BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Fishing Resumes - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6879.

On Friday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission reopened waters that had been closed to recreational fishing. Some of those areas had been closed since April 30. Now, after more than 100 days, all state waters are open to fishing for fin fish. About 11% of state waters remain closed for fishing for shrimp and crabs.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator, explained in an August 18 press conference that fin fish are capable of metabolizing hydrocarbons that are harmful to human health:

We are continuing to sample those areas that have already been reopened to make sure that the seafood remains safe. And I think it's important to recognize that fin fish are capable of metabolizing the hydrocarbons that might be of concern to human health. They process them. They rid their bodies of them. The flesh does not retain hydrocarbons like it does something like mercury.

So hydrocarbons can be metabolized by fin fish very rapidly. It can be metabolized by shrimp and crabs more slowly and by shellfish, such as oysters, the slowest.

So we are testing each of those different categories – fin fish, shrimp and crabs, and, thirdly, shellfish – separately, because we understand – so the testing is cognizant of the different physiologies of the different species. And we are very careful in opening to specify that an area has been determined safe for fin fish, for example, or for everything.

At this point, 22% of federal waters remain closed to fishing. At the peak, 37% of federal waters were closed to fishing.

Despite statements by federal--and now state--officials, there are still some who are concerned about seafood safety. Government officials will continue testing fish, even in areas that have been determined to be safe, to make certain there are no signs of contamination.

The New Orleans Times observes:

The full effect of the oil spill on the environment and the economy is unknown. It's hard to get a clear accounting of the oil's impact on the Gulf when experts are fighting about how much broken-down petroleum and dispersed toxins are under the water's surface, possibly waiting to wreak havoc at a later date. It's hard to separate the true impacts from the perceived ones when shrimpers are passing up the opening day of white shrimp season to do cleanup work and restaurants aren't buying the day's catch because their patrons, with no scientific basis, are afraid of eating Gulf seafood.

So the story is not yet finished. Much is still unknown. And the outcome for the seafood industry depends on perception as much as scientific evidence.

Current status via #theoildrum IRC:

- The 48h ambient pressure test was finished successfully - no oil/gas flow was observed.
- The lower ram of the capping stack has been opened
- A pipe from the Discoverer Enterprise has been put into the stacking cap, either to flush it out and/or with a camera to detect the "fish", i.e. the broken drill pipe, within the bop.
- The video feeds are currently lousy with repeated disconnects.

A report of how fishing for a broken pipe worked in a different case is: Fishing in the subsea BOP: DP has its limits. A disconnect was required that resulted in a small fish and a unique way to solve the problem

B, did you observe the Enterprise riser connect and insert pipe?

They went straight in with drill pipe (no riser) on Ent 1 now.

Where have I seen that pipe before? Oh yeah, spraying the seafloor last night.

Are they fishing or fumigating?

You bring up a question.

I read here a few days ago, in an official release PDF showing operations on the seafloor, one graphic showed something called an " Autonomous sub-sea dispersant system ", maybe I haven't been following things close enough, but I had not seen it mentioned before. The graphic showed it to be a stationary setup.

Is it possible there is an automatic dispersant system still in use ?

Bubbles coming out now, too, in addition to the green stuff.

Latest BP Press release

Saturday at 6:40am CDT, the forty-eight hour ambient pressure test was deemed successful. Under the guidance and approval of the National Incident Commander (NIC) and Unified Area Command, BP has been authorized to begin open water fishing operations from the MC252 Blow Out Preventer (BOP). The fishing operations will aim at removing drill pipe within the MC252 BOP. Operations commenced this morning.

Following successful fishing operations and authorization from the NIC, BP will proceed with replacement of the original BOP with the BOP from the Transocean Development Driller II (DDII). In anticipation of a successful operation, the DDII set a storm packer and has unlatched its BOP from the second relief well site.

In the case fishing operations are unsuccessful, BP and the federal science team are developing contingency procedures which would be carried out under the approval from the NIC.

Thadmiral's letter to BP allowing the fishing to start: link to pdf

Meanwhile the Discoverer Enterprise is flushing out the seawater-methanol mix that was in the bop for the ambient test to have a clear view for a video search for the broken drill pipe.

There is some chance that we might get a public video feed from the camera that will be lowered into the bop.

this part of Allen's directive ..

2. Cooperate with the Joint Investigation Team and the Department of Justice Criminal Investigation Evidence Recovery Team (collectively, the Team) in the BOP stack and capping stack removal and recovery process. Team members will take custody of all equipment removed from or associated with the BOP stack or capping stack from the time it is removed from the well head and will maintain that custody throughout the lifting process

conjures up images of a BOP swathed in yellow police tape as it is removed, under the watchful eye of a little deputy ROV.

rainy - One aspect of the process still makes me wonder. It's been reported that there will be FBI agents on board during the process. Why not CG or fed marshals? The CG has legal authority on any potetial crime/offshore accident. The only advantage my overly active imagination can come up with: it is a felony for anyone to provide an FBI agent with intentionally incorrect information. No swearing in or court orders required. An FBI agent asks one of the recovery hands why he's doing X or how did Y "accidentally" happened that hand has a choice: tell the truth and face being charged.

Again, probably too much imagination on my part. But, if the report is true, why FBI agents? If I were the CG commander in the area I would be very PO'd with the implication that I couldn't handle one of my prime duties.

Back when this started, I looked up who was getting the cleanup contracts. ~Waste management, no surprise there.

From the website :

" Partner with local community, national law enforcement and emergency management organizations for emergency response plans .

Participate in and support infrastructure protection planning and security initiatives with organizations such as InfraGard and API . "

Infragard ?....who is that ?:


We all know the FBI loves to go through the garbage, but this is a little odd yes ?

Might the presence of FBI agents be something spelled out in the Oil Pollution Act? I wonder who took charge in the Exxon Valdez case.

Bet it will be a bit tense aboard the Q4000 when the removal process begins.

I don't know if you have read this yet, it's from the Donovan Law group, on the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 . Interesting page.


Great background for an attorney, too...ex marine engineer ,also involved in the invention and patenting of a Blowout Suppression System for use in the oil & gas exploration industry.


Rockman, it's a crime scene. The DOJ is handling the case. The FBI is the investigative arm of the DOJ. The DOJ and FBI work as a team and have strict protocols to ensure proper handling of evidence in order to avoid that becoming an issue at trial or otherwise, and to insure no tampering by anyone.

The FBI person on the scene would testify at trial (unless maybe the defense stipulated that he does not have to) about the chain of custody of the BOP from the moment it is removed from the wellhead through all of it's carefully documented testing.

Morning, Gail. As linked in the previous thread, both Mississippi and Alabama just opened their waters for crabbing too.

Call me an idiot if you will, but I am totally confused by this article regarding the undersea plume test conducted by WHOI.

In the article it says:
"The scientists benefited not only from new technology but older methods as well. Contrary to previous predictions by other scientists, they found no “dead zones,” regions of significant oxygen depletion within the plume where almost no fish or other marine animals could survive. They attributed the discrepancy to a problem with the more modern measuring devices that can give artificially low oxygen readings when coated by oil. The team on Endeavor used an established chemical test developed in the 1880s to check the concentration of dissolved oxygen in water samples, called a Winkler titration. 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."

So are they saying that the tests the Woods Hole scientists used from the 1800's is a better test than those using modern technology? Does that seem valid? Have we not progressed in over a century? Any opinions?

Can someone please help me out here? Thanks.


No different than ruining the oxygen sensor in a vehicle's exhaust system by having a coolant leak in the intake manifold or a bad head gasket and burning ethylene glycol. Contamination of modern electronic sensors can be a real problem.

Chemical tests require significantly less calibration than spectro- and remote- sensing apparatus. Winkler can be done on a ship in a few minutes and requires a few chemicals and basic lab glassware. People still use chemical based test to calibrate sensors ;-)

Analytical or Environmental Chemistry courses at undergraduate level sometimes do it as part of the course. It's easy, cheap, fast. and there is plenty of colors showing and dissapearing when you do it. but I do not remember the details.

paintdancer -

The almost standard way of measuring dissolved oxygen these days is with dissolved oxygen meter that uses a sort of electrochemical probe not unlike that of a pH meter. It can give sufficiently accurate readings in pretty much real time, and so is the preferred method under most circumstances.

Unfortunately the probe, which contains a delicate membrane, is quite fragile and can be fairly easily damaged or fouled. My best guess as to why they are using the older 'wet chemistry' method (which by the way is probably just as accurate but takes longer and is more labor-intensive) is that they have experienced problems with the probe being fouled with oil.

As an aside, one should do dissolved oxygen determinations ASAP because the dissolved oxygen can enter into a variety of chemical reactions with other dissolved chemical constituents. Also, oxygen is not terribly soluble in water to begin with, and at the temperatures in the Gulf the saturation concentration of dissolved oxygen is only on the order of about 10 parts per million, so it doesn't take much biochemical activity to deplete aqueous dissolved oxygen levels.

Interesting question, a quick read of Wiki gives a few excerpts:

" The success of this method is critically dependent upon the manner in which the sample is manipulated. At all stages, steps must be taken to ensure that oxygen is neither introduced to nor lost from the sample. "

" The Winkler test is often controversial as it is not 100 percent accurate as the oxygen levels may fluctuate "

" Instrumental methods for measurement of dissolved oxygen have widely supplanted the routine use of the Winkler test, although the test is still used to check instrument calibration. "

They may have used additional methods too, just to have something to compare,.. anybody know ?

PAINT; I don't think you are an idiot, you are just paranoid. Paranoia; hysteria with a significant dose of hypocrisy seem to be an American trait nowadays. You banned foreign ships from the GOM; but, rescinded that law when you needed foreign ships to attack the GOM oil problem. You have more import restrictions/tariffs on foreign goods, than any other nation on this planet You invented "extraordinary rendition" and started a prison in Cuba, while banning your citizens from trading with Cuba. Every one of your politicians is bought and paid for by a public sector trade union or a special interest lobby group. You don't want Iran to have a nuclear capability in the Middle East; but, you give nuclear weapons to Israel - the 51st State of the USA. You demanded that a Scottish elected representative appear before a Senate Committee to explain why they sent the Lockerbie bomber home to die. You declare war, in the name of spreading democracy; as long as that war is in a zone with significant oil reserves that American oil companies can sequestrate. You declare war on Islamic terrorists; but, neglect the ones (thousands)that are already embedded in your communities - Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major at Fort Hood, for instance. I have a encyclopedia of examples but I will stop here.

Keep in mind that I am the most pro-American in my British educated middle class street! I am considered an American lackey by my colleagues in the Middle East.

(Now; that should start an argument while we wait for the BOP removal).

Always interesting hearing from another point of view how we are seen in the world.


A Syrian guy in Dubai told me, I paraphrase, " ... and if those f*****g yanks get heavy with the tribes the f*****g Jews get it, make no mistake". Frightening. This guy, I know, studied in an American University.

I am lucky to have been cultured growing up, first step-dad from Srilanka, next from Lebanon, My family traces back to Austria, France & Germany, and as a chef I have worked with folks from all over the world. I have seen the worst of the human condition in my own life to know that in reality, the world over, we all suffer the same way. By our own hand. You either choose to perpetuate ignorance or tolerance, but they are born of free will. IMHO, we have removed ourselves from nature to the point where we cannot self-reflect long enough to see our own shortcomings but instead resort to projecting them on others in our world.

Acorn -- Not sure if you get many bites for a debate. With different degrees I think most would agree with many of your points. I'll be generous and not describe US policies as hypocritical and just say they are inconsistent. But I'm also cynical enough to say it's by design. I feel our political system has evolved to a constant state of "us against them" and that's exactly what TBTB want. Doesn't matter if you’re far left, far right or somewhere in between. Our entire dialog is "I don't like what they want". The nature of that want is nor relevant. Each political party frames itself, for the most part, not as who they are but more as "we not like those terrible folks on the other side of the fence“. I don't know how unique this is to our culture. But IMHO this how THE GAME is played here by both political parties and the American people, to a large degree, have greatly invested in it. It's a very old saw but: united we stand...divided we fall. And our current system pushes this divide daily. But we will become untied again one day IMHO. It will be when resource scarcity pushes us all into one camp. And that will be a very sad day for most of the world. Collectively our people will demand what we need to maintain BAU to whatever degree is possible. And who we have to usurp those resources from will be all the poorer for it IMHO.

Just my very biased non-geologic opinion.

Should we ever meet, I will be privileged to buy you a beer.

our current system pushes this divide daily. But we will become untied again one day IMHO. It will be when resource scarcity pushes us all into one camp.

Rockman, thanks for sharing you very astute analysis of the political landscape.

I am hoping folks eventually see that political divisions in this country are carefully cultivated and exploited, and not for their benefit. I have my doubts, though.

Some (Rick Perry for example) are talking revolution, civil war and withdrawing from the union instead of working and pulling together. Others (like sarah palin) use imagery of guns, political killings and violence to motivate followers instead of appeals to our common good. Over what? Health insurance reform, apparently. It's a greater threat to our freedom than terrorism. Most of our moms will be subject to death panels.

The pain will have to get much worse for people to let go of the ridiculous politics of division in this country, which, by design, prevents us from dealing effectively with our biggest problems. And yes, I too dread what we will do to other people (and to our own people) to maintain BAU long past its expiration date.

syncro, I respect your opinions regarding the blowout and remedial procedures. You have set off my internal BS detector with the above comments on Perry and Palin. You sound like you are using the Democrat talking points. Sad. IMHO.

ExDrllgMgr, thanks for your kind words, and I acknowledge that picking on those two can be construed as taking sides in the same contest i am criticizing. That would make me a typical political hypocrite I guess. Point noted.

But it is the tactics more than policy that concerns me, as they pertain to RM's appeal to unity. I think it is unfortunate and destructive to call for revolution or civil war, or to claim that the president is a marxisrt terrorist out to destroy the country, or that your mom will be put to death under the health care plan. To be sure, the party in the minority stands to gain more by dividing people, so it is clear why these tactics are deployed. But those are the kinds of debates that RM refers to that are preventing us from getting anywhere. I should have taken more time to do a bi-partisan critique to make the point more effectively.

It is encouraging to see more people with this line of thinking.

I am hoping folks eventually see that political divisions in this country are carefully cultivated and exploited, and not for their benefit.

The US political system could be likened to a two-headed beast. While the heads appear to be saying different things, they are still one beast sitting atop TPTB. Meanwhile, BAU while the "little people" argue amongst themselves with the help of the MSM.

I'll stop now since the acronymical limit has been exceeded. ;)


I like how people with English as a very second language often can come out with some very profound statements. In a bar in Moscow in 1986, while the wall was still up, a barman came out with the line,

"Reagan, Gorbachev enemies, you and me friends"

I realized how easily he had cut through all the politics in a short line. People are people where ever they are in the world, it the systems they live in that turns us against each other. I got a feeling the Russians could see this more clearly than some of us in the west.

Acorn It is funny to note that BP is registred in the UK but run by americans and that TransOcean with all american workers, is registred in canton Zug, Switzerland. In other words when it comes to their bookkeepers advantage they change caps. In the end it is the american poeple themself, who are making the pain to themself. We, foreigners can only watch, they will never listen to us.

HANS; don't EVER forget you are AMERICANS. You are the home of free enterprise. Don't let your federal government negate your CONSTITUTION. Remember the prime directive the founding fathers wrote in that constitution. The state can do nothing unless there is a law that allows it. The individual citizen can do anything he/she wants, unless there is a democratic law that says they can't do it. You have got to get a grip on your federal government. In my opinion, the STATES of your union have to press the reset button and get back to the original intent of your constitution.
Since I retired my visits to the US are purely for skiing in Aspen Colorado, so my comments above are formed from the conversations I have had with the locals there. Colorado may not be typical, I don't know.

Acornus, I can assure you that the people you meet ski-holidaying in Aspen are not typical of most of us; nor, clearly from what you report, are their far-right political opinions.

So what's the remedy when a corrupt version of free enterprise negates the Constitution?

Now; that should start an argument while we wait for the BOP removal

If you want to criticize America, do a better job of it.

Get your facts straight. Avoid arguments that resonate only on the left or right. Be careful not to open yourself up to charges of hypocrisy, and state your case in a way that makes it clear that Britan or Germany or the United Nations would have wielded American power in a more effective and benevolent manner.

Maybe then you'll get a rise out of somebody.

But, what we call 'the Left' today is pretty near the center, and 'the Right' is rocketing off the edge of the cliff at 400mph like Wile E. Coyote. Is the correct position to take the one that's midway between those two extremes?

Oh, you must mean the Socialist Democrats and the Liberal Republicans. Both hell bent on spending other people's money.

Er, which flavor of oligarchic kleptocracy do you prefer? Me, I tend to side against whoever theocracy appeals more to. But not enough to vote for either.

While I would prefer another FDR to straighten out the mess we are in now, I could accept a George Bush, Sr. on foreign policy and a Richard Nixon/Gerald Ford on social policy. So long as the problems got attention and we were making progress instead of doing nothing, i could support them.

The problem is, Nixon, Ford and even Bob Dole would be considered Marxist Socialists on domestic policy by today's standards/rhetoric. And GHWB was too pragmatic and diplomatic for the neocons on FP.

The dems are just as bad. Very few fight for working families like the old days. That corporate money is just too good to pass up even for the party of FDR. Moderate republicanism is what we get once the dem senators are done with anything.

It's always of cursory interest when 'American Bashing' is part of a thread - but really - do any of us really believe that Americans are polarised in a such a way that they are either for or against ?
Come on.
These are people we are talking about - of all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds. You sit in one bar late at night at night you get one impression, you sit in a few bars late at night - you get a slice of humanity.

The issue here brings together the fisherman, the scientist, the politician, the engineer, the media and the exec (EDIT) and of course all the citizens living in, or affected by, the GOM 'incident'. Whilst one country's focus is on A, another country's focus is on B, and everyone else is concentrating on C,D,E, etc as well as A + X + D and F + R + O + B financed by Zzzzzzz.

There are no differences between Homosapiens globally that are worth bothering about - it is just 'you' looking at the world from a different place with a different history. Let's not waste time compiling endless lists of the negatives. Too much time is spent on difference, when in actual fact 'theoildrum' is about common/shared problems.

I agree. 'Normal' means something very different today than it did 400 years ago, when the worlds we each lived in were much much smaller. Tribalism gives increasingly bad results as the amount of contact between tribes increases. Religious nutjobs don't realize they are doing nothing more than practicing hyper-tribalism. And don't forget Newt's "I am **NOT** a citizen of the world!" and Bush Sr's "I will never apologize for the United Stares of America, I don't care what the facts are." Some people call that American Exceptionalism, I call it Belligerent Ignorance.

There are no differences between Homosapiens globally

Have you travelled much?

Are you saying that there is one version of Homo sapiens in one place, and another somewhere else?

Sure. Culture is everything.

Culture is history.

It doesn't change the vessel, or how it works, it only changes its direction of focus.

Okay, doc, have you travelled much?


Homo Americanus?

TOD members have formed the new species, Homo Bluebellus...

I stand (or rather, sit, actually) corrected.

Homo Americanus?

Our President, David Duke, who didn't win a single delegate in his last campaign for national office.

Edit: Added the blockquote.

"...and state your case in a way that makes it clear that Britan or Germany or the United Nations would have wielded American power in a more effective and benevolent manner."
Sorry MOB - is this a serious argument for not being allowed to criticize America ?
No, it´s a feeble argument. Because you may not excuse the bad with the worst.
As being a German - am I not allowed anyway to criticize Israel for it´s politics because of the holocaust ?
Does this "original sin" warrant, that the younger german generations have to shut up ?
Culpability is culpability - doesn´t matter WHO bears the blame.

I didn't say America couldn't be criticized. I said criticisms leveled for effect are impotent if they're obviously false, hackneyed, or hypocritical.

Most fat, ugly, stupid people in America learn pretty quickly not to go around calling others fat, ugly, and stupid. They'll be laughed at or put down. I'm sure that's how it is in Germany too.

Have you been to Germany?

I keep asking these questions because I've lived and worked on all six continents, 40 countries including Germany. Met quite a few German expats, too.


I now have an update available for my earlier post giving a rundown on the Halliburton log.

This update brings in relevant narrative from "Part 3 - The Macondo Well" in an attempt to correlate the two.

This update is rather long. I will post it here if people want to see it, or I can post it somewhere else and link to it. If anyone knows of a suitable place, please let me know.


In response to your post from yesterday.

20:24 Riser flow up commences 22 minutes after displacement pumping starts. (Speculation: Down-flow for 22 minutes with no up-flow. It had to go somewhere. This is when they blew out shoe track cement.)

"Riser flow" = starting the dedicated riser booster pump, this pump feeds an additional line down the outside of the riser, similar to the C&K, except it is a low pressure line, and enters the riser above the LMRP through a non return or flapper valve. This line is used to help flush the riser by increasing the annular velocity of the fluid. This riser pump would have been turned on sometime after the oil base mud had entered the riser. This would flush all the oil base out of the line and quicken the displacement time of the riser. It can not pump fluid down hole.

Yes I concur. Upon closer examination of log "Riser flow" does appear to exhibit characteristics of pumping rather than flow return.

"Flow out gpm" (two columns to the right) would be more consistent with flow return.

My bad. Please disregard previous post. Apologies for any erroneous speculations and resulting conclusions anyone may have made.

Thanks for setting me straight on this TP.


Here are a few more comments, which contain a little speculation.

21:31 (Assuming pumps are off. No drillpipe flow down. No riser flow up.) SPP slowly rises.

21:34 SPP reaches 1750 and stabilizes.

21:36 SPP drops to 700 fluctuating.

21:38 SPP climbs to 1475, holds momentarily, and starts dropping.

21:42 SPP bottoms out at 450 and starts climbing.

21:47 SPP spikes off the chart.

21:31 I believe this is where they may have shut in the well to monitor pressure.

21:36 Possible attempt to open annular. The reason for no flow out is the diverter was open and had been since some time before 21:14

21:42 Not real sure why the pressure dropped but maybe they tried to bleed off at the stand pipe to the trip tank as there is a 15bbl gain. Problem is volume seem to jump too quickly in the trip tank, could have been funny gauges?

21:47 SPP fast increase, the fluid would have been jumping out of the hole and some making it into the flow line, therefore the increase in the pits and increased flow out. Though the diverter line was open the diverter bag must have been open as well, as I do not believe it would wash out that quickly. The WOB (weight on bit) corresponds with the SPP until the gas starts to expand and the pipe loses bouyancy, and it starts to drop 21:48

I know Rockman will yell at me if I did not point out the fact that throughout the whole two hours, except when they were either filling or emptying pits there is a constant increase in the pit volumes. This is what should have been noticed and acted upon. The rest of the squiggles are mere distractions.

It may be beyond my level of understanding, but I have to wonder why these wild SPP fuctuations 21:30 - 21:49 didn't by themselves motivate someone to initiate shut-in.

It appears they initiated shut-in when mud started rocketing out of the riser. I mean c'mon folks. A little late in the game by then.

"... throughout the whole two hours, except when they were either filling or emptying pits there is a constant increase in the pit volumes. This is what should have been noticed and acted upon. The rest of the squiggles are mere distractions."

Concur. And so does "Part 3 - The Macondo Well"

page 34: "About three minutes before pumping was stopped for the sheen test, around 9:05 PM, the driller’s panel began reflecting an increase in mud inflows to the pits relative to the amount of seawater being pumped. However, at that moment, a receiving tank called the “trip tank” was being emptied of its synthetic oil based mud in preparation for arrival of the water-based spacer. The trip tank emptied into the shakers and those volumes temporarily distorted the readings in a way that could easily obscure the problem. About a minute later, the trip tank emptying stopped and there was a 2-minute opportunity to notice that pit inflows were somewhat higher than the seawater pump rates. Then, pumping was shut down for the sheen test and there was about a two minute period when mud was coming into the pits after seawater pumping had stopped altogether– a clear opportunity to observe a problem. The data apparently went unnoticed. It is possible that no one was expecting a problem, so no one was watching closely for one."

rf - No way for me to know if this is correct: but how did they not see the changes that should have alerted them? I’ll ask a similar question: how do you accidentally run a red light when there are three big bright signal lights hanging over the intersection? Real easy when you're looking at the radio dial instead of what's right there in front of you. I know that sound stupidly simplistic but I've seen less disastrous accidents happen offshore for just that reason: no one was looking at the data right in front of them.

It was a very busy time and everyone thought the danger of a well kick was far behind them. After all, the well was cased and the cmt tested OK. So why worry about the well flowing at that time? Some of us chicken sh*t cowards like me worry about taking a kick all the time: when we're in bed, in the shower (especially in the shower...a guy thing I suppose...LOL), in the galley, etc. Right now I just a little worried about a very unlikely kick in one of my wells that just had a bad csg shoe test and we have to re-cement before we drill ahead. And I'm not on the rig....I'm sitting in my living room in my underware (wash day, y'know) playing on TOD.

Rock - I concur 100%. It's beyond me why anyone would not be watching flow return rate like a hawk during riser displacement, especially at 21:08 when pumping stopped for sheen test, and riser *continued* flowing and was *spiking* on top of that.

Like woerm said, it should have set off alarm bells in everyone's minds. 21:08 was 40 minutes before mud started rocketing out the riser, plenty of time to shut it in ...assuming it was shut-in-able ...which apparently it wasn't.


I'm curious as to why the toolpusher on duty seems to have been the first to realize they were in trouble. Posts yesterday indicate he was the one who started shutting the well in. Can that position see something the drillers can't?

Toolpusher suspected trouble way back on negative test.

"The drillpipe and kill lines were closed while discussing test results and the drillpipe pressure unexpectedly rose to 1,250 psi in six minutes. Rig hands report that the toolpusher and company man considered and debated all the evidence for about an hour with the toolpusher asserting that the evidence was indicative of a problem and the company man asserting that the anomalous results were all caused by the riser leak." --- "Part 3 - The Macondo Well", page 32 [emphasis mine]

If I was said toolpusher I would be telling my driller "I have a bad feeling about this thing, so you watch those returns like a hawk. If you see ANY indication returns getting ahead of pumping, SHUT IT IN ...THEN call me."

Note there was change of toolpusher at 6pm. The incoming toolpusher told the outgoing toolpusher (who had thought there was a problem) that his analysis was that the well U-tubed and there never was a problem. That according to testimony of Subsea Supervisor Chris Pleasant. The incoming Toolpusher was also senior to the outgoing toolpusher in the TO management structure if I understood correctly.

So why the "Ok, I'm off duty now, not my problem anymore, it's in your hands now." attitude?

Well they did run the second negative pressure test but they used a flawed procedure according to Dr Smith. They thought they had a good second test and had explained the anomaly earlier.

But really it is a mystery. According to Ezell testimony there was nobody better qualified on the rig at handling well control than Anderson. Although still relatively young he was Transocean qualified as a Senior Toolpusher and even OIM certified. He had also recently become a TO well control instructor.

Ezell basically said if it had been anyone other than Anderson (who he trusted implicitly) on the floor he would have stayed himself during the displacement.

Thought 1250 psi on drillpipe during neg test was just u-tubing huh?

Nobody better qualified at handling well control huh?

Well control instructor huh?

He sure had everyone fooled.

Hope his wife and kids find some comfort in that nice well control instructor certificate hanging on the wall. [/sarcasm /frustration]

Ezell testified that he had worked with Anderson for (I think) 8 years and was a close friend. If there had been anything false about him you would think he would have known it.

This is just one of the many things about this disaster I just can't make sense of. The weird "cocaine on rig" theory someone suggested earlier actually begins to sound almost possible it is so bizarre.

"This is just one of the many things about this disaster I just can't make sense of.

It's starting to make perfect sense to me.

Alex: Why smart people do stupid things.

Contestant: What is ego.

Alex: Correct for $100!

... also sounds like said senior toolpusher was a wee bit overconfident.

... which might shed some light on why his driller wasn't watching returns closely.

I can just hear it now. "Alright folks, we're gonna wrap this thing up, so fire up those pumps and let's get this thing displaced. We still gotta top plug, set that lockdown sleeve, all that stuff, so let's get crackin!"

... and Vidrine going "Yeah! Go Go Go!"

RF; post ir here, we are getting to crux of the matter now.

If you missed it, this is my reply post in the last thread. I am starting to see serious deficiencies in this oil drilling business, that would not be acceptable in my power plant world.

ROCKMAN /RF73B and others on this sub-thread.
I have been working through RF's notations and 21:14 to 21:18 period does appear to be significant. As ROCK said previously, this chart went before your Commerce Committee, it could be THE crucial document. I have not found any Q&A transcripts anywhere, that says that committee put it under a microscope; I will keep looking.
In my business, large steam turbo-generator performance; If we had an incident this big, we would be downloading all the computer logs; taking all the printing recorder charts and all the control transaction logs (which button/knob was pressed/turned and when)and locking them away.

What does surprise me in this case, is the apparent lack of "running interlocks". On power plant, conventional and nuclear, there are extensive primary and secondary running interlocks to stop operators doing silly things. In the power case; if there is a situation where for some reason A plus B does not add up to C, then the running interlocks would do D. No questions asked; no phone calls.

There are also some very big questions about maintenance safe working procedures on these rigs. Nobody seams to physically lock (electrically and mechanically) equipment in safe positions and put all the keys in a "lockout box"; before they issue a permit for working, which would have a master key attached to it. In most cases the guy responsible for the work, would lock the permit with his own safety lock. (The lack of this power plant safety procedure blew up Piper Alpha).

"RF; post ir here, we are getting to crux of the matter now."

Thanks Acornus, but TP pointed out a serious flaw in my analysis, mis-construing "Riser flow gpm" (black line) as "Riser flow up". Said flaw renders majority of analysis and speculations erroneous.

I would have to go back and re-do analysis with "Flow out gpm" as "Riser flow up". Having already done that in my mind, it is safe to say "Part 3 - The Macondo Well" correlates very well with Halliburton log.

P.S. And yes I concur with your points about automatic interlocks. Wonder why something similar wasn't in place on Deepwater Horizon.


ROCK. When you mention "SPP", standpipe pressure (yes ???); is this the pressure from the mud pumps that is going into the drill pipe? If the mud pumps are shut down, is this the pressure the well is putting on the discharge non return valve at the mud pumps?

acorn -- SPP (unlike "SSP" I typed originally...sorry about that chief): A rigid metal conduit that provides the high-pressure pathway for drilling mud to travel approximately one-third of the way up the derrick, where it connects to a flexible high-pressure hose (kelly hose). The kelly hose evntually connects the mud flow to the end of the drill pipe.

I hesitate to guess the rest of the answer. Details a little removed for a geologist. The pressure in the system is provided by the mud pumps. Pumps off = zero pressure. Maybe. Something in the back of my mind says the riser system could still apply pressure to the SP even with the pumps off. Or not. I'll leave it to Toolpusher to flesh it all out.

SPP= Standpipe pressure = pressure gauge on the manifold where the mud is pumped through from the mud pumps(MP). If the well is balanced IE same weight fluid all round the well and the pumps are off, this will read zero. If there is a heavier fluid in the annulus than what is in the drill pipe (DP)then you will have a higher reading. This is one of the reasons for the confusion on the night. They had around 13 pound per gallon (ppg)mud, 8.6ppg sea water and I think a 16ppg "spacer" (old water base mud) in the hole at the same time, and a leaking annular because they were running it at below recommended pressure. In other words they were a little lost on what their reading were telling them.

ROP = Rate of penetration

WOB = Weight on Bit

GPM = US gallons per min

PWD-ECD = Pressure while drilling - equivalent mud weight, reading from down hole tools that are used while drilling the hole. Not is use at this time.

bbls = Barrels = 42 US gal = 159 litre

Good job pusher. I knew the complication with the varying MW's but not well enough to expain. A few years ago I was on a DW well where they spent about $2 million in rig time trying to get the MW right between the riser, DP and C&K lines. Didn't know exactly what they were doing except it has irritating the hell out of the coman so we avoided him as much as possible.

Sounds like good reason to fall back on old oilfield tradition, "run off the mud engineer". Doesn't help but makes people feel good. The poor mud engineers always get picked on as they are the only people with chemical back ground, in amongst the rest of the mottlely bunch that work on the rigs!

Thanks everyone , for your quick response and explanations. They make sense. The article did not explain those things, so was confusing.

I'd love to hear Rockman's comments on this assertion from the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/20/AR201008...

Geologists consulted by Chu gave him some reassurance. They said that the kind of formations below the well could potentially heal after a lateral blowout. But the timing was critical. A lateral blowout would have to be detected quickly, via pressure readings, seismic surveys or visual inspection of new leaks. The well would have to be reopened at the top before the situation got out of control.

And so the integrity test went forward. A robotic submersible closed the final valve on the evening of July 15. The horrid black plume of oil, the gusher that haunted the nation, quickly vanished.

Chu felt that BP wasn't sufficiently monitoring the muddy gulf floor for signs of new leaks. Allen quickly fired off a stern memo demanding more scrutiny of the gulf bottom with robotic submersibles that BP had detailed to other jobs.

Everyone waited, and watched. The well didn't explode, and the reservoir didn't empty.

Self-healing formations? That's a good one!!

Hasn't anyone told Chu it's not the crime it's the coverup?

Yes. Hydrates form when the HCs contact the sea water, as we saw when they tried to use the caps and trapping sarcophagus over the well. Same thing happens in cracks in the seabed, I'd bet.

Bruce - first I’ll nit pick a little about the report. I’ve never seen “lateral blowout” before. I think he means “underground blowout”. Not a huge sin but tells me the writer has no real knowledge of the oil patch. Again, not a great sin IMHO…but telling. But the implication of an UB would have been very serious. An UB could be fixed but it would have been very complicated and taken much longer to stop the oil flow…maybe many more months if the UB came up the outside of the csg instead of being injected into another reservoir.

“Self-healing formations”: again, poor terminology. I’ll assume he meant “bridging over” which essentially means the flow erodes enough of the up hole section to weaken it and lead to a collapsed. That has happened in some previous OPEN HOLE blowouts. But what made the BP BO so unique was it being cased. This protected the up hole. The formation might collapse in the annular area but with the high pressure/flow rate it would have been nearly impossible to stop the flow IMHO.

But what made the BP BO so unique was it being cased. This protected the up hole.


Chu was saying that the there was a belief that the well may not be protected as you claim it is. That would make this incident similar to the Ixtoc disaster. When the rig caught fire and sank it is reasonable to assume the well casing was subjected to forces that would cause the metal and cement casing underground to buckle or rupture. It was reasonable to assume the well casing had been damaged as it had with the Ixtoc well. It still is reasonable to make that assumption since we still hav3e no evidence the outer casing is perfectly intact.

The difference here is that the Ixtoc well did not have a production casing. In the Macondo well we still don't know if the outer casing has been damage but we do know the flow to the surface has ended. If the wells outer casing was damaged by the excess forces applied to it on April 20-22 then lateral flow at some depth may have existed.

For all we know lateral flow down hole may still exist. But that seems unlikely because the RW is right next to the annulus and it would be a simple matter to determine if there is any flow from that vantage point with acoustic sensors. But lack of flow doesn't mean casing integrity. It is still a very real possibility that the casing is damaged and there still is a very real possibility of the lateral blowout of which Chu speaks if the annulus becomes in communication with the reservoir.

jinn - I still have concerns about the csg. And even more concern about the shallow cmt shoes. But I don't think a csg collapse would have killed the well anyway. I've seen just a few producing wells have csg collapse due to loading and none completely shut off the production stream. That's one reason I like getting in hole from the top ASAP. As you know a variety of logs could be run to test a lot of these concerns. And with drill pipe we can finally bury all those dangers.

Do you think it shoul dbe necessary to "nitpick" the terminology used by the Cairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee, who repeatedly takes it upon himself to overrule thosewith experience in th eoil business? Or should he put in enough effort to get the science right? Or was Chu playing to the DougR scenario?

"I said, 'No, I don't think so, there's another scenario,' " Chu said. The well, he said, might have integrity after all. That opened the possibility, he said, for the "integrity test." They could close the well and see what happened.

This led to the most anxious period of the response. The danger was that, by choking the flow at the top, the pressures could build to such high levels that the oil and gas could explode laterally, through the well casing. The hydrocarbons might flow into the surrounding formations and then work their way up, into the gulf.

"The worst-case scenario is you create a fissure that doesn't heal, and the entire reservoir empties," Chu said.

Exploding outward through the casing and then working their way up through all the layers in your cake from the previous thread.

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, Chu.


Your vehemence in criticizing Dr. Chu is way over the top.

Do you have some private information about him to which the rest of us are not privy?

Is this something personal between you?

Has he indirectly hurt you or someone you care about?

Or is there something else driving this?


Your vehemence in criticizing Dr. Chu is way over the top.

David, please don't be offended, but vigorous critiques by posters don't downgrade the tone of the board. One of the reasons I (and others) relied on TOD for information was the fact that the board didn't seem to give a rat's a** about hurt feelings but went for the jugular. Believe me, some of the other petro pro boards make TOD look like a sedate bunch of prissy old ladies at this point.

Under the circumstances, it might be in the public interest to instigate rather than mediate. Some of the apologists and apologetics lately are starting to fly in the face of reality. I sometimes wonder how many people here are subject to grant review, government contracts, political pressure and the need to retain academic positions-especially if their identities are available. I can understand that kind of pressure and sympathize with those who suffer it.

Just sayin', ya know?

Sic 'em, Bruce.



I'm not offended, and certainly have no desire to stifle anyone's contributions, but I would like to be able to understand them.

I like vigorous critiques as much as anybody, but that guy attacks Chu more often than Altendorf claims the wellhead blew out of the seafloor.

FWIW, and admittedly it's not much, I'm in agreement with k3d59 even though it's at least plausible that Bruce has gone over the top on occasion. That's easily forgivable, AFAIC. It's not like we have a clear view of what's going on behind the scenes.

I have no axe to grind re: Chu except that in general I'm somewhat suspicious of the academic approach to practical solutions. But I'd be more than willing to change my tune once this is done and more info is available. Assuming it will be, of course.

that guy attacks Chu more often than Altendorf claims the wellhead blew out of the seafloor

And for reasons even more nondescript than Altendorf's screengrabs (which is going some). In fact, BT doesn't even bother with reasons, just pure emotional screech. At first I was kind of curious ("What brought that on?"), but it's long since become just more tiresome noise to scroll past.

FYI, BP had the same beliefs DougR did. In May BP thought putting a cap on the well would either cause an underground blowout or reveal an already ongoing underground blowout. They only changed their mind July 15 when the cap held. There is every reason to believe BP still doubts the integrity of the external casing which explains why they want to forgo the RW until they have stronger hardware at the wellhead.

If you go back to statements from BP in mid May you will see they corroborate Chu's statement that BP had considered what they called a BOP on BOP back in May. But they scrapped that capping plan in May because they said the risk of blowout was too great. As far as I know the idea that capping the well had the potential of blowing out the casing was first mentioned by BP. DougR came late to that party.

DougR came late to that party

armed with SHR's post (uncredited) from Godlike Productions and the pitch that the BOP would fall over. It's one thing for BP to consider a possibility before the existence of sufficient data, and it's entirely a different thing to pitch the possibility as truth and predict unmitigatable disaster.

Chu said in the article BP assumed the well bore lacked integrity and that was why the Top kill failed. But BP already had indicated that the well liner lacked integrity weeks before the Top Kill when they rejected the BOP on BOP plan as too much risk of casing blowout. That was weeks before the doomers picked up on the idea that the well bore lacked integrity.

As Chu said from April 22 onwards BP engineers were well aware that the worst case scenario was this well had the same kind of damage to the casing that the Ixtoc well had. At this depth and reservoir pressure a split casing could have meant it would flow until the reservoir depleted.

The fact is they still don't know the casing is intact. All we know for sure is the annulus was not part of the flow that produced 5 million barrels to the surface. They were very fortunate to find the flow up the production tubular and were able to entomb that part of the well with cement. But it is not over yet.

Bruce - maybe I misread...I thought I was nitpicking the author of the article and not Dr. Chu.

The statement "They said that the kind of formations below the well could potentially heal after a lateral blowout" was from BP. Those statements were based on the incorrect assumption that the flow to the top thru the BOP was coming up the annulus. We now know that belief about the nature of the flow path to the wellhead was incorrect.

Chu is saying BP (and others too) was reluctant to see a cap on the well for fear it would reveal the ultimate bad news about the condition of the well. It would reveal that the well bore was damaged. And if the well bore was damaged, it is conceivable there may be no way to stop the lateral blowouts in the well short of emptying the reservoir. We know now that since the wellhead and production case were still intact there was no lateral blowout produced as a result of the cap.

However our current level of knowledge about the well does not mean there was never a lateral blowout. We still don't know the condition of the outer casing. If the annulus was in direct communication with the reservoir there could have been a lateral blowout somewhere at some depth that we still don't know about. Putting a cap on the well and stopping the flow up the production casing would have no effect on a flow that was going up the annulus and out a breach in the liner casing (or multiple breaches). A lateral blowout such as that could heal on its own.

This is a bit afield, but the well blew out on 4/20, a date that has some resonance in culture and history:


I was thinking about this in the context of the previous thread's comments regarding possible wild cards in the use of prohibited substances by the suited wigs from Houston who were aboard the rig for the party that night who are likely not subject to random drug/alcohol testing or searches. One of the commenters posted simply, "4/20."

Four twenty indeed, and with one company man pleading the fifth.

Uni - Can never say never, of course. But I've seen some very ugly situations tolerated offshore: blatant racism and sexism, over the top egos, absolute belligerent and abusive personalities of rig side management. But I’ve never seen substance abuse, or even the hint of the possibility, accepted. The best comparison would be a neighbor picking up your kid for car outing with his kids and he shows up drunk on his ass. Would any one on TOD send their kid off in that situation? That’s how it is offshore. Not to be overly dramatic, but the thought of someone doing something wrong with the result being you’re killed or crippled is never far from your mind. I mentioned yesterday the “defensive driving” attitude you quickly develop on a rig. Like every time a hand walks across an open deck he will look up to make sure there isn’t a lift overhead. Just things you do without thinking about it.

Four twenty indeed

FWIW, what I had in mind as the "wild card" was cocaine, not weed. If a high-powered suit was going to take any illicit substance out to the rig, it would much more likely be coke, I should think.

Uncomformity: Only thing significant about April 20th was that it's Hitler's birthday. April 22nd, the day the rig samk, was Earth Day. Don't think there's any connection to drugs.

Call me an idiot if you will, but I am totally confused...

No one called you an idiot for being confused, but if you don't know how to click a link and read...
: )

4/20 Bob Marley's Birthday...It's a subculture tradition.

Hex said:

4/20 Bob Marley's Birthday


According to the official Bob Marley website:


Robert Nesta Marley was born on February 6, 1945

Well the sub culture ain't too smart then or I don't know the exact reason... All the stoners I know celebrate Bob Marley's B-Day at 4:20pm everyday possible, and especially on April 20th. DAMHIK

c'mon, was Jesus really born on Christmas? I don't care what the 'official' version is, what I have stated is fact. Check it out yourself, I simply type in 420.com and the rabbit hole begins...

It's not 4:20 everywhere at the same time even on 4/20. It's not even 4/20 everywhere at the same time, mostly. Whoahhhh!

Come to think about it them Brits do like their Rage Music, in fact they have been obsessed with it since, well 1977, the Clash...

Edjumaicate yourselfs:



"Smoke two joints in the mornin', smoke two joints at night..." Bob Marley

Only thing significant about April 20th was that it's Hitler's birthday.

Godwin's Law strikes again.

I came across these Enlarged Diagrammatic Illustrations Of BP Blowout Geology on the internet - wondering if they are just something used to talk to or if this is representative of the geology at the drill site.

Well Formation

Can't get the image to appear - any suggestions - am new user.

Further, are the "domes" seen on the ocean floor each a Salt Dome?

Those pictures represent one person's idea of one possible reality and have been called misleading by knowledgeable folks here.

The facts seem to indicate another less alarming reality, if you get what I mean.
The drilling beside the salt dome thing needs to be taken with, er, a grain of salt and maybe a wink and a nudge.

Stronger. Lim is wrong. No salt diapir at Macondo.

Morbid - Opened up for me. It’s a very classic and accurate generalization of a GOM piercement salt dome. First showed up on TOD a couple of weeks ago with some major fractures shown leaking oil up the side of the dome. Which has also been documented many times in the Gulf Coast Basin. It was an alarmist ploy to get folks worrying about such leak potential at the BP well site. As others are pointing out to you, nothing like this exists in the area of the BP well. And yes, sometimes the salt domes move shallow enough to cause a mound on the bottom of the GOM.


High Island, Texas sits atop a salt dome. It is not an island at all. The salt dome thrust up the overlying formations. High Island is about 40 feet above the surrounding coastal plain and supports live oak and other trees, making it an important stop for migrant birds after their strenous flight across the GOM. A "fallout at High Island" is a birder's dream.

Some of BL Lim's current work on "Ballistic Analysis of DWH & Riser wreck" seems rather bizarre and plays with the facts rather loosely. The blog appears to be playing to the sensationalist fringe crowd and is slanting stories to build an audience. I no longer bother to read his site as "all hat and no cattle."

Well, this has been a rip roarin success so far.

Boa Sub C1 feed (M37) "Standing By At Kill Panel"

And after it got fed up standing by it wandered off to replace a Compatt. They are still flushing the inside of the stack. Hopefully we do actually get the downhole camera feed when they go fishing. The person they told that to was the same person who asked Kent Wells for Boa Sub C and got them so I'm hoping it is true.

Late yesterday there was a good subthread by fredxNJ on the plumes and natural vs. chemical dispersion:


Fred said, "This of course raises the question of whether the sea-floor use by BP of dispersants had any effect at all on the disposition of the spill." My comment: the government's oil budget estimated the natural dispersion at 16% and the chemical dispersion at 8%. These figures were based on models, and also there was an experiment named "Project Deep Spill" that released an oil/gas mixture at 800m depth in the North Sea. The oil budget's percentages combine subsea and surface dispersion, and they are percentages of total flowed, not total spilled.

brit0310 asked about measuring microbes directly as opposed to inferring activity by way of oxygen depletion. I believe the Samantha Joye team has done that. She spoke in a press briefing about doubling times for microbes in the plume (as short as 24 hrs!). They have samples, and she said one kind of them looked like "nice, fat, methane-eating bacteria." I'd guess this would be Alcanivorax, unless Alcanivorax is actually a Germanic warlord defeated by Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC.

This article linked in the subthread has lots of interesting stuff:

One group's model estimates that most of the oil in the deep plumes will stay within 100 km of the wellhead owing to the weakness and irregularity of currents at and below 1000m depth. This limited mobility increases the risk to deep-sea life like our pronking amphipods. A simulation suggests oxygen depletion will peak in October, owing I guess to the buildup of microbe populations.

I don't believe that Alcanivorax eats methane. Since Dr. Jove is a marine biologist, she must have been talking about a different microbe.

The water temp they measured in June was ~40F. Alcanivorax is happy in water that's 68F to 86F.

Alcanivorax = "alcane-eater." Isn't methane the simplest and most easily edible alcane? Incidentally, the plumes probably contain more methane by weight than oil.

Joye has a blog entry about launching a new cruise today:

Must be an exciting time to be a marine biologist and suchlike.

Don't think so. From Jove's statement to the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, 6/9/2010:

Microbial oxidation of oil is carried out by microorganisms like the gammaproteobacterium Alcanivorax. Microbial oxidation of methane is carried out by a diverse assemblage of methane-eating, or methanotrophic, microorganisms


OK, thanks, Snakehead.

& @Lotus, your link says Vibrio likes to eat BTEX (benzene & relatives). There is lot of that in the plumes according to the Woods Hole study, but your link also says those bugs like warm water.

but your link also says those bugs like warm water

Yep, but I'm wondering whether some of the family might go for lower and cooler eateries. Wishful thinking on my part, maybe . . .

Slide show of oil-eating bacteria with captions. Some are more adapted to cold water than others.


Bacterial contamination closes beaches on Martha's Vineyard.

Parts of the Tisbury Great Pond remained closed yesterday but others were open after new testing brought the bacteria counts back down to acceptable levels. Powers said he couldn’t say whether the first family should avoid swimming in the pond during their 10-day Vineyard vacation. “It’s not my job to recommend or not recommend whether or not to go in the water,” he said. “I just get the numbers and take the appropriate action.”

But when we asked another town official whether or not it was safe for the prez to take a dip in the pond, he was a little more informative. “Depends on whether or not he likes to swim in poop,” joked the longtime islander, who shall remain nameless.


(rings dinner bell for Cycloclasticus, Colwellia, Oleispira, and Neptunomonas. Not you, T. oleivorans. Y'all wash yer hands now, y'hear?)


One time on a beach south of Naples, a British friend directed my attention to a suspiciously-colored pother coming from a pipe nearby. Turned out it was -- you guessed it -- the outlet of the septic system of our hotel. I stayed ashore from then on.

Thanks for another good link again, Gobbet.

I'd guess this would be Alcanivorax

Or maybe one(s) of the Vibrios?

unless Alcanivorax is actually a Germanic warlord defeated by Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC

There, see, whaddeye tell you?

our pronking amphipods

In that I categorically love everything that pronks: MOOM OVAH, springboks, Thomson's gazelles, alpacas, kittycatz, an' all the rest o' yez! Room must be made in my heart for dese little amphipod guys.


Isn't it great to have an excuse to write "pronk"? Pronk, pronk, pronk, pronk.

Pronkitty pronkitty pronk pronk PRONK! Wheeee!

So, TOD = ®Twinings on deck? I'm like totally pronking now ";-^) Thanks Lotus, I'm always looking for a better path to humor. Do you suggest black, green, decaf, Biden de-gaffe or regular? We are a heavy coffee drinker behind this keyboard. g

We are a heavy coffee drinker behind this keyboard

Hmm, gus, mebbe just ease into regular for starters? (If you've found a Biden de-gaffe, keep it quiet, wouldja? Else wot'll DC do for laffs?)

Biting the plastic to open the nozzle on the ®KrazyGlue as I respond ";-^)

I'm very confused about the future flow of methane. One of the comments I read stressed the importance of specific gravity regarding whether the HC will stay in water column or float to surface. The specific gravity of methane is .55 and the specific gravity of sea water is 1.03.

For methane that is not touched by Corexit, I would expect it to float to surface.

Does methane with skin of corexit keep it in water column? And if so, I would expect this to be short term because half-life of Corexit is less than 4 weeks.

I chuckled a little when I found a report about methanotrophic microorganisms. They appear as "marine snow" at depth. That reminded me of some of the discussions of amphipods...

As I understand, there is no "flow" of methane. It is dissolved in the water and goes wherever that bit of water goes. A lot of the methane is in the plumes at 1000-1300m depth. Apparently none of the methane bubbled to the surface.

Oh, I was also wondering about dissolution. That explains the concern of lighter HC staying in water column for a long time. I went back and reread a report discussing dissolution. It said the lighter HC such as methane dissolves very easily.

Thanks for the illumination!

"Apparently none of the methane bubbled to the surface."

Gobbet - I don´t think this is right.
Take a nice flight with the Sea Shepherd over the gulf. At the end you will see the methane-burnings at the well.


But may be I´ve misunderstood what you meant.

Hi Lady,

We're talking about two different things. You're thinking about the HCs that were captured and Gobbet and brit30 are discussing HCs that were spilled instead of being captured.

Of the HCs that were captured, the natural gas (methane) were flared. At first, on the Enterprise, the crude oil was process on the surface to separate the oil from the natural gas and the gas was flared while the oil was stored and lightered to shore processing facilities. Later, the Q4000 was added but it lacked shipboard processing capabilities. Evergreen Burners were added to the Q4000 so both the oil and gas it captured could be burned (flared.)

Of the HCs that were NOT captured and rolled out from under the cap, the methane fraction of the spilled HCs entered into solution with the seawater while still in the water column and the vast majority of methane never reached the surface.

Methane does not need corexit to go into solution with water since it is already soluble. Of all of the methane that came out of the well (and not captured), most of it went into solution. It appears that very little of the methane reached the surface even in the immediate area of the city of ships. Since methane/air can be explosive at sufficient density, the amount of methane in the air was closely monitored (less something go boom). Also, it appears that the level methane in water didn't reach the critical point of saturation to cause the large-scale formation of hydrates.

The methane is dissolved in the water and goes, as noted above, where the it water goes.

Pitiful. Stack ops blacked out, disconnects.

They are just pumping "green" down the drill pipe to flush out the insides. Perhaps Ent 1 moved away because it was fed up getting covered in "green" :-)

"Green is people!" -- Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) -- Soyent Green



Makes little sense. White to flush out green, green to flush out what? And it can't take an hour plus to clean the BOP, which was supposed to full of seawater. We're the ones being hosed. All tell no show.

The fluid colors are critically important.
Decode the sequence and you'll know.

drill pipe 'camara' now up. link at the top of bp's rov page


And they seem to have found the drill pipe with the camera.

They're stuck, can't see crap, and the well is flowing.

I am sure if you ask BP nicely they'll let you ride down on the next drill pipe for a close-up view :-)

I saw what looked like a relatively clean end of drill pipe and I don't see the well flowing.

Wow. Amphipoda in the BOP. Who coulda guessed?

drill pipe 'camara' now up

Oh, boy, what are we looking at? Is that a view down the hole? How big is the camera? Does it have its own light, or how does it work? Details, pretty please, from those who know!

At 15:08:xx there was a nice look at the broken end of a round pipe, then they pulled the camera back up and it's been just sitting for a few minutes.

Small camera, led lights.

On Cement: Convex or concave? It was reported that pieces of cement fell on the deck of the Damon Bankston moored alongside. If those pieces were large enough, they possibly contained valuable clues. Think of the pieces that were next to the 7" pipe. Pieces of broken cement, even quite small, have clues to where they came from (next to the flat form, next to a piece of rebar, from inside or outside a pipe, etc).

A concave shape would indicate the piece came from outside the pipe. A convex shape would indicate it came from inside the pipe. An irregular convex shape would indicate it came from the rough wall of the outer annulus.

If the blowout came straight up the pipe from below (from another formation) as at least one person suggested and blew through the shoe and up the pipe, there would have been convex only pieces.

If the blowout came down the annulus and then up the pipe there possibly could have been both convex and concave shapes.

If the blowout went up the annulus and on up the annulus between the casings, there would have been concave only shapes, along with the rough outer convex shapes.

I don't know how large these pieces were or how beat up they were. If they were as much as one inch, it would likely be possible to determine where they came from. They were surely examined closely. They (BP) might have known all along what the most likely blowout path was.

What do you think?

I think you are correct that the cement should tell a lot about what happened.

Apart from clues the shapes may provide, they may also be able to tell whether cement failure was the result of contamination, not waiting on cure long enough, whether the nitrogen played a role, whether the positive pressure test too soon after played a role, maybe even whether the failure to do bottoms up contributed.

But cure time seems to be a prime suspect and something the samples should help confirm or rule out.

Now the question is: Did the Bankston crew know to save those fragments, or did they just swab 'em overboard?

Someone (yesterday, I think) said BP had secured cement debris from Bankston but had released no info about it.

Ah. Hope that's true, comfy, so they'll be subject to subpoena.

lotus - Thanks for the heads up in the previous thread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6873#comment-705711 re: video of the Thad Allen interview on Charlie Rose.


Nice to have the video and transcript both.

You're welcome, FS. (I just bumbled into how the video worked by accident.)

One more excerpt from Thad Allen on Charlie Rose:

CHARLIE ROSE: Do you think they need dramatic improvement, the drilling system that we use for offshore drilling?

THAD ALLEN: I’m not sure I’m prepared to comment on whether the drilling systems need improvement. The drilling systems we have need to be certified and I believe inspected by an independent third party, whether that’s the government or a classification society.



Where do we sign him up?!


Spill Fund May Prove as Challenging as 9/11 Payments

... “Although he had a very difficult time placing a dollar value on human life, in some way that was a more straightforward job than estimating the long-term harm to a shrimper’s business,” said Richard A. Nagareda, a mass torts expert and law professor at Vanderbilt University. ...

Anyone want to take a peek at Olymic Challenger 30? If these are artifacts of digital compression I'll eat my hat. The ROV actually seems to be focusing on oil seeps. Hard to believe. Btw, it's OK if I make a hat out of chocolate cake, right?

On the OLY ROV I think I see cement or concrete chunks?? Can anyone identify that debris?

UHD 30 is away from the well at DWH debris location.

Dr. Robert Bea.

WB: Is it possible that this fractured, subsea salt geology will make it difficult to permanently kill the oil leak using relief wells?

Bea: Yes, it could. The Santa Barbara channel seeps are still leaking, decades after the oil well was supposedly capped. This well could keep leaking for years.

Scripps mapped out seafloor seeps in the area of the well prior to the blowout. Some of the natural seeps penetrate 10,000 to 15,000 feet beneath the seafloor. The oil will follow lines of weakness in the geology. The leak can travel several horizontal miles from the location of the leak.


So your saying the concrete/cement might of failed??

Your evidence that Macondo is into "subsea salt geology" is?

Assuming you have evidence for #1, your evidence that it's "fractured" is?

If you look at the OLY you can see debris...Or else you'd think It was created by nature??

CCT, what does your interpretation of "chunks of concrete" on an ROV cam have to do with the post I was responding to? Try to maintain sub-thread integrity, please.

Well if there are fissures wouldn't the concrete seep through then??

The mounds/'chunks' of lighter colored stuff on the seafloor is from critters that burrow in the mud. Sediment below the surface is lighter colored than the surface layer. When they excavate to build a new house the lighter stuff gets piled up around the hole on the surface. On the UHD 30 biological survey trips I have seen many many many tubeworms or little garden eels poking up out of the mud.

Feinberg's day in Mobile (with video):

... He told a shoe store owner that he had an eligible claim, but told a pastor that he was "dubious" of the church's claim. He told the general manager of Wintzell's Oyster House that locations throughout the state would be eligible for compensation, but he told a retired Bayou La Batre man that he wouldn't receive payment for the fish he can no longer catch and eat himself.

Feinberg also said that "in a relatively brief period of time" he will be able to publish an eligibility guide based on the decisions he makes in the early part of the process.

"I don't care how BP treated you. They're out," he said in Bayou La Batre. "I'm trying to get as much money out as fast as I can to you guys." ...

(My God, Wintzell's is still going? I was there as a chile, back around the Dawn of Time.)

As you see, life is tough enough for Bama the Manatee without oil in her way.

For those who haven't lived in manatee country, those cuts are from boat propellers. It's a wonder they haven't all been hacked to pieces.

I doubt that oil on the eelgrass should be much of a concern.

Gobbet, I was just talking with a friend who was out on a boat in the Intracoastal this morning, watching some 'tees in a cove near here. The water's been way too hot lately (~ 90°), but just in the last few days, the Atlantic has "upwelled" and brought the temp off Ponce Inlet down to the mid-70s. Maybe they'll be more comfy soon.

But yeah, it's rare to see one that hasn't been chopped by propellers, no-wake zones notwithstanding. Makes me sick.

One of my favorite spots in this county is Blue Spring State Park, over on the western border -- which is the St. Johns River. The St. Johns flows south from the Atlantic at Jacksonville, and when the water cools down in mid-winter, manatees boogie for Blue Spring Run, which stays a constant 72° year-round. You can see tons of 'em in the clear water along the run and near the "boil" where the spring rises.

Great to go over there on a frosty morning, have a cook-your-own-pancakes breakfast by the fireplace in a restaurant that was, in settlement times, a sugar mill, then wander down the trail along the run, watching the manatee families enjoying their safety where no propellers can get at them.

Yep. I've been there, went to school in the area. But at that time, the St. John's flowed north from Lake Hellen Blazes to Jacksonville. I guess everything's messed up nowadays, and Dr. Chu is probably behind it. Used to be Nelson Rockefeller doing that kind of stuff.

He was pwnd by the Rothschilds.

Oh dang. Sorry. Nope, it hasn't changed course. Gah, lotus!

You a Stetson grad, Gobbet? Good pal of mine teaches Spanish there, and I used to know some of the English Dept too. Beautiful campus in a pretty-cute little town.

"But yeah, it's rare to see one that hasn't been chopped by propellers, no-wake zones notwithstanding."

Makes me wonder why there is not a requirement that all props are not shrouded, at least those on pleasure craft and small boats.

Above, I meant to say,"it doesn't seem like tar would stick to the eelgrass," rather than "eating oil is great for manatees."

I've been in the water with those things and they are simply amazing.


Okay, in the last 30 minutes we have a flowing well, oil seeps, chunks of concrete (on mud mats?) that got there by flowing though fissures in the sea floor, and Macondo oil flowing miles through the cracks of fractured subsea salt geology. I may have left something out. In any case, I thought it might be helpful to start a catchall looming disaster sub-thread. So, here it is. Bring it here.

Do they gotta be acute, or can they be chronic?

I guess "catchall" includes acute and chronic.

GRNNFUFGS! Don't do that! The 'Permalink' link reloads the entire thread and resets the new comment markers. Link to 'Subthread' instead.

Whups, something I didn't know (and still don't understand). My apologies. (What's GRNNFUFGS?)

That's what my forehead typed when it hit the keyboard! :)

Your forehead types better than my cats. Anyhow, sorry. This blog's amenities are unlike any I've run into elsewhere, and obviously I still don't understand how some of them work. So: subthread, not permalink it is. (What's permalink for, though?)

Just guessing, but probably mostly to be used when linking here from another site. Subthread link doesn't show any comments above the one linked, but does show all replies to the target. Permalink would be useful for an link from elsewhere because the entire thread is visible, but using Subthread in that case might remove some of the context a visitor might find useful.

OMG, a play within a play.


Time to clink I think

were I younger I might plonk

a few but drink will do.

(She eats, shoots, and leaves.)

Oh my, look at the time! (hurries to pour'n'slurp) Cheers, deah erain!

OMG, if BP fails, they won't be able to plug the well from the top, and John Wright will get all the glory!



Didn't want to leave anyone else out Snakehead.

I think this could go in the LOOMING DISASTER SUB-THREAD, perhaps as a sub-thread. If there's an actual disaster I feel confident that most everybody will recognize it as such and since it won't meet the "looming" standard, it could have its own sub-thread.

"The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching."

~ Allegedly this came from an Assyrian tablet, c. 2800 BCE.

Maybe we'll get lucky and there will be some reform coming out of this.

Debt, high taxes and unpopular wars gave us the Magna Carta after all.

I'm not sure if this should go in the "Everything is Wonderful...America Sucks" sub-thread, or just the plain old "America Sucks" sub-thread. There's some CT stuff in it as well...


Edit: Linked the "America Sucks" sub-thread.

Seeing as how they're German and (probably) falsely rumored to be gay, I think they should start their own sub-thread. Here I am trying to provide some organizational efficiency (no, I am not German) and here comes Rammstein trying to f things up. What's next, a RATM sub-sub-thread in the America Sucks sub-thread?

...it could have its own sub-thread... I think they should start their own sub-thread.

If everything starts a new sub-thread, we won't have subthreads.

You start. I couldn't help but notice that you have not contributed a LOOMING DISASTER post to the other sub-thread, which I think could easily contain this sub-thread.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6876/706056 *

*subthread link so as not to globally reset [gnu] searches

A tad weak on impending doom information, but : ACCEPTED.

I'm a cross-over guy myself, so try this.

Universal understanding and insight suddenly breaks out over all the world, helping people suddenly understand that they have nothing to fear from anyone else.

The world ponders this new situation for three days, five hours, twenty three minutes, and two seconds then everyone in the world simultaneously commits suicide except David E. Brown, who is still trying to understand what's going on. He gives up and kills himself two hours and ten seconds later.

Meanwhile, the mice take over.

I didn't pay any attention to your rules snakehead because I figured that whether it was salvation, or doom, the rules didn't matter.

Of course, since I've been clueless my whole life maybe I need to ponder the suicide for at least three seconds more.

DEB, if it's the Absinthe talking I think you ought to consider laying off. Otherwise, here's a true story.

My first wife, one evening, told me that she didn't know who she was. I suggested that she look at her driver's license. She left the next day to hook up with a junkie.

That's a keeper!

I won't inquire further about the circumstances.

I'm paying tribute to you by labeling it a keeper, since I tend to go in for shaggy dog stories myself (in line with my prose style, which, unfortunately, usually lacks a punchline to make it worthwhile to slog through it..

Needless to say perhaps, my favorite storyteller is/was the Baron Munchausen.

As for the Absinthe, I must confess I have no such excuse.

She left the next day to hook up with a junkie.

Well, the junkie wasn't a great idea.

I could be wrong but I think Swift Loris just slammed you in the damnation by faint praise fashion! `(:<))-<=<


Nine+ minutes. Worth every second.


Lurvely Circle Tour there, snakehead.

Easy enough to collapse it and pass by. Or whatever.

Takes a bit longer when I have to go fetch every byte's worth, but it was still worth it.


Implausible because nobody ever stops thinking about other peoples' stuff long enough to let the fear that someone else is going to take their stuff leave them.

<=== Note that this comment is protected by six annuluses.)

Only on the left.

The right is wide open.


He forgot to install the centralisers.. ;-)

nobody ever stops thinking about other peoples' stuff long enough to let the fear that someone else is going to take their stuff leave them

Basic conservative doctrine, I take it? Hmmm. Bless your hearts.


Oh, prolly by Uncom's and EDM's optics, I spoze. Actually: a good deal to the left of Obama, a good deal to the right of Marx.

And heading off to do some hand-reading, so see y'all tomorry.

Got to love this place.

My comment wasn't ideological. It's easy to see what one wants to see and hear what one wants to hear.
Kindly refrain from the presumption where I'm concerned.

No matter left or right, people just envy each others' stuff.
To claim otherwise is to ignore the obvious.

<=== Wow! Ten annuluses on the left, zero on the right.

New PO concerns in UK

The Guardian, as usual, is a leader on the PO issue.
Macalister and especially young Badel continue to do exceptional work.

This article (dated tomorrow, Aug. 22) refers to a PO summit involving UK Ministry of Defence.
It also mentions the need for contingency plans.

More intriguing is the claim that the government is reluctance to provide info requested under Freedom of Information, with a reference to the matter as being "important and sensitive."


Can anybody shed some light on why they are trying to fish around for the DP? They're going to raise the capping stack separate from the BOP, and at that point if the transition spool is also removed, the pipe will be right there out in the open.

This way they will have protection if anything goes wrong. They can shut it in.

I would guess that they might be approaching it out of the ubiquitous abundance of caution.

Leaving the upper unit on while fishing gives them the ability to close it off if something goes wrong. So if they can, why not?

I suspect it's no harder doing it that way anyway.