BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - A Slight Pause While We Wait - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6905.

With Hurricane Danielle disappearing into the North Atlantic, and Earl trying to decide where to go next, we have Fiona waiting in the wings as a threat to longer term activities in the Gulf. Those are moving forward slowly. The current infrastructure over the well has been largely disconnected in preparation for switching the BOP and upper assembly for that which was on the second relief well.

The equipment is all waiting, and usually starts to do functional things after midnight, but that is not happening at the moment, so perhaps we will have to wait for something to occur later on Monday morning, at which time I will upgrade this post.
11:40 am UPGRADE

Bubbles from the stack

As MoonofA notes below there is now a small stream of bubbles (monitored by Oly ROV2) coming out of the stack. The rest of the operation has been shut down temporarily as high seas are making it difficult to work. They have been preparing a large saw (h/t dewatering ) on deck, which may be needed to cut through the drill pipe under the BOP once they are able to raise it above the seabed and well sufficiently for an ROV to get in and cut through it.

Observations from the IRC #theoildrum chat:

Yesterday Ent-2 broke a valve handle when it tested the connector hanging below the Discoverer Enterprise that will lift the capping stack. Repair attempts were unsuccessful, but the ROV finally managed to use the valve without the handle.

While the lower valve handle is secured within slots in a short piece of a pipe that surrounds it, the two upper ones left and right are unsecured. This is not optimal engineering.

Overnight little happened around the well.

At around 2:00am CDT the ROV UHD-30 displayed the mission "Monitoring Bubbles". It then passed along the BOP from the bottom to the top steadily looking around and settled at the capping stack to look at its upper opening.

There it found bubbles escaping from the stack in a steady trickle. Some excitement came four times during four hours of monitoring as burps erupted and some bigger light pieces of unknown substances escaped.

(Note that shadow effects from the ROV lights make each bubble look like two giving the impression of a bigger stream.)

This happened while no outer hoses were connected to the BOP and no other ROV was working on it. Still in general today's trickle seams not to be significant bigger than last week when the capping stack was reopened after the ambient test. One possible explanation for these bubbles is a dissolving of residual hydrates within the BOP and capping stack.

A big circular saw, probably to cut a drill pipe, was prepared on the deck of Olympic Challenger.

Original by dewatering here.

The relevant ships in the area have not moved at all. The skimmer fleet is still away and there is no sign that the BOP exchange will start anytime soon.

At 5:00am ROV BOA-2 did a inspection of the capping stack under the mission of "Familiarization". Did BP hear my urging for a fresh, motivated crew?

Thank you for keeping watch overnight. Very much appreciated.

This happened while no outer hoses were connected to the BOP and no other ROV was working on it.

Disagree. Around 5:20am Hos Achiever #2 unplugged a hose from the capping stack panel, carried it down, and plugged it into a panel low down on the BOP. There's still stuff connected.

Yes, technically you are correct - there are still lines attached but there are no big hoses anymore that could induce a flush of the BOP.

The line in those pictures is an anti-freeze supply line that is used every 12 hours or so to clean the Hydraulic Collet connector of the capping stack and the one at the bottom of the bop. It wasn't activated at the time the bubble watch started. When it is activated green antifreeze comes out of the outer top and bottom of the HC connectors.



Due to high sea states, operations to remove the capping stack and replacement of the Deep Water Horizon BOP with the DDII BOP is on hold. Operations will commence as soon as sea states reach acceptable levels.

If they are flushing then they may well be loosening crud. Doesn't mean to say it is going to come out straight away. By the time it has meandered around nooks and crannys, what's left of rams etc it could take sometime.


What they are flushing doesn't have any communication with the inside of the BOP. What they are pumping methanol into is the inner workings of the couplers. Those lines would be to weak to have held back the pressure of the well as it was capped.

I think you are seriously underestimating the complexity of the hydraulic circuits available on a BOP. Are you aware the hot stab connectors are available with two isolated circuits in one unit, meaning one passage can be used to inject a fluid and the other can be used to collect the outflow? That makes a closed circuit, no opening to the internal BOP passages required. Do you assume they are circulating cold, ambient temp methanol? Do you assume there is no equipment on the ROV to maintain hot fluid while being recirculated through the hot stab panels? How do you know what components are on the other end of those hot stab ports in the panels? Do you think it would be smart to let the BOP/stack just sit there completely static at ambient temperature for long periods? Do you think circulating hot fluids through BOP components might occasionally thaw a bit of hydrates, hydrates that almost certainly would have at least some amount of hydrocarbons mixed in? Do you think that maybe when a bit of hydrates breaks up the hydrocarbons within would float free? Just maybe? Or are you sure you know what you're talking about here, because based on your previous experience you can't possibly think of any other explanation? And just what are your previous experiences with complex mechanical devices, hydraulics, and normal conditions under 5,000' of very cold water?

One of the cool random quotes in the upper right of every TOD page is:

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”
—Mark Twain

I want to be very very clear: I DO NOT know with any certainty the answer to the questions I posed above. But I do know just enough about the fundamentals and mechanics of what's at play here to get a good guess at the possibilities. You seem certain of what you're seeing in the ROV videos, even though I don't think you have the background to even know what you don't know.

Please, please listen, I'm not trying to bash you. Or shut you up. I know you aren't dumb, that's clear from other things you've commented on where you obviously have a bit more experience. There are almost an endless number of kind, very smart people here who will answer questions from folks who don't have a clue but want to learn (I'm probably not one of them, I guess I've fallen into the role of the 'bomb-thrower'). Don't lock yourself into a cage you can't get out of.

Everything according to plan.

That is the portable hydraulic power connector to operate the valves on the bits of kit that don't have hydraulic conservators. Did you see which valves were being operated?

Thanks for posting the stills. I happened to see it live.


Same ROV moved the same hose again this AM, back to where it was earlier on the stack panel. This time the view was clear enough to see the port names.

Port on BOP panel is METH INJ, port on stack panel is HYDRATE. The hose isn't connected to the ROV, it goes somewhere else. I think it's logical to assume this is heated fluid - cold antifreeze won't melt ice (or hydrates) any faster than cold seawater. The fluid is pretty obviously dyed green, and there's no green coming out of the stack, so it has to be recirculating.

MoonofA: Would there be a visual difference at the top of the stack between oil released from hydrates melted via the BOP panel, and oil released from hydrates melted via the capping stack panel?

There are clearly other lines and hoses connected to various spots all over both the BOP and the capping stack.

edit: ...aaand now there's green haze around the stack, from the base of the mule shoe. Something popped?

Again - this is routine operation we have now seen for weeks about every 12 hours. It cleans the inside of the Hydraulic Collet Connectors through special "wash out" ports.

The plug used is a one way plug (only two rubber rings instead of four on two way plugs).

To my best knowledge based on observation the hose is connected to a "bladder", a round yellow drum on the seafloor with only one hose connection. A fresh "bladder" was lowered to the seafloor only two days ago with the ROV showing "full bladder ops" as its mission. I doubt that this stuff is heated.

Moon, these IRC updates are terrific -- thanks so much for 'em.

SL, I was replying to your shoulder-scrunch reco when the door slammed just now, so here goes again:

I may be unusually limber (or double-jointed?), but seems like I can scrunch even tighter by extending my arms straight down in front, elbows crossed with the hollows facing in, and grasping one down-pointed fist with the other while bowing my shoulders forward as much as possible. Holding this pose for an hour wouldn't be pleasant, but it'd still beat the heck out of premature burial.

Moon, these IRC updates are terrific -- thanks so much for 'em.

Roger that!

I may be unusually limber

Limberer than I, fer shure. I can't get into the position you describe if I don't want to dislocate my shoulders. My elbows won't cross with my arms down any more than they will with the lower arms folded up.

The advantage (I think) of my folded-up posture is that the hands can grasp the upper arms right beneath the shoulders and pull them in. That takes at least an inch off my shoulder width in addition to what I get from putting my elbows together in front. You could get the same effect by having someone wrap a band or belt around the shoulders and pulling it tight. It's external pressure, in other words, added to the contortion (can't think of a clearer way to put that!).

While I have you on the screen, wanted to hold hands with you and the other cateract-afflicted folks here. One eye has been gone for a while as far as reading is concerned; fortunately the other is taking longer, but it's getting there. (And VERY fortunately I'm already on Medicare.) If I can get myself sufficiently wound up, I'll have the bad eye done this fall, to be followed shortly by the other 'un. DO NOT like the idea of anybody messing with my eyes, although they say it's a piece of cake.

Swift, get em done, you will not regret it. I had one go bad over time and I put it off thinking the same as you. But wow when I did get er done, a new world. Actually, it was a snap, easier than going to the dentist by far. Got a multi focal implant and I do not need correction at all on that eye.

How is the multifocal bit? Any patterns showing or ghosts?


Sorry for the late reply. For about the first two months at night I would see a halo around street lights and head lights. Nothing really objectionable, just different. But it is gone almost completely now unless I am really, really tired and driving.

My first(of three) sons was born with cataracts and had his surgeries at 4 months of age. Although the multi focals were not available then they were miracles of medicine for him, and us. He is 31 now and is considereing multi focals.

I love the multi focals though and the procedure is a snap, takes about 10 minutes. Only problem with me is the doc got PO's with me talking too much while I was knocked out!!! He never would say what I was talking about!!!!!!

Don't worry, I have time before I need it but getting information and planning in advance is a big help. I have one or two issues that may make the decision a bit more complicated though. Multifocals would be a big help for me and might help my decisions.


Swift, get em done, you will not regret it.

Thanks for the pep talk, Texican! It's all been so slow and gradual, it's hard to work up any sense of urgency. But I will get 'em done this fall.

A while back when the cataract surgery and implants were less advanced and the recouperation longer the doctors told you the cataracts had to "ripen" before they would operate. What they really were saying was that your vision had to get so bad thatany thing was an improvement.

I understand that at the old folks home a guy who can drive at night has all the girlfriends he wants.

Thankers, SL and everybody else. I can't wait to get mine done, especially with multi-focal available now.

I was thinking that very thing, Swift Loris: don't forget the external pressure that the cage will provide, added to the extra motivation to contort oneself that 60 days in a hole will contribute!

I had one of my eyes done in April. By the next day I was seeing 20/20 out of that eye.

Not only does the acuity improve but colors become much brighter.

Before the surgery I had pretty much stopped reading; now I am catching up on a lot of stuff that I had been storing.

Wow, Speaker. You know, I'll never forget the ride home from the eye doc's office in my first pair of glasses (I was 8) -- discrete leaves on trees: who knew! Got my first contacts at the end of my first year in high school, and for many years was thrilled to see like an eagle (I thought). Of course that started to fade in my 40s, and by 50, I was back in specs (too astigmatic for bifocal contacts). Now . . . God, it's awful. Can't read the bumper sticker on the car in front of me at the light.

So what y'all are describing sounds heavenly. Tell you what, that science has reached the stage of restoring an eye's lost ability to focus is as miraculous as anything I can name.

I must have described the move wrong, SL. Can you let your arms hang in front of you, holding your wrists and the backs of your loosely-made fists so they touch? Then move one hand to curl its fingers around the other fist? This will bow your shoulders forward automatically.


If you're still looking for the discussion of culture of safety issues, just do a search for that phrase in quotation marks, and you'll find several hits.

Okay, Rockman says he doesn't have experience in using nitrified cement. Anybody out there who does?

Here's the thread with the questions and Rockman's response http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6899#comment-710756

Rockman - What can you tell me about nitrifying cement? I have seen it referred to as "foamed" cement. So I visualize it as being a process somewhat analogous to leavening bread. The result will be to create a quasi-compressible mixture (at least until it is set [or baked in the case of bread]). It will be as squishy as the Pillsbury Dough Boy's tummy. So when they pump it down the well, it will compress and fill a reduced volume. Such a reduction in volume would be experienced aloft as "lost returns". All the lost volume would manifest itself in the shoe track. If the compression ratio were high enough there might be zero cement in the shoe track. Add in a little channelization of the cement in the annulus between the shoe and the formation, a negative pressure test while the cement has not cured, displace the riser to sea water and hold a memorial service for 11 men.

Nitrified cement was not the problem. They didn't use all nitrified cement. The cement that is now known to have failed was not nitrified cement.

The problem was they failed to test the cement. They didn't do a negative test. they may have thought they were doing a negative test but they did not do a real test. It is not been explained clearly what it is they did. But it is clear that they never did what they were required to do, which was intended to test if the well could handle the under balance that displacing the riser would create.

They didn't test the cement to see what would happen when the well was under-balanced. They did not find out that the cement job could not handle negative pressure of an under balance until they were in the actual process of displacing the riser to seawater. When they stopped to do the sheen test less than a hour before the blow out it would appear the well was still slightly over balanced at that point. It was not until they were dumping the returns overboard that the well became under balanced for the first time in its life. That was also the first time a negative pressure test was done on the shoe track and we now know the cement failed the test.

"The cement that is now known to have failed was not nitrified cement."

Jinn, how do you know the cement that failed was not the nitrified cement? If the flow is in the annulus and the nitrified cement was in the annulus, then the flow would have to go through all the cement in the annulus both nitrified and not.

Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the flow was coming internally from the 9 7/8 X 7 inch casing string at this point?

BP and Allen have said the flow to the surface was all confined to the 9-7/8X7 casing. They could be fabricating all the information I suppose. That would require a large number of people to participating in the deception, but that seems extremely improbable.

Jinn, I don't see how they could know where the flow was coming from at this point.

I also don't see why everyone except BP was focused on channeling in the annulus during the last government panel inquisition. If there was beyond a doubt evidence pointing to the flow coming from the inside of the casing the issue of centralizers, API circulation recommendations, and annular gas flow potential would have been a non-issue.

At this point I dont trust BP and I don't think Allen has enough expertise in this area to be a reliable resource.

I also don't see why everyone except BP was focused on channeling in the annulus during the last government panel inquisition. If there was beyond a doubt evidence pointing to the flow coming from the inside of the casing the issue of centralizers, API circulation recommendations, and annular gas flow potential would have been a non-issue.


That is an excellent observation. The answer to your question I fear is the people investigating DWH have wandered off into the weeds and are operating from old information and old theories that were developed before the static kill demonstrated that the production casing was the only flow path to the surface.

Besides the evidence from the static kill (4 weeks ago) there is also the fact that even if the cement in the annulus had channeling the hydrostatic pressure in the annulus should have been greater than the reservoir pressure at the time of the blowout on April 20.

How did the static kill provide evidence that the casing was the source of the flow? I missed that.

I disagree with the opinion that you should have enough hydrostatic pressure in the annulus to hold bac the reservior even if they had channeling. That's why the discussion of gas flow is so important in conjunction with channeling. If you had a gas in the annulus prior to, during and after the cement job then no one knows what the hydrostatic was on the annulus. The point that was brought up in the investigation about volume circulated prior to cementing tells me that they may not have got all the gas out of the annulus, so it's very possible that the backside was underbalanced.

How did the static kill provide evidence that the casing was the source of the flow?


During static kill, the pressure at the top decreases as the mud column gets longer. By keeping track of the volume pumped to reach a certain pressure you can then calculate the diameter of the space that the mud went into.

A photo on the BP site in the command center a short time into the static kill shows a chart on the wall that has calculated pressure vs. volumne graphed for several scenarios of flow in the casing, or annulus, or both, with drill pipe hanging and dropped. By plotting actual PV as the kill proceeded, you can see which flow scenario most closly matches actual well conditions.

Yes, this is only evidence of where the mud flowed going down. But is there any reason to believe that the path of the oil coming up would be different, such as some kind of check valve action allowing flow from the annulus into the BOP, but blocking the inverse? There is none, as far as I've heard, so the static kill data is pretty good evidence that the casing was the path of the blowout and the annulus wasn't.

If you had a gas in the annulus prior to, during and after the cement job ...

Annulus contents during those times are known, aren't they? They were circulating mud (and cement) down the drill string into the top of the just-lowered production casing string, out it's bottom, back up the annulus, and back up to the boat via the riser or one of the choke or kill lines. After cementing, the annulus contents would be whatever went down the hole just ahead of the cement. And that wasn't gas.

After the cement went in, the final step before pulling out of the hole was to activate the seal in the casing hanger to close off that flow path from the annulus into the BOP. After that step, getting gas into the annulus would mean that somehow a new flow path out of the annulus would have to be forced, to give that mud someplace to go.

Maybe I'm missing the point, but I can't see how there could be much gas in the annulus. They had the hole in balance, they lowered the casing string, circulated mud, then cement, then more mud, and then sealed the hangar, without much screwing around in between.

How did the static kill provide evidence that the casing was the source of the flow? I missed that.

They never said explicitly, but Kurt Wells did say that they measured the rise in pressure that occurred when the mud hit the bottom, and I assume that they knew the volume of mud pumped up to that time. Presumably, that volume matched the volume of the production casing.

Based on one PR photo posted on the BP website, their estimates of the volumes of various flow paths can be inferred from the graph by looking at the point where the pressure jumps up on each line:

casing, DP dropped = 750 barrels
casing = 825 barrels
casing+DP = 900 barrels
annulus = 1250 barrels
annulus+casing = 1900 barrels
annulus+casing+25% = 2400 barrels

(assume that casing means production casing and DP means drill pipe; the individual numbers for annulus+casing don't quite add up to the total)

Thanks for the responses on the flow path issue guys, it makes sence to me and now I certainly feel like the company that sold the float equipment should be scared.

I had took a break from keeping up with the BP disaster after the kill job was over, so I was still in the previous line of thinking. It was time to live for a change!

Agree, we saw it coming out of drill pipe that was inside of production casing. if anular it had to do some serious u-turning. Or there would have been some big time trouble up hole.

That's one of the main reasons that Chu and the science team were brought in. The outside experts from the DOE national labs may not be oil-field pros, but they know a lot about materials, high-pressure, fluid dynamics, and geology. Think nuclear weapons design and testing.

The current Macondo situation is beyond the experience and expertise of virtually everyone. However, good engineers and scientists can look at, for example, pressure vs. volume charts and tell a lot about the down-hole configuration. The leading candidate for the cause of the blowout changed radically as a result of the static kill process. The press, the lawyers, and the rest of the unwashed are still clinging to centralizers and "cost cutting", but the technical experts have moved on.

Disclosure: I worked at a national lab for a few years, and I continued to interact with national labs people and programs throughout my career. I have tremendous respect for the capabilities there.

Even if the flow path is via the casing and the float shoe you would still have to have cement channeling in that scenario. I'm would guess the float shoe was in the rathole hundreds of feet or so under the reservior, so the flow via the float shoe would have had to traverse a section of cement in order to get to the shoe. Channeling would still be an issue in that process.

Lack of proper circulation, centralization and a poor or even fraudulent process during the negative test still points to BP being negigent if the well flowed from the formation downward to the shoe and back up again.

If this is the case I would expect the company that had the float equipment to be very scared right now.

If this is the case I would expect the company that had the float equipment to be very scared right now.

Schlumberger (and maybe Sperry) could be scared too. I don’t know much about LWD, but I guess it is possible to get a caliper log while doing that. One or both must have run a caliper log even though the well log as displayed does not show it. http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100614/BP-Production.Casing..... The only way Halliburton could have calculated cement volume was to know hole volume. What if there was a large discrepancy between two caliper logs and Halliburton chose the wrong one to use? What if there was only the Schlumberger caliper log and the engineer calibrated it improperly or it had an unrecognized failure down hole? Potentially the top of the cement could be way too deep. I would like to know how many caliper logs were run, were there any discrepancies between them and which one was used to calculate cement volume. It’s a shame that BP did not release even one.

"Even if the flow path is via the casing and the float shoe you would still have to have cement channeling in that scenario. I'm guessing the float shoe was in the rathole hundreds of feet or so under the reservoir, so the flow via the float shoe would have had to traverse a section of cement in order to get to the shoe. Channeling would still be an issue in that process."


The bottom of the 60' sand is at 18,206' which is 98' above the casing shoe.

BP reduced the bit size in this portion of the hole to 8 1/2". The annulus below the reservoir would only be about a 1/2".

After weeks of hearings on this well, one would think someone have asked what is porosity/permeablity of the reservoir.

I have serious doubts that skinny little Phyllis Diller of a sand is capable of flowing 50,000 BOPD thru a 1/2" annulus.

Is it possible the nitrogen exsolving out of the cement effected a frac job that communicated with a reservoir below the Macondo Well TD?


Is it possible the nitrogen exsolving out of the cement effected a frac job that communicated with a reservoir below the Macondo Well TD?

There has been a lot of focus on the bottom 1000’ of hole today. Others have speculated about a reservoir below TD. Your comment is related to what I have been wondering about since taking a second look at the open hole well log provided by BP. That reservoir below TD you speculate on may have been higher than TD and they could have been as much as 25’ into it. I admit that they could have cuttings that prove they drilled nothing but shale the last 25’ to TD and if so then my theory goes out the window. Here are three things I don’t know about:

1. Sperry did the Logging While Drilling (LWD). I don’t know what data they collected, how accurate it was, and the distance between their various sensors and the drill bit.

2. I don’t know the exact tool configuration used by Schlumberger on any of their logging runs. Is there some remote chance the gamma ray (GR) tool was on the bottom of the string?

3. On the well log as presented I don’t know what Compressional DTCP,DTCT is.

There are a lot of questions I have from looking at the log, but I will mention only a few to start:

1. The 2” log shown does not have good resolution. A 5” log from TD to about 18,000’ would have shown more detail.

2. The log as presented does not show the tool picking up off bottom, thus verifying wire line TD.

3. The most important measurement shown is resistivity (R). They would want this sensor as close as possible to TD. It was most likely the lowest sensor on the tool and would be about 6’ above the tool zero point. The zero point would be about 6” from the bottom of the tool. Rounding off, they should be able to get a resistivity measurement within 7’ of TD. On the log R suddenly appears at 18,330’ which is 30’ above TD. That means there is at least 23’ of log missing. That could be as much as 23’ of the theoretical reservoir you wondered about.

4. GR suddenly appears at 18,340’, or 20’ above TD. More importantly it is 10’ below the first R reading. If the GR sensor was above the R sensor that is not possible. Even if the reading was correct it shows the tool coming out of shaley sand or stratified sand/shale layers. That makes me curious what was below it.

5. I have no idea if the log as presented shows raw GR and R. Considering that the log has measurements on it that obviously did not come from the logging tool my guess is that they prepared this log by playing back stored data and adding data from other sources. Anytime you can do that you have the power to make it show anything you want, which includes hiding what you don’t want others to see.

That’s all for now. I have other questions, but this is enough to start.

DTCT is a measure of transit time of an acoustic signal through the target rock, usually given in us/ft. It gives you a relative measure of the degree of consolidation within the formation. You can infer something about porosity from it as well, though I don't know how that's done. The abrupt change at 18230 indicates stronger formation, which continues to the end of the log. At 18250 there's another sand with something resistive in it. Probably another reservoir, but only maybe 8 feet thick.

Edit to add: This is something of a WAG without more data, but the log reading from bottom up to 18250 looks very much like a slow transgressive event. Land subsidence or sea-level rise forcing the shoreline inland. Such deposits can contain fine clays that tend to strengthen the formation.


Good questions!

Regarding the resistivy tool readings, a typical resistivity tool reading is an arc between two sensors. Because of this configuration, the reading is recorded at the mid-point between the two sensors which is considerably above the bottom of the tool. Multiple sensors are stacked in the tool to record a progressly deeper look in to the formation. Close spaced sensors record a shallow look into the formation and wider spaced sensors look deeper in to the formation. In theory, the close spaced sensors record the resistivity of drilling fluids that invade the formation while the wider spaced sensors record virgin formation resistivity. The difference between shallow and deep resistivity readings provides valueable characterization of the permeability of a formation.

Gamma log tools record the radiation directly opposite of the the tool and therefore the first readings are closer to the drill bit.

The open hole logs would have data closer to TD because the bit ect. would not be on the end of the logging tool.


Well, NU, I feel so stupid! I already had your link to the log. It looked just like hundreds of Schlumberger open hole wire line logs I saw 30 years ago. Mainly the grid was like looking back in time when it was common to have a 1" or 2" log and a 5" log for detail. Only the GR and resistivity looked familiar. I understood what the other traces were except for the DTCP/DTCT. I just assumed that since everything is digitized now, they had created a log with those other traces added for some reason. Bad assumption! After finding this Tool Code List (http://www.gomr.boemre.gov/homepg/mmsforms/tool_code.pdf) I finally identified AGR as a Halliburton/Sperry code for a LWD GR sensor. So, I now know that log was run by Sperry going down, not Schlumberger going up. Did I mention stupid?

Ironically there are still some valid conclusions.

1. GR stopped 20' above TD
2. Resistivity stopped 30' above TD
3. That deeper reservoir you spoke about could have been penetrated by as much as 20'.

Schlumberger's logs will get within a few feet of TD. I wonder if they were ever released?

Thanks again,


A couple of factors to consider:

1) They have data from the original production casing cement job. The ability to record precise volumes and pressures at the surface is essential. Prior to this cement job, the exact volume of the production casing was calculated. This casing had a cross-over from 9 7/8" to 7" diameter. When the cement slurry reached this cross-over a characteristic pressure "Bump" would be recorded on the pressure charts. Another characteristic bump would was recorded when the fluid/plugs seated at the bottom of the casing. This is known as "Bumping-The-Plug" which is a reference to the characteristic bump(s) recorded on the surface pressure charts.

2) When the heavy mud was pumped down the hole, these characteric chart bumps should have mimicked the data from the original cement job. The seats at the bottom of the casing may have been eroded away by the flow but a sharp change in pressure should have been registered at the base of the casing.

3) With this data set in hand, the exact volume to place 5,000' of cement from the bottom of the casing plus an extra 200 barrels of cement that exited the casing shoe was known. When the pressure bump caused by the cement hitting the casing shoe was recorded, an additional 200 barrels was pumped and the job was halted.

Obviously, I don't have the data but this seems a likely scenario. If the blow-out passed up thru the casing shoe, there should be three pressure charts that match perfectly.

Logic dictates that the kill fluids used to stop the blow-out followed the same path that the oil and gas used to reach the surface. If the kill fluids followed a path other than thru the casing, significantly different volumes and pressures would be recorded at the surface.

Although it seems unlikely, it is possible the casing hanger seal at the wellhead failed allowing flow up the annulus but remained attached and some how flopped back in to place when the flow was reversed. It's hard to fathom how the casing hanger seal would be intact after be subjected to a flow of 50,000 BOPD and 50 million cuftg/d. Even if this did occur, the pressure data still indicates a shoe failure according to BP.

A casing failure near the bottom of the well would have a similar pressure/volume record as a shoe failure.

Let me be clear, I don't know.....I'm just saying BP knows with near certainty the flow passed up thru the shoe. Rest assured there were a lot of eyes monitoring the kill fluid pressure/volume charts. If it's a conspiriousy, it's a big one.

The difference between a shoe failure and the cement above reservoir failure is huge.


They did that not just with cement but also with base oil and the kill mud. So they had 3 different pressure versus volume graphs for 3 different density fluids.



I'm not the cementing expert you seek, and I have zero experience with anything related to oil wells, but I think my first post on 28 August (and first ever to TOD) addresses some of your concerns. See http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6895/709956

The gist of the post was that the cement, if pumped per plan, was delivered as a sandwich. The bread slices were 16.7 ppg slurry. The meat was 16.7 ppg slurry to which foaming agents and nitrogen gas were added. The bottom slice of bread (7 bbl of unfoamed slurry) was just sufficient to fill the 189-foot shoe track.

My second post (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6895/710103) has other links that relate.



It is normally only used for surface casing, where loss circulation is a problem. There are alternatives for this which to me would have been more suitable, it is call Litecrete. This is a trade and each company will have there own name.

I must admit I have only used foam cement on one job, all the rest have been a form of Litecrete. By the sound of it the DWH's OIM had the same experiences as me, in not using foam cement down hole. It is obviously a Haliburton thing.

While we are on the subject of cement. For peoples information, the foam cement was only meant to be on the outside of casing, the cement left in the shoe was 16PPG standard G grade cement, which should have gone off in the around 8 hours, dependent on how much retarder was put in it. I don't know for sure but I would say the lab result where the cement after 24hrs did not have any compressive strength would most likely refer to the foam cement only. Therefore in my opinion the cement in the shoe should have been hard. To back this up I can not imagine anybody doing a casing pressure test before the samples of at least the tail cement in the company mans office had gone off.

By the sound of it the DWH's OIM had the same experiences as me, in not using foam cement down hole. It is obviously a Haliburton thing.

Then he should have left it to Haliburton and listened on the centralisers. May not have made a difference but he could point and say he followed their plan.

To back this up I can not imagine anybody doing a casing pressure test before the samples of at least the tail cement in the company mans office had gone off.

There seem to be too many things that are hard to imagine with this charlie foxtrot. I would have thought that some strength, at least, would have been required in the foamcrete sample to demonstrate that it was actually going off and they did not have a space full of non-setting mix.


Toolpush, litecrete along with other light weight cements are fine for applications where having a low density is the only need. Where nitrogen foam cement beats out low density cement is when dealing with various flows, whether that be gas flow or shallow water flow, it's a better choice, because it's an energized fluid. Litecrete, and others are not energized so they don't push back while also being low in density at the same time.

Your point about surface sample normally don't fly at this depth, because I have seen surface samples in the air conditioned company mans office take extreme amounts of time before they firmed up at all. The retarders and fluid loss chemicals are designed for BHCT or BHST with BHP, so those surface samples would take forever.

When thinking compressibility issue you need to remember that nitrogen foam cement is an energized fluid it actually pushes back against the formation and casing. I don't know how to quantify the difference between it's expansive properties versus compression due to hydrostatic pressure, maybe someone reading does, but it can expand and push back against possible gas flows and cure losses. Nitrogen foamed cement may actually have had a dual purpose on this job to fight loss returns and to fight gas migration.

Foam cementing is expensive, but it's the best choice when your weakest frac gradient and your highest pore pressure in the same open hole section are almost the same number.

PV = nRT

n is constant
R is a universal gas constant
T varies over a modest range, say 70 deg F (530 R) @ the surface to 240 F (700 R) max @ 18,000 feet

So for a first approximation P is inversely proportional to V. Since the pressure increases from 14.7 psia to something in the range of 12,000 psia, the volume of nitrogen would shrink by a factor of at least 500:1 after allowing for the temperature increase.

If ChuckV is correct that the design called for only 5 barrels of cement left in the shoe track, it still only takes that much shrinkage in the annulus to mean the shoe track has zero cement. Add in the losses out the bottom as shown on the Halliburton design drawing and it could take even less than 5 barrels. Same result. With enough shrinkage, there might even be zero cement between the formation and the shoe and back up the shoe track, though that seems unlikely given the cement fragments on the deck of the work boat (Damon Bankston?) and apparent erosion of the cement channels leading to an increasing flow rate.

How many barrels of lost returns did they have? We might be able to guesstimate how little cement was in the annular space between the formation and the shoe.

The T in PV=nRT is absolute temp, usually measured in degrees Kelvin:
70F = 294K
240F = 389K

Edit: Bruce, I'm curious, what is 530 R?
Edit: Answered my own question, R is Rankine temp scale.
We are encumbered by a polyglot of units here.

For what its worth, the NIST website has a nice calculator for the PVT properties of many substances.


I actually said that, if pumped per Halliburton's 18 April Production Casing Design Report, there'd be 7 bbl in the shoe track (and since 7 bbl is the volume of the shoe track it would be full of the 16.7 ppg cement). The 5 bbl of 16.7 ppg sat atop the foamed cement in the wellbore-to-7" casing annulus (theoretically at least).

Regarding your foamed cement shrinkage suppositions - I found the following exercise interesting. The top of cement (TOC) in the oft-referenced diagram linked below is given as 17,300 ft.


Using the cement volumes in the 18 April report and dimensions from the diagram, I calculated TOC at 17,175 ft. I later learned from Paul Parsons' The Macondo Well, Part 3 that caliper logs were run that indicated that the nominal 8-1/2" bore averaged 9" and that the nominal 9-7/8" bore ran 10" to 11". I recalculated using 9" and 10-1/8" and got TOC at 17,299 ft. That is sufficiently close to 17,300 ft. to suggest something, but I'm not exactly sure what. No shrinkage, perhaps. Or that a couple barrels of junk were in the rathole, so that with 4% shrinkage of the 48 barrels of foamed cement the numbers work out. (If you looked at all the documents that I indirectly linked on my first post to you, you'll have seen that the last of them indicates that 2.5-5% gas by volume downhole provides sufficient compressibility to help prevent gas entry into the cement column.)

It seems to me that even if all the volume gained due to foaming (48 - 39 = 9 bbl) were lost, the net result would just be that TOC was at 17,473 ft instead of 17,300 ft.

What are the "losses out the bottom as shown on the Halliburton design drawing" that you refer to?


I'll try to get the various, potentially conflicting sources together to try to make a second pass on figuring this all out but,

From page 6 of the TransOcean document under Loss of Primary Well Control are some of their issues. To wit,

"Was the volume for the 7" production casing cement job appropriate?

~60 bbls pumped (requested third party caliper logs to determine if adequate)
~16.7 ppg cement in shoe track over 14 ppg mud in open hole beneath the 7" shoe - could fall out into the open hole
~Estimate of 2 bbls nitrogen cement in shoe track - normally would pump all into annulus"

requested third party caliper logs to determine if adequate

Does a link to these logs exist? I have not yet found them. I would like to take a look.


Thanks, Bruce. I have that document.

When you make your second pass I'd be most interested in seeing you address the third bullet ("16.7 ppg cement in shoe track over 14 ppg mud in open hole beneath the 7" shoe - could fall out into the open hole".)

The "open hole" was the rathole I presume, and the "14 ppg mud" was foamed cement. I have to ask: If you lower pressure above the float collar after pumping cement so that annulus pressure can cause 16.7 ppg cement to flow back up the shoe track and through the float collar to close the flapper valves, can the 16.7 ppg cement in the shoe track then "fall into" the rathole?


Also,how much mixing would occur and could that mud form channels. Perhaps Chu's people could look at turbulent flow in that area, it would provide some interesting information on how cement behaves under those conditions and may aid in improving cement jobs.



I don't see any mention of the Open-Hole-Rat-Hole-Below-The-Casing (AKA Dunderpooch) in the Haliburton Opti-Cem reports.

The well bore diagram in the link you provided indicates a 56' Dunderpooch (Hole TD=18,360-Casing TD=18,303.92').

Seems odd that a model this detailed would not include some factor for this hole volume. Hard to say how much, but I would think some of the cement ended up below the casing. This portion of the well was drilled with an 8 1/2" bit. Assuming an average diamenter of 9", this Dunderpooch would hold 4.4 barrels.

Not a big deal either way....Just surprised there isn't some sort of fudge factor calculation for cement in the open hole below the casing.

Many thanks for providing the Opi-cem links-it answered many of my questions.



Your rathole volume of 4.4 bbl is what I used in the calculation of top of cement that I talked about up thread. If you were to do the rest of the calculations I'd hope that you would find, as I did, that the 60 barrels was sufficient to fill the shoe track, the rathole, and the wellbore-to-7" casing annulus to 17,300 +/- 1 ft. It seems to me that Halliburton was well aware of the rathole volume and allowed for it.



You do good work!

I've not yet calculated the elevation of the cement top.

I did however take a stab at the mud weight in the annulus(A) verses the production casing (PC):

At the time of the negative test(s) (A)-14.14 ppg vs (PC)-13.12 ppg

At the time of the sheen test. (A)-13.04 ppg vs (PC)-12.03 ppg

Complete displacement. (A)-12.49 ppg vs (PC)-11.51 ppg

Round numbers and many assumptions. What was planned for the cement job is probably close to what was pumped but who knows. The annulus mud could have picked up some gas cut as it flowed past the reservoir plus the possiblity of some nitrogen contamination.


At the time of the negative test(s) (A)-14.14 ppg vs (PC)-13.12 ppg

At the time of the sheen test. (A)-13.04 ppg vs (PC)-12.03 ppg

Complete displacement. (A)-12.49 ppg vs (PC)-11.51 ppg


On April 20 after the positive test, the mud weight for the well was supposed to be 14.2 ppg. I believe that was the same for both sides of the production casing.

After complete displacement down to 8367' the pressure differential was calculated by BP to be 2350

After complete displacement the production casing would have a fluid weight of around 11.7 ppg. The annulus would end up at something like 12.57 - very close to the 12.6 ppg (balanced). The well blew before complete displacement so the annulus should not have been under-balanced at the point.

During the negative test they were supposed to be testing down to the complete displacement pressure. That was the whole purpose of doing the test. They didn't do that. According to the TransOcean internal investigation the reason the test was botched is because the LCM spacer that they used plugged the kill line.

That seems like a lame excuse, but it now appears that both TO and BP internal investigations have arrived at the conclusion that had the negative test been performed correctly the inflow would have been detected and this whole thing would have never happened.

Just for clarity for those following along here are the links to Gagliano's Opti-Cem design reports with 31 spacers from April 15 http://www.deepwaterinvestigation.com/go/doc/3043/795971/

And here's the revised one with a reduced number of spacers from April 18 http://www.deepwaterinvestigation.com/go/doc/3043/795991/

This is the one ChuckV can refer to about the cement dropping out of the production casing into the rathole.

Note that per Halliburton's cementing program, there is 14.17 ppg mud in the rathole pushed to the outer circumference (the bright green at the very bottom of the drawing). The issue is why wouldn't the cement fall under the influence of gravity under static conditions, allowing the mud to swap places with the cement in the production casing leaving it with little to no cement?

It seems petroleum engineers have never seen a LavaLamp, so they do not believe lighter fluids can migrate upward through denser ones.

As an aside, given that you gentlemen seem to be in agreement that the TOC top of cement is about where it was supposed to be, then the logical conclusion is that when John Wright finally does drill his relief well into the annulus between the open hole and the production casing, he will find cement that has had months, not hours, to cure.

Hope he's been reading a good book while twiddling his thumbs!!! He needs to relax to help him deal with his "obsession". All the work, all the pressure, all the hero worship for a dry hole!

Oil Should Be Around $10 a Barrel: Analyst
Published: Monday, 30 Aug 2010 | 8:07 AM ET
By: Robin Knight

The price of a barrel of oil would be closer to $10 if the commodity wasn't traded as an investment instrument, given the record-high levels of U.S. oil inventories, Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover, told CNBC Monday.

"I honestly think that if there were no investors using oil as an asset that the price of oil right now would be $10 or $15 or $18, but it wouldn't be anywhere near where it is," Beutel said.

"We have so much oil right now, more than we've had in 27 years. Why is it 27 years? Because that's how far our records go back. It's probably the most in 50 or 100 years," he added.

Is that BOP Cameron or a different one?

One gets the impression that he simply chose the names because they sound really solid. It looks mostly like a one guy operation that sells investing reports. Maybe has a secretary, but no evidence of much more.

Just like diamonds. Of course not too much oil affordable to drill for at that price.

From BP operational updates

Due to high sea states, operations to remove the capping stack and replacement of the Deep Water Horizon BOP with the DDII BOP is on hold. Operations will commence as soon as sea states reach acceptable levels.

I can see that having everything bobbing up and down on the surface could make it more challenging to effect a smooth latching and stack removal.

The Admiral is holding a teleconference briefing later this am, 12 noon CDT.

Do you have the link to the teleconference?

The teleconference audio will be on CSPAN .... http://cspan.org/ (the little green microphone link below the spill article will be "live" when the briefing begins.)

and, since MSM interest has been dwindling, recently both Allen and Wells have been accepting calls and questions from private citizens.

WHAT: Teleconference to provide Operational Update on Ongoing Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill Response

WHEN: Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 12:00 CDT. The call in number is (866) 304-5784 for domestic callers, and (706) 643-1612 for international callers. Conference ID # is 97883572

Thank you. Couldn't seem to find a ref. with Google search.

and, if you miss it, an hour or two later, a link to the audio is typically posted at USCG audio and to the transcript at transcripts.

If the current situation is bad in terms of wave action, we're in for a long week. The marine forecast indicates things won't be changing until Friday.

Since when is 3 - 5' too much for a rig? Help us out here, experts ...

... until then, I'm tempted to call BS.

Maybe I can't read charts correctly. 6 ft waves when they splashed capping stack?

Allen just said 6-8' waves on the presser ...

Allen held his teleconference from on board DDIII, which is responsible for RW1.

He said that waves at the site have been running 6-8 feet, which is not too high for many rig operations but exceed a safety factor for having heavy weights hanging from a mile of drill or riser pipe.

They are concerned about two types of movement:
1. the up and down of the pipe and its cargo as the rig moves with the wave action
2. the pendulum action of a heavy weight at the end a long string. He added that a heavy load is not a problem once it has been raised above 2,000' below the surface.

Current weather forecasts indicate that it may be 2-3 days before they are able to begin the removal of the stack and the replacement of the BOP. They will begin as soon as the weather allows.

Does anyone remember how much that BOP weighs? 400+ tons? I can't remember.

360 tons.

snake: Thanks. A pretty fair sized pick, way down there.

The Admiral: "But if you've ever seen a blowout preventer, they are huge. They're, you know, 50 feet tall and they weigh about a million pounds."

"Was that responsive?" LOL


Also, can any of you oil field hands tell me what size wire rope they are using on the draw works/crown/traveling block assembly on that rig?

Can't swear to the DWH, but 5th generation drilling rig for 10000ft of water typically have 2" EEIPS Dyform wire running 14 to 16 falls. As the DWH had compensating draw works, the wire would have been doing heavy duty work.

Q4000 Main [BOP] Crane?
"3.6 in. (92 mm) diameter non-rotating wire rope"
"Main Crane: 396.8 ton Huisman-Itrec"
"242.5 tons (220 MT) rated traction winch in crane base, acts as the main hoist wire with 12,500 ft
(3,810 m) of 3.6 in. (92 mm) diameter non-rotating wire rope."


~No longer an oilfield hand, since a very long time ago.

360 metric tons = 396.832072 short tons

Derrick is rated at 600 metric tons and has splittable block. Cannot find wire size but combining two 2" wire ropes (as Toolpush mentioned) at 300 m.t. each seems about it. I believe they're going to at least initially lift the BOP with drill pipe, which they'll need to connect up with a hydraulic actuated connector.

Sorry about that. But I'll leave the above as FYI.

About cstars.miami.edu I made an inquiry, and will share the response here when it comes in:

Dear Marie G-D.,

Thank you for taking the time today to talk with me about cstars and its role in presenting radar satellite images to the public on the Deep Water Horizon event.

I am putting together a freelance article for a local publication, Sacramento News and Review, and I was interested why cstars has stopped publishing images online since 18 Aug 2010.

I have found that NOAA/NESDIS is no longer using radar satellite images to track surface oil in the GOM, and I was wondering if their decision is effecting your research:


As I mentioned in our conversation, it would be helpful for my article if there was an official explanation placed on your site.

Thanks again,

And the initial reply:

Dear Hex,

thank you for your email. I will get back to you as soon as possible with the answers to your questions.

Kind regards,


Media Relations Officer/Science Writer

University Communications

University of Miami

If this has been posted, my bad.

BP will not use well responsible for oil spill, says incoming CEO
HOOVER, Ala. — BP PLC does not plan to use the well responsible for the worst oil spill in U.S. history -- or the underground reservoir of crude it tapped -- for future drilling, the company’s incoming CEO said.


I think I figured out shortly after 4/20 that Macondo 252 and the 2 RW's would never be used for production. I always thought that BP would still develop the field from a new well in a couple of years. Is this some sign of BP's commitment to start moving out of the country? That their cost of operations and the negative press is no longer worth it? Did marketing put the keebash on operations?

Edit: If this is a tactic, it is a brilliant one. How does BP get us to beg them to stay and even develop that field? By pulling out abruptly and running a 'poor me' campaign. We would probably beg them to come back and start producing again. It might work. It might be the best option BP has.

His comment as reported by the Daily Comet and others "there are no plans to develop that Macondo structure field,” Dudley said."

That does not say that BP - or some other company - will never develop that field. And, as ROCKMAN has posted numerous times, regulations require that the Macondo well itself must be permanently plugged and abandoned.

So no plans to develop the 'Macondo field structure' means BP can tap into a 'new structure' with a 'new well' and then develop the 'underground reservoir of crude'? Looks like the Birmingham News jumped in the wrong direction. I will correct them. Let me know if I should before I contact them later.

It means that they have no plans to develop the field at this time. He did not say that they will never have plans to develop it. (He did not add the "at this time"... but he also did not say "never".) I've seen the same quote in several places.

That is a different situation. I guess what I am asking is if the next well could have a different name and not just a new number.

Sorry, I have no idea what field & well naming conventions are... I was pointing out that Dudley really didn't say anything of significance.

I am sure this one will get picked up by the 'experts'. I recall seeing maps where the names are like ranges and the numbers are like townships. The numbers after the dashes are the lots.

TFHG - Wells offshore have have two types of designations: the OCS lease number (a block may have more than one lease number...they are time dependent) along with a well number. Each well drilled will also have a unique API number.

Field names are made up by the companies however they choose. They have no special regulatory meaning. BP or any other company could develop the blow out reservoir and call it TFHG Field if they want. The OCS lease number wouldn't change. FYI: portions of this reservoir extend off the BP lease on to leases owned by different operators who could develop the reservoir if it makes economic sense. Both of these companies tried to negotiate themselves into the BP well but were rejected by BP...lucky them.

A small stream of bubbles continues to come out of the capping stack.

A long "belch" can be seen here.


I'm betting it's hydrates stuck in the BOP until there's more evidence.

Undoubtedly. Hydrates always turn into oil when they defrost.


Now it's getting comical. An unlisted ROV showed up to investigate.


It's a hydrocarbon leak. It has leaked since they opened the capping stack up. Was leaking, is leaking, will keep leaking.

Hi Heading Out, are you in the US because we in England can go days without info if Thad Allen's news briefing has not gone ahead.

So nothing at weekends.

Thanks for your news on bad weather, please keep posting when you have time.

Do you think the BOP is going to move up with the rams holding the drill pipe in place (Better for analysis on the surface)?

Hi Heading Out,


bookmark image

NYT -- With Neighbors Unaware, Toxic Spill At A BP Plant

Michael Stravato for The New York TimesKhristina Kelley, who lives a half-mile from BPs refinery there, said her entire family, and many of their neighbors, became sick after the refinery released huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the air. By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.Published: August 29, 2010TEXAS CITY, Tex. While the world was focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP refinery here released huge ...
path: Public ~> Energy
originally posted: 2010-08-30 10:23:16

For someone who has channeled Alexander Haig at every possible turn lately, I was surprised to hear Admiral Allen say that he wasn't aware of any equipment malfunctions when he was questioned about the dropped DP and the valve handle break-off. He also said (I think, going on scribbly notes here) that he wasn't aware of any fluids escaping from the top of the capping stack.

Trip Hannah asked him about hydrocarbons coming out of the main bore of the stack. NIC obviously wasn't told. Maybe it's Need to Know. Why bother him with tiny bubbles?

Tiny bubbles
Make me happy
Make me feel fine

So here’s to the silver sea
And mostly here’s a toast
To Thud and BP

Long article about cynicism and BP cashing out their US upstream assets

Still remains interesting watching the "hose clearing" ops video as to the amount of oil globules released when the thrusters kick up silt in a lot of areas. Seems (at least to me in a SWAG), that when they were doing "bottom monitoring" some time ago; the operators would use a thruster to stir the sediment up, release what were plainly oil droplets from the subsurface, let it settle then repeat the process to see how fast the oil was accumulating.

Seems in the same category as doing major ops when the least amount of people are watching, only in this case they're thinking "nah, they'll never figure out what we're really doing..."

About those bubbles... From BP's press office (not a direct quote)

They are hydrates. There are methanol soaks going on inside the BOP.

That's why they have parked an Rov watching them for the last 12 hours.

Must be one heck of a lot hydrates, it has been leaking since they opened the well.

The unsteadiness of the flow -- the "burps" -- suggest to me that the system is being flushed out. If there was a leak down-hole, through 5,000 ft of cement, I would expect there to be a steady flow.

There is no flushing going on, all the flush hoses have been removed.

There is a steady flow with burps.

I believe a post-er at the top said a hose was detached, then reattached. But there was some debate about whether that hose was a flush hose or not. Without being in the control room, though, how can we really know whether there's "flushing" going on?

For the moment, I'd say that the bubbles are consistent with a slow cleaning of the BOP.

Cleaning it slowly? There was a week of high pressure cleaning, flushing, methanol, antifreeze and purple Drano. There are no lines attached to flush anything. Catwoman was busted for trying to hose us, pun intended. No green antifreeze coming out of the stack. It's oil and gas. Bouyant.


Of course it's getting messy down there, strong current N -> S today, with plenty of snow and thruster silt blowing around. Hard to see anything clearly now.


Pretty darn dramatic. 30 seconds ago.


"Also, can any of you oil field hands tell me what size wire rope they are using on the draw works/crown/traveling block assembly on that rig?"

Years ( about 55 of them)ago I saw 620,000 lbs registered on a Weight Indicator when I reciprocated a 14000' string of 9 5/8 53.5 lb casing. We had 12 1 3/8" lines strung.( Steam rig by theway) The Company I worked for had a larger rig that used an 1.5 diameter line block, crown and draw works for that size line. Don't know what that rating for that size line was.

Both rigs had 1.5 million lb rated Parkersburg standard derricks.

On the "Blocks" subject.

Winslow stated in his testimony that he witnessed the blocks drop just before he boarded the lifeboat. He added that although he saw the blocks hit the drill floor, the noise level of the blow-out completely masked the sound of the blocks (100's of tons) hitting the drill floor.

I assume the heat of the fire compromised the drilling line.


Could one of the pro's explain why BP modified the lower VBR into a test ram?

I read somewhere it allowed to isolate the well bore from above. Couldn't they do that with the annulars?

It was Transocean who modified the lower VBR, although allegedly with BP's knowledge and tacit approval.

The purpose was to minimize the time needed to test the upper rams. I'm assuming because you would not have to run a test plug but it's been many a year since I tested BOP's so not 100% sure on that.


I realize Transocean would have done the work, but who benified? The drilling company is paid by day rate, if it takes a week to test the BOPs then the drilling contractor gets paid 7 days pay, and does not have to wear out there rig, easy money.

BP were the ones that gained the advantage by having the test rams installed, and therefore I would say they were the ones happy to suggest and pay for the modification. The DWH has worked for BP for the 10 years it has been out of the shipyard. There would be no reason for Transocean to spend one dollar of there own money for modifications for a rig time saving job.

You are correct the test rams allow you to test the BOP with out running the test plug. Petrobras had a unwritten policy that only tested BOPs at every casing point. Which left the drilling contractor writing exemption notes if the hole section took longer than expected. I suppose the MMS would not let them get away with that, so BP / Transocean had to come up with a differant plan.

I agree. I just remember some testimony, although I didn't go back and look it up, where TO said they had modified them and now matched up with the rest of their fleet. I could be wrong, most likely am because logically, it's just as you say.

Irregardless, except for the matter of wasting time trying to activate them or not having a second set as a backup (or was it a third backup???, again too lazy to go look up the details), this was a red herring chased by the board. By the time they would have tried to have been activated, the controls were gone.

deleted, Duplicate

My recollection is that the mod was per BP direction, that TO (owner of the BOP) required BP to sign an agreement that BP would pay for demodifying it if future regulatory changes required doing so.

The change benefitted BP by reducing the test times, TO could care less since they get paid by the hour, as I understand it.

NYT, editorializing about Ken Feinberg's chore, notes the "legal and political ambulance chasers" piling on now as they did when he handled the 9/11 claims.

... After 9/11 Mr. Feinberg wrote checks totaling $7 billion to 5,300 families and injured individuals. Only 94 potential claimants went to court. Given his reputation, experience, and the amount of money on the table, it is clearly in the interests of every victim of this spill to give this program a careful, unemotional look. We probably cannot expect the lawyers to act responsibly. We do expect better of the politicians.

Dear editors: Your last sentence is a prescription for disappointment. Cheers, your friend lotus.

Tom Fowler of the Chronicle did a couple of interesting pieces on the legal angle:

The case that could let the DOJ go after BP officials in the spill

The man behind BP engineers taking the Fifth

"I've tried DWIs, capital murder, Enron cases," Houston crim-def star Dan Cogdell says, "and there's no such correlation in any of those cases to what can happen under environmental cases."

"Executives I've dealt with tend to think criminal investigations are sort of an orchestrated and predictable affair," Cogdell said. "But this isn't going to be a ballet. It's going to be a bar fight. You won't know where the punches are coming from and who's throwing them."

Thad Allen's physique wouldn't look good in horizontal stripes. Plus, he was the hero of the USCG rescues during Katrina.

Now Steven Chu is a different matter. Serve him right! And he is repeatedly on the record as making the decisions to stop or go.

A little game of Red Light, Green Light anyone?

BP reverses, admits there's oil in local waters (VIDEOS)
PENSACOLA -- Despite persistent denials from BP last week, thousands of pounds of weathered oil is being pulled from under the surface of Pensacola Bay every day...
...During more than a dozen interviews last week, BP officials and spokespeople for a number of government agencies working on the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill response denied knowledge of oil in the bay...
...Keith Wilkins, Escambia County's point person on environmental issues, said last week he believes a breakdown in communications in the heavily bureaucratic BP cleanup organization led to the denials about the submerged oil. Officials from a number of government agencies rotate in and out every two weeks.
"We just don't want them to leave any stone unturned," Wilkins said about the submerged oil investigation. "We all need to keep our eyes open, and if oil is found, we don't want BP to get out of here until it's all cleaned up."
Wilkins said the oil isn't going to go away quickly.
"People feel like we were nearing the hump and nearing the close of this," he said. "But we're in the middle of this, ecologically. We'll see the residual effects for some time."
He's hopeful BP, the Incident Command and every scientist involved in the oil spill response remains open-minded and not dismiss reports that oil remains in the water.
"A lot of people speak in absolutes," he said. "I think they're wrong. There are no absolutes here. They're constantly being surprised by what they're finding and they're being surprised by what they're not finding."

Self-contradiction du jour:

There are no absolutes here.

That is so bizarre to just now admit it, when they have had workers at Ft. Pickens and alot more at NAS chest deep in water pulling out tar mats from the sediment.

TFHG, wonder how much they could find in the muck in Tampa Bay, or Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel if searched and dug. And btw not Auburn class of`63, starting 1`st grade at that particular point in time, class of `75 in a lil` ol rural school in N FL. Class of something else in OK in `81 where I was told I had no class.

I asked over a month ago. Good memory. I can't remember yesterday's breakfast.


Sorry, and once again, I do not want to derail this thread but had an update from saturday morning's discussion regarding the infinite.

Laying on my back looking to the heavens, no doubt appearing to the avergae Joe simply an average nephologist, I have contemplated my eristic. By the way, speaking of 'ologists', if a significant other of the female type asks you if her horse riding britches make her riding cushion (ahem) look too big... DO NOT say, what? Do I look like a hippologist to you? Just saying...

Regarding the infinite and the prior work of Cantor, Godel, et al - the infinite seems limitless but only for the sake of argument. As I tried to collect my thoughts which were randomly scattered about, it has become apparent to me my mind simply isn't profound enough to fully comprehend the infinite or the eternal.

My friends (fiends?) would perhaps suggest as my brainpower expands and knowledge increases to consider a paradox there seems to be a thermal expansion cooling my thought processes. In other words, in my case, there seems to be an inverse relationship betweeen the number of brain cells used and the quantity of useful production I, of course, disagree. Be right back... I have to go collect my thoughts again.

Whew, I wuz gone a few there once agin thankin about this infinite stuff. Heady stuff. While it may require maximum craniul capacity to wander and wonder threw unproveable theories and philospohical arguments there iz no evidence it herts anythin. I sea no effect or affect or whatever. I suspect my brane neurons simply multi-task faster an quicker which tho I spose could lead to bad gramma. Even now as I begin to compair de limitless infinite with the mystical eternal first cause I wonder, iz anything eternal and if'n so, how did it git their.

If enurgy iz eternal an matter is simply energy in a different form, why couldn't an eternal energy or "creator" be the first cause ov de universe we enjoy? Certunly, trying to grasp dis cain't hurt nuttin since evereeone seams to be doin it. So dat said, I conclood my ramblins and gonna use da rest ov my branesells fer da gud of huemanity, colerfull az it is. Mebbe, I shuld run fer Prezdint ov Mizzippi dis here fall eleckshun psychle.

Thankz agin fer da hep, an voat fer me,
RSG - fewtcher Prezdint ov Mizzippi

** editid fer clairidy n speelin

What's the goin' rate for virtual write-in voats dese days, RSG? Mebbe we kin work us a deal . . .

What's the goin' rate for virtual write-in voats dese days, RSG? Mebbe we kin work us a deal . . .

Well, ah, Lotus. I uhruh, am a man what gots a lot of integrals. It wouldn't do to except a bribe per say, however, mebbe we could do us a (add italians)squid for pro(unadd italians) kind of deel?

You voats fer me first and I give you an IOU and a promise ta voat fer you laiter on. We kin celebrait our perspectiv vikteries over sum ov dat deelishus Blue Bonnit Ice Creem... sum kind of Blu Ice Creem... I knowed it sed Blu in der sumwheres. Anyhow, deal?

Thankz fer yer 'sport, Prez

Screw dem integrals, RSG, speak to me uv inteGER$.

speak to me uv inteGER$.

I rekkin ya mean like in real dollers. In interest of full disclosure over open discusshun wheres everyone kin see I caint fully disclose what I'd like to fully disclose since fully disclosing might fully disclose a periceivd attempt at givn bribes. We is also xperiencin riduced revenoos an like da Caleefornicators is givn temperairy IOU's gairunteed by de good faith ov da paper we be printin az we speek.

Kin ah gits bak to ya on dis? I gotta go ketch supper. Yer esteamed admirerer. Prez

I'm in!

"Just gimme dat wine, gimme dat wine; I cain't cut luce widout ma joose." [Clink]

Yu ain't no revenoor iz ya? If not, we's got us up a batch cookin rat now. In fact, lookin like we be runnin low on dem mason jarz. Momma dun run to da sto fer sum mo but I dun tol her, ain't nun there... but she's a she-ccon. Cain't tellem nuttin. Gotsda run an ketch supper. Am thankin, possum, collards, an some boilt okry.

Chow- (Italics for see ya) Prez.

tanks gawd ah ain't so fur-gone wid dem katracks ah cain't reed me dis dee-scushn. Figgur I mauwt stop lafin an' katerwalin' bout midnight or so.

Lawsy me, chil'.....

Dayum, ahm terbly sited ta finely come up on a Earl Drum thured war foks ain't speakin in wannadem furn ax ants, er wurse in Yankee talk. How y'all? Ahm passble.

Dawg-bone, ob, they finely switch inta our muthah tongue (Middle Hick), an' the nex' news is mah consarned ISP commences goofin' an' I miss everthang -- faw!

(Moughta kep RSG outta Parchman an' me outta Whitfield tho, so we got thet goin' fer us.)

I told him he should stop thinking about it! Now look what's happened.

Ok, we'll call it a draw.

I'm all better now. I watched Python's 'In Search of the Holy Grail'. Ahhhhh, nothing like normal. Swifty, I'll take your warning more seriously if I even get close to a next time. Thanks :)

BP Said to Fault Own Engineers for Misinterpreting Well Data

BP Plc’s internal investigation of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster pins some of the blame on the company for mistakes made when finishing the oil well, including misreading pressure data that indicated a blowout was imminent, according to a person familiar with the report.

BP managers aboard the Transocean Ltd.-owned rig misinterpreted a test of the Macondo well’s stability on April 20, deciding the test confirmed the well was in good shape, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report’s findings haven’t been publicly released...

More at the above link to the Bloomberg article. Interesting that it seems to come BP's own investigators.

London investigated Houston and Houma. Probably needed a Cajun translator.

Now the hanging game begins.

Translation in mixed metaphor: BP throws its own under the bus, then eats them.

Shallow Water Moratorium news...

BOEM has approved 4th NTL-06 permit. The last approval was 1 1/2 weeks ago.

Here is a Bloomberg interview (VIDEO) of Jim Noe, SVP/General Counsel of Hercules discussing permit approval problems for shallow water drilling (8/24):

I have a new game. Remember 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. The book where almost any actor in Hollywood has a connection to Kevin Bacon. Well now it would appear I need to start writing six degrees to an oil spill lawsuit. Read on.

Panhandle Firm Sues Gulf Oil Well Fluids Company
Pensacola, Florida - The Panhandle's largest private landowner on Thursday sued a Houston-based company responsible for the drilling fluids including mud that should have controlled the pressure in the well and prevented the blowout of BP's failed Gulf of Mexico oil well.
Real estate developer St. Joe Co. is seeking unspecified damages against M-I SWACO for a decline in the value of its 577,000 Panhandle acres and in its developments. At its worst point during the massive Gulf oil spill, the company said it lost about $1.4 billion in stock value.
The company's stock closed at $24.13 a share on Thursday. It had reached a six-month high of $37.44 on April 29 before the spill began to reach the coast.


Before this is over, I will release '4 degrees of Macondo 252'. It will be an international release in translated to 40 languages.

Edit: I thought 'lack' of mud was part of the problem. Maybe they should sue God for making water 'too low in specific gravity'.

Sounds like a lack of cause but we would need Syncro's input on that. Bit like suing GM because Billy wrecked and killed someone while drunk.


Edited oops


You can probably recover for dimunition of property value resulting from an oil spill caused by a defective product under whatever jurisdiction they are suing in. However, as you note, they will have to prove a causal connection between the spill the the loss of property value. That will come down to expert witnesses and evidence of values changing and why. It's not an easy sell. They will need some pretty compelling evidence to carry the burden of persuasion on that, would be my guess.

Since they own 577,000 acres, if they can recover $10 an acre loss of value, that's over $5 million. $100 and it's 50 million. I'm not saying that is what the measure of damages will look like, but owning that much property definitely makes them somewhat of a fearsome plaintiff if their claims have any merit at all.

Bottom line. It sounds like they are hurting for cash with the economic downturn and drop in property values. I am sure the spill did not help their situation. They also need to pay that fuel bill for the airliner deal (damages that would be easier to prove).

It sounds dubious the way they are going about it. Their strategy in picking off second-tier defendants in separate products liability actions is strange. It may be a scheme to maximize settlement value of the cases. Not enough info to know what is going on, though.

Thanks for the input. I can see the mud company saying that the mud was holding the well in fine until it was removed and, as it was not there, it was not to blame. I strain to see how fault can apply to a product, rather than the operator, if it is being removed so as to deliberately and knowingly leave insufficient to do the job. I wonder if the company will sue the people who made the paper for the court documents if they lose and get a large costs award against them


NAOM, Actually, in reading the article, it looks like they are negligence based claims and not product defect claims against SWACO:

"M-I SWACO deliberately chose to implement and execute a drilling fluid program on the Deepwater Horizon it knew was grossly negligent, unsafe and inherently flawed,"

Maybe they are submitting a separate claim against BP under the $20 billion fund.

Maybe they know something we don't, but suing just SWACO and Haliburton seems pretty lame. They're shaking the trees for money because they're hurting due to the economy and collapse of housing market is my guess. But who knows, their claims could be totally legit.

p.s. the claim for fuel payments could have merit, but i agree with your comments that these seem awfully weak.

DS9 Daily News. Quark hires Enterprise to ship Ferengi lawyers to Earth. "I could smell profit from the other side of the galaxy" says Quark.

Hey, I've suspected we live in a Ferengi colony for decades now.
You've gotta have a hook, a scam, an angle to work, if you want P R O F I T S and all the benefits thereto pertaining.

This gave me a good lol, thanks!

St Joe Company also filed suit against Halliburton a month or so ago. “We believe that Halliburton was grossly negligent and bears full responsibility for this tragic accident," William A. Brewer III, lead counsel for St. Joe, said in a statement.

I am a little sad tonight too. A former Gulf Shores Hooter's girl I know was killed in a car accident last night. Rain and hydroplaning was the probable cause, no alcohol or speeding was noted. RIP.

Sorry to hear that mate.


17-year-olds at Hooters?

As a hostess. To wear the 'uniform' you have to be 18. 16 for hostess, 21 for bar. 18 for the kitchen.

That's just a terrible shame. From the article, it appears she did nothing to cause the accident. A car crossing the highway smacked her left rear wheel and sent her car into oncoming traffic, where an SUV hit her. The three folks in the SUV were hospitalized. The guy who struck her initially was unhurt.

May she rest in peace.

TFHG, very sorry to hear the sad news. 17, that's tough. Her poor parents.

Damn. That is just awful. Sincere sympathy from over here. Some things are so unjust.

Hate to be a broken record... but is anyone watching Olympic Challenger 31 at 1 AM EDT or midnight CDT? The usual havoc with flying hydrates (?), lots of turbulence, and what appears to be a large oil flow (just a digital artifact?). OC31 is at 40 ft spraying something downwards.

Sorry, the 40ft above seabed is wrong. To fuzzy to read the numbers.

If you put "Monitoring Rubblex" on the screen, are the Joe Blow's of the world going to be confused and not notice the steady stream of "bubbles"? They're a crafty bunch, those ROV guys. :)

Visibility zilch. Can't read the depth. No clue.

Seems like he's pretty close to the sea floor; if I'm not mistaken, that's his shadow there towards the top of the screen.

Capt. Sassy, I think the shadow is of the canister and hose connected to the bottom and coming up to the spray nozzle. You wouldn't have believed what this area looked like two hours ago. Whatever they're spraying sure seems to get rid of hydrates, etc. Methanol? Corexit? And turbulence??? This is indeed a mystery.

Looks like they are spraying black paint to hide the hydrates. Just like the Russians used to spray paint the dead brown grass green in advance of a visit from foreign dignitaries.

Or it's a camera effect.


Hos Achiever Maxx2 is shooting a yellow lazer beam out into the gloom!!


After one "constructive criticism" and two sarcastic posts, I don't think we need David E. Brown to interpret your mood tonight, Mr. Chair. :)

Dear NIC Admiral Allen,

Forget the bubbles. You have flowing gas in the stack.

The thing to do is talk directly to John Wright. Forget chain of command and the Federal Scientific Committee. Forget BP. Order Transocean to connect its 21" Vetco riser to the top of the stack and take whatever the well produces while Wright kills it from the bottom.


Alan von Altendorf

Obviously fart from cretins, move along.

Yes, fart jokes too obvious.

Heads up.

Second Newspaper Chain Joins Copyright Trolling Operation

Righthaven LLC has struck a deal with Arkansas-based WEHCO Media to expand its copyright litigation campaign, in which bloggers and aggregators across the country are being sued on allegations of infringement.

Until now, Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson’s sole announced client had been Nevada-based Stephens Media. Righthaven has issued more than 100 lawsuits since its spring inception on behalf of the Las Vegas Review Journal — Stephens’ flagship.

For its part, WEHCO controls 28 papers, including the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, and 13 cable stations largely in the south.

Isn't Mehco too big to fail or be hurt by the small people referring or linking to it's infotainment?
I'm certain their litigations will result in massive income streams more than equal to the legal costs and they will be made whole again.

This is just another way for increasinly irrelevant media outlets to commit ritual suicide and is similar to the music industry's fight to keep songs off youtube & etc. The clips provide free advertising for the bands and record labels. Most bloggers provide links and/or citations for their quoted content.

If they have those new-fangled computer thingees at Mehco headquarters, they could log onto the series of tubes using their AOL dial-up and read about the Fair Use doctrine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

This is a typical myopic knee-jerk corporate response to a perceived threat that is actually a beneficial symbiotic relationship. The AP tried this too.

Look for more of this kind of thing as the depression-recession deepens and companies cast about for innovative ways to steal money. Theft by lawyer will be easier than actually producing a vibrant, popular, salable product. Also, bloggers and internet jornolists aren't stupid (for the most part); they will keep producing content and Mehco won't get the traffic redirects. [See also: Pay walls and how fabulously successful that idea has been. Walling off content is usually just walling yourself up inside our own tomb by another name.]

Good for EFF.

I've also noticed a few articles about lawsuits against posters of copyrighted material and I've wondered how far it would be taken. The law seems to say that merely copying material without permission is grounds for suit. However, most posts I see include link to publication. On a practical note, that is free advertising and would encourage someone to read a publication that they would never had read otherwise.

IMHO, they are shooting themselves in the foot. Even material missing source link is usually found easily with a google search. I would encourage changing copyright laws to force publications to use due diligence to prevent copyright infringement. Posting articles in a freely accessible manner encourages copyright trolling.

Thanks for the comment.

Publishers say advertising revenue is inadequate to support ongoing cellulose operations

Prepared for battle against hordes of info-hungry webGoths
Secret ops at hidden base in Ouachita Mountains captured by $29 cell phone

All rights reserved. Do not distribute without written permission.

Snakehead beat me to the EFF link.

Degraded oil in Mississippi Sound tests positive for dispersants, says lawyer

Marco Kaltofen, part of the group of scientists who found the oil in Mississippi Sound, said it was impossible to determine when the dispersant had been applied to the oil. Results from the tests, which were conducted in a Colorado laboratory, indicated the oil was from the Deepwater Horizon well, he said.

“I consider this to be very interesting scientifically, as few samples detect dispersant, much less three of their major ingredients in the same sample,” said Kaltofen.

First stuff we've seen looking anything like that, snakehead.

Very distinctive, no? Ben Raines says he "encountered a similar material — strangely textured oil with a pronounced sheen — in Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound several times in July and early August" (without pix, though).

Thank you for the link, snake. In addition to your quote :

>>>Smith, the lawyer who funded Kaltofen’s sampling expedition, discounted the notion that dispersants had not been used near shore.

“I personally saw C-130s applying dispersants from my hotel room in the Florida Panhandle. They were spraying directly adjacent to the beach right at dusk,” said Smith. “Fishermen I’ve talked to say they’ve been sprayed. This idea they are not using this stuff near the coast is nonsense.”<<<

From BP´s cleaning effort "Making this right" : "Where the oil is we will hunt it down".


I would like to know, what the three dispersant ingredients are. Any source to that ?

Yeesh, good luck with Earl, everybody on the Outer Banks and north of there!


I mentioned the "salary problem" of the trapped miners a few days ago.
Now it is obvious :


"As Chilean government rescuers prepare to start the monthslong task of digging out 33 miners trapped half a mile below ground, questions are emerging about whether the men will be paid during their ordeal.

The firm that ran the mine, Cia. Minera San Esteban Primera, has said it may have to declare bankruptcy, because of the shutdown of the mine and the flurry of government investigations and civil actions it is facing. The local mining union has asked the government to step in and meet the San José payroll starting in September. But on Monday, government officials said that, while they are keen to assist the miners, the government isn't legally permitted to pay their salaries."

Hi, Lady.

(1) Seems to me that any Chilean or multinational company stepping up to fill the gap would gain permanent good-will worth many times over whatever donating those 33 salaries might come to.

(2) A story I saw somewhere a couple of days ago said "attempts to reach San Esteban officials were unsuccessful" (or wording close to that). The creeps may have already flown-by-night.

I know BP and Allen are being forced to let this happen but shouldn't they have gotten a permit or a waiver to release oil like this?