BP's Deepwater Horizon - BP Begins "Fishing Operation" - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6881.

Based on a press release by BP Saturday evening, BP started the "fishing" operation aimed at removing the drill pipe that is within the BOP Saturday morning.

One reason for removing the drill pipe is a practical one, according to a technical talk by BP's Kent Wells on August 19:

Reporter: I was hoping you could explain a little bit more why you need to remove the drill pipe; how it would impede the progress in moving the capping stack and the legacy BOP and putting the new one on.

Kent Wells: Yes. Another good question. So, we could have up to, I think it’s around 3,500 feet of drill pipe hanging below the BOP. And, if we were to – and we believe that the drill pipe’s being held by the BOP. So, if we were to try to pick up the BOP right now, we’d have to lift it 3,500 feet straight up to pull all of the drill pipe out, and then we’d have difficulty handling that, et cetera.

So, we think it’s more prudent for us to go in and try to what we call fish it, actually pull the drill pipe out first and recover all of it, and then go and then take off the capping stack and then recover the BOP. So, I think that’s the procedure that we believe is the most prudent way to go about it, at this point in time.

In the same technical talk, Kent Wells indicated that the fishing operation wouldn't be very easy to watch through the ROV cameras:

We’ll actually be fishing inside the capping stack down into the BOP, so there wouldn’t be any good ROV feed that would indicate that. But, what we will do is we’ll make sure that we keep you informed through briefings or releases, et cetera, about how that process is going, so that you understand it.

Once the drill pipe is removed, the next step will be to remove the blowout preventer (BOP) in an undamaged way, so that it can be used as evidence in determining why it did not function properly at the time of the original blowout. Admiral Allen sent Bob Dudley a letter, giving him until Sunday evening to put together a plan for safely removing the BOP, and ensuring that the BOP salvage operation does not compromise the investigation. According to the letter:

According to BP's recent press release, once BP gets approval, it will proceed with an operation in which it replaces the original BOP with the BOP from the second relief well. In anticipation of a successful operation, BP has unlatched its BOP from the second relief well site.

BP's press release also indicates that BP and the federal science team are also making contingency plans, in case something goes wrong with the fishing operations.

Am I right to assume they need to remove the month old cap to remove the drill pipe?

And there is still no bottom kill?

If so, doesn't that make the static situation that exists now into a dynamically stable situation where the weight of the mud plus drill pipe balances the oil below.

So, will they replace the drill pipe with more mud?

Is there any concern that pulling out the drill pipe will restart the oil flowing from below, and if so, how quickly can they get the pipe out, cut it off, or whatever they need to do, and recap the well?

How much of a possibility is there that in the process of removing 3500' of drill pipe from the BOP, the evidentiary value of the BOP will be lost?

1. They can fish the string out through the stack they have. Provided, of course, they can get hold of it.

2. Unknown. Yes/no/maybe.

3. IF there is still pressure at the bottom, then yes, pipe plus mud to balance it.

4. I would think so. It has to be replaced with something. Mud is the logical choice.

5. If the bottom of the pipe somehow got cemented in, there could be a problem. Otherwise, as long as they watch the balance, nothing should happen. In any case, the pipe has to be removed in order to complete the plug-and-abandon procedure - and it won't get any less risky later.

6. None. The pipe just pulls up through the BOP.

Unless something goes wrong ...

Got some band aid?

RockyP added sound ...

Can an ROV repair another ROV?

I know the answer is no. But look at how he's looking at that pair of vice grips. It's just sad.

oooooooooooo bet that hurt :)

dadgummit, these darn cheapass walmart manipulator arms


How do you remove the drill pipe and replace the missing mass with mud at the same time ?

If the the pressure in the wellbore is currently at an equalibrium, nothings leaking, when they pull the pipe out, wouldn't seawater start to go down the wellbore ?

How do you pump mud and guarantee it will go down and not up ?

...also...is it possible for gas to drift from the reservoir, up through the strata, and back into the wellbore at a higher point ? I understand that if it's at an equilibrium, nothing can move either way...but if the bore does not have 100% structural integrity of the outer cement and casings, and the inside of the bore were to become underpressured against the surrounding formation by removing said mass (DP)...'looks at floor'....

...I'm gonna go tighten my neck-bolts for a spell.


The well is open to the sea at the moment - it is not balanced with mud but sealed with 5000 feet of cement.

"it is not balanced with mud but sealed with 5000 feet of cement."

Yes, I understand that( I was under the impression that there is a leg of mud on top of that as well 5k' of seawater :), what I don't understand is how you remove mass from an area and add it at the same time without causing a differential in pressure. Are they going to remove the stuck pipe at the same time they are pumping mud..? I know it's a completely different scenario, but pulling a pipe stuck in mud creates suction/vacuum energy, the Casimir effect, which creates a negative pressure . Then there is the question of the mud and if its gelled inside the DP, wouldn't pulling that up also create negative pressure downhole( unless the force exerted by the water column above was sufficient to break the mud free when they started to pull up ) ? This is all very interesting in terms of fluid dynamics. Thanks again TOD, for taking the time to answer my " whacko" questions.

They slowly dropped the pressure during the negative test. When they initially had the well balanced that was with the column of mud up to sea-level and BOP was at about 4200psi but they are now right down to ambient at 2188 psi with the well open to seawater. If there was an open flow path then we would know fairly quickly :)

That's not what I am asking about, but thank you anyway.


Yes, the mud level in the well will go down as the pipe is pulled, and that volume will be replaced by seawater, since the well is currently open to the sea at the top.

The key is, it doesn't matter. You could replace the entire 8000' down to the cement with seawater, and even then no oil would flow because the 5000' of cement would hold it in, as it has been for several days now ever since they started that near-ambient testing stuff.

Gas drifting "up through the strata, and back into the wellbore"? Anything's possible, I guess. Well, up to when they started the near-ambient testing, anyway. But the pressure DECREASE observed (due to leakage out of the stack) pretty well put that scenario out of the picture. Then when they went to exactly ambient and closed all the valves, they had no pressure change for 48 hours.


I'm not a expert, but I think I have an explanation:

The fishing tool is put down into the top of the second, new BOP that was kludged onto the top of the BOP that is wanted for evidence. To do this 'put down into ...' the tool is attached to the bottom end of a new string of drill pipe. This attachment is sturdy enough that the 'bad, broken' drill pipe can be lifted out of the well once the fishing tool is firmly connected to it. The strength of this attachment can be tested by pulling on the top end of new string of drill pipe from up on the drill ship. There, they can measure force of lifting of the crane that is holding the new drill pipe. If they can't develop enough force to lift an extra 3000' of drill pipe, they huddle and come up with a planB, otherwise they are ready to try to open the shear rams in the BOP (that they think are what is holding the bad, broken drill pipe and keeping it from falling deep into the well). If the get the shear ram open, which they should do --slowly-- so that
the weight of the bad broken drill pipe shifts from the shear ram over to the new string gradually, THEN they can start drawing the bad, broken drill pipe out of the well --SLOWLY--. This is the first time in the process when they have to start replacing the volume of the bad, broken drill pipe with something that is heavier than seawater. This replacement material is, I think, what concerns you:

What to use as replacement material? Solid, liquid, or gas? I guess a liquid. A solid would get in the way of pulling the bad, broken pipe up and out. A gas is an option that a physicist, like me, would even mention. So their only option is a liquid, like mud. It is heavy and it can be made to flow downward by suitable application of gravity.

The fishing tool is mechanically connected to both the good new pipe string and the bad, broken pipe, BUT it is not a pipe fitting. Mud can be pumped down from the drill ship inside the the good new pipe string. Enough new mud can be pumped to flood the region around the fish tool so that it is immersed in mud. (Now they can't any longer see what they are doing, because mud is opaque. But they are probably doing this without downhole cameras, anyway.) They an determine the depth of mud in this flooding by measuring the pressure differential between the inside of the BOP and the surrounding seawater. They pull the string of bad, broken pipe and good, new pipe up. As they do this, the level of the top of the mud should go down to replace the volume of pipe that is coming up out of the mud. This should be done during the first few inches of upward motion of the combined pipe string. If there is numerical agreement of pipe string upward motion with mud level downward motion, they can continue --- add mud to keep the mud level above the top of the BOP, but not spilling out of the top and the top the top of that that other, now structure that they stacked on top of the BOP. AND keep track of mud volume pumped. And plot the data as they gather it. Make sure mud level and volume track the upward motion of drill string, psi by psi and cuft by cuft against pipe travel inch by inch.

My major problem with this is that I am convinced that BP managers are intellectually incapable of handling this level of sophistication in process. Or if they are capable, they perceive that it is to their advantage to pretend otherwise.

Not covered are issues relating to the possibility that bad, broken pipe is stuck in the cement that is being used to kill the well. Pulling it out of the cement would introduce cracks. Mud would have had no problems with cracking. Also, I have ignored all complications having to do with elastic nature of pipe, steel cable, etc.

How thick is the wall of the DP? - If the DP is filled w/mud, the volume may not be that much of a factor.

If the 3500' of DP is hanging from the BOP, the bottom of it will be ~5000' above the top of the cement.

Thanks Geek, jes' what I was thimking. I would pump mud INTO the top of the DP to provide the replaced mass at the bottom, but I am looking at this with the eyes of an industry outsider, so it's probably not even possible. I still don't understand how you pump mud into the BOP stack through the choke line(?)with the valves in the top of the cap open ( to remove the DP at the same time ) don't they have to have the system closed in order to pump the mud...? Usually in this event the path of least resistance for the mud would be down the bore, as it has no other place to flow. Any way, enough silly questions for TOD today, hows'about the other problem ...

The gas...


The major issue in this whole mess is the failure of the blind shear rams to seal. Why they didn't should be a major focus of the investigation.

The procedure you're descrbing has them putting a significant upward pull on the shear rams, then opening them (somehow) and pulling 3500 feet of pipe up through them.

I'm not sure how much you would see about the shear rams after all that.

I don't know how practical it is, but I'd prefer that they detach the BOP and lift it a few feet. Then clamp the drill pipe to the wellhead and cut the pipe. Raise the BOP with the piece of pipe inside it so it can be inspected as is.

If so, doesn't that make the static situation that exists now into a dynamically stable situation where the weight of the mud plus drill pipe balances the oil below.

No, that would be the case if they had only pumped in mud. But they also pumped in cement, which (as verified by the ambient pressure tests) has effectively sealed the casing. So it's not a straight matter of weight any more. Indeed, without the cement, only having a mud column up to the sea floor (rather than up to the surface as was the case directly after the static kill) would not quite be sufficient to counterbalance the reservoir pressure.

Is there any concern that pulling out the drill pipe will restart the oil flowing from below ... ?

Not really. With an estimated 5000' of cement in the casing, it's hard to envisage another blowout occurring when the drill pipe is removed. Nothing they do down there is completely without risk, but the probability of this happening has clearly also been deemed by the independent scientific team to be negligible, otherwise BP would not have been given the directive to proceed with the operation.

OT:From last thread:

Have you been to Germany?

My father's side is German. His grandmother lived most of her life in Wisconsin without ever learning to speak english. The entire community was German - language, food culture, even the store signs. I knew German immigrants growing up. But I have never been to the country.

Sconsin ainna-hey?

Sorry, no habla cheesehead. I'm from Chicago.

I hereby vouch for AVA's substantial exposure to Wisconsin.

We all have to start somewhere.

@Comfy (last thread)

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.

IIRC the DP is just hanging there, caught up in the BOP that they want to remove. It is about 3000 feet long, and weighs something like 800 lbs every 5 feet of length (also if I recall correctly). That would be about 480K lbs of drill string hanging there, that if they lose will go plummeting down the hole, wreaking who knows what kind of havoc below. So fishing it out is a good idea.

Back in my roughnecking days, fishing was by far my LEAST favorite activity. Many (many) hours of tripping pipe, followed by tense minutes of hoping you'd accomplished something, followed by many hours of tripping pipe, lather, rinse, repeat.

Months ago (or so it seems), Rockman asked me what happens when the guy I'm playing chess with knocks over the board and throws coffee in my face (or something like that). This fishing episode reminds me of that, back on a rig where things always seemed to be going wrong. After about the 10th nasty surprise, we had 13 days of tripping and fishing (12 hour shifts, pretty exhausting) and FINALLY got back the string along with another little surprise. A sledgehammer someone had purposely thrown down the hole - sabotage. Doesn't matter how smart you are, or how hard you work if there's an A**hole looking to cause trouble. Makes me wonder about the correlation on the DH and certain crew members. If for instance it was discovered that a certain hand always seemed to be on board when "bad luck" happened? We keep operating from the assumption that everyone was pulling on the same oar, and someone's were just being stupid. But if there were a Jonah aboard who wanted to cause problems, it is all to easily done. Months of bad luck, and the brass start pushing to clear the rig for the next job, so corners start getting cut and mistakes start to compound. Coffee in the face indeed.

But if there were a Jonah aboard who wanted to cause problems, it is all to easily done.

Jonah didn't want to cause problems for the crew. He begged to be thrown overboard to save the crew. He wanted to cause problems for Ninevah.

What kind of republican are you, doesn't know the Bible?

Jonah may have been a good Republican- wanted those evil slouches in Ninevah eradicated. But God in his mercy spared Ninevah and pissed off Jonah. So was God a bleeding heart liberal? Maybe not, he didn't care much for the tree that was protecting Jonah from the scorching sun, so he had a worm eat it and the tree died. Moral of the story, God doesn't play politics, and has better answers than both the Republicans and the Democrats, so vote God every time.

The problem comes with people who think they know what God's answers are.

"The problem comes with people who think they know what God's answers are."

What problem are you speaking of, Speaker? From Wiley to MOB to PaintDancer to you the topic at hand drifted quickly. In order to do my part to keep the drift going I submit for your consideration that there are also those who really do know what God’s answers are. Certainly they do not know all of the answers, but they have a pretty good grasp on the important ones. They found those answers in the bible. That is my opinion backed up by facts, two of which are below.

“For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.“ (Proverbs 2:6).

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

God bless,

That is my opinion backed up by facts, two of which are below.

The fact is that those two citations are indeed in a version of the Bible. Beyond that, it's your belief that they are true.


Maybe you're the one who ate Jonah's tree!

Karma Dave, thanks for a thoughtful and considerate answer.

The story of Jonah, whether you accept it as part of your faith or consider it a myth or fairy tale, (as most on this scientific forum probably do), has a wonderful moral in the end. It shows God's infinite compassion and mercy towards a godless people who repented in the end of their evilness and were spared God's judgment. It also showed Jonah that being concerned for only oneself, over the spiritual and physical well-being of others, is incorrect in God's eye, and God called him on it. Whatever, you think of God, or the bible, I would imagine that most here would agree with God's philosophy of compassion and mercy.

Nah, cellulose isn't part of my diet.

PD may have been thinking of our brother woerm.

Jonah is a great text. God demands that Jonah transcend his tribalism (the Ninevites being ancient and greatly-hated enemies of Israel), but he can't--although we don't know what happens in the silence after God's splendid rant.

munch, munch, munch, burp. Ah, I don't know nothing about any tree.

Honest, You there Rabbi Johah, get back to preaching repentance, like now, Boss say so.

Mr. Snakehead,

Version is NASB.

I do indeed believe. And belief in God is a matter of faith. Here is a question for you to ponder. Let's say I ask you if you love your wife, children, mother, or whoever is most dear to you; and you say yes. Lets say I am skeptical and tell you I want proof. Can you prove it? Honestly, you can't "prove it". All you can really say is that you just know it is true and that's enough for you. That sounds a lot like faith is at work.

And I haven't forgotten about what I promised last week--just been too busy lately.

God bless,

Let's say I ask you if you love your wife, children, mother, or whoever is most dear to you; and you say yes. Lets say I am skeptical and tell you I want proof. Can you prove it?

In this day and age we can measure the hormonal changes that occur in our bodies and minds as a result of most of these relationships. So yes it can be proven.

As far as what God's truth is, well there are a lot of different Holy Books floating around, and a lot of people who believe in their book and the word of God as presented in their book. Do any of them actually know anything?

Hello Speaker,

You assert that we (scientists?) can prove that one person loves another, e.g. mother and child. I must disagree. Perhaps they can detect fleeting moments of physiological changes of one kind or another while running a “love” experiment. That is a long way from proof. Love is not either on or off. It is far more complex than even being a matter of degrees. There are different kinds of love, at different times toward the same object of that love. A mother just “knows” that she loves her child. She is as certain of it as her very existence. But she can’t prove it and you can’t run an experiment to prove it for her.

I agree that there are a lot of different Holy Books floating around. I believe that the Christian Bible is the only authentic record of God’s revealed truth. To address your question directly, the Bible contains everything that you need to know to attain eternal life in His presence. It contains all of that and more for anyone who is willing to read it and understand. So, to paraphrase your wording, the Bible knows everything that is most important.

I mentioned faith. What I believe about the Bible ultimately follows my belief that there is one true God. I am as certain of that as is the mother who loves her child. I can’t prove that God exists, so I will just accept it on faith. Once I do that, most everything else falls into place nicely.

God bless,

"Lets say I am skeptical and tell you I want proof"

I'd tell you to f**k off. Nobody owes you proof of anything.

Someone saying they love their wife etc is stating an opinion, a belief. No one has to prove their opinions and beliefs, especially to self-appointed religious "belief cops" and "faith cops" who are so insecure they feel some psychotic need to go around questioning others to boost their own sick ego.

Faith is doing what you believe. Plain and simple.

Faith in God, Christ, Allah, Buddha, or any other deity, mentor, teacher, etc, is doing what they say, which obviously requires knowing what they say.

The sick perverted Christian concept of faith is believing in the existence of a deity, mentor, teacher, etc, without knowing nor doing what they say, and Christianity is unique in that concept, no other religion teaches it.

By the Christian concept of faith, Lucifer (later renamed Satan meaning "adversary") has more faith than any Christian out there. He believes in the existence of Christ, and even knows what Christ says, way better than any Christian out there, he can quote Christ till the cows come home.

But he doesn't follow it, he doesn't act on it, he doesn't do it, in fact he actively opposes it, and THAT is why God changed his name to Satan, the adversary, the rebellious one ...like most who call themselves Christians.

Hello RF7,

This all started by my lame attempt at a bit of humor when I replied to Speaker to Animals. I said, “That is my opinion backed up by facts, two of which are below.” Then I quoted two scriptures. I was thinking about the TOD guidelines for posters asking us to clearly indicate opinion and to back up assertions of fact with references. Oh, well. I thought it was funny at the time.

I think you misunderstood the intent of my post to which you replied. Please let me know if I am not correct. I was throwing out some hypothetical questions to make the point to Snakehead that there are some things in our everyday life that we believe with certainty to be true even though we cannot prove them to be true. That would be a belief grounded in faith. I believe by faith what to me is fact: God exists. He wishes to share His revealed word with us. He chooses to author the Bible through the anointed men who wrote it. Since God does not lie, we can trust that the Bible is true. Therefore the two scriptures that I quoted are facts. If someone doesn’t believe that God exists to begin with, then the scriptures I quoted may not be true either.

You have some comments about love and faith that I would like to address. I don’t do well responding to pejorative writing, so I believe I will leave the rest of your comments alone.


karmadave, I think your points might be better on a forum devoted to religion and faith.

1. TOD comments are all over the place. That is kind of what makes it fun.
2. Religion is just one of many TOD topics that might be better on another forum.
2. This thread had already drifted to religion before I made my first post. They were talking about the story of Daniel.
3. Very little on TOD is sticky enough to hang around past the closing of a thread. It's hard to find stuff once it is archived.


"That would be a belief grounded in faith."

A belief is an opinion. Opinion requires no proof.

"It is my opinion God exists." "It is my belief God exists." Same thing. Neither require any proof.

If someone says "prove God exists", tell them to f**k off, you don't owe them any proof.

Faith is belief in action. You believe God exists? Ok, fine, learn what He says and do it. You believe Christ exists? Ok, fine, learn what He says and do it. You believe Allah exists? Ok, fine, learn what He says and do it. You believe Christ / Mohammed were teachers sent by God / Allah? Ok, fine, learn what they said and do it. That is true faith.

"Dead faith" is defined in scripture as belief without action, or worse, contrary action.

"Since God does not lie, we can trust that the Bible is true."

I believe God doesn't lie, and I believe much of the Bible is false. Poritons of it may have been inspired by God, but those portions were written by men who were quite capable of distorting things. Other portions of the Bible were written purely by men with no inspiration from God. Then the whole thing was translated into english by another group of men also quite capable of distorting things. So the Bible we have today is a hodge-podge mess of distortions with occasional elements of truth scattered here and there that survived two (or more) passes through writers' and translators' distorted minds.

"Therefore the two scriptures that I quoted are facts."

Nothing in the Bible is fact unless you (a) choose to believe it, but then it's merely belief, not fact, or (b) prove it to be fact via scientific process, i.e. seeing clear irrefutable evidence of it, or via experimentation, i.e. seeing it work over and over again, scientific process being the way anything moves from belief to fact.

"You have some comments about love and faith that I would like to address."

I really don't care what you think about love and faith, scripture tells us what both are, end of discussion as far as I'm concerned.

there are also those who really do know what God’s answers are. ... They found those answers in the bible. That is my opinion backed up by facts, two of which are below.

Dave, how do you deal with the cognitive dissonance of believing in a literal interpretation of the Bible, and believing in Karma enough to use it as your handle? I mean, either the Bible is the only true Word, or it's not.

KJV Deuteronomy 32:35 "To me belongeth vengeance and recompence"

From Wikipedia "Karma": 'Karma' is an Indian religious concept in contradistinction to 'faith' espoused by Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), which view all human dramas as the will of God as opposed to present—and past—life actions

Hello Brat,

Good point. Karma means nothing to me. I only had a vague idea what it meant. I don't believe in karma as defined in the excerpt you provided. The word just stuck around for the last 17 years or so because back in my AOL days I thought karmadave sounded good as an email name. Besides, I didn't want to be dsmith23453. After reading your post I think I'm coming down with a case of cognitive dissonance. So, maybe it is time to ditch the karma and find something else. How about BereanDave?

BTW, like many others, I too struggle with literal bible interpretation from time to time.

(eventually to be ex-Karma)Dave

Oh, no... I know why leaving the pipe clamped in the BOP would make things difficult, I was just wondering if it would be easier to hook if it were exposed. I only got to see a little bit from the fish tool cam. I did see the DP, squashed nearly flat; is there a chance that wasn't actually a proper fish tool but just a conduit to get the camera in there to see what kind of tool they need to grab it?

I had dismissed the thought they want the capping stack in place during the fish, because it's been stated the BOP swap will take around 24 hours - is that complete start to finish, or the amount of time the wellhead will be sitting there naked?

If there is 3000' of pipe hanging in the well and 5000' of cement in the bottom and the well is ~13000' top to bottom, then, if the pipe is dropped, it can fall ~5000' before hitting the top of the cement. This, IMHO, would be quite a battering ram blow on the cement. Can anyone assure use that the cement would not fail, crack and break under such abuse?

This might give some idea of the velocity of a dropped tubular into a mud filled wellbore :


Drill pipe might well fall faster due to smaller cross sectional area.

This might give some idea of the velocity of a dropped tubular into a mud filled wellbore:

How many feet long is what we see dropping?

Swift, Looking at bignerd's link, and surmising that the double white lines indicate 90' section markers(ie, when running pipe or casing, you make it up in 3-30' sections and stack in the derrick between the fingers), I see ~6x90' sections, plus whatever transpired earlier in the video. Casing is not only bigger at 18", but much lighter (even accounting for the extra width) because there are no shoulders and it is only about 1/4-1/2 inch thick steel. DP can be up to 3" thick for the real deep high performance rods. Extra weight plus smaller diameter equals higher velocity, bigger impact down below.

I see ~6x90' sections

Thank you!

Is it reasonable to assume that the drill pipe, currently hanging from the old BOP, would be the less deformed of the pipes, as depicted in this BP mock-up: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/in...?

If so, would a die collar effectively work to attach the new DP to the old DP?

Could the deformed DP be cleanly cut off beneath the deformation?

What are the most likely fishing tool options to make that secure connection?

If my questions have been specifically addressed, I’ll take a link. Thanks.

Has anyone seen an "actual" wellbore diagram for this well? We have seen plenty of really nice diagrams of a perfectly straight welbore showing all of the parts and pieces and how it all goes together.

IIRC the Marianas started the original well "A" and got the bit hung up. They (cut?) the bit off and planned on doing a sidetrack but then the Marianas was damaged in a hurricane and was sent back to port for repairs. DWH came in to continue the drilling (not sure of the timeline or which rig did the sidetrack).

If the drilling was sidetracked, the liner, casing, DP et al would show a turn from the vertical wellbore. Is it "S" shaped or did they just turn a few degrees and keep going at an angle?

I understand that sidetracking is a fairly commom practice, but would it cause complications with cementing?

Also, if there is a "bend" in the pipe, would the sand and particles free flowing from the reservoir for a couple of months wear more at the bend as opposed to a nice straight pipe being worn evenly on all sides going up?

No I am not a CT... just wondering.

Doug, a true scale diagram would be 10,000 times as long as it is wide and not usable, hence the use of not-to-scale schematics. But from the published casing diagram total measured depth to the bottom of the 9 7/8" liner is 17,168ft, vs. true vertical depth 17157ft. Subtract 5067ft water depth (MD and TVD quoted as being the same at sea bed) gives 12101ft MD and 12090ft TVD below seabed (or mudline if you prefer). From Pythagoras' theorem the farthest the bottom hole location could be laterally from the top is just over 500ft, corresponding to about 2 1/2 degrees from vertical. If you drew it true scale an a 6ft high wall the bottom would be 3 inches offset from the top. You might spot that by eye but I'm no good at hanging pictures and would use a plumb-line.

In practice the well will be slightly S-shaped with a deviation around the bottom-hole location of the Marianas well, so the current bottom-hole location must be closer to the top-hole. If they cared about the 500ft the well could easily have been steered back to a location vertically under the wellhead. I doubt if they'd continue at a tangent because being off vertical makes everything a bit more difficult for running and cementing casing, tool wear etc., as something will always be rubbing on the low side of the hole. Not much more difficult, much higher angle wells are drilled all the time, but why make life even a little bit more difficult when it's trivial to fix? Even if the well was drilled at a tangent, there's no reason to believe that would result in a bad cement job. Thousands (probably tens or hundreds of thousands) of wells are drilled worldwide at higher angles and with good cement jobs.

The turn would typically be made at less than 3 degrees per 100ft drilled, very gentle and have little impact on sand erosion. Surface pipework guys get worked up about right-angle bends and are happier if it's given a gentle profile, say 90 degrees per 10 feet. That's still 300 times tighter than the typical drilling turn.

Thanks Quaking :)

Some of the "Horizontal" wells are turned from 90 deg Vertical to 90 deg horizontal in 600 vertical feet and then drilled out several thousand feet at 90 deg horizonal, The wells are drilled this way not to "GET TO" some where but to increase the amount of producing formation open to the well bore. Some are drilled while well is producing from part of the formation already drilled through while continuning the horizontal drilling. Don't think production such as the BP well. A lot of the much touted "shale production" are horizontal drilled wells. The drill pipe is not rotated to turn the bit. A mud moto turbine on the end of the string turns the bit.

Ok everyone get your longs ready for monday, I suspect when they opened that ram and nothing came rocketing out, all those BP bulls out there breathed a big bullish sigh (snort?) of relief.

Disclosure: No position ...and none planned.

All you what-about-this-and-what-about-that folks need to take a chill pill (not to be confused with spacer pill, LCM pill, etc), they're making it up as they go now, uncharted waters you might say. [sorry for the pun] :)

Very good, thank you. Never liked Scrubs, but always liked Men At Work.

And how about this cheesy 80's video about nameless anxiety?

I like how the electronic tweets at the beginning of that video vaguely resemble the sounds of rocks falling down a well casing:


It´s a lazy sunday - good time to watch videos...
Here is one that mirrors my impression of BP´s competencies :


If I recall correctly, the tool jts of the drill pipe currently inside the well won't pass thru the 7 in casing on bottom. The cement left in the well after the static kill wasn't tagged so we don't know where that is. If the drill pipe inside the well were to be accidentally dropped during the fishing operations, what would happen when it hits bottom after free fall thru the mud? Could the impact be enough to part the 7 inch at a collar?

One diagram shows there may have been a stinger below the drill pipe and hopefully its there and long enough to keep the drill pipe tool joints from entering the 7 inch.

Golly, EDM, seems like you should know the most about that. But let's try to 'logic' it a bit. There must be a drill bit on the bottom, no? When the bit hits the mud, the mud would have to just ooze past because the bit is neither turning nor flushing. I think there would be a lot of resistance, and the whole thing ought to act like a shock absorber. I suspect the mud will also have gelled to some extent, and will be more viscous with depth. If those assumptions are anything close to right, I believe the string would be moving pretty slowly by the time it hit anything solid.

Disclaimer: WAG by someone not qualified to make a WAG.

"There must be a drill bit on the bottom, no?"

They were displacing mud to sea water and had cemented earlier. No need for a bit, no?

How far do you reckon the drill pipe will spear into 5000 feet of cement. It will have split the production casing long before it gets to the 7 inch collar. But, looking on the bright side. At least we will know if there is any pressure in the annulus and see if it just kicks or whoopee; there she blows!

Is the "stinger" the bit that guides the drill pipe down the hole?

Hmmmmmm..... was sorta wonderin bout that myself. :)

aw hell it slipped ... look out below ... here it comes

.................. whhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaammmmmmm :)

RF; it's all irrelevant anyway, we are doomed.

Hmmmmmmmmm..... I kina like this one :)

..... Houston .... uhhhhhhh we got a little problem .... welllll ... this is a little awkward ..... but how long ya think it might take to get another longstring out here? .... uhhhhh yessir, with 15 centalizers this time ... if ya don't mind ...


The 3 1/2" stinger would make a good shock absorber, but I would hate to be trying to break it out on the drill floor. It would be one big cork screw, setting slips would a challenge to say the least. A set of 3 1/2" elevators would be my dog collar and it would be just as easy to have the welder there with the oxy. I would not worry too much about breaking it out!

Retire now but I worked for 36 years running Free Point Indicators and backing off drill pipe, tubing etc with string shots. "If it was screwed together and free we could back it off" Backed off DCs for Shell on a well at Bruni Webb County Texas at 23700'. The biggest mess is drill pipe(or tubing, or tubing with sucker rod in it) that has been dropped. It is usally "corkscrewed" so bad that if it is stuck which it usually is it is impossible to run wire line tools thru it. Cut the rope socket off go back with 35ft long tie on shots about 5/8" dia. and try to recover a short at a time. A real mess is trying to "washover" stuck DP that has been dropped. The tool jt that is stuck against the well must be milled over(cut off flat) to get past I saw a well where 15 (about 350' of 8") diameter drill collars dropped about 8000'. Were going to run a set of DH jars on top of DCs picked up on DC and about the time DC slips were pulled jars went off and DCs dropped about a foot and broke the DC elevators and dropped the DCs in hole. Went in hole with overshot, and had one of our trucks on location ready for DCs to be stuck. Latched on DCs were free. Layed the 8" collars on rack. They were slightly corkscrewed. Enough to see when rolled.

There is saying about the difference in an oilfield tale and a fairy tale. The fairy tale starts with "Once upon a time" And an oilfield tale starts with "This is no s**t!" The above posting is truly no s**t!!!

Not only is Chu a liar and a coward, he is a thief!

"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.

Can you pass that be ME again? You said what, Steven?

Well then, who was it that wrote on TOD


OH BTW, at 42:38 here http://bp.concerts.com/gom/bptechbriefing051010.htm

Kent Wells said this

We'll put whatever pressure it takes to get in the well. And because we don't know what it is in there, we will have the pumping capacity at the surface to pump at whatever pressure we need to get into the well.

Doesn't sound like a guy too worry about the DougR scenario, does he?

Raving. Frikking. Loonatic.

The moon is almost full.

It has been reported that the top kill was only able to briefly achieve 6000 psi at the wellhead (presumably the pressure at the point where the choke and kill lines enter the BOP). The fact that they weren't able to pressure up the well beyond that was interpreted as an indication of lack of well integrity. And it was at the point in time that the speculation that the lack of well integrity may produce the worst case scenario started to emerge from various sources in the public at large.

Moving ahead to today, the condition of the well liner casing string is still in doubt. There is no way to know if it suffered damage and every reason to suspect that the loads imposed on April 20-22 did do some damage.

At this point they still have no way of knowing how much pressure can be tolerated with out blowing out the liner. For all they know if the annulus starts to communicates with the reservoir at this point in time it still could blowout that casing and crater the well.

Kent Wells: Yes. Another good question. So, we could have up to, I think it’s around 3,500 feet of drill pipe hanging below the BOP. And, if we were to – and we believe that the drill pipe’s being held by the BOP. So, if we were to try to pick up the BOP right now, we’d have to lift it 3,500 feet straight up to pull all of the drill pipe out, and then we’d have difficulty handling that, et cetera.

I don't understand this argument. In fact, I don't even understand why they need to go fishing for the drill pipe at all when the shear rams of the BOP already have it in their grasp. Wouldn't it have been possible to do the following?:

1. Pull the BOP with attached DP up slightly, so that the first 20 feet or so of DP under the BOP are exposed.

2. After stabilizing it, drill a hole right through the DP.

3. Pass the rod of an anchoring device directly through the drilled hole.

4. Lower the BOP and attached DP until the anchoring device sits firmly on the sea floor.

5. Saw through the DP between anchor and BOP.

6. Pull the BOP (with first few feet of DP attached) back up to the surface.

7. Recover the anchor and remaining 3500' of attached DP.

The advantage of such an approach (if feasible) would be that the shear rams on the BOP would not need to be released, thus leaving the evidence needed for the later investigation intact.

Is there a catch to the method outlined above that makes it impractical?

Neat idea Mike but one catch is that's not how it's usually done, whereas fishing broken drill pipe is a routine, if often slow and frustrating, operation. When working at the limits of technology, trying something different will always carry more risk than doing things the tried and trusted way.

Also, a lot can be inferred about the BOP even after releasing the DP. For example, it was held - I release shear A - now it's loose and I can lift it - tells us about the functioning of shear A. PLus remember, the BOP is not in as-per-blowout condition today. ROVs have actuated controls, modules have been lifted to surface and replaced/repaired. As long as a careful record is kept of everything that was done, the authorities can back-track and reach a best-as-they-can conclusion about its status at the end of the day. Short of a time machine and teleportation technology, that's all they could have done in June or July anyway.

All through the process a balance had to be struck between fixing the problem and preserving forensic evidence. Same in any crime or accident scene. Would a paramedic leave someone bleeding to death after a car crash because (s)he didn't want to release the seatbelt until it had been examined, just in case seat-belt failure was a factor in making a trivial crash near-fatal?

Good plan Mike, but. I don't see the admiral letting them put drill pipe or tools in that well without a BOP, in case the well has a bout of dyspepsia. The only static head you would have available would be seawater, no mud pumps. No one is sure on the integrity of the casing hanger seal at well head. If you pull the drill pipe out would it pull some casing with it; or allow the casing to move. How good is the grip on the drill pipe by the BOP rams. Are the rams locked in there present position. The 48 hour test is supposed to be twice as long as it takes to fit the replacement BOP and move the rigs.


If you were going to pull the BOP with the pipe still attached, then the easiest way would be to latch a set of elevators suspended from the secondary derrick of the Enterprise, and latch it onto a tool joint that would be exposed once the BOP was lifted. Cut the drill pipe as close to the bottom of the BOP with the aid of a ROV, then clear the well site to bring in the new BOP from the DDII.

If they can not latch on to the fish, or they can not open the shears, then I feel this is what they will end up doing. I believe they must know they have a tool joint in the BOP that can hang off a set of pipe rams or otherwise the chance of success would be quite small.

If the shears open and a tool joint is available to hang from the pipe rams it should be a fairly easy job. Now remember it is a BIG IF.

TOOL. Is it not the Drillers job to make sure a tool joint is never in the BOP? The drill pipe, as I have read it, was not moved during mud / spacer flushing procedures. At what hight would the Driller have parked the tool joint; are there rules for this or a best practise?


Correct practice on a DP rig in a well control situation is to space out so the tool joints are not in the way of the rams or annular, close annular, open choke line, inform, take pressure readings. Once the the well in under control, then the a set of rams should be close on low pressure, the pipe lowered so the tool joint lands out in the rams and the manifold pressure increased to normal, 1500psi.

This means you in control of the kick and ready to shear the pipe and disconnect if need be. On the DWH that night they only closed the lower annular and to my knowledge BP have not told us about space outs and where the tool joints are, though the early rumours were that a tool joint was caught in the shear rams. Who knows, but I am sure we are about to find out.

If BP recovered the section of riser they cut with the CLAW, then they will know exactly where the tool joint will be.

If the drill string is to be stopped at any one point for any time such a circulating , the important thing is to not to have a tool joint in front of the shears.

How accurately do you know the distance between rig and BOP at any instant, bearing in mind the rig is rising, falling and tilting with tides, swells and wind?

Very accurately. Although perhaps through a combination of camera and GPS. If you read the article referenced by MoonofA in a previous thread (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3159/is_7_227/ai_n16689918/), BP previously nudged a fishing tool sideways a few inches in 6,000ft of water, by using the DP thrusters to move the rig.

With the violence of the blow out is the drill string in the same place they left it or could it have moved either up or down?


These might help answer some questions

The Deepwater Horizon

A Unique 10,000-ft Water Depth Dynamically
Positioned Semisubmersible Drilling Vessel


Power Management System for the "Deepwater Horizon"
a Dynamically Positioned All Weather Semisubmersible


Even if they manage to fish the string would it not be a good idea to get the string supported by elevators anyway? Those shears had a good try at cutting the pipe and there is no guarantee to its integrity. Do they really want to be lifting from the end,just above a damaged section, with 99.9+% of the weight dangling below, a weight which will increase as the pipe moves from a mud environment to a sea water environment?


If the DP is hanging from the (almost closed) shear rams, and the shear rams are not operational, How are they going to get it out? Pull really hard and hope for the best?


I agree with MoonofA below. They already have at least one backup plan and maybe more ready to go. Since this thread is speculating, I have an idea in case they have to lift the BOP with the DP inside. If that is more risky, perhaps this idea would minimize it. Also, I guess you are talking about elevators attached to the end of a string of DP?

1. Lift the stack until there is at least one full joint above the well head.
2. Slide a thick steel plate with a slot slightly larger than the DP diameter over the exposed well head flange.
3. Put a hinged rotary bushing on the steel plate and latch it around the DP.
4. Drop some slips into the rotary bushing.
5. Lower the BOP until the DP is hanging from the slips.
6. Break the first joint above the bushing or cut the DP above the joint.
7. Reverse the procedure to install the new BOP.


I bet there is already a backup plan in case the fishing does not work to do something like you described. I'd also bet that the tools needed for the backup plan have already been constructed and are ready to use.

But why try something new and tricky when a procedure is possible that is being used in the GOM every few days, i.e. fishing, and for which specialists and tools are readily available.

Ben Raines has a fascinating one today: What is this stuff?

Scientists are intrigued by the heavy sheen and persistent clouds of dingy brown water washing up in pockets from Perdido Pass to Petit Bois Island since July.

Waves carrying the brown water ashore leave a conspicuous amber stain on the white sand. A recent snorkeling trip along Fort Morgan found the bottom just offshore covered in a fine layer of brown residue. ...

Microbes' leftovers? Plankton poop?

“It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s got some hydrocarbons in it, but it does not match the oil from the Deepwater Horizon,” Overton said, adding that he has received samples collected by federal officials in other places that appear similar. “I have to think it is biological in origin.” ...

“It’s some sort of new product coming out of the biological process. I think it is related to the oil, but it is not the oil. That’s my guess,” Overton said. “There was so much oil out there. It didn’t all go away. It has to get converted into something. This stuff is similar to the oils associated with seaweed or the plant privet.”

Overton said that the chemical signature of the material was “unprecedented” in his decades of oil analysis. “Never seen anything quite like it,” he said.

“If I had a nickel for everything about this spill that’s never been seen before ... ” Graham said. ...

Thanks! This *is* a very interesting article. I've come to appreciate the work that Ben Raines has done down in that part of the world.

These are certainly eye-opening comments from the scientist:

>>It’s some sort of new product coming out of the biological process.<<

>>Overton said that the chemical signature of the material was “unprecedented” in his decades of oil analysis. “Never seen anything quite like it,” he said.<<

It almost looks like the water found in the Dismal Swamp, part of the ICW in N. Carolina, and in the Blackwater River of Virgina. That same murky deep brown that stains everything.

Thanks. This must the brown stuff that Raines reported seeing in pockets a couple of weeks ago.

A key question would be, what is the PAH content?

May be, this is related to this story :


"The goal was to prove to the public that their fishing grounds are contaminated with both oil and dispersants. Their method was simple – they tied an absorbent rag to a weighted hook, dropped it overboard for a short duration of time, then pulled it up to find the results. The rags were covered in a brown oily substance that the fishermen identified as a mix of BP's crude oil and toxic dispersants.

Miller and Stewart, who were both in BP's Vessels of Opportunity programme and were trained in identifying oil and dispersants, have been accused by some members of Mississippi's state government of lying about their findings.

Recent days in Mississippi waters have found fishermen and scientists finding oil in Garden Pond on Horn Island, massive fish kills near Cat Island and Biloxi, "black water" in Mississippi Sound, oil inside Pass Christian Harbor, and submerged oil in Pass Christian, in addition to what Miller and Stewart showed IPS and others with their testing.

"We think they opened shrimp season prematurely," Miller told IPS, "How can we put our product back on the market when everybody in America knows what happened down here? I have seen so many dead animals in the last few months I can't even keep count."

Yeah, but they dipped that rag into the water in an area that's closed to fishing.

It could well be the same material, assuming the video wasn't faked. (It is a pretty slick production for a group of self-described "uneducated fishermen," and it has been cut.)

The oil summit report linked by brit mentioned a process of flocculation, where flakes drift away from water/oil colloid and sink. However, Dr. Overton must know what that is.

Plankton poop that contains oil components seems a possibility.

A couple weeks ago I commented on a previous Raines picture, guessing we were seeing "floc" left over from the oil-weathering process. This was a guess. Still guessing, such floc would be expected to contain plankton poop and the dead bodies of blooming plankton, plus the long-chain hydrocarbons (esp. asphaltenes) that are not readily decomposed by microbes.

This is the material that, under rapid-deposition geological processes, gets deposited in large quantities, is buried under sediment, and eventually is subjected to high pressure and temperature to become petroleum. As I recall it, those conditions normally involved rapid continental uplift, causing rapid erosion and runoff of large amounts of nutrients that fertilized the seas to cause plankton blooms.

To the extent that those depositional conditions are not in place here/now, we would expect this stuff to weather to the extent possible, further consolidate, and join the new mud as it forms but not get buried very deeply or rapidly. I hope the biogeochemists are out there getting data so we'll eventually know what's happening.

Wow, talk about fascinating, NRD -- if your theory is right, Ben's out there snapping pictures of ur-oil? Think of that!

Looking into a little. just wonder HOW to trace the result back to the cause which might be benzene. From a little quick search on the dark colored materials from wikipedia–
–its waters aren’t exactly black; they are similar in color to strong tea. The dark color comes from humic acid from incomplete breakdown of phenol-containing vegetation from sandy clearings. The river’s name arises from the fact that it looks black from afar.’ (Talking about a South American river)
This I believe is the same process that makes so many of the swamps in coastal areas have dark "tea" colored water. So..looks like phenol is a residual from oxygenation of benzene. Now..is it possible benzene was in the “HC mixture oil/dispersant”? And if so was it modified by bacterial activity-to phentol which broke down to humic acid? Or is this just too simple?

Crude contains a good dose of benzene and other chicken-wire volatiles and aromatics.

JEC, I think your process is just too complicated. Benzene breaks down to phenol which breaks down into humic acids which don't dissolve and dissipate, but hang out in little pockets of gunk? A simpler explanation would involve something dark and less soluble. Even if tannins/humic acids were involved, they are already in the water, coming from our lazy dark rivers and bayous.

Phenol from oxidation of benzene is not going to break down to humic acid. This a a far more complex compound.

Speaking of the good Dr. Overton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DurJI754lPA

In Part 2 of this video, he references LSU "stealing" the grant money from BP. I don't think they're going to like that too much: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHWOgU4qrFw&feature=channel

As was said earlier, slow news day. :)

Quite the do-si-do he had there, huh, Cap? My take on the "LSU stole the money" comment is that the university spread it around to a number of departments, not just his project (so he's pissed).

Dr. Overton also said,that they never tested the rainwater.
And he threatens people with possible consequences :
"Be careful what you´re saying. If you say, seafood is contaminated you have to furnish proof that, otherwise you´re in problems."
He said this several times.

Lady, here's why they aren't testing rainwater for oil (and much else about the interaction of the spill and Gulf weather):


Overton's advice to those people was excellent: IF they have proof, bring it, loudly -- but if they don't, pretending they do will hurt them first, last, and most. He's not threatening them but telling them something they dare not ignore.

lotus - I´m a little (or more) sceptical about this from your link :

"In general, we do not need to worry about oil dissolving into the rain, since the oil and water don't mix.
Furthermore, about 50-70% of the oil that is going to evaporate from the spill does so in the first 12 hours that the oil reaches the surface, so the volatile oil compounds that could potentially get dissolved into rain water won't be around.
However, I doubt that these traces would be detectable in rainwater except by laboratory analysis, and would not cause any harm to plants or animals."

It´s not right, that oil and water don´t mix :

"Water soluble fraction : Yes, some oily compounds are relatively soluble in water e.g. benzene. These are especially worrisome as they do not float on the sea surface but instead disperse both horizontally and vertically. (You are right if you deduce that living in the depths of the sea does not protect against these dangerous components.)

Being water soluble, they are very bioavailable to marine organisms, easily entering their bodies through inhalation and ingestion. Oil booms have limited effect against them. On the other hand, being bioavailable makes them rather susceptible to decomposition."


Lady, all I can tell you is that Jeff Masters is one of the leading meteorologists in this country. When he talks weather, many thousands of Americans trust his word (and have for years because what he's said has proven out). I wish you could have seen his blog the last two days before Katrina hit -- better yet, I wish more people in NOLA and on the Coast had!

Nothing in that quote from Singapore has to do with rain, does it?

Right, avon - nothing to do with rain.
But it´s the antithesis against the thesis, that oil is not water-soluble.
Besides that : the light parts of oil are able to evaporate even if not water-soluble.

Right, avon

Aw, now my feelin's are hurt.

I´m sooooooooooo sorry, lotus ! Endless sorry !!!
Can a virtual german kiss propitiate you ? Or do you prefer blue bell ?

'Pology accepted, Lady.

Well, let's see . . . hmm, I've had Blue Bell before but never a virtual German kiss . . . wot the heck. Pucker up, toots, and let's give these ol' birds a flutter.


[Eatcher hearts out, boyz!]

Lotus, you are usually better than good at posting links, but for this titillating event all we get is a transcription of sound effects? I'm so disappointed ;)

I'm so disappointed

You? Lady was sound asleep, and I nearly was. Pretty low-voltage smooch. Oh well, we'll see what adventures today brings . . .

I understood him to be telling people that spreading scare stories about seafood is jeopardizing the long-term prospects of the Gulf fishing industry, which seems obviously true.

The gentleman he was initially talking to is a well-respected fisherman in the area. The problem as I see it is that 1) many of the fishermen and shrimpers are genuinely scared about putting a product on the market that will make people sick, (ironically, thereby jeopardizing their future careers, which is what Overton is warning them about) and 2) the government's testing of the seafood is seen by many (including fishermen, shrimpers, community leaders, politicians, independent scientists, and the public) as being woefully inadequate for this particular crisis.

If the fishermen/shrimpers didn't make their concerns known publicly, the view is that nothing would get done (there is some basis for this belief, if you recall the video earlier in the week where there was a conflict in Mississippi between the fishermen and government about reports of oil). If they say nothing but choose to not work, they get no money (and they're already hurting financially). If they do indeed work and put their product to market, they risk making people sick and also getting sued.

Tough choice.

He does a good job of keeping his cool with all those cranky people yelling at him.

Don't know if this is a leak or not but they are watching it.


I've been looking at that too. Is that the vent on top of the BOP? I looks like it. I'm not sure why anything (even if it is only a small amount) should be venting from a system that is equallized, in pressure, with its surroundings. More mystery.


Aren't there any number of substance that may hitch a ride on a large piece of hardware and react at extreme depth, so as to mimic a venting, e.g. a glob of grease or another manufacturing artifact? This is a WAG & true question NOT professing. g

It doesn't seem to be much and does not look like it is increasing. Maybe some gas that was trapped down well in the mud?

I have no answers ... only questions. My WAG is a leak of some sort.

Likely they are pumping seawater from the q-4000 through the choke line through bop and out on the top. Keeps everything clean enough for the camera they need to get the fish, the messed up drill pipe.

Thanks Moon. That sounds like a much needed prerequisite making perfect sense. g

Could they pump that little and why would they sit there all morning watching it?

1. Yes
2. Nothing else to do for that ROV

Dunno. It doesn't seem like a very effective flow of seawater if the idea is to keep the pipe clean. I would have thought they would pump more for that purpose.

Has anyone got the pictures from the camera that they can put up?


Seawater pumping to keep crabs and other undesireables from setting up house.

Press-Register: Tourism survey paints grim picture for Gulf Coast

N.B.: This is a national survey, but lots of the mid-Coast beaches draw mostly home-state tourists. So maybe it won't be this bad? Labor Day weekend could tell . . .

Louisiana probably gets mostly locals on its beaches, and most tourists traveling to Louisiana are probably going to New Orleans, so its strange that the oil spill would have much effect. The Mississippi Gulf Coast gets people from out of state, but they are mostly there for the casinos. Alabama gets many summer tourists from the west: Louisiana, Miss, Tex, etc, because they have the closest Florida type beaches (white sands, reasonably clear water). They also tend to get some "snowbirds" from the Midwest in the winter. Probably coastal Alabama and Florida Panhandle, whose tourism is derived from the quality of the beaches, will struggle most.

Aw, that's okay. They can just head out to swim at Martha's Vineyard and hog out on the pristine sea life from along the Northeast coast.

President Obama, who took a plunge in the Gulf last week to show Americans it was safe to swim the oil spill-plagued area, arrived on this supposedly pristine island yesterday in the midst of a rash of bacteria-induced beach closings.

Portions of Tisbury Great Pond, the salt-water lagoon fronting the first family’s vacation estate Blue Heron Farm, were closed earlier this week due to high levels of enterococci, an indicator that the water is contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria. Ew.

Chemicals leached into waterways from commonly used plastics and detergents may be making the lobsters in Long Island Sound and elsewhere in southern New England more susceptible to a bacterial infection known as shell disease, a University of Connecticut researcher has found.

Among the chemicals studied is bisphenol A, also called BPA...

You're forgetting the sport fishing tourists that would usually come to Louisiana. Also, a big draw for many tourists to New Orleans is the seafood ...

True about the seafood, although there is plenty to eat and drink in New Orleans, even if you want to avoid the seafood, and plenty to do without coming near a beach or coastline.
FWIW, Alabama also has a big sport fishing industry, as does NW Florida.

We have mid-Atlantic coast beaches 3 hours from us, so we probably would have never have gone to the gulf coast no matter what had happened. It really depends a lot on where you are starting from, I guess..

Too bad about the typo in the T-P's headline, but here comes more grist for Judge Barbier . . .

New oil spill lawsuit seeks to test limit on puntitive [sic] damage awards

When SCOTUS knocked down the punies in Exxon Valdez, they left a loophole for cases of reckless profiteering.

... In discussing situations where a three-to-one punitive damage ratio might be warranted, the Supreme Court noted that there could be "quite different cases involving some of the most egregious conduct, including malicious behavior and dangerous activity carried on for the purpose of increasing a (defendant's) financial gain."

Dawn Barrios, the New Orleans maritime attorney who filed the Gallo case, believes the BP oil disaster fits the exception.

The suit she filed Friday weaves together early findings of Coast Guard and Congressional hearings on the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill to paint a picture of companies that knowingly took risks and failed to fix equipment because they were too busy trying to make a buck.

"Punitive damages are going to be a critical component of this litigation because the behavior was so egregious, and the Feinberg fund is not going to cover punitive damages," Barrios said, referring to the $20 billion BP compensation fund administered by Washington attorney Kenneth Feinberg at the behest of the Obama administration.

In filing the case, Barrios is joined by Elizabeth J. Cabraser, the San Francisco attorney who was co-lead counsel representing plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez suit. ...


In Case of Emergency: What Not to Do

... sirens headed to another Toyota accident; recriminations over how birds in the Gulf of Mexico became covered in black goo; debate over the propriety of Goldman selling investments engineered to fail. The basic facts were so unpalatable that they subdued the cleansing power of the American industrial additive known as spin.

Which raises a question: Are some crises so dire that public relations victory is simply not on the menu? And, if so, what’s an embattled company to do? ...

“The two things that are very hard to survive are hypocrisy and ridicule,” Mr. Dezenhall says. “It’s the height of arrogance to assume that in the middle of a crisis the public yearns for chestnuts of wisdom from people they want to kill. The goal is not to get people not to hate them. It’s to get people to hate them less.” ...

Hal-looo, Tony and Carl-Henric.

How do they know that there is only 3,000 feet of drill pipe in the well? Sorry if someone answered this already. I haven't seen it explained.

The short answer is that they were keeping track of how much pipe was down the well as they worked. When the well blew, they had about 8,500 feet of drill pipe down. That, minus 5,000 feet of pipe that was in the riser = 3,500 feet of DP below the BOP. It's not a very technical explanation, but it's the best I can do.

Maybe someone who knows the technical specifics can fill in the meaty details?

Unconformity, just to be clear, since the well is 13,000 some feet from the ocean floor, that would seem to mean that they had pulled up 9,500 feet of drill pipe at the point the well blew. Am I getting that correct?

That's the way I understand it.

[Edit: Here is one description of what was going on at the time of the blowout: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-macondo-history-blowout

They were spotting cement plugs at different depths as part of the process (temporary) abandoning of the well. They were going to circulate seawater above one of the cement plugs, there was an argument about the meaning of a pressure test, the company man won the argument, they displaced mud with seawater and the well blew out. Thus, the depth of the DP at the time. At least that's the murky story to date. ]

Was there ever a good explanation for the 2nd drill pipe found in the broken riser? Is there only one pipe stuck in the BOP rams now? Didn't the 2nd drill pipe segment come out when they unbolted and removed the part above the flange? Could the drill pipe have slipped up or down during the blowout before it was pinched, changing its actual length of what's left below?

Maybe the 2nd pipe segment fell onto the partially closed ram from above, after the blowout as things crumbled on the rig?

I presume that the rams in he new 3-ram capping stack have the ability to shear the pipe if the well starts flowing while the pipe is being raised? If there is no tool joint in the way? If there does happen to be a joint in the way, are the 3-rams spaced far enough apart for at least one to miss the joint and seal the well? Would all the rams close together, or one at a time?


They use the drill pipe to place the cement at the exact depth where they want it. Think of it as a big syringe. That's why there isn't a bit on the end, it was no longer 'drilling' pipe, but convenient pipe temporarily used for another function.

Earlier someone asked why there were two drill pipes in the BOP, an answer is that it is theorized that when the well blew out, it broke off some of the pipe and threw it up the hole.

FOR ALL: Since we’re still in the hurry-up-and-wait mode I figured I would throw out a thread to stir the wackos up.

Let’s talk cement. First, discussions about Halliburton being at fault for the blow out are pretty much a non-starter IMHO. A good while back I highlighted that cmt jobs fail all the time. You test the cmt with the expectation that it will fail. In the last 3 weeks I’ve had cmt jobs fail on 3 different wells. As I type in onshore Texas we’re POOH (pulling out of hole) after squeezing (re-cementing) the csg shoe that failed a positive test. There’s always the generic list of why a cmt job failed: not enough centralizers, didn’t let it cure long enough, NG/salt water diluted the cmt, bad cmt mix, didn’t clean the mud cake of the bore hole walls, etc. A lot of possible speculations but rarely enough info to prove any one possibility. Halliburton et al don’t ever warrant their cmt jobs. They’ll retain test samples of the pumped cmt to show they had the mix correct. But if the test samples prove OK then it’s not their problem. They’ll not only bill the operator full cost for the bad cmt job they’ll also charge full price to re-cementing.

We’ve chatted about the validity of the negative test where they reduce the back pressure against the cmt to see if it’s stable. Forget that for the moment. The positive test: after letting the cmt cure the mud pumps are revved up to produce a bottom pressure greater than the mud column would exert (ECD - effective circulating density). I recall the BP had around 14.0 -14.2 ppg mud in the hole. Crank the mud pumps up and they can easily generate an ECD over 17 ppg. I don’t recall BP ever telling what ECD they used to do a LOT or FIT (leak off tests: raise pressure until the cmt starts to leak. FIT: formation integrity test: raise the ECD to some planned value and stop pumping when that value is reached).

Let’s make sure everyone has the picture correct. The cmt separates the reservoir from the mud column. The absolute values of the pressures isn’t the critical issue. It’s the differential pressure. A cmt plug with 11,900 psi on the bottom side with a 11,900 psi pressure on the top side has zero differential pressure. In such a situation even the worse cmt job in the history of the oil patch won’t fail. Back to the BP well. The reservoir pressure was measured at 12.6 ppg. With a MW of 14.0 ppg they would have a 1.4 ppg different pushing against the cmt in the direction of the reservoir. This is a positive test. I don’t know what ECD BP used for their positive test but normally you shot for around a 3 ppg differential. So all I can do is assume their ECD was around 15.6 ppg. Thus the cmt was stable against a 3 ppg 915.6 ppg - 12.6 ppg) differential…maybe. But we know for sure it was stable against a 1.4+ ppg differential (14 ppg - 12.6 ppg).

Hang in there: it’s a long set up but I think the punch line will be of interest to many here.

So we have a good positive test. Now the negative tests. I’ll have to let these details to the Toolpusher et al. I spent almost 3 years doing well site pore pressure analysis in the DW GOM. Unlike other hands a PPA didn’t rotate weekly. We would work from csg run to csg run...2, 3 or more weeks at a hitch. Thus I was never there when they did a cmt test. Maybe neg tests are common on DW wells. But in 35 years and hundreds of wells I’ve never seen a neg test run on an onshore/shallow water well. It was always an LOT or FIT.

Let’s jump to the displacement phase. I have no idea how the ECD changed while the we’re displacing the mud with sea water. At one end it was 14 ppg. At full displacement it would be around 8.6 ppg (sea water weight). So at most the cmt would have been subjected to a 4 ppg negative differential (12.6 ppg - 8.6 ppg). But we know the mud hadn’t been completely displaced when the well kicked. Without details I’ll assume the ECD was around 9.6 ppg. I think this is conservative…the ECD was probably higher. But we’ll work with this. So we’ll assume the differential during displacement was around 3 ppg and the cmt failed. But the differential during the positive test was around (unfortunately another assumption) 3 ppg (15.6 ppg - 12.6 ppg) and the cmt didn’t leak. A simple question: why? If the cmt held OK against a 3 ppg pressure downward why didn’t it hold against a 3 ppg pressure upward?

OK…here’s the big payoff for the conspiracy wackos (and pure 100% speculation on my part): Everyone has been so focused about BP fudging the negative tests no one has questioned whether they did a good positive test. In fact, do we have any documented proof whether they did a positive test at all? I don’t think any data to prove it survived the explosion. All we have is the witnesses that survived and I don’t recall any in depth questioning about the positive test. Over 35 years I’ve seen more than one operative fudge or out right lie about a positive test result.

Again, I have no idea if they did a good positive test or not. But from the first week after the explosion I’ve wonder how the cmt could have failed so completely and dramatically while displacing and yet supposedly had a good positive test. A simple comparison: a rope breaks when it’s pulled over 100 lbs. Does it make any difference which end of the rope you pull? Granted, I can come up with some very weird scenarios as to how it could happen but those would be even more speculative (read: nutty) than my proposition that BP did not have a good positive test to begin with.

Rockman - I believe there was a positive pressure test done. But it was done much too early. The cement in the lab did not held even after 24hours, the positive pressure test was done 12 hours after pouring.

From Energy Training Resources: Part 3 in a Series about the Macondo Well (Deepwater Horizon) Blowout by Paul Parsons July 15, 2010

Transocean has disclosed that an April 12th laboratory test of the foamed cement indicated it had not solidified at 24 hours (0 psi compressive strength) and needed 48 hours to strongly solidify (1,590 psi). In comparison, a test of regular cement used on the previous casing string reached 2,100 psi compressive strength in only 15 hours.

Positive Test

For reasons that only BP can explain, the casing was pressured up to 2,500 psi for 30 minutes around 11:00 AM to conduct a “positive test”– only 10-1/2 hours after pumping. A positive test involves applying pressure to the casing string to determine whether it has any leaks or points weak enough to rupture at the pressure applied. The pressure is applied by closing the blind shear rams and pumping mud down the kill line.
A positive test would not likely disturb the cement directly because the only avenues to the cement would be through the casing hanger seal at the top, which had already been tested to 8,500 psi, or through the float collar at the bottom, which was blocked by the top plug, or through a leak in casing joint connections, which are tightly torqued and do not often leak. However, pressuring up a casing string could stiffen and slightly expand a string in a way that could disturb the cement. It is remotely similar to what happens when the faucet is opened on a stretched-out garden hose with the sprayer-end closed. The hose will twitch slightly at first, grow slightly in length, and the hose walls will expand due to the internal pressure. Casing is rigid, so the effect will be relatively minor. However, the process could break cement bonds closest to the casing, creating what is called a “micro-annulus” where pressure could flow even after the cement hardens. If any of the cement around the reservoir area is flawed, it could allow hydrocarbons a path to the micro-annulus, which could possibly provide a route all the way to the casing hanger seals in the wellhead.
It is purely speculation, but there is a possibility that BP wanted to conduct the test before the Schlumberger crew boarded the 11:15 helicopter flight off the rig. If the positive test had failed, the crew would likely have been needed.

They fudged the test ...

Does this mean they [might have/could have] damaged the cement job with the pressure test?

Is this relevant? Again from Dr Smith

5 Q. Based on the timing that you looked at
6 in this case, do you have any criticism for when
7 the pressure tests were conducted in relation to
8 when the hanger seals were set?
9 A. There's knowledge that we have in
10 industry that the longer that we wait to
11 pressure test casing or impose internal pressure
12 on the casing, the more likely it is that we'll
13 damage the cement.
14 Q. And based on the timing in this case,
15 was the practice consistent with industry
16 practices?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you.

19 A. That doesn't mean it's a good practice.
20 It just means it's consistent with industry
21 practice.
22 Q. Okay. Do you agree at least that it's
23 consistent with industry practice?
24 A. Yes, ma'am.

Oww. My brain hurts.

"A. There's knowledge that we have in
10 industry that the longer that we wait to
11 pressure test casing or impose internal pressure
12 on the casing, the more likely it is that we'll
13 damage the cement."

Am I reading this to mean that waiting longer and letting the cement cure so that it becomes stronger is NOT consistent with industry practices?

More time = stronger cement (within a reasonable timeframe, not say, 100 years), which would be a good thing, right?
Am I making a thought error here?
This statement seems counterintuitive.

[So do they pump cement really quick then pressure test it before or as it sets up and call it good?
Or is there a window of time that is the sweet spot for pressure testing vis-a-vis the cement curing?]

Am I reading this to mean that waiting longer and letting the cement cure so that it becomes stronger is NOT consistent with industry practices?

Thank you. I had the same question. (Doesn't happen often, but it's such a relief when somebody smarter than me is confused by the same thing I am!)

You misunderoverestimate my smarts, but yes, the question cries out.

Yours is not the only brain in pain. I have always left cement to get good and strong before stressing it and tests are normally done when it has had time to cure to specified strength. I just don't understand this early testing, it sounds like it should cause more damage.


Moon -- And that was my point: they did a positive test and the cmt held. Don't have the chart in front of me but if they pressured up 14 ppg to 2,500 psi the ECD was probably higher than my assumption. So the same question: if the cmt/shoe didn't fail on the positive test why did it fail when displaced especially if the differential may have been higher on the positive test?

Again, a little removed form my experiences but it seems straight forward. I'm hoping someone with more experience in cmt testing could explain.

ROCK / TOOLPUSH. In the following - I understand little of the jargon - is a line that says;
15. Negative test with base oil to the wellhead (monitor for 30 min no flow)
I understand that base oil is 7.2 ppg. That would give about 5000 psi from well head to bottom of hole. I don't know if there is any riser pressure added to this with some other fluid???

This is the Schlumberger bit:- http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100614/Schlumberger.MC.252.T...

I've no experience with any of this but it's easy to make a seal that gets better with positive pressure and weaker with negative - a flapper valve is an extreme. But I can imagine that if the shoe is cracked, positive pressure would push the crack closed while negative pressure would pull it open, especially with cement which resists compression but not tension.

However, is the pressure across the shoe ever really negative anyway, or just less positive pressure in which case I can't see how it would make a difference either.

In the case of a micro annulus, if the casing expands a little more with the higher pressure, it would close up the seal while if it contracted a bit it would open-up...

I'm not convinced they got a good test on anything, and am convinced they fudged the results or explained away the resutls (as the did on the negative test).

They were way over schedule and way over budget. They wanted to wrap this well up and move on to the next one, hence all the corner cutting, explaining away trouble spots, etc, etc (in long-demonstrated BP fashion), and they got nailed this time.

It is purely speculation, but there is a possibility that BP wanted to conduct the test before the Schlumberger crew boarded the 11:15 helicopter flight off the rig. If the positive test had failed, the crew would likely have been needed.

They fudged the test ...

Help the dummy out, please. They fudged the test (it failed but they said it was successful) so they could tell Schlumberger they weren't needed? But if they hadn't done the test when they did, Schlumberger would have left anyway? Or they didn't do the test but said they did?

There was an explanation offered at the joint investigation hearings. I don't remember who said it, but they said they couldn't schedule them on the flight at the last minute but they could pull them off the flight at the last minute. So they scheduled them on the flight the day before with the intent of pulling them off if needed.

That still leaves the question of whether they hurried the cement test so that they had an answer before the flight left that day.

What I have been wondering is that, if they applied pressure while the cement was in a gel state, mud could have been forced into the cement mix, weakening it. This would have led to a small loss during the test and ISTR there was a small loss they attributed to ballooning, correct me if wrong please. They could have then passed the test but left the cement damaged and weakened. Dropping the pressure would allow the cement to close up any voids but crack further in the process, a bad situation. Any thoughts?



There was a little bit of discussion of the positive pressure test in Dr Smith testimony. I am not certain and will have to read the full transcript when I have time but my recollection is that they did have a good positive test in his opinion but that could not be taken as completely conclusive in itself for various reasons.

Just done a quick scan of the transcript. Here's one bit of questioning concerning the positive test but I know there was more.


20 Q. Okay. I understand. And then two last
21 questions. If you bump the plug, the positive
22 test is testing the casing; true?
23 A. Yes, ma'am.
24 Q. And it's testing the rams; true?
25 A. No, ma'am.

1 Q. It's not testing the rams?
2 A. No, ma'am.
3 Q. All right. Is it testing the plug?
4 A. Yes, ma'am.
5 Q. Is it testing the cement?
6 A. No, ma'am.
7 Q. Is it testing the casing shoe?
8 A. Only in kind of a mechanical sense that
9 it's there and it's holding the plug.
10 Q. Okay. And is it testing the float
11 collar?
12 A. The same way.
13 Q. The same way, a mechanical sense?
14 A. Yeah.

Now I get it - there was a plug above the cement ...

When was that plug pulled?

Moon - I think, there were two plugs.

Could it be, that the flapper valve didn´t close and the cement channeled ?
Then you have only the Top Plug between the reservoir and the well head.

From the energie training resources :
"Halliburton ran a cementing model on April 15th. It was assumed for modeling purposes that a lighter-weight “nitrogen foamed” cement would be used to reduce the bottom hole pressure. It was further assumed that it would be pumped slowly to minimize the chance of breaking the LCM barrier."

My question :
What is a LCM barrier and where is it located ?

LCM is Lost Circulation Material, a "junk shot" attempting to fill in wider eroded section of hole (with hair, walnut shells) where drilling mud was lost and did not return to rig.

Thanks avon !
Could it be, that they did the cement job with a too high pressure ?
Are there documents about the pressure BP used ?
Could some of the cement end up in the rats hole and weaken the shoe ?


LCM: Lost Circulation Material. Material to plug the pores of a formation into which drilling mud has been lost.


the guy is talking about rubber plugs that are used during cementing. The second plug follows the cement and acts a bit like the plunger in a syringe. It squeezes the cement through a hole in the first plug and eventually sits right on top of it, both of them held up by a collar in the casing.

In a cement job for an intermediate casing string you just drill right through the plugs and the shoe track and then keep making hole.

In a production casing job like this one, the plugs are there for good. The interviewee is noting that they can hold pressure in a positive pressure test and prevent the force being transmitted to the cement below.

In a production casing job like this one, the plugs are there for good. The interviewee is noting that they can hold pressure in a positive pressure test and prevent the force being transmitted to the cement below.

Bignerd, would it have been possible for a bad cement job (and lax mud return monitoring) to result in these plugs getting slowly pushed up the 7 inch casing during the seawater displacement until they hit the 9 7/8 transition at which point all h*ll started breaking loose?

tow - I suppose the important question re: Dr. Smith analysis: what data did he have to comment one way or the other re: the validity of the positive test? Unless the raw data was emailed to the shore base no records of the test exist. Same is true for the neg test AFAIK.

Trouble is we don't know exactly what data he saw as it has not been made public. Only the last two hours Halliburton logs have been but he had access to the last 24 hours data - except for the records which went down with the rig of course. However, as he said, this particular test tested the casing - not the cement.

1auwildman August 22, 2010 at 8:10AM
Great idea! Now, how much are you willing to pay for a gallon of gas, a quart of oil or anything that has plastic in it. Also, when gas is over $5 a gallon, will that have an effect on the economy? Heck when it was just $3 a gallon people took stay-cations instead of going on vacation. Shutting down the oil rigs is not the answer. Have you been to the Gulf this summer? I have and I did not see one drop of oil nor anyone walking the beach in a hazmat suit. Turn off the news and go look for yourself.


Ladies and Gentlemen. I have a new problem. Spill denying. It seems some folks, even some locals, deny that there was anything more than isolated oil ashore. That very little oil actually hit the shore. I guess no specific quantities are given, but I have my pictures. I do not know what others call it, but for about two months here, we got our 'asses kicked' in Gulf Shores. I am not trying to sensationalize things, but I am irritated that folks would deny what this shoreline has been through. What I have been through. What we ALL have been through. Denial never leads to healthy recovery. It just sets you up to fail the next time. Work the problem.

Petrol, what the gringos call gas (when it is a liquid:)), has been over $5 a gallon for a long time in Europe. We seemed to get along fine.


yuh but, yah but. In the US even the poorest somabitch can achieve social status by the ceremonial burning of the petroleum. You get extra points if you can squeal your tires thus demonstrating you have multi-point petroleum burning capability.

Have you seen my bicycle? I know it is hard to believe, but it has gotten me action. Granted there is limited petroleum there, but I am at 4000 miles and counting. Had I not set a tire on fire, I would be on original rubber. I will do a big slide for you today. I have a camera mount for my bike now and I have some way cool videos. I am in the process of editing them. Just make sure you have fun along the way. With much or little petroleum, it matters not.

That is easier to do in a city designed with expensive travel in mind, here where I live in Houston, we don't even have sidewalks and it is a distance to even the most basic stores. I use a hot-rod electric bike (2000W/48V-2 powered hubs and a little bit illegal) because I cannot go far without having to use large busy streets. There are simply no back streets to take. I need to go about 35 MPH to keep up with the traffic. 35 MPH on a bicycle while surrounded by 2 ton idiots is a bit scary.

Tin Hat, just be thankful they didn't nuke the well. If they had, the radiation would have caused of sorts of mutations, and you would have been eaten by giant radioactive squid, known as Megacephalopodus Simonis

No way they use a nuke. Ever. I would sic the ghosts of Shakarov and Pauling on them. Thank God Lemay is with them. Didn't he ask four times and thank goodness only got the clearance twice.

One whacko reporting for duty, sir. Where's the methane bubble?

I found a very interesting report: Oil Spill Summit II: Chemical Considerations (7/29/10)

Here are a couple of excerpts from report:

The DH oil contains approximately 40% methane (by weight) compared to the usual 5% (Kessler 2010). In addition to its effects on the discharge of oil, the transport and reactivity of the methane itself is also of concern. At typical sea-surface atmospheric pressure, methane is a volatile gas. However, at the depth (5,000 feet) and low temperature (approximately 41°F) of the leak site, methane forms a hydrocarbon ice called a hydrate. Hydrates can also form higher order “cage” structures, called clathrates, which can entrain other alkanes. Once they rise to a depth of about 4,200 feet, hydrates melt, at which point the methane goes into solution. In some areas near the failed well, seawater concentrations of methane have been measured at levels up to a million times background (Kessler 2010).

Methanotrophic bacteria (which consume methane) can also utilize the methane in subsurface plumes: M. Joye has measured methane oxidation rates in a subsurface plume at 1-5% per day, which is orders of magnitude higher than normal (pers. comm.). These high levels of activity should result in less toxic material available for transport throughout the Gulf of Mexico and to the Atlantic.

ROCKMAN on August 22, 2010 - 8:34am Since we’re still in the hurry-up-and-wait mode I figured I would throw out a thread to stir the wackos up.

The wackos ? You mean the folks who have been right on the money so far ?

Right on the money?
What money would that be?

You mean the short sellers' money?
The derivatives traders' money?
Aka "financial professionals'" money [whose money isn't even really theirs, because they only gamble with other peoples' money]?

Or do you mean the money that buys the drugs to create the delusions of: The lake of oil the size of Washington state under the Gulf or the bubble of methane that was going to kill everyone on the Gulf Coast or the mists of oil that a hurricane would create causing fire storms that would fill the air for miles or the BOP is collapsing or there are huge gushers miles away or the gubmint is lying or BP is lying or Thad is lying or the feeds are switched off so they're hiding something or there are huge plumes or THE [pick a thing] IS LEAKING! or [fill in your conspiracy theory here]?

Hmm? There seem to be three classes of lunatic here. 1) Those with financial interests at stake, long or short opposing interests, those from the "financial industry"; 2) those who really are in need of mental health assistance (including various shades and degrees of OCD, Asperger's and paranoid delusional types and combinations thereof); 3) a combination of the first two.

Paranoia will destroy ya.

Smear tactics.

Knifing a dead man by asserting he used drugs? Jeez, that's low. And there are no financial people on this forum. If paranoia destroys, you're on the edge, bub.

I got it right when I advised people to sell in May. Saved a lot of people a lot of money. That's what analysts do, give recommendations. Most analysts have a 'hold' rating on BP. When and if they detach the BOP, that'll change, not before.

I've been watching ROVs. We were denied a view of the wellhead and BOP for a week, remember? Then Trip and others lobbied to see the "rogue" ROVs. Feeds are blacked out from time to time. But there's been enough pix to form an opinion. Maybe you have a different assessment. The water changed color again last night. Back to brown. Implies that they're pumping mud. Coincidentally the pressure sensors are on the fritz.

I'm not worried about being wrong. It would be worse if I'm half-right. When the FBI impounds the BOP, they should grab Q4000's Martin-Decker or Totco charts. But there is no doubt that BP lied, is lying, and can't stop themselves from lying. Where's the e-drill data on the blowout? (uh, we don't have any, it went down with the rig) Where's the concrete debris from Bankston? (uh, at the time we weren't under orders to preserve evidence)

BP defenders, apologists, and smear artists party on.

False dichotomy: Participate in alarmism based on lack of data or be counted among "BP defenders, apologists, and smear artists...."


Tag team slander. Really, you just have to give it up. Reasonable people can disagree, see evidence in a different light. Let history be the judge.

Hey, you set the dichotomy up. Not that it's not out there already everywhere; it's a standard feature on CT blogs. I'm neither an alarmist nor am I a BP shill, Pollyanna or whatever. I daresay that most of the people who post at TOD are also neither.

Funny that I didn't have you in mind, avon.

The man doth protest too much, methinks.

[Edit: I forgot to include narcissists to my list above, FWIW.]

I bring evidence, you sling insults. Very funny.

120 ft above the seafloor, looking down at the capping stack. The whole area is like this, muddy, gas hydrates floating by, softened by big spills of methanol and antifreeze. Too high up for thruster silt.

Your turn.

Alan, so is there more mud on ROV2's side of the pipe?


The picture they are feeding you has all the information (amplitude) jammed into the mid-grays. To see the background, ignore bright white. But note how blurry everything is in this next pic. Can't even see top of the stack clearly.

When we watch these feeds in motion, our brains "forgive" the mud and you only "see" objects of interest. Every time an ROV looks at the sea, all you get is blue-brown mush with clathrates and dead amphipods floating in it.

This should not be controversial. It's obvious.

No, you don't understand. You have to pick the cam that looks the worst, then apply the wildest explanation for the bad shot, then dismiss all the other views that debunk the bad view as fakes being manipulated to hide the impending disaster. Then, you post your bullshit theory here, and hope the folks at your other sites who don't realize you are a raving lunatic never find out.

Sigh. I post here for peer review. Pretty simple theory. Months ago gas, then oil, more recently mud, then whatever else they decide to pump next migrates through a crack in the liner or casing or casing hangar. It vents about 100m NE of the well. I don't know precisely why. I might be wrong.

Calling it bullshit and me a lunatic does not explain away muddy seawater.

Alan, I don't see muddy seawater in this latest pic, I see clear blue with some blurring. My post of shots from the two Enterprise ROVs was a graphic comment that you read too much into the videos. The colors often change from blue to brown in seconds, with no change in the water. You are persistent, for sure, but trying over and over to interpret small changes as signs of big scary events (when the videos themselves often show big changes as the result of no event at all) just wastes bandwidth.

A lot of us have been very patient with you, but this exchange with Comfychair makes me wonder if you just won't stop hogging the forum until every reasonable person on TOD tells you to **** off.

18 posts, 4% of total, 1% of word count, of which 7 were replies to rotten personal attacks, 2 notes to Rockman, and a retraction. Pretty thin hog.

Alan, I was thinking more of week after week of posting low resolution screen grabs with wildly speculative commentary, often leading to apologies.

I''l give you some credit for the apologies, but without a change in behavior apologies don't mean that much.

I've given this a lot of thought. Let's suppose BP succeeds in fishing out the broken DP, detaches cap stack and BOP, attaches new BOP and cements a top plug without being overly inquisitive about what else is downhole. Everyone is pleased with the conclusion. It won't matter a hoot whether I'm right or wrong about a subsurface path, whether BP themselves were aware of it and worried enough to constantly monitor the seafloor. In that scenario, I have nothing else to say really. It won't matter what they pumped or when. Like Hafle said under oath at Kenner, we'll never find out how hydrocarbons got in the well.

Won't post any more except a link to Seeking Alpha when they swap BOPs.

When they plug and abandon the well, they will be retriving atleast the top 10ft of the casing (not sure the exact legal depth for the GOM), that will include the well head. This will give them the information on whether the casing seal was leaking or intact. My gut feeling is they do not want to discover too much as well, but there are certain things eg the well head they do need to recover just in normal operations that will provide a lot of evidence.

You should change your name to Cassandra.

That's a compliment. Cassandra was right, but ignored.

"Cassandra was right, but ignored."

No, Cassandra was a work of fiction. You think you're the reincarnation of a mythical creature. A strange variant of a Messiah complex.

Yes, you're the only one who can see the truth. The rest of us are all wrong. You are trying to save us, but we just won't listen.

I think I'm done with you. You have some kind of issue whereby you fail to learn anything from all the previous stuff you've been wrong about, and you keep on with some freaky compulsion to be even more wrong than before. Either you've got mental issues or you're just trolling.

You brought up Cassandra, I didn't. Nor did I claim that only I can see the truth; in fact I said I might be wrong. Quit speaking for me and about me, which is ad hom rubbish. It's your angry obsession, certainly not mine.

Asperger's doesn't belong on that list.

It pays to be paranoid, especially when confronted with a steady barrage of spin and BS. It has been my observation that the definition of "conspiracy theorists" seems to include anyone who disagrees with the officials from BP and our own government. Case in point, the 2 wells and the corexit.

nobody - We just have diferent definition of CT's. To me they are folks who have a threoy of some great secret plot but have zero proof to offer. Granted, that's an extreme but that why I use it. It distinquishes them from folks who are rightfully SUSPICIOUS of govt and industry. And your neighbor who always keeps his drapes drawn.

Yeah, "2 wells" of which there is only one and "Corexit" that, while I wouldn't want intake and it'll take time to discover what it's doing/done, I find lots of the claims (killed alligators in Bolivia, fish kills in New Jersey, Corexit rain in North Carolina) beyond ludicrous. Don't you?

It pays to be paranoid, especially when confronted with a steady barrage of spin and BS.

Nobody, it pays to be skeptical. Being paranoid makes it difficult to sort the fact based comments from the BS because it biases you strongly against any idea you don't already agree with. It also keeps you from learning anything new. When you characterize the comments of folks who know more than you as BS, you just guarantee you aren't going to improve your understanding of this well.

"Conspiracy theory" is used by Powers That Be to label any theory that includes them as actors or doesn't toe the official line. Some may be nutcake theories, some may be quite valid. The labeling is intended to put all such theories in one basket and thus discredit the valid theories. This is of course a spurious use of the phrase conspiracy theory, as if we were to invalidate all conspiracy theories the police would have to assume all crimes with multiple actors were crimes of coincidence not joint planning.

Conspiracies happen all the time. Julius Ceasar was killed by a group of people who conspired to do so. Any crime in which more than one person is involved in the planning is a conspiracy.

The most interesting official denial of conspiracy is the ongoing official denial of any conspiracy to murder JFK. The 2nd investigation into his murder found late in the process a recording from one of the cops motorcyles that indicated at least 4 gun shots. Since only 3 were alleged to have been fired from Oswald's gun the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations in fact proposed a conspiracy theory. "Their theory, based primarily on Dictabelt evidence, was that President Kennedy was assassinated probably as a result of a conspiracy." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_assassination#United_States...

What a committee of our House proposed a CONSPIRACY THEORY regarding JFK? Betcha most people didn't know that. Nor will anyone in the government or establishment press acknowledge that in fact a House Committee proposed there was a conspiracy.

Conspiracy was also alleged by the Allies against the Nazis "Conspiracy law was used at the Nuremberg Trials for Nazi leadership who were charged with participating in a "conspiracy or common plan" to commit international crimes. "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_(crime)#Conspiracy_in_the_United_

What matters is NOT if something is labeled a conspiracy theory, what matters is if the particular theory about a particular alleged conspiracy is true or not. As Caesar asked "Et tu Brute". The answer appears to be yes, Caesar had correctly deduced that his friend was part of the conspiracy to kill him.

As we know some label Peak Oil as a conspiracy theory. While some might spin it as a conspiracy, the fact that oil and any other non-renewable resource will have a date of Peak extraction is undeniable.

Word Police:

Paranoia. n. A psychotic disorder characterized by delusions of persecution with or without grandeur, etc.

Skepticism. n. questioning attitude, or some degree of doubt regarding claims that are elsewhere taken for granted [my addition to address nobodysfool(as in believing (in) persons in authority, who are well known to sometimes lie)].

Suspicion. n. The act of suspecting something, especially something wrong, on little evidence or without proof.

See: "Baloney Detection Kit" video at the home page of The Skeptics Society web site:


I guess I'm going to challenge your definitions even though I don't have my DSM IVrev with me at the moment, so I'll be winging it to some extent.

Please understand that I'm not aiming this at anyone. I'm offering my understanding of the mechanism and etiology of common behaviors, which we have all exhibited at times and to varying degrees.

My understanding of paranoia is that it can include delusions of persecution, but it is primarily an attempt for us to make sense of anxiety or fear, where there is no clear evidence of imminent danger. PTSD, for example, can therefore induce paranoia without necessarily including delusions or the presence of real danger.

What is critical is the perception of danger, and perception doesn't always depend on truth or reality. I can believe that someone is dangerous simply because they look dangerous, with no regard for whether they are actually dangerous or not.

Perceptions trigger feelings, but since perception is a cognitive process, essentially what we're saying is that our thoughts, or more accurately, our interpretations of our sensory input, coupled with the meaning we attach to that sensory "image" (perceptions), trigger our feelings. Then our conscious mind tries to make sense of those feelings and attribute them to identifiable causes.

Generally we pick the most likely candidate, which is why women and children are very frequently the targets for men who, believing that they are in danger, want to free themselves from that feeling, go home, where they're supposed to feel safe, still are afraid, look around, and the only visible triggers for their feelings of danger appear to be their partner, children, or dog, all of whom are supposed to love them.

What we too often fail to recognize is that very often the triggers that evoke our fears are a product of our association of cues in the present with experiences from our history. Thus, Pavlov's dog salivated when the bell rang, whether there was food or not.

Thus someone in a position of authority can, in certain circumstances, remind me of the behaviors, and more importantly, my responses to, the behaviors, of my father, resulting in me feeling like I'm perceived to be a child, and sometimes even that I'm reverting to childhood (relatively uneducated and inexperienced) feelings and behaviors.

Thus in present circumstances people who were already paranoid before the Deepwater Horizon blowout was even a gleam in Tony Hayward's and/or Matt Simmon's mind, look at these events and see danger and feel fear everywhere they look. It is a feast for them, because they can take some real (though usually manageable) dangers and/or uncertainties, superimpose their paranoid tendencies upon them, and cry danger, then when nobody appears to be paying attention, let alone validating their feelings, they can cry blindness, and when people find information or facts that contradict their perceptions they can cry coverup. Throw in a touch of narcissism and they will believe they're the only ones who see the danger and be sincerely puzzled that no one else sees it.

I would place suspicion next on the continuum because it entails not only reservations or doubts, but also a belief that there is an active attempt on someone's part to present as reality something which is, in fact, at odds with reality. I suspect that suspicious people often believe that they have a historical foundation for their suspicion, but that can be as irrational as many other beliefs. I would cite racial profiling in that category.

Skepticism, it seems to me, is a belief that proof has not yet been evinced or proffered, therefore final judgment or approval is being withheld until such proof emerges. It is saying neither yea nor nay, but rather, "Wait a minute, not so fast."

erainh2o, thanks for mentioning the Baloney Detection Kit.

In 2009, I started using this video to teach my then 10-year old daughter how to think for herself.

The direct link on YouTube is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUB4j0n2UDU&feature=player_embedded


good listing,

Right now BP/.gov and the media are so twisted up in spin it is requiring a constant reloading/recalibration on even the most narrow spectrum bs detectors.

skeptic is about a requirement right now.

I'm just not sure yet where this mess (BP Deepwater Horizon) is going to wind up.

at least last time I checked the videos the drill pipe hadn't launched itself like a harpoon, but it is early in the process.

I'm deeply worried that this mess will be played by Zero's greenies to try and ban further exploration and production (don't mention like finally building new refineries while we are mentioning the unmentionable).

BP really messed up and lied like all get out.
So I'm on the skeptic side til this sucker is plugged and abandoned.

I'm on the fence as to when skeptic becomes paranoia.

You mean, like the BOP launch people, the lake it took 4038 years to fill with heavier than water oil people, the "second well" people, the "holes in rocks" people, the SEA FLOOR EXPLODES people, the methane tsunami wave of death evacuate now people, the Atlantis is rising people, the French submarine people, the faked spill people, the FEMA death camp NWO is run by Reptilians people?

Great minds...

You mean, like the BOP launch people

These have been my very favorite the last few months - love the idea of a multi-ton BOP being propelled 5,6,7 miles through water and landing upright, in perfect position to plug into another reservoir (or to carry an endless supply of HC along with it in its sort-of attached riser.)

Well, hang on, chappies, still two days to full moon. Wait'll we see what extravaganza Bruce an' them been workin' up. Ooo wee.

lotus ~ totally OT but I ran across it this a.m. and thought of you immediately. Flannery O'Connor had a lot of good things to say, and this is one of them:

"Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic."

At second glance, it might be on-topic after all.

At second glance, it might be on-topic after all.

Mought at that, novice, and thanks. (Which category appeals to you for her most famous line, "She would of been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life"?)

Why, I do believe I'll take "The Comic and the Terrible" for a thousand, lotus. That line's so great you need a big category to get it all in.

I ought to mind my manners and thank you, too, for those great links you're providing us. I don't have the time to do all the searching-out myself, and they've been a great help.

"The Comic and the Terrible" for a thousand it is, nov. You're mos' welcome for the AM news-cruise (which I enjoy too much to call a chore).

And you know, I think we could use an award for Most Comic/Terrible Suggestion of the Day, the statuette signifying which we might dub the Flannery. Bleeve I spy a nominee downthread here, so gimme a minute . . .

Nefarious governmental murder plots AS WELL AS catastrophic Earth's mantle crackery have reared their salubrious heads down below in the thread.

<=== Thanks goodness I'm safe inside TEN annuluses in this comment.


Even nine annuli won't save you from this ROV killer....but ten might.


I can be pretty sure you aren't paranoid because people who are paranoid see danger all around them, and you don't seem to be concerned about what's to the right of you.

I'm not sure what it's called when you're only concerned about what's to your left, unless it's conservatism, but my theory on the liberal/conservative continuum is that the continuum is wrapped around a cylinder so that radical leftists and radical conservatives are right next to each other, probably with their backs to each other so they can't see how close they are to each other.

If that's what's going on with you, you'd better look to the right (or behind you if you're still focused to your left, otherwise those damn liberals are likely to be able to blind side you.

Short and sweet, nice post Mr. Brown. :-)

Snake, you and Unc hogged all the good examples. I'm going to have to spin the heck out of the damaged crops in Tennessee angle just to meet my weekly shrill quota.

Wait, there's still the thunder sounds different people, the unmarked white vans people, the secret whale-carcass processing plant people, and the carolina skiffs from out of state are still spraying Corexit every night people. . . who are maybe all the same people but different from the Matt Simmons was snuffed people.

Gob, thanks, if you let me have the thunder and the whale carcass I can probably make rent this month. And for beer money I'm working on a follow-up to the "my crankcase was leaking down the street so I made a You Tube video blaming it on BP" story.

goby -- thanks...forgot about the mystereous thunder...my personal favorite

Did we mention the surf is boiling like acid people?

Oh lawdy, we dasn't leave them out (but I'm with Rockman on the fave: gotta be the "thunder sounds different!" guy).

nobody -- Nope....I was referring to the wackos who offer all kinds of possibilities as reality when they have no data to back up their supersitions. Just like I did in that post.

Oh, shoot, Rock, I missed your clarion call to duty, and it was on cement, too.

And now you have to scoop me and unearth that the positive test smells funny. If that is true, it's criminal-level conduct, of course. How many people would have had to have been in on that?

syn - Probably just a handful would know the test was bogus (if it really was). But I've seen such secrets kept numerous times. At the time of the speculative fudging typically no one would think it's a big sin. How many times have you been with someone who pushed thru on a red light? Did you make a citizen's arrest? Of course not. You might not have said anything at the time. But had the car been t-boned and you had $80,000 worth of med bills I bet the truth would come out in your testimony. Unfortunately a good bit of such potential testimony died on the rig floor that day.

More simply: in my career I've seen/participated in numerous "don't ask....don't tells". I know you know what I mean: conversations you have when there's only two folks present. IOW no corroborating witness.

Thank you.

Since we're in tinfoil hat territory, i'll put mine on with respect to a similar point. I think Jimmy Harrell was less than 'truthful' (although may not have technically lied) when he testified that the issue at the 11:00 a.m. meeting was whether or not they would do a negative pressure test. I submit that the real issue was whether or not to displace the riser first, before setting the top plug and lock-down sleeve.

According to other reports of that meeting, Harrell and the driller lost that argument and Harrell uttered his famous "I guess that's what we got those pincers for" comment.

If he had just been given what he wanted going into that disagreement (a negative pressure test), why would he have uttered those words on the way out of the meeting?

As an aside to your speculation on the positive pressure test, just imagine if they did fudge that, but the people who did the negative test were not in the loop on that. They then in turn fudge the second negative test (or don't do the CBL after the first test failed) on the belief that the positive test had been good, and rationalizing that a negative test is not really required by the regs any way.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Steve Goodman songs:
Don't go Looking for Trouble, Trouble Will Find You

Verse II

The first time you shade the truth
It makes you want to
Run and hide
Your throat gets dry
Your tongue gets tied
And then you get to hopin’ maybe
No one noticed that you’ve lied
Now you’re shady all the time


Don’t go lookin’ for trouble
Trouble will find you
Trouble will find you
Trouble will find you
Don’t go lookin’ for trouble
Trouble will find you
And you sure don’t have to look too hard.


Trouble will pin a tail on you
And follow you all around
And catch you when your number’s up
And when your guard is down

According to other reports of that meeting, Harrell and the driller lost that argument

The only other reports you refer to were from people not actually there for the actual discussion unless you know otherwise? Miles Ezell, who was there, backed Harrell's account (that it was about the need for a negative pressure test prior to displacement and that Harrell "won"). But you are free to believe they are both lying I guess.

If he had just been given what he wanted going into that disagreement (a negative pressure test), why would he have uttered those words on the way out of the meeting?

If this is the meeting where some others had to leave how would they know what Harrell said when they weren't there? If he said that at all then he said that before he got his way (and while others were still present) as far as I can see.

I'm glad you think you know the evidence so well, but you don't.

And I'm glad to see your twenty years of watching different witnesses testify under oath about the same event gives you so much confidence in what you are certain happened, but i think it is failing you this time.

Douglas Brown was at the meeting. He was there when the pincer remarks was made. Harrell conveniently dis-remembered making the remark, but he did not deny making it. It was made after the meeting.

When was the last time you complained about winning an argument?

Update: And no, they were not lying in a technical sense. But they were not being "forthcoming" in how they characterized the meeting and the main issue discussed.

Harrell was trapped in Rockman's box and had to downplay his own reservations lest he explain why he did not say "no" being the guy responsible for safe operation of the rig. This is a perfect example of Rockman's box in play (assuming my speculation is correct - still have my tin foil hat on).

Douglas Brown was recalling the public meeting and he even said

12 A. At eleven o'clock there is a pre-tour

13 meeting, which basically is to go over what's

14 going to be taking place for today on the rig

15 and on the drill floor. I really don't follow

16 too strenuously what they discuss that's going

17 to be happening on the drill floor, because

18 it's not part of my department, but I recall a

19 scrimmage taking place between the company

20 man, the OIM, and the toolpusher and driller

21 concerning the events of the day.

22 The driller was outlining what was

23 going to be taking place, where upon the

24 company man stood up and said, "No, we have

25 some changes to that." I really didn't pay

1 attention to what he was saying, but it had to

2 do with displacing the riser for later on that

3 tour. And the OIM and the driller and

4 toolpusher had a disagreement with that.

Note: "I really don't follow too strenuously what they discuss that's going to be happening on the drill floor, because it's not part of my department."

And again: "I really didn't pay attention to what he was saying"

So you prefer the vague recollection of someone not paying attention to the sworn testimony of the OIM and Senior Toolpusher who were intimately involved? Also Brown was not invited to stay behind for the closed door discussion after the 11am meeting when Harrell won according to Ezell and Harrell.

Yes I believe Harrell may have said these words but that was in public and helped to make sure he got his way in the private meeting.

If Harrell was really worried the rig was about to blow up he could have and should have monitored more closely.

"So you prefer the vague recollection of someone not paying attention to the sworn testimony of the OIM and Senior Toolpusher who were intimately involved? "

Absolutely one deserves more weight than the other, when one has every incentive to tell the story in one way and the other has no incentive to distort anything. But your question distorts in claiming only the the OIM and TP were under oath. Borwn was under oath.

And Brown was paying enough attention as evidenced by the details of his testimony so that we have a genuine conflict notwithstanding the cross-examination elicited above.

You're seeing it as the attorneys designed it to be seen. I'm seeing what they are hiding by the cues in how the witnesses explain it, assuming I'm right, and I believe I am. Harrell conveniently dis-remembering the pincer remark is a good starting point.

"If Harrell was really worried the rig was about to blow up he could have and should have monitored more closely."

Yes, precisely, that's Rockman's box. That's why he has every incentive to minimize his concerns now. It was delicious to see the BP attorney cross-examine him and securely lock him in that box.

But for goodness sake Brown wasn't there when Harrell "won". And of course what Brown and others heard earlier concerned the displacement of the riser because it did. The BP plan was to go straight to riser displacement with no negative pressure test first. So in that sense he heard correctly that they were talking about riser displacement. But neither Harrell nor anyone else from TO rig management disagreed with the riser displacement itself. Harrell disagreed with doing it without first having a negative pressure test. The off-rig BP Company Man (on a training course) testified that the lack of a negative pressure test in the day plan appeared to be a mistake anyway.

Look I think there's plenty of cockups to go around here but I think you are barking up the wrong tree with this one. Displacement of the riser with seawater was not in itself wrong or unsafe according to Dr Smith expert testimony but the particular way it was done that night and the (lack of) monitoring of the procedure was unsafe.

Anyway much more interesting real-time action on the fishing procedure right now. Looks like they may be about to try and pull the pipe out soon and I don't want to miss that.

"Look I think there's plenty of cockups to go around here but I think you are barking up the wrong tree with this one. Displacement of the riser with seawater was not in itself wrong or unsafe according to Dr Smith expert testimony but the particular way it was done that night and the (lack of) monitoring of the procedure was unsafe."

This statement suggests you misunderstand my point altogether and what the issue with displacing the riser was the way BP wanted it done.

tow - With all do respect to Dr. Smith any time you have csg thru a oil/NG reservoir and there isn't sufficient fluid weight in the csg to prevent flow from that reservoir it most certainly is a dangerous situation IMHO. Like picking up a loaded pistol even though you don't plan on shooting someone. "Unloaded" pistols are even more dangerous sometimes. Accidents happen. In 35 years I've never seen a well left with fluid in the csg that did't balance the reservoir pressure. I haven't dealt with many DW wells and maybe it's not uncommon. I'll leave that for the Toolpusher et al to say.

syn et all - I've mentioned it before...a very biased view of "Harrell conveniently dis-remembering the pincer remark …“ Just what I've experienced in years working on offshore rigs: such a comments like "that's why we have a BOP" or about potentially needing the "pincers" has always been the equivalent of saying "F*CK YOU!". I've heard such comments more than once and they never were given in a kidding manner. It's about one step below literally spitting in another man's face. Twice in my career I've let my mouth get ahead of me and make a comparable statement. One time it got me run off on the spot and the other time I wasn't invited back to work with that company man again.

So a simple question: anyone here ever tell their boss/co-worker to go “f” himself" and not remember a month later saying it? And when it’s done in front of witnesses part of the motivation is CYA so you can throw it back in that person's face when things go wrong.

I'll never accept his word that he can't remember if he said it if, in fact, he did. In my wild youth I’ve tried more than once to push someone into throwing a punch at me and 30 some odd years later I remember as though it were last week. Making that “pincer” comment is as close as you can come to getting a hand on a rig to throw a punch at you. Or at least stab you in the back professionally the first chance they get

Rock, thanks for the vivid explanation of the power and significance of Harrell's pincer remark. You paint a compelling pic with that keyboard. Context is very important.

And this was funny:

In my wild youth I’ve tried more than once to push someone into throwing a punch at me and 30 some odd years later I remember as though it were last week.

I only did that if i drank too much, it was real late, i was bored and there were no women at the bar. Once it actually resulted in a brawl. We were at some horrid, god-forbidden dive in Kenai, or possibly Seldotna, Alaska during the bleak back stretch of winter. It was close to last call. There was only one woman at the bar, sitting alone. She was old, drunk and talked to herself.

It was so bleak, starting a fight seemed like a fun idea.

P.S.: Being young and stupid was ... what it was.

" Also Brown was not invited to stay behind for the closed door discussion after the 11am meeting when Harrell won according to Ezell and Harrell."

This version does not make sense. You mean he was turned down at the 11:00 a.m. meeting? But then they changed their mind later? Never heard that version before.

"Yes I believe Harrell may have said these words but that was in public and helped to make sure he got his way in the private meeting."

This is not just speculation, but wild speculation.

The whole story makes sense if displacing the riser was the issue. Shifting the emphasis to the negative pressure test hides the real issue and the story no longer makes sense.

"You mean i get my negative pressure test? I guess that's what we got them pincers for..."

" Also Brown was not invited to stay behind for the closed door discussion after the 11am meeting when Harrell won according to Ezell and Harrell."

This version does not make sense. You mean he was turned down at the 11:00 a.m. meeting? But then they changed their mind later? Never heard that version before.

At the end of the 11am regular routine meeting there was unresolved disagreement from Harrel (correctly) so he and Ezell then went into the closed door meeting with BP Company Men to resolve the disagreement. At the closed door meeting Harrell won. That's what Ezell and Harrell said. Nobody else at that closed door meeting has testified.

The entire rig was in some safe LaLa land where accidents never happen by the evening. Nobody thought they were in any real danger until too late.

I think what happened was they gave him the negative pressure test as a consolation prize. But they were still going to go ahead with the displacement per BP's instructions.

The, "I guess that's what those pinchers are for" statement was made in a pre-planning meeting about the nitrogen cement job. The cement job meeting a day or two before the incident.

Although the OIM was vague about making the statement initially, he later confirmed the statement in his testimony. As I recall, he knew of a situation where the nitrogen exsolving out of cement caused a well control situation and he was basically saying....be careful.

It is a fact the negative test was left out of the well plan but I don't think it was a contentious issue, just an oversight.


Ah now I see.I had searched his testimony for pincer and not "pincher". So this was a meeting on a different day when he expressed concerns about the nitrogen bubbling from the cement job. It wasn't the discussion on the day of the accident about the lack of negative pressure test/and or displacing the riser.

Will look more later.

Back to watching the cam inside of BOP. Yes there is one and it is fascinating! Looks like they just found a ram in the stack in a position they didn't expect

Camera inside Stack/BOP http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:36825.asx?bkup=36826

do you have a link?

The, "Pinchers", statement is at 57:57 in Jimmy Harrells testimony.

If you click on the C-Span transcript box, the corresponding testimony video will load.


No, the comment was made as Harrell was leaving the 11:00 a.m. pre-tower meeting on 4/20. BP had sent an e-mail shortly before detailing the procedures, which included displacing the riser with sea water and no lock down sleeve unless it failed the positive pressure test, in which case they would do it differently.

They were going to do it this way because it would be much quicker than waiting until after the top plug had been poured to displace the riser, in conjunction with other tear down activities.


6:13 - 7:58
50:26 - 51:50

Not according to Harrell.

In his testimony, he is very clear that he did not make the "Pinchers" statement after the 4/20 pre-tower meeting.

I realize there is some conflicting testimony.

Yes, his testimony changes. He starts out saying no, although in a very equivocal and hedging way. By the time we get to 1:22:28, he admits he may have made the statement and does not remember.

His denials are carefully worded and he overall admits he may have said it but does not remember.

You're right in your post above that whether or not to do a negative test likely would not have generated as much of an argument.

syn - "He overall admits he may have said it but does not remember". And I'll go to my grave never believing he doesn't remember saying it if he indeed did say it. Besides such a statement being a direct challenge to authority, 11 hands died. If he made that statement then I have no doubt it rang back thru his memory a hundred times as soon as he heard the body count. What human being with any conscious wouldn't? The only out I might allow him is post dramatic stress induced memory loss. And even then he'll have to prove it to me.

The lawyer probably gave him a definition of or concept of "I don't remember" that he could live with and still feel he was being technically accurate within it.

It wasn't just the testimony that is telling, it is the reactions of the attorneys as well and the modes they went into in handling the questions of the witnesses on this issue. There was some effort to muddy the waters and confuse things. That is a telling tactic on something like this.

There are one or two additional witnesses with some info on the disagreement as i recall.

And as it turns out, Harrell is the guy who was screaming on the phone to someone after the blowout and explosions, "Are you happy...."

The sailor, whom Buzbee refuses to name for fear of costing him his job, was on the ship's bridge when Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell, a top employee of rig owner Transocean, was speaking with someone in Houston via satellite phone. Buzbee told Mother Jones that, according to this witness account, Harrell was screaming, "Are you fucking happy? Are you fucking happy? The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen."

When did he tell him that was gonna happen? At the 11:00 meeting that morning when he made his pincers remark? That seems like a reasonable inference. He had to know it was risky to displace the riser like that with no hydrostatic balance, no barrier, etc. That's what he was concerned about, is my guess.

It must have been someone from BP on the phone?

A satellite phone call will have a traceable log entry. I would assume the Feds will get all the call logs to and from the rig. If there is a call it will be there. Including the recipient. If there isn't a logged call at that time, that will be unequivocal too. No matter what, someone will be testifying about that call.

(One might point out that it is things like this that make conspiracies so damned hard.)

It wasn't made on the day according to Harrell and it concerned the nitrogen cement according to him. However his answers were not particularly convincing I agree.

8 Q. All right. Pre-tour meeting, there's

9 a discussion and there was testimony yesterday

10 that said you were grumbling on the way out

11 and said something about a pincher.

12 A. I think it was maybe the day before.

13 It sure wasn't on that day, I don't think. I

14 think it was over some -- about the foam

15 cement job, to watch the nitrogen in the

16 riser. That could be a bad thing, too,

17 because you know that was a foam cement job.


He later admits it may have been same day (and sort of does here too).

Also, claiming he may have said it with regard to the nitrogen cement suggests coaching to me. It reinforces my interpretation. It is not credible that Harrell would use the pincers remark over using nitrogen cement. But asserting possible confusion lays the foundation for the equivocal denials and the mis-remembering.

I think that this comes very close to a corollary to the first law of conspiracies.

Never ascribe to conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence.

Here we are not seeing pure incompetance, but we are really seeing a common aspect of human nature in the face of poor decision making. Someone has screwed up. Like running a red light. 99 times out of 100 the consequences are minor, the bullet is dodged, and those that knew keep quite and move on. One time in 100 things go bad really fast. But the same mentality remains and there is some desire to back and cover. What it isn't, is some huge corporate/government conspiracy.

In the end, I have a deep suspicion that there is one guy who knows that he made simple bad call, in haste, and precipitated this entire mess. The difficulty is that with so much else at stake the forces involved may mean that we never actually get a final answer. OTOH, on of the usual rules in aircraft accidents, it takes at least two failures. Planes are actually pretty hard to kill, and the impression I get about drilling is that it mostly needs a similar level of cascading failure. With DWH horizon we got them. Maybe it was simply the odds playing out.

Francis, incompetence would not explain how they got a positive pressure test 10-11 hours after cementing when the cement clearly was not good. Conspiracy would explain it.

Besides, it's a slow Sunday, so tin foil hats are allowed.

Dr Smith testified that the time wait for the positive test was "industry standard" although not necessarily best practice.

9 A. There's knowledge that we have in
10 industry that the longer that we wait to
11 pressure test casing or impose internal pressure
12 on the casing, the more likely it is that we'll
13 damage the cement.
14 Q. And based on the timing in this case,
15 was the practice consistent with industry
16 practices?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you.

19 A. That doesn't mean it's a good practice.
20 It just means it's consistent with industry
21 practice.
22 Q. Okay. Do you agree at least that it's
23 consistent with industry practice?
24 A. Yes, ma'am.

Dr. Smith is answering a different question.

The question Rock asked was how they could get a good result on that test when the cement was clearly bad. The doc does not address that.

Please post the link to the transcript.


Yes he does address that - he says the positive pressure test doesn't test the cement in this configuration (it is a casing test) because there is a plug in the way - we have been discussing this in another thread in this same post. Have a search. Smith testimony was July 23rd http://www.deepwaterinvestigation.com/go/doctype/3043/56779/

20 Q. Okay. I understand. And then two last
21 questions. If you bump the plug, the positive
22 test is testing the casing; true?
23 A. Yes, ma'am.
24 Q. And it's testing the rams; true?
25 A. No, ma'am.

1 Q. It's not testing the rams?
2 A. No, ma'am.
3 Q. All right. Is it testing the plug?
4 A. Yes, ma'am.
5 Q. Is it testing the cement?
6 A. No, ma'am.
7 Q. Is it testing the casing shoe?
8 A. Only in kind of a mechanical sense that
9 it's there and it's holding the plug.
10 Q. Okay. And is it testing the float
11 collar?
12 A. The same way.
13 Q. The same way, a mechanical sense?
14 A. Yeah.

Great find, brit. Thanks. I really appreciate technical papers written so that readers from outside the disciplines involved can follow easily.

I have a Legal Eagle question regarding USG fine of BP for spilled oil.

If we assume BP agrees with USG's figure of 4.1 million barrels of oil, can BP say 40% of that amount is methane? Am I correct to think only liquid HC at STP is subject to fine?

brit--The government estimate is for oil, not total HC. I don't expect BP to accept the figure. They will argue plausibly that the early flow was much lower, owing to obstructions creating pressure drop in the BOP and riser kink. I think the government's spill estimate is a negotiating position rather than what the scientists believe is a fair mid-range estimate.

It could be fun building a little spreadsheet roughing out this scenario.

Interesting idea. I think I have my equations ironed out enough to put in a spreadsheet. Then each days oil-methane figures could be entered. Perhaps in a future post, I'll put it up.

Yes, I understand. I was wondering if BP lawyers would attempt a sleight of hand and try to use the 40% methane figure to their advantage.

From the BP site :

"On June 23, a total of approximately 16,830 barrels of oil were collected or flared by the two systems and 36.7 million cubic feet of gas were flared. "


I´m not good in math, but :
40% Methane - 36.7 million cubic flared - how much oil is this ?

Not sure, but I'll take a WAG and give a little explanation, so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt.

A summit report, that I posted further up, states 40% of the HC released near the sea floor was methane by weight due to pressure and temperature. As this HC flows up, the pressure and temperature change causes methane to separate.

I don't know the equation, but it should show the weight of 36.7 million cubic feet of gas equals .4 times the weight of 16,830 barrels of oil. I would be interested to see if this is true as a comparison with summit report.

I've needed to spend a little time understanding the details of terms like HC, oil, petroleum, methane. I found it to be a lot more complicated than I expected when I read articles about what happens to oil in seawater. And most articles discussed oil on the surface, not a mile underwater.

Also, my thought behind my question had to do with the 4.1 million barrels of oil that USG says was released into Gulf. This may be what BP is fined for. I didn't know for sure if this figure included the methane or not and thought if may be a debateable issue.

Hmm, now that you've got me motivated, I've double-checked the 4.1 figure. Here's remark on subject.
"Overall, the scientific teams estimate that approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil have been released from the well. Not all of this oil and gas flowed into the ocean; containment activities conducted by BP under U.S. direction captured approximately 800,000 barrels of oil prior to the capping of the well"

So, I'll argue the jury is still out on whether the 4.1 includes methane or not.


Here's another WAG...
I assume 1 cubic foot of methane weighs 14.3 grams and 1 barrel API-35 oil weighs 134,771 grams. I have no idea how accurate these assumptions are.

The weight of methane is 36,700,000 * 14.3 = 524,810 kg
The weight of oil is 16,830 * 134,771 = 2,268,196 kg
Total weight is 2,793,006 kg
Percent of total that is methane is 524,810/2,793,006 = 18.8%

Interesting, that is more than half of what was stated in survey.

I could use help with my assumptions if anyone has a better idea of weight.

Not that I am in any position to question how de' do their figuring, but one of my main questions how do they determine effectively accurate mass flow rate when there is unknown obstruction..they obviously knew the fluid density at the wellhead, ( I thought I had it correct until PinkFud pointed out the analysis of the oil I had was from sea surface, or worse, the beach ), they knew the cross-sectional area of the aperture, and the reservoir pressure,.... correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think M=pva takes into account unseen obstructions (DP) in the flow of a fluid....Could be why there have been so many different guesses in terms of total volume over the past 3 months...

I thought my calculation should be for static. Ladi was asking about weight of BP provided 16,830 barrels of oil and 36.7 million cubic feet of methane. This oil and methane was captured or burned ship-side. My interest is just to compare calculated ratio of weight with the 40% provided by summit report.

Yes, I remember the conversations about the flow out of pipe and trying to calculate. That was dynamic and too far over my head to think much about it.

The last time I solved pv=nrt was 20+ years ago. So, I need all the feedback I can get...

BP will never agree to that!

BP's position is going to be that the govt. estimate is so laughably and ridiculously flawed and inaccurate and that it cannot constitutionally form the basis for any criminal sanction, let alone one in the billions of dollars.

I think it's been discussed here that most likely scenario is that BP and gov't will negotiate the number and judge will set the fine per barrel.

It doesn't matter. Their position will be the same.

The point was that BP will never agree to any govt. estimate, and they won't short of a plea agreement, and at $1,000 a barrel at that.

BP has the superior negotiating position within the confines of what is realistically doable.

What burden of proof will apply to the flow calculations? Beyond a reasonable doubt? A lot of people already doubt the govt. estimate and trial has not even begun!

The difficulty I see with all of this is what I have written before. The government (specifically the EPA) will bring the action against BP. They will assert the volume, and things can argue from there. But the value per barrel of the final fine, they only have a very coarse control over. They can bring action for gross negligence, which has the $4,300 maximum, or simple negligence, which is capped at $1,000. But that is all. Within the cap allowed by the act it is up to the court to decide the actual per barrel amount. My knowledge of the US legal system being limited, is the per barrel fine a decision of a jury or the judge?

The act and its phrasing was clearly not written with an accident like this in mind. However the act does allow the court room to move in setting the per barrel fine, in taking into account such things as the amount of effort made to mitigate the damage (which clearly may lower the fine) and the potential financial gain to the company (which I take to be intended to punish companies that sought to avoid expensive waste disposal costs and the like.) I would assume BP's lawyers will seek out the wiggle room here. But it isn't open to a bargain ahead of time.

Interestingly the fine is not paid into general revenue - it is paid into the oil spill liability trust fund. This makes the sum rather interesting. Previously some posters have noted the value of a large well funded insurance fund that can be used to cope with spills and leaks. In essence that is what this fund is. However it was limited to $75m per incident via the oil pollution act. The clean water act however provides this open ended injection funds. An injection of a few gigadollars will make it much more useful. Sadly much more likely to attract the usual snouts in troughs too.

No matter what, there are many billions at stake here.

Here's something that confuses me. I thought they pumped cement into the well to top-kill it after they finally got it under control. But if there is cement in the well, they wouldn't be able to extract the drill pipe. So clearly I am missing something here about what it was they did a few weeks ago when they did the "top-kill".

The pipe only extends about 3,500 feet below the BOP. It is suspended far above the 5,000 feet of cement in the bottom of the well. There's about a 10,000 foot space in the well between the bottom of the hung pipe and the cement plug. [In re: Rockman' post below. I thought the well was closer to 18K feet deep, according to electric logs.]

uni - the well was drilled 18,000' below sea level. The well bore is only 13,000' long below the sea floor.

Thnx, ROCK.
I stand corrected.

13k in the dirt + 5k in the water

ericy -- As I recall the numbers the cmt fills the bottom 5,000' of the 13,000' well. The DP is hanging around 3,500' below the BOP. So there's a gap of 3,000' to 4,000', filled with mud, between the top of cmt and the bottom of the DP.

I know very little about the oil and gas industry. I only understand about 10% of what you are all talking about. I post only to ask this question: I remember reading an article (many years ago) about how the Chicxulub asteroid had left the whole seabed and indeed the mantle of the earth very weak and fractured in the gulf region. Does anyone know if this could be a factor in what is going on in BP trying to fix the problem?.

I have been away awhile....I am shocked to learn that Matthew Simmons is dead. Very sad. And now someone has passed along a report from the European Press to me, which I have no idea of the veracity of or not, but its out there......that the British Secret Intelligence Service may have put out a hit on him.


[Undoubtably a plot to keep Her Majesty's Crude Oil Wrestling Club a secret.]

No doubt it's because the Queen wants the oil that's in Lake Simmons.

Thats what I thought.....

the British Secret Intelligence Service may have put out a hit on him

Ladeez and gennelmints, it is my high hono[u]r to announce the first nominee for the soon-to-be-coveted >>> Flannery <<< : give it up for andyimages!

Whatever, you want to be an asshole be my guest, the report is out there......if you can rebut, go ahead.

Show us this "report," andy.

Here you go.....again, I have no idea, asking for a comment,

A grim Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) report prepared for Prime Minister Putin states that a British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also known as MI6) 'hit team' was behind the assassination Matthew Simmons [photo top right] who was one of the United States top oil experts and the most outspoken critic of the US and BP's handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak catastrophe.
According to this report, Simmons assassination was ordered by SIS Chief John Sawers after he met with Britain's top business leaders who warned that the continued sinking of BP's stock price because of the Gulf oil disaster posed a danger to their entire economy as the oil giants economic health was deemed "vital to the British Government's plans to cut budget deficits and balance its books."
What made Simmons particular dangerous to BP, this report continues, was the authority from which he warned that the United States and BP were covering up the true extent of this disaster and were keeping the American people's attention diverted from the true site of the massive underwater oil leak which he said was located nearly 5-6 miles from the wellhead said responsible for this catastrophe.
Simmons authority to be heard as an expert on this disaster rested on his being one of the United States top oil insiders as a former adviser to President Bush and his being a member of the influential National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Simmons had also earned the ire of both US and European oil giants, and the governments backing them, after the 2005 publication of his book "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy" wherein he used 200 technical papers published over the last 20 years to unmask the truth about the wars being fought around the World for oil that our Planet is fast running out of.
Important to note is that Simmons is not the only "high level target" assassinated by SIS hit teams as they had previously been implicated in the "suiciding" of the former British UN weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly who was killed after his leaking to the BBC that prior to the invasion of Iraq no weapons of mass destruction were found, but were being used as the "excuse" for the US and its allies to capture all of Iraq's oil and natural gas reserves.
Also interesting to note was that the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, halted the inquest into Dr. Kelly's death and set up what was called the Hutton Inquiry which ruled his death a "suicide" and then secretly classified all the evidence in the case for 70 years, in spite of the testimony of a leading American UN weapons inspector, Dr Richard Spertzel, that Dr. Kelly was on a US-British "hitlist" during the final years of his life.
In continuing, this FSB report states that "the most likely cause" of Simmons having to be killed a fortnight ago (August 8th) was due to his preparing to release a report detailing how the US and BP were using massive amounts of toxic chemical dispersants to hide the continued leaking of the "fractured beyond repair" Gulf of Mexico seafloor in what he claimed was the "largest and most dangerous manmade ecological disaster in human history".
Even worse, this FSB report states that Simmons was prepared to release "independent data" showing that toxic chemical dispersants being used to hide the oil in the Gulf of Mexico from the American people was now entering the North Atlantic Gyre [a Gyre is a large system of rotating ocean currents of which our Planet has 5] and had "stalled" what is called the Loop Current in this body of water and could lead to massive fish kills all along the Eastern coastlines of North America.
Interesting to note, and as Simmons had predicted, several US States along their Eastern seaboard began reporting thousands of dead fish washing up on their beaches a few days after his death, and which his commenting on in any American TV interview this FSB report was deemed "unacceptable" by the SIS.
Though not being reported to the American people after President Obama's "publicity stunt" this past weekend during his barely 24-hour visit to the Gulf Coast region is that approximately 672 miles of the US Gulf Coast shoreline remain covered in oil: 108 miles in Florida, 375 miles in Louisiana, 117 miles in Mississippi and 72 miles in Alabama.
Even worse are new reports warning that the damage being done to what is called the Gulf of Mexico's deep scattering layer (DSL) is leading to a catastrophic kill off of nearly every marine species in this vital ecological water system and leading to a massive starvation event of truly apocalyptic proportions.
To what is happening to those few US scientists attempting to warn the American people as to the true extent of this catastrophe (as opposed to those who BP has bought off) we can read, in part, as reported by the Zero Hedge Report in their article titled "When University Scientists Found Underwater Oil Plumes, the Government Said Shut Up, Don't Tell Anyone ... and Then Tried to Discredit Them":
"The reaction that [the University of South Florida] announcement [of the discovery of huge underwater plumes] received from the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agencies that sponsored their research:
Shut up.
"I got lambasted by the Coast Guard and NOAA when we said there was undersea oil," USF marine sciences dean William Hogarth said. Some officials even told him to retract USF's public announcement, he said, comparing it to being "beat up" by federal officials.
The USF scientists weren't alone. Vernon Asper, an oceanographer at the University of Southern Mississippi, was part of a similar effort that met with a similar reaction. "We expected that NOAA would be pleased because we found something very, very interesting," Asper said. "NOAA instead responded by trying to discredit us. It was just a shock to us."
Not just scientists are being intimidated and threatened by BP and the US government either, as new reports are stating that it is not only a criminal felony offense for Americans to take or possess photographs of this oil catastrophe, but a veteran American news reporter named Doug McKelway of WJLA-TV, a Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate, was recently suspended from his job for daring to tell his television viewers that President Obama was the recipient of more BP political donations than any other US politician.
Most unfortunately in all of these events is that another great voice for freedom has been silenced in America with the killing of Matthew Simmons; a sad fact made even more intolerable as the majority of the American people continue to remain complacent while the appetite of the US elite classes to steal all they can is warned is pushing them all towards a new Revolutionary War. 

Here is the source of that story http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1399.htm

British SIS Hit Team Kills Top US Oil Expert For Breaking Gulf Oil Spill News Blackout

By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

You can also learn from "Sorcha" (actually David Booth) such fascinating facts as...

“Dirty, Filthy, Christians”: Treatise On The Most Dangerous Death Cult In Human History

Battle Begins For Throne of This World: The Return of the Einherjar Warriors

The True Knowledge of The Three Minds: When The Three Become One By: Sorcha Faal “With knowledge obtained from the most ancient of texts, including the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, join Sorcha Faal on one of the most incredible and important journeys into the truest knowledge of human beings. (Continued)

Partisans Handbook: By: Sorcha Faal “Essential Survival Guide For Resisting Foreign Military Occupation, Escape And Evasion Techniques, Surviving Interrogation, Facing Execution, Wilderness Survival (Continued)

Code Red: The Coming Destruction Of The United States Limited release of the perhaps one of the most prophetic books of our time relating to the underlying causes, and history, of the downfall of America (Continued)

Special Offer: The Great Famine Of 2009-2012

Special Offer: Death Star Pandemic of 2009-2012: End of Age Begins

Special Offer: Exploration Of The Third Way

I wouldn't send any money if I were you

Here is the source of that story http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1399.htm

On that site's "About/Privacy Policy" page there is this disclaimer (scroll down):

Some events depicted in certain articles on this website are fictitious and any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental. Some other articles may be based on actual events but which in certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters may be composites, or entirely fictitious.

Not as elaborate as the Godlike Productions disclaimer, but the same idea.

the same idea: "I lie as much as I like."

This will make a great film script. For our American friends, the source quoted is the equivalent of your "National Enquirer".

I nominate Uwe Boll as director.


One lame article. It boils down to the Brits killed Simmons for releasing a whole bunch of "information" which turned out to be bogus anyway. Throw in another assassination conspiracy theory to trigger the guilt by association reflex, and add bits and pieces about scientists being silenced and the press being suppressed and a lot of people will get worked up and the EU Times hit rate will go up, but it just bores the heck out of me.

Pathetic. That's all I have to say.

Andy, re "the continued sinking of BP's stock price because of the Gulf oil disaster posed a danger to their entire economy". Not much of a motive. I thought it was the continued rising of BP's stock price since the well was capped which posed a danger to Simmons' personal wealth - given that he's publicly stated he shorted BP stock.

If we lived in a James bond world and SIS had a motive to kill him it was 2-3 months earlier, not after he'd become discredited, old news. August policy would have been to let sleeping dogs lie.

andy - here's the problem I have with what you posted. It isn't the report. It's what some invisible person(s) out in cyber world said was in the report. There's nothing in your post to show such a report exists other than some third party you don't know who says it does. Not saying it doesn't exist but why didn't they post the report as officially released by the authors of the report. They can't do that because it's super duper top secret? Heck, that could be true and the report really exists. But how do we distinguish such unsupported claims from the thousands of stories we know are ficticeous?

I could say I read an internal report by the FBI noting that Matt was killed by the folks at the Blue Bell creamery because of his plans to relocate the plant from Texas to Maine. Would love to release the doc but it would violate the trust I've developed with the head of the FBI.

I'm really not making fun of you or your concerns. But we spend a good bit of time on TOD dealing with factual matters. Tough to allocate much effort to theories without any support.

I totally understand, but this is the world we live in.......the age of propaganda. Obviously Simmons understood that as he was playing the game in a major way.
Try and go up against the Russians for example and the oil mafia.

Would the British kill him? I doubt that. But some billionaire losing a lot of money might from his ravings might.

andy - And as we say in Texas when someone floats up dead: Yeah, too bad, but maybe he needed shotin'"

Would the British kill him? I doubt that. But some billionaire losing a lot of money might from his ravings might

Actually Simmons himself was almost a billionaire, and when he sobered up and realized what a fool he was sounding like with all his ridiculous rantings on worldwide MSM, the smartest thing he could have done was put a hit out ON HIMSELF. Unfortunately they apparently did such an excellent job everyone just assumed it was natural causes, so he's dead, out the money (for the hit) and doesn't get to be a martyr after all.

Can't prove it didn't, so it must be true?

Odd coincidence though, from raving madman on MSN to the grave rather quickly.

I have been away awhile....I am shocked to learn that Matthew Simmons is dead. Very sad. And now someone has passed along a report from the European Press to me, which I have no idea of the veracity of or not, but its out there......that the British Secret Intelligence Service may have put out a hit on him.


My thoughts are that's more total shite from Internet criminal hoaxer David Booth pretending to be "Sorcha Faal"

David Booth. Interesting....wonder who he works for, or really is.

Well if you search you will even find people claiming he works for British Secret Intelligence Service himself(!!), the FBI, CIA, Mossad etc but most think he's just a computer programmer turned scam artist who has found a way to make a lot of money by frightening people with fictional stories he creates.

By the way the US NTSC television system secretly encodes mind control rays which is why it is "banned" in most of the world. Got that from his/her site as well. And here was me thinking it was because it was Never Twice the Same Color :)

Might be total rubbish.....probably is. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if Matthew was whacked. Not because there was all the oil leaking that he claimed, but because he was costing someone a lot of money......people are killed every day for much less.

More likely he realised his way off base rantings about doomsday senario's were being seen for the ravings they were and the fact his short positions on BP stock were not looking like such a good bet. When you short 8-10,000 shares in BP and the stock rises you are going to start owing substantial amounts of money. at least the SEC can't investigate him now... Even Simmons & Co wanted to distance themselves from there former chairman and founder.

Gee Andy,

David Booth, a.k.a. "Sorcha Faal," is a widely reported hoaxer and scam artist. If David Booth is his real name, that is. He solicits donations from gullible people to shear the sheep and business is good. My guess is that he works for himself and (1) loves to make up this stuff; and (2) probably finds it very financially reward.

Also, European Union Times itself is also reported to be a disinformation front site for David Booth's drivel. More than a bit disturbing are its reported links to neo-Nazis (see http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2009/12/16/racist-skinheads-wife-behind-eu...)

Geez, don't people look into sources!!! First rule of anything you read on the Internet is to be skeptical of sources, ALWAYS!

This isn't hidden information; a simple Google search will tell you what you need to know in the first two pages of search results.

This is the third or fourth GOM oil spill story from “Sorcha Faal” at TOD in the last three months. This scam has continued to work for a long time because a people will take this sh*t at face value without even basic checking. One doesn’t have to be smart to see through this stuff, just minimally observant.

David Booth. Interesting....wonder who he works for, or really is.

The amount of cement they have to pump to make the mantle fissures recompetent is tremendous.
That's why everything takes so long.

But seriously.

If the drill hole of this well were scaled to the size of a human hair, the depth of the entire well would be about eight feet. Think of a hole the size of a hair through rock and ask yourself if such a teeny tiny hole could possibly destabilize that rock.

The Earth is about 7,643 miles thick. The Macondo well hole is about 3.5 miles deep, just a tiny, shallow miniscule intrusion into that mass.

I would not spend any time worrying about mantles and such.

Don't worry about Chicxulub. It happened 65 million years ago and shattered a small patch of rock in what is now Yucatan and the near offshore. Tidal waves, fires and pollution caused a bunch of more widespread damage, but not fracturing. And it didn't go as deep as the mantle which is 20 miles down.

Macondo is drilled into Tertiary sediments younger than the impact, much younger IIRC (30 or 40 million years if it's Miocene). As far as they're concerned it's ancient history, in a place far, far away.... (roll Star Wars music).

Gee -- very unlikely. Wrong place at the wrong time. But here's something a few folks don't know: the great Mexican oil field, Cantarell, was created when another asteroid crashed into the sea floor and fractured rocks that could not have accumulated oil initially because it lacked pemeability.

Rockman, Please don't give PB any ideas...

Obama's Gulf War –
"Robbing Peter to Pay Paul"
(Does BP dare?)

Hey, look again! Where's our second relief well?
Is BP suddenly cocky or what?
Are they planning to borrow its blowout preventer?
Instead of a new one, will they use what they've got?

Cheaper? You betcha. Why buy another?
Wherever possible, try to make do.
Will they again be allowed to cut corners?
How great they're so sure they won't need Number Two.

So who's to complain if they're robbing their Peter
To pay their Paul whose own wouldn't close?
Why should we worry? Relief wells can't fail.
Not when they're drilled by such consummate pros.

Bob Carlson
On Twitter @PBoondoggles

To "Admiral Allen said that once the new preventer —
which was used by the rig drilling a backup relief well —
was installed..."
To 'Well to Be Sealed After Labor Day'
To 'BP Incompetence'

p'liticalboondoggles. . .

Contest rules in the link:

Get after it, Loris & y'all.

pb - A few details. You don’t buy the BOP…you lease it. BP has been paying the lease for the BOP (and the cost of the rig drilling RW2) from the start. So you're correct: they aren't spending new money for the BOP. They been paying for it every day since RW2 started. The RW2 is still where it’s been all these weeks: suspended waiting to see if it’s needed should they lose RW1.

Thanks, Rockman, correction noted

A whacko question:

When BP pumped all that mud and cement down the well, how did they know where it all was going? BP admitted no one knew the condition of the well downhole—so how do you make sure the cement goes where its supposed to go, the mud goes where its supposed to go?

I mean, if the casing's fractured, couldn't it go just about anywhere? How do they know the well is truly in static equilibrium—instead of maybe just plugged at the end of the hole, like a potato crammed onto an exhaust? Since the well is filled with drillpipe, isn't the top the only place they can take pressure readings?

This from someone who only worked as a swamper, a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away—and we were drilling for piers, not oil. I do remember the Kelly Bar, however...

Bogus - A valid question. First, lets look at the physical layout. There’s a hole about 14” in diameter drilled thru the rocks at the bottom of the well. The steel casing, about 10” in diameter is run into the bottom of the hole. So now you have two spaces down hole: the inside of the csg and the area between the csg and the rocks (the annulus). So there’s only these two obvious places for cmt to go. They could have fractured the rock when pumping cmt and lost some of it that way. But we know what pressure that would take and they didn’t get close to that level when pumping cmt. As far as the cmt going out thru fractured csg it’s good to remember the cmt isn’t pumped down the csg. Drill pipe is run down to the bottom of the csg and the cmt is pumped down thru it. There is back pressured applied to the mud column above the end of the drill pipe so the most likely course for the cmt is down and back up the annulus.

Static equilibrium? Actually at the moment the well isn’t technically in equilibrium. SE implies the mud weight is balanced against the reservoir and thus keeping it from flowing. That’s what they achieved with the top kill mud. At the moment the reservoir appears to be isolated by the cmt they pumped. So the reservoir is plugged off and shouldn’t flow even if they replaced the heavy mud with sea water.

The well bore isn’t “filled with drill pipe”. There is a string of DP hanging in the top of the csg but from a pressure reading standpoint it’s virtually invisible. And yes, at the moment the only pressure readings can come from the sensors in the cap.

Hey, Rock, you wrote:

cmt isn’t pumped down the csg. Drill pipe is run down to the bottom of the csg and the cmt is pumped down thru it.

Mud and cement were pumped thru BOP choke and kill. No DP.

Correct avon. But I thought we were talking about the original cmt job on the production csg. Maybe read the post too fast. Thanks

When they did the static top kill, they recorded the BOP pressure and volume of mud pumped.

As mud went into the well, forcing the lighter oil/gas mixture out of the well, the pressure at the top decreased in proportion to the height of the mud column.

For a particular volume of mud pumped, the pressure decrease will be bigger if it has gone into a narrow space amd smaller if it went into a wider space.

Since they knew what the diameters and heights of the various possible spaces are, they were able to conclude that the mud flowed into, and only into, the production casing.

Where the mud went, the cement followed. By controlling the volume of mud that then followed the cement they controlled how deep in the well the last of the cement ended up.

That's my understanding anyway, but as a non-oilfield person, I would hope I would be corrected if I've got it wrong.


The tubular they pumped the cement down is 9-7/8 at the top 7" at the bottom. This tubular is called a production casing it was set and encased in cement just before the blowout. It changes dia. roughly in the middle of its length. On April 20 it had cement plug on the inside and also cement surrounding it on the outside going up the open hole about 800'-1000' from the bottom. That cement obviously failed and it is unknown how much of it survived.

Also 5 million barrels flowed through that area which likely changed the shape of the hole. Something like 1200' from the bottom of the production casing is the bottom of the well liner string. This is the bottom of the outer casing of the well. They don't know much about the current condition of the outer casing. It may be damaged and it may not. Nothing that they have done (that they have revealed to the public) so far can really be used as evidence that the outer casing is intact. They don't know where the extra 200 barrels of cement went that they pumped on Aug 6. All they know is that 300 barrels should be filling the bottom 5000' of the 7" production casing.

There is a high degree of confidence that the production casing will never produce another barrel of oil. But that doesn't mean the well is safe. There is still an open space between the outer casing and the production casing (annulus) that could be open all the way from the reservoir to the wellhead. There is a seal at the top that is normally rated at 15m Kpsi that isolates this space and there may be cement at the bottom that is keeping this space from communicating with the reservoir.

The relief well is poised to intersect in the open hole which on April 20 was above the top of cement and below the 9-7/8 liner shoe (bottom of the outer casing).

The T-P's Bob Marshall looks for a silver lining:

BP oil spill disaster could end up working in favor of coastal restoration

Unfortunately, it runs through Washington in an election year . . .

Lotus - Hopefully some folks in La can pocket some of these monies…they can use the help. But with re to “Louisiana's coastal wetlands continue to turn into open water at the rate of 25 square miles per year, the result of levees built for navigation and flood protection, and tens of thousands of miles of canals dredged for the oil and gas industries.” Those man made activities have contributed to the loss but the primary cause is subsidence. Subsidence that has been going on for at least 80 million years. How much subsidence? There are rocks buried 50,000’ below the coast line that were deposited in 3’ of water. If they completed eliminate all man made factors the coastline would still continue to disappearing every year. They only way to stop the loss would be to let the Miss R. divert north of Baton Rouge and let it start building a new delta south of Lafayette. Right now all the sediments that could be rebuilding the coastline are be funneled out into the deep GOM by the Corps of Engineers efforts to maintain the existing channel. Every 20,000 years or so the MR changes course: it use to run down the Texas border to the west as well as the edge of Mobile Bay to the east.

Whoa, Rockman, thanks for all this -- overwhelming to contemplate, isn't it? Can you imagine your old homeys accepting this story and willingly responding accordingly? That's an awful lot for any culture to buy into (let alone the Cajuns). How many people, over how wide a swath, would this impact if they did say, "Well, we must"? Where would it leave New Orleans? (Got my Rand-McNally here to check my memory of who's where.) What would cause the river to flow southwesterly if left to its own devices? What kind of timescale would this process require?

Every 20,000 years or so the MR changes course: it use to run down the Texas border to the west as well as the edge of Mobile Bay to the east.

Wowzers . . . just . . . wowzers.

lotus - Such a diversion of the MR was the theme of a novel by Clive Cussler. It almost happened accidently in the early 70's during the high spring run offs from the northern snow melts. Growing up in New Orleans and getting my BS in Earth Sciences there, the MR course changes were well known. Long story short: such a diversion would truly destroy the entire economy of the US. Google map the Chandeleur Islands. You'll see a smooth arc of islands. This is what's left of the MR delta that was deposited when the river flowed down the east side. The delta is almost entiurely submerged now. The islands are the left over sediments that have been winnowed out leaving nice clean sand behind.

Too much to take in in one sitting, Rockman. I'll hafta do more reading-up to get my head around it. Maybe consult with the shade of Sweet Emma Barrett on the blues . . .

In case it wasn't mentioned, John M. Barry's Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America" is terrific context for a lot of what came later.

And if you happen to make contact, give Miss Emma my regards. My Daddy and Mama took me on a first trip to NOLA in 1965 and I got to hear her at Preservation Hall. Still hear her, sometimes.

Still hear her, sometimes.

Oh me too, chere. Who knows, we may have been there the same night (a return visit for me, but '65 was fer sher one of them). Did you catch her cameo in "The Hustler"? I hollered in the theatre, "Sweet Emma!" (embarrassing my high-school boyfriend).

Lotus, this will get you started.


The Old River Control Structures prevent Morgan City from becoming the mouth of the Mississippi. For a good general description of the situation, "The Control of Nature" by John McPhee is a good non-technical read. A third of the book, "Atchafalaya", discusses Old River Control quite extensively.

FWIW I think Captain Shreve gets a bum rap when he gets blamed for making the problem worse. He cut off Turnbull's Bend but it was just a matter of time before nature cut it off anyway. I think it was 1973 when they very nearly lost the original structure in a flood. If it had been lost, diversion would have taken place then and there and may not have been reversible after that.

Thanks for the tip, EJB. McPhee is always good reading, so I have something to look forward to there.

Yes, the McPhee account is terrific.

As I understand, when a river lays down a delta, it lengthens its path to the sea and therefore reduces its angle of inclination. The riverbed is raised above the surround, and with the MR levees that process is extreme. So after some years in the same channel, there is a shorter and steeper path to the sea available off to either side. In a natural delta there are multiple side channels, and sooner or later one of them captures the main flow. The Atchafalaya wants it all, and it wants it now. The way McPhee describes that will raise your hackles.

Thanks for book note.

And, following up on yesterday's discussion of faults, Assembling California, also by McPhee, is a geological tour of the Golden State. (I once saw a comment to the effect that if the formal study of geology had begun in California rather than elsewhere, academics would have given up.)

Tying them together - the Los Angeles River (which has an average drop of about 10 feet per mile) once reached the ocean at Marina del Rey. It isn't completely concreted over, either; there are a couple of miles that are natural-bottom, with trees of some size growing in it, and a lot more birds and fish in it than you would expect.

I wonder if it might be useful to recapitulate the situation to provide some clarity about what is going on now.

As I understand it:

There's a hold on the Relief Well for the moment, although it seems likely that they have instrumentation down there to monitor as best they can from that location what's going on in the blown out well, since that well is about 3.5" from the blown out well, and, if I remember correctly, about 800 ft. above the reservoir.

They have placed a cement plug in the bottom 5,000 ft of the blown out well, probably including the well bore annulus in the part of the well below the reservoir, thus sealing off the production casing from the reservoir.

It is possible that the placed cement also sealed off the reservoir itself and the well bore annulus above the reservoir, but I doubt that they have any way of being sure of that.

Their pressure tests have suggested to them that there is no current unsealed communication between the reservoir and the well-head, although they apparently can't be sure of the status of the annulus outside the production casing, or the annulus between the well bore and the main well casing, beyond determining that there is no active flow through those spaces. They are also not sure whether there is mud, or oil, in either annulus.

They can't be sure that that the original cement seals that were placed outside the casing at the joint of each change in casing diameter as the well was being drilled are still intact.

They cannot be certain about the condition of any of the casing hangers, or their respective seals.

The wellhead has no lockdown sleeve, that device having been apparently deliberately omitted, before the blowout.

The condition of the seals at the wellhead is uncertain, and there is some concern that if excessive pressure is applied inside the well, those seals might become compromised by a lifting of some components of the well casing relative to other parts of the casing.

The original, failed, blowout protector is still in place, with another ram assembly mounted atop it (used to finally cap the well by closing one of its rams), and a riser connecting that to the drill rig.

Mud fills the well above the cement seal at the bottom of the well, sufficient to hold the pressure differential at the mud line (sea bottom) at approximately zero, relative to the pressure in the water at the mud line outside the well assembly.

They have flushed out the mud above the original blowout protector, and probably some of the mud inside that assembly as well, and replaced it with seawater.

There remains inside the well, apparently hanging from the partially closed shear ram and, presumably, any rams below the shear ram, a drill pipe, which is about 3500 ft long, the bottom end of which is some 10,00 ft or so above the cement seal that was just placed at the bottom of the well.

Before replacing and preserving for evidence the original blow-out protector, they would like to extract that drill pipe, to make the removal of the blowout protector less complicated.

In order to "fish" that drill pipe out they need to reach down inside the well with drill pipe with a fishing tool attached at the bottom end until the tool can be attached to the old drill pipe's upper end, having opened the shear ram (if possible) to provide additional access to the old drill pipe for the fishing tool if necessary, but leaving the ram(s)s below the shear ram closed to hold the pipe in place,

The old drill pipe is damaged at the upper end, by being flattened and perhaps partially sheared by the shear ram (probably at a joint between two sections). I don't know whether they have a tool that can be attached to such a damaged end, although it wouldn't surprise me if one were already available for just such circumstances. In any case, even if they don't have a tool for that, they can either cut off that end, or mill that end of the pipe down until they reach the undamaged part of the pipe, attach the extraction tool securely to the lower drill pipe, open the remaining rams on the blowout protector and extract the old drill string, by drawing it up to the drill rig.

While drawing our the old drill string, which is hollow, and therefore will be less likely to create any significant suction effect, at the speeds at which they will extract it, they can replace its weight with mud via the choke and/or kill lines which are attached below the rams.

THen they can remove the new top ram assembly, remove the old blowout protector (although there apparently is some concern about the condition of the latches which attach that to the well head), install a lockdown sleeve if they wish, install a new (thoroughly tested, one would hope) blowout protector, then proceed with the relief well, if they wish to confirm the contents and other conditions within the annulus, and perhaps set a cement seal in the 800 ft or so between the intersection point and the reservoir, while the new blowout preventer reduces the chances of any mishap, especially from any overpressure situations.

With the new blowout preventer they also have the option of perforating the production liner (and casing?) from inside the well to both determine the condition of the annulus, and place any cement that they wish to insert in various parts of the annulus.

When they have thoroughly determined the condition of the well, and remedied any potential problems, they can do a standard plug and abandon by setting cement plugs at several points in the upper part of the well, and testing each one thoroughly before moving on to the next.

Then they can remove the new blowout protector, gather and store away their toys, remove any debris they have left on the sea bottom, cut off the well head below the mud line and sail off into the sunset, leaving the conspiracy theorists (hopefully-in either or both usages of that word) to gnash their teeth and find other grounds upon which to sound the alarm and rally the troops..

I would guess this isn't total trash, but what did I get wrong or leave out?

replaced it with seawater

Fact not in evidence. Need Q4000 records of what they pumped.

That's all you challenge?

Aren't the capping stack rams open with no riser hooked to the top, just a small diameter fishing string stuck in the hole attempting to grapple something that's below the capping stack down in the spool (or whatever that piece is called that they bolted to the BOP)?

I haven't seen a visual of the operation, but I would guess that the riser is attached to the upper ram stack to provide a means of controlling the well throughout the fishing process. The more prudent course. Remember they are well accustomed to fishing blindly through several feet of riser/lining, and the fishing devices are designed to attach to the end of drill pipe.

I haven't seen a visual of the operation

Here you go - just drill pipe into the top of the capping stack.

I would think that myself, but things like HankF's 3:23 CDT post (below), and the lack of anything indicating riser attachment from AvonA and the other ROV watchers makes me wonder.

He's on top of everything else going on down there, I was hoping he could set me straight.


Thanks for the correction all.

Unfortunately my bandwidth isn't sufficient to let me monitor the video feeds.

Correct - there is no riser attached to the capping stack.

Incidentally, the Enterprise drill pipe is back at work inside the stack/spool/etc, (apparently without the camera today) and a second pipe, also presumably from the Ent, is hanging nearby.

ETA - correction - camera up at http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/in...

And here, thanks to evergreen over on irc and yesterday's downhole camera, is what appears to be the ragged, somewhat squished top of the 3,000'+ drill pipe.

Speechless. Prefer someone else to say it. Not drill pipe.

a) What leads you to conclude that with such authority?

b) What material other than seawater allows pictures to be taken thru it? Doesn't that picture in itself provide the "fact" that you claim is "not in evidence" above?

DP was sheared and squashed into a figure 8, remember? Probably fell downhole. But we'll find out yes or no eventually from the fishing operation.

Seawater pumped from above through camera tube.

I believe that's riser with the drill pipe and other piece of drill pipe which were sitting in the BOP when they cut above it.

That's the "one pipe, two pipe" controversy. In any case, if held by a semi-closed BOP ram as mooted, the shape seen on camera should have been similar to the other sheared off and irregular pipe end(s). It wasn't.

When they unbolted the sheared off riser to install the spool connector, was there a squashed drill pipe sticking out of it? No. Therefore, it fell 8,000 ft down.

My recollection is seeing two pipes sticking out of the bop that they strapped together to permit them to put something over the cut ends. I believe there was some question about one of them disappearing before they put the upper ram assembly on.

My recollection is seeing two pipes sticking out of the bop that they strapped together

They had prepared to strap them together, according to Allen, but when the time came to do so, they found there was only one pipe left. So they never actually did any strapping.


That's an example of how perception can mislead us. I have a vivid mental image of the stubs of two pipes strapped together sticking out the top of the assembly. What puzzled me about the mental image was that there was nothing coming out of the top of the BOP assembly.

There's that senility again!

I have a vivid mental image of the stubs of two pipes strapped together sticking out the top of the assembly.

As I recall, they did a mockup at one point, don't remember why, don't remember if it included the strapping approach. But if it did, maybe that's what you're thinking of?

You're a sweetheart!

Evidence of my senility is forestalled for another 10 minutes.

Thanks much.

David, I think you are remembering (clearly!) the photo of the mockup of the BOP, which did have two pipes strapped together. Too soon to use senility as an excuse, unfortunately ;-)

If you don't mind I'll grab any straw I can find.

If you don't mind I'll grab any straw I can find.

Sorry, you don't get to use the senility excuse, not after your tour de force rundown of the current situation.

Ooops! Not having seen the pipe I did some digging and found this:

One pipe sticking out. Oval and spewing gas. I stand corrected.

If you have had the Prostate test with the video camera; you will be wincing at these fishing camera images.

Unconformity, quaking, ROCKMAN,

Thanks for your replies.

Basically my concerns and thinking were the same as "bogustrumper". I was trying to find out what the condition of the sub structure was. If there was or could be leakage through fissures/fractures in the rock at the base of the well leading to the surface of the seabed. Thanks again for your help.

Gee -- I'll still have similar (but somewhat minor) concerns until they finally set the top cmt plug

Pretty dang good David IMHO. An excellent post for any newbies trying to play catch up.

Thanks much.

Gail et al:

Have you considered such a summary when switching threads, in addition to very helpfully briefing us on the current issues?

Might save Rockman and others a little work answering repeated questions, so they could focus on the more esoteric details?

Edit: that, of course, assumes you have nothing better to do! `(:<))-<=<

David - Back off! TOD is about the only place I have where I'm one of the smarter guys at the table. Not as much as I use to be given the other oil patch hands joining a well as the TOD regulars who have educated themselves so well. I live for the easy questions from the occasional newbie that pops in.

I'm sorry daddy! I didn't mean to step on your toes, I just slipped when I was jumping on them! (Crocodile tears flood out whjile I look anxiously out of the corner of my eye)


Am I the only one who finds that a little creepy? If so, I'll go to therapy instead of suggesting that David double-up on his. :)

Why am I afraid you're not referring to the extraneous "j" that slipped into there whilst (I've always loved that word, so just had to use it) I wasn't looking?

Probably that paranoia again.


Psssst: I found it creepy too!! Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!!

David, very good synopsis. There is one technical blooper, however.

"While drawing our the old drill string, which is hollow, and therefore will be less likely to create any significant suction effect, at the speeds at which they will extract it, they can replace its weight with mud via the choke and/or kill lines which are attached below the rams."

Actually, as the drill pipe is removed, it will be an equivalent volume of the pipe that is replaced rather than the weight of the pipe. Normally, the density of the replaced fluid is equivalent to that which is already in the well and which has demonstrated to be sufficient to hold back the pressure from below.

Good summary though.


That's an oops, big time - physics .00001- Archimedes, if I remember correctly.

Unfortunately I've forgotten more of my two years of engineering than I ever knew.

Now why did I switch to liberal studies (whatever that is - I've never been too sure)?

Thanks again.

If the pipe is well crimped it may lift mud up inside it as well.


EDM, if the drill pipe is hanging, it isn't contributing any weight to the mud column, so nothing needs to be replaced, right?

OB, you still have to replace the volume of the steel in the drill pipe as you pull it out of the hole. Otherwise the level of mud in the hole would decrease and the hydrostatic head would be reduced.

If you can remember back in the day when you went to the rigs with your dad, every few stands triping out of the hole the driller would kick the pump in to fill the hole though what is called the fillup line. Before starting out of the hole they would close the standpipe valve and open the fillup line valve..

Gol-lee, a tour de force, Dave. Thanks and congratz.

Thanks for the well-written summary!
As someone outside the oil industry, I had no problem understanding everything written and it passed peer review. I hope a journalist or two reads your post as a guide for communicating this complicated industrial accident to others.

ROV's show they just dropped a pipe into the capping stack(?). Is this the start of the fishing operation?

I don´t want to miss these videos on TOD.
NOAA and EPA people wriggling like snakes in front of the Congress.

1) How much HC is still in the enviroment :


2) Bioaccumulating metabolites of PAHs :


3) NOT testing for MERCURY, ARSENIC, or other TOXIC HEAVY METALS :


4) Amount of METHANE and the possible impact :


5) Feds admit NOT using BP's thick, black crude for testing :


To point five I had questioned a few days ago, because all dispersant testings happened with the Lousiana sweet crude oil.
My Question was : How crude is the BP oil ?

It sounds like bp is just dancing around the pole..Trying to delay everything by saying that they are "fishing" this has to be a joke or something.

The definition of fishing is this: :the act of someone who fishes as a diversion
:the occupation of catching fish for a living


Which is exactly what a "Fishing Tool Man" or operator does for a living. Any thing in the hole that must be removed and can't by ordinary operation is called a "fish" and must be "fished" out by whom else but a person who makes their living catching and retrieving those "fish" There are several major fishing tool companies and probably hundreds of small independent some times a one man company operating in the country today.

Picky about this definition?:the occupation of catching fish for a living

There are crab fishermen, oysterfishermen, lobster fishermen and oilfield fishing tool men

Are you part of the Wild life management in Louisiana?

CCT, you don't seem to be much for reading posts here, but just in case . . . the second half of this one


can help you out.

CCT, I think Passaloutre is more likely to mangez the wildlife.

Drive US 90 through Southwest Louisiana and you will see lots of signs for fishing equipment companies that have nothing to do with scaly little animals.

FOR ALL - FYI: Typically we call them "fishing hands". Which can confuse some folks even more...what about fishing feet or fishing ears. LOL.

1. n. [Well Workover and Intervention] ID: 4600

The application of tools, equipment and techniques for the removal of junk, debris or fish from a wellbore. The key elements of a fishing operation include an understanding of the dimensions and nature of the fish to be removed, the wellbore conditions, the tools and techniques employed and the process by which the recovered fish will be handled at surface.

1. n. [Drilling] ID: 1389

Anything left in a wellbore. It does not matter whether the fish consists of junk metal, a hand tool, a length of drillpipe or drill collars, or an expensive MWD and directional drilling package. Once the component is lost, it is properly referred to as simply "the fish." Typically, anything put into the hole is accurately measured and sketched, so that appropriate fishing tools can be selected if the item must be fished out of the hole.

Source: Schlumberger oil field glossary.
(The glossary helped me understand passaloutre's earlier post in this thread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6879/706573 <- subthread link, not parent, thanks to somebody last night.)

I have been retired from the OF for nearly 20 years and I haven't seen an overshot since then but when I checked the link to the pictures of the overshots they looked exactly the same as a 1950 model Bowen Oiltool Short catch overshot. At one time I could have told you from memory the Serial number of the Basket or spiral grapnel(grapple) available for that overshot

So I found this little definition about the "fishing oil tool men" Do you mean this????

fishing tool
1. n. [Drilling] ID: 1391

A general term for special mechanical devices used to aid the recovery of equipment lost downhole. These devices generally fall into four classes: diagnostic, inside grappling, outside grappling, and force intensifiers or jars. Diagnostic devices may range from a simple impression block made in a soft metal, usually lead, that is dropped rapidly onto the top of the fish so that upon inspection at the surface, the fisherman may be able to custom design a tool to facilitate attachment to and removal of the fish. Other diagnostic tools may include electronic instruments and even downhole sonic or visual-bandwidth cameras. Inside grappling devices, usually called spears, generally have a tapered and threaded profile, enabling the fisherman to first guide the tool into the top of the fish, and then thread the fishing tool into the top of the fish so that recovery may be attempted. Outside grappling devices, usually called overshots, are fitted with threads or another shape that "swallows" the fish and does not release it as it is pulled out of the hole. Overshots are also fitted with a crude drilling surface at the bottom, so that the overshot may be lightly drilled over the fish, sometimes to remove rock or metallic junk that may be part of the sticking mechanism. Jars are mechanical downhole hammers, which enable the fisherman to deliver high-impact loads to the fish, far in excess of what could be applied in a quasi-static pull from the surface.

Outside grappling devices, usually called overshots, are fitted with threads or another shape that "swallows" the fish and does not release it as it is pulled out of the hole

One part they missed the "overshot" can be released from the fish by setting weight down on it and turning it to the right

Your long definitio fit the one you published from Princeton or Yarvard doesn't it? So you agree that if BP says they are fishing that is a correct statement

Overshots are also fitted with a crude drilling surface at the bottom

Crude (their definition) but effective and are not cheap Usually tungsten but I have seen diamonds used

The lawyer representing the shrimping industry, the tricks BP are getting upto...


I caught up with the camera at about 700 feet and followed it down to about 2800 feet when the video quit. It looks like the camera was in the old drill pipe as you could see the pipe joints quite clearly as they passed. They were dropping the camera at about 1 foot per second and paused and retracted it a few 10's of feet before commencing again. The pipe sections appear to be about 42 feet long or there abouts. The fluid in the pipe seems quite clear with just a few floaters visible.

If this is the old DP, that implies that they must have released the shear ram of the old BOP and have somehow managed to hold the end of the old pipe and got the camera passed any dent in the pipe.


They are running the cam inside a drill string from the Enterprise. Nowhere near the BOP or the fish yet.

You are probably right but I'd think they'd have the camera at the end of the new pipe before dropping it into the stack. I wonder why they'd do multiple retracts just going down the new pipe. It didn't look like the camera was getting stuck.

I wonder why they'd do multiple retracts just going down the new pipe.

Hank, wonder if it has something to do with adding lengths of pipe and video cable as they build the string of pipe?

delete dup

"60 Minutes" on the BP disaster/Mike Williams again and some other stuff, maybe? 7 p.m. EDT

Re: 60 minutes.

They sure are jumping on the rubber in the mud returns story.

The rubber could be from the annular but there is another plausible source. Each time a string of casing is cemented a rubber plug used at the base of the casing. When drilling resumes, this rubber plug is drilled and the rubber is circulated to surface. This is a far more likely rubber source.

That BOP will be on the surface shortly so the validity of the torn up annular story will known.



As I recall, in the first weeks, the rubber pieces were (and maybe still are) significant, because as I remember, there was an incident during a pressure test in which the pipe was moved by 15' accidentally while the rubber annulus was clamped. This was during the time when reports from the platform workers were coming out before the "Corporate Filters" were set.



Report Video Issue

C-SPAN | Newsmakers

Congressman Ed Markey talked about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, its impact on U.S. energy policy, and other energy issues. Following the interview, the journalists discussed his answers with the host.

This accident occurred because increasing copper prices made an old abandoned mine economically attractive again.

That is interesting in the context of this web site.

Can anyone tell whats going on with the current video feed? Looks like they have the drill pipe in the BOP trying to make a grab and we can see it from the inside and outside. Then the video feeds stopped.

Can anyone tell whats going on with the current video feed? Looks like they have the drill pipe in the BOP trying to make a grab and we can see it from the inside and outside. Then the video feeds stopped.

The camera went down the fishing pipe about 7 p.m., but the pipe got stopped at the upper shear ram on the new stack, which was, for some reason, half closed. They opened it, shimmied and wiggled the fishing pipe for a bit, one of the ROVs grabbed it, we saw the lower shear ram on the new stack was mostly CLOSED, then the feed went skitzo and then gray. It was a facepalm moment.

Seems like they forgot to open the rams on the new stack all the way before they went fishing or the rams are malfunctioned or something. The situation is ambiguous, but then, this wouldn't be Macondo if it were anything else.
If the camera is busted, it'll take them at least 55 minutes per trip to raise and lower a new camera to 5,000 feet deep, plus time spent unhooking the broken cam and hooking up the new cam on the ship. 110 minutes, minimum, I'd guess.

Maybe check back down there at about 11 p.m. Or midnight. Or tomorrow.

Maybe the BP folks are having some video conferences regarding the shear rams on the stack.
Maybe the shear rams are not so reliable on the new stack.

But once they open the stack rams, the fished-for DP should be right there in all its glory.
And I use the words, "should be" loosely.

Unc, simple question. Why send a camera? They did that last night.

Tonight's camera was sent down the fishing pipe.
Got looks at the shear rams in the new stack.
Then cam got malfunctioned -- feeds quit.

I assume it would be much easier to catch the old DP if the cam were inside the fishing tool. The view was good, but the situation wasn't ideal. What with closed and half closed shear rams and all.

How did they do their ambient pressure test earlier if rams were closed? Or the ram was partially open enough to flood the well with seawater? I get so confused by all of this.

thrasher -- remember the DP is caught in the rams so they can't form a seal.

Okay, thanks. I figured if there was no pipe in there (like was the case with the new capping stack before they ran the fishing DP in) that the rams would completley seal if they were in the closed position.

Nice spew of gray stuff around the drill pipe.

What's coming out on the right-sort of gray, smoky discharge?

They're flushing the stack again.
It's full of crud.

and, the water from the surface is warmer so it rises as it carries the mud out. May also be less salty which would make it lighter.

Edit: Maybe, maybe not.

EJB, your conjecture seems reasonable, a difference in density would refract light crossing the boundary and create the blurry areas we see.

The sparks that were coming from a tube held by Hos 2 makes me believe they were plasma cutting a ram shear... blade, plate, whatever

Flipping between the video feeds, I saw one worker on deck preparing a circular saw. Does this mean anything?

One of the ROV's late last night was holding a circular saw.

Today, too.

ROCKMAN, wondering if you could field a couple questions before this thread closes? Already posted upthread, but no responses yet:

1) Following up on the thread you started about the suspect positive pressure test: would it have been possible for a bad cement job (and lax mud return monitoring) to result in the original bottom hole cement plugs getting slowly pushed up the 7 inch casing during the seawater displacement until they hit the 9 7/8 transition at which point all h*ll started breaking loose?

2) regarding the question about the effect of pulling the old drill pipe out of the WW, if the drill pipe is hanging, it isn't contributing any weight to the mud column, so nothing needs to be replaced as it is removed, right?

Thanks, I'll eat some BB for you this week, butter pecan maybe.

2) The DP is displacing mud. AS the DP is raised the mud level will fall so the pressure created by the mud will fall. If they want to keep the well balanced they need to add mud.

Mixed up some Gatorade the other day. I do it with weighed powder then stir it in. I had the jug of water on the scale and I got curious as to what effect raising or lowering the spoon, in the liquid, would have (you can try this at home). Lower the spoon without touching the bottom or sides the weight increased, lift the spoon and the weight decreased. Now anyone tell me why? ;) I guess the DP will act the same as well as the change in mud level.


NAOM, thanks. For no good reason I forgot about displacement and the difference between mud weight and mud pressure.

What I didn't think of at all was the buoyancy of the drill pipe in the mud, or of a spoon in Gatorade. The weight of the pipe hanging from the BOP is reduced by the buoyancy of the steel in liquid mud. So if you put a scale in the bottom of your Gatorade jug and set the spoon on it, it would read less than it would in air. Nice riddle, thanks again.

Didn't we conclude that for the well to be balanced, the mud column had to continue some distance up the choke/kill line above the BOP?

Why are people still talking about balance when there's a 5000' cement plug in place? It's not the mud, it's the PLUG that is controlling the well now, isn't it?


My apologies for late reply ofb,

Normally there is a flapper valve in the casing shoe which prevents cement u-tubing back up under the plugs. But if it failed (as it apparently must have at some point) then in principle yes the plugs could have been reversed up the casing.

As far as dp removal goes they are not trying to maintain any hydrostatic balance across the cement filled bore so will simply allow sea water to occupy the space it took up. 

On the effectiveness of alarms, from a report on the Arizona prison escapees:

"A report on Thursday found a series of breakdowns that allowed the inmates to slip away into the desert, including alarms that went off so often that prison personnel often just ignored them."


Before this tread closes, I would like to know if any of you guys are part of the investigation team that considers all of the various aspects of this.

If not, I wonder who else might be equally qualified. Is it some scientific panel or real world oil guys?

It looked like they hooked up a camera on Enterprise Camera before the feed cut off. It was still up on deck.

fishing cam back, no idea what it is showing

They're running it back down the drill pipe string. Don't understand the long pauses though. Guess they just like to look at the inside of the pipe and those occasional droplets that go rocketing down into the void.

Is he going in or coming out? Is he firing photon torpedoes? "It's life Jim but not as we know it".

Scotty, you better get that Flux Capasitor working or we might be stuck here with them.

They had the camera going down hole and just shut it off.

Edit: Sorry Pinkfud, didn't see you there. I was watchin' the feed.

S'awright. Looks like the reason for stopping the camera is that they're pumping monkey poo down the DP again. Also, Sub C 2 just made a hot-stab on a panel down below.

I see it now. I hadn't refreshed for awhile.

Oly 2 was chasing fish, a ray, an eel, a cloud of ?amphipods?. Just staring at its navel now. Glad the pipe cam stopped, it looked like a 50's sci fi movie wormhole effect and I was getting dizzy.

"Meth. Inj.", I believe.

Also, it seems to me like that monkey poo is being shot down the hole ...

So many cameras,so little time.

Is that a depth gauge at the botom right of screen? Depth of what?

the round thing...it's all bendy. i'm guessing it should not be bendy

Morning update:

Looks like the rams on the new stack are STUCK.
But it also looks like they've got a replacement camera down there to look at the partially closed shear ram(s).

Link to video feed: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/in...

The BP show continues...

How do you know it is the new stack? I have been trying to work out what hight we are at; while you lot were in bed. The camera monitor says 4999 feet. The mud-line is at 5067 feet. Hence how far up the BOP/LMRP/CAPSTACK are we?

Camera data are somewhat unreliable.

The ROV watchers noted that an ROV turned a valve at the new stack hydraulic panel a valve and the hydraulic fluid vented at the same time that the upper shear ram in the new stack functioned.
Simple causality.