BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Small Steps of Progess - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6873.

Admiral Allen helped with the release of some of the rescued turtles from the Gulf Wednseday before giving his press conference at Cedar Key, in Florida. He noted that while there has not been any final decision yet on what to do best in moving closure of the Deepwater well forward, some steps in that process are happening.

For example, the Blowout Preventer (BOP) from Development Driller II (the second relief well) is going to be needed at some point to allow drill pipe to be inserted into the Deepwater well, so that a top cement plug can be inserted. To that end the BOP transfer is now being expedited. At the same time the Q4000 and the Discovery Enterprise are being brought back over the well, for several purposes. Initially these will be used to flush other fluids from the BOP, the production casing and any other accessible volume within the well. (Note that this will likely not include the fluid trapped in the annulus since there is no easy way to displace this).

Once the volumes have been cleared the fluid used to sweep them will be replaced with seawater, emulating the condition when the BOP is removed. By monitoring the pressures in the well during this process, and with the necessary safety valves in place, this will assure the scientific panel, and the Admiral, that removing the BOP and stack won’t cause a problem. Hopefully by doing this, among other things, it will resolve the problem of the slow bleedoff in pressure that has been occurring within the stack during the current testing process, but which is blamed on the escape of trapped gas. They will then decide whether to install the new BOP before completing the relief well. So not too much has changed.

"Thad Allen, appearing on CNN, said under the latest timeline agreed with BP, the operation to kill the well by injecting mud and cement into the bottom through a relief well should be conducted the week after the U.S. Labor Day holiday, which is on Monday, September 6"

What I find curious is that once they replace the BOP they still currently plan to do the bottom kill/cmt with RW1. With the new BOP in place it's a rather standard procedure to go in hole with drill pipe. Not only can they tag the top of the top cmt job and confirm exactly where it is they can do a leak off test (LOT) and confirm exactly what its limit is. They can also pull out the DP and run a variety of logs to tell where the cmt is in the annulus. They can also perforate a shallow section of the production csg and pump cmt into the annulus and permanently seal it. Likewise they can perf the csg at the planned RW intersect and pump cmt into the annulus there. After that it would be a simple matter to set the MMS required cmt plugs in the csg and complete the P&A process.

Once the BOP has been replaced making the RW intersect won't be exceptionally dangerous. OTOH, it isn't neccesary. Finishing the kill and P&A with drill pipe would be the safest approach IMHO. I wonder if that isn't what they're thinking about but don't want to put it on the table until the replace the BOP and run logs.

I think you are correct Rockman, but the BP and the politicians think, rightly, that the public has heard so much about "Relief Well" that it now expects that relief well process to be finished to its end. Not doing so would again raise lots of conspiracy stories.

Even if they totally kill the well form above, which they may well do, the "Relief Well" success shown and commented on CNNFOXMSNBC is what everybody has invested in and wants to see.

Admiral Allen today sent another letter to BP regarding the RW and the BOP change.

- BP to submit plans for BOP removal and drillpipe fishing procedure
- preserve forensic evidence on BOP
- only proceed if no hydrocarbon flow
- only proceed if BOP and fishing can be done without the drillpipe causing damage on the existing plug, hanger and seal

To this point :
- only proceed if BOP and fishing can be done without the drillpipe causing damage on the existing plug, hanger and seal
My Question :
Is it possible, that a tool joint is below the closed shear ram and makes it impossible to fish the drillpipe ?

My "knowledge" is from this link :


"It is known that there was drillstring in the BOP at the time of the blowout. Drillstring is about 32 feet long and has flared “tool joints” on each end that are generally 18” long or less. A pipe ram cannot seal around the tool joints and a blind shear ram cannot cut through them. It is not known whether the drillstring
had been stopped in a position to keep the tool joints clear of those preventers.
A rig hand had called the senior toolpusher in a panic immediately before the blowout and reported that the toolpusher on duty was currently shutting in the well. It is not known what preventers were activated at that time but it is likely that at least the pipe rams and annular preventers would have been closed, but perhaps not the blind shear rams."


To start with, the rams were not closed by the crew. The ROV's with their hot stabs did close a number of the pipe rams, not sure how many but one is enough.

I do not not believe "we" have been told about the placements of the tool joints. As long as BP or Transocean has a copy of the drill pipe tally on the beach, then they would be able to work out where the tool joints are, compared to the pipe rams. I also believe BP recovered the section of riser that was cut by the CLAW with contained a section of the drill pipe. This would give them an exact location of the tool joints.

Hopefully there is a tool joint above the lower pipe ram and it is posible to open the shears. If so, to mill and fish the suspended drill pipe is standard practice. Easy money!

If there is no tool joint above the any of the pipe rams or the shears can not be opened, then they have a problem. With no tool joint above the rams, the drill pipe would most likely slip through the rams before it could be milled and grappled or speared. If the shears do not open they will be left pulling the BOP with 3000ft of drill pipe hanging below it. Which opens up some interesting ideas.

My suggection would be, pull the BOP until the pipe is clear of the well, move the rig out of the way of the well and cut the pipe below the BOP with one of the ROV cutting tools, Did I say, clear the area and stand back? This may make it hard to recover the pipe out of the sea bed, but I feel it would be better than dropping the pipe down the hole.

Is it possible to get a good grip on the top of the pipe before attempting to open the rams?


The cut and drop method I mentioned above could be civilized a little by attaching a set of elevators, sent down from another rig or a deep water crane, and latching onto a tool joint below the BOP.It would then be easy to recover the drill pipe, not as exciting as version one, but much cleaner.

As to your question, if the pipe is not cut through by the shears and the shears will open then the pipe may hold together, but I doubt they would want to take that risk. If it is cut, then there will be nothing sticking above the shears. Once or if the shears open, then you will have a squashed drill pipe looking up. This would need to be milled until a round cross section is looking up, to allow an overshot and grapple to then pass over the pipe. The problem is you then have a round pipe in a round pipe ram and it is only being held up by friction. I doubt it would hold. Therefore I believe if they do not have a tool joint above the pipe rams then they would be better leaving the pipe undisturbed in the BOP and pull the lot. They may not have to clear the hole before attaching the elevators, just have the BOP high enough to give working space for the ROVs. To me the decision would be which ever method would clear the well in the shortest possible time to allow them in stall the the new BOP ASAP.

All this assumes that there are any rams left after all that flow. Would that be the situation?



BP stated during the cement job, that the cement TOC was below the bottom of the drill pipe. Therefore they believe the drill pipe is still hanging from the BOP. Therefore the rams must still be there. Now they may better resemble a piece of Swiss cheese, but are still capable of holding pipe.

Pipe rams are basically just 2 big lumps of dumb steel for strength and some rubber seals to lock in pressure. If the ram leaks these rubber seals will wash quite quickly, where as the steel block my end up with some localized washes but the main block will be maintained. I remember some posts claiming that the reported flow rates of the flowing well could have been passing through 1/4" holes. I suspect they will be fair bit larger than the 1/4" speculated but there will be most of the meat left on the rams.

Forgive my ignorance. Implies the cement was forced thru the old drill pipe, or around it through the swiss cheese ram, eroded further by mud and cement flow? What makes anyone think the old drill pipe is still hanging from the BOP?

I've wondered that too about the old pipe. I don't think it is at all unrealistic that some or most of it may have fallen downhole.


I would need to go back to the old briefings, which I am sure someone will have done before I find the reference, but they could have pumped through the choke line on the old BOP that the Q4000 was hooked up to and produced 10000bbl/day of oil, or they pumped through the new BOP and the cement / mud passed through the old BOP via the same passages that the 50000bbl/day of oil that the well was stated to have been flowing. There are definately passage ways through the old BOP with the pipe rams and shear rams closed, otherwise we would not have had all that oil in the GOM.

I will also have a look for the briefing where they state the level of cement in the production casing in below the drill pipe.


This is the best I could find,

rainyday on August 9, 2010 - 4:04pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

According to Kent Wells, the cement is in the bottom 5,000' of the well, not the top, with fluid and mud in the casing above the cement. That means the drill pipe is not cemented in. The assumption is that the pipe is still hanging from somewhere in the old BOP.


Rainy may not be the authoritive source but he does reflect the thought pattern of the time.

What makes anyone think the old drill pipe is still hanging from the BOP?

Remember the BP photo that showed the pressure vs. volume chart during the early part of the static top kill? It had multiple lines on it showing different scenarios for flow in either or both of production casing and annulus, and with or without drillstring hanging. Basically, the smaller the cross section of the area being filled, the steeper the slope of the PV line. At the depth where the drillstring ended, the line would flatten slightly. At a point where the liner diameter decreased, the line would steepen.

That is how they could tell there was no communication into the annulus, and how they could tell where the drillstring was.

In theory you could tell where the tool joints are, although in practice those changes might be too small to be picked out of the noise.



There should be some pipe above the ram - at least there was a piece visible sticking out of the LMRP/BOP after they unbolted and removed the bent piece of riser before placing on the transition spool. I've been assuming they "saw" the pipe below the ram when they did the gamma ray inspection long ago and thus had a drill pipe with a squash in it. How long a section of round pipe is needed for an overshot and grapple to be effective?


I am not a fisherman, but 12" to 18" would be around what you need.

Here is a link to the type of tool that would be used.


Rockman - It is definitely necessary to do the RW to finally put a stake in the heart of "the annulus was flowing" crowd. All that blather about centralizers etc. etc.

Might as well rub the public officials face in the mud!!! There will be plenty of goat's horns awarded by the time this thing is over.

It is definitely necessary to do the RW to finally put a stake in the heart of "the annulus was flowing" crowd. All that blather about centralizers etc. etc.

They have good evidence there was flow in the annulus. If there was no flow in the annulus then there would be weighted mud in the annulus and there would be no concerns about risk of drilling into the annulus. So none of this delay would be happening if they didn't have good evidence there was oil and flow in the annulus.

The idea to forgo the relief well at this time must be based on evidence that there was flow in the annulus but there no longer is flow (probably due to the cement job done in early August). So what exactly is that evidence. what the evidence is what they haven't told the public. And of course the MSM has never bothered to ask.

Given that the RW is a few feet from the WW annulus and running parallel to it. And given that it is likely they are using acoustic sensors in the relief well the evidence that the annulus was flowing before the cement and is now stopped after the cement could possibly be coming from the RW crew. It also appears from what has been revealed that the recommendation to forgo the relief well is also coming from the RW crew.

jinn, how much of that was speculation?

1. Good evidence of annular flow, but no longer flowing.
2. Using acoustic sensors in relief well.
3. Recommend to forego RW coming from Wright.

The only mention I saw was BP asked Thud to forego RW.

(I know it's disrepectful to refer to NIC Adm. Allen that way. I've given up on being respectable for the duration.)

I think I made it clear what info has been made public and what hasn't.

Admiral Allen said flat out at one briefing they know there is stagnate oil in the annulus. He only hinted that the pressure tests was how they know. Oil in the annulus means there was at some point flow in the annulus. There has been no clear explanation of how they know there was flow in the annulus and how they know there is no longer flow now. But unless they are lying they appear to be confident they know those two facts.

If they didn't use acoustic sensors in the relief well to locate the flowing wild well then they aren't using long established methods for locating flow in wild wells. You can hear a well that is flowing like the Macondo well was through hundreds of feet of rock. The flow in the production case was stopped on July 15 but any flow in the annulus would still be audble given how close the relief well was.

If the recommendation to suspend the relief well came from anyone but the guy who knows (i.,e. Wright or his team) then Adm. Allen wouldn't be following that recommendation. In other words if Wright was taking the position the relief well is the safest bet right now, then Allen would have days ago said go ahead. You either believe that or you believe Allen has lost his marbles.

Just my personal opinion, but I think Admiral Allen is a superb leader, makes the US Coast Guard and United States government look good. That said, I doubt he has any independent means of verifying whatever bullshit BP feeds him. I specifically question whether John Wright is completely out of the loop, no way of talking to NIC. He's a BP contractor. Express terms of confidentiality and long standing oilfield traditions are a gag on whistleblowing.

Well as I said you can assume Allen has lost his marbles. There is a guy he can talk to that has vast experience drilling relief wells and there are a bunch of other guys who have zero experience and he is not going to find out what the guy who has experience thinks?

His opposite number is Dudley. Period.

The difference between an experienced manager (Thad we would hope) and a by the book manager is that he doesn't give a damn about who his opposite number is. He talks to the guy he wants to and does it in person. I find the idea that Thad only knows what BP deigns to feed him rather ridiculous.

We see a public display of by the book effort, with the formal letters from Thad, with formal written responses. But these satisfy a mix of legal and public purposes. If Thad was only operating on this basis he should be dismissed immediately. But you don't get to be admiral by polishing doorknobs. Not in the real world.

Every lie is a felony and every BS/misinformation etc is obstruction of justics (most probably a felony too) . He knows everything he asks for and at the end may know a lot about oil industry.

Maybe will even get a job in the industry when he retires :-)

Jinn, I missed Allen's remark that they knew there's oil in the annulus but he may have been mistaken or misunderstood what he'd been told. Wouldn't be the first time. It could perhaps be inferred from the pressure response, assuming the OBM or whatever should be in it has a large enough difference in compressibility, the casing is compliant enough, the pressure transient sharp enough and the pressure recording frequent and precise enough afterwards. And not obscured by fluid hammer effects in the mud column. I wouldn't rule it out, I've seen some amazing stuff done with the first few seconds or minutes of a pressure transient analysis, but even if I had the numbers I wouldn't have the expertise to do the analysis.

But maybe they're just making sure their procedures are robust against the worst-case scenario. I'd refrain from doing something that had a 10% or 1% chance of causing another blowout, but that doesn't mean I know or even believe that the circumstances to make it possible are reality.

And which annulus? The one between the casing and the reservoir could be full of oil from the failure of the final cement job but everything shallower intact. But in practice that could be left forever if the inside of the production casing is plugged. The shallow casing strings are designed to be secure against reservoir pressure - they had to be because they were fully exposed to it during reservoir drilling, or rather to mud pressure which was even higher. Only a leakage path if they've since been compromised.

But it would be good to know for the post-mortem. E.g. mud in bottom annulus and mud in the rest has different implications from oil all the way up, or oil in none, and it may not be possible to tell if the cement in the production casing is higher than the 9-7/8" shoe

And which annulus? The one between the casing and the reservoir could be full of oil from the failure of the final cement job but everything shallower intact. But in practice that could be left forever if the inside of the production casing is plugged. The shallow casing strings are designed to be secure against reservoir pressure - they had to be because they were fully exposed to it during reservoir drilling, or rather to mud pressure which was even higher. Only a leakage path if they've since been compromised.


I'm not following your question or your description of the well. The annulus is the space between the production casing and the outer liner which is a string of casing starting with 36" liner at the top to 9-7/8 liner at the bottom. That is an open path from the open hole at the bottom of the string to the production casing hangar and seal at the top. It is believed that space contains 1000 barrels of oil. No explanation has been given as to how that oil got there.

If the cement had failed at the bottom and the well bore liner was leaking somewhere that would be one explanation for how the oil got in the annulus. And yes a leak in the wellbore liner would have to occurred on or after April 20.

If the oil was flowing in that back side path on July 15 then capping the well on July 15 had no effect on the flow in the annulus and that flow had little if any effect on the pressures seen at the cap. That flow could be completely independent of any flow in the production casing. If there was no flow in the annulus on July 15 then the oil they now believe is in the annulus got there by some flow that stopped on its own prior to July 15.

But if the flow up the annulus stopped before July 15. Then how do they know there is oil in the annulus? IMO they wouldn't know if it wasn't flowing when they capped the well. So the fact that they are saying they know there is oil in the annulus suggests to me that it was flowing when they capped the well.

If the well was flowing up the annulus the RW team that was monitoring when the valves were closed would have still heard flowing after the flow up the production casing stopped on July 15. If after they cemented it the well went silent then that would explain how they are so certain there is this stagnant oil in the annulus that Allen keeps referring to.

This doesn't make any sense (not your comments, jinn - the official story). How can there be oil 'trapped' in the annulus now? If it's now trapped in an enclosed space, that means there's no escape path for it up near the wellhead - in which case, how did the oil get into the annulus in the first place? There wouldn't have been any inflow at the bottom if there was no way for it to escape at the top. How did it get there?

Some have speculated that the top seal was lifted by reservoir pressure during the blow out events, providing a path through the annulus to the riser, it has been said that if this was the case, the seal may have re-seated when the three-ram capping stack was closed or during the static kill as heavy mud was forced down towards that seal from the BOP.

It may be that, at a time when annular flow seemed the most probable blowout route, engineers working on this have just said there might be oil there, or said there probably was oil there. Has BP or Unified Command stated that there is definitely oil in the annulus?

Some have speculated that the top seal was lifted by reservoir pressure during the blow out events, providing a path through the annulus to the riser, it has been said that if this was the case, the seal may have re-seated when the three-ram capping stack was closed or during the static kill as heavy mud was forced down towards that seal from the BOP.

Yes that would be one of several theories for how oil got in the annulus. For that to work one would expect that the seal and production casing reseated and sealed shortly after the flow became established in the production tubular. If there had been a long established flow through the hangar seal it would have eroded the seal and it never would have seal again.


It may be that, at a time when annular flow seemed the most probable blowout route, engineers working on this have just said there might be oil there, or said there probably was oil there. Has BP or Unified Command stated that there is definitely oil in the annulus?

Allen has made several statements where he seems pretty definite that there is oil in the annulus and that it is stagnant and trapped. The only scenario I can come up with where they would definitely know there is trapped oil in the annulus is the RW could hear flow in the annulus before the cement was injected into the reservoir and then the flow stooped as a result of cementing. If that is what happened then they would at this point definitely know there is oil and they would also know the annulus now has 2 barriers preventing flow to the surface if they choose remove the BOP's at this time. I see no other scenario where they could be so sure about what is in the annulus and whether the annulus is now isolated from the reservoir.

Bruce - I've fixed the flowing annulus problem a hundred times without using a RW. It's about as simple and safe an operation you can do to a well: You have a mud weight that won't allow flow. You shoot holes thru the csg into the annulus and then pump cmt in. Annulus is killed permanently. This process is done dozens of times every month in the Gulf Coast. In 35 years I've never seen this technique fail.

BTW: killing the annulus doesnt come close to "putting a stake in the heart" of anything. The well won't be safe until they GIH with drill pipe and set the shallow cmt plugs as per MMS regs.

Bruce doesn't give a fug about killing the well. When he says "putting a stake in the heart" he is talking about placing blame.

ROCKMAN. I am on your team. I have been reading that your suggestion is used frequently; perforating the production casing; checking pressure changes and eventually cutting the casing with a fancy saw tool, to cement the annulus.
I even found a fancy tool for cutting through casing and retrieving the well head for use elsewhere. The top of the abandoned well having been cemented to 50 metres below mud level.

I never realised that there are so many mud motor powered tools you can use down hole.

Acorn -- Unless there's something really wrong with the csg just a simple perf gun will do the job. They set a retrievable packer in the hole, perf the csg above it and then pump cmt in. It's a pretty fast job. They can do it several times in just a couple of days.

I also wonder if they are still hanging the RW out there until they are sure they can replace the BOP. Normally they just unlatch it and pull it to the surface. With potential damage from the blow out they might have to use some type of cutting system to free it. But if they have to cut it off how do the latch a new one on? Still some very big questions bouncing around.

Understood Rock. Take this for what it is worth, it is from a gas rig engineer who, I think, works for Saudi Aramco. Apparently SA are the best drillers in the world, she says.
Everything that has been done to that well since the blowout, would have been done by BP engineers anyway. Had they not been daft enough to put video cameras down there; there are things that would have been done and would have shortened the job somewhat. A new BOP would have been on and off the well head and the problem down hole sorted from the top. A lot less oil would have gone into the GOM but the procedures would not have looked good on TV. That's the problem with the US, too many grafting politicians and too much dumb a***d television. We don't have that problem in the Middle East. (Remember, I am just the messenger, no offence intended to TOD fans).

Aramco are best drillers in the world. Good joke.

I never realised that there are so many mud motor powered tools you can use down hole.

The recent advances in horizontal drilling technology have brought a lot of that about, ie tools to cut windows in casing to drill horizonal laterals.

I wonder if BP will not have a claim against the government if it turns out that the annulus is empty. In effect the government has ordered that they spend money doing something that is unnecessary.

I can imagine BP making a claim in court that X% of the oil spill was caused by government interference in the containment process. (Chu's stopping the 'top kill.')

Yes it would be interesting to see the evidence for that claim. But I doubt there is any evidence and if there is no evidence there won't be a claim.

So what forensic information might reasonably be found with the RW? If, as seems quite possible, BP's use of a small number of centralisers wasn't part of the failure, one would imagine BP might be keen to prove it, and indeed the Feds might be keen to know.

I can see a rather unfortunate play of blame shifting hinging on this.

It does all seem really really strange. The more we learn about the accident, the more everything seems to hinge on the last few hours of operation. From the moment that the curing of the cement was curtailed onwards, everything seems to be simply out of joint, with a cascading set of dangerous decisions made, and danger signs missed. Maybe there was something in the food? It just seems plain weird.

Whilst there is clear evidence of lots of dysfunctional management, none of it seems to directly play into the reality of the accident. So far as one can see, all the critical bad decisions were taken by workers on the rig. Workers for whom such decisions placed their own lives at risk. Which makes it doubly weird.

It sounds like they will first replace the BOP and then do the RW intersect. Assuming I got that right there shouldn't be any change in the evidence as a result of having a sound BOP on the well before the intersect is made.

Francis - The only evidence the RW can offer is whether the annulus at the RW cut is in communication with the reservoir. That would be very useful especially if they determine that it isn't capable of flowing uphole. That would mean the reservoir isn't in communication with the shallow liner seal. As I mention above, going in from the top side allows a variety of data to be acquired that MIGHT help understand what went wrong initially.

Once the BOP has been replaced making the RW intersect won't be exceptionally dangerous. OTOH, it isn't neccesary. Finishing the kill and P&A with drill pipe would be the safest approach IMHO. I wonder if that isn't what they're thinking about but don't want to put it on the table until the replace the BOP and run logs.

Me too, I just saw this news item on the bberg and was wondering why wait so long? The water is so warm and Sept is when we start really getting hit with storms..

RM~Since you have been in the patch for 35 yrs, are you familiar with the company O'Brien, IIRC they are a wholly owned subsidiary of Seacor.


mummsie - Seacor is now owned by Fugro. O'Brien is a sub of Seacor. Seacor's environmental services are conducted primarily through the company’s wholly owned subsidiaries, National Response Corporation (NRC), O’Brien’s Response Management Inc. and Seacor Environmental Services International Limited.

I knew you would know......I was out having a nice dinner with my "friend" who works for one of the enviromental response co's here and the son of Jim O' Brien was there (can't remember his name-few too many drinks)as was the head of ERG and TL Wallace that night. I was dying to chat with them and ask a few Q's, but 2 of the 3 are now living on the Island and one has moved his family here and has a son my age in the same school, so hopefully I will have a chance to "chat" with them.

I did look into Seacor and their client list and it is impressive, but thought you might have some insight and was correct.



Is there anyone left that Fugro hasn't gobbled up? Sigh.

Francis - Yep...little by little all the small are being gobbled up by the big. Probably going to be a lot more consolidation with the new defacto moratorium of all offshore drilling. With nearly zero cash flow owners have no choice but to sell out or just fade away.

Hmmmmm..... sounds just like what's happening in the financial sector.

Another three months of this & I'll be ready to change to almostcompletenovice. I just realized I read your comment through without a pause. Acronyms? Check. Vocabulary? Check. VERY basic understanding of concepts? Check.

Kind of cool to see that immersion's good for learning all kinds of languages, not just Spanish and French ;)

The latest pressure reading from inside the BOP now shows a pressure of 2189 psi which is quite close to the theoretical ambient pressure.

Before that, the diagram shows a spike in pressure, likely from flushing the BOP with seawater and methanol from the Q-4000 through the BOP to the Discoverer Enterprise. The Discoverer Enterprise has just disconnected its riser from the capping stack and moved away from the well.

The disconnecting Discoverer Enterprise riser connector.

All - the ROV watchers, who bring you those fine movies, need your 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 the folks below and ask for public video feeds from the Remote Operated Vehicles from the ship "BOA Sub C".

A good idea is to contact Representative Ed Markey who initiated the public feeds.

BP gives several numbers that can be contacted

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

If you know any media people please ask them to ask BP about the missing feeds.


moon, they are watching the bop and they are doing that for Cameron. Cameron has a dog in this race. Millenium 36 and 37 are doing the monitoring when needed.
The public sees bp feeds only. There are other companies out there in the GOM and we don't see their feeds either.
We don't "have a right" to see feeds by other companies.


I have the same suspicion and posted so yesterday. The other possibility is that the Government or attorney's for interested parties have them secured to watch the stack for any suspicious or foul play by other ROV's doing routine work around the stack (tampering with evidence).

Maude, we have seen those ROVs doing actual work for BP, not just watching for Cameron. The feeds from BOA Sub C are visible in the BP control room. If Cameron as a subcontractor is involved in that so what.

We "don't have a right" to all the other feeds which are all done by this or that subcontractors for BP. But we do get them. So why not get those feeds where there appears to be the most interesting and most informing work is done?

That these feeds are not available now already gives an "argument" to conspiracy theories here and elsewhere. Make the feeds public and that argument for fear and scare stories goes away.


Since day one, the ROV's have been facinating for most of us to watch from time to time. What would have been more productive is if BP or someone would have put up nerative to explain what is going on and not just left everything open to interpretation and speculation. I guess that we will have to live with that till someone like ROVMAN comes along to explain what we are seeing. Watching an ROV open and close valves, making hot stabs, etc. just opens a whole new onslaught of speculation.

About the Rov Watchers...new report from Woods Hole group:

Scientists report undersea oil plume stretching 21 miles from BP spill site By David A. Fahrenthold and Kimberly Kindy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 19, 2010; 2:29 PM

Impatiens here...Enter the "What if"....the mini gushers, seeps, gas vents, et al, that the Rov Watchers keep insisting they see account for some or all of this newly reported oil? Someone here keeps asking to see the footprint of the claims of new oil. Most of the discussions seem to follow the rule of deductive reasoning. Can anyone rule this out?

It is not newly discovered oil. It is one of the diffuse plumes that were reported in June. The data for this report were gathered in June. This oil came out of the stack in May or June, was dispersed, flattened out at a density boundary around 1000 m. deep, and traveled horizontally with the undersea currents. No mystery here.

This report is being discussed in another thread started by Doug_in_LA.

B, is there any evidence that the stack was displaced to seawater?

Humm. since only one spike on pressure readings..unless it shows up after the last graph(MoonofA! thanks!)--
-and due to the fact the 'green goo' is being pumped out as the device leaves--what is the probability seawater was pumped in..then green goo again? Don't they have different properties? So to me makes sense to have spikes one with the anti-freeze..which pumps out the mud--and then one with seawater flush which takes out the green goo(or "stack displaced with seawater"). And with time in between to watch for pressure changes. After that--they pump in green goo again? Any sign of that kind in the data? Would think there would be a few spikes up and down in the whole process.
but hey I am only a watcher here (computer type geek who loves graphs and data) trying to figure out a rather confusing situation which may impact our futures (oh..change "may" to WILL).

Impact on the future is already baked in the cake. Doesn't matter how the Macondo intervention plays out. MMS reorganized. Indefinite drilling moratorium. More money and public support for Anything Other Than Oil (AOTO, hey, a cute new acronym!)

The green stuff is a mix of methanol or some other anti-freeze and water. They will want to have anti-freeze in the bop so any gas that may come up into it during the now running pressure test at real ambient pressure does not form hydrates. Hydrates within the bop would be very nasty.

We do not have detailed pressure curves over time. Only pressure points each two hour apart. These pressure points and the end result we know are consistent with the procedure BP had announced: Pump seawater (and antifreeze) from the Q-4000 through the BOP choke/kill lines through the BOP and capping stack and up to the Discoverer Enterprise.

We see:
a. A fall in pressure as the BOP is opened to the water filled riser of the Discoverer Enterprise
b. A spike increase in pressure as the Q-4000 is pumping water and the mud it still had in its riser down through the BOP and up to the DE
c. A pressure near the theoretical ambient pressure when the BOP and both pipes were filled with water (and anti-freeze).

Allen said at this morning's briefing that seawater had been pumped into the BOP etc. and that the ambient pressure test began at 7 am this morning.

Latest update on the published BOP pressure.

The ambient pressure inside the now closed BOP shows no change. Oil and gas flows from down the well, which would increase the pressure, seem to be absent.

Perhaps the pressure bump 17 Aug 2300 to 18 Aug 2300 was to force heavier mud down the well, per Rockman's estimate of 17ppg to balance it? Might have been a junk shot too.

No reply necessary. I'll take another -10.

[Insert completely unnecessary random snarky comment here]

New Admiral Allen directive: http://ht.ly/2rVDD

The directive authorizes the removal and replacement of the BOP, subject to conditions such as "No flow of hydrocarbon detected during the ambient testing" and "Each procedure should recognize and preserve the forensic and evidentiary value of the BOP and any material removed from the BOP".

In a closed system (capped) how does one detect flow of hydrocarbons?

Negative test. Underbalance the well and monitor for flow and / or pressure rise.

It's called negative test when well is underbalanced.

It's called ambient test when well is balanced.

It's called positive test when well is overbalanced.

That's my understanding. Corrective comments welcome.

avon -- Easy: poke a hole in it and see if it spits at you. That part threw me a little to. If it's closed it isn't flowing. Once you break something it might flow but then it's a little late to stop.

The full text of that condition is

- No flow of hydrocarbon is detected during the ambient test or the fishing operations and a complete monitoring system is in place.

I assume something will be open while they're fishing?

-10 for a dumb question. Answer: the pressure inside the system increases.

IIRC every time they increased pressure it bled off, allegedly because of small leaks in the stack, esp flex joint and spool adapter. At seawater ambient pressure in the stack, there should be no leaking as before. However if such leaks existed and still exist (?) they would bleed off small rise in pressure from HC flow.

Between you and me, I'll accept a -10 anytime.

There are no dumb questions, only dumb answers.

I'm sure there could be concern for several unusual conditions which could produce interpretations of test data which contradict reality. All is not known about this well.

Now your at -9.

Slightly off topic but relevant to concerns about seafood safety that have been discussed here over the past days. I watched a movie last night called "Food, Inc" and I don't think I'll ever look at food in the same way again. KNew most of the info in the movie, but learned something new as well, a law on the books called "The Veggie Libel Act .

"According to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) veggie laws are the descendants of criminal sedition laws, which made it a crime to criticize public officials. Veggie laws are used almost exclusively by the food industry to silence their critics’ concerns about food production and safety. Other critics also point out that veggie libel laws not only restrict the availability of information needed to make fully informed judgments about food, but also endanger free-speech rights in order to protect private commercial interests.

Read more: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/210759_veggie-libel-laws-you-could-be-sue...

Interestingly,, the states that signed on to this law include Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. Be careful what you say about Gulf seafood folks. You could end up in court for saying it's unsafe to eat. (Took me 30 minutes to write, this comment. What is up with TOD lately? Lots of spy-bots, it seems!)

There is an episode of CSI: Miami, that used that theme. Contaminated irrigation water on some salad vegetables I think. It was shown recently in the UK. Horatio could not prosecute criminally because of that law; but he gave the evidence to the victims for a civil case.


It was contaminated irrigation water that caused the problems with spinach a few years back and killed folks. The movie was pretty horrifying. It went from Tyson chicken and e-coli tainted beef killing kids to Monsanto's adventures with destroying farmers who won't use the terminator seed. When I heard about the Veggie Libel Law I could not help but think about how the gov't keeps saying the Gulf seafood is fine and yet the fisherman say they won't feed it to their own families. With a law like that on the books, one could be dragged through hell just for speaking out and voicing the concern that the food is unsafe for consumption. More from the article:

"In states with veggie libel laws, commenting on the health risks cased by bacteria in meats, poultry, or uncooked seafood, sulfites in salads, nitrites in bacon and other processed foods, general saturated fat content, pesticide/herbicide treatments, genetically manufactured ingredients, or other toxic chemicals found in food, could subject the commentator to a very expensive lawsuit. Additionally, food libel laws place the burden of proof on the plaintiff; in other words food critics must demonstrate that their claims are grounded in reliable scientific facts and data. Simply raising the publics’ awareness about some food related issue and calling for an inquiry is not allowed."

Read more: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/210759_veggie-libel-laws-you-could-be-sue...

Incidently, I am betting that Monsanto and Nalco and other multi-nationals are busily creating genetically altered fish, right now. But then again, I am sounding like a CT, aren't I? I think a person in the throes of cognitive dissidence is a better description of my state of mind and perhaps others here as a result of the lack of truthful information and evidence that has surrounded this DWH catastrophe.

Yes, you are sounding rather CT-ish. For example Monsanto has never developed or commercialized a terminator seed.


There is a LOT of baloney being spread around regarding GMOs. It's too bad because it obscures the real questions.

As far as fish? AquaBounty Technologies are the players there.

I used to work for a company that sold products that would prevent a lot of food safety issues. However there are all sorts of problems getting these used, including the question of whether or not they would do any good, resistance by the industry towards anything that would cost more, etc. There is a tremendous amount of inertia and I think it's going to take a really tragic disaster on a mass scale to cause the industry to change it's ways.

A couple videos from the sea-floor, a mile deep. While the other ROVs were busy mounting a riser to flush the BOP stack, one kept watch on the sand, with the currents came a stream of life.



with the currents came a stream of life

Wonderful, thank you.

It's like a stage down there, with the various critters making their entrances, doing an enigmatic little number in the light, then exiting back into the gloom. Deep-sea Zen. I swear I go into a trance watching them.

Those undersea videos can be hypnotic .. I particularly got a kick out of the little red creature that made a brief appearance just after 4 minutes.

It inspired me to wonder what a swimming shrimp looks like (yeah, I know, live shrimp aren't red ...) so I googled for videos.

In contrast to the serenity of the seafloor, see this video of a shrimp in a lab setting - Shrimp on a treadmill.

I particularly got a kick out of the little red creature that made a brief appearance just after 4 minutes.

Wasn't it lovely? A cameo...

In contrast to the serenity of the seafloor, see this video of a shrimp in a lab setting - Shrimp on a treadmill.

Jeez, do they really need to know whatever they were trying to find out with that setup? Looked like the little guy was desperate to get the hell out of there after the first few seconds.

Yes...but what is he running from...?
...and why does he look so angry ?

New 48-hour ambient pressure test started this morning, according to Allen.

While he started out with the term "fishing expedition", he changed it to "fishing experiment" for the rest of the press call.

They are looking at Labor Day week for the final BK.

Oh, and yes, the seawater displacement -- if it wasn't obvious by the above comment -- has been completeed.

One of the reporters referenced a letter from TO to BP, accusing them of withholding information; anyone know about this?

Here is more about that :


"The company that owned the oil rig which exploded in the Gulf of Mexico is accusing BP of withholding critical evidence needed to investigate the cause of the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, according to a confidential document obtained by The Associated Press.
BP's refusal to turn over the documents has hampered Transocean's investigation and hindered what it has been able to tell families of the dead and state and federal investigators about the accident, the letter said.
BP and Transocean appear likely to face off in court over how much each should pay out for the tragedy.
In the dispute over documents, Transocean said that BP released limited records only after the company agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement at BP's request.
"Despite our reservations, we agreed to BP's condition of secrecy because there is no other source of key well data," the letter said.

Transocean wants 16 pieces of technical information from BP, including pressure tests, logs and other data."

In finance, BK means bankruptcy. Mebbe so.

Currently live on CSPAN - http://cspan.org/Watch/C-SPAN.aspx

HEARING THURS: BP Oil Spill: Ensuring Safe Seafood & Accounting for the Oil

Chairman Markey will hold a hearing on the BP Oil Spill today in the Energy & Environment Subcommittee. This hearing will explore how much oil could remain in the Gulf of Mexico from the BP oil spill, seafood safety and potential impacts to the marine environment and fisheries that are associated with the spill and its cleanup.

--Bill Lehr, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Office of Response and Restoration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
--Paul Anastas, Ph.D., Assistant Administrator, Office of Research and Development, Environmental Protection Agency
--Donald Kraemer, Acting Deputy Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration
--Ian MacDonald, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Oceanography, Florida State University
--Mike Voisin, Chief Executive Officer, Motivatit Seafoods, LLC
--Acy Cooper, Jr., Vice President, Louisiana Shrimp Association
--Dean Blanchard, President, Dean Blanchard Seafoods, Inc.
--Lisa Suatoni, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Oceans Program, Natural Resources Defense Council

Markey is not happy with the NOAA guy's unwillingness to release the data upon which the oil budget was based. Lehr is saying data will not be released to the public until a two month peer review process has been completed. As Markey pointed out, if they are not yet confident the budget is accurate, they should not have released it, since decisions are already being made based on its estimates. (Not sure what decisions Markey is referring to, but I agree they should be releasing their calculations.)

If there are real contamination issues, the public must be notified IMMEDIATELY, end of story, least we have a grand scale repeat of WTC, PWS, and many other examples of USG risking health of population over politics.

Hex, see my comments above. Watch the movie, "Food, Inc." and weep. Then read about the Veggie Libel Law and weep some more. We're basically screwed thanks to the greed of multi-nationals and the fact that their CEO's and board members get appointed to high positions in the FDA, EPA, ADA, etc.

As noted when the budget report was first published, it was in the form of a management/administrative report and estimate rather than a formal science paper with data and methodology reported. The timing of its release was a bit cute to coincide with the kill operation. I have always assumed that the government wanted to get some information out to the public as early as possible. Yes, I’m sure that assuring the public was part of the rationale. However, IMO, these were politically-driven decisions. Nothing wrong with that per se as long as we take the report/estimate for what is was rather than what we would like it to be.

The process now reverts to the traditional publishing and peer-review procedure which has always been in place to try and eliminate as much bad science as possible. Before you publish, you have to convince your peers and colleagues that you're not smoking dope and that your methods and conclusions are sound. It is a tried-and-true method. You finish your paper and circulate it among your peers for comments. Papers are often improved in this process; many are never publish by respected journals because they fail the initial sniff test that peer review provides. No, not a perfect system but a pretty darn good one. It does eliminate a goodly amount of bad or junk science from being released with the imprimatur of legitimacy.

Since bad science can influence public policy in an unhealthy way, having good science to support the decisions by policy makers is important and a good thing.

In the scheme of things and compared with many other peer-review processes, two months is a very short peer review; many are much longer. Very often, whenever peer-review is bypassed for expediency, really bad things can happen,

Swift Loris and I were teasing each other a couple of nights ago about the cold fusion fiasco with Fleischmann and Pons. Rather than going through the traditional publishing and peer-review process, they held press conferences before they even submitted their paper for publish and peer review and set off a debacle. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion

My assumption, indeed based on a certain faith in the process, is that if there was a clear and present danger to the public that the public would be told immediately. Yes, it is based on faith in the system so okay to call me foolish. However, since the papers published by NOAA will carry a certain weight and influence public policy (many other things), getting it right or as right as it can be, will take a little time and I think it wise.

Yes, the scientific review process is well understood. Markey was objecting to the release of the conclusions to the public without the supporting data and algorithms... either wait until it's been reviewed or let everybody see everything at the same time. It's a bit cute to put the conclusions of the discussions out but then hold back any means of verifying them.

I'm sure there was political pressure to get something out there.

ETA: The video of the hearing is now available at House Energy & Commerce Subcmte. Hearing on Seafood Safety.

Yes, the scientific review process is well understood.

Not by all, particularly when politics, the news cycle and public pressure become involved.

My personal guess that that the scientists involve balked at putting ANYTHING out too soon, even this estimate. To me, the estimate looks like a political compromise to get something out there ASAP. It had all of the appearance of being rather hastily produced including the political message that accompanied it.

My further guess (and it is a guess) is that NOAA drew the line there rather than go further down a slippery slope.

I for one was glad to see the estimate but won't put a lot of trust in it until formally published. In other words, glad to see what I consider a very rough first draft but I'm not going to bet the ranch on its conclusions just yet.

It might be fun to hear the backstory on how this estimate was produced and how it evolved.

Is Ms. Lisa Jackson, whom I still respect, conspicuously missing, or does she get an executive pass as a courtesy?

Nobody at her level is testifying .. it is all Deputy, Assist, Senior, etc.

Everybody is agreeing that continued monitoring and testing are needed - no disagreement on that point.

Ms. Jackson is currently on a boat by Venice, LA ... probably a big-ass party barge.

Jackson is there as part of ...

VENICE, La. - At the direction of the President, [today], Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley will tour the Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Venice, Louisiana and the areas affected by the BP oil spill to assess the on-going federal response efforts and to discuss the Administration’s commitment to long-term Gulf Coast restoration and recovery.

Portions of the Delta's 49,000 acres have been closed to the public since April due to oil but are scheduled to reopen on August 22. The Delta is home to many fish, waterfowl and animals, including the American alligator, brown pelican, and Arctic peregrine falcon.

In the morning, Secretary Salazar, Administrator Jackson, Administrator Lubchenco, and Chair Sutley will participate in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Steering Committee in New Orleans.

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Alternet -- We Have Yet to Come Face to Face with the Biggest Cost of the BP Spill

The Nation / By Raj Patel |
The BP spill must be a wake-up call -- to re-imagine our economy, our politics and our energy needs, or else to calculate just how much more we are willing to lose.
August 17, 2010 |
We're almost at the happily-ever-after stage of the gulf oil-spill story. The well has been killed, the beaches are being scrubbed and wicked Tony Hayward has been banished to Russia. All that's left now is for BP to make good on the damage it has caused. The company has

path: Public ~> Gulf Oil Disaster
originally posted: 2010-08-19 08:45:05

... that corporations like BP behave in this way, committing capitalist acts, ...

yeah, those "capitalist acts", how dare they? /roll eyes

I know it's The Nation, but I lost track after a while; did the author hit just about every item on the lefty canard-o-meter, or not? Seemed pretty thorough.

Let's give your observation a little more context:

We oughtn't to be surprised that corporations like BP behave in this way, committing capitalist acts, externalizing environmental and social costs while internalizing profits. After all, these are the rules of the economic game. But the real reason why BP will likely never see a full tally for its actions lies not in its Machiavellian plotting, nor in its hiding damage and muddying the water with doubt, but in the everyday blindness built in to modern capitalism. Our economic system just isn't set up to measure the wider costs of our activities, and the gulf spill illustrates this painfully well.

BP accused of withholding Deepwater Horizon evidence

WASHINGTON -- The owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig is accusing BP of withholding critical evidence needed to identify the cause of the worst maritime oil spill in history.

In a sternly worded letter obtained by The Associated Press, Transocean says that lack of information is preventing the company from informing state and federal investigators, and the families of those killed on the rig, about what happened.

According to the rig's owner, BP appears to be preventing any other entity from investigating the blowout.


Everything that happened on that rig was the responsibility of Transocean. Every move was done by TO's people. TO's people new every foot of the well; they built it. All the data came from TO's instruments. All the data was known by TO's people, even if BP had the copyright. If their customer, BP, was demanding things be done that TO's employees were not happy with, they should have had the balls to say NO, make the well safe and walk away from the contract.

Assuming your premise to be correct, than WHAT data could they be withholding? If TO did everything, they should have ALL the data, right. Is it Jedi mind trick?

Acorn - Not entirely IMHO. The integrity of the cmt job as 100% BP's responsibility as was the testing of it and the displacement of the csg/riser with sea water. These matters and a few others were at the complete control of BP. OTOH I agree with you: TO had the authority to shut down ops anytime they felt the rig/crew were in jeopardy. They also had the legal obligation to shut down any op that violated MMS regs and to notify the authorities of the same. The one REALLY BIG factor TO will have trouble ducking is the mud returns not being monitored. As I've said before, BP could have made all the mistakes they made and then some. But had the well been shut in when it started to kick (regardless of who caused it to kick) the well would not have blow out and the BOP would not have had the opportunity to fail. And the TO hands were 100% responsible for monitoring mud returns and shutting the well in when a kick happens. The saddest part remains that some of the most serious charges may have to be leveled at some of the dead. And that may well be true but just more grief for those families to deal with.

...or is this just some posturing by Transocean to try to stay ahead of the litigation curve? I don't think anyone is going to tell the "complete" story of what happened until they can examine all of the physical evidence, including the hardware currently located under 1 mile of seawater.

Final plugging of BP oil well to begin after Labor Day

NEW ORLEANS -- The U.S. government said Thursday the final plugging of BP's blown-out Gulf well will begin sometime after Labor Day.

Jeffrey Carter, an aide to the government's spill chief, told The Associated Press that the plan is to replace a failed piece of equipment called the blowout preventer first.

Then BP will finish drilling a relief well it can use to plug up the blown-out well with mud and cement from the bottom, a procedure known as a bottom kill.

Carter said that if everything goes as planned, the final plugging will begin after Sept. 6.


Extent of oil spills from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is still being assessed

Even as Louisiana agonizes over the environmental toll of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, federal and state officials are still trying to determine the scope of the damage to natural resources from the estimated 11 million gallons of oil spilled in 2005 during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In fact, five years after those storms, several state and federal agencies that act as trustees for public resources damaged during spills are still in the earliest phase of the natural resource damage assessment process required under the federal Oil Spill Act of 1990.


Five years and they are still on the first phase? That means the Macondo investigation should run about 20 years.

Correct. The Piper Alpha rig disaster in the North sea (1988), took twenty years to sort. The last settlements concluded in 2008.

Well Acorus, I do not know your background but are you any good at color illustrations? I can write. We can come up with one heck of a 'Macondo for Kids' book. It would seem we need to inform the toddlers to the situation as they will be the participants in the eventual trial.

...and inheritors of the experiment.

What is the bigger risk? 13 trillion $$$ and counting or 200 million gallons and counting? I have no clue. Poor kids, it is a damn shame.

As a scientist, engineer, artist, patented inventor, and generaly concerned and active citizen, I'll share with y'all a clever little diddy plagiarized from an anonymous coward in another forum:

"Hush gulf babies don't you cry
Even if BP is spraying poison in your sky.

And when that poison falls down below
It will go whichever way the wind might blow.

And if that wind should blow it your way
Don't worry it's safe says the EPA.

And if you should start to bleed internally
You can go to the nearest BP medical facility.

And if your throat is raw and rashes start to appear
You can still go swimming, the Coast Guard says all clear.

And if you're swimming and your tummy starts to ache
Have some delicious seafood- steamed, fried or baked.

It's all good and safe says our FDA
Chemical solvents in your food isn't bad for you they say.

Sweet dreams, little ones."

I'm pretty sure your heart's in the right place. That said, this is melodramatic doggerel chocked full of innuendo. I'm betting it came from a forum where the reptilians, reverse speech and shape changers are not unusual topics.

What a surprise. Here it was posted earlier today at Godlike Productions - http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1165463/pg1

You are correct sir, thanks for commenting.
I wonder what version of history the children will be read in the Gulfs future.
I don't like idea of American and critter populations being dispensable.

Anecdotal, but...

How many of us siphoned gasoline in our youths? Most of the kids that I grew up with had many a mouth fulls. Who here had to wash their hair in coal oil to wash out the tranny fluid after junking that C9 or Turbo 350?

I always thought that petroleum distillates were relatively benign... unless one were to swallow them. And then, milk and and puke would relieve most of the more pressing dangers.

Of course, I could just be an ignorant po southern boy that had to pull wrenches, but most of my friends did, too. And, we are pushing our 60s.

Perhaps, the refining process eliminates some of the more nasty components???

Just found this article about the underwater oil plumes.


Edit: Just noticed that the date on the pictures were from June 1st

Another article based on the same study ...

Deepwater Horizon oil plume more than twice all natural seeps in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

It's unfortunate that there haven't been additional surveys in that area since their voyage 6/19-6/28. We seem to be getting snapshots of conditions, but no continuous studies over longer periods of time.

As an aside, I notice that the date on the photo accompanying both articles is June 1, so it is not from the voyage in the study. I've recently seen so many photos connected to various articles that were taken weeks or months earlier than the subject of the articles, sometimes leading to misleading impressions.

rainy - Their published numbers make no sense. They say the plume is about 600' thick and 22 miles long. That's about 70 million cu ft. They also say the concentration is 50 parts/billion. My calculator says that's less than 4 cubic feet of oil. Unless I missed a bunch of decimal place or there's some big typos in that report BP ought to love that report.

For goodness sake someone prove me wrong!

BP ought to love that report.

Particularly in light of the Joye quote in the article Gobbet posted on the same study.

About 7 percent of the oil from the leaked well went into this particular plume, said Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia.

ETA: of course, that is only a reporter's version of what she said.

A little less than 3.5 cu ft is what I calc it out to be. It's too bad nobody will pay for competent people to call bs on the MSM. We could all make our livings at it.

50 ppb is for monoaromatic fractions rather than total petroleum HC. I have no idea what percent of the total they would be. Also I think some would be dissolved in the water rather than in the oil droplets--benzene at least is water soluble. Might some have been stripped out of larger undispersed droplets on their way up? I've not found any information about the oil components that are thought to be dissolved in the water, how they are distributed in the water column.

Gooby -- Checked the article again and if I read correctly those components make up about 7% of the oil spilled. So multiply by 15 or so. That's still less 50 cu ft of oil...or about 8 or 9 bbls. Still doesn't make sense. Even if they meant parts per million and not billion that would still be less than 10,000 bbls of oil.

22 mi long, 1.2 mi. wide, .1 mi. deep is 2.64 cubic miles x 150 billion is roughly 390 billion cu. ft. of water rather than 70 million.

50 ppb x your factor of 15 = 750 ppb petroleum x 390 = around 300,000 cu. ft. of oil or 40,000 barrels.

I probably screwed something up, though.

Gobby -- That's why emgineers don't let geologists have calulators. I forgot about width. Mucho thanks. But still is less than one day's spill out of 3 months.


I'm not an engineer, I'm an English major. Somebody better check my work. (It's round numbers 'cause I was using a pencil.)

Followed your calculation chain and came to 53kbbl. Suspect you used standard barrels not petroleum barrels. 1 days flow would be about 1.3% of the oil up to then. I am surprised that ppb levels cause the turbidity in those photos but there is no calibration information. This is 1 plume though, are there others? Suspendedoil wasalso noted in the water on the other side of the area too.


I am surprised that ppb levels cause the turbidity in those photos

The photos are dated June 1, before the survey began.

The various articles on the study linked here today contain conflicting statements on what the water looked like.

"There's no visible evidence of oil in the samples; they look like clear water," study chief author Richard Camilli said.


Photographs taken during the cruise from a remotely operated vehicle about 1,500 feet southwest of the well site, which is about 65 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, show the beginning of brownish cloudy water at 1065 meters, turning to bright brown color at 1,100 meters and 1,200 meters, and lessening in brightness at 1,300 meters. Photos from above and below those levels show purple- or blue-tinged water.

The scientists reported that small oil droplets temporarily collected on the camera lens within the plume.

Remember what I said a while back. From a UK Institute for Oceanography Prof'.
"If the GOM was scaled to the size of an Olympic swimming pool, all the oil that came out of the well, into the GOM, would be represented by one cubic centimetre in that swimming pool".

Remembered, noted and dismissed as obfuscating and irrelevant at the time. At this time I have not revised my assessment. Perhaps the good perfesser and DAVID JONES of the Daily Mail would consider appearing live and in person to sign copies of Pollyanna for the folks of the Gulf. Maybe bring along some nice autographed tea cozies, too.

Good point.

Rockman: Not sure about your calculator but my calculator says that 600ft times 22 miles x5280 feet/mile results in 69,696,000 square feet. I think we might need the width of that plume in order to calculate the cubic feet in the plume. I have not seen that width published either. Could be wrong but.....
A lurking engineer. Else I have really enjoyed the TOD and gotten a lot from it.

Well, yeah. I assumed 600' x 600' x 5280' just to get a figure. The point is that even if you give the plume 1 mi x 1 mi x 600', you're still looking at ~30 cu. ft. But again, that's assuming no degradation.

I could not follow you calculation as it seems to have a length and a depth but no width. I went back to the abstract and could not find the plume width there. Is it possible you have sq ft not cu ft? Or have I missed something?

steve -- Stop pussy footing around. You want to go me a dumb sh*t...go ahead...get it off your chest. LOL. Guess my only flimsey excuse is that I've been missing a lot of sleep lately.

They say the plume is about 600' thick and 22 miles long. That's about 70 million cu ft.


If they meant 600' X 22 mi. X 1' your calculation is correct.

If they meant 600' X 22 mi. X 22 mi. your calculation is off by a factor of about 100,000.

From the Guardian article

According to their findings the deepwater plume measures 22 miles long, 1.2 miles wide and 650 feet high.

ETA: The actual study is available at Tracking Hydrocarbon Plume Transport and Biodegradation at Deepwater Horizon Camilli et al. for $15/24 hr viewing, unless you're a member of AAAS.org.

The cruise ended in late June.

The NYT article is mostly based on a peer-reviewed article just published in Science.Here is the abstract. Maybe someone with a subscription can tell us more.

Tracking Hydrocarbon Plume Transport and Biodegradation at Deepwater Horizon. Richard Camilli et al.

The Deepwater Horizon blowout is the largest offshore oil spill in history. We present results from a subsurface hydrocarbon survey using an autonomous underwater vehicle and a ship-cabled sampler. Our findings indicate the presence of a continuous plume over 35 km in length, at approximately 1100 m depth that persisted for months without substantial biodegradation. Samples collected from within the plume reveal monoaromatic petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations in excess of 50 µg L–1. These data indicate that monoaromatic input to this plume was at least 5500 kg day–1, which is more than double the total source rate of all natural seeps of the monoaromatic petroleum hydrocarbons in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Dissolved oxygen concentrations suggest that microbial respiration rates within the plume were not appreciably more than 1 µM O2 day–1.

"Monoaromatic" includes benzene. Here's a decent AP story on the study. The author says the biodegradation rate in the depths is 10% of the rate in warmer waters.


Edit to add: An important question taking shape is the rate of biodegradation and oxygen depletion, the latter being used to measure the former. Researchers including Joye were reporting fairly rapid O2 depletion in the deep plumes, but Lubchenco said two or three weeks ago that these readings might be caused by oil fogging the instruments and ordered all the NOAA-supported cruises to start using a different method to measure Q2. That position is supported by the new study. If rates are being revised downward, I wonder which rates were used to figure biodegradation in the UGA oil budget.

thanks Gobbet - I'm glad to see mention of follow-up studies in that article.

rainy, the Joye group is starting another cruise tomorrow, I think. There will be many more.

I wonder how Allen's directive to coordinate monitoring efforts and data is going.

From his 9/13 briefing.

What we are going to do over the next week or so is put together a plan for the next 60 days that will integrate all the monitoring that’s being done and – including reach out to state, local, academic institutions regarding their research capabilities to integrate this into a comprehensive system that will help us detect any submerged oil that’s out there, any oil that’s remaining to be dealt with. This will serve two purposes, it will direct our efforts now that we’re very close to having the well secured and as we look at the oil marshes as Admiral Zukunft talked about and the oil beaches, to the extent that there is oil out there we need to be concerned about. We’re going to do our best to locate that, detect it and move forward.

Yeah, data gathered ~two months ago. Which simply says nothing about the current state. Can they all be this dull-witted, or doesn't it matter as long they get hits/sell papers?

That's because the study was peer-reviewed before being published. As noted in an earlier comment today, this that takes time.

The paper, fast-tracked for the world of peer-reviewed science, was written on a boat while still in the Gulf, [Woods Hole scientist Chris Reddy] said.

A NOAA official is quoted on more recent conditions in one of the articles on the study .

While praising the study that ended on June 28, Murawski said more recent observations show that the cloud of oil has "broken apart into a bunch of very small features, some them much farther away." Texas A&M's McKinney said marine life can suffer harm whether it is several smaller plumes or one giant one.

... or doesn't it matter as long they get hits/sell papers?

No. it does not matter.

Where the Guardian story linked to the Scimag story, which had this -

Despite the new findings, oceanographers don't yet have a complete picture of subsurface oil. The mass of oil in the southwest plume surveyed in late June “doesn’t hold a candle to the plume we saw” to the southwest in May, says biogeochemist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, Athens. And then there’s the plume to the northeast, toward the Florida panhandle. In a close-in survey, the WHOI group found it to be the lesser of the two plumes. But Joye says that at other times researchers have found the northeast plume to be five times as massive. And this week, researchers from the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg led by chemical oceanographer David Hollander announced the first observation of oil droplets from a plume settling to the bottom of the gulf. Apparently, the northeast plume was massive enough to lay down a carpet of oil droplets off of West Florida.

See? It's all about whose is bigger.

a plume settling to the bottom of the gulf.

This meme about masses of oil sinking to the bottom drives me nuts. "A carpet of oil droplets." No, it's a sprinkle of microscopic specks, The researchers don't know whether it came from the plume or some other source like fecal deposition. There is no evidence of any plume doing anything but flowing with the current. If the plume brushes the bottom as it is carried along, some droplets would probably stick there. Duh.

The cloud or plume isn't settling to the bottom: its neutrally buoyant at a band of water densities occurring ~1000-1300m of depth. The PAHs _might_ settle to the bottom; no one has sampled yet, and I don't know of any equipment that would work to collect samples from the unconsolidated floc/sediment at depth.

The supplemental information on the Science paper is available for free:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;science.1195223/DC1 (21 page pdf)

From what I can tell, the results tell the pretty much the same story as preliminary reports from the current cruise:

Spatially-extensive fine droplets of hydrocarbon at 1000-1300m depths detectable with AQUAtrack fluorometers but not CDOM fluorometers (different excitation wavelengths for oil v. DOM).

The plume or whatever you want to call the blob extends SW from the wellhead; most subsurface water column work appears to focus on that area. Note that the WHOI cruise didn't find the end of the plume: they had to stop sampling ~20 miles out due to the storm. If you take the 4 miles per day movement reported in the press releases (or 10km ~ 1.5 days in the supplement), the Camilli et al. sampling was only looking at 5 or 6 days of output from the well.

Much less DOM depletion in the water with the droplets than reported earlier & elsewhere. The Camilli et al. interpretation is that other reports were false measurements, as hydrocarbons are known to affect membrane-based DO sensors and give false low readings. The implication is that other reports substantially overestimated biodegradation rates in deep, cold water. Camilli et al. also treat distance from the wellhead as a proxy for oil droplet age, and obtain a second low estimate of the rate of microbial respiration.

The Camilli et al. paper report BTEX from their water samples. Until I read the full paper, I don't know about other fractions of the oil/dispersant mixture.

[Toxicity is not the only potential for biotic effects of the droplets. Given the size of the droplets and how zooplankton filter feed by setting up small currents, there's a potential for mechanical clogging and other sublethal effects: they're living at very different Reynolds numbers than we do.]

Aside from that 3rd dimension that tripped up Rockman (he's only approximately infallible), if you want to estimate how much oil is in the plume, you probably need to use 4 miles per day * the number of days you think the well flowed at the mid- to late- June rate as the length; the height (depths) is probably constrained by density, and based on figure S9 you could estimate a constant width.

If you're interested in a budget of the fates of the oil, there's certainly more you could do by comparing the composition of the oil + dispersant to the BTEXs reported here; I don't know enough chemistry to attempt that. If you just want to know what's out there now, you might be able to estimate an amount of missing PAHs.


and I see there is also a podcast of an interview with the study authors dated, for some reason, 8/20.

ETA: To me this - "The implication is that other reports substantially overestimated biodegradation rates in deep, cold water. " - is the most notable finding of the study wrt longer term implications.

Gobby -- Those were the numbers I used (my report was in English units). 50 parts per billion in 70 million cu ft of water is less than 4 cu ft of oil. That's why I wonder if it was a typo and they meant 50 prts per million...not billion. But even if it were parts per milion it would be less than 600 bbls of oil in that entire plume.

Again...I'm serious...where am I wrong? Otherwise the "giant plume" stories are a joke. Forget the natural seeps. More oil thatn that is dumped into the GOM daily from the fishing and leisure craft fleet.

Speaker To Animals on June 8, 2010 - 2:30pm

Well let's see - that volume is 7 billion cu m. 0.2 ppb would be 1.4 m 3. (neglecting density differences for back of envelope method) Or 360 gallons.

What a hoot. Vast quantities of unaccounted for oil leaking from unknown sources.

Lakes of oil at the bottom of the Gulf. LOL.

360 gallons.

EPIC FAIL for the MSM, University of South Florida, conspiracy theorists etc.

+1 rep for NOAA.



The above calculation was based on a typo later revised in the first issued reports on oil concentration in plumes. The report originally stated 0.2 ppb; it was later revised to 0.2 ppm. This is in the ballpark with the numbers being discussed in this thread. So it is more like 360,000 gallons.

It still isn't anything like a lake of oil and it never will be.

Also I'm rather skeptical of the idea that the higher DO levels mean much regarding the rate of metabolism. For example I haven't seen any model that includes infusion of oxygen into the plume volume. Nor do we have a hydrocarbon composition profile within the plume. At least not yet.

Assuming Rainy's quote from the Guardian contains correct info:
"According to their findings the deepwater plume measures 22 miles long, 1.2 miles wide and 650 feet high."
Then the math in English units is 22*5280*1.2*5280*650 = 4.78E+011 cf in Plume. Using 50 ppb as the oil content yields 2.39E+004 cf oil or 1.79E+005 gals oil or 4,260 bls oil. Check my math.
the lurking engineer

ROCK et al, here is a recent summary of findings published in Science. It includes some specific data too.

Report Paints New Picture of Gulf Oil


OK, I haven't read the report. But in the abstract the authors state that

... a continuous plume over 35 km in length, at approximately 1100 m depth that persisted for months without substantial biodegradation.

If the WHOI cruise of the Endeavor was from 19 to 28 June, how can they make a blanket statement about how much biodegradation has (or has not) occurred?

... or that it "persisted for months" for that matter.

That's a very good challenge to a very incautious statement. Currents at plume depth at nearby Thunder Horse flow 5-10 knots per day, so oil 25 miles from the wellhead is very unlikely to be months old.

Currents at plume depth at nearby Thunder Horse flow 5-10 knots per day

Pretty certain about 5-10 knots/day? If so, WHOI's findings are strange. “In June, we observed the plume migrating slowly [at about 0.17 miles per hour] southwest of the source of the blowout,” said Camilli. The researchers began tracking it about three miles from the well head and out to about 22 miles (35 kilometers) until the approach of Hurricane Alex forced them away from the study area."

Then, there's this: "The plume has shown that the oil already 'is persisting for longer periods than we would have expected,' Camilli said. 'Many people speculated that subsurface oil droplets were being easily biodegraded.

'Well, we didn’t find that. We found it was still there.'" This is from their press release, so there's no MSM knucklehead to pick on. Unless I've overlooked it the only observation date span mentioned in the press release is June 19-28, so their conclusions must be based on the 0.17 knots/day figure.

.17 mph would be 4 miles per day, a little slower than currently at Thunder Horse but in the ballpark. In "months" (minimum so callable) the oil at that rate could move 240 miles.

Probably some of the oil from April 28 was still around on June 28, but they certainly didn't learn that on the cruise.

Right, within the ballpark at the lower rate but at 10 knots/day, their conclusion seems quite shaky. Split the difference and it still seems somewhat shaky. But of course we have no other data about the current during the time span.

The comments that the oil they were looking at wasn't months old are correct, but that was my point above: the actual length of the plume is much longer: they stopped because of the storm, not because they found the end of the plume.

No, they didn't have a way-back machine to track oil for months over a 2 week cruise, nor Lagrangian samplers to drift along with a particular water mass and somehow measure hydrocarbons along the way. They did have several ways to estimate rates of biodegradation, and if the rates translate to half-lives of several months, that's pretty good evidence to back up their statement about persistence times.

What they do have is an assumed chronosequence: volumes of water further away from the wellhead have oil that came out of the well earlier. They used 10km spatial difference as ~ 1.5 days (~4 miles per day), looked at differences in BTEX concentrations and DO, and estimated rates. If you analyze ratios of DO depletion to hydrocarbon concentration, the analysis does not require assuming constant flow at the wellhead. [Such space-for-time substitutions or chronosequences is how much forest dynamics is done, too; NSF doesn't give out 500 year grants, and certainly wouldn't fund my scheme to live long enough to complete the study and then write it up.] Note that higher rates of biodegradation would require even higher current velocities at that depth. If I recall correctly, the data from the sparse array of tethered buoys in the GOM that measure velocity & direction at depths suggest that 4 miles per day is on the high end of things.

They also possibly have biodegradation rates directly measured in incubations: bring up a water sample, split it and put half back in the right temperature (& pressure if you can), measure hydrocarbons & DO in the split, then measure them in the same instrument in the incubated sample a couple of days later, and maybe even monitor a time course of DO during the incubation. There are technical issues for being able to do this, and I didn't see it in their paper, but expect such results to be published from some cruises. [Perhaps the most common method to measure net primary productivity in aquatic & marine systems is light bottle / dark bottle incubations.]

> The comments that the oil they were looking at wasn't months old are correct

Well, okay. As for the rest, I think I'll be deferring to your expertise.

Knots/day? Where I live a knot is 1 nautical mile / hr. Quite strange.

Knots/day? Where I live a knot is 1 nautical mile / hr. Quite strange.

Yes, a knot is one nautical mile per hour. There is no such thing as a "knot per day" (unless perhaps one is talking about acceleration.)

Such obvious misuse of terms does not give one confidence in an article.

how can they make a blanket statement about how much biodegradation has (or has not) occurred?

Oxygen depletion can be translated into bacterial activity breaking down stuff. If there's no oxygen depletion, there's been no biodegradation.

What bothers me about this inference is that we know there are many kinds of microbes that don't use oxygen, degrading oil fractions without depleting oxygen. If studies don't (can't?) test for such microbial activity, we have unknown unknowns, hence possiblity of false inference.

In any case, the authors conclude from the information they've developed that it may take many months for microbial degradation of the hydrocarbon plume to reduce oxygen levels low enough to threaten Gulf fisheries. The approach taken here appears quite valuable, and if repeated over sufficient time and space should tell quite a story.

50 micrograms per liter !!!

The oil droplets are odorless and too small to be seen by the human eye. If you swam through the plume, you wouldn't notice it.
"There's no visible evidence of oil in the samples; they look like clear water," study chief author Richard Camilli said.
The researchers detected a class of petroleum hydrocarbons at concentrations of more than 50 micrograms per liter. The water samples collected at these depths had no odor of oil and were clear.
Gas chromatographic analysis of plume samples confirm the existence of benzene, toluene, ethybenzene, and total xylenes—together, called BTEX at concentrations in excess of 50 micrograms per liter. “The plume is not pure oil,” Camilli said. “But there are oil compounds in there.”
Of the dozens of samples analyzed for oxygen only a few from the plume layer were below expected levels, and even these samples were only slightly depleted.
“If the oxygen data from the plume layer are telling us it isn’t being rapidly consumed by microbes near the well,” he said, “the hydrocarbons could persist for some time."

My quotes are from this link :

The research data of Exxon Valdez prove the using of Corexit as a mistake in this video :


My quotes are from this link...

Your linked article is taken directly from the horse's mouth, Woods Hole. Here's the info from the Woods Hole website:

In the absence of the full Science Article, this is what people should be looking at, not the @!$@%# Guardian.

Thanks M.

It looks as if they've developed some good sampling techniques.

And, as anyone who has ever been involved in obtaining gov't funding, this is impressive.

The NSF RAPID program, which provides grants for projects having a severe urgency and require quick-response research on natural disasters or other unanticipated events, significantly speeded up the acceptance of the WHOI proposals. “In contrast to the usual six-to-eighteen-month lead time for standard scientific proposals, our plume study was funded two days after the concept was proposed to NSF and went from notification of the proposal’s acceptance to boarding the Endeavor in two-and-a-half weeks,” Reddy said.

There are also a couple of interesting quotes in the article that are relevant to the earlier discussion here today about the lack of transparency re the oil budget.

Along with their own scientific objectives, the team also bore in mind the advice of top science officials speaking at a June 3 Gulf Oil Spill Scientific Symposium at Louisiana State University, who cautioned researchers about the importance of verification and proceeding in a scientific manner:

“We are all served best by proceeding in a careful, thoughtful, and quantifiable manner, where we can actually document everything and share it publicly,” NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco told those assembled.

At that meeting, US Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt underscored the need for peer review of interpretive results before they are released, saying "There's nothing that throws the community into dead ends faster” than to have [poor] data out there.

Assistant Director of NSF Tim Killeen also echoed the sentiment that “quality assurance and quality control are essential for thorough work.”

“WHOI scientists attending this meeting took this advice to heart and used it as a guiding light for proper dissemination of scientific information,” Reddy said.

rainy, that last bit sounded like whoever wrote the release was sucking up to the NOAA overlords. We don't squabble and make gaudy statements to the press like some of those other groups who got NOAA funding.

yes, there were wisps of that here and there in the release.

Just thought it was interesting given the controversy over the current refusal to release the data supporting the oil budget.

“We are all served best by proceeding in a careful, thoughtful, and quantifiable manner, where we can actually document everything and share it publicly, unless of course the news is positive or will likely be misinterpreted in a positive light, then unveil it at a major press conference."

In Canada maximum acceptable level of benzene in drinking water is 5 microgram per litre. 50 micrograms of oily stuff would most probably meet the drinking water standard. from Environmnt Canada's website: "One drop of oil can render up to 25 litres of water unfit for drinking".

I am thinking y'all would like to know more about what the Camilli article says (oh, the joys of a big university and its journal subscriptions). I have reworded and condensed it in the interests of brevity, and - I hope - to avoid copyright issues.

-- their definition of plume: a discrete area in the water with HC > 2 sd above root-mean-square baseline variablility

-- 3 surveys were conducted between 23 and 27 June 2010 at depths > 1000 m

-- they found a continuous, neutrally buoyant plume at approximately 1000-1200 m, __up to__ 200 m high [__ means underlined by me for emphasis, not a link] in some areas > 2 km wide, moving SW, for > 35 km.... “likely that the plume extended” beyond the area surveyed

-- HC mix changed with depth

-- aromatic hydrocarbons __may__ be in greater abundance at depth

-- BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and total xylenes) concentrations > 50 μg/L within the plume at 16 km from the well.

-- calculation based on X-section distribution of BTEX, plume area, water velocity, BTEX specific density, etc. produced estimate of > 5500kg/day of BTEX (40 barrels/day, 6400 L/day) introduced __into this plume__. BTEX ~ 1% of oil released.

-- If well released 53,000-62,000 barrels/day, then 530-620 barrels/day of BTEX was released.

-- lack of systematic oxygen drawdown in plume implies not much microbial respiration was going on


I have read several different versions of the same thing and this part doesn't make sense

1) "Earlier this week a University of South Florida team reported oil in amounts that were toxic to critical plant plankton deep underwater, but the crude was not necessarily in plumes. Those findings have not been reviewed by other scientists or published."


I thought the plant plakton was at the surface...not "Deep underwater"

As far as I can tell, reporters garbled the preliminary findings reported from the second WeatherBird cruise.

1. They found specks of probable oil on the seafloor at plume depth.

2. They found indications of "toxic stress" in phytoplankton and dinoflagellates nearer the surface.

3. There is no connection between 1 and 2 except they both involve oil. All the newspaper accounts connect the two findings anyway. I saw a quote from one of the researchers where he misspoke and probably started some of the confusion. But reporters on a science topic should know what Doug points out--there's no phytoplankton at 1000 meters depth.

Yes, I made this point directly to one of the reporters and today he had a much longer and more accurate story at tampabay.com in which it was clear there was no relation between 1 and 2 in Gobbet's comment above. He didn't thank me, though. :~)

From last thread :
bbfellow on August 18, 2010
University of South Florida chemical oceanographer David Hollander discusses the WEATHERBIRD III results in the report that can be found at http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/PDFs/noaa_weatherbird_analysis_

"At a concentration of 1,000 parts per billion, oil is thought to be toxic to marine life.
The plume that is closer to the surface has a concentration ranging from 300 to 550 parts per billion, Hollander said."

bb - the link dosn´t work, shows "not found" !
But I´ve found some sources that tell another story of "how much ppb is toxic to marine life".
I do the different quotes now and set the links below :
For example, genetic damage, malformations, and reduced growth and mobility were observed in Pacific herring embryos exposed to PAH (from weathered oil) levels as low as 0.7 ppb.
Through controlled experiments, Dr. Giesy found that it takes .05 ppb (parts per billion) of PAHs in water to cause a 10 percent decrease in zooplankton; as little as 5 ppb (parts per billion) kills all zooplankton in a 30 minute test period. Sampling has found PAH levels substantially in excess of 5 ppb during recreational boating activity. PAH's are considered so dangerous that the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation now regulates PAH's on the same toxicity level as PCB's.
In aquatic systems, PAHs tend towards increased toxicity with increased molecular weight (Eisler 1987b). In addition, although the rate of uptake from the environment is variable among species, bioaccumulation tends to be rapid.
Fish exposed to PAH contamination have exhibited fin erosion, liver abnormalities, cataracts, and immune system impairments leading to increased susceptibility to disease (Fabacher et al. 1991; Weeks and Warinner 1984; 1986; O'Conner and Huggett 1988).
OEHHA calculated 44 ppb as a level of benzo(a)pyrene equivalent PAHs in fish or shellfish tissue that, when consumed, will not pose a significant human health risk. 
PAHs are exceedingly toxic to aquatic organisms at concentrations of abtut 0.2-10ppm.; deleterious sublethal Responses are sometimes observed in aquatic organisms at concentrations in tue rage of 5-100ppb (Neff 1985).






ppb of oil is different from ppb of PAH. PAHs are only a small fraction of the total crude oil. That explains a good part of the inconsistency.

I intended to post this higher but this thread like never ends...

Here's a link to some intense reports about dispersants and oil degradation I found last night. It includes "The Use of Chemical Dispersents to Treat Oil Spills", "Fate of Spilled Oil in Marine Waters: Where Does It Go? What Does It Do? How do Dispersants Affect It?", "A Decision Makers Guide to Dispersants: A Review of the Theory and Operational Requirements" and many others.

Here's a link with a little more detail to same report as above. This may have been posted:

As you mentioned, this report only mentions aromatic HC and a June date. Anyway, if the aromatic HC's are seen at that depth, the non-aromatic HC's should be there also (in June of course). I'd speculate the sensing equipment used focused on aromatics only. I noticed someone posted the .pdf, so I'll need to go read that...

NOAA moved the link to the final version. The original link was from the day the report was released.

The new link is http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/PDFs/noaa_weatherbird_analysis_...

What concerns me the most are the testing methods used. They collect multiple fish of a species and then blend the samples together and then test the resulting puree. This would mask the presence of a single toxic fish. As I never eat fish puree but whole fish this seems like a poor way to test them for toxicity.

Unless you can detect at levels 3 or 4 orders of magnitude below toxicity or action levels, in which case you are not masking a single contaminated fish. When done right, composite sampling can be a very cost-effective & time-efficient way to screen for even your 1 toxic fish. If one measurement can show that all 100 fish were below some action level (by being > 100 times below that level), then we can get much better estimates of low rates of contamination (say, 1 in 10000 fish).

I'm not saying that's what they're doing, as I have no direct knowledge of their testing: detection thresholds, numbers per composite, etc., matter. I'm just saying what the standard theory is, and why composite sampling _can_ be quite appropriate.

I'm also comfortable with the composite testing. Here's a couple of links I found regarding testing. The 2nd link is 29 page laboratory information bulletin.

The one thing I wonder about is lack of Corexit testing. I think the labs have assumed Corexit won't be absorbed because it is water-soluble but have stated they intend to add test for Corexit as soon as they can.

Corexit contains kerosene and a group of surfactants that are already in wide use as food additives or laxatives. It is not informative from toxicity assessment point of view to test for the surfactants since they are already part of the human diet in much higher concentrations than you could conceivably get from seafood, and the normal hydrocarbon testing should pick up the kerosene.

The main concern for Corexit is synergy with oil in the aquatic environment increasing the uptake of the dangerous components of the oil. Those components again would be detected by the existing protocol.

I guess testing for sulfosuccinates and sorbitan esters might be interesting from an academic point of view, but it will tell you nothing about whether the seafood is safe.

Yes, I've felt the test for Corexit has more to do with giving people an additional comfort level than necessity. I compared MSDS between Corexit and Fantastik household cleaner and Corexit sounded safer. One article I read said Fantastik is chemically similar to Corexit.

I had stir-fried shrimp for lunch today, so I'm not too worried.

Bright Red Fish makes a cameo appearance on the spill cam:


Bright Red Fish makes a cameo appearance on the spill cam:

Beautiful. Any idea what kinda fish that is? And does it swim funny, or is it caught in a bit of current there when it goes back out to the center?

Are you just finding these, or are you putting them together and uploading them yourself?

I have a question that has nagged at me since I found out what controls DW rigs have. Why wasn't the emergency disconnect activated? We know it wasn't because the riser was still connected when the rig sank. Seems like, had that been done, the rig might still be there and maybe the men would have survived.

On the same theme, is it possible, with the rig burning, to send an ROV down to disconnect? If not, maybe such a feature is worth developing.

pinky -- that was discussed a good bit on TOD within the first two weeks of the blow out. Sorry...don't have the links. But I think the problem was either the controls didn't function properly and/or the effort was initiated too late. Hopefully someone with a better memory can flesh that out some for you. And an ROV manual release? maybe but it would have taken days to mobilize such an effort....and the rig would have sunk before it began.

Ah. Thanks, Rock. I did come late to the show. Knowing such a system exists, I would think the procedure would be "In case of FUBAR, hit the button and move off the well". No need to dig up the links, I just wondered if it should have been done.

iirc, some of the early testimony at the Marine Board hearings on the event indicated a certain amount of dithering about whether or not to hit that button, a delay that may have contributed to the disaster. I believe the attempt to activate it was ultimately done literally behind the captain's back.

The captain also reportedly got upset at a junior crew member who had the audacity to take the initiative to issue a mayday call for assistance.

Excellent points.

A trend that seems to run through the whole chain of events is reluctance to "rock the boat". (sorry for the pun)

CG testimony revealed instance after instance of indecision, waffling, giving in, etc. Seems nobody was willing to stick their head up and say "STOP!", even though everyone had that authority.

Edit: Stop-work authority is meaningless if nobody has the guts to exercise it.

Then I would say, if they want to overhaul the regs, it should be a solid rule that you disconnect at the first sign of a blowout. There would be times when it would be done needlessly (just a big kick), and that would cost money, but just look what can happen if you delay.

According to the NatGeo show 'Gulf Oil Spill' ROV(s) from HOS IRON HORSE attempted to shut the BOP while the rig was still afloat.

ROCK / PINK. See these links. It appears that the BOP and EDS were initiated when they considered the knowns at that time. Are we in a position now to answer the questions posed in these two docs?

Have we learnt enough on this site, to interpret this Halliburton log of the last two hours of operations?


Looking at Halliburton chart again brings up a few more points, at 20:02 it looks like the end of the negative pressure test, with 1400psi on the SSP and zero on the C&K. I cannot remember what fluid was suppose to be in the C&K, but if it was water you would expect the 1400psi as on the SPP. If it was mud then a zero reading could have been possible. But if it was mud when did they intend to change it out for water, which they would need to do before displacing the riser to water.

Another thing that happened at this time, it appears they opened the BOP while under pressure the same as they did at 21:38. (We have had memos at work to ensure everyone is aware of how to open the BOP correctly, I was a little surprised but now it makes sence.)

There is a zero reading on the C&K throughout the last 2 hours even when they had the well closed in just before the explosion, which brings me to my point, were the C&Ks blocked, did the failsafe valves failed to operate or were Geoservices gauges not hooked up?

To my knowledge the valve operation log for the BOP would have gone down with the rig, though the Sub Sea Eng should be able shed some light on the matter as he saw the panel lights before it went down. It will be interesting to see the hearings when it all comes out. I can't help feeling that the management visit was the greatest distraction on the night. With so many strange things happening on the rig floor, I would have expected someone from BP to have been interested enough to have wandered up to the rig floor to see what was going on, but there was oviously more entertainment going on downstairs with the big knobs!

I don't pretend to understand the Halliburton log. But I do see that in the final minute, 21:48 to 21:49, mud out goes sky-high while mud in is zero, and the SPP wraps around the scale. That gives me a feeling like watching a rocket headed my way.

EDS was activated but it didn't work.

If those two massive explosions occurred before EDS was activated, they likely knocked out communication to the BOP. If electrical power was lost before EDS was activated, electrical power and hydraulic power to BOP were likely lost.

If communication, electrical power, and hydraulic power were lost, deadman function on BOP should have activated and done the disconnect. Don't have a clue why it didn't.

18 July 2010:

Blow-out preventer was sent to Far East at BP's request rather than overhauled in US


"As is common in the industry". Discussed on TOD some weeks ago.

Eventually an inquiry will determine if Transocean failed to sufficiently check the results of the maintenance work on it's BOP or failed to check that it's BOP was adequately operational.

It seems clear that the test regime for the BOP was inadequate, it apparently passed many mandatory checks in the weeks before the blowout, yet failed when needed.

Testimony of Chris Pleasant (who pressed the EDS button) was that the control panel showed the BOP received the command and electronically ran through the disconnect sequence but hydraulics did not charge so nothing actually happened.

ht to FormerSafety for the mention of Adm. Allen's appearance on Charlie Rose last night.

The video is now available. The last third of it is particularly interesting, covering lessons learned and some other higher level observations.

Pretty selective parsing. Must need more hits.

Pretty selective parsing.

How true.

Allen's comment:
Well there's some that would tell you that the lack of communication between the annulus and the reservoir might not be cement, it could be just a collapse of the formation around it. We really don't know, all we know is there's no communication. One assumption is that that was cement from the top kill but the fact of the matter is – the facts we have on ground is that there's no apparent communication between the annulus and the reservoir.

And if it had bridged over exactly what problem would that be in the grand scheme of things? He is saying no communication between annulus and reservoir. Most likely because there is a cement barrier there. He says possibly there is an other "low probability" option to be considered out of an "over-abundance of caution". It doesn't mean the have any kind of major problem if they are aware of this low probability option possibility and plan accordingly.

NOAA official: Roughly three-quarters of spilled oil still in Gulf
By Darren Goode - 08/19/10 02:00 PM ET

Roughly three-quarters of the oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s ruptured well is still in the environment, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official told a House panel Thursday. 

The estimate contrasts previous pronouncements by administration officials that only about a quarter of the oil remains to be addressed.

More: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/115039-noaa-official-roughl...

Not wishing to clutter up the board, I posted some pix at my blog


The plume around the stack is now blue instead of brown.

Hasn't the word "plume" taken enough abuse, VonAltendorf?

Why don't you find some other word to describe your pixel storms?

Seascape Coloration? Peculiar Phenomenon?
Curious Incident of the Dog That Did Not Bark in the Night?

Be glad to have any alternate explanation for the pix.



Hey, guys, c'mon. I asked for an explanation. Basics of video.

This is a screenshot Comfy posted. Excluding the deep black, which has no information (black is always zero data), note that most of the video is bunched up in the mid-tones which I circled in red. All I've done is stretch that full scale to see more of the information in the mid-tones. No color change.

Now, you can argue that certain ROVs altered or reset white balance. But all of them globally today? I doubt it. The sea around the well is bluer, instead of being brownish like it's been for weeks.

Look in the darker and mid-tones of ROV pix today. Blue.

Comfy's pic, above, dark tones are Brown.

That black mass on the left appears to be Abe Lincoln.


I see Lincoln in this picture too...

BeePeeOilDisaster's paying more attention to an exploding canister that was torpedo'd into the Blob by a French submarine. The sea floor explodes. He can't understand why the MSM isn't paying attention to BP spraying green stuff (not blue) that's disrupting the magnetic field. It's not pixelated. See for yourself.


Damn Snake. You need to put some kind of warning on these types of video links like "Must Smoke A Bowl Before Watching"

"Re-bar type metal box"

"there's 1, 2, 3 ROV's and one above makes 6"

"Where's the media? They just don't have the Cojones to do their job"

This is a Cheech and Chong movie that is set to be released this fall Man!!

BeePee makes me laugh so hard my face hurts.

The " adjusted " blob creature video


nonono...sssshhhh..don't tell him about autofocus...ahaha

That's all you get at 56 kb/s. Can't get decent Internet stereo radio at that bit rate!

Wave of Pixelation?


Edit: How did you get in front of me vonAltendorf, you line-jumper. I was here three minutes before you.

Edit 2: Nevermind. I see now that editing changes the time stamp (mine was originally 8:12) but not the comment order.

How did you get in front of me vonAltendorf

His postings are buoyed up by Corexit contamination.

Either that or it is proof positive of electronic warfare conducted by minions of the cloven-hoofed Tony Hayward from his secret lair under Vladimir Putin's Siberian Dacha.

Or something.

you can't compare color between different cameras, unless you know the color gain used in any image any color shift is more like camera setup and not the scene itself. It's pretty obvious from looking at the complete set of feeds that different cameras have different white balances, resolution, contrast, brightness, and gamma.

Same ROV feeds used in comparing Sunday (brown) and today (blue).

There are drugs that can help you understand what's happening a little better.

Too old for that. Before I got into G&G, got Landmark certified, learned how load seismic, read logs and completion reports, I had a previous career. 25 years in broadcast television, composite, component, digital. Elected to SMPTE in 1979, back in the day when you had to be nominated. I understand video compression and bandwidth.

The two ROVs in question have been on station uninterrupted for weeks. There was a background color change after they dumped green Ty-D-Bol over everything.

That cat stole my idea!

I wanted to start a new school of therapy where the therapist lies on the couch and the client sits in the chair.

My former boss was a bit skeptical. I don't know wh.....(snoring sound)

Now that we've all had a good laugh at my expense, I'll explain what I think the significance of the color change is. Q4000 was pumping mud to maintain pressure at 4200 psi, then a variety of other "near ambient" pressures. The plume was brown mud escaping through diffuse vents not at the wellhead but nearby. When Q4000 switched to pumping seawater and anti-freeze, the plume turned light blue. The big question, then as now, is whether the pumps are still running to maintain "ambient" pressure in the stack.

Pretty simple question. Are the pumps on or off?

As always I reiterate my willingness to be proved wrong when they detach the capping stack and BOP and we observe no flow from the wellhead. If they knock out the ROV feeds during the detach, all bets are off.

The plume was brown... the plume turned light blue.

How do they make the plume monochrome? Pump bleach?

What do they pump into the well to get glorious technicolor plumeage?


The pumps are off.
The wellhead is at ambient and has been since yesterday.
That is following a seawater flush.

The various fluids, muds, dirty seawaters and clean seawaters have different appearances.

Most of the off-the-hook speculations about what's "really" going on here are simply perfect illustrations of the adage that if you're a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Meaning that if we're inclined to be so observant and comment upon what we see, we tend perceive reality through the lens of our experience and education, not from the point of view of awareness of our limitations of sense or intellect or knowledge.

Got a background in video production?
Then it probably looks like someone is tweaking the feeds to hide something or other... etc., etc., ad nauseam. Got no experience with lights underwater? Then it looks for all the world like the gushing oil is on fire a mile underwater. etc. etc.

My guess would be (excluding any video setting changes or lighting changes) that the water at the site is carrying less silt from the Mississippi. I would think that it is a video artifact however, perhaps there was a shift change and the new ROV boss likes a different color balance.

And way back when, both the Viking Poseidon ROVs made everything dayglo green. How come the stack and surrounding area being shown right now from OI3 #2 looks clear and perfectly normal?

Okay. Nevermind.

AVA, posting pixelated stills of a video that results in pixelscapes isn't helpful because nobody can make out much of anything. Trying to enhance fat pixels results in fat pixels. Would you try to detect technical breakouts from looking at a 4 bit visual data set that was missing a number of data points?

Did you even look?

Every time. Blue vs. brown/green. Fat pixels, no detail. Not enough data for me to even begin to try to speculate.

Just a random selection of thumbnails from Herc06 over a random 2 hour-ish span. If these colors really signify anything at all, I'd say we're about 3 seconds from the end of the world. Or, you could just be wrong. Again.

edit: thumbnails are arranged in chronological order top left to bottom right, the block of thumbnails was picked at random.

Easy to win when you change the terms of reference. You win.

Is it possible that ultrasound from various sonar or other imaging methods could be affecting Raman scattering, playing tricks with lighting ?

Imparting an electrical charge? Anyway, sonar sweeps have been in use throughout the comparison interval and their energy is too weak, I'd say.

" The frequency of light scattered from a molecule may be changed based on the structural characteristics of the molecular bonds. Attenuation of light is important in physical oceanography. Here, attenuation is the decrease in light intensity with depth due to absorption by water molecules and scattering by suspended particulates. This same effect is an important consideration in weather radar as rain drops absorb a part of the emitted beam that is more or less significant depending on the wavelength used. "

" The Raman effect differs from the process of fluorescence. For the latter, the incident light is completely absorbed and the system is transferred to an excited state from which it can go to various lower states only after a certain resonance lifetime. The result of both processes is essentially the same: A photon with the frequency different from that of the incident photon is produced and the molecule is brought to a higher or lower energy level.

But the major difference is that the Raman effect can take place for any frequency of the incident light. "





....idk...seems possible it could play tricks with light, I'd be interested in knowing specifically what types of lighting and exactly what types of sonar is being used....just a thought.

More likely the use of the software..like in the following:
ROV controls..filters?

Apparently thanks to #theoildrum poster trip, who made a request to Kent Wells during his briefing today, the feeds for the elusive Boa Sub C Rovs are now available for your viewing pleasure..

Sub C I http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:21233.asx?bkup=31218
Sub C II http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:31219.asx?bkup=33627

ETA: they are also available via BP's live rov feeds page.

Big win.

Some of the footage is down at the new york times website....

180X180, 12 bits
I guess beggars can't be choosers

Skandi Neptune caught this activity from "crack" to active vent. It's still emitting material intermittently. This is pretty spectacular stuff. I wish TOD had a geophysicist.


Now I know for sure the world is going to end in 3 seconds. Pass the bb ice cream please; I want to go out happy.

We must pray for the people!! Our brothers and sisters! Praise God the true savior!!!!!!!!!!!!For I love him!!!!!

Anyone looking into the magic mirror of Boa Sub C ROV 2? What have you seen?

Here's what I've seen:

Boa Sub C 1 - Not Recording

Boa Sub C 2 - A grainy image that looks like nothing.

They call that "transparency".

Ah, thrasher, you missed it. ROV 2 was quite clear for a while and doing an inspection. Then things got a little hazy.

1. Why are your captures squished into 16:9 format? That feed is 4:3.

2. I was watching that when it happened, and it was plain as day God damned obvious there was water flow from above, the pieces of mud radiated out in all directions, and nothing was rising up, like if something lighter than seawater were exiting the mud. If you won't give an honest account of what really happened, I think you deserve to be dismissed as a loon.

3. That thing you're calling a crack is a mound of mud, created by the ROV when it sits on the bottom. They sit for a while, then lift up, rotate a bit, then sit back down. And repeat that a few times, you have a series of ROV-buttprints that more or less form a circle. Often you can see the circles in the mud; many people have spotted them from a distance and called them 'craters'. lulz.

ROV corn circles....errr...mud circles.


"I wish TOD had a geophysicist." = And, how do you know it doesn't? Just because a head goes all commando/free-balling with their imagination on the panic button does not mean there aren't experts in the profession observing IMHO - g


Related subject: an interview with Dr. Robert Bea of Berkeley, member of Deepwater Horizon Study Group, posted at Yves Smith's influential Naked Capitalism econoblog, consistently rated in the top 10 and linked by FT, among others.

Based on a seismic arb line in a Kent Wells slide show and from general knowledge of the Mississippi Canyon shelf break, many of us (myself included) believe there is a salt sheet ~2000 ft below the Macondo reservoir. Dr. Bea is apparently confused on that subject, if he's being quoted accurately in the interview. But that's a side issue. Bea says BP isn't sharing data with Chu's team or Congress.

BP is using a “cloak of silence”. BP is not voluntarily sharing information or documents with the government. In May, for example, Senator Boxer subpoenaed information from BP regarding footage of the seafloor taken before the blowout by BP’s remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). We still have not received a response 12 weeks later.

I don't particularly trust the reporter who interviewed Bea, but it's significant and worrisome that it was published at high-profile Naked Capitalism.


Later in the same article we have:

Bea subsequently clarified that he's not sure whether BP has failed to release the information, or Senator Boxer's committee has sat on the information.

Also interesting his comment:

Bea: That’s an interesting question. You have to ask why did this location blow out when nearby wells drilled in even deeper water didn’t blow out.

You have to look at the geology of the Macondo well. It is in a subsalt location, in a Sigsbee salt formation. [For background, see this and this]

The geology is fractured.

In my brief education from you guys here, I thought the cause of the blow out was almost certainly down to bad cement, poor testing and and innapropriate replacement of mud with brine? Do we also have to assume there is something uniquely difficult about the geology?

It is in a subsalt location, in a Sigsbee salt formation.

It's what?

The Macondo pay sand is Miocene. The Louann Salt is Jurassic. The Sigsbee Escarpment is a feature of the Louann, not a formation itself. The well geology is not at all unusual.

pink et al - guess I got to the party late. We discussed the seismic a couple of weeks ago and thought it was behind us. First, need to clear up some terminology. A "subsalt location" is as best meaningless and at worse confusing. Every location is the GOM could be called a subsalt location because, if you drill deep enough, you go under the salt. In reality you speak of a subsalt well or prospect. That implies the obvious...you going after something under the salt. The BP well was not a subsalt prospect for the same obvious reason....it didn't drill under any salt. I saw the seismic and it could be salt a few thousand feet below the well. There certainly is salt at some depth below the well.

I assume the resurgence of the "Oh my God the salt fractured the rocks and caused the blow out" chatter is a result of the diagram floating around cyber space of the piercement salt dome with all those fractures leaking oil. Many thousands of wells have drilled salt domes in the GOM and didn't blow out. Salt domes don't cause blow outs. Blow outs happen when you drill an oil/NG reservoir and have insufficient mud weight to contain it. That might happen on a salt dome but not because it's a salt dome. A couple of years ago I did well site pore pressure analysis on a hole that drilled thru a 24,000' thick salt body and then 10,000' of rock below it. No problems...kept the MW right. The vast majority of blow outs have not occurred on salt domes. So even if the BP well was a salt dome or subsalt play that wouldn't have any direct implication as to the cause of the blow out.


I choose to specialize in mineralogy/petrology, but I'm a full voting member of the American Geophysical Union, and I eagerly read my Physics Today every month.

Live feeds are back up on Boa Sub C ROV 1

That caping stack in the Boa Sub C ROV 2 picture is filthy. Has it been lying on the floor? The ROV looks like it has a brush in it's grip,like it's going to clean it.

Well, you weren't expected. The house is a mess. Gotta tidy up a bit.

I am starting to think all these thread lines on the left are well casing. I have started looking for float collars; storm packers; casing shoes. And are the white bits cement?

Kevin Costner's miracle machines begin the long trek home.

Oh looky here, sister graphics-admirer Swift Loris, the T-P done busted NYT's chops again:

Also with the T-P article, for those to whom it means something, an enlargeable graphic whose caption reads: "Graphic showing (A) A 3D reconstruction of natural gas distributions detected within the water column by mass spectrometry. Relative methane signal intensity (m/z 15:17) is displayed in the color bar on a log10 scale (blue indicating lower methane, red indicating higher methane). The SW trending plume, designated by the black field, extends throughout the entire length of Sentry dive 2 and 3 surveys. Contour lines indicate bathymetric increments of 100 m. (B) Plot of methane signal intensity as a function of straight-line (linear) distance from the Deepwater Horizon well site. The gray colored lower band indicates signal range at or below two standard deviations from mean baseline variability."

Oh looky here, sister graphics-admirer Swift Loris, the T-P done busted NYT's chops again:

Jeez, that's pathetic.

(Although T-P's caption could use a little work--"four-fifths of a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico" isn't the most precise wording.)

Jeez, that's pathetic.

Yeah, NYT didn't half try, did they? But I'll forgive T-P's "four-fifths of a mile" for the rest of their version.

I'll forgive T-P's "four-fifths of a mile" for the rest of their version

Me too. But it's "beneath the Gulf of Mexico" that sounds weird to me, as if "Gulf of Mexico" referred only to the surface of the water. If the context hadn't made it clear the phrase meant beneath the surface, I'd have assumed it meant beneath the seafloor. Picky, picky.

Oh. Yeah, I see whatcha mean now.

Boa Sub C ROV 2, 5:55 AM Central U.S.

The Sun Herald runs an AP story of interest to us oyster-lovers: this guy has bred some oysters that stay fat all summer (because they're sterile and don't wear themselves out in the bivalve dating game). Now he's trying to interest Gulf oysterers in them . . . but not getting far yet.

Interesting lotus. Your post reminded me of a line in a movie where the biology teacher asked the class who was the first to suggest assexual reproduction. The class smart *ass answered: "Your wife?". Assexual oysters? But will they still "work"?

But will they still "work"?

Dunno, Rocky. Le's hide 'n' watch . . .

Hey, Rockman, jinn, or somebody, I been meaning to ask about this term "stagnant" oil (or as the poor transcriber always gets it, "stagnate" oil). In what sense stagnant? Does that just mean "still" (a la non-fizzy wine), or does it mean "stale" (a la non-flowing water)? Will oil sitting there all that way down in the annulus, unoxygenated, slowly go "bad"? (No, I'm guessing -- so ???)

I assume the adjective stagnant is being used to imply there is no flow at this time.

Thanks, jinn. Seems a bit of superfluous verbiage for describing something trapped but not changing chemically, but whadda I know.

this term "stagnant" oil

FWIW, Merriam-Webster's first definition (1a) is "not flowing in a current or stream." "Stale" is the second (1b). "Stale" is the more common meaning, but I'm guessing for oil in a well, it just means not flowing (if only because there's no other one-word term for it, at least that I can think of).

lotus -- Saw that at the time and decided to let it pass. The boys have been getting beat up so bad over terminolgy I didn't want to pile on. In 35 years I've never seen that term in the oil patch. Just a guess but I think he was going for "static". Meaning it wasn't flowing and/or didn't have the capability of flowing. Only two things degrade oil in the short term and they're related: oxygen and bacteria. Obviously neither is a factor in this case.

And the real question IMHO: Is the upper annulus (above the reservoir) in communication with the reservoir? Whether there is oil in the upper annulus isn't the least bit important IMHO. If it's not in com with the reservoir there should be little risk when they replace the BOP. If it is and the upper annular seal holds there won't be a problem. If it is and they pump in to the upper annulus from RW1 with a high pressure then they could induce annular seal failure. Since the plan to do the BOP swap out before the bottom kill I can only assume they are confident that the reservoir is not in com with the upper annular seals.

Wow, Juan, you're into understatement today, huh?

Y'all, Juan's link is don't-miss: what's said to be Donald Vidrine's "I know nauthink" account (looking bad for Hafle again).

Juan's link is don't-miss

Scoopsville for Bloomberg. Love to know the story behind the story. Were the Bloomberg folks after this particular interview, or did it drop into their laps?

Question, why was the night toolpusher chatting on the phone and not hitting buttons on the BOP panel?

When the well is flowing, you act, then inform. Not the other way round!

Petrobras in Brasil, once told us to let them know before if we had to shut in a well. After a short conversation we convinced them it would not happen that way. Fortunately we never had to put it to a test.

They'll go after Hafle just for daring to testify with that spikey hairdo.
Very obnoxious, very smug.