I hope that the university of Miami has not been bought off or silenced. Maybe this board is next?

The well site is at the extreme range of shore based VHF system. Ships can (and do) drop in and out depending on conditions. Also some ships can be fitted with relay equipment back to marine traffic so if they are in the area you get a more complete picture.

So this is really not a "BOP Removal Tool"? Seems like it is more of a "Let BP and not the public see what and how much comes out of the BOP when we open the valve tool".

If I were a conspiracy theorist, and apparently I am only because BP makes it so easy... This test will take two days, and that puts us into the weekend, which adds two more days. Monday Thad will tell us they need a fancier tool to do this "test", which they probably already know, and that fancy new tool will take weeks to complete. By that time, Thad resigns to spend more time with his family and this well could be no closer to being plugged than it was six weeks ago.

Meanwhile, they will monitor that 1000 gallons with the Millennium 36 & 37 ROV's, which are not public.

I guess I must be drinking too much or too little of the "Green Kool-aid", not sure which.

If you were a good CT, you would mention how Thad Allen is retired and, because he is a civilian, will be allowed to plead the 5th at any hearings. Get on your game, meisje. :)

He will appear at no hearings.

He is the President's man. Point man.

Matter of National Security.

I think maybe they are trying to set the record for the tallest underwater structure. All they need now is to perch a gargoyle statue on top of it and that would be the crowning glory.

Pass the Green Kool-aid please.

Jack and the Beanstalk
by Morten Bak

Apparently the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is making a "little" progress with new rules. Here is a White Paper: Recommendation for Improving Offshore Safety. I hope that they can get their act together and end the moratorium, before everyone in Louisiana goes broke.

We have all seen the many ROV video's. Many claim there are leaks, and many here have debunked these by pointing out that the ROV's are stirring up the sedemant, therefore, no cause for concern.

I have been reading here for a few months now, and have never found the need to comment or post anything. Main reason is that most here are very qualified posters, and answer many questions accuratly. I thank OD for this very much.

Today I came across a ROV recording that does indeed appear to be showing "globs" of oil coming from the sea bottom. It would appear the site is a distance from the BOP. ( You can see the lights of the other ROV's in the distance) I was wondering if anyone here had seen this video and can hopefully tell me that this is no cause for concern. If someone would be so kind as to view the link below and put my concerns to rest I would greatly appriciate it. Thanks again OD for this very informative site.




The objects appear dark because they are too close to the camera to be in the ROV's lights. They could be any color.

They rise from below the field of view. They could be coming from the ROV or from something it's carrying, or from the sea floor. Can't tell.


Edit: I should have watched the whole video before replying. The last part is more interesting.

11:30 EDT NPR TV Thad Allen being interviewed by Charlie Rose

Don't know whose public TV may or not carry this. Just now coming on.

Hmm. Isn't amphipoda. No silt spray, and when the ROV turns on a deck light to see more clearly, the black blobs do not go white. Pretty funny that they're square, but that's an imaging artifact. Looks like oil except there's no gas ice, which I would expect. Could be heavy oil from very shallow shelf collapse shale/sand turbidity. Nothing to worry about. If it was from the Macondo well there would be gas clathrate expelled with the oil (or mud). My opinion anyway.


Thanks all. I should have maybe mentioned that near the end of the video is where it would appear the the mystery "globs" seem to rise directly from the sea floor.

I do appriciate the responses very much. I'll check back in the morning to see if anyone else has other points of view.

Thanks again,


That does indeed look like oil, but it appears to be related to the tool which the ROV is carrying. Either the oil is coming from the tool, or from the sea floor directly below it, it is not clear which.

Hmmm, where have I seen similar globs before, oh yeah...

Totally different cause. This was HC blown into the front of the camera by a ROV thrusters working on the other side of the stack from a second ROV.

Here, too, the blobs are black because they are oil but also because the oil is also outside the cone of light and seen in silhouette too.

And here...


starts getting violent around 2:30

This looks like a longer version of the same event posted by Royal. I see the same scraping motion at approx 2:40 (mm:ss).

See my response below at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6866#comment-704309

Notice about 2:50 (mm:ss) you can see a "metal something" attached to the ROV (tool, sampler, ???) scraping along in the mud bottom. I think that this "tool-thingy" has been scrapping up chunks of mud. In the water flow around the ROV (possibly from bottom thrusters maintaining the altitude of the ROV) chunks of bottom (the black blobs) are flying upward and in front of the camera. The chunks/blogs appear black because they are not in the cone of light of the ROV that are illuminating the bottom. Note at around 3:06 (mm:ss) you can see some of the chunks/blobs fly into the light and the chunks/blogs are now seen as light gray.

I would evaluate as chunks of bottom (bottom mud) being mechanically dislodged and swept up by the water flow around the ROV. I'm pretty certain of this evaluation but there isn't much context before or after the event (common problem with these YouTube videos). Context often makes it clearer.

The ROVs themselves are very large (smaller ones about the size of a mini-van and the larger ones the size of a UPS delivery van). The lights are high and several feet away. This creates a zone of shadow immediately in front of the camera that isn't light and therefore anything in this unlighted area immediately in front of the camera will appear to be black. Actually, you are seeing this material in silhouette.

This lighting often fools people into thinking "oil!!!" Easy to misevaluate this effect because the this no scale reference and people easily forget the size of these monster ROVs and that they might have shadow zones.

We joked about "black-oil" last night for a light hearted moment in a slow evening. See http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6860#comment-703840

Here's a different one from a few weeks ago. There's a little time lapse forward and backward until :12, then it plays normally.

Note the two large ragged-edge chunks coming up starting at 0:40 (mm:ss). Looks like chunks of bottom mud.

I'm wondering if the "tool" you mentioned might be the same wand, previously seen cleaning the BOP and cap, that was mentioned in the lead story: http://www.jetedge.com/content.cfm?fuseaction=dsp_success_case&case_ID=96. The YouTube video of the Jet Edge wand that H.O. mentioned in today's post is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms9fQ5PcQa0&feature=player_embedded#!.

That being said, it seems to me like there's a difference between the blobs floating up and chunks of mud shooting up. My opinion only, but the video seems more conclusive than not.

But who am I to say? I think ships disappear into thin air. :)

Floating or "shooting up" is only a matter of the thruster setting being used at the time that creates the water flow (out of the ROV, bouncing off the bottom and coming up around the ROV). The ROVs are trimmed slightly heavy and they need some thrust to simply maintain altitude. When they move up to gain altitude, the thruster flow becomes much greater and you can then see the more violent blows of mud.

BTW, the electric drive motors of these beasts (some of the largest in the business) are 250-300 hp. If the operator "hits the gas" (variable speed motors), a big bunch of water can dislodge a lot of stuff quickly and the water flow upward is huge (at least until the ROV gets enough altitude.) In this situation, the chunks will (1) be more and bigger (think fire hose hitting your lawn); and (2) the water and whatever is suspended in the water will jet up very quickly

In auto-hover mode with all of the motion dampened out of the ROV, the flow is much gentler. In this situation, the chunks will come up more gently but still carried up in the gentler water flow appear to float up but still propelled.

The tool shown in your two links looks totally different that the one in the bottom videos. The wand is very thin. This tool (whatever it is) is pretty thick.

Also I've heard said that rovs leak oil a bit.

They do indeed, sometimes. We try to avoid it, but it does happen.
The oil used in the ROV hydraulics is not like sump oil however, it is clean, and is quite transparent, usually with a yellowish tinge, depending on the exact type. The oil in the video looked black, even when the ROV lights were on it. It may be coming from the tool, or may be a seep. Hard to say exactly what.

A general reply about reports of oil leaks from the bottom after the sealing cap shut-in the well:

An oil leak of any size will very quickly produce an oil slick on the surface of sufficient size that can't be hidden.

For critical thinkers, evaluate the advice/opinions proffered here by experienced evaluators but also ask, "If these are leaks, where is the topside oil slick?"

Even a leak of just a small number of barrels per day could be seen by remote sensing via satellites. Even small natural oil seeps can be tracked using this technique.

Simply put, no slick = no leak.

the deep ocean apparently behaves exactly like a glass of water. thanks for simplifying this detailed scientific situation by removing the details and the science.

You are absolutely correct. The physics of crude oil in a glass of water or 5,000 feet down are the same and the specific gravity of crude oil remains the same in both.

If you add some Corexit and shake it really hard, too?


Corexit (or any surfactant) does NOT change the specific gravity of oil. Very common misconception that Corexit causes oil to sink; it doesn't.

You would never realize that with the way that they have been running around the last couple of days talking about all of the oil that has settled on the bottom where all of the little bottom of the food chain critters start life's great journey.

I've seen it.

Oh yes, I have too. What I was speaking to was the fact that it seemed people were trying to blame the oil on the bottom due to the release of corexit into the oil and it being dispersed.

Gobbet has written extensively about this here. There has also been some bad reporting about the settling of Florida.

Oil, once weathered, bonded to other materials by mechanical action or processed by biological action to other materials can become heavier and then settle (that portion that is not digested.) My personal favorite is "plankton poop" (see http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6846#comment-701051). According to this report, a portion of the HC can return to the bottom as marine snow via plankton turds.

However, these actions take time.

My point above to others is that a significant portion of freshly leaked crude oil will rise to the surface and create a slick. Simply physics; no way to keep it all down. That fraction that rises to the surface will be seen in the form of a surface oil slick. No surface slick is directly measurable proof/dis-proof of the various theories of bottom leaks.

If you add some Corexit and shake it really hard, too?

You mean like this?

Or if you shake it really hard:

Glorified Dawn dish liquid?

Sort of an industrial kerosene-based colonic.

Great demonstration in the video!

I'd rather see a demonstration showing what happens when corexit is applied to a jet of Louisiana crude under a mile of saltwater, but alas.

Seems like we recently had such a demonstration; to our grief ;-)

Just cured my sick router; heading to bed this time!

That was the full retail version. I just wanted the demo, so I could make sure there weren't any major bugs in it : )

Good night, bb.

i think you mean the chemistry, in which case, generally, yes. physics, no, not really.

Since I have two doctorates in physics and only a BS in Chemistry, I tend to think in terms of physics. However, specific gravity is a physical property too.



yeah, not really, considering he knows exactly what i mean. if you're even going to try to pretend to me that releasing a couple drops of crude in the bottom of a water glass is going to move and disperse the same way as a high-pressure jet of crude oil, a mile down in the deep ocean, injected with chemical dispersant, traveling up through pressure gradients, temperature gradients, likely drifting 1000s of feet or many miles from the point on the surface directly above the seep/weep/leak before ever hitting the surface, i'm not sure what i can even say to counter you.

So (going back to my original premise that you had a problem with at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6866#comment-704326) you are suggesting that by some magical process due to its complexity produces a outcome where a leak on the bottom WILL NOT manifest itself on the surface?

Seems like we just finished a 5-million barrel experiment that proves "high-pressure jet of crude oil, a mile down in the deep ocean, injected with chemical dispersant, traveling up through pressure gradients, temperature gradients, likely drifting 1000s of feet or many miles from the point on the surface directly above the seep/weep/leak before ever hitting the surface" does indeed happen. Seem to recall a pretty fair expression of the leak on the surface.

BTW, even small natural seeps in the GOM of a few barrels per day, produce measurable slicks that can be tracked.

My premise is that people who are still pushing FUD about new leaks on the bottom (happening now) should think critically; if there is a leak on the bottom right now, there will be an expression of HC on the surface shortly.

If you have a problem with that, I would like you to explain your chemistry and physics.

Edit: In my physics, the force of the upward movement of HC in water is still relative density. Certian fractions disolve, certain fractions remain in low-density plumes (generally travling north and east) and certain fractions reach the surface; significant portions in the immediate vicinity of the city of ships and nearby. The high-pressure jet of oil ejected from the riser slowed down to very modest velocities within feet of being ejected and the physics of relative density took over. Temperature gradients will not hinder the upward migration of the rising fraction in any significant way given HC's specific gravity (although it could have distored its trajectory. Since the pressure gradient in water is a function of its depth and uniform, this would have no impact. The driving physical characteristic of HC rising in water is its relative density to seawater. Although there is certainly more complexity in the open ocean ("in the wild,") the relative density of oil in saltwater is still the driving force and would be the same in a glass; a large fraction of the HC will get to the surface, be it several inches or 5k feet, as a direct result of this differential.

I'm not saying the seafloor is collapsing/exploding/whatever other gobbledygook. My point in this is more talking about "in the wild" possible seepage/flow from the seafloor near the MC252 site being extremely difficult to prove in a legally-binding sense.

I'm not trying to say the oil won't get to the surface, or magically transmutes into something else. I'm talking macro scale. I'm saying with all the variables "in the wild" the slick may not show up anywhere near the seep. And two seeps close to each other may even end up hitting the surface far away from each other.

It's still unclear to me if there is oil caused by the well coming from the seafloor nearby, natural seeps, neither or both. It's been a joke trying to extract any real, userful information or footage from the ROVs since the static kill, as you discussed earlier talking about bandwidth and compression.

Maybe this topic has been discussed, maybe not.

Who SHOULD be in charge of the relief well?

The Coast Guard (Allen)
The Gov't (Dr Chu)
BP (Wells)

or the man hired to drill the RW (John Wright)

The way I see it, the record for wild well kills is...

The Coast Guard 0-0
The Gov't 0-0
BP 0-0 (??)
Wright 40-40

Why is he not calling the shots?

"More difficult than the work, Wright said, is getting everyone to agree on how to do things. The process has often been slowed with so many officials from BP and the federal government involved.

"Many additional hours in meetings and preparing justifications are necessary to get a consensus than normally would be required on a lower profile blowout response operation," he said.


I recall ROCKMAN saying that a top kill is not a good idea when the bottom kill was so close (I tend to lean more towards experience than text books).

Now that the Top Kill has been done they are saying that the bottom kill "has no time line for completion pending further tests"


Cement was put in from above and now there is some question about the oil/mud column pressure between the top cement and the proposed bottom cement fracturing the casing.

I admit that I have no "oil patch" experience other than what I have learned here since d-day +3 (when I found this site) and I don't have the eloquent words to represent what I am really trying to ask but hey, I am trying....

Maybe those "in-the-know" can confirm....or set me straight....??

Doug -- I don't recall that I thought the top kill was a bad idea...that's the standard way it's done ON A SHUT IN WELL. I was probably trying to say I didn't think it had a good chance of success until the had a good cap seal. But let's jump to where we are today. They know what the pressure is in the annulus at the intersect. It's about 11,900 psi or 12.6 ppg. It can't be anything else. That's the static pressure at that depth. So the RW MW needs only be a tad above that. The reservoir was drilled with 14.2 ppg mud with no problem. The csg was run and the annular seal was set with the same MW. One big difference now is the unknown condition of the seal after the blow out. It handled 14.2 ppg initially but they can't assume the same now.

But the big question is communication. If the RW cut communicates with the reservoir it will be pressured to 12.6 ppg. But more importantly, it will flow if the MW isn't high enough. Easy enough to test: just cut the pump pressure or MW back in the RW. This would induce a kick but that wouldn't be a problem since they know it's coming. They would just "circulate the kick out": a rather standard procedure with no great risk. If the RW doesn't kick then they will have learned a very critical bit of info: the shallow seals are not in communication with the reservoir and thus very little chance of a future break down. If the annulus at the RW is in communication with the reservoir it won't answer the question definitely but the odds are great that the shallow seals are in direct com with the reservoir. There could be good cmt uphold in the annulus above the intersect and bad below. It can happen but would is unlikely. If the annulus is hot at the cut then they have a decision to make: do they try to pump a little cmt/mud in at a pressure just above the reservoir pressure? It would increase the pressure in the entire system including at the shallow seals. But here's a consideration: assume they are in com with the shallow seal and the higher pressure starts leaking thru that seal. They can just keep pumping kill fluid up the annulus until there's enough head to stop all annular flow. This would evacuate the annulus of what fluid is in it. But even if it's 100% oil it would be less than 1,000 bbls. Given the millions of bbls of oil already spilled into the GOM would this really be an issue?

Is it just me, or does anyone else get a funny feeling about the quality of the shot in the Enterprise ROV 2 camera?

Edit: Maybe strange quality might be a better description.

Right now it is coming into my 50kbps. Some days ago, I was seeing 38 kbps so yes, it is a slight improvement.


If you're still here, look at Skandi Neptune feed...carefully. Really look.

Particularly top third of frame on right.

This this is what you are seeing and a vent/leak/whatever we want to call it? If so, I think I have an explanation for you.

Good!!! Although the sonar scan things do make them look odd. See a whole field of them with better focus and a lack of jerkiness and it will look much more obvious.

What you are seeing are artifacts of heavy video compression and what is called quantization error.

Here is a post below I made about a month ago to some who was seeing this effect not in the gray mud like here, but in the black background. Same cause though. If a signal level will be valued as one level in one sample and another level in the next the wole compressed block with change. This will case the pixels to change and mimic movement. One of the encoding/compression techniques for highly-compresses video is to use fewer bits for these tonal scales which increases quantization error.

The bottom line effect is that quantization error makes the pixels appear to jump around as the levels of the encoded block change due to this error/artifact. Very little is actually moving in the scenes, the vast majority of what you see are the natural by products of video processing and compression.

BTW, the ROV operators are seeing SD-SDI or HD-SDI feeds and don't see very much of this effect. The quantization error on their screens are almost impossible to detect (still there to a very small degree in all digital video). This is purely a byproduct of squeezing video into such little bandwidth. The Skandi ROV1 feed is coming in right now at 128 kbps.

One has to be very careful interpreting and drawing conclusions from loops like this because of the quantization error in how the original high-quality video was digitized and compressed for transmission to us.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantization_error

This type of video artifact can also happen in DVDs, digital cable and satellite TV. In fact, it occurs in all digital video, even HD-SDI to some degree. As a rule of thumb, the lower the data rate (the higher the compression rate and the lower the dynamic range) the more profound the error.

As an example of this effect, look at the lifeboat scenes after the ship sinks from James Cameron's Titanic movie. The beautiful sweeps of the night sky in these scenes produced a similar error effect even in high-quality high-data-rate video streams of the DVD (cable TV which typically compresses more made it eve worse). Film is an analog media with a high dynamic range and can handle these type of scenes but digital video can't and produces rather profound quantization-error artifacts.

BTW, I have used this clip as a test of new video encoding techniques; kind of a digital video torture test.

The ROV videos are highly-compressed low-data-rate streams with a natural higher quantization error (and lower dynamic range) and can produce some very strange effects when mixed with other video processing artifacts for scenes with subtle changes in the background.

This is particularly true when the silt from the bottom get stirred up, produces just enough "gunk" in the near-bottom water column that then, in turn, gets illuminated in the lights of the ROV to create a very subtle gradation in the background. Just the natural fall-off of the intensity of the illumination over a few feet via the inverse square law is made more pronounced with the quantization error of low-bit-rate video. Then, combined with artifacts that naturally occur from the video compression technique used, you end up with these effects.

The effect you are seeing is actually to be expected and is a totally "natural" process of this type of streaming video even if the video was shot in a clean water tank.

Also, I've seen similar effects produced from many non-underwater flat-near-black grounds when a smoke effect is used in the shot.

I suggest as what you are seeing as a billowing plume are just the effects of (1) the inverse square law from the lights on the ROV illuminating the very-small naturally-occurring particles of stuff in the water; (2) made more pronounced by the resulting quantization-error artifacts; and (3) made to appear "billow" by the compression artifacts.

Sorry, but these type of artifacts have lead a lot of people to see things in the ROV that aren't really there but appear to show up in video due to this class of processing artifacts. All of the video that I've looked at on YouTube posts purporting "oil flows from the bottom" have been examples of quantization error and compression artifacts of stirred-up silt or other general gunk in the water. This is understandable though; interpretation of these low-grade videos is very difficult at best even with experience.

I should have added that there is of course a little actual movement in the scene too. Small stuff is drift to and fro in the near-bottom water flow and I see some things moving between the camera and the bottom at what appears to be various distances.

See nothing that looks like venting.

The big movement I see is the video artifacts discussed above. BTW, the artifacts are making some interesting displays.

Video intepretation is hard enough in the raw feeds but is it made extremely difficult in these heavily-compressed feeds.

If you're interested: the ROV operator is viewing a fiber-link feed of either 1.485 Gbit/s or 2.970 Gbit/s (depending on the favor of HD-SDI they are using. Worst case, 360 Mbit/s on the SD sensors.

We're seeing a 128 Kbits/s from the Skandi ROV1. Massive difference!

How do ROV motherships upload the video? Direct to satellite? I assume they're not set up to relay broadcast video to shore.

What is their maximum upload bandwidth?

I'll give you the generic answer because I haven't been able to find the specific details about these specific ships (see http://www.oceaneering.com/rovs/). It is a bit different on each ship depending on the age of its equipment and configuration but somewhat similar. My signal chain below is certainly in the ball park.

Fiber feeds from the ROV sensors (in HD or SD depending on the specific sensor and camera used) as SDI (serial digital interface). The ROV operators on board the ships work with this high-quality video. Out of their distribution bus, a feed for each ROV is put into a video encoder which is typically a PC with an Osprey video interface card in it (see the text overlay on the color bar shots when the ROV is down for maintenance (see http://www.viewcast.com/)

Out of the encoder PC, the resulting 50 kbps to 128 kbps is uplinked from the ship via satellite to the beach, backhauled to Akamai’s content delivery network (see http://www.akamai.com/) and then on to our personal computers.

The command centers are probably getting higher quality feeds but I doubt if they see the HD-SDI in real-time but some lesser quality video (but much better than what we see) that is kinder to the transmission links.

BTW, while it would be technically possible to increase the bandwidth of the feeds, very ISP in the world would likely pitch a justifiable fit in as much as it would consume a big chunk of their resources to carry this much video to as many people as are consuming it.

Interesting trade-off possibility though: (1) more feed of less bandwidth each (it's at rock bottom now); or (2) fewer feeds but of greater bandwidth and more quality? Interesting question.

Thank's for the answer. I guess we need Bobby Jindal to ask BP to lay 50 miles of subsea fiber optics for us.

Now get some sleep. You said goodnight an hour ago.

And then get into Google's fiber to the home trial so we can get gigabit Ethernet to our homes!!!

Tending a sick core router in Beijing tonight. Middle of their afternoon there. Each time I think it's happy, the interface goes down again. Joys and sorrows of getting to work from home at night.

I also want to be able to access Wikipedia from my head.

Haven't thought about Little Feat in a long time.

this, however, i will vouch for 100%. i'm not sure who, but someone earlier had posted about skandi neptune showing a leak at the top of the frame. I went immediately to the live cam, and confirmed everything the poster saw is a result of the level of compression, and the compression method.

All I see is a highly pixilated picture when you get in the distance.

As an aside, the specific type on WMV encoder can have a big impact on how well the raw video is encoded (biger/faster CPUs do a better job). As a professional in this field, I'm amazed they are getting this much out of so little bandwidth; this little amount of bandwidth just doesn't allow much. In short, it still sucks, big-time. The streams simply need more bandwidth.

Oh my goodness. Is it the mouse pointer in the lower right-hand corner that has you wondering?

I don't really think I should acknowledge that statement. If I do, the net people might show up and take me away. But while YOU went there, it does seem to have a certain 3D aspect to it.

Never mind. If I say what I was goin' to say, I know they'll be comin' after me.


bb, Did you see my comment a bit upthread? Skandi Neptune. Top third, right half.

nep, Skandi 1 or 2?

I don't know. The sonar scan...

nepeta, that's part of Neil Armstrong's footprint. BP ran out of room in the main studio so they are re-using the Apollo 11 set.

Ha. There also seems to be a discharge that goes directly over the name "MSV Scandi Neptune." See it?

nepeta, yeah, that was just a silly way to say I don't see nothing. The resolution is too low for me to make out anything other than an area of pixels getting darker, then lighter. What does it look like to you?

It's Skandi ROV 1 by the way.

Darn, you don't see anything? Wanna take another look now? Well, maybe Doc bb can cure me of my obsession tonight. Or maybe he's catching it!! It's been awhile...

nepeta, I watched for awhile but couldn't see anything clearly. Good luck figuring it out, I'm going unconscious, goodnight all.

I replied upthread. Took me a minute to de-archive an old posting from a month agi that I wanted to put into the reply.

And now we should trust these greedy bastards to come up with the plan, that they knew all along was needed... http://www.halliburton.com/public/solutions/contents/Deep_Water/related_...

IMHO, this plan is nothing more than a scurrilous attempt to try and stay one-step ahead of regulators and keep "emergency response" in industry hands, let the Corexit flow... http://www.wkrg.com/gulf_oil_spill/article/bp-continues-to-use-toxic-dis...

I agree a plan is needed, yet at this point in this disaster it's not really about the technicalities as much as it is about the process and the most basic question, who the hell is in charge here?

From what little I know about seeps, if it came from the well reservoir or the annulus, erosion would soon wallow out the leak path and it would become a stream, and then a gusher. Watching small seeps from the Gulf floor seems pointless to me. When has the GOM floor been looked at this closely? What do we call normal? With HD video like BP has, and does not release, maybe some conclusions could be made. With the horrible video, it seems like a waste of time to try and make any judgments from it.


I agree. Shall we call this a quorum?


Just to be clear, I wasn't looking for oil leaks but methane leaks, probably mixed with sediment.


Did you fall asleep??? (grin) I'll check this thread tomorrow for any help you can give. I'm in NY so it's 3 AM here and I've got to get up at 7 AM. Not good. Thanks for any explanation you can offer. Not to make excuses, but the sonar scans are difficult. I've seen much better video before the static kill. It's just a mess now. It's better to see what I'm talking about in a regular video but they don't seem to be offering that anymore with any sort of clear focus. Nite.

Thanks, bb. I got it but haven't read it yet.

I'm in Dallas (sixth-generation Texan) but my wife is from western New York. We still go back two times a year to take our daugther to visit grampa. I go on the summer trip but try to miss the winter heavy-snow trip if I can talk my way out of it. Anybody who lives that that much heavy snow that (1) isn't powder; and (2) insn't in a ski resort is crazy ;-)

Like all natives, I complain about the heat in the summer but my wife reminds me that at least I don't have to shovel it!

Did you not see my reply upthread at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6866#comment-704388

BTW, on sonar scans, the operator is usually not even watching the video and the sonar instead. The camera tends to point at whatever its last setting was. Some operators will frame a pretty view for us while they watch the sonar, others will just leave the camera were is was last used. This video looks like the later.


Ok, now I've read your comment. It makes sense. The first time I saw this on a sonar scan is when I said it looked like simmering cream of wheat, or oatmeal, if you prefer. You don't have to answer me now, but why is the foreground rather sharp, because it's the focal point of the camera? I see the compression somewhat there too but not nearly as badly as on the edges.

Ah, western NY. Lots of snow. I often make trips to Ohio (where I'm from originally) to see relatives during the holidays but like you, run into snow in the Appalachians. Much better to travel in the summer.

I'll give your comment some thought. I'm certainly willing to accept it's validity in this video. My husband is a computer scientist so perhaps he can 'patiently' explain it to me. Every time I show him one of the videos where I see leaking he starts yelling "I don't see anything!" Crazy me.

Thanks for YOUR patience, bb. Now, time for sleep.

Goodnight. Sleep fast.

Thank you. You too!

I don't have the feed up at the minute (I'm closing down to head to bed too) but, from memory, I think it likely that since the foreground is more brightly light, smaller error, fewer artifacts. Light falls off according to the inverse square law (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverse-square_law) As you get farther away, dimmer and less contrasty relative to the foreground, the dynamic range of the localized region gets less and therefore more artifacts.


Goodnight guys. It's breakfast time here in the UK. I am six hours ahead of the GOM, so I already know what happened at the well site ;-) , but I won't spoil it for you.

Screw that.

What's the latest on Lindsay Lohan. C'mon you gotta tell us!

People saying they know what Corexit will do to and with oil at the depth of 5k feet at near freezing temperatures reminds me of that mud guy on the blown out well mixing a bottle of 2 different muds then leaving it in his room over night and seeing no problem with injecting it down the well.

Where are the experiments?

Where is the science?

While there was a double bind (damned if you do, damned if you don't) on the impact of Corexit to the ecosystem of the GOM and it has never been used in this quantity before (thank God), I'm not aware on any controversy of its physical properties or interaction on oil at depth or temperature. The physics and the chemistry are pretty straight forward.

Are you in the camp that suggests a surfactant can immediately sink oil?

i'd like to speak with you more.

please send me a message at: repeating.at.gmail.com

Are you in the camp that suggests a surfactant can immediately sink oil?

I think a cold emulsifier could not being applied right.

I think that is what we were seeing the first few weeks with all the stringy white stuff some floating and some sinking.

It might have been from the first type of Corexit they were using or it quit with better application, but it did quit.

Had it ever been introduced to hydrates before?

How do we know the physics of it without experiments under that kind of pressure?

I think that is what we were seeing the first few weeks with all the stringy white stuff some floating and some sinking

Did you see my comment in reply to you last night at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6860#comment-703766

Yep I read that.

What I saw and others commented on to was the long white stringy stuff you would see on every ROV screen and it wasn't just one or two pieces floating.

It lasted a few weeks then it was gone and not seen in that quantity again.

I saw that too. Looked identical to all of the sea snot I've ever seen. I've scrubbed a fair amount of it off my diving gear several times and its not an experience one fogets. It is smelly, nasty stuff.

It has returned several times since albeit not as heavy as the episode you describe. On of the brief episodes was just last week since the Corexit application has stopped.

IMO, this is not related to Corexit.

Isn't "sea-snot" just microbial mucilage ? I know that microbes form sulfur mats, is it possible we are just seeing free-floating microbes ?
I had guessed 3 months ago that there would be "blooms" as various parties started to eat, seems to make sense if you introduce a larger amount of food (HC's) into an area that normally has microbes that eat them, that this would be the result.

...on the topic of hydrates....ultrasound spectroscopy is normally used to look for hydrates, from what I have seen 10-20kHz...curious....anybody know if they are using high, mid, or low frequency sonar around the well.....?

hhmmm..hydrates...dissolution or dissociation...?

Quant-here's some interesting reading if you haven;t already found them, but check the D.O.E. for more info.

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


Kinetics of convective crystal dissolution and melting, with applications to methane hydrate dissolution and dissociation in seawater


....anybody know if they are using high, mid, or low frequency sonar around the well.....?

If you are referring to the ROV mounted sonars that you sometimes see feeds from, they operate in the 330-700kHz range.


Anybody see Thad Allen on Charlie Rose Wed. night? Interesting interview about 20 minutes or so. Should be on hulu later Thursday. Talked about a variety of subjects in some detail including clean up, what they want to do with the BOP, killing the well, responsible party, etc.

BP Pipeline Leaking Fuel In Hammond, Ind.
Mike Parker

It appears BP has another leak to deal with; this one, in our own backyard. A mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline is apparently leaking from a BP pipeline into a neighborhood in Hammond, Indiana, making life for residents there pretty miserable. CBS 2's Mike Parker reports............

"It was pretty bad, you could smell it. It smelled like somebody was dumping gas right next to the house. You could smell it coming up from the bathroom drain," said neighborhood resident Bryon Cordova.

"We've continued to do air monitoring in the neighborhood, as well as a number of the residents' houses to make sure that the residences are safe, that the neighborhood is safe," said Tom Keilman of BP.................

One resident in Hammond reported a small fire the other day. The resident says flames were coming up through a bathroom drain. Nobody was hurt in that fire and there was no major damage.......


One resident in Hammond reported a small fire the other day. The resident says flames were coming up through a bathroom drain. Nobody was hurt in that fire and there was no major damage.......

Good GRIEF. And they haven't even found where the leak is yet. Then there's this from the same story:

Resident Mario Castro is now serving bottled water to his dog. He wonders if his two other dogs died recently because the water here is now contaminated.

"She's active, she's running around, she hasn't been sick since we've been giving her the bottled water," he said.