BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - More Questions than Answers - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6888.

Hmm! So what is going on at the well? On Tuesday evening there were a couple of posts in the comments at The Oil Drum, one of which showed oil leaking past the shear rams in a BOP, as a Youtube segment, (H/t TOB ) while the second was a short clip showing the shear opening (H/t Chuck Schick). Because of the bandwidths involved I am just going to take a couple of frames from them to show the situation. This is from the Youtube segment:

This is a different shot from the one shown in a loop by Chuck which includes this frame:

And then there was the ejection of what appeared to be mud from the stack at about 12:41 pm that (H/t MoonofA) is also on Youtube.

Which leaves one wondering what is going on? Did the drill pipe fall and rupture the casing and this is flow from the annulus? Has the seal at the top of the annulus lost its integrity? Is this oil, gas or some combination – since mud alone would be denser than seawater and should sit in the well without a problem, given the testing that was done at the end of last week. Is this perhaps some residual fluid in one of the lines that was being flushed out, and if so which one?

There are (and I am writing this around 10 pm Central) it seems two borehole cameras. The official one, which is swinging in free water it appears at the moment, and that from the BOA Sub C ROV1, which is the feed that is showing the ram blades and the flow. Unfortunately (unlike the main ROV cameras) this is not date stamped, so that when I just went back for a check the view is relatively quiet with no flow and the valve open – so this may have been another unwarranted alarm. But it would be nice if, perhaps, the Admiral could explain this. (At the moment the listing of the Transcript of the press conference for Aug 24th reverts through a link to the Transcript from the 23rd).

In regard to the events in Chile (which I mentioned the last two days), now is not the time to talk much about the rising price of metals and other minerals that come from underground – their depletion and the problems they cause are more the subject of the more conventional posts that we write at this site – but I did note the comment on the price rise of copper which has gone from $1.835 to $3.234 per pound in the last year.

More small diameter drill shafts are being sunk, so that there is communication down one, supplies down a second and a third, soon to be completed, will be for ventilation. The large drill that will drill the rescue shaft is now on site and is being set-up to start the hole.

For those who have not seen the layout, ( H/t Ericy this shows the relative position of the refuge and the slope that was the main access to the underground.

You will notice that there are a few more turns than the simple spiral that some of the networks have been showing.

HO, I'm so glad for your mining heritage, which I hope means you'll be helping us stay in touch with the Chileans' progress better than we otherwise could as MSM attention drifts elsewhere. Most appreciated.

Here's a new BBC story with photos of the 32 Chileans and one Bolivian stuck in the mine.

Ooo, and from the AP, a really meaty one on the mountain's helpful geology and geochemistry.

Status from the well from the IRC #theoildrum:

- The stuck ram half of the second ("lower") ram in the capping stack has been cleared. This was done by applying pressure up to 2,900 psi, instead of the 700 psi applied before, to the opening mechanism.

- A camera trip around midnight CDT into the stack confirmed three completely open rams in the capping stack.

- The Discoverer Enterprise now has moved a 100 feet of so off the well and is currently pulling up a tool on a drill string that was supposed to clear the ram problem by brute force if this had not been solved otherwise as it now has been.

- The fishing expedition will likely continue as soon as the Discoverer Enterprise has changed tools on its drilling string and lowered that again.

- There is serious doubt that the few droplets within the stack are fresh hydrocarbon. The rams have been opened and closed several times with huge forces and such movement of heavy equipment usual does produce some mechanical dirt and/or lets grease like products used in the mechanism appear near the operating area.

- The colorful "mud" that erupted from the "color volcano" capping stack was some color dyed clear brine pumped down from the Q-4000 through the choke line of the old BOP and up through the capping stack to clear the BOP interior as much as possible before putting a camera down into it. From the video one can distinguish two different "chemicals" in different colors - first one lighter than the water flowing up and then at 3+min one heavier fluid in a different color flowing down. Those colored brine (or similar) fluids are only dyed to be able to visually distinguish them during the process. (The miss adjusted camera of the ROV Skandi 2 that made the colorful pictures just added to the LSD effect.)

I think there is a lot more then a few droplets.

There is some sticky stuff now attached all around to the inner walls of the bop and when the camera scrapped along they came lose as "dirt". That was most of the dirt I could see.

There were also droplets that looked oil like near the rams. I assume that these are byproducts of the ram movements.

The BOP rams are lubricated with (likely) molybdenum disulfide + teflon "grease" (see one product here), sometimes even baked into the seals as solid lubricant. This molybdenum disulfide "grease" wears off and is pushed out when actuating the rams. Under the "normal" conditions I experienced such "grease" when coming out of heavy machinery forms oily sticky smear stuff. Under subsea conditions it may well appear as such droplets.

This flow went on for hours when I made this video. I saw the flow when rov's were on top and the light was right for a couple of days.


When the first camera was put in the hole it was in a small pipe and they did not see any partially closed rams. In fact they then sent down a large drill pipe with a camera and discovered the closed rams and had to pull out. In between those two events is when I made that video and they were showing a great interest in that flow out the stack by parking an rov and using lighting and focus to show it. I believe at that point they got nervous and closed the rams and then when trying to reopen them for the big pipe they failed to open.

Now I don't know if that is a leak but I have the strong feeling they sure thought it was.

I watched that stuff coming at the top and thought and still think it was just gunk thrown out of the top as the q-4000 pumped water into the choke line to clear the bob as good as possible.

The Admiral in today's press conference said that hydrates had blocked the ram. They pumped methanol through the bop to clear those hydrates.

If those hydrates inside behaved like the oily hydrates we saw them cleaning on the outside the stream of gunk coming up is consistent with cleaning those inside hydrates.

At one time they were collecting oil/gas through the choke/kill lines to a manifold and up to the surface. They have now reversed this flow with various cleaning fluids. Some of what is being seen may have been flushed out of the choke/kill lines and manifold back into the BOP during this operation.

The build up of hydrates or beehives we have seen on the BOP and Stack have all been the results of hydrates flowing up and catching on a lip or ledge then moving down the side of the well. The BOP and stack have been full of green fluid which i assumed was methanol since the cap was taken off.

Where are the ledges this amount of hydrates could have been hiding for this long in the methanol? Why didn't the first camera see these hydrates?

From the time of the first thin pipe camera going down all the way to the stuck pipes to the second thin pipe camera going in, a ram was completely closed. When that ram was opened up the camera was met with the up flow of what some people considered a beehive breaking up. Where did that come from?


Thanks for posting the clear video showing a steady trickle of buoyant material coming from the top of the capping stack.

The idea that the well has had a small leak for at least a few days and maybe much longer appears to be out of favor with most of the people here who seem to know what they are talking about.

Therefore, I'm wondering, has anyone seen or recorded a clear close-up video of the top of the capping stack taken after they opened the well to the sea that DOES NOT show a trickle of stuff coming out?

I think you may be misinterpreting what you are seeing in the video. It looks to me that there is a large flow of seawater coming out of the stack and there is a little bit of dirt and crud on the right that is being carried along in this flow. If it weren't for the dirt in the flow you wouldn't even see the seawater flow (given the poor image quality).

If this is a flow of seawater it is being pump in thru a 3" line many feet below and exhibits not much turbulence coming out the top of a 20" tube.


If the dirt and crud were being carried upward by a large flow of seawater rising from the stack then I would expect to see some of the white marine snow being captured by the upward flow. Instead, I see only a uniform field drifting down and to the right. Some pieces drift down in front of the stack and others behind it. The lighting makes it impossible to see whether any fall into it.

The image quality and depth perception is bad so I can't tell how close the snow comes to the stack. You might expect some snow flakes to be affected by the flow. OTOH if there is no large flow coming out of the stack you might expect some of the snow to fall into the stack. Do you see any snow fall into the stack?

Here is an inspection of the flow from today.


It's a leak.

This is nonsense. I have some cleaners in my garage that will make short work of moly grease and Teflon. Just let me down there with a bucket and a sponge and a towel.

Clean that mess up. And besides, dirt don't hurt..

Why did the purple stuff fall down and not just mix with the sea water?

Brine based drilling fluids contain a mix of various salts and can be mixed to (nearly) any desired "mudweight". Polymers can be added to give them some cohesion or other desired property. In this case some brine heavier than water may have been used as a spacer fluid to protect the (likely) green methanol mix pushed out first as cleaning fluid from the seawater pumped behind the spacer fluid.

It was a chemical reaction; just got off the press call with Thad Allen. Besides the methanol, he "thinks" they used bromide, but he's not sure and will check on it. It was all done, he says, because of the hydrates jamming up (my phrase, not his) the RAMS, which was the only problem he identified with them.

They are now developing a plan for if the longer piece of DP is in the cement below.

Okay, another round of "stump the board"

What's this ?


Easy - it's a spray gun to paint the ole BOP, which is looking like a junkyard relic. There's a leak in the hoses and the paint is coming out the top. Lovely hues for a BOP!

It's a 'hot stab'. They are used to make temporary hydraulic connections underwater. Think of them as the hydraulic equivalent of an electric plug and socket.


...and for those of you interested in ROV tooling, here's some gratuitous ROV porn.


Enjoy ;)

Allen 8/25 transcipt.

The additions that are italicized below are being included at the request of Adm. Allen to further clarify and respond to questions raised during the teleconference.

Q. What chemicals were used in the recent flush to remove hydrates?
A. BP used a methanol soak as the predominant medium for melting the hydrates. They also circulated MEG water - methyl ethylene glycol (antifreeze) - to help improve visibility conditions.

Q. Will there be ROV feeds available to observe the pipe removal?
A. BP will have the regular suite of ROV's on scene for the operation and the pipe extraction should be visible through the Enterprise ROV camera.

Thanks for the update, Moon. That purple cascade was the dangedest display yet from Macondo. Lava lamps could only sit in envy.

Do you have video to confirm the ram opening? I recorded until 2:20am EST last night and I don't see that ram opening.

This capture was taken around 2:10am EST

We think there is no video of the actual ram opening - at one point there was no camera in the stack.

Later they came in with the pipe camera. That camera run checked all three rams and found no ram being even partly in a closed condition.

(I have video of that camera run that happened at 4:35-5:20 CDT - too long to put up but can mail it if required.)

MoonofA, If you're interested in posting long videos, Dropbox is free and lets you post very large files that can be accessed by a public link. For example, here's an 82 Mb video that I took a while back.

I wonder too since they claim it happened at around 12:00 CDT. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but there seems to be an awful lot we miss.

Is it just me or does an awful lot happen on this well in the wee hours when fewer people might be watching?
Also I wonder why the return side would be set at 900 psi? It is already at a disadvantage due the rod area. The cylinder will develop only the pressure required to move the piston until it is at the end of it's travel.

Now Hos and Enterprise feeds are down. I guess when they return we will hear of some miracle re: the pipes.

Backing the ram out of its deployed position will take a lot less force than deploying it and forcing the blade to cut through a section (or two) of drillpipe. Under normal conditions and if everything has worked properly then 900psi should easily be enough to do the job. Given the abuse the rams have endured over the past few months with buildup of crud, bending forces from the rig riser foldover and probable flow erosion of the ram guides and blade then the extra pressure required to free it up is not too surprising. It probably required overriding safety features to get 2700psi hydraulic oil into the cylinder -- under normal conditions that sort of pressure would have driven the ram hard into the back of its cylinder causing it to break something and perhaps preventing it from being cycled again in extremis.

There is no good reason not to apply full pressure to the retraction. Certainly Cameron knows how to use a cushion piston to make the stop gradual. The piston would probably retract under perfect conditions with 200 psi. As we see however perfect conditions seem to be quite rare here. Last night the knife screws/bolts appeared to be loose. This was supported by the marks on the lower as it retracted.

In normal circumstances it is safer to use lower pressures to cause ram retraction rather than rely on a cushion or conical damper to provide deceleration at the back of the cylinder to stop the ram's piston busting through the casing at 300mph. It turns out this was not a normal circumstance and so they had to go to Plan B, using higher than normal pressure to get the ram piston to start moving. To do that they almost certainly had to disable overpressure safety devices on the ram stack and probably reroute a high-pressure feed into the retraction hydraulic circuit, all of which takes time to achieve safely. The big worry is that they might break something badly while they try to achive their aim of freeing up the ram; at 5,000 feet such damage is expensive in time and money to fix. They probably spent several hours just modelling what was going to happen before they applied the excess pressure; were there joints and seals that wouldn't take that load in that direction? Once the ram was moving, could they drop the pressure quickly enough to stop it hitting the back of the cylinder at 300 mph? All these questions and more had to be answered before they cranked up the pressure and let rip, and even then there would be a certain amount of praying going on, as in "Jesus, I hope I still have a job tomorrow".

Krikes, this is hydraulics! All they need to do is apply 1/10th of the cylinder capacity at high pressure. Once that is gone the cylinder isn't going to travel any further!


Normal operating pressure for BOPs is 1500psi, they were playing safe at around 700psi. BOPs are designed to operate up to 3000psi as normal operation. They should be hosed with 5000psi hoses, though this is in the Hail Mary category.

I agree with the statement to get them moving when stuck, pressure is what you need not volume. BOP rams will open in approx 15 seconds for around 10" travel.

TD - the question is: Are they hiding things, or are they just pretending to be hiding something to further irritate the public? The jury pool is so tainted now that they won't be able to find non-biased juries for all the lawsuits. That would mean leaner settlements by pro-business judges already in place for occasions such as this.

You might well be on to something. Lawyers today routinely employ psychologists and "juror analysts" to strike jurors. Why not use them to taint the jury pool?

Diorite is medium-hard? I wonder what they call hard. Also, the AP needs to notice the huge difference made by changing sulfide to sulfite. Good article though.

From the last thread:

stevemersey asked:

but a logical extension of this would be that if you displaced the water film with say a saucer of mercury, the ship would rise. Now that just seems too easy a way of lifting heavy objects to be possible.

It would indeed rise. But the key word is "displace". You would need to work out the energy needed to perform that displacement.

The logic is reasonably easy. Imagine the ship draws 13.5 feet. So the saucer we have it floating in need only be that deep. If the water was replaced with mercury, the depth of mercury to float the ship would only need to be one foot deep. However if you add more mercury, the ship moves away from the bottom of the saucer. Suddenly we no longer have a thousandth of a inch gap, but a gap that has a height equal to the change in height of the ship. In order to get the mercury level to reach the level the water was at (i.e. 13.5 feet) and thus lift the ship 12.5 feet, you would need to add a layer of mercury that deep under the ship. Which is a heck of a lot of mercury. The energy used to lift the ship comes from the effort used to move that much mercury.

If you wanted to preserve the thin saucer layer of fluid, you would need to contrive to have the saucer move upward under the ship - which means you would need to lift it with a force equal to the weight of the ship. No free lunch.

Have a look for a video of a large ship in a shipping canal lock. The Panama canal is very good, The ships don't float in a saucer, but it isn't far off. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeJRJEI4AUM&NR=1 A Panamax is the largest ship capable of fitting into the locks. You see a few go though in this video.
Locks typically get their energy from the head of upstream water, which ultimately is solar energy.

Hi, Francis (hope you're feeling better today). Just wanted to let you and steve know how much I'm enjoying eavesdropping on your battleship/saucer conversation. Carry on!

You could put seawater on top of the mercury up to the original level. The lift would then be ???

OK, my intuition is beaten. I ran a little experiment and whilst I could not put my hand on either a battleship or mercury I did find that I can float an object in a closed container in a lot less liquid than it would displace if it was in an open system. I am sure you engineers already knew that, but it did amuse this biologist.

Now for a little twist, consider things like ferromagnetic fluids and aerogels.

Well done steve. Welcome to the theory of hydrostatics and a bloke called Archimedes. It is not the amount of water outside the object that matters. It is the water that isn't there because the object displaced it. Hydrostatics is one of the most important theories applied in engineering this oil well.

Hiero should be around for this discussion :)


Physicists know that closed systems; perfect fluids, solids, and gasses; and things at rest sure make it easier for us to get a conceptual grasp on physical principles. Archimedes Principle is a law that always works as long as he sits perfectly still in that tub of water. Thank goodness we have engineers to tell us what happens when he starts scrubbing with soap or blows bubbles.

Speaking of engineers, maybe I missed it, but I'm still waiting for someone to tell me how fast that long piece of DP will be going if it separates from the blind rams and hits the bottom. Any takers?

I think the DP is held below the shears by another set of rams. So after they open the shears they can attach and lift-test the weight of the DP to ensure their connection and the shear crimp will hold the weight before releasing the DP. Am I right here?

If it did drop, there would be fluid resistance plus the resistance caused by collisions with the sides of the casing. What's may be a bigger issue than the speed and impact on the cement at the bottom would be that as the bottom stops the rest of the DP momentum will wedge it into the casing in a spiral or wave shape.

There are now 3 scenarios for the longer piece of DP, per Admiral Allen: 1) DP was cut by the RAM and is below the BOP, was NOT cut and is 2) just hanging, or 3) in the cement.

I haven't seen the transcript yet, so those are just my notes from the call; I think I got it right, though.

Since BP and the gang seem to have gone on vacation this was just a killing time question. What if your number 2 is the case and the DP fell? I have a hard time imagining, as esarlls3 said, the DP being able to wedge itself into the casing unless it were possible to cause plastic flow of hardened steel due to impact. In the static condition, at any single point of contact between the DP and casing wall the horizontal component of any downward force would be very small due to the constrained narrow angle between the DP and casing. My question about speed of fall is related to the energy released as it decelerated when it hit the bottom. Can that be enough to seriously break something?

I keep wondering too, isn't the cement foamed to some degree ? I almost wonder if the impact would be absorbed similar to micro-meteorites in aerogel, "crunch". I have looked at Halliburton's cement patents and such, don't quite understand the tech side of it, but looks like interesting stuff.


Not that it would be traveling that fast, but there would also maybe be the event of it "catching" on the side of the casing, as it fell, and buckling at high speed. I'm guessing as it started to bounce against the casing as it fell, it would oscillate back and forth against the casing. I couldn't see it gathering a great deal of speed for 2 reasons, one is the density of the gelled mud ( I have never actually seen drilling mud, is it a typical Non-Newtonian fluid similar to a cornstarch slurry , or no ?), the other is the fact it would be constantly slowed by contact with the ID of the wellbore, ricocheting on the way down. I guess that would really depend on what the other end of that pipe looks like and if the bore is not damaged..


I'm not sure what the significance of the cement is assuming there is none in the casing string. The DP hanging is under tension with the highest tension at the top. As it fell my guess is that there would be a very fast tension/compression wave through the DP steel that would die out quickly. Even though the vertical force that it would exert on the cement on bottom would be tremendous I don't think it could do serious damage there. Because of the narrow angle between the DP and the casing wall I don't think it could seriously damage the casing either. The horizontal componeht of force would be very small compared to the vertical force and would be spread over many contact points. The most serious danger that I see is the DP shattering in one or more places and falling down beside other DP creating a jammed up well bore. That could be a near impossible fishing job. An accurate estimate of impact velocity would go a long way toward predicting if the DP could shatter.

The mud will have to flow either through the 3 1/2" tubing or around the DP. That should provide some restriction/damping.

Even at a few feet /sec there is going to be a butt load of energy to dissapate. It would make for a big prang when the tool joints get to the 9 7/8 to 7" crossover.

forgot about the taper and I don't know how much of it would still be open hole. I suppose the pipe joints would still fit in the smaller casing. If it is a pretty tight fit that could act like a brake on the DP and slow it down a lot. Still there would be a whole lot of kinetic energy to dissipate.

sandu, I think the taper was only in the lower 1200 feet of casing, should be under a few thousand feet of cement now. It would still make quite a mess hitting the cement.

" Any takers? "

Probably the whole board, I know I'd like to think about it a lil'.

Does anybody know, offhand, the dimensions of one piece of drillpipe, the alloy, and the type of mud in the wellbore ( what materials, fluids and/or gas cut )and the temp gradient, (I read 100-145f for every mile ). Does anybody know if the DP is currently surrounded by gelled mud ?

Seems like some very different things could happen, depending.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it.

W. C. Fields

I have no intention of trying it, but I submit that we don't have and cannot get sufficient information. Love the WCF quote though. I'll remember that one.

Maybe we do. I bet an engineer somewhere has already worked out an equation that predicts how various objects will free fall through a viscous medium. Say the Navy accidentally dropped an important object overboard. They would want to know the most likely places to look before starting to search for it. You could plug in the properties of DP and drilling mud. In the borehole the DP has only one narrow path to follow. You may be able to get impact velocity from that. I don't know if it is possible to model the DP behavior as it lost energy, but there have been more than a few cases of DP falling downhole through casing for various reasons. What happened to them from field experience?

And that pipe will have 3k5' of drag in a narrow tube.


Exactly and I'm guessing that it would have a terminal velocity a lot slower than we might imagine. The only example I can submit is that back when I used to run wireline logs we almost always let the tool free fall into the hole and held the descent constant with the hand brake on the cable spool. We would have a tool maybe 15' to 45' long and about 4" to 5" diameter hanging from a wireline cable about 5/8" diameter. As we went deeper the cable was many thousands of feet long and most of the hanging weight was cable. Occasionally someone would accidentally let the hand brake off. It was not hard to tell when that happened because the cable spool would take off spinning and accelerating like mad until we eased the brake back on. It was important to control it because we did not want the cable to over run the tool. Somebody must have figured out that the cable terminal velocity was higher than the tool terminal velocity. Weight, dimensions and drag must have been some important factors. Would falling DP act like the faster falling cable or the slower falling tool? I'm guessing the tool.

The mystery of the leak goes back to at least the 22nd.


Boy, GWS, talk about "stout-hearted" miners -- we sure better count this guy:

Judge rules against coal company that disciplined miner who shot video

Awful to see that now he's been badly injured.

lotus: Geez! I sure hope he recovers fully! Even with all the proper safety gear and procedure, a fella can still get hurt bad. Just the way of it.

Here's John Maginnis on Louisiana in the interesting space "after the oil but before the money" . . .


Looks like koomey fluid leaking from the H4 connector, and a connection blown on off a control line.

Edit, May have been a bit quick off the mark, but normally the spent fluid vents out of the pods not down at the connector

A couple of reporters for the Detroit Free Press (of all papers) visit the Vietnamese of east New Orleans:

Vietnamese town survives war, hate crimes, hurricane and now oil

I'm telling you, these folks really show us softies up.

Asked if we should characterize the mood with words like “angry” or “worried,” Tran looked surprised. “Big frustration, but no, not worried or angry.” he said. “No, we believe in America, our country’s systems for solving problems, in our own hard work and in our faith."

How did so many of the rest of us manage to lose so much of that?

How did so many of the rest of us manage to lose so much of that?

My guess has more to do with nurture than nature, SL (John Hawks to the contrary notwithstanding).

It's statements like the one you quoted that convince me that most immigration opponents haven't actually met many immigrants.


Are you confusing 'immigration opponents' with those of us who are concerned about illegal immigration?

Question: I oppose illegal immigration and I am married to an immigrant (she was here on a refugee visa, and I sponsored her green card and she is now a citizen). Do you consider me to be an 'immigration opponent?'

FYI - my wife feels that amnesty is a slap in the face to every immigrant who came here legally.

I'm sure everyone on this thread understands the difference-- but the media live by confusing these issues, and there are plenty of politicos who may well understand, but whose jobs depend on creating misunderstanding and resentment.

Anyone in the area of Ashland, OR who can get to see the new play American Night will be well rewarded by a superb, comic, retelling of the immigrant story as a dream of a Mexican immigrant who falls asleep studying the night before his citizenship exam. It is good (for me, anyway) to know that there are articulate, reasonable, compassionate voices out there. Looking at the "news" one might come to the conclusion that everything that is wrong with this country starts south of the border.

I'm not convinced that everybody understands the difference. Much of the debate has been an attempt to pain the people who oppose amnesty as 'anti-immigration.'

The really sad thing is that I have seen just where our immigration laws are screwed up. Our work-visa program is a joke (no enforcement) and the California Medicaid system is taken advantage of by 'medical tourists' (people with expensive to treat diseases come here on a tourist visa then apply for medical treatment under Medicaid, once they are well - they return home).

OTOH - talented and educated applicants for immigration are treated no differently than immigrants who are uneducated and cannot communicate in English.

We need real immigration reform that focuses on attracting the type of immigrants who bring 'added value' to our country. What we don't need is another amnesty program that will only encourage more illegal immigration.

OK - rant over. :-)

Two of my children are married to first or second generation descendants of legal immigrants from Mexico. You want to start a fist fight about illegal immigration? Bring up the topic to my son's wife's father. He'll rip your head off, it makes him so mad. And it's sort of hard to call a Mexican-American racist, isn't it? He's pissed because these people didn't put in the effort that others have and don't even show much care for their adopted country. My daughter's husband and family are the same way. They'd sooner report an illegal immigrant than even say hello.

I really think we need a much improved legal immigration system and that we need a drastically improved temporary work permit system, especially for Mexican and Canadian nationals who want to work in the US. Canada, the United States, and Mexico are one contiguous block geographically and it makes damned good sense to treat it as one economically. But that also means gaining control over who is in the country legally, especially because there are so many other potential problems from illegal immigration, including unfair taxation of people to support illegals, and loss of local tax revenue to support governmental functions.

Sure, there are racists who have jumped on the illegal immigrant bandwagon. They have jumped on the abortion bandwagon too. Does that mean people should oppose abortion just because of that? No, it means you should have a logical explanation for your position and your position should not be tainted via guilt by association as is popular in the mainstream media.

Personally I favor even more interchange of workers between Canada, the US, and Mexico but only if those people are properly documented and can prove they have legal cause to be there. If someone is willing to do the work, let them do the work. I don't care where they are from or what color their skin is. But I don't think it is unfair to demand that they be properly documented and pay their fair share of taxes to whichever nation in which they do work.

P.S. Technically, from a national security standpoint, it makes far more sense logistically for the US and Mexico to work together to seal the much smaller southern Mexican border than to seal the US-Mexico border. The problem right now, of course, is that US drug demand, coupled with the US "War on Drugs" has given the narco-terrorists so much money that they are harming Mexico greatly from within. Solving that problem would go a long ways towards stabilizing Mexico and eventually laying the groundwork for a viable guest worker permit system amongst the NAFTA nations.

You know if you take Gray Zones thoughts just a wee bit farther you could just decide that in this day and age of a shrinking world that what we really need is the United States of North America, with maybe 70 States total. Ya, that would include all of Mexico and Canada. Think of the people and economic power that USNA would have. Free travel amongst the states just as USA. Once the standard of living across USNA levels out their won't be the pressure to "migrate". Massive power would be available to now go and solve the 'far southern states' drug issues. Looking forward a couple of decades, one sees the EU, India and associated regions and China as major economic blocks for which a substantial growth in our size is needed. And yes, we will even face major competition eventually from S. America and finally Africa. Integrating Canadas's provinces as states would be fairly simple, well, Quebec might be an issue. Integrating the Mexican regions would take a bit more, but when you got done it would seem to solve a whole host of problems in a forward moving way rather then fighting it from defensive positions. OK now don't everyone pile on at once.

I used to think that would be a grand idea back in the 1980s...for a while.

But, I think differently now, and have thought differently for two decades.

I think the Canadians and Mexicans are fine folks, and I respect their wishes to remain sovereign.

Staying as three countries does not preclude coordinating smart immigration, visitation, security, and trade polices, as well as common environmental standards.

The paint-by-numbers World is a lot more interesting and fulfilling with a plethora of colors, vice 5 or 6 large color blotches.

Immigration is another wedge issue used to manipulate voters and keep them distracted/divided.

Blaming and demonizing people who come here to work misses the point and is counter-productive. It's also disingenuous. Why I remember being taught in school that immigrants brought hard work, determination and built America.

Some say they only hate illegal immigration, not the immigrants themselves. But if you are dirt poor and uneducated, and not even a citizen of the country you are going to to work, what does that mean "illegal"? Especially when for generations these so-called "illegals" have been encouraged year after year, generation after generation by the promise of jobs and employers eager to hire them at sub-standard wages. This valuable and cheap labor pool is something that those American employers who take advantage of it do not want to give up, with some claiming they would go out of business if they had to. And politicians have not really done much to stop employers from hiring people here illegally. Instead, they do nothing to fix the problem (keeping the corporations and employers who profit happy) while demagoging the issue and dividing the voters (it’s a win-win).

If employers went to jail for hiring people here illegally, the problem would probably go away in a hurry. That's extreme, to be sure, but the point is that if there are jobs for people looking for a better way of life, people are going to seek out those opportunities and fill those jobs. That's capitalism, that's human nature. Build your fence as tall as you want. Build a new iron curtain. It won't work any better than the old one did at stopping human nature and determination. The jobs will have to go first.

P.S. While we're talking border issues, the fed. gov. should allow states to legalize marijuana and to tax it. That will kill the market for the mexican crime gangs just like ending prohibition killed the market for the mob. And lord knows we could use the tax money about now instead of all of it going to fund those criminal enterprises. California may take the lead in doing this in November. It is on the ballot and could bring in a billion dollars a year in taxes.

Not only that, maybe it’s high time we brought back the Hemp Car!

In 1941, Henry Ford built a car out of 70 percent hemp fiber and powered it on hemp ethanol.




Sorry, we've gone way off topic, and it's all my fault. But now that we're here...

Someone else wrote:
Are you confusing 'immigration opponents' with those of us who are concerned about illegal immigration?

The Vietnamese guy quoted was a legal immigrant. Illegal immigration is the current hot-button issue, but I'm talking about the long-term obstruction and restriction of legal immigration that's been going on for decades. But they're not unrelated. Our obstruction of legal immigration is the cause of the illegal immigration problem.

I really think we need a much improved legal immigration system and that we need a drastically improved temporary work permit system

Yep. Why don't we have one of those? Because every time we try, racist bastards on the right and myopic labor unions on the left shut it down.

Illegal immigration is a problem now for the same reason illegal drinking was a problem during prohibition. The problem isn't the criminals, it's that the law is stupid.

So let's decriminalize immigration. Every U.S. border crossing should have three lines. Stand in line A if you're a US citizen, stand in line B if you're a foreigner on a short trip, stand in line C if you want a green card. Thanks for coming, have fun working in the U.S., feel free to chat with any of the work recruiters standing around the exit as you leave.

But not all of us. Some of us are preparing.

This means learning how to work again—and "work" is not defined as sitting in an air-conditioned office somewhere and tapping keys. The key-tappers of the world are fast becoming the world's bread-line standers.

People with skilz (as in "mad skilz") are busy. The good machinists, the good automobile mechanics, the people—as we say—who really know how to "do stuff"—there's always work for them. The myth—the ethos—of wealth without labor, is fast eroding, and woe betide those who fail to grasp this.

We don't need to learn from the Vietnamese—although they certainly provide a timely reminder—all we need do is look to ourselves. We've still got our hands, we've air, water, sun, and soil. We've all we need to fashion a life that matters, and we—like the Vietnamese—look to the future with faith, hope—and charity.

"The key-tappers of the world are fast becoming the world's bread-line standers."

Many "office key-tappers" are in a reporting role. They're there because of government regulations, accounting, and all manner of internal reporting and external reporting. Computers have replaced paper to a great extent, but internal and external reporting requirements have mushroomed. Everybody has to file reports to everybody else. It doesn't help the company make money. It costs the company money.

Some "office key-tappers" are in a revenue role. They're there to help the company make money. Programmers at software companies. People creating commercial website content. Sales departments. Billing departments. Stock traders at brokerage firms. Accountants at accounting firms. Paralegals at law firms. They help the company make money.

Revenue folks have nothing to worrry about. Reporting folks have a lot to worry about. Ditto for lower and middle management folks irrespecitve of revenue or reporting. Any non-revenue function is overhead, and companies really want to reduce overhead.

"The good machinists, the good automobile mechanics, the people—as we say—who really know how to "do stuff"—there's always work for them."

Emphasis on "good". GOOD mechanics, machinists, etc, will always have work. Incompetent, lazy, fly-by-nights, etc, no so lucky.

Gerald Celente mentions this frequently. The good people in any area will do ok in an economic depression. That's one positive aspect of a depression. It "separates the men from the boys" you might say.

But not all of us. Some of us are preparing.

This means learning how to work again—and "work" is not defined as sitting in an air-conditioned office somewhere and tapping keys. The key-tappers of the world are fast becoming the world's bread-line standers.

People with skilz (as in "mad skilz") are busy. The good machinists, the good automobile mechanics, the people—as we say—who really know how to "do stuff"—there's always work for them. The myth—the ethos—of wealth without labor, is fast eroding, and woe betide those who fail to grasp this.

We don't need to learn from the Vietnamese—although they certainly provide a timely reminder—all we need do is look to ourselves. We've still got our hands, we've air, water, sun, and soil. We've all we need to fashion a life that matters, and we—like the Vietnamese—look to the future with faith, hope—and charity.

How did so many of the rest of us manage to lose so much of that?

We don't need to learn from the Vietnamese—although they certainly provide a timely reminder—all we need do is look to ourselves. We've still got our hands, we've air, water, sun, and soil. We've all we need to fashion a life that matters, and we—like the Vietnamese—look to the future with faith, hope—and charity.

Lotus up thread guessed it has more to do with nurture than nature. I second that.

Several years ago I read a short essay by an American who was comparing the more successful American society to European society. One point that really stuck me was that in his opinion the ones who migrated to America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries tended to be more fearless, ambitious, competitive, harder working, and smarter Europeans. These were the hard people of all socio-economic status who could conquer the American frontier. They left behind their soft brothers in Europe. The new Americans passed on their hard genes and America became populated with men and women carrying the same traits.

That is the historical nature of our people and that nature was nurtured through the years at home, in school, and in church. In the sixties it began to change. I can’t prove that it was intentional, but our schools began to be undermined by a new attitude that soft was better than hard. Our churches began to be marginalized with an attitude that our long held moral and ethical beliefs were not so important anymore and should be replaced with a softer version. Ironically, we were becoming European all over again. It seems that in 2010 the change has not stopped.

In my opinion we have a new source of future hard Americans through the immigration pool. Whether they are legal or illegal the very fact that they made the effort to get here tells me a lot about what they are made of. I strongly support legal immigration and strongly oppose illegal immigration. It is harder to get here legally than illegally. Let the illegals figure out how to get through the legal immigration process and they will prove that they belong. The rest can be the documented guest workers.

And Bogus, I agree with you 100%. One, perhaps unexpected trait that those hard American have proven over the years to the world to be very good at is encapsulated in your last four words: “…faith, hope—and charity.” For those who don’t know, those words come from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:13 (KJV). To believe in having faith, hope and charity is to believe in an eternal truth. It must not be eroded.

KD, you point my thought to some places I don't care to visit, so kindly agree with me to disassociate it from your comment.

Ok. Consider it done. But what about the rest?

Thank you. You're on your own with the rest.

Been thinking about what you requested. Did something I wrote offend you? Was there something you disagreed with? I try to write carefully, clearly and unoffensively. I don't always succeed.

Have you ever been anywhere in Europe?


QUOTE: Asked if we should characterize the mood with words like “angry” or “worried,” Tran looked surprised. “Big frustration, but no, not worried or angry.” he said. “No, we believe in America, our country’s systems for solving problems, in our own hard work and in our faith."

How did so many of the rest of us manage to lose so much of that? :UNQUOTE

JFK, King, RFK, Wallace, Lennon, Simmons, 911.

You forgot Nixon. The Iraq war. And Grover Norquist and the right wing noise machine constantly running America down.



Gene Simmons.

From the T-P story on yesterday's testimony (emph. mine):

... After expressing his concern, [Halliburton's Jesse] Gagliano said he stayed up late the night of April 15 with two BP officials and persuaded them to arrange for sending 15 more centralizers to the rig. The devices arrived the next morning, but later Gagliano found out BP decided not to use them. BP engineering team members Morel, Mark Hafle and Brett Cocales never responded to his e-mail asking why.

A Halliburton employee who was on the rig, Nathaniel Chaisson, testified Tuesday that he got equally little explanation from one of the two top BP officials on the Deepwater Horizon, Don Vidrine. ...

BP's lawyer, Richard Godfrey, fought back against testimony by Halliburton witnesses by questioning how seriously Gagliano and Chaisson challenged the BP centralizer plan.

He showed that Gagliano mentioned but didn't emphasize the risks of fewer centralizers, then questioned why Gagliano would have signed a design recommendation on April 18 that said nothing about the centralizer issue. Gagliano said the statement he signed on the report was automatically generated, and he didn't intend it as an endorsement of the BP plans to use only six centralizers.

Break out another can of walruses, huh? So nice to have full shelves in one's pantry.

Unless BP believes that lack of centralizers contributed to the blowout (which even Gagliano explicitly denied), I don't understand the lawyer's position to hammer Halliburton on a post-job report which talks about what was done, rather than what was recommended. Channeling gas can be an issue with lack of centralizers, but even Gagliano said, as long as you see it (which you can if you're monitoring you mud returns like Rockman has pointed out repeatedly), you just have to go back in with a "squeeze job" to fill in the channels. Costs more money to go back, but companies do it all the time. The lack of adding centralizers may point out a culture of doing something cheaper and faster, but as far as the root cause of the blowout, I hardly think its a relevant issue. BP's lawyer just agitated everyone in the court room and gained nothing because he didn't establish that Gagliano didn't notify BP (which he claims he did by talking with the engineers), all that happened was a post job report didn't talk about Halliburton's pre-job recommendations.

I don't understand the lawyer's position to hammer Halliburton on a post-job report which talks about what was done, rather than what was recommended

Ooooo..... look at the Wookie.


I have a general question, because a lot of the testimonies are based on e-mails :
Is the content of an e-mail a solid proof at court ?

That would be up to the judgement of the jury. Many modern office email systems have the ability to indicate who read the email and when. This could have similar weight to a mail Return Receipt to verify delivery.

If archiving company email in a searchable database is not a big deal for a company it should be ASAP. It is often astounding how much email many not very big companies get over the years. It is also astounding that often employees are told to archive their own emails to their local hard drives in PST files that end up all over the place if they are done at all. A law suit and a court order for emails can easily bring an unprepared company to its knees. Not being able to produce emails can be worse than their contents.

The story on the BBC news this morning was that the drilling equipment is arriving on-site at the mine in Chile, but not all of it is there yet. The whole thing weighs something like 40 tons, and they said that they would need to construct a concrete pad before they can start drilling. It will probably be several days before drilling of the relief hole can begin.

Yesterday on the front page of the WSJ, there was a slightly different graphic - apparently behind a paywall. They stated that the next step is to drill a new 13 inch borehole down to the miners. Once this is complete, they will withdraw the drill stem and switch to a 26 inch cutting head and ream the hole to a larger size. Water will flush debris down the hole, and if able, the trapped miners will remove the debris.

It does sound like the trapped miners have some heavy equipment down there with them, which would make debris removal easier.

ericy: I think I read yesterday they had a tractor backhoe or an excavator down there. They used it to move rubble so they could get at some water to drink.

One would imagine that this will aid significantly in the miner's psychological well being too. They will be working and contributing to the effort of their own rescue. There will be need for organisation, responsibility, and a clear sense of progress. It will probably be much less like a terrifying ordeal of isolation and fear than otherwise. More like a very long, very isolated, work stint.

Are the exhaust fumes from the backhoe/excavator a concern? Not sure how big or effective their ventilation shafts are.


Someone needs to tell that to Louisiana, they are finding oil. Of course, if you just count submerged oil--look under the top level of sand on the beaches. Keep seeing reports on oiled areas, but no reports of where the areas are "cleaned up" on the same sites.

Cameron Parish gives three line items to three individual tar patties. I wonder if there was a suggestion from LA state government to err on the side of generosity when reporting oil on the shoreline. A week or so ago these reports were thinning out to nearly nuthin'.

However, according to the latest SCAT maps, there is some oil off the Bird's Foot that is visible in satellite imagery.

The DWH Response page posts a letter from Allen to Zukunft ordering such a program--is it an attempt to counteract folklore about "BP sinking oil to the bottom?" After a month or two it will transition into NRDA, which means collecting evidence to pin damages on BP. NRDA data tends to be withheld from the public. There is also a response about implementation signed by Zukunft and Suttles. They will be examining the deepsea plumes as well as inshore areas.


I'm surprised they aren't reporting lots of tar. Either the oil-attracting pads don't catch tar, or they aren't counting tar as oil.

Oh look! Hos2 discovered the lost city of atlantis http://i36.tinypic.com/28l829v.jpg


carry on

Question: Is the petroleum from a hole from animal, vegetable, or mineral?

Drillers May Face Months of Waiting Even After Obama Lifts Deep-Water Ban
By Jim Efstathiou Jr. - Aug 25, 2010 12:00 AM ET

President Barack Obama’s administration may agree to an early end for its moratorium on deep-water oil and gas drilling while backing new regulations that may keep rigs idle for months afterward.


Well, these are only proposed, not yet set in stone.

Though verifying the BOPs work I think would be a good thing.

On giving an estimate on the most oil that could gush?= easy. Just ask BP for their formula for estimating. (/sarcasm)

This will all be over in a few more months or years, the silt will settle (did I say that?), the drill permittors will get over their ebe-gee-bees, any holdups due to too stringent regulations will be rescinded (in the back room), then everything will be business as usual.

"Before the disaster, deep-water wells in the Gulf of Mexico, including BP’s Macondo well, were granted “categorical exclusions” from the full studies required by the National Environmental Protection Act."
"Such blanket exceptions will no longer be issued while the administration’s review is under way, Salazar said on Aug. 16." <--source of those ebe-gee-bees? The drill permittors do need to take a chill pill and let the drilling commence.

"Which leaves one wondering what is going on? Did the drill pipe fall and rupture the casing and this is flow from the annulus?"

You think maybe they dropped it?
Cue the Benny Hill theme, again.

The trouble with disaster recovery projects is you need a lot of little wins every day. You can have a team that gets disillusioned if the don't get those little wins. If you can't say "that's a result lads" every day, they stop coming up with ideas; they start bickering among them selves and dismissing new ideas. Sometimes, you have to change the team and start afresh. You say to the new team, "this is what we definitely know"; and, with a bit of luck some young enthusiastic engineer says, "ah yes but, did you consider that ... ". It's called people management. I think we may have reached the point where it is time to change the team on this job. I hope I am wrong and they are getting those little wins each day. It would be nice if they told us; but, they are under no obligation to do that. Winston Churchill was a master at it.


"with a bit of luck some young enthusiastic engineer "

Yep, that is basically what is reported to have shortened WWII.
The American Allison copy of a Rolls water-cooled aircraft engine kept eating exhaust valves. The old engineers tried about everything including Sodium Cooled Valves. The Rolls ran without any such problems. Then your Young Engineer at the startup of yet another test hollered "Stop the Test!; he saw the water pressure guage dancing a jig!

The old timers said they had previously noticed that but it always occurred long before another exhaust vale melted, even the sodium cooled ones. The young enginer had seen something like that before on a hot-rod. Turns out the engine mount for the P51 which was also used for the test bed, was different than Rolls installations. The result was that a water passage in the Allison, where the valves were melting, was not flowing back to the pump due to the angle. A Simple addition of boring a hole and installing a water line to the pump inlet cured the problem. I believe that the Allison continued to use sodium cooled valves ($$) to save face for the old timers.

The P51 was the first long range fighter escort for the heavy bombers. The Tuskegee airman who flew some of them are credited with never having a bomber crew shot down that they were assigned to protect. Took a LONG time before they got the credit they deserved.



" The Tuskegee airman who flew some of them are credited with never having a bomber crew shot down that they were assigned to protect. Took a LONG time before they got the credit they deserved."

Let's put that BS to bed.

Lack of integrity?

I have read the two articles posted above.

I judge Mr. William Holton, the Tuskegee Airmen Historian, to have great integrity in investigating this issue and having the honesty and conviction to make the official historical record more accurate than before.

I also commend Lt. Gen. Russell Davis, the TA president, for deciding to omit the claim of 'no bombers lost' from his talks until the matter is settled. More integrity.

According to the second article, the small number of bombers thought to be known to be lost to date under TA escort would still be a most impressive achievement and a great credit to the TA.

I salute their integrity, attention to detail, and valor.

If I were ever to be compelled back into the cockpit of America's 'Bomber of Choice', I would be so lucky as to be in a gorilla package protected by OCA and DCA who were as good as the red-tails.


Just can't give it up, eh?

TD, I appreciate the links about the recently corrected historical record of the Tuskegee Airmen. Your comments seem a little harsh though.

I still call it a lack of integrity because not one member who knew the claim to fame was a lie said nothing.
Lack of integrity.What happens when that small number of bombers thought to be lost turns out to be a much larger number?

BP, that's a pretty broad brush you are using. The Tuskegee Airmen's historian was the person who publicized the error and began to correct the record, based on Tuskegee pilots own combat reports. The original brag came from a white superior officer, not the airmen themselves. Here's a fair overview:

My point was about the airmen themselves. They knew the truth yet let the lie continue for what,60 yrs.?

The Alison engine was not a copy of a Rolls Royce engine, it was an indigenous design from the late 1920s, and I'm not sure it had any thermal problems with exhaust valves. I think it was turbosupercharged, rather than supercharged like the UK versions.
Supercharging apparently gives superior high altitude performance.

After Ford refused to make the Rolls-Royce aviation engines for the UK ( would only make them for US defense ), the contract was instead given to Packard. They made the US version of the Merlin engine.

The Rolls Royce engines already had sodium-cooled exhaust valves, and there's no evidence the US versions had exhaust valve thermal problems.

I'm sure aviation engine enthusiasts can address my recollection errors. Nice story, pity it apparently doesn't reflect history.


Can someone tell me why the relief wells are so crooked? Two sharp bends have got to cause problems. Wouldn't it be better to just drill a straight (or almost straight) diagonal hole?

And why do they have to approach the darned well at such a shallow angle? They get within 5 feet, then take a month to get within 4 feet, or whatever. It takes so long to go the last few inches that there's plenty of time for something to go wrong.

The simple answer is that they are not nearly so crooked as you think. The diagrams are not to scale, and the vertical axis is seriously compressed. In reality the wells have a just perceivable gentle bend or two.

The time taken is partly because the last few feet require the greatest precision, so most of the time was not spent drilling, but spent measuring, and remeasuring.

The angle of intersection is determined by the fluid dynamics of the flows needed to kill the wild well. They needed a communicating hole large enough to flow enough mud to actually kill the free flowing well. Also they needed an ability to create large enough holes in a staggered manner, cutting the outer casing to a hole large enough to kill any annular flow before cutting the production casing at all. All of these fluid flow and geometric issues force a shallow angle of intersection.

The illustration they show is a bit exaggerated.

Here's a typical view:

It takes them awhile because they're trying to hit a small target with an even smaller tip.
See magnetic ranging tool (and more realistic illistration of well angle) here: http://cliffbourgeois.newsvine.com/_news/2010/07/02/4602414-the-macondo-...

Side-looking Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Logging While Drilling tool (NMR-WD)
Source: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6580273.html

You need some one who knows oil wells for this. But here goes. It would be extremely difficult to plant a well head at other than a vertical angle. You would have great difficulty getting a drill pipe through a BOP if it wasn't vertical. They can bend drill pipe and casing quite easily down hole nowadays, particularly at the smaller casing diameters. The shallow angle means you do not have to break into the high pressure formation before you have to. The relief well and the original well will likely experience the same pressures from the formation. The relief well stopped short because the Admiral told them to do that. The relief well drilling plan is a Boots and Coots job. That company is forty out of forty bottom kill wins, I read recently.

If memory serves, I believe the RW intersects at an angle of 2.9 degrees ...

Nilla -- The angles on the RW are actually very slight. It's the scale presented that makes the look so sharp. If you saw the well path on a true scale you could hadly notyice the bends.

It will take about 4 hours or so to finish drilling RW to the annulus cut. It hasn't been drilling at all for the last few weeks. They suspoended drilling while they dealt with other issues.

Thank you very much. Good answers.

For those wondering about the fate of the bent riser with the two pipes. In the Coast Guard hearings today, one of the exhibits was a picture of the pipe, out of the water, I managed to grab a screen cap of it, then modified the levels so the pipes inside could be seen.

Cut end of bent riser with pipes

Cut end of bent riser w/ pipes-modified

I just did a quick (rough) scale job on this picture. Looks like a 5 5/8" section of pipe and a 7 1/2" section of pipe.

Great pic!

At the time of the blowout they had run in hole with 4117 ft of 6 5/8, 3450 ft of 5 1/2 and 800 ft of 3 1/2 drill pipe. So there would have been about 2550 ft of 5 1/2 and 800 ft of 3 1/2 below the rams.

Could be that the smaller of these 2 pipes is the 5 1/2 now caught in the rams, and the larger is a section of 6 5/8 that fell during the riser collapse. This is broadly consistent with the observation that you would expect the diamond saw cut to have been successful on the firmly held smaller pipe, while the loose wider pipe caused difficulties resulting in the use of the craw. The cut on the smaller one does look a bit smoother (and Allen noted that they could see the difference between the cut characters) but to be honest its hard to tell at that resolution.

edited for clarity

Except of course both of those have been crawed so bang goes that theory...

Amazing how the pic from 5000ft seems to be a better image that the pic taken on deck. Was that the best or the worst of the pics taken.

They really do not want us to get a good look at the two pieces of pipe.

Take a good look at the picture and you will notice binder clips in either side of it. The reason the picture is bad is two reasons: 1) It was taken with a standard resolution camera then blown up to what looks like 30"x30" and 2) it was printed on standard plotter paper instead of photo paper.

Another issue is that the shot was poorly composed and lit. My guess is that the guy taking the picture didn't know much about photography.

(And these are all mistakes that I make more often that I would prefer to admit.)


I have been responsible for taking many oilfield equipment pictures and probably one of the worst offenders, these days everyone seems to use point and shoot digitals. The problem with them is, we are usually looking a specific item and the camera wants to focus on anything but what we want to see. The usual oilfield solution, involves breaking a walnut with a sledge hammer, and therefore we take many photos and pick the one that works the best. This photo taken with the luxury of time and the fact it is being used in such a high profile situation, has not been chosen by chance. The lawyers would have made sure of that.

Its got to be those pesky lawyers again! Blam them for everything, that way we can leave everyone else alone.

The big problem is that no matter how many photos you take - it will still look like garbage if you use a 'point and shoot', no flash, then blow the resulting picture up to 30"x30". And with this type of photo - no matter how many pictures you tak, none of them will turn out unless you use a flash to illuminate the inside of the pipe.

I take the Occam's Razor approach here. Which is simplest and most likely explanation?

1) A vast corporate and government conspiracy
2) Somebody using a cheap camera who dosen't know how to compose a shot?

Which is simplest and most likely explanation?

Obviously there's smoke in the air. The first pic is dark, so rubber is burning, and the multicolor flakes in the second picture indicate an electrical fire.

omg the boat is on fire. the gulf is burning. it's all over.


Transoceans incident investigation course states do not take a photograph of a incident scene, but draw a sketch instead. The reasoning was that a photo may incorporate unwanted information to the opposing party. Now when I did the course about 10 years ago and technology has moved on a little, but I believe the principals would be the same. IE do not give out any unintended information. They provided a photo that showed two pipe in the riser. If it was of better definition we would be able to how the pipe was deformed. From what I saw of the flattened pipe when it was first cut, it appear split and curled inward to the point of overlapping. But we conveniently have a photo in broad day light where you can barely make out end of the pipe at the cut.
Another point, what pipe is it? The wall thickness would have given us a pointer, but once again, can't tell from the picture.

I don't doubt for a instant that this photo out of the many that would have been taken, with or without flash, naked or clothed was chosen for it lack of detail and not because it is the best available.

I am not necessarily picking on people here, it is more a point against the legal system that requires people to act in this manner so they can win there day in court


I understand your annoyance with the "legal system." It annoys the hell out of me sometimes, too. But I think you are missing the forest for the trees here.

First, we will learn more about this disaster, and we will see more documents, photos and other evidence as a result of the legal system, than we would without it.

This may mean that in the short run, people are over-protective in what they disclose publicly that they do not have to. That is the result of prudence, not just lawyers. But in the end, everything will come out because of the legal system, not in spite of it. Without it, we would not have ROV feeds (albeit indirectly), and nearly any and all evidence could be destroyed at will.

While I may not have confidence in politically-charged govt. investigations, I do have complete confidence in the ability of skilled private attorneys to get to the bottom of this disaster and to unearth all relevant evidence in public and transparent manner, absent unlawful withholding or destruction of evidence.

Great pics....

One thing that came out in the recent hearing was that the blocks (traveling blocks) dropped shortly before the life boats departed. The drill pipe was hung about 20' above the drill floor by the blocks which weigh hundreds of tons.

It seems likely that a 20' section of drill pipe would have split off of the drill string and landed on top of the BOP.

Winslow witnessed the blocks dropping before boarding the life boat. Surprising that no one else has mentioned this event.


where are the hurricanes?

the gulf water is hot and oily and now no ability to turn itself over.

Don't worry..they are coming..Hurricane Danielle is in the Atlantic, will come near Bermuda and hopefully recurve away from the N. American coastline. But if it slows, it will be a different scenario. Following behind Danielle, a weather feature, soon to be named Earl, follows Daniell's track into the Atlantic. Because of a forming ridge of high pressure (Bermuda and Azores high), storms may get directed more towards Caribbean and may affect more East Coast areas in September. And then..the low projected to come off the African coast (Fiona?), because of the blocking ridge of high pressure, model guidance projects a more southerly or Caribbean track. Just to keep it interesting, around Sept 4th, models show something in the SW Caribbean. All in all--the season is going to heat up in September per NOAA models(GFS, WWW and such). Hope get the well killed/plugged/finished off soon. Just hope that one of the "options" is not finishing the work on the well due to weather. But slow and steady and safe is better than fast!

Don't feel like showing us the well today?

Its up now 4:00 PM. And they are watching the small seep. Is this a problem? Doesn't look green or purple..or like mud or like methane.

Rust propelled by seawater. Maybe Rustoleum. (thanks for the video link)


This is from August 19th; sorry if it's been posted already.

Congressman Markey on ROV watching:

Half shark-alligator, half man
(still can't get it out of my head)

FYI, Bob Naman, recently the source of the gone-viral exploding water sample video, is now claiming that there are men in black spraying Corexit 9527 nightly. Dauphin Island and Bayou La Batre are mentioned explicitly. Making the CT blog rounds....


While the initial samples did not show up the droplets, more definitive answers will take months, Lamkin says. “When you tow for plankton samples … you end up with thousands … of little animals and you have to sort the entire sample,” explains Lamkin, adding that NOAA sends its samples to a laboratory in Poland for separation. “It will be some months before we know whether what some other researchers are reporting is happening on a broad scale.”


Gives new meaning to Crab L'Orange, a new delicacy surfacing on menus in 5 star restaurants throughout the country.

See, the bottom of the Gulf is covered with crude oil, and the only reason it doesn't rise to the surface is that BP secretly sprays the entire NW Gulf with Corexit every night.

"Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she
put 'em i' th' paste alive. She knapp'd 'em o' th' coxcombs with
a stick and cried 'Down, wantons, down!' --the Fool in King Lear

Yeah, Naman was the questionable character who claimed to have found 221 ppm of oil in Gulf water and chemicals so terrifying they cause flasks to explode mysteriously. I wonder whether the reporter from WKRG knew he was a crook or whether she was just out of her depth.

"A few days ago, Naman was sent a sample of water from Cotton Bayou, Alabama.

Naman found 13.3 parts per million of the dispersant Corexit in the sample."

Now there's some rigorous scientific method being applied, ain't it?

But on the other hand a throughly reputable study by big name groups found a brand new microbe that works in low temps, high pressure, doesn't deplete O2 much and is just munching all that oil away so BP is saved from a group of scientists with a $500 million dollar 10 year grant. These are of course the reputable guys and the low budget guys who find stuff are of course the kooks.


I don't know what to think of Naman but I know exactly what to think of Hazen and crew - its called bought off.

Who funds your work as a dispersantologist by the way?

Who funds your work as a dispersantologist by the way?

and Lord Rothschild.

I haven't seen Naman's report. The quote is from GW's blog. I'm pretty sure that Corexit isn't maintained intact as a compound in seawater, though, and some sample purportedly collected by someone else is a pretty loose standard on which to base a conclusion.

FYI, "Corexit 9527. The proprietary composition is not public, but the manufacturer's own safety data sheet on Corexit EC9527A says the main components are 2-butoxyethanol and a proprietary organic sulfonate with a small concentration of propylene glycol... Nalco released the list of the six ingredients in Corexit 9500, revealing constituents including sorbitan, butanedioic acid, and petroleum distillates.[3] Corexit EC9500A is made mainly of hydrotreated light petroleum distillates, propylene glycol and a proprietary organic sulfonate."


some sample purportedly collected by someone else

The sample was collected by a nice lady from the sand behind her seawall after a boat wake sloshed it over. She had been observing a strange substance in the water that looked like "floating sand." See video from the indefatigable WKRG:

GW blog may have garbled this statement by Naman:

Moreover, Naman said that he searched for the main ingredient in the less toxic 9500 version – propylene glycol – but there was none present. In other words, Naman found the most toxic ingredient in 9527 and did not find the chemical marker for 9500.

If he did say that, he's not very familiar with the Corexit formulas, which both contain propylene glycol.

13.3 ppm of *what*? How can it be positively id'd as "Corexit" if there's no propylene glycol and part of Corexit is proprietary and somewhat unknown?

If it's 2-butoxyethanol at 13.3ppm, there's a big problem there. I'd like to see his assay sheet and a repeated test done with a new sample.

2-Butoxyethanol is frequently found in popular cleaning products. It provides cleaning power and the characteristic odor of Windex and other glass cleaners. It is the main ingredient of many home, commercial and industrial cleaning solutions, such as Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. It also isn't very hazardous.

Agreed, at 13.3 ppm it's not particularly hazardous. But since it's in water, there might be a higher concentration of the stuff as a source. Or maybe somebody was cleaning a boat and tossed the bucket overboard.

Naman's report is shown briefly in the video, maybe someone can capture and make it out.

The proprietary salt, a sulfonate, has been made public by EPA. I think FDA is going to test for it. It is a large component and the obvious thing to test for.

a new sample--should this also include sand from the nice lady's yard?

I ask my question again: what possible motive would BP have for spraying Corexit secretly on Cotton Bayou, where there is no oil? But now I have the answer: they just want to kill us all.

Right. Somebody's comment on GW's ZH post mentions the "eugenics program."

Looking around, the CAS number of the "hydrotreated light petroleum distillates" in COREXIT 9500 formula is made by most major petrol companies (Shell and so on). Believe it can also be called kerosene or similar to kerosene. And it has PAH such as benzene in it! Is just a "fancy way" to wordsmith around EPA regulations (hey sam, lookee here -its just safe ole kerosene--go get the hot dogs!) and MMS paper pushers. Probably don't have this all right--but anytime I see "generic" wording and "proprietary formula" in a report asking for EPA permission or exemption--I run for the hills. oh..and isnt there a report and photos out there about dark muddy coloring to the waters in various areas of the Gulf? With an oil signature -but "not identifible BP oil." How likely is it a product of the organic bacterial breakdown..of COREXIT/BP OIL?

And it has PAH such as benzene in it!

1. Benzene is not a PAH.
2. A light distillate is not going to have much PAH in it.
3. One of the reasons for hydrotreating is to add hydrogen across double bonds, reducing or eliminating aromatic and unsaturated content.

Light hydrotreated petroleum distillate has the synonym "low odor paraffinic solvent" Low odor + paraffinic mean alkanes, not aromatics.

Another synonym is "Hydrocarbons, Aliphatic Saturated".

From a typical spec sheet for this stuff:

"This is a mixture of C10-C14 naphthenes, iso- and n-paraffins. Neither the concentration of aromatics nor of hexane is greater than 0.1 % by volume. Depending on the raw material and the production processes, the composition and physical properties of this solvent can vary considerably."

Please don't post completely misleading information about chemical compositions here again.

JEC, looking around I couldn't find a source that listed benzene in CAS # 64742-47-8 at any more than 1 ppm, here for example:

Can you provide a link showing benzene in Corexit at a significant level? Thanks.

Oh sure - Berkeley lefties bought off by Big Oil LOL

Didn't you know, all the lefties went mainline right after the draft for the Vietnam war was ended?

Berkeley still has John Yoo do they not?

Whether they measured enough stuff to draw their conclusion about the current non-state of the plume is a question that can only be answered by additional direct observation by other scientists. As far as being bought off is concerned, that'd be a lot of buying off.

Co-authoring the paper with Hazen were Eric Dubinsky, Todd DeSantis, Gary Andersen, Yvette Piceno, Navjeet Singh, Janet Jansson, Alexander Probst, Sharon Borglin, Julian Fortney, William Stringfellow, Markus Bill, Mark Conrad, Lauren Tom, Krystle Chavarria, Thana Alusi, Regina Lamendella, Dominique Joyner, Chelsea Spier, Jacob Baelum, Manfred Auer, Marcin Zemla, Romy Chakraborty, Eric Sonnenthal, Patrik D'haeseleer, Hoi-Ying Holman, Shariff Osman, Zhenmei Lu, Joy Van Nostrand, Ye Deng, Jizhong Zhou and Olivia Mason.

$500 million for 10 years is $50 million a year. Thirty two signers, $1.56 million per signer per year. That is a lot of play money (ie fancy new equipment), pay money and university money and prestige. You do understand how important grant money is to universities especially in days of tight money such as we are in.

Hey hey the anti human caused global warming people are claiming that the vast majority of climate scientists are making false claims due to having to do so to get funding from the gov't - this claim was made even when Bush was prez even tho he was in fact making life hard for the AGW crowd and James Hansen in particular. In other words they were claiming that an administration that didn't want to acknowledge human caused global warming was funding only those scientists who made the case for human caused global warming. In fact of course much of the anti-AGW crowd get their funding from oil companies.

My suggestion that BP's funding of this group may have had an impact on what they looked for and how they interpreted what they found is far more reasonable than those claims the anti-AGW group makes.

Skepticism is the order of the day. There are ways to find what you're looking for.

As I said, it'll take at least one more independent group of scientists to go looking for the plume and report back.

where did all the oil go? See


An intensive study by scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that microbial activity, spearheaded by a new and unclassified species, degrades oil much faster than anticipated. This degradation appears to take place without a significant level of oxygen depletion. “Our findings show that the influx of oil profoundly altered the microbial community by significantly stimulating deep-sea psychrophilic (cold temperature) gamma-proteobacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degrading microbes,” says Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist with Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division and principal investigator with the Energy Biosciences Institute, who led this study. “This enrichment of psychrophilic petroleum degraders with their rapid oil biodegradation rates appears to be one of the major mechanisms behind the rapid decline of the deepwater dispersed oil plume that has been observed.”

Analysis by Hazen and his colleagues of microbial genes in the dispersed oil plume revealed a variety of hydrocarbon-degraders, some of which were strongly correlated with the concentration changes of various oil contaminants. Analysis of changes in the oil composition as the plume extended from the wellhead pointed to faster than expected biodegradation rates with the half-life of alkanes ranging from 1.2 to 6.1 days.

Average half life of 3 days! WOW!
So much for the government cover up.

They just posted the photos:
Very interesting as it looks like the same site that some BP watchers thought was the "whale" processing area.with black plastic/cranes and trailers near the water. So area probably not for "whale" crematory use..but if they are really dumping that much dispersant into the water --they will have to retro fit for sealife kills in the future. Would be nice to see something with a time-stamp! Someone will "sing" --maybe one of the guys in the photo?

My question is why are there barrels of this stuff still around if it's not being used? Considering I live in Bayou La Batre, I would really like to know the answer to that question.

Tiny, when this story first surfaced (somewhere like HuffPo or truthout), they made it clear that the containers were empty and one was clearly marked for "oily waste." It seems quite plausible that they have been sitting around since the material was last used in early May or whenever that was.

Gobblet, true..but most USA government regs don't let empty containers which contained hazardous waste..to be "reused" with other substances. So those containers, marked with COREXIT labels, can't be used for other products or "oily waste". Well..guess they can. When did this batch of "save the dollars" business people pay attention to our government regulations? Heck they just used "cut and paste" in the reports. OH WAIT--the containers were used as oily storage for Caribbean walrus blubber!!

Coreexit isn't hazardous waste.

No reason at all not to re-use the containers.

So, if there are "barrels of this stuff still around" not being used, what should they do? Dump them in the gulf?

Can't believe I'm answering this question, but here goes.....How about sending it back to the storage facility it came from?

Since BP and Nalco say that no dispersant containing 2-butoxyethanol has been sprayed in the Gulf for many months, that either means:

(1) BP has been lying, and it is still using 2-butoxyethanol. In other words, BP is still Corexit 9527 in the Gulf
(2) The dispersant isn't breaking down nearly as quickly as hoped, and the more toxic form of Corexit used long ago is still present in the Gulf.

WB forgot option (3) the GC peak (if that's what it was) was not 2-butoxyethanol, but some other compound (or compounds).

Hard to say without more details of the analysis method and/or a mass spec to back up the ID.

That compound is so common it could come from anywhere. Read the labels on your household cleaning products.

or (4) Fraud.

I have no evidence for that and am not claiming it, but it's certainly one of the possibilities.

Yesterday, nepeta mentioned John Hawks' article in September's Discover magazine on the shrinkage of human brains since the Stone Age, arguing that technology has enabled the dumbing-down of society marked by that physical change. Today, a friend to whom I was wowing about this directed my attention to a similar piece at NewScientist, an interview with archaeologist/anthropologist Timothy Taylor.

Taylor believes human evolution proceeded differently from other apes' thanks to technology (the oldest purposefully-chipped stone tools predate the oldest human fossils by over 300,000 years -- a longer span than Homo sapiens' total time on earth). Taylor says,

... Darwin had to put large cranial size down to sexual selection, arguing that women found brainy men sexy. But biomechanical factors make this untenable. I call this the smart biped paradox: once you are an upright ape, all natural selection pressures should be in favour of retaining a small cranium. That's because walking upright means having a narrower pelvis, capping babies' head size, and a shorter digestive tract, making it harder to support big, energy-hungry brains. Clearly our big brains did evolve, but I think Darwin had the wrong mechanism. I believe it was technology. We were never fully biological entities. We are and always have been artificial apes. ...

Like Hawks, Taylor finds that technology eventually allowed human evolution to become a question of "survival of the weakest."

Meanwhile, a few days ago I ran across an alternative theory: Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham explaining his idea that fire turned Australopithecus into Homo erectus -- that is, cooking made us human. Because cooked food is more nutritious and digestible than raw, once we began cooking, our "naked ape" bodies changed: our pelvises and rib cages narrowed because we no longer needed such large guts to digest what we ate, and our teeth and jaws got smaller because we had less chewing to do. So, Wrangham argues, the technology that got us started -- and is still our most important -- is fire.

To keep it and ourselves going, we even muck about 5,000 feet underwater (an adventure it seems our now-smaller brains may not always be equal to) . . .


BP has been forced to abandon hopes of drilling in the Arctic, currently the centre of a new oil rush due to its tarnished reputation following the Gulf of Mexico spill.

The company confirmed tonight that it was no longer trying to win an exploration licence in Greenland, despite earlier reports of its interest. "We are not participating in the bid round," said a spokesman at BP's London headquarters who declined to discuss its reasons for the reverse.

The setback, which follows the announcement this week of a major find in the region by British rival Cairn Energy, is the first sign that the Gulf of Mexico disaster may have permanently damaged BP's ability to operate — not just in US waters, but in other environmentally-sensitive parts of the world.

They aren't telling us what is going on.. I have seen multiple earthquakes now in the south..and even some in New England!!! The president is also trying to avoid the media! What is going on??


I may have someone who can tell us what is happening. He said he oversees the BP operation.

Captain Howdy?

Stay away from Captain Howdy.

Its God silly....

spooky music - check.
ominous warnings - check.

All hail Nibiru !!!


LOL. Pass the popcorn please.
I'm reminded of that scene from the film Contact where Jody Foster's character is driven through those crowds of new age kooks worshipping the "Vegans".

How do we even survive as a culture.


Forgive me for being bold. It's videos like these that make God look really silly. God is not silly. Trust me. I am considered a smart chick within my peer group, and I have been searching for truth for a very long time, and the God I finally believe in is not silly at all as these dumb videos with the spooky music would have us believe. My God is all about faith. That's the tricky part for smart, scientific minds like yours. It ain't easy for you guys to accept God. That being said, if you take a little tiny walk in faith, you may be richly rewarded.

Okay done with the sermon.

The only thing bothers me about that video happens right around 3:25. There's a ring of truth there that I can't ignore. There he talks about the great nation that is surrounded by oceans and inhabited by many tribes and people of descent being divided by earthquakes, tidal waves,and storms. We have certainly started to see that here in this nation in the past few years. Certainly not tidal waves but certainly harsh storms and small earthquakes have occurred with increasing venom. And the signature of who that nation is seems too true to ignore. The video says that this time leading up to the whatever (Apocalypse?) is precipitated by great famines and want. Yes, we are seeing that now,too, I believe. Just watch the movie "Food, Inc" to realize how precarious our food supply really is. The video goes on to say that that great nation will be divided and submerged. Didn't something happen in the Gulf many years ago that almost divided the Mississippi River and divide our country into two nations? Damn! I wish my mind worked better lately, but I remember reading that recently. Maybe an earthquake or tidal wave almost divided the Mississippi up to Illinois and down to the Gulf. Could the same phenomenon happen again only this time with success?

Anyhow, I think of the "Beautiful land " that is spoke of in the Bible and wonder. People of faith are certainly not in agreement of what or where that beautiful land is. However, I look at the oceans here and the mountains and the forests and the great plains, and I just thank my God for this beautiful land that is The United States of America.

Hey there Snakehead, not trying to give you a sermon, but that youtube link you provided certainly got me to thinking 'bout stuff. Hope you'll forgive me for speaking what's on my heart. A couple glasses of wine gave me the courage to do so, I'll admit.

I think the whole planet shift stuff and Nirobi or whatever the dumb alien planet is called, is just plain stupid BS. But certainly, as I read in Matthew 24, I know that summer is nigh. I sense you are searching for some truth. You're a smart man. You will find the truth, if only you seek in the right places and Youtube is not one of them.


You are thinking about the New Madrid Fault. From what has been found out about it if it ever lets go up to it's full potential,then yes we will have a U.S. on both sides of the Mississippi.
(Not that it isn't that way right now) just then it will be two continents.


Not sure why you posted that link. The person you responded to did not appear to have any religious dimension to his post. A lot of good people on this planet know virtually nothing about oil wells, geology, earthquakes and other technical disciplines that you or I might take for granted. They see a sequence of things happen and start connecting dots where no connections exist. They substitute imagination for facts. Before you know it they have scared themselves and want someone to tell them what is really going on. Maybe they just want a little reassurance that things are ok. Does your link make fun of the original poster? Are you ridiculing that fringe element that wraps a cloak of Christian truth around a perverted doctrine? Are you telling us that the contents of the video reflect your beliefs? I don’t know your motivation, but I do know that posts here get widely read even if only a few people respond. Because of that it seems good to use a certain level if discernment when posting. May I suggest that you turn your level up a bit when posting topics with a religious dimension? I will try to do the same.


I found snakehead's post humorous and apt and not denigrating or demeaning.

As a proponent of free speech, may I also remind you that the moderators set the rules on posting. No one else does.

I suspect the purpose of the link was to increase the noise to signal ratio.

It was a response in kind to "They aren't telling us what is going on.. I have seen multiple earthquakes now in the south..and even some in New England!!! The president is also trying to avoid the media! What is going on??" Grab a bunch of unrelated stuff & punch up the hair-on-fire volume. A not very good illustration that was intended to provide an opportunity to reflect.

Small ones, which we have frequently and should not be a problem except for nerves. The ones in the Mississippi area are along fault lines, and the ones on the West coast, same thing. This might be in reaction to several some quakes in the 5.0+ value in the Far East near Indonesia which happened today.

Maybe the Prez is getting tired of it. Nothing about the current earthquake pattern is at all unusual. I haven't even received any USGS notifications recently.

'cue eerie music'


Just thought I'd throw that out there for the conspiracy nuts


CCT - There hundreds of earth quakes in the continental US every day. Have been for millions of years and will continue for milions of years. The strongest ESTIMATED (before they could measure their strength) was the New Madrfid Earth Quake in Missouri in the latre 1880's.

Not sure what you mean by "They aren't telling us what is going on.?" The link you posted is what the govt puts out to the public via the US Geological Survey.

The New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes occurred December 1811 through February 1812. The quakes rang church bells in Boston and cracked sidewalks in Washington, DC. FEMA has estimated a recurrence would be the costliest natural disaster that might occur in the US.

Did you forget your sarcasm tags?
As Rockman says, this is the publicly-released information on earthquakes, and as he didn't say, it's automated, so it's also untouched by human hands. (And as a Californian, it's a nuisance having to wait ten or fifteen minutes after things move in order to file my 'did you feel it' report. What we do for Science!)

I have a question, though I'm sure it will highlight my lack of scientific knowledge.

Let's say that the drill pipe is indeed encased in the cement plug; first of all, we have no way of knowing how much of the pipe is encased, correct? Another question I have is, is the cement completely set by now, IE, there would be no way to get the pipe out as it's thoroughly fixed in the cement?

One last thing; I would assume that not too much cement would've gone up the drill pipe at all, given that the DP was presumably somewhat closed at the top end from the cut/crush job ... if they were to be able to pull it out, would this essentially leave a hole in the cement?

I suspect I'll be saying, "DOH!" to some of the responses, so I'll say it now: DOH! :)

I just finished listening to the audio of his briefing ( Allen 8/25 - no transcript yet).

My understanding of what he said about cement and the pipe was that it concerned the possibility that the pipe was still hanging from the BOP but that some of the cement pumped in may have adhered to the pipe as it traveled down the casing on the way to the bottom. This was part of the three scenarios you wrote about earlier -
1.) the pipe was cut, leaving a portion in the LMRP and the BOP, with the rest of the 3,000' down the well or
2(a) it is hanging from BOP or
2(b) it is hanging from the BOP, but weighted down with some adhered cement. (in this case, the bottom of the pipe would still be well above the 5,000' cement plug at the bottom of the well.)

He said that once they get the two small sections out of the LMRP they'll be able to go farther down into the BOP and may get a better idea of which scenario it is - 1, 2(a) or 2(b).

In light of all Allen said about possible alternative conditions, I continue to be bemused by reporters' attachment to knowing dates for the next ten steps ... hmm they don't know yet exactly what those ten steps will be.

I might not have gotten my notes right on that during the call, so thanks! I'll have to listen to it or check back in with the transcript later.

OK, so let's say some cement adhered; what are we concerned about? I definitely got the sense that it was IN cement, AEB him saying about how much force they should exert in trying to pull it up. Again, I'll have to check back in on that, but I'm pretty sure that's what I heard....

I assume he meant the cement could make it more difficult to pull a cement encrusted pipe through the BOP, or, alternatively, would require more effort to lift the BOP plus heavier than just bare pipe pipe. He said that BP and the science team were, as always, trying to consider all possible alternatives and to have responses to each thought out in advance.

OK, I'll have to re-listen, clearly; no time now. I do need to say it aloud that my gut is telling me that he meant it was actually IN cement ...

I think he said adhered.

If I recall, they pumped the cement slug then followed up with a spaced and continued to displace with mud, so assuming the process was reasonably piston-like they will be pretty confident that the cement plug is a long way helow the deepest extent of the drillpipe.

What they don't know is the condition of the pipe if it is still there; it might be quite bent and distorted, even coiled, and lie partly against the casing wall. If so there is a small chance that some of the slurry might have hung up around the pipe and could bond it slightly to the casing I suppose.

If the DP is still hanging would it not be almost certain that it would be in tension. I can't see DP in tension getting distorted much even with the maximum flows from the reservoir that it experienced. Since it has multiple points of contact with the casing it could be cemented to the casing in a number of places. Once they latch onto it with the overshot tool they can quickly determine if it is stuck. If it is stuck they could add as much tension as they dare with the rig DP and do the same with compression using the fish's own weight above the stuck part plus the rig DP weight. Alternating a pull/push should make it fairly easy to break the cemented areas and retreive the fish. DP does get dropped in the hole occasionally. Maybe someone here has some experience fishing DP and can add some insight.

8/25 Allen transcript.

Mark Chediak: Yes, yes thank you very much. And then one question about the longer pipe in the well. Earlier I think you said it extended down 3,000 feet into the well. Is there concern that it might cemented into the well and if so, how would that play out as far as removing the blowout preventer?

Thad Allen: I think there are three potential scenarios and let me emphasis potential scenarios because nobody knows for sure. One theory is that the pipe was actually cut by one of the rams and is either – is below the blowout preventer. If that’s the case then we should be able to just recover that small section of pipe and could proceed with replacing the blowout preventer. The second two scenarios involve that the pipe was not cut.

But extends below the blowout preventer, could be down around 3,000 feet as you said. Then there are two scenarios, one scenario is that it's just hanging from the blowout preventer. The second scenario is that it might have come in contact with cement and somehow there could be some adherence. We are developing procedures on how we would handle all three of those as relates to removal of the blowout preventer.

The first one obviously allows us to move ahead more quickly. The second two would require us to figure out a way to deal with the pipe and then cut it off when it was raised. One of the issues we're dealing with is how much pull we should put on the blowout preventer until we stop and say wait a minute there probably – there may be an issue if it's contact with cement and that will create limitations on how much we will try and lift it off before we go to an alternative to remove the pipe from the cement.

Those are all procedures that are being discussed between the science team and the BP engineers right now. And those are the alternatives that will basically form a decision tree and when we ascertain the condition of the pipe in the blowout preventer and start to remove it. Was that responsive?

Me too - the 'private citizen' asking about the rams was Levi from TOD IRC channel - another success for the ROV watchers there.

Allen shows remarkable restraint in the face of those relentless schedule questions. The non-tech journos don't seem to be able to think of anything else. And now that the flow has stopped the need to keep pressuring the time line makes little sense; BP is sucking up all the day rates after all.

I don't think we really care. As has been pointed out before, the cement is in the bottom 5,000' of a 13,000' hole and there's only 3,300' (according to the energy.gov well diagram) of pipe.

So, whatever amount of pipe (if any) is in the cement it's no longer held by the BOP, and won't interfere with BOP replacement.

Furthermore, even if the entire pipe is in the cement, there is still over 1,000 of pipeless cement, more than enough to provide a satisfactory plug.


Something is bugging me. They fiddled with the half-closed ram or shear in the Three Ram Stack for a couple days to get it open. The rams and or shears holding the drill pipe in the original BOP have been that way since 4/20 and they must be in a nine-line bind. How long will it take to get the drill pipe free in the original BOP? A month?

I always thought and still think they should lift the BOP and drill pipe together. Maybe I'm missing something?

Cap - If there is some length of DP cmtd in place there's no need to remove that section from the hole. Remember the purpose of removing the DP: it's to enable them to go into the csg with new DP and set the proper plugs. If some section of the old DP is below the top of cmt then it's not in the way. If there is a section of drill pipe still above the top of cmt with the bottom section cmtd inplace then it's a simple matter to cut and remove the section of DP above the cmt. Not a problem per se...just a situation that will take a little more time to resolve.

As far as leaving a hole in the cmt if they pull the DP out don't worry: no one in the history of the oil industry has ever done that nor would I ever expect someone to try IMHO. It's much easier to make the cut. Leaving DP cmtd inplace has been done on hundreds of wells with no problems.

We blame BP for it´s "rigorous company politics".
But not only BP are the "bad guys" - they are in good company !
I found this story that I missed out being aware of about Chevrons practices in Ecuador :


"A Chevron contractor bragged that he participated in a wide-ranging fraud by Chevron to pay bribes, fake court-ordered soil samples and doctor evidence to cover up the company’s culpability in a $27.3 billion environmental lawsuit, according to sworn testimony from a key government witness.
Escobar was ordered to testify in Ecuador after he provided over six hours of audio recordings and more than 25 pages of chat transcripts of conversations between Borja and himself.
On the audiotapes, Borja told Escobar that Chevron hired him to create four dummy companies so his work would appear "independent."
He went on to state that he was paid by Chevron to collect samples from contaminated sites while working Chevron’s supposedly independent testing laboratory for the trial, Severn Trent Laboratory (STL), at the same time.

Chevron is accused in the lawsuit of dumping more than 18.5 billion gallons of toxic waste directly into the rainforest, abandoning more than 900 unlined toxic waste pits, and leaving a legacy of poisoned air and water that has led to an outbreak of cancer and the decimation of indigenous groups.
“The kind of scientific fraud, if committed by Chevron, would be the equivalent of BP taking water samples in the Indian Ocean to determine if the Gulf of Mexico is being polluted,” Donziger said.
Experts estimate that the amount of oil waste deliberately discharged by Chevron to cut costs when it ran an oil concession in Ecuador surpasses the BP spill by at least ten times.
An area of rainforest roughly the size of Rhode Island and home to five indigenous groups has been poisoned, according to the lawsuit.
Borja has refused to answer demands from the Ecuadorian government that he testify regarding his role in Chevron’s scam.
He is being represented by a prominent Bay Area criminal defense attorney Chris Arguedes, whose fees are being paid by Chevron.

Chevron has kept its longtime contractor, Diego Borja, and his family hidden away at this $6,000-a-month house located just a few minutes from Chevron's corporate headquarters in San Ramon, California."

PS : If this had been already discussed in TOD - please make concessions to the Newbies (no search-function in TOD).

I was rather astonished to read The Guardian's report on the UN's decision to exonerate Shell for oil pollution in the Niger delta.

Before Deepwater Horizon focused my attention a bit,I knew there was oil in Nigeria. I just didn't realize how much of it is lying about on the ground or polluting the waters. Every time I bump up against one of these new stories I get a bit more of a headache. I won't live long enough to sort through all these complexities and figure out what I think is the truth.

IMHO, The UN and the US were guilty of negligence in the Rwanda genocide. Why is this such a surprise?

Over 90% of the oil spills in Nigeria are caused by thieves puncturing the pipelines. In fact the oil theft (and associated leaks) are so bad that Shell was unable to deliver the contracted amount of oil and had to declare 'force majure'

If you want a geostrategic take on what is going on with the oilfields in Nigeria here is a link: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/nigeria/articles/20100825.aspx

Activated: thanks for the link. Appreciate it.

There was a spate of articles I found from around 2008 about the illegal bunkering, and clearly there are criminal elements involved. Most recent articles I've found are of the "they were driven to do it by the evil corporation" sort, and that's just a little too simplistic. I spent some years in Liberia where graft and corruption had been turned into a bit of a cottage industry, so why not oil theft?

Over 90% of the oil spills in Nigeria are caused by thieves puncturing the pipelines -- Activated05b

There was a spate of articles... -- completenovice

When you find the article that says "over 90% of the oil spills in Nigeria are caused by thieves," link it, will ya? God knows Activa won't.

I found this article, but not at the keyboard warrior site that Activa linked, and it doesn't say that "over 90% of the oil spills in Nigeria are caused by thieves," it says:

Oil spillage in Nigeria occurs as a result of sabotage, corrosion of pipes and storage tanks, carelessness during oil production operations and oil tankers accidents. In Nigeria, fifty percent (50%) of oil spills is due to corrosion, twenty eight percent (28%) to sabotage and twenty one percent (21%) to oil production operations. One percent (1%) of oil spills is due to engineering drills, inability to effectively control oil wells, failure of machines, and inadequate care in loading and unloading oil vessels.

Edit: MY BAD. Activated's article said what he said it said. Disregard offending material. Apologies to all.

I take back my take-back.

Although it is true that the keyboard-warrior site that Activated linked did indeed say 90% of oil spills in Nigeria are caused by oil thieves, it did not document that info, except to say that it came from a recent UN study. So I looked it up.

Apparently, the environmental assesment was paid for by Shell:

The $10m (£6.5m) investigation by the UN environment programme (UNEP), paid for by Shell, will say that only 10% of oil pollution in Ogoniland has been caused by equipment failures and company negligence, and concludes that the rest has come from local people illegally stealing oil and sabotaging company pipelines.


And the UN offered an immediate "clarification" (bolds mine):

Nairobi, 23 August 2010 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

...Media reports over the past days and weeks have indicated that it is UNEP's determination that 90 per cent of oil spills are linked with so called 'bunkering' and criminal activity.

In referring to this data UNEP clearly indicated that these figures represented official estimates of the Government of Nigeria, based in part on data supplied by the oil industry.

They therefore do not represent nor reflect results of UNEP's current assessment process which is still ongoing...


Check your sources, Lady. Beforeitsnews goes back to the likes of Sorcha Faal. Not a valid source of information.

Lady -- you might want to do a little independent research on the subject. First, Chevron has never operated in Ecuador. The law suit deals with environbment damage Texaco may have caused when they operated in the country. Chevron bought Texaco and thus bought into the charges. Texaco stopped operating in the country on the early 1990's. They may well have conducted business there in a very unsound manner but that would have been over 25 years ago.

As far as contaminated sites I doubt there's much evidence of environmental damage done by Texac over 25 years ago. But there have been over 1000 documented acts of pollution done in the last 25 years. There should be thousands of samples available to prove those problems. BTW: all oil/NG operations don in Ecuador over the last 25 years have been dome by the state owned oil company which opeerates 100% of all oil production in the country since Texaco had it's concession nationalized and taken from them almost 3 decades ago,

Lady-Li, look in the upper left corner of the page for the search box. Plenty of hits for "chevron ecuador".

One hopes they can arrange live saturday night entertainment each week for the miners. My choice would be Shania Twain..the goddess of miners.

Shania Twain ?

You don't think being trapped underground is torture enough ?

You don't think being trapped underground is torture enough ?

Hee heeeeee. Reminds me of this (must be Shania at 00:45).

But seriously, Chile doesn't need Shania or Rammstein. Check out Los Tres:

Hagalo Usted Mismo

La Torre de Babel

No Es Cierto

MOB, great music, gracias.

Speaking of anti-Pinochet (nasty little kleptocrat) songs (no es cierto), how about the classic resistance cancion Todo Cambia? I must have heard it 30 times a day in Chile in 1990.


Good thoughts, NU. The miners might find these a little more familiar:

Inti Illimani http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qyno5UNkFw

Mercedes Sosa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyOJ-A5iv5I

I was just watching them trip pipe with the new fishing tool and at around 4000 ft. the string broke or came apart. several hundred feet of drill pipe and fishing tool went zipping to the bottom in front of the ROV that was following it down.

Edit; The ROV has a hold of the end and they are looking at the male thread now. 11:40 PM

oops .... nothing about this effort goes smoothly, does it.

That earlier estimate of three days to get the drill pipe out has turned out to be a bit optimistic.


Enterprize ROV 1 has found the broken end stuck in the bottom mud. They have paint marks on the pipe and it looks like it is burried about 38 feet! Glad nothing was under that!

Edit; looks like they will need a fishing tool to retrive the fishing tool! They tripped the rest down so maybe they will try to stab it where it is? Not sure how they will make up the joint though?

Yes, I saw that ... wasn't fast enough to grab a shot of it. I'm surprised it didn't totally dart out of sight into the muck.

I see they're now checking out the thread at the top of it.

I can confirm that the drill string that held the fishing tool (we think) came apart after it was lowered to some 4400-4600 feet. The part that fell off is about 30-60 feet (one or two pipe lengths) long and is now standing vertical in the GOM mud.

Looks like it just unscrewed at a joint with a bad thread.

Embarrassing. They will now have to fish for the fishing tool ... another 6-12 hours delay ...

Um, do those things come unscrewed often, just like that?



No, they do not unscrew often, because everything put in the hole is suppose to be torqued. If there is a pipe racked in the derrick that has not been torqued then that stand will / should be very clearly marked "not torqued" and this info will / should be handed over from one driller to the next.

It won't surprise me if somebody is currently looking for a job!

Having said that it will not be the first string of pipe that has found its way to the sea bed. I once had trouble balancing the books (4 or 5 joints from memory) with the number of drill pipe we had onboard. Nothing ever proved, but my money was on them laying on the sea bed as we had just finished picking up pipe in open water. Nobody ever went looking for them, but we didn't have the hole world watching as these lot does.

Truly strange pusher. We've all twisted off a time or two. But have you every twisted off GIH? This keeps up we'll have to make up a story about the "cursed rig". Or maybe the cursed fishing hand.

GIH=going in hole? TIA

At least it fell off before they got it in the hole and not after.

From the BBC video the machine to be used in Chile appears to be a REDBORE RB50. This is a machine which is capable of drilling up to a 7 ft diameter hole down into a mine. Since lots of downward force is exerted the machine must be anchored to the ground which may take a few days. After setup a 11 inch bit is attached to the drill pipe which is about 10 inched in diameter (and heavy) and a pilot hole is drilled into the mine using reverse circulation, usually compressed air, to remove the cuttings. The drill pipe is then tripped out and a 28 inch bit attached and drilled into the mine with the cuttings falling into the mine. Normally the cuttings would be removed with a front end loader or scraper but in this case the penetration rate could be adjusted to allow removal with a shovel and wheelbarrow if necessary. The miners could then be hoisted out after the drill is tripped back out.

In its usual use the 28 inch bit would be tripped out and the larger say 7 ft bit attached and down drilled into the mine, with the cuttings falling down the 28 inch hole. The machine can also be used inside a mine to drill between levels.

For a picture and specifications of the RB50 GOOGLE redpath rb50
and down load the brochure.

For more than you probably want to know about the process see the mining journal article:

Some great shots coming inside the pipe on Enterprise camera video feed.

Good morning

They found the pipe

Are they two different bits of pipe, do you think. the profiles look different.

They look the same to me - just a different depth of focus and radial approach for imaging. g

May be gus. Here is todays speculation 101 theory. When the well blew out there was sea water in the production casing. The gas formed large quantities of hydrate and froze up the BOP valves, so they did not work.

Does that pipe look as if it was sheared by a ram or snapped off by bending some where up the riser?


The pipe we are seeing has been cut by the CLAW.

I may have missed it but, did the claw ever cut anything such that it would drop in the well. It was always cutting horizontally when I saw it; aways from the riser flange. Possible diamond wire cut??? When they were sawing just above the riser flange?



Couldn't get irc going properly on iPhone earlier so apols for asking this again here instead :

1). They dropped the end of one fishing string into the mud earlier - did they recover it?

2). They seemed to get into the well very quickly thereafter - was there another string with overshot already in the water?

3). First pipe top encountered by camera was crimped, seemed to drop out of sight after they gave the string a twist. Second pipe top encountered had circular section, clean cut. Deeper inspection showed crimped pipe now flush with a flat surface, circular pipe standing up on same surface, lumps of solids in evidence. Any theories as to configuration? Based on depth are we deep enough to see rams or is this hydrate/cement plugging? If they had gas in the capping stack during cement job I guess they could have forced cement above the choke/kill entry points?