BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Waiting, Berm Update, and Tropical Storm Hermine - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6932.

There is not much new to report, except that Tropical Storm Hermine has hit northern Mexico, so I will re-run yesterday's post.

The BOP has been brought to the surface and is being examined as forensic evidence at a NASA facility in Louisiana.

The next step two steps are

  1. Controlling the well at the source through the intersecting relief well, and
  2. Putting the well into reserve status through a "plugging and abandonment" procedure, under the oversight of the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

This was the discussion of the timeline from Saturday's press conference. The relief well is to be started some time this week, at a time that has not yet been determined.

Question: When do you think drilling will resume on the relief well and do you have any concerns about the thunderstorms kicking up in the far southwest part of the Gulf?

Thad Allen: Well we're continuing to watch those thunderstorms. And I might add I just got a note that the capping stack is safely secured above on the Discoverer Enterprise. In response to your question, we need to reinstall the riser pipe to the Blow Out Preventer and at that point there are some diagnostics that will be attempted to further understand the condition of the well.

At that point BP will present a way forward. It will be renewed [reviewed?] by the science team in conjunction with the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management. And we will make a decision on the next couple of steps.

We will be in a position as we go into the next week to begin the relief well. But we will make sure that any steps that are necessary before that will be taken and coordinated with BOEM. So, we're in a period here where we're kind of moving with two coordinating structures and making sure we both understand what's going on moving forward.

But we should be ready to move forward with the relief well again sometime this next week. What I would hope once we get the BOP on deck finish the riser installation. We will give you a firm timeline. But I'd like to hold off right now until we get all that information completed.

Berm Progress

You may remember the plans for sand berms off the coast of Louisiana to protect against spilt oil. We noticed this article yesterday, discussing their limited progress to date.

As Jindal attempts to get permits to expand the project — plus more funding to transform the sandy sections, called berms, into longer-term barrier islands — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is collecting comments from environmentalists and federal agencies. Many of them questioned the idea when it was first proposed and continue to challenge the project even as it is well under way.

So far, the state has spent about a third of the money reserved for the project and has built about one-tenth of the berms, according to records from state and federal agencies. The state Department of Natural Resources reports that it has written slightly more than $120 million in checks as of Sept. 2 from the $360 million that oil giant BP set aside for the berms.

About 3.6 miles of berms have been built, leaving about 31 more miles to be done under the current permit, according to the Aug. 30 daily report to the corps by contractor Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure Group, which received the contract to manage the project and construct the berms.

So it sounds like the controversial project is barely started, now weeks after the oil has been contained, and way over budget.

Tropical Storm Hermine

Chuck Watson (on our staff) reports:

Tropical Storm Hermine has formed in the Bay of Campeche, and will be quickly moving north towards the Texas/Mexico border. Latest data shows tracks shifting to the north, so a landfall between Corpus Christi and Brownsville seems likely. It is probably not going to reach hurricane strength before landfall, but in today's cautious environment will undoubtably force a few evacuations and shutdowns. These are unlikely to exceed 15% of US Gulf of Mexico production, and will not persist much past the end of the week. The waves and winds are well within the design specifications for offshore assets, so no significant longer term damage or disruption is expected.

Quantum asked why a large area of federal waters in the Gulf is still closed to fishing. Good question.

One of the federal guidelines is no visible oil for a month. According to the SCAT maps, there was some oil just off the Bird's Foot around a week ago. I would think there has been no visible oil for a month over most of the closed area. One possibility is they want to protect the bluefin tuna that are feared to have taken a big hit in the year's spawning class, but that's just a guess. I don't even know whether the bluefin are still concentrated in the area this time of year.

In response to the query from ChuckV:

"I expressed surprise that the annulus is known to be full of oil.
I wonder if I'm alone in being puzzled by how BP knows that to be
the case."


No you are not alone.

Everything that was done in the last 30 days has hinged on that issue. The whole point of delaying the RW intersect until after the new BOP was installed was based on the stated premise that the annulus was filled with oil and that oil was sealed in by the cement job. In at least one press conference Adm. Allen stated those as known facts. In other press conferences he presented the as presence of oil in the annulus as only a theory.

One possible scenario that would explain why BP would know that there is oil in the annulus and that the annulus is now isolated from the reservoir, is if the RW (situated 4 feet from the annulus just above the reservoir) was able to detect flow in the annulus prior to the cementing and that flow was no longer detectable after cementing.

Other than that scenario, which would mean they do know for a fact there is oil in the annulus, the concept of oil in the annulus can only be said to be a guess without much evidence to support it.

Sometimes I got the impression that Thadmiral Allen doesn't always distinguish between things that are and things that may be, at least in the way he speaks. Hopefully not in his own mind.

Is is a puzzlement that he has not been more vigorously questioned on the matter of oil in the annular space between the production casing and the outer casing. All the media can think to ask is when will this happen, when will that happen.

The media's obsession with timelines suggests a deep inability to cope with uncertainty. Either that or maybe they just can't think of anything better to ask. Some of the reporters who get through on the conference calls sound like sixth grade boys who always raise their hands to get attention, but then don't have anything to say.

Most of the reporters don't understand the technology well enough to formulate a good question.

Their habit is to quote somebody, then find somebody to quote saying the opposite. That's why the oil budget has been such a popular topic. If the story requires that the reporter actually learn something about what's going on in the world, they don't seem to know what to do. For example, I've seen no evidence that any reporter on the spill beat reads TOD. (Except maybe for the unfortunate DougR/Keith Olberman liaison.)

Their habit is to quote somebody, then find somebody to quote saying the opposite.

Yes, that's the formula.

It seems that we have only two types of news coverage. That which, in the interest of "impartiality", takes the 50/50 (maximum entropy, minimum information) approach, and the other type, which is completely biased in favor of one point of view.

In my world view many situations have one possibility that is most likely, but there are other less likely possibilities that still should be kept in mind. Every parent knows about this sort of thing, or ought to.

Science News generally sticks rigorously to the point/counter point formula, to the extent that halfway through any article I automatically start looking for the obligatory opposing viewpoint. Interestingly, this week's lead article doesn't.

Sometimes I got the impression that Thadmiral Allen doesn't always distinguish between things that are and things that may be, at least in the way he speaks. Hopefully not in his own mind.

Memory is strange. I just searched through all of Thad Allen's transcripts since Aug 1 for "annulus", and find no statement that there is oil in the annulus. There are several references to uncertainty about what is in this space, such as this one from Aug 19:

If we were to go ahead and go with the other option, which would be to intercept the well and increase the pressure in the annulus, we run the risk of forcing the seal up at the top of the well and having whatever material that was in the annulus, whether it's hydrocarbon and/or mud enter the deepwater horizon blowout preventer in the capping stack and potentially exceeding the pressures in the stack and causing a discharge into the environment unless we could come up with some kind of device to relieve the pressure or move that stuff to the surface.

This statement seems quite reasonable to me, yet I have a clear recollection of hearing him make a definitive statement about oil being in the annulus.

My memory must be faulty. Probably been "flashy thinged" too many times.

There have been several points in this saga where new information has caused a rather abrupt and drastic change in course. The most notable is when they discovered the well had integrity and suddenly plans changed. Another point of sudden departure from what had been planned is immediately after the static kill. It looks like something new was discovered at the time that caused the sudden reversal in plans. Adm Allen spent numerous attempts at explaining why the sudden change of plans Generally his explanations were inarticulate statements about oil in the annulus and the top seal. What he did say was clearly not a very good explanation of what they had discovered. The annulus filled with mud and sealed with cement at the bottom wouldn't be something new so it makes little sense to postulate that is what they discovered.

And Kent Wells behaved weirdly too. He insisted emphatically just prior to the static kill that there would be no deviation from the plan to intercept with the relief well and then he terminated all technical briefings for about a week and left Allen to deal with explaining things.

It seems natural to assume something was discovered and it is pretty clear that something has not been explained.

While it may twist your brain into a Gordian Knot, the explanation is reasonably clear.

Thad Allen has served as the Baghdad Bob for the Scientific Advisory Committee and Flow Group. BP, principally Kent Wells, has played the role of a POW in the Houma Hilton.

The talking points have changed as the government's position has become progessively more and more unsupportably absurd (e.g. 8,000 to 9,000 psi shut-in pressure for the well integrity test).

From the 8/19/10 press briefing http://app.restorethegulf.gov/go/doc/2931/875243/

Kristen Hays: Yes, hello, Admiral. I'm hoping you can kind of help me understand when they remove the current blowout preventer and place the new one on there, is there a seal or something at the top that prevents any of that oil that you think might be in the annulus from getting out?

Thad Allen: There is and what we're trying to do is make sure that none of that is compromised by the doing the ambient pressure test. We're looking for two things, hydrocarbons that might be coming up from the well. We don't think that's likely because there's about 5,000 feet of cement there. And then any hydrocarbons that might be coming up to that seal from the annulus, if there is pressure, they'll be pushing hydrocarbons out that, that would be indication to us that we have communication between the annulus and the reservoir which means we could go ahead with the bottom kill right now.

We don't believe that's the case but we need to verify that through the ambient pressure test. There is a seal at the top, it's at a place called the casing hanger and with enough pressure inside the annulus it lifts up and can be opened into the blowout preventer.

During the ambient pressure test we will be looking for hydrocarbons from that seal as well, (inaudible) might come up out of the well although we don't expect that but we need to do this out of an overabundance of caution.

Kristen Hays: OK, so the science teams and you have enough confidence in that cement that's (still) at the bottom and that seal that's at the top of the well that you can do this without a problem?

Thad Allen: It is less risk than the other one, nothing is without risk but we think the risk is minimal. This even included a trip to the manufacturer of the casing hanger of which that seal was a part by the science team and other members that were consulted to actually understand completely what the dynamics of that seal are and that was all taken into account.

So the science team finallly took the time to find out what the casing hanger seal was in August, about a month after the oil stopped flowing into the gulf! It's very hard to lead from a trailing position!

I'm sorry Bruce, but your position is BS.

What I hear him saying is that they believe the annulus is OK but can't be 100% certain (probably because someone has suggested the possibility of oil there, so they are playing it safe. Sounds reasonable to me. Does it really not sound reasonable to you?

As for the well seal. So, even though they believe they understand the capabilities and limitation, out of an abundance of caution they are checking with the manufacturer? How could you challenge that move?

I would far rather have Admiral Allen and Dr. Chu in charge of this than you any time, especially if my life was on the line.

David, thanks for your on the spot, like a laser guided missile, on Bruce's BS Post. I for one do get tired of folks like this.

BP requested that the BOP be swapped before the relief well intersect.

None of what is now being discussed has anything to do with your Chu fetish.

If there is something absurd about 8000-9000 psi then ask BP to explain that. It was their numbers.

The thinking seems to have changed shortly after drilling resumed on the relief well (post top kill) which leads me to believe they 'saw' something in the relief well that tipped them off. Assuming they tagged the mud and/or cement used for the top kill (color dye for cement?, radioactive tracer for mud?) they may have seen or logged indications of the top kill fluids in the relief well. This would indicate that the upper annulus had been open to the reservoir prior to the top kill and would likely contain oil/gas whether or not flow through the annulus actually occured.

I think that the annulus that they are worried about is between two steel casings, and not in communication with the formation except possibly at the bottom. It's not clear how tracers in that space could reach the RW.

At one point I interpreted (misinterpreted?) something that Jinn wrote to mean that the the "elasticity" (compliance) of the production casing might be measurable following the cement job, and this might differ depending on whether the space behind the production casing were tightly sealed, or open at one or both ends.

Yes if the fluid in the production casing and the annulus was not compressible then you could possibly model the pressure and volume changes to make a calculation of the pressure on the back side of the production casing. But that theory fell apart when they revealed they had an unknown quantity of gas in the BOP and capping stack. They did eventually flush out the gas and run the pressure differential tests again, but that was quite a while after they had already arrived at the decision to swap out the BOP.

The thinking seems to have changed shortly after drilling resumed on the relief well (post top kill) which leads me to believe they 'saw' something in the relief well that tipped them off.


Yes If I remember the time line was the RW packed up for a tropical storm right after they cemented their last casing string. Then after the static kill the relief well spent several days logging and then there was a sudden change of plans regarding the RW and BOP replacement. So yeah it seems obvious te new information that lead to changing the BOP does seem likely to have come from the RW.


Assuming they tagged the mud and/or cement used for the top kill (color dye for cement?, radioactive tracer for mud?) they may have seen or logged indications of the top kill fluids in the relief well. This would indicate that the upper annulus had been open to the reservoir prior to the top kill and would likely contain oil/gas whether or not flow through the annulus actually occured.

It is difficult to construct a scenario where the oil filled the annulus without any flow occurring. The gap between the 7" casing and the 9-7/8 liner is pretty long and narrow. If you assume the mud in the annulus disappeared by migration and you assume the annlus has pressure integrity then wouldn't you expect the annulus to be mostly filled with gas? And if it is mostly gas then there would be a whole lot of pressure behind that seal at the top. High pressure in the annulus with only one barrier of unknown integrity doesn't really sound to me like a scenario that would convince them that the safest thing to do would be to swap out the BOP.

However, if they have some reason to know that the annulus does not have integrity and cannot hold pressure and no longer is in communication with the reservoir then the concept that swapping the BOP is safer then the RW intersect makes a lot of sense.

And those are all facts they would be known to a high degree of certainty if the RW had detected flow before the cement and no flow detected after the cement.

Thanks, jinn (and others who have responded).

I guess my problem is seeing how the mud that was in the annulus when it was formed by installing the production casing was later displaced by oil. The casing hanger seal was left off until completion of cementing so that the mud in the annulus could be displaced upward through ports in the hanger by the base oil, spacer, and cement pumped into the annular space. Once the hanger seal was installed, that vertical flow path was eliminated, or should have been.

I don't recall hearing of any indication that the hanger seal is compromised. I suppose it could have been breached sometime during the months of gas and oil flow--and enabled the mud to be displaced by oil then--but I don't quite see how it then got healed.


Maybe once the main flow path was cemented shut and the temperature along the well bore equalized with the temperature of the surrounding rock, the production casing shrank and pulled the top seal closed.

How's that for grasping at straws?

Yes all of that has AFAIK not been explained.

All we have is conjecture. It seems extremely unlikely that the hangar seal would be regarded as safe and intact if they suspected it was breached for 87 days by the flow of gas and oil.

It is possible the casing expanded and stretched due to the high temp flow and then settled back to where it was originally set after it cooled back down, but I cant see there being much left of the seal if that is what occurred. They did appear to be confident that the seal was still intact since that was the main barrier of defense against another blowout while the BOP was being swapped.

Can someone remind me where BP said "the annulus is known to be full of oil"

Thanks, so Thad Allen said that "they [BP] estimate about 1000 barrels of oil." I know Thad Allen sometimes simplifies for the press but I'll assume what he asked BP was closer to "what fluid is in the annulus" than "what is the volume of the annulus".

I haven't found a BP statement on this. Back on 10 August, in his briefing, Kent Wells said "what we don't know is exactly what we'll find in that annulus. It could be mud. It could be oil. It could be cement.". He was talking about the annulus between liner and formation whereas Thad Allen is talking about annulus between casing and liner. I'd really like to see where BP themselves say with any certainty that the latter annulus is full of oil.

It often seems to me that when a contentious statement is reported as coming from BP, it is hard to trace it back beyond a journalist's transcript of what some government official has verbally reported BP as saying. I'm not accusing government officials of deliberate untruth - but sometimes things get imperfectly recalled or paraphrased in a way that subtly changes the meaning.

Many folk, Kent Wells included (me too of course) are not as articulate and coherent in a spoken conversation as they would be in a written report.

"Send three and fourpence, We're going to a dance.".

He was talking about the annulus between liner and formation whereas Thad Allen is talking about annulus between casing and liner. I'd really like to see where BP themselves say with any certainty that the latter annulus is full of oil.


They were both talking about the same space. The RW is not going to intersect into any of the spaces between liner and formation. A small part of the annular space that the relief well will intersect is below the bottom of the liner (open hole).

Both Wells and Allen were talking about the space between the production casing and the exterior liner casing. It seems obvious they discovered something about the condition of that space that they previously didn't know. It is also more than obvious they weren't revealing what they discovered clearly.


I'd sooner think that both Allen and Wells were talking about the same thing, though maybe different portions of it, when they used the term "the annulus".

I see "the annulus" under discussion to be the space bounded on the interior by the production casing and on the exterior by the borehole from 18,304 ft (prod. casing shoe) to 17,167 ft (9-7/8" liner shoe). From there upwards the boundary is a succession of liners until you reach the 22" surface casing, from which point upward the interior of the 22" casing is the boundary.

(For the three months I lurked before registering and posting, I was continually struck by how much confusion use of "the annulus" caused. I resolved to be specific about what I meant if I ever posted. Well, it didn't take long before I abandoned that as too cumbersome, and joined the crowd.)


Chuck -- Not that the others are really in play but there are actually 8 different annuli in this well. That's why ingeneral we never use the word "annulus' without a modifier to distinguish which one you talking about.

Roger the 8 possible annuli, Rockman. It's rare indeed that I've seen a modifier used to distinguish which is intended, though.


chuck -- That's one reason I won't be happy until they get the top plugs set. There are a number of shallow cmt shoes that experienced pressures from the wild flow that exceeded their initial pressure tests. Not a huge worry especially if the bottom kill did cmt not only the production csg but the lowest well bore annulus. Still I've probably seen more liner shoe cmts fail as I've seen bottom cmt jobs fail.

Rockman, you say "plugs". What is the requirement for number and placement of cement plugs for a P&A?

BTW, thank you for all the time and effort you put into TOD. It was your posts that drew me back to TOD after I first discovered it in early May.


Chuck - Not 100% sure but I think the original plan was two plugs. I wouldn't be surprised if they did more than that. I won't be surprised if the perforate the producion csg and pump more cement into that annulus.

OK. Thank you.


The regs require a top and a bottom plug for P&A, with fluid between the plugs of sufficient density to achieve hydrostatic balance relative to the formation pressure.

Hey Rock, will they follow the regs on that this time. It will be interesting to see what happens there.

Speaking of uncertainty . . . Interviewed just before the well was capped, right at 25% of coastal Mississippians (30% in south Louisiana) said they were thinking of moving away. But according to the Sun Herald, evidence of follow-through hasn't appeared.

lotus - I began thinking about leaving S La. when I was 9 yo. Not that there isn't a lot to like about the region but I was already tired of the heat, the mud and the mosquitoes. So I moved to Houston. DAH!

RM~My brother lives in South Houston, and I swear of ALL the places I have lived (and there have been many due to my dad's job) in the South, Houston was the most hot and humid, even at 11pm at night the air was so thick it felt like it took effort to get a breath. I never thought it would be that much different from Bryan/College Station or Hilltop Lakes, TX, but I was do so wrong.

Hello, did you see my post about Higgins? muspench posted it on nola.com. Had a good meeting yesterday. The seafood was great. Must do it again.

Rockman, I saw your post on the last thread where you state you believe TO will be found primarily at fault for the blowout.

I relish the debate we will have on this issue.

There is one thing you are not considering. The case will be decided in courtroom, by lay people, not on a rig in the drill shack by oil filed hands.

That is significant in the sense that the idea of well control is going to be a frightening concept for these folks once they get their heads around it. They can see from the blowout aftermath the consequences of making a mistake, or worse, recklessly disregarding the rules intended to prevent such a mess.

There are 3 reasons why BP will be primarily liable. (1) BP took the lead and was in charge with TO playing a support role. BP had superior info and primary responsibility for ensuring integrity of cement. That was not TO's responsibility.

(2) BP was reckless, To was just negligent, and hence BP has greater culpability and responsibility.

Who is the jury going to find to be more responsible, a party who makes a mistake or one that consciously disregards industry standards, best practices and, likely, regulations? The jury is going to hang the reckless party first, as it should. And there is plenty of evidence showing BP to be reckless. The centralizers and the e-mail exchange between the engineers and Haliburton about the cement are but one example (and the BP engineers/managers lied that they never saw the Haliburton warning because if they admitted it, that was too close to admitting punitive damage level recklessness - putting causation aside). The 11:00 meeting will also be a dramatic event in the courtroom where the crew tried in vain to stop BP's reckless procedures.

TO's greatest exposure IMO is with disabling safety devices. Here we have reckless conduct. If TO falls, it will be on these grounds more than on well monitoring.

(3) The evidence will show that BP save roughly $20 million in the last 2 weeks, with Halfe making one dangerous decision after another to save money. From the casing design, to the displacement procedures, there will be a list showing all the decisions that were made and how much they saved BP in rig time. TO has no looming motive like that with well control (although they have a similar problem with safety devices).

BP will emerge as the party in primary control making the key decisions leading to the disaster. And recklessness and greed will be at the heart of it all. If the safety devices were not an issue, there would be no contest, IMO.

Lastly, I still believe your causation analysis is flawed from a legal perspective, but that will have to wait for another post.

syn -- Ok..let's keep it simple. I have no doubt a BP lawyer will ask the top man at TO a simple question: Who is responsible for monitoring a well for a kick? He will have no choice but to say it was the primary responsibility of the TO crew. Queston: Was the BP coman even required to be on the drill floor monitoring activities as the well was being displaced? Answer: No. So the TO crew was solely responsible for detecting the kick? Answer: Yes. It is not a debateable point...he has no choice in his answer. The next question to TO: if the TO crew had seen the well kicking would they have shut it in? Again, he has no choice but to say they would...it would be SOP. Next question: Did the TO crew need the permission of the BP coman to monitor well flow or shut it in if they detected a kick? Answer: No. Next question: Have TO crews seen kicks come in before on other wells and shut those wells in before they blew out? Answer: Yes. How many times: Often...hundreds. So TO has hundreds of documented cases where the TO crew monitored well kicks and shut the wells in preventing a blow out? Answer: Yes. And in any of these cases did the TO crew require the permission to shut the wells in from the operators's coman. Answer: No. Were the TO crews even required to tell the coman of their decision to shut a well in before doing so? Answer: No. Again, he has no choice but to say that they didn't. Last question: did the BP well blow out because the TO crew didn't shut the well in? Here he can try to qualify his answer with all the points you brought up. But in the end the lawyer will force him to say "Yes...if the TO crew had seen the well kicking and shut it in there would not have been a blow out.

I don't think anyone on the jury will need much more than a high school degree to understand the answers FROM TRANSOCEAN: they could have prevented the blow out but didn't. But let's consider you statement "The case will be decided in courtroom, by lay people, not on a rig in the drill shack by oil field hands." And these are the folks who will sit there for hours and listen to expert witnesses go on and on about N2 cement, casing hangers, negative pressure tests, cement bond logs, etc. And when they are talked into a coma by the 'experts' they'll not just accept the simple words of TO's own witnes: The well blew out because the TO crew didn't shut it in. Just my WAG but I would think TO would try to load the jury up with as many folks with strong tech backgrounds as possible. BP, OTOH, would want as many soccer moms and burger flipers as possible. All they'l remember, IMHO, in the jury room is that TO's own star witness said the TO crew could have prevented the blow out if they had shut the well in.

So there...take that! LOL. I really did watch two old "Return of Perry Mason" movies last night. A simpler time, to say the least.

May I suggest that you bill BP and their lawyers for the spoon fed questions you just gave them (and stay far away from TO and their lawyers?)?

David -- Wish I could take credit for my insightful lawyering. But I've sat in a number of post-nightmare "inquest" after very bad drilling incidents (but not in a court room, fortunately). I've heard this line of question a number of times and have seen old hardened hands almost on the verge of tears having to give answers they prayed they would never have to.

I'll leave it to the courts and lawyers to come up with the ultimate verdict. But everyone in the oil patch is pretty sure what happened and they know where the ultimate responsibility falls. And very few, if any, of us feel good about that answer.

None of that means you can't bill them.

Don't you bill others (not us, I hope, or have I said too much already?) for the benefit of your accumulated experience and knowledge?

Rockman, as a former driller and current OIM you have it exactly right. It is absolutely the driller and his crew that are resposible for the primary control of the well and in this case if they had recognized the signs and shut the well in, I dare say the BOP would have done its job as it has thousands of times and the SW in the riser would have been displaced back to heavy mud and this would have been nothing more than an entry in the IADC morning report. I believe, as you do, that TO will shoulder more of the liability than most of the public thinks. Thanks from an old field hand for all of your great posts.

IH -- Your welcome. And you and I both know it's going to be a very bad experience for the families of the 11 when this whole mess gets played out in court. It's bound to have all the stink of a friendly fire incident IMHO. In 2000 I had a coman in WYO commit suicide. No note but plenty of speculation that a number of near misses, including almost killing a driller on the well I was on, might have pushed him over the edge. He didn't show up for his relief. Didn't answer his phone. Exxon sent another coman to his house and found him on the couch with a .45 slug in his head.

Me...I'm just a rock licker and, until recently, never had much responsibility over any safety issues. But you live with that responsibility every second you're on the rig. You know as well as I do you can do every thing right and still injure/kill a hand. I've never had to make that phone call and with some luck will never have to. I stopped going to funeral services/memorials long ago. Tell folks what you need to tell them when you can. When it's too late it's too late. Lost my last buddy about 16 months ago. Fortunately I had told him all I needed to before then. In fact, had just swapped a couple of nice emails just the weekend before.

Rockman, i think we are talking past each other a bit on this. I agree that TO crew members were negligent in not monitoring the well. That still does not let BP off the hook, and i will explain why in due course.

And TO's negligence was not the primary negligence, it was secondary to BP's, IMO. For if BP had met it's duties and done what it should have done, the fate of the rig would not have hinged on TO's ability to detect the resulting kick in time. There never would have been a blowout. I will explain that, too.

But first, with regard to your string of questions, you would be my first rebuttal witness to that testimony.

In your 35 years of experience with drilling rigs, Mr. Rockman, how many times have you known of a well to blowout at this stage of the game, after the bottom has been cemented and after having a good result from a negative pressure test?

What was that Mr. Rockman? None? Thank you.

And how many times in your 35 years have you known of a crew needing to shut in a well due to cement failure AFTER it already has passed a negative pressure test?

And how many times have you know the cement to fail AFTER having passed a negative pressure test?

So, if you were on that crew that just came on tour and you were told the cement was good, and it passed the negative pressure test, what would you figure in your own mind that the probability would be of the well kicking at that point? The cement would have to fail first, wouldn't it? Okay, and since you've never even heard of that happening before in your 35 years in the oil field, would it be fair to say that the risk would have been "remote?" And, Mr. Rockman, I want you to assume that this is after the cement has passed a negative pressure test.

To be Continued...

syn - all valid points. Let's make it real simple: there is a deep hole in the ground. Your job is to keep anyone from falling into it. You didn't dig the hole. Your not the one who put huge pieces of broken glass in the bottom of the hole. You're not the one who violated city code by digging a hole in the middle of the side walk. You not the one who put a huge TV screen with neked ladies dancing on it above the hole. You're not the one who put a giant neon sign at the end of the block saying "NO DANGER AHEAD...NO GIANT HOLE WITH BROKEN GLASS IN THE BOTTOM AHEAD".

Nope....you have one simple job: watch for anyone walking towards the hole and stop them. But your thirsty and go inside the cafe for a cup of coffee. Then someone falls into the hole and cuts the heck out of themselves. So who's primarily responsible for the injuries? You or the reckless idiot that dug the hole? If you say it's the idiot that dug the hole we can end the chat. We'll just have to agree to never agree.

Did you see the comment from the OIM above? He's one of those guys whose job is to not let anyone walk into that hole. His opinion should carry much more weight than mine for everyone on TOD. I talk about keeping hands safe. He does it every day on the job.

Again: BP is 100% responsible for the well taking a kick. The TO hands were 100% responsible for not detecting the kick and shutting the well in IMHO. BP could have intentionally designed the well to fail. And it would still not have blown out if the TO crew had properly monitored the well and shut it in in time. Refresh my memory: has anyone presented one piece of evidence indicating BP did anything to prevent the TO crew from monitoring mud returns?

Rockman, i am happy to keep it simple, but over-simplifying distorts rather than clarifies. Besides, your analogy is not a tight enough fit.

[There are some issues here that i would need to research that could influence outcome. For example, is TO allowed to assume BP is not being negligent? In other words, must TO anticipate BP's possible negligence in doing the pressure test. Or is TO allowed to assume BP got it right? Conversely, was BP required to assume the crew might be negligent in the future if a kick were to come along when it made the decision to displace the riser with only the bottom cement as a barrier. I think clearly so, as that is part of the logic for having redundant barriers - shit happens. How these two issues are resolved could impact outcome.]

Okay, getting back to causation, again I think there is some falacious thinking or miscommunication going on here. This is not a contest where finding one party at fault automatically exculpates the other. It is not a binary, either/or situation. The law on apportioning fault is well developed and the case law very fertile with prior fact scenario as guiding examples. Let me give you a typical jury instruction on causationon:

In order for the plaintiff to recover in this case, the defendant’s [negligent] [reckless] [intentional] conduct must have been a factual cause in bringing about harm. Conduct is a factual cause of harm when the harm would not have occurred absent the conduct. To be a factual cause, the conduct must have been an actual, real factor in causing the harm, even if the result is unusual or unexpected. A factual cause cannot be an imaginary or fanciful factor having no connection or only an insignificant connection with the harm.

To be a factual cause, the defendant’s conduct need not be the only factual cause. The fact that some other causes concur with the negligence of the defendant in producing an injury does not relieve the defendant from liability as long as [his] [her] own negligence is a factual cause of the injury.

Was BP's negligence/recklessness a factual cause of the blowout? Where do you start? Too complex to get into all of it, but let's focus on the negative pressure test. Surely that was negligent. Was the failure to treat the test as a failure and deem the cement job bad a cause of the blowout, applying the above instruction? And what about displacing the riser without a second barrier in place? I submit that if they had done either or both of those right, there never would have been a blowout. So it would seem to pass.

But there's more. When more than one party is involved, how do you handle causation?

There may be more than one factual cause of the harm suffered by the plaintiff. When negligent conduct of two or more persons contributes concurrently to an occurrence or incident, each of these persons is fully responsible for the harm suffered by the plaintiff regardless of the relative extent to which each contributed to the harm. A cause is concurrent if it was operative at the moment of the incident, and acted with another cause as a factual cause in bringing about the harm.

This instruction is not well suited to this case, but it gets the main point across. If you get down into the nitty gritty, the only way BP can wiggle out is if it's negligence was not a substantial factor in bringing about the blowout, or by showing that the crew's subsequent negligence was completely unforeseeable and outside the scope of the risk created by BP's negligence (which it clearly was not).

The point of this post is that BP is on the hook whether TO was negligent or not. Each actor's conduct is evaluated independently at this stage, absent unusual facts. Apportionment of fault comes later when you calculate damages. Right now we're focused on liability. And BP is not off the hook even if TO was negligent and failed to prevent the blowout when it could have.

In the next post, I will deal with causation in finer detail to show why BP's negligence/recklessness was primary and more culpable than TO's.

fixed an error second paragraph.

syn - We'll go real, real simple: BP's actions caused the kick. TO’s lack of diligence caused the blow out. No one died as a result of the kick. Dozens of kicks happen every month in the Gulf Coast and no one dies. If BP had drilled the best designed well in history and did a dozen of cmt tests that showed 100% certainty of the cmt job AND had gotten a note from God saying there was no chance of the well kicking, the TO crew would still have displayed gross negligence in not monitoring the well for flow. Again, I'll still beat that horse till I die: all the other safety factors and considerations combined are insignificant compared to checking for flow. You can take that as just MHO. But ask all the other oil patch hands you run across and ask them. I have had dozens of well take a hard kick. Some were the obvious fault of the operator. And none blew out because the drill crew controlled the well. And yes…I am one of the founders of the FWFCS. That would be the Fanatical Well Flow Check Society.

And my hole example wasn't an over simplification. It was actually more complex. You turn the pumps off and see if mud continues to flow out of the well. If it does you're taking a kick. If you don't control the kick the well will blow out and someone is likely to die. It doesn't get simpler than that. And that is the sole responsibility of the drill crew.

I see your point, Rockman, but it is not applicable. The law rejects your view of causation. The only way that BP is off the hook is if TO's subsequent negligence is unforeseeable and/or completely outside the scope of the risk created by BP's negligence. That's most likely what the law is in whatever state this ends up in.

Under the law, they can both be negligent and both contribute to causing the damages resulting from the blowout. BP proving that TO could have but failed to prevent the blowout will not get BP off the hook, even if you frame it as causing a kick instead of causing a blowout, although I do like that move. Very nice.

Even BP is admitting the negative pressure test was handled negligently. You agree that displacing the riser the way they did was "dangerous." That means there was a safer way. That's negligence or recklessness. So I think we both agree on BP negligence there. And the crew negligence (the crew that came on at 6:00...the earlier crew was concerned that the test was bad), we all agree the crew failed to monitor the well adequately. Both were negligent, and both are liable under the instructions above. That's the way it works, unless you have facts showing there is no evidence of BP negligence, or no evidence that BP's negligence contributed to the blowout. But that's impossible if they blew the negative pressure test. Even they admit they did.

So who was more at fault? Consider this. But for BP's negligence, there would have been no occasion for TO to be negligent. If BP had done the negative test and second barrier properly, they would have fixed the cement before displacing. And there would have been a second barrier in place that would have prevented a blow out even if they had proceeded to displace, assuming that top plug was properly set, or the well balanced.

There likely would have been no opportunity for the crew to have blown it then. They would have been on notice that the cement was bad and that a kick could come at any moment. They would have immediately taken measures to secure the well. It's only because BP told them that the cement was good and the negative test passed that they had some sense of false assurance when in reality, a blow out was imminent! BP never told TO that little detail. It's an important one. For although a kick after cementing and successfully testing the cement is rare as chicken teeth, a kick in an unbalanced well with bad cement is a certainty.

Your view fails to take into consideration all of the evidence. Your entire focus on is the kick and that they did not spot it of shut it in. There's more to it than that. The story here begins with how far behind schedule and over budget they are, and what they do in the last two weeks to make up for that. They created a scenario through their conscious short-cuts that set the crew up for disaster. Had the crew known the true facts, they would have handled things much differently. There's already plenty of evidence that they were not at all happy with some of the BP decisions and wanted to do things in a safer manner, but were shot down.

The law handles causation differently than the way you are applying it. Just because TO could have but failed to prevent the blowout does not relieve BP of liability for its own negligence. And as noted BP's conduct was more egregious. They were looking for trouble with the short cuts they were taking by conscious choice. The crew did not consciously ignore an imminent blowout. They were unaware of it due to BP's negligence first. Had they know a blow out was imminent (had the test been properly conducted/interpreted) , they would have acted immediately.

Syn, My state used to have a clear cut rule on auto accidents. Over decades, the lawyers whittled that down to an "apportionment" angle such as you discuss in your previous post. I was in an "accident" with a woman who had a fairly long history of "accidents" who demanded an officer show up and who seemed well practiced at "injuries". Unfortunately for her, the officer came (because it was supposedly an injury accident) took one look at the situation and pointed to the woman and said, "Your fault, 100%".

Then the insurance companies and their lawyers got involved. Ultimately, even though she was in an illegal location doing an illegal maneuver, the insurance companies decided to apportion blame as follows: 90% her, 10% me. Why 10% you ask? Well, in convoluted legal beagle reasoning it came down to me being there at all! By that arcane thinking that passes for logic in legal land, had I never been there in the first place, there wouldn't have been an accident, even though she was the one doing EVERYTHING WRONG. I tried to fight it, but was informed by my insurance company that they would drop me and charge me for the legal fees they had accumulated coming to the BS conclusion they had come to if I opted out of the decision. I complained and the rep said, "I feel for you and agree it is BS, but that's just the way it is, and it is better not to fight the system". It didn't cost me a penny out of pocket, but it was the principal of the thing that irked me. But principal and legal aren't even in the same dictionary.

At the end of the day, no matter how right Rockman is in his reasoning (and I believe he is 100% right) the "apportionment" angle to all this may well come down to BP "being there". Clearly TO would not have had a blowout if BP had never hired them in the first place, ergo, it is ultimately BP's fault. QED

Widelyread, good to hear from you. If the adjusters agreed on apportionment, it had nothing to do with attorneys. They have in-house and intra-agency rules they apply. They have training, too. Lots of people get upset over this, but they are relatively low-paid paper pushers, and it is more efficient (cheaper) over the long haul the way they do it even if the accuracy may not agree with the insured's point of view.

I must not be doing a very good job of explaining because it makes sense to me. Even under Rockman's reasoning, I don't see how people come out that TO is primarily at fault and BP is off the hook. It is not there. The facts for that are just not there. To is not suing BP. They are co-defendants. Under the law, if there is more than one negligent actor and the negligence of both is a cause of the damages, then both are liable.

It's akin to saying that if I hurt someone and the doctor fails to save the guy as a result of his own negligence, I should not be held liable, the doctor should be. The doctor had the duty and the opportunity to save him and blew it, so it's his fault. But the law does not agree. It was foreseeable that this could happen.

This wasn't the crew simply blowing it. TO's errors were the result of BP's errors/recklessness. This is classic compounding of error. Had BP not made the initial error (negative pressure test), the crew would likely not have made theirs (failure to monitor the well adequately). Because had the crew know the truth (test showed blow out imminent), the crew would have been all over it getting it under control. On top of that, through BP's reckless shortcuts, there was no second barrier in place. Had there been, there would have been no blowout. So how do people come out that TO is the primary negligent actor?

As a caveat, I will again state that the disabling of the safety equipment will be part of the overall analysis of who caused the damages. TO is going to fry over that. That may very well get beyond the indemnity agreement. So when you add that in, it may tip the scales against TO. But for now it is more interesting to focus on the well control issues causation issues.

Had BP not made the initial error (negative pressure test),


The fact of the matter is that BP was not the one that was supposed to perform a negative test. TransOcean was required to perform the negative test an do it in the manner as directed by BP. TransOcean performed a prodedure but it was not the negative test. And it was not the test that the approved well plan called for. It was TO equipment and personnel that failed to execute the test.

The BP men should have rejected the TO claims that they did the test when they had not. Bp should have forced them to perform the test as required, but they had numerous TO personnel insisting that a test had been done and that the result was good. The BP men did suspend operations for a couple hours because they were not buying what the TO men were telling them that a good test had been done. In the end the BP men relented and said they would call it a good test.

There has been considerable evidence that TO was also fudging tests on the BOP as well fudging the maintenance on basic safety equipment like alarms and automatic ventilation controls.

There were 3 BP involved in the negative test. There was the day and night man (who were changing shifts) and there was a trainee who was there to observe. The trainee testified he doubted what the TO men were saying about the test procedure, so he went to is quarters and Googled "bladder effect" and "negative test", but couldn't find anything on the net.

syn - My view takes in all the evidence. BP's poor operating procedures caused the kick. TO's poor operating procedures caused the blow out. And both the legal and regulatory systems agree with me and not you. No operator has ever been sued for causing a kick. No operator has ever been fined by any regulatory agency for taking a kick. I think the term lawyers like is "precedent". The entire history of offshore drilling stands as precedent against your position. But you can dig thru the records if you have time and find numerous cases where drilling contractors have been successfully sued in civil court as well as been sighted by regulatory agencies because their crews failed to control a well.

Again, a simple statement: Even if the BP well had never taken a kick let alone blown out, the TO crew would have been guilty of negligence by not monitoring the well closely during displacement. If it had been my well I would have delivered a harsh written rebuke to the CEO of TO, demanded some disciplinarian action of their rig management. And if TO did not comply I would issue a detailed complaint to the MMS and Coast Guard. IMHO: Any drill crew that fails to monitor a well for flow is negligent. Any drill crew that fails to monitor a well for flow while displacing with a fluid insufficient to control the well is grossly neglegent. And any drill crew that fails to monitor a well for flow in 5,000' of water while displacing with a fluid insufficient to control the well is criminally negligent.

We can table our debate and wait to see if the courts agree with me or you.

Syncro: Will the prospective jurors be asked "Do you read TOD? Have you heard of TOD? LOL!

. Dupe

No time to respond to Rockman (i want to savor it and take my time), but don't LOL about this, it's an excellent question. If I was on the trial team, I would definitely ask that question in voir dire, or in the written jury questionaire. That will be a key concern of attorneys, what has the jury been influenced by. Did they get their news from TOD, GLP, or MSM, etc. That will also tell a lot about the juror. TOD is one i would specifically ask about by name.

syn - And don't forget the most important question: what is their favorite ice cream brand? That should tell you all you need to know.

BP is contractually obligated to defend Transocean from any lawsuit and in fact - their contract indemnified TO from anything. Here is a quote from the contract:

"shall protect, release, defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the indemnified party or parties from and against any and all claims, demands, causes of action, damages, costs, expenses (including reasonable attorneys fees), judgments and awards of any kind or character, without limit and without regard to the cause or causes thereof, including preexisting conditions, whether such conditions be patent or latent, the unseaworthiness of any vessel or vessels (including the drilling unit), breach of representation or warranty, expressed or implied, breach of contract, strict liability, tort, or the negligence of any person or persons, including that of the indemnified party, whether such negligence be sole, joint or concurrent, active, passive or gross or any other theory of legal liability and without regard to whether the claim against the indemnity is the result of an indemnification agreement with a third party."

It sounds like BP should have read the contract before they signed it.


05 -- very interesting bit of poop. Like to hear what our legal eagles have to say. So it sounds like BP might not be able to sue TO. And that BP is obligated to "protect, release, defend, indemnify" TO. But that still doesn't answer the question: if TO is sued by the feds et al and BP loses the suite is TO obligated to pay the damages? The contract may say BP has to hold TO harmless. Doesn't say anyone else has to hold TO harmless. that still leaves the families of the 11, the fishing industry, motel owners, etc.

TO would be liable for government fines and penalties - but any civil matters seem to be BPs responsibility.

I suspect that BP's 'blame TO' campaign is more aimed at the court of public opinion than any court of law. They may be trying to position themselves to appear to be the victims of a careless subcontractor.

In fact there may be some hardball negotiations going on over future contracts between BP and TO. BP may blackmail TO into accepting a portion of the blame by threatening to take future business elsewhere. Or BP may offer TO the first chance to bid on new work if the 'play ball' with BP.

In the business community - there is a lot of 'favors given' and 'favors owed' in contractor-subcontractor relationships. Not too long ago I got Northrop Space Systems to promise us JWST (James West Space Telescope) in return for a 3 day delivery of a replacement part (they broke the first one and had to meed a launch window). The moment the buyer mentioned the phrase 'launch window' - I knew that I could use this for some return favors.

(The prestige of making parts for the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope is going to be a huge 'feather in our cap' for my employer.)

05 -- I have to ask my engineer when he gets back in town next week how common such an exemption is given to the drilling contractor. You may have seen my chat with syn: BP made a number of seriously bad decisions. There is no argument there. But BP wasn't responsible for checking on well flow and shutting it in if they took a kick. The BP comen weren't on the drill floor. In every well I've drilled in 35 years that responsibility fell with the driller/tool pusher. Granted on my wells my coman will double check to make sure they're doing the job right. But that's my rule...not my obligation. We'll see what the legal eagles have to say but I don't know how any operator can release the drilling company from that obligation. It really would be no different than a passenger releasing a cab driver from responsibility should the cab driver close his eyes while drilling. I know that might sound simplistic but in the drilling game it really is that simple: the driller/tool pusher are drilling the well and make those minute to minute life and death decisions...not the coman.

But from what you say, even with those contract terms TO could be on the hook for the biggest monetary penalty if the feds tap them for the $4,600/bbl gross negligence fine.

I suspect that BO and TO are going to work out a deal between them as to who gets blamed for what. Both TO and BP need each other and TO does not want the stream of future contracts to dry up - nor does BP want to suddenly getting a whole bunch of last minute 'no bid' when BP needs rigs.

Both TO and BP can hurt each other a lot if things get personal. As a TO stockholder I really, really hope that the public posturing is just that. Poisoning a business relationship is really expensive in the long run. I can tell you some stories about what happens when companies start taking things personally in aerospace.

You really have to read the entire contract (and all other contracts between the parties) as a whole before you can say for sure how far this clause extends, if at all. But it is standard indemnification language that is construed and enforced to mean what it says on a daily basis. BP pays unless TO caused damages through intentional wrongful conduct. The parameters of "gross negligence" are uncertain without doing the research in the applicable jurisdiction as to exactly what that means.

However, TO can still be sued and still has to go through trial and the jury can still award damages against them. BP will have to pay them, though. Moreover, how the jury assigns fault against TO will impact how it assesses it against BP.

Clearly, BP's goal is to get out of this without exposure to punitive damages, without having to pick up it's partner's share of 35% the cleanup costs, without incurring the $4,000 level fine, with minimal criminal liability, with it's ability to continue to explore and produce in the GOM unimpeded and it's image rehabilitated so it can bid on the most dangerous prospects around the world. And also so its stock recovers.

They can accomplish all of those goals if they can come up with a factual scenario where they are guilty or admit some negligence, but nothing more, and better yet if another party is found to have more blame than they do. BP has to avoid a finding of gross negligence/reckless disregard or the flood gates open, probably at least tripling their exposure in terms of dollars, not to mention potentially losing the right to drill in the GOM.

The business relationship between TO and BP will definitely play a central role as 05 points out. 05's analysis sounds entirely plausible with appropriate handling, but it is still a tricky line to walk. It can backfire. Don't think it's going to be easy to pull off across the board. The govt. will buy into it in a plea bargain on the fines or on the future right to drill long before civil attorneys will give up their fight for punitive damages, so they may win some and lose some of what they hope to accomplish. The civil stuff will be harder to win, but they can drag it out longer and there's always the US S.Ct. to come to the rescue. They can count on that.

But we have not seen nearly all of the evidence yet. Why is BP being so stingy with the drilling plan, for example?

One key is "applicable jurisdiction" (AJ). I would expect the contract BP/TO specifies the AJ otherwise there will be much tussle over where a civil case is tried.

In the above discussion we have not yet apportioned percentage of fault. In the state where I live when one is in a auto accident where you sustained the most damage, the others insurance company, if the other driver is maybe at fault, first tries to get you to say (in a recorded call) that you are 50% at fault (you thinking you will get half of what you claim in damages). Not so, in this state if you are 1/2 at fault there is no recovery for either party.

edit to add - BTW I'm not a lawyer obviously.

In the 1957 film "12 Angry Men" A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.

At present I think both are equally at fault but we need to hear more evidence.


    There is one thing you are not considering. The case will be decided in courtroom, by lay people, not on a rig in the drill shack by oil filed hands.

Allow me to add my allegory for simplifying it for a jury:

You hire a cab to take you to the airport, and you're in a hell of a hurry. You instruct the driver to hurry, and also to run up a one-way street. He does and has an accident.

Who gets the blame, the cab driver or the passenger?

I believe that any criminal case will lay most of the blame on TO. Any civil case will rightly hold BP accountable - as would be a civil case brought by the cabbie and the folks he hit in suing the passenger above.

(IANAL or any connection to the oil-field, just an interested bystander.)

MAJOR caveat: I'm not an oilman and I'm not a lawyer. I think that there are good arguments that could be brought bear on either side in a BP vs. TO courtroom showdown, however the cynic in me suspects that the decision on who to castrate will be based on veiled political and commercial expediency and not on transparent adversarial jurisprudence.

IMO, BP are going down because the potential failure of a single multinational oil company (particularly one flying a foreign flag) is of less damage to the industry than the failure of the largest deep water drilling contractor and one employed by almost every operator in the GOM region.

No matter who gets burned the most, assets (including people with expertise) can be transferred, but with the lack of availability of deep water drill ships currently constraining the plans of most of the major oil producers, the short term effects of the failure of TO would likely cause much more widespread damage. The guys with the money probably won't let that happen.


Doc - A very good point. Politics. And to remind folks of the other political aspect and potential prejudice: BP is the prime supplier of fuel to the US miltary around the world. Some have speculated that should BP withold supplies our military effectiveness would be significantly slashed in just a few weeks. Can that be used as leverage? And if it is would we ever know?

Military contracts are completely different from civilian contracts. When you sign a contract with the military - they determine how much you deliver and when. And if the military decides that the either need more or need it sooner than what is specified in the contract - they can order you to shut down all operations or deliveries that will conflict with you meeting the new contract schedule. (In compensation - you are allowed to charge them much higher prices as they have to compensate you for the expedite costs and even loss of business from other customers.)

If necessary, the government can physically take over your plant to ensure that you meet the production schedule.

It is even worse with contracts that have 'contingency' options. If the military declares a 'contingency' (combat operations) then you do whatever it takes to deliver the stuff they tell you to. And I have no doubt that any kind of a fuel contract will have a contingency option.

To sum it up - until that contract expires BP will deliver the stated amount of fuel.

If necessary, the government can physically take over your plant to ensure that you meet the production schedule.

Um....... How is that principle applied to multinational corporations?

Why do you think that the US has a policy that any weapon or critical material be produced inn plants physically located in the US?

When Baretta won the contract for the M9 pistol they had to build a plant in the US. If BP did not have refineries in the US - they would not have gotten the contract.

I find it ironic how people complain about the 'military-industrial complex' when looking at things from the perspective of a defense sub-contractor - we are at the total mercy of the US government and the DOD. One of the reasons I want to get away from the Industrial Security field and into Homeland Security/Emergency management is because I constantly see people putting of the decision on whether or not to by a house or a car until after this years defense budget is passed.

Sorry to get off subject. The Italian company won the contract with their inferior Beretta 92F pistol after an Army competition against other entries from S&W, Colt etc. At the time the decision was widely felt to be a quid-pro-quo for the Italian government selecting Bell Helicopter's Huey for their military. Anyone who has spent any time in defense procurement understands that politics is often responsible for less than optimium decisions.

And the M9 has a very poor reputation with the troops in the field. The ability of the 9mm round to stop an attacker is so bad that the Army mandated the 'double tap' for all combat shooting. In addition the aluminum frame of the pistol weras out after a few thousand rounds.

And to make it worse - the pistol and the holster designed for it has a fundamental design flaw. The holster is designed to squeeze the pistol on the sides so it is more secure and stable. However the sides of the holster frequently catch the safety and take the weapon off safe. Thus the pistol can become off safe without the soldier being aware of it.

In fact during my tour in Iraq there was a huge disconnect between the troops in the field and the Pentagon bureaucrats. The troops wanted the 9mm round replaced by the .40 caliber and the 5.56mm round replaced by the 6.8mm. Instead the Pentagon kept coming up with new 5.56mm designs and wondering why they were not a significant improvement over what we already have.

BTW - my unit had to smuggle tanks into Iraq. We needed tanks but the Pentagon theorists felt that fancy electronics and lots of radios (situational awareness) made tanks obsolete. It didn't occurr to them that knowing that the guys you are fighting are inside a concrete building does no good if you didn't have weapons that could penetrate that concrete.

Ok - rant mode over. Not as if I have any opinions on the conduct of the war - right? ;-)

You may be right but I don't think a jury will ever hear any of it. I think it will be settled (civil) or plea bargained (criminal) out of court because the companies and MMS would like to avoid additional exposure.

es -- I would go with that bet except I wonder if they can settle on a monitary penalty that everyone, especially TO, can survive with?

TO is sitting on a lot of cash right now. In fact they are holding up $1 billion in dividend payments as they wait for the smoke to settle.

As of their June 30 financial statements they have $37.552 billion in assets vs. $16.825 billion in liabilities.

Current assets are $5.914 billion vs $4.668 in current liabilities.

They can drop $1.3 billion and still pay all of their bills.

We mighty proud your other problem-solving worked out better'n that, Rockman.

lotus - When I got out of Texas A&M my office mate went to Amarillo, Texas (out west...dry but still damn hot) for a job interview. I asked why? He said it was the closest potential job he could get to the mountains in Colorada (he grew up on the flat Texas coast). I wanted to work anywhere but New Orleans...which is where I started. Just like drilling a well: there is the plan and then there's what really happens. LOL.

Rock....What class were you? When I was there, I worked summers roustabouting in Andrews. But I grew up about 60 miles SW of Houston. After graduating, I wanted to to work in W Texas, so they sent me to Lafayette, which I liked. Then on to NO, which I didn't like. Now back in Houston, enjoying Hermine. LOL

hb - I was with Mobil oil in N.O. from '75 to almost '78. Then in Houston ever since. When I got out of A&M in '75 I had a chance to go to work in Bakersfield. Might not sound much to others but the prospect was wonderful to me: dry desert and mountains within eyeshot. Did field work out there one August. Even though dehydration dang near killed me one day (front page news humidity even for Bakersfield: 8%) I still liked the possibility. Sounded damn good to me, in fact. But family obligations got me back to N.O.

So you grew up around El Campo/Wharton? Was working on a well down at Pierce Ranch just a couple of weeks ago.

Rock--I finished A&M in '69, left NO in '73. The dry heat in Andrews was great for me. The full time roustabouts all complained when temps were 100F and I felt relatively cool. Of course I about died after getting home to Wharton. Bakersfield would have been a good place to work too.
During high school, I worked for a rancher whose land was just across the Colorado from some Pierce land. There was a big gas pipeline crossing there--the suspension bridge type. His son, about 5 years older than me would walk the line to the other side and poach deer. He was one crazy dude!

When I talk to someone on the phone from Houston and they tell me its raining there, I frequently ask them, "How can you tell?"

To me its a coin toss about which city is more humid, Houston or New Orleans. Dallas is fairly humid but is darn near bone dry compaired to either city. Getting off the plane in either city in August is always a shock. It's like being inside a tea kettle.

Humidity does have a few advantages. You don't have to shovel it and it's good for your skin. Compare a 45 yo person from Denver with one from Houston -- the poor Denverite will likely look like a prune.
I had to spend a week during December in Denver. My face felt like I shaved with sandpaper, my lips chapped, my nose bled and I got shocked every time I touched a door nob. When I exited the plane into the terminal in Houston, I took a deep sniff and said to myself....Ahhhh, mildew! LOL

My wife is from western New York in the "Southern Tier" where a several feet of snow a night is a common occurance (lake effects snow.) I met her just after she moved to Dallas. Every time I start complaining about the heat in Dallas in August, she too reminds that "at least you don't have to shovel it."

First year we were married, we called my new father-in-law who still lives up there on April 1 and he had just had 48-inches of snow the night before in his village. Not powder, but a heavy wet snow.

Yep, I'll heat and humidity every time.

WE ARE FAMOUS. Alexander Higgins included many of us on his blog again. Me, rocky, oilfield trash, undertow, francis, avon, he even got beachmom's toes (met her in person and the rest is better than the toes, she has a great smile). Anyhow I feel like a real journalist now. Ok, the rest can now start calling this baby Einstein out, but I had my moment.

Thanks for the drinks and gulf shrimp TFHG~I was in a funk after the funeral and just needed to get away ASAP, and enjoyed meeting a neighbor and fellow TOD poster. I saw that article last week and he and BK Lim seem to have a major issue with TOD, but glad they enjoyed posting the blue toes:) Whatever ....

Since I had never been to GS, I was shocked at how clean the area we were in looked after reading PIG's post about the beach there, of course it could have been a different area?

Yes the sand is of good quality. The tar balls are getting hard to find and if not for the brown foam I would have nothing to photo. I am concerned about the reports of dispersant still being dispensed from the cleanup vessels. Isn't the official word is that NO dispersants are being used or have been used since the top kill and capping?

That is what I thought I heard, and have a friend who was at the spill site for 5-6 weeks and has pic's of the Adriatic and another boat spraying and he had the dispersant on his boat and had seen it in the water and the reaction in water. I was trying to get him to post here since he had some crazy stories and fabulous pictures, but he told me ppl believe what they want to believe (just like Rockman told me), so he wasn't going to try and re-but anything. Still, I thought others would enjoy hearing from his perspective on what he witnessed out there and the pics.

Tin~I didn't seee any brown foamy water, but I never walked out to the shoreline.........was it out there yesterday?

Yes, I will get photos today. Thing is, there are biological reason for the foam too. Bacterium. Of course we are also talking the oil consuming kind. There is more 'brown foam' than normal IMHO, I will take new pictures. I have some from a week ago.

I think dispersant would have been used vigorously near the wellhead for several days after the July 15 capping, because they spilled extra just before capping. Can't find it, but I think I read that July 19 was the last day of substantial use. Dispersant has little effect on oldish weathered oil and no effect at all on tar. There is no reason why BP would want to pay for applying dispersant after August 1, as there was no dispersable oil left in the Gulf.

I was told by cleanup personnel if it rises to the surface before it comes to shore, the boat tenders have been instructed to knock it back down with a shot of dispersant, regardless of weathering. What was described to me by cleanup personnel was likened to 'spraying a huge yard with the Chemlawn truck'. Of course this are some local youngins I am talking to so any information should be considered as such. That is why I held on to this for a few days, it is just too thin.

You know as well as anyone that the standard reply is that if there were a big cover-up of something, like for instance clandestine Corexit 9500 ® spraying, then there would be too many mouths to keep shut. Not only gossiping secretaries and receptionists, but also drunken oil hands and fishermen who frequent taverns where the waitresses call you "sugar" and the beer is Bud or Lone Star in a long-neck bottle, not "ale" or "hefeweisen" (shudder), like they serve up here in Ory-gun. If you want to drink a foreign beer, then it better be Heinekin or Corona.

'Course sometimes things ain't quite what they seem, like when I learned that a local "craft brewery" (Brigeport) that gives its address as Portland, Oregon is actually a part of the Gambrinius Company, a TEXAS outfit with a "strong marketing agenda" that has a Business Philosophy that includes the "...unrelenting focus on volume growth through brand development", and a zealous legal department, judging by the 47,350 word legal disclaimer on their website, in which


(and many other things).

Still, I'm hoping that your sources will step forward and blow some whistles, 'cause I'm feelin' overwhelmed by big business, big government and the legal profession (present company excluded).

Of Course Its All CT stuff in the eyes of many here but many including fisherman, activists, local government officials and scientists have came forward and made the claim and/or report ongoing use of Corexit.

Then there are claims and antecodal evidence such as components of Corexit still being found in inland waters and even a swimming pool when its use official stopped 1 and 1/2 months ago and it is claimed to biodegrade in much less time.

As has been pointed out here numerous times, squirt some Simple Green in a corner of a pool, wait a few minutes and take a sample. You'll come up positive for the "deadly ingredient" that's in Corexit 9527A. I wonder why it dropped only into this pool.

A cheap parlor trick, AH. Done by the same chemist who somehow had a sample explode while video was rolling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2-Butoxyethanol, scroll down to Uses.

I am still confused as to why anyone even acknowledges him being on here.

The Corexit now has been confirmed by at least three labs in multiple locations so these reports are not from the same chemist.

As far as the simple green in the pool it is my understanding that issue was brought up by those who broke the story and someone in the family has some condition that required the pool to be saltwater only pool with no chemical additives.

While you do suggest what normally would plausible explanation it would be better handled if the story was just not ignored by the media, investigated so it is no longer a matter of speculation.

The multiple tests are coming from from different people and different labs including individuals, a law firm/environmental group, local news stations, local activists groups, and local/county governments.

With apologies to BPShareholder, none of them have detected Corexit. They've detected one, two or three compounds that are in 9527A that also happen to be in lots of other stuff.

I know. I'm talking about responding to AH. It's apparent that he isn't going to believe anything any of you say.

That's is not true... you really have the wrong person.

What is true is I find it much easier to believe information that has been peer reviewed or released from independent parties outside of the Government / BP.

The Government has covered up many things in the past and continues to turn a deaf ear on a host of environmental poisoning (EG The Gulf Oil Spill, 9/11 Air Quality and http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2010/toxic.america/)

BP also has their own motives.

Information from both BP and the Government has been disputed and rebutted by the independent scientific community time and again throughout this disaster.

Practically every day there are new reports/test results that contradict the story coming from the Government and BP.

Actually components of both flavors have been detected... and the waters the Gulf are not included in that list all of the other stuff that those components are included in.

Yup. They share most of them, along with lots of other products and substances that do. It's a giant leap to go from finding any of them to concluding that it's Corexit, and especially so from inland samples.

Finding multiple components of the dispersants in repeated water samples makes a good case that the water contains the dispersant.

Not really.

Ideally, one would like to see baseline data from water samples collected from the GOM before the "incident". Lacking that, a strong correlation between the amount of various Corexit components and the proximity of the collection site to the Macondo well, and a lack of correlation with proximity to the Mississippi River would strengthen the case.

And given how politicized this mess has become, blind data analysis by a well-respected lab would be important.

Concerning eye-witness accounts, I'd like to see someone step forward and say "I was instructed by BP (or the Feds) to apply dispersant from my boat ...."

Since base line data is not available perhaps a disappearance of said chemicals can be used as a substitute.

I would say proximity to Macondo well would be somewhat irrelevant as dispersant has been sprayed by US Military aircraft in locations away from "Ground Zero" if you will.

Proximity to the Mississippi may be a different story.

As far as the labs I would imagine the lab being used by Lean & StuartStag and the other lab being used by the Government officials would fit that bill.

As far as eye-witness accounts as you suggest time will tell.

Tinfoil, regarding what the kids said who had worked in the cleanup--maybe they were going by rumors rather than their own experience. In folklore, oil rises unless Corexit sinks it to the bottom, then it still wants to rise and has to be "knocked down." BUT--dispersants don't sink oil to the bottom, rather they cause droplets to hang in the water until they are broken down by bacteria. It is like the oil in bottled Italian dressing--it does not separate and rise. Moreover, there is virtually no oil per se left in the Gulf. There is tar and biological goo that may or may not contain intact oil fractions. The brown foam is biological goo, not Corexit.


Apparently you CAN make a living just from blogging!!!

I'm gonna have to look into this ......................

You are here. You must like to blog. Get a job doing it and see how much you still like it. You would probably quit within a year.

"BK Lim is a geohazards specialist who has dissected the entire 'Macondo prospect gushing wells scenario' with penetrating forensic analysis and well-honed investigative techniques. He has broken down so many facets of this apparent deception that one is left with only one conclusion." My, my.

Okay, go to http://oilspillsolutionsnow.org/?page_id=228 where Lim's fantasy proof of a second well is laid out nice and pretty, slide down to the bottom, and read the one comment:

dana tognini says:
September 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm
So did the real gushing well stop on its own?

My response to his comment is waiting moderation. I think it's not going to be posted, I told him his comment would have to be buried in a heap together with the comments Matt Simmons made.

Don't see your comment anywhere.

Thanks for including me in your blog. Really didn't say much but I feel famous. It was brought to my attention from NOLA.COM . I am glad, it rescued me front the race wars I have been fighting on al.com and nola.com. Due my diverse ethnicity, I am one of the few that can moderate with equal personal bias for and against all sides. It gets tiring quickly. Good luck with the blog and remember, nothing wrong with wild speculation as long as
1. You disclose that it is speculation.
2. You have a plan to deal with the data as it comes it and amend your writings accordingly. Everyone know here I am an admitted crackpot, but many cannot wait until my next post. That is why I blog under s pseudonym, I am a fictional person anyhow. Since I am fictional, no need to vet my CV. Vet my words. Remember that, vet the words not the person.
You can access my photobucket @ http://s892.photobucket.com/home/tinfoilhatguy/allalbums and you can use photos in you site with my permission if you let me know and you let me comment. I warn you though, I have not found the widespread issues you bring up. My comments would tend to reflect that.

BK Lim is a FOO specialist, and I've become convinced he must be among the world's foremost. How does this guy get away with claiming any understanding at all? His grand knowledge could be refuted by any Earth Sciences 101 student.

"BK Lim is a geohazards specialist who has dissected the entire 'Macondo prospect gushing wells scenario' with penetrating forensic analysis and well-honed investigative techniques. He has broken down so many facets of this apparent deception that one is left with only one conclusion." My, my.

Just to be clear here those are not my words nor my claims nor do they appear or anything I have written.

I am not a "geohazards" expert nor do I have any expertise in geology so I can not vouch for nor refute BK Lim's work.

However, As I responded to Fintan Dunne:

My rant is not about sticking up for BK Lim or his theories. This is about the personally targeted slanderous attacks being launched from members within The Oil Drum against many simply for the fact they disagree with BP and Government propaganda.

Just to further reinforce this point I was probably one of the first people who spoke with him, via email and on the phone, about discrepancies that I found in his research.

I consider your use of my words on your blog to further your agenda as a personally targeted slanderous attack. I don't have any connection with the oil industry at all. But I am a geologist.

Edit: Sorry to be snippy, but I have never gone over there and posted anything on your site. It really upsets me to have my thoughts repeated where I would never have posted them.

hmm... the only thing posted that your wrote as quoting you for asking if I have been talking to BK Lim.. taken from here http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6905#comment-711815

Crike-a-rootie. Have you been talking to BK Lim? Sigh.

How does that support your assertions?

In the context, it implies that I'm yet another BP apologist who dares to disagree with Lim. As written here, I meant it as a joke. At that time I didn't realize you actually DO believe Lim, never having bothered to look at your blog.

My problem with Lim is simply that his interpretation of the GOM geology is wrong. So wrong that it's like claiming that the earth is flat, then using that to assert that the airlines fly longer than needed "curved" routes from New York to London. I'm just so utterly tired of having to refute his diagram with those salt domes and faults.

Edit to add: Here's a link to a rather basic summary written shortly after the blowout:


Brief as it is, even that shows just how far off-base Lim is. The Louann Salt plays no part whatsoever in the Macondo, nor do the listric faults which do not penetrate the shale cap. His doggone diagram has made it into my circles in real life, and it's just embarrassing.

Still you say I DO believe LIM although I clearly stated I am not educated enough in the field to pass judgment on his work either way.

To correct something else -- it would be correct to say that BK LIM believes me and not the other way around.

He has stated himself that was my research and writings into the NOAA data and cracks in the seafloor caused by the IXTOC blowout which inspired his work on the subject whether his work is correct or not.

Brief as it is, even that shows just how far off-base Lim is. The Louann Salt plays no part whatsoever in the Macondo, nor do the listric faults which do not penetrate the shale cap. His doggone diagram has made it into my circles in real life, and it's just embarrassing.

Perhaps it would be helpful if the subject were addressed in a post by The Oil Drum, much like Dougr's comments were, and backed by actual fact.

I have seen rebuttal arguments and you make some of your own, but what evidence is their to support either side's argument?

For example, Art Berman (IIRC) contends that modern day data shows that reservoirs can not communicate with each other and you assert that salt nor faults play not part whatsoever.

But what evidence is their to support either side of the argument? Are the plots/maps/siesmic surveys of the geology and/or mud logs and other data available to support or refute either sides argument? I have search and have only been able to find "claims" made by "experts" which contradict each sides arguments.

For example, Dr. Bea has stated that underground fractures can communicate for miles before surfacing and that it may be impossible to definitively say one seep/sea floor leak comes from one particular reservoir over an another.

Congressman Markey as also raised the question of inter-reservoir communication and if such a thing were impossible as Art Berman asserts why would a congressman be so foolish to ask such an outlandish question.

Other experts have also made claims that underground blowouts could contribute or augment natural seeps.

My own intuition tells me if a leaks can pass through faults from a reservoir and seep through the sea floor through miles of strata in natural seeps then Art Berman's assertion that sealing shale prevent communication between from being a possibility is incorrect.

If you picture the ocean as one reservoir and the actual hydrocarbon reservoir and they communicate with each other then what makes it impossible for two reservoirs to communicate.

Perhaps sealing shales make it unlikely but not impossible.

Again, a post on The Oil Drum addressing the issue instead of attacking those who raise the questions would help.

While you may get annoyed at it when such hypothesis are posted in many places those seeking a "technical" analysis of such works surely will come here to get the opinions of "experts" in the field.

Well, it looks like you and I are going to dominate the forum today. That's OK with me.

So are you saying Lim got his bad info from you? I didn't even look at the data from Ixtoc because I know that's not even apples and oranges - it's more like apples and cows. There is no similarity between the Northern and Southern GOM geologically, and no conclusions from Ixtoc have any bearing on the Macondo. There are not, and cannot be, cracks in a seafloor that consists of unconsolidated mud. There is no hard rock down at least to the Louann. As you go deeper, the formation becomes firmer, yes. But it won't support an open fracture from any source after the late Miocene, which is quite a ways below where the well is.

I didn't say reservoirs can't communicate, but I will say that any decent flow path is very unlikely. That's because the Macondo region is characterized by turbidite flows which repeatedly narrow or cut off the paths. The turbidites can be clearly seen in a 2D seismic section. So you might get a slight seepage from one to the other, if they are both very near the same age, but nothing more.

"Plots/maps/siesmic surveys"? Sure. The USGS has them in abundance, but your best bet is to simply get a textbook on stratigraphy and sedimentation. The work is rather old, and the geology has been understood for a long time. Later data like what you seem to be searching for will mostly be proprietary information collected by the oil companies. Since the overall geology is known, the only reason to do new work is to find those reservoirs. If you search back on TOD, there was a very nice 2D section posted here. It shows both the turbidites and those listric faults, which die out in the middle-to-late Miocene. The faults haven't moved since because the tectonic plate that energized them broke off and is now happily sinking.

"Dr. Bea has stated" - Yes, I know. My jaw hit the floor when I read that. I can only hope he was misquoted. Fractures can communicate over miles in rock, but that doesn't apply at all here. As for not being able to tell where a seep comes from - you may not be able to identify an unknown source, but if it comes from any known reservoir, the identification is very simple. Every oil sand, whether it be economic or just a puddle, has a unique chemical fingerprint. Why? Because every community of proto-oil organisms was unique in its population. You can also tell to some extent how long it has been free of the source because it degrades at a fairly well known rate. Nearly all natural GOM seeps have very shallow origins.

Underground blowouts, I suppose, could augment a seep. But augment is the key - where is the increased flow one would expect if high pressure oil got behind the seep? AFAIK, the natural seeps are behaving no differently except where the ROV thrusters have stirred up the cover.

My own intuition tells me if a leaks can pass through faults from a reservoir and seep through the sea floor through miles of strata in natural seeps...

I think I just answered that. Ain't gonna happen.

I agree it might make a good posting topic, though probably for Drumbeat rather than the main forum. If that happens, I'll be in there.

So are you saying Lim got his bad info from you?

I do not where BK Lim received his Geological data.

... no conclusions from Ixtoc have any bearing on the Macondo. There are not, and cannot be, cracks in a seafloor that consists of unconsolidated mud. There is no hard rock down at least to the Louann. As you go deeper, the formation becomes firmer, yes. But it won't support an open fracture from any source after the late Miocene, which is quite a ways below where the well is.

Then what explains the leaks from the seafloor in the area (to the North and on the biloxi dome)?

I didn't say reservoirs can't communicate, but I will say that any decent flow path is very unlikely...

Apparently Art Berman made the statement that reservoirs can't communicate. Again you point to unlikely but not impossible.

"Plots/maps/siesmic surveys"? Sure...

The lack of this data freely available to experts who can interpret would clear up things. Until that is made available I assume we can all statements for or against arguments are speculation on what is likely and what is not.

Dr. Bea .. but that doesn't apply at all here.Fractures can communicate over miles in rock, but that doesn't apply at all here. As for not being able to tell where a seep comes from ...Nearly all natural GOM seeps have very shallow origins.

Agreed... fingerprinting can define the source if the reservoir is know and a sample is available from the reservoir.

As I pointed out in this post http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6905#comment-711415 which was attacked for using the "sensationists" term river instead of plume.

WHOI has identified the oil is not from the BP well nor is it from pre-existing natural seeps and begins right on the edge of the Biloxi dome which further fuels the speculation.

As far as it not communicating not applying here... I would like to see proof for either side of the argument.

"Nearly all" makes it unlikely but not impossible. Would not the multiple leaks on the Biloxi dome in a relativity close area be more likely if so many leaks were coming from a single reservoir as opposed to the probability of having multiple reservoirs in such a close proximity who all have coincidentally each developed their own leaks through the sea floor?

Underground blowouts, I suppose, could augment a seep. But augment is the key - where is the increased flow one would expect if high pressure oil got behind the seep? AFAIK, the natural seeps are behaving no differently except where the ROV thrusters have stirred up the cover.

From what I have read this is not true at all. As you have pointed out the leaks need to seep through the mud. Furthermore drilling mud could possible create encrustations that appear to be rocks.

I have also read that when these leaks make their way through the mud the methane would first appear becoming a hydrate on sea bed followed by congealed globs of oil.

Because of the hydrate formation the leaks become blocked intermittently until enough pressure builds to release more hydrocarbons through the faults.

Again a lot of uncertainties and speculation on both sides of the argument at this point.

Edit: Blockquotes where removed

Another point. Your posts are too long. You lose folks. Until you get a technical background where your words will appeal to that sector, you should really limit your posts to one clear thought with appropriate accompaniment. You trying to take my audience or something? Keep working, just try to get better. I honestly think there is real hope for something special out of you. You remind me of me. You just need to come to the good side of the force. You have been listening to Sith Lords like the late Mr. Simmons too much. You do not need Jedi tricks. You need your mind and a PC.

But Alex, that's exactly my point! The "plume" originates at the Biloxi Dome, which is a deformational feature of the Louann Salt. The oil associated with the Dome is coming from below it, having formed during the very warm era that preceded the Louann deposition. That oil is mid-Jurassic, and is 175 million years old or more. The Macondo sand is Miocene, around 22 million years old. Stratigraphically they are several thousand feet apart. The Dome (and the other domes around there) pushed up through the younger sediments because of the loading caused by the Mississippi River bringing sediments derived from the Rocky Mountains.

Here, read this: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/06mexico/background/geology/g...

Salt sheets like the Louann are very effective caprocks. Because salt deforms plastically, the only place you get cracks is at the top of such features. By contrast, the salt below the Macondo well is thinner, that being the place it was squished out from to form the domes, and it's quite solid because of compaction.

The salt is underlain by limestone beds. That's the normal sequence in an evaporite environment. The limestone formed as reefs and detrital sheets in a sea that was losing its connection with the ocean. The limestone beds are probably the source rock for the oil. As the cut-off became total, the water started drying up. That's what precipitated the salt. During the salt deposition period, no oil was formed because the organisms can't live in the hyper-saline environment.

I have no idea why the Biloxi Dome has increased its seepage - if indeed it has - but it can't possibly have anything to do with the well. Even though the dome is geographically higher than the well, it's lower in strata. In order for oil from the Macondo to get there, it would have to go down against geopressure, get through the salt cap, travel miles, then get up again through the caprock.

If I had to guess, I would postulate that the "plume" is something that just hadn't been noticed before. We actually know about very few of the natural seeps because they are not easy to find and there's no reason to look. If it hadn't been for the DWH mess, no one would ever have found all those seeps around the well, for example. Under normal circumstances, we just accept that there are seeps all over the place and don't worry about them.

Edit to add: If an underground blowout happened in that sediment, you would not get "seeps" by any means. You would get a violent blasting of oil and/or gas through the mud. The gusher would, at first, very rapidly increase. After a few days, it would start to decline because the depleting reservoir would start collapsing. In the end it would close itself off, but while it was going, there would be not the slightest doubt!

The Macondo sand is Miocene, around 22 million years old. Stratigraphically they are several thousand feet apart

This depends on the location of the formation. For example this graphic depicts some formations that are several hundred feet apart and others that are several thousand. http://www.geoexpro.com/sfiles/24/29/2/picture/seismic.jpg

Salt sheets like the Louann are very effective caprocks

But the NOAA article you cite also clearly states that while the domes are created by constant pushing on the salt like toothpaste in a tube but the sediments surrounding the domes are full of numerous faults and fractures due to the creation of the domes.

"Due to the continued "squeezing" of salt causes numerous fractures and faults in surrounding sediments. These fractures then serve as pathways through which fluids and gases rise from the deep subsurface, where they have been produced."

I have no idea why the Biloxi Dome has increased its seepage - if indeed it has - but it can't possibly have anything to do with the well. Even though the dome is geographically higher than the well, it's lower in strata. In order for oil from the Macondo to get there, it would have to go down against geopressure, get through the salt cap, travel miles, then get up again through the caprock.

Being lower in the strata interesting because you argue that hydrocarbons can travel through rock but not the salt.

If it could be proven that macondo reservoir is higher in the strata and their is an area between the biloxi dome and the macondo resevior is so deep that the oil would have to travel downward your argument would make much sense.

I can imagine that rock formation continues to increase on a downward plane while the salt gets much thicker in a solid block between the two points.

It would make much more sense that there is solid rock formation at the same depth across the the distance.

We actually know about very few of the natural seeps because they are not easy to find and there's no reason to look. If it hadn't been for the DWH mess, no one would ever have found all those seeps around the well, for example. Under normal circumstances, we just accept that there are seeps all over the place and don't worry about them.

The little knowledge that we do have and the discovery of the new seeps around the well is what made be initially question how NOAA was so fast to declare the seeps as natural and pre-existing. IMO they made such declarations prematurely and perhaps if the declaration was made after testing much of the speculation about the mater would have been squashed.

If an underground blowout happened in that sediment, you would not get "seeps" by any means. You would get a violent blasting of oil and/or gas through the mud. The gusher would, at first, very rapidly increase. After a few days, it would start to decline because the depleting reservoir would start collapsing. In the end it would close itself off, but while it was going, there would be not the slightest doubt!

I know you have argued IXTOC is entirely different, but there continues to this day to have natural seeps from that area. Furthermore your argument implies that natural seeps would self seal after a certain period of time but science tells us many have continued for millions of years.

Alex, sometimes you seem self-defeating. Can you read that seismic section? It shows exactly what I told you. See the dashed black line that runs pretty straight? That's the top of the lower Jurassic formations, and they didn't deform with the salt. They did deform into mild synclines and anticlines during the syntectonic compression and extension events, but not very much. Above that, you have the limestones. Those were weaker and the synclines/anticlines are just a bit more pronounced. Above that is the salt sheet, which is not easily seen in this section. Those salt blobs at either side are broken-loose diapiric bodies, and their presence masks the seismic under them. Up at the green dashed line, you are above the salt sheet and into Mississippi River sediments. Those sediments formed into canyons on the birdsfoot delta that existed from the end of the salt period to the early Miocene. In this interval, there is also another limestone layer that marks the return of the sea. Up above that, you finally get into the middle Miocene era where the Macondo sand is. Notice that as time progressed, the sediments filled in those canyons. There are your turbidite slopes, and the salt intrusions created another set of turbidite slopes later on.

Now, as the salt squeezed up through the sediments, it lifted those sediments up with it. If not for erosion, the salt domes would be capped by them today. At no time was there any way for the sequence to get reversed because there was no overturn event. Cracks could form only in the sediments that had enough integrity - in this case the upper limestone and any sandstones that are just above it. So even though the domes now stand high, it just means the sediments that once covered them (and were contemporary with the Macondo sand) are now part of the sediment between them.

So to get that oil from A to B, you DO have to push it down, through the sediments the Macondo stopped in, through the upper limestone, through the salt, and into the lower limestone where the sub-salt oil comes from and which IS continuous at the same depth. And all this against greater pressure than the well had.

OK, the other point. Natural seeps and a blowout are two very different things. Natural seeps are low pressure and will go on as long as there's anything left to seep like a leak from your crankcase. A blowout flushes the sand out of the reservoir and also violently disturbs the overlying sediments. The reservoir locally depletes exactly as a water well will draw down if pumped too hard, and there will be subsidence into the ripped-up area. Eventually the remaining pressure isn't enough to move the muck, and it stops. Or possibly becomes another natural seep, slowly letting oil out over ages.

Perhaps we could speak on the phone because you keep reiterating that oil can not travel from the Macondo reservoir down into the reservoirs beneath the Biloxi Dome then up through the seeps coming from those reservoirs which I understand but apparently you are not getting the point I am trying to make and it might be easier to explain it on the phone.

Sorry, I balk there. The reason I post under a handle is because I work for a federal agency (not the one that regulates oil) that wouldn't like people discussing political hot spuds. Alex, all I want you to do is find out the truth. If you posted truth on your blog, I'd be happy to support you. Again, I suggest getting a strat&sed book. Or if you want and can interpret the raw data, the USGS will supply it at a small charge. You might have to ask the Denver field office - they have the complete catalog. And now, I really need to get some shut-eye so I can go to work later. Good night.

Pink, you are making an incredible effort here and you have my deep respect for trying. Part of the ethos of TOD is teaching. Great example of that here.

I'm not sure anything anybody says will make much difference. Higgins seems to be locked into a certain belief system out of something but I don't know if its distrust, stuborness, Dunning–Kruger or something else. TFHG thinks it might be an emotions bias. I certainly don't know but I've run into a lot of unteachable students in my time.

Whatever it is, you're trying very hard. I vote you a half-gallon of BBIC.

Hard to psycho-analyze one's self but I don't think Dunning–Kruger would fit the bill as I have already showed that I am willing to admit my mistakes.


Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

1. tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
2. fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
3. fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
4. recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.

1) Tend to overestimate their own level of skill - Some may say its so but I openly admit I am not an expert.
2) Fail to recognize genuine skill in others - I would say if that was so I would not be discussing my conclusions, be they right or wrong, with other who I clearly acknowledge are have skills and educations much greater than mine
3) fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy - If this were the case I don't think I would even be here. Perhaps I would be in some CT forum.

Perhaps something else fits the tab, and as I have said I haven't been presented with the actual evidence to prove what is being discussed here either way but the theory that oil must communicate downward would go along way.

This is why I asked for clarification on how the fractures/faults from the cracks could not possibly be communicating with the leaks coming from the sea floor in the Biloxi dome or even those discovered near Rigel well for that matter.

It is claimed that there are multiple seperate Biloxi dome reservoir is below the DWH resevior in the strata but how does that prevent the oil leaking through fractures/faults from the DWH well from communicating with the shafts/vents of the Biloxi dome leaks?

Pinkfud clearly points out the historical geology of the area and asserts the multiple "sealing" layers would prevent downward communication but being 5-7 miles away it is not beyond conceivable that there may be slightly inclined horizontal pathway for communication.

Awesome posting here Pinkfud. I am finding this exchange utterly fascinating.

excuse me guys ....

but, contrary to AH's assertion that "WHOI has identified the oil is not from the BP well..,"

WHOI's 8/19 press release states:

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) detected and characterized a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

and the WHOI site has a nice animation of the plume under discussion originating at the DWH site.
WHOI Scientists Map and Confirm Origin of Large, Underwater Hydrocarbon Plume in Gulf


Plume animation
This animation of a plume of hydrocarbons emanating from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill shows the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry making numerous criss-cross penetrations to map the parameters of the 1,100 meter-deep plume. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists, who conducted the NSF-funded work in June 2010, report the plume is 1.2 miles wide, 650 feet high, and at least 22 miles long. WHOI developed and operates Sentry.

but, contrary to AH's assertion that "WHOI has identified the oil is not from the BP well..,"

No I do assert that it IS from BP's well and NOT from natural seeps but the river/plume anomaly starts near the northeast edge of the Biloxi dome and becomes well formed while traveling over the Biloxi dome heading southwest. (See the Graphic Above).

the quote was a copy and paste from your earlier post here


One of my infamous typos. Obviously the quote contradicts the graphic directly above it.

You've illustrated natural seeps from an area known to produce natural seeps and a plume that was discovered a couple months ago.

"What we found is that a subsurface hydrocarbon plume existed," says ocean physicist Richard Camilli of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). "It was created by the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well."

There's no scientific basis upon which to conclude that 1) the seeps are worse and 2) the ng emanating from them has anything whatsoever to do with the Macondo reservoir and associated activity. You're willing to take huge speculative leaps that are not justified by data and then suggest scary causation with no qualification. That appears to be based on personal distrust, a tendency to catastrophize, and a desire for web traffic. Other than increasing your own web traffic and scaring people, what have you contributed?*

* denotes a rhetorical question

When people hear you say "..personally targeted slanderous attacks being launched from members within The Oil Drum against many simply for the fact they disagree with BP and Government propaganda," you're surprised that anyone would challenge your attribution of motivation?

What I have heard, is people on TOD challenging sloppy and unsubstantiated statements from people, among whom there are people who often allege that BP and/or the Government are engaged in a conspiracy to silence them.

Since you're making the allegations about slander, do you want to cite some examples?

From the post linked above cites several examples

Calling me a flamer and referring to my response defending a misleading comment about one of my posts which was further attempt to attack me as “blog whoring visit due to a market downturn in doomsday scenarios”


Attacking Gregg Hall [– videos of oil/tar balls on Pensacola beach which refuted a post that misleads into believe the beach is clean -] This one is particularly nasty because they totally use Gregg’s Native American heritage to make him look like some kind of demon that is “a fan of Hitler”

Attacking Florida Oil Spill Law [who for merely posting citations from mainstream media, divulging private registrant information , calling the site owner an "ad whore"]

Attacking LEAN (Louisiana Environmental Action Network) [ along with the lawyer's representing them]

Attacking ME [noted above]

And there is plenty more about me and others.

Yeah, I used "flamer" in reference to you. In particular that was a reference to your inflammatory video that falsely claimed that there were "holes" in "rocks" and that oil was or would be erupting from the sea floor. I could have picked others.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6599#comment-649805, tip of the hat to comfychair.

Flamer is most commonly used as a slander against homosexuals which most will be the interpretation of those who read the original comment.

That link you posted uses sarcasm and is a more appropriate way to respond and thanks for bringing that my attention.

Personally it does point out that since the ROV footage was inspecting wreckage prior to the screen cap that there is a plausible explanation for the image besides being a rock but only raises the possibility IMO.

"The term may have been independently invented at several different places. It has been reported from MIT, Carleton College and RPI (among many other places) from as far back as 1969, and from the University of Virginia in the early 1960s." (Ref: http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/F/flame.html). Me, UVa, class of 1969. Flamer, as in behaves in an inflamed or inflammatory manner. I also have been known to refer to folks running around with their hair on fire in relation to the BP mess.

That "rock" was probably sitting on top of a mud mat, by the way.

I supposed that we can write it off as terminology difference between us common folk of the masses and the smarter educated folk.

Even still...

I am not a fan of scaring the crap out of people who are already frightened based on nothing more than supposition, especially when it involves a traffic-driving motive.

But you are a fan of scaring the crap out of people who already frightened based on promising an apocalyptic doomsday crash of energy including "peak oil", "peak coal", and "peak gas" of which the "peak oil" apocalypse which has been predicted to happen almost countless times over the last century but never has.

Me? No. It'll happen at some point but I don't know when because I'm not prescient. I think it's probably a good idea on an individual basis to try to reduce petro-consumption and I've seen no good evidence that oil is abiotic and known reservoirs will be refilled.

It's a mistake to lump everybody at TOD together.

Alex, good of you to stop by.

I think you make a very valid point that the theory of "Peak Oil" as often presented has the hallmarks of a doomsday scenario.

However, there are some key differences between that theory and dougr's doomsday theory, which, by the way, was very persuasive, well argued and based on a lot of true information with many reasonable and sound inferences drawn.

The main difference in my mind is that peak oil is based on fairly well established probabilities whereas the toppling BOP seabed blowout theory rested on among the least probable outcomes of key events/issues based on the actual evidence available.

That's oversimplification, perhaps, but i have to get back to work. Sorry.

The main difference in my mind is that peak oil is based on fairly well established probabilities whereas the toppling BOP seabed blowout theory rested on among the least probable outcomes of key events/issues based on the actual evidence available.

Also, peak oil is a gradual, prolonged doomsday scenario, whereas dougr's is a sudden catastrophe with immediate disastrous effects. The first evokes concern, the second panic.

Your credibility was shot here when, 1. you were emphatic that the flex joint was never designed to flex, but instead only existed to allow the attached riser to rotate (rotate, as in twisting - not angular deflection) - all the manufacturer literature showed the upper section perfectly vertical, and the flex joint on the MC252 well was obviously broken because it was not as shown in the brochure; and 2. when you were insistent that there was clear evidence the wellhead/BOP/who knows what else was fatally damaged because the bullseye levels were not showing 0*. The leaking rock thing was actually more understandable and excusable than those two things.

Now you say this BK Lim person is trusting your analysis - of anything? Is that supposed to destroy or enhance his credibility?

My claim was that the top bullseye was mounted below the part of the joint that is meant to flex and that was redacted. That assumption was based on 1) an optical illusion (lack of depth perception) on the ROV camera and 2) an incorrect diagram posted by aethervox which matched the optical illusion.

Explained well here

The conversation on TOD is here

As far as the bullseyes Admiral Allen has confirmed the BOP was leaning, "bobbing around" and even lately confirmed that that well head itself was bent 2 degrees.

While BP and the Government say now that they believe the well was not fatally damaged even BP believe the well had lost integrity and I am supposed to lose credibility for making such claims publicly while BP and the Government believe the same thing the whole time but withheld from the public until Secretary Chu convinced BP the well as not damaged?


Almost anyone with any type of Internet background for any length of time knows the term as it relates to bashing and hostile insulting interactions.

If you go back to Usenet, remember “FLAME ON” and “FLAME OFF” (from “The Human Torch” a.k.a. Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four of the Marvel Comics). Flaming was well established by then to use the Marvel Comics as analogy for flaming.

The term is even listed in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaming_(Internet)

Flaming (also known as bashing) is hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of a discussion board, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Usenet, by e-mail, game servers such as Xbox Live or Playstation Network, and on Video-sharing websites. It is usually the result of the discussion of heated real-world issues like politics, sports, religion, and philosophy, or of issues that polarise subpopulations. Internet trolls frequently set out to incite flame wars for the sole purpose of offending or irritating other posters.

Flaming is usually carried out by individuals known as flamers, who are specifically motivated to incite flaming. These users specialize in flaming and target specific aspects of a controversial conversation, and are usually less subtle than their counterparts. Known as trolls, these users are less professional and speak obvious and blunt remarks to incite a flame war, as opposed to the more subtle, yet precise flamers.

Mr. Higgins claims to be an expert: “NJ's own SEO and Web 2.0 Expert Asp.Net Developer” (from his website.) Therefore, I assume he is well aware of the use of the term on the Internet and its social network context and not just a dim bulb. Therefore, I further assume he is attempting to steer the discussion to imply homophobia knowing full well the generally accepted use of the term on the Internet means bashing and is doing so solely to "target specific aspects of a controversial conversation" (to quote Wikipedia.)

Therefore, it would appear that Mr. Higgins defines himself in this one posting as a "flamer". The shoe fits; pretty classic flaming from a flamer using flame bait and/or acting as a troll.

Aw, I was just trying to be nice(r). I used to kick around in Usenet.

I would have assumed that any "Web 2.0 Expert" would also be aware.

IMO, flamers and spammers killed Usenet, once a very great thing.

Now that takes me back.

This does not imply expertise in online Ebonics nor does it remove the bigotry associated with the word or the fact that so many well educated people would throw the word around so casually and continue to do so even after the stigma attached to the word was made clear to those using it.

online Ebonics

Now that seems like a racist comment to me.

The internet context for that term is probably more typical on TOD.


The "N" word also has an alternate definition to mean "an ingorant person".

However using it even in that context does not remove the association with the racist bigotry for which the word is associated with.

Similary "flamer" has been associated with the so called "inflammatory" behavior of an extremely flamboyant homosexual and using such a word is as publicly offensive as terms such as "faggot" and "queer" and implies a bias and prejudice against homosexuals.

My, my. I wouldn't have guessed you to be such an advocate of pc policing.

Since I used the word and wasted time explaining the context to you, I'm calling you out again. You're obviously attempting to spark a fire. As in flaming.

Pretty blatant flame bait.

Actually, I intended to drop the subject entirely.


I supposed that we can write it off as terminology difference between us common folk of the masses and the smarter educated folk.

Even still...

But others continued the conversation.

And you inadvertently knocked the chum bucket into the water, as in "Even still..."?

I'll take you at your word. Over and out.

But the quote you cite in your block quote above was time stamped at 3:50pm and your "N" word usage comment was time stamped at 4:21pm (31 minutes later).

Yes... at 3:50pm I was going to agree to disagree after which the conversation was continued which prompted my response almost a half hour later.

Niggardly means miserly. I saw the movie Malcolm X. I saw the dictionary scene. So what? Alex you tapped into my latest subject matter. I have gotten threats for using whitey, and I can honestly pass as white. Yet I am a minority too. The vast majority of crime in Gulf Shores is committed by white people. Including murder. There is no n word here. When a white local sees a minority here, they think they are rich. Go figure. I live in opposite world and it shows that the skin color thing is way overrated. You see what I just wrote Alex? That is how you write with emotion and pull it off. It really is my life, but my age helps me 'keep it real'. The main premise of this post is we are all equal, and I KNOW for sure that vast majority of posters here will concur. It does not take a PHD to figure that one out. I am going to join your site and contribute if you let me. I warn you, my stories may not tend to reflect a vast conspiracy or major threats to anyones safety, but it might help you become more mainstream. Mainstream is often a good thing, and in this case I believe it be. The ones I watch now are the lawyers and the cleanup personnel. I also listen to any scientists and see if they have any hard intel. I still suspect small releases of Corexit are occurring from vessels. Even so, I see a minimal threat but if so, why hide it? The potential coverup is what I am concerned about.

I censor no one. Free speech and open debate is good for democracy and our nation.

Others post things on my blog that I do not agree with and the most I will do is add a disclaimer/editor's note.

I can't believe the term flamer bothers you since everyone I know, educated or not knows what it means on the net, but you may have other...........never mind I'll keep that thought to myself, BUT you use the word spooks on your blog AND FB, and that isn't the best word IYKWIM but hey it's your face on the blog and FB so I am by no means trying to police the net, I'm simply saying "POT MEET KETTLE"

Alexander Higgins Several government spooks, some from The Oil Drum, head to a
peak oil conference in Washington D.C to push their agenda by using
apocalyptic energy collapse doomsday scenarios to get the “government to
do what it is not inclined to do (think seat belts, consumer product
safety, and maybe gasoline rationing?)”

spook   /spuk/ Show Spelled[spook] Show IPA
1. Informal . a ghost; specter.
2. Slang . a ghostwriter.
3. Slang . an eccentric person.
4. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive . a black person.
5. Slang . an espionage agent; spy.

Spooks around here is a word that could get you shot vs a flamer.......

Oh well, gotta head out and go for my dailu swim. Nice chatting with you

Spooks around here is a word that could get you shot vs a flamer.......


5. Slang . an espionage agent; spy

The post clearly points the affiliations of The Oil Drum members with our spy agencies and military agencies. It clearly states such information in the biographies.

Not making anything up, just repeating the facts.

If Repeating such "around here is a word that could get you shot" then why even list the information in the biographies?

Both of you. Check this clip out and have a laugh. I get to use my minority card here. I honestly do not believe either of you are that way. Beachmommy for sure, she had a beer and some FRESH LOCAL SHRIMP with a minority yesterday. In front of a BUNCH of white folks.
Also Alex, I can't pull the gay card but I belong to enough minor groups to say you are being too sensitive about it. You can kick it down a notch. Thanks for being concerned.

Excellent... comic relief.

"I belong to enough minor groups . . ."

My kids have you beat: Scotch/Irish/English/Hungarian/Chinese/Indonesian.

At this point I figure that their ethnic group will be; 'all of the above.'

Maybe but it is close. Have you seen the Skittles Korean Irish commercial? That one is funny. Thank God mixed became cool on the government forms with Obama. Now I just check mixed and I am covered. I appreciate all you have done and do. Let's get as close to finishing in Iraq and Afghanistan so we can as get as many out as we can. I pray it can be a total withdraw with just diplomat and spy teams left.

You just proved my point~It's all about context AH, that's why you more than anyone should understand what a flamer on the net means:-)

"Around here" means where I live/work etc....I don't think anyone can be pyhsically shot thru the laptop, but there's another CT we could work on, and did I list a biography??? I listed your post AH, not your biography.

and did I list a biography??? I listed your post AH, not your biography.

And your point is what? What does that have to with listing my biography?

Government spooks, some from The Oil Drum, clearly refers The Oil Drum members from within our spy agencies and military agencies and hence the reference to their biographies.

Flamer is most commonly used as a slander against homosexuals which most will be the interpretation of those who read the original comment.

Oh, please. Anybody who's been around the Internet for any length of time will understand the term in the "inflammatory" sense, especially in an exchange about something controversial, and especially in an exchange in which homosexuality isn't part of the context. In the homosexual sense, it would be a complete non sequitur in this discussion.

That's pretty much the way I saw it too, SL. I hadn't even considered the gay terminology association until Alex brought it up.

I was kind of surprised that the conversation went that route too.

Word to the wise:

Your photos all have identifying info attached to them.

Jus' sayin'

Still too many pronouns. They're easy to use so as to avoid specifics, but I'm not sure that's why you're using them.

Attacking Gregg Hall [– videos of oil/tar balls on Pensacola beach which refuted a post that misleads into believe the beach is clean -]

Nice to "pick and choose" what you believe out of many post. If you read you would see MANY times I stated the beach is visibly clean ON the sand, UNDER the sand and IN the water on the part where I live, and I stated over and over, west of the pier is different. Not that everything he post is on the Gulf Side, I have seen him post pic's of the sound side which is always nasty in certain area because it tends to get stagnant, but if you ask him he will PM the message to you instead of answering it on the post....

My pictures speak for themselves, I don't do dredge sand and sprinkle it like sugar to make a photo look better, but I do thinks it's absolute bullshit to say the entire beach is full of tarballs when it's a damn lie. and that is just one of many representations I see all over the net, too much generalization that ppl buy into and then the "sky is falling". Maybe you should come on down for a visit and see the beaches all over before you believe one person's version, especailly when it's motivated by the almight dollar.

Calling me a flamer and referring to my response defending a misleading comment about one of my posts which was further attempt to attack me as “blog whoring visit due to a market downturn in doomsday scenarios...

Alex, this was your response to my first comment (on your blog) on your "BP shills" post. I noted that most folks on TOD had treated you with respect, you responded with a link showing a few people had been rude. I don't think it was a sufficient rebuttal, and what's more, I think they had cause to express their suspicion of your motives. You probably think you are reasonable and open to criticism, but you don't appear that way to others here. When you post sensational comments with little basis in fact, and are obstinate in defense of your own ignorance in the ensuing discussions, you've got to expect some folks to get frustrated and rude.

And when you retaliated with your blog post attacking the motives of many TOD members who never attacked you, and followed up with this provocative and unsupportable statement: "..personally targeted slanderous attacks being launched from members within The Oil Drum against many simply for the fact they disagree with BP and Government propaganda", well then you just confirmed the suspicions.

Pinkfud has been extraordinarily generous with you in this thread. Many of us have been patient and respectful (or at least humorous) in explaining the difference between silt and oil, between rocks and debris. The link you post downthread re the flexjoint bullseye is another example of several TOD members taking the time to help you understand what was going on with the BOP, insult free. Rather than focus on what you call slander, maybe you should re-evaluate your contribution to the problem, and remember that many people here have treated you well. And then you might want to consider taking down that whole BK Lim/TOD shill rant, it's really not doing much for your reputation here.


Well said, Brat.

I am reminded of advice passed down on the maternal side of my ancestry: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. (I adjust it by substituting "nicely.")

"Social networking" and "blogging" seem to have encouraged many humans in a complementary version: If you can't provide disinformation or insult somebody, don't type at all.

"Jabberwocky" continues to sing through my mind. (via Disney-version)

Also this:

(met her in person and the rest is better than the toes, she has a great smile

TFHG, you might remember sometime back that I stated that I knew the truth about a picture beachmom posted, but would never tell. Well I guess the truth is out now. :)

Who said that was her? That was her relatively 'not as pretty' friend. No beachmom is actually hotter, but I was trying to be gentlemanly.

All I know is I envy you having met her in person. I know from my contect with her elseware on the net, that she is much more than just another pretty face.

Oh yes, Rocky was right, I would give up BBIC for a lady like that.

Yeah, looks like he plagiarizes everything we say to further his own agenda. Which is clearly nothing more than to prey on the gullible for donations. Too bad we have that Creative Commons License posted, or we could call him out for his blatant theft of our writing.

Yeah... to bad you can't sue a broke loud mouth blogger for quoting the comments of others to point out that others push beliefs that are contrary to his own.

Sorry, too many pronouns and not enough facts to help me understand what you're trying to say.

Want to try again?

Youngin's. Alex nothing is wrong with emotion. Nothing wrong with emotional writing. Just be prepared to get your feelings hurt when folks get mad. This is what I think you need to work on. If you want to 'feel' your way through this, go for it. Just disclose such with a disclaimer and move on. Give folks a chance to rebut and go the community to vet facts and science. How in the hell do you think Glenn Beck made his millions. He cried on national TV for goodness sake. About something political. Listen to pros like Beck and Limbaugh. They have large staffs and much experience in tapping into the anger that folks feel. Just remember you are dancing with the devil. That is why so many avoid it and go strictly science. Politics and populism is unpredictable and unreasonable to most folks. If that is your core belief, than again, be prepared to be called a baby killer or some other nonsense.

TFHG - "Dancing with the devil". Odd: my first thoguht when I read that was of blue toenails in white sand. Must be BBIC withdrawal getting to me.

The devil LOL~Rockman, the last time I was personally called the devil was by my ex (they served the divorce papers on Feb 14th, but I had nothing to do with the timing).

How many months do you have on your BBIC chip? I couldn't stop personally, but lately have an addiction to red velvet cupcakes that are so good I might add a donate button to my FB to help pay for my habit:)

Over 4 months now mummsie. But I did have a small slice of blackberry pie tonight. Not bad but it ain't BBIC.

That isn't my objection. I don't like it when someone uses almost entirely the work of others, belittling them in the process, to "create" a work intended only to draw donations. BTW, I would appreciate the removal of my one-liner from there. I don't like my "handle" associated, even as "opposition", with such a deal. I have a professional reputation to think of in real life.

Plagiarism is an issue. As for hijacking content, think about it this way. I sure like both Weird Al and the originals. There is nothing unoriginal about Weird Al and he has not diminished the original. In fact, his popularity can only enhance the popularity of the original. You said you are a professional. Take it from a hack, as long as they spell your name right, there is no bad press. Folks can find you and get confirmation or draw their own conclusions. When you publish, aren't you really exposing yourself to the same thing? How do you think the 911 truther quotees felt? The same ones went on the rebuttal shows and gave the straight professional context for their quotes. The truthers looked bad and the officials looked great. Your weapon is pulling the quotes back out and stating why they refute some of his premises if you feel so inclined. I say don't bother. You have just been cited again. You must be an industry voice. Maybe the reputable news organizations will contact you. You certainly can shine then and the mimics have nowhere to go.

That isn't my objection. I don't like it when someone uses almost entirely the work of others, belittling them in the process, to "create" a work intended only to draw donations. BTW, I would appreciate the removal of my one-liner from there. I don't like my "handle" associated, even as "opposition", with such a deal. I have a professional reputation to think of in real life.

Removed at your request.

Legendary Baseball Player Hank Aaron Wants Homerun for the Gulf Coast Economy

New Poll Shows Strong, Nationwide Support for Investing in Vital Region

NIH to launch Gulf oil spill health study

BP will provide additional funds for research

The National Institutes of Health will launch a multi-year study this fall to look at the potential health effects from the oil spill in the Gulf region. The Gulf Worker Study, announced by NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in June, is in response to the largest oil spill in U.S. history, caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Collins pledged $10 million in NIH funding for the study’s initial phases.

To help expedite the launch of the study, BP will contribute an additional $10 million to NIH for this and other important health research. The BP funding will come through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI). The GRI is a ten-year, $500 million independent research program established by BP to better understand and mitigate the environmental and potential health effects of the Gulf spill. The NIH will have full autonomy regarding the distribution of the $10 million, with input from external scientific experts in environmental health and who are familiar with the Gulf region.


BP's Missing Research Money

In May, the company pledged $500 million for critical oil spill science. Then politics and parochialism got in the way.

September 7, 2010

For ocean scientists anguished about the oil gushing uncontrollably into the Gulf of Mexico, May 24 brought dramatic news. BP pledged $500 million over 10 years for a research program to determine the ecological consequences of the spill, with the money to be distributed through an independent panel to the "best marine biologists and oceanographers in the world."

More than three months later, however, the vast bulk of that money remains uncommitted, and it's unclear how it will be distributed. Scientists say that thanks to these delays, key research opportunities in the wake of the spill could be missed.

It might seem tempting to simply blame BP. But what happened to the research fund -- or rather, what didn’t -- is a story of how politics and bureaucracy can stall urgent scientific inquiry, even amid an ongoing national and ecological crisis.

I don't know about urgent inquiry, but I have worked at an oil company organizing joint industry projects and joint research with government agencies and university types. The process is complex, because one has to make sure the individuals being proposed are suited for the work, the contracts have to spell out how the money is to be disbursed, the timing has to be worked out (and this usually takes meetings). I usually allowed one year for a project to get started after the first concept was developed, and the first meeting was held to see if it made sense. I don't see a reason for this to be done differently, otherwise it's just wasted money, another boondoggle for PhDs and the associated lawyers and hangers on.

On the other hand, if this is done properly, it can be used to finance pretty serious and useful work, and this can also be used to fund a series of masters' and PhD thesis which will likely advance environmental science by a huge leap. So this isn't the time to rush it, I see people advocating spending money out of either selfishness or ignorance, and that's about it.

FD. You have to admit that this oil well blowout has been a god send for thousands. You have Gulf State's fishermen making more money working for BP than they ever made as fishermen. There is a flock of academics, desperate to get their noses in the BP money trough. Another flock of lawyers who will get extremely rich on the back of it. And; greatest of all, a whole mire of politicians who can see opportunities to buy votes with BP's money.

There is an estimate that this well will cost BP about two to three years free cash flow; forty to fifty billion dollars. The vast majority of that, BP will pay out in US dollars, which will go into the US economy. The world's pension funds, that hold BP shares, salute you and thank you for robbing them.

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A." (Gordon Gekko).

Yeah, more perspective like only one little cc or cu inch or whatever it was in an Olympic size pool. Some people are making out at the poor pensioners' expense, despite the fact that someone could have sold the damn stock but didn't. Nevermind all the Gulf coast residents who are definitely not making out; they're just "small people" who have been victimized by a huge multinational lout. Or are you suggesting that poor BP and the poor pensioners who wouldn't sell the stock are the real victims? Surely you wouldn't suggest that, would you?

[ed: added a bit]

Snake. A little bit of macroeconomics 101. The huge multinational lout is only there because of your desire for cheap energy. The USA consumes 20% of every barrel of oil lifted every day. The USA has only 4.5% of the planets population; do the math; as you say.

The economy of any country has three basic components. The government sector; the private sector and the household sector. The private sector supplies all the money to fund the other two sectors. The private sector pays all its corporate taxes to the government sector. The private sector pays wages to the household sector; and subsequently that household sector pays income and capital taxes to the government sector. The household sector ultimately owns the private sector. Either by direct ownership of shares in the private sector; or, indirectly through investment funds or pension funds.

Slagging off the private sector corporations may make you feel good; but, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face, as we say.

In case you did not realise, your nation is rapidly going broke. You have, currently, no mechanism to correct this situation. Most of your States and Counties are bankrupt. Your Federal government has the advantage that it can print truck loads of Dollars to buy your own Federal governments debts; you, your children and your grandchildren will have to pay off these debts eventually. Foreigners who are currently financing your debts by direct and indirect injections of their own money, will start demanding higher interest for lending you their money because they will see you as a risk investment.

I love America and I have a lot of American friends. Fortunately most of them went to private Universities not State ones. You have got to get a grip on your Federal government, before it destroys your nation.

Thanks for the tipoff, although it wasn't necessary.

I'm quite unclear about how any of that makes BP and its shareholders who didn't sell their stock the net victims, no matter how much oil per capita the US consumes. I do agree that if only the US didn't allow any oil producers to operate at all it wouldn't have happened, but the prospect of being a 100% importer makes all that other stuff you careened off about even worse.

FD. You have to admit that this oil well blowout has been a god send for thousands. You have Gulf State's fishermen making more money working for BP than they ever made as fishermen.

You have never been your own boss and loved your job have you?

There is a flock of academics, desperate to get their noses in the BP money trough.

Nobody forced BP to offer the money for studies, they did that on their own. Stock holders should take that up with them if they don't like it.

The world's pension funds, that hold BP shares, salute you and thank you for robbing them.

These people chose to gamble with their pension and play the stock market with their retirement money. If it was not their choice and they were forced to gamble by their government then shame on that government elected by the people.

"The world's pension funds, that hold BP shares, salute you and thank you for robbing them.

These people chose to gamble with their pension and play the stock market with their retirement money. If it was not their choice and they were forced to gamble by their government then shame on that government elected by the people."

Minor correction: As I understand it, the way it works hereabouts is either

a) You work for Acme Widget for 45 years and part of your salary is deducted and paid into the Acme Widget Pension Fund. Said fund is run by trustees who decide where the funds get invested, usually by hiring experts in such matters. Pensioners can vote but few take any interest - it's not an area they feel competent in and figure they are paying the trustees to take care of them.

b) You work for yourself or for a company without a pensions scheme or you opt out. You find a pension scheme run by a financial institution and pay into it out of salary. The financial institution decides where the money gets invested.

c) You rely on a state pension. Your current pension is paid directly from the current tax contributions of working people, not from investments, not from savings.

So 99.9% of the folk whose pensions have been hit made no decisions about investing in BP. Anyway, most of them would have had no way of knowing that BP are bad and (say) Shell good. So yes I'd say they are innocent parties harmed by political pork-barrelling. For example, their $300M is being used to fund sand berms that many environmentalists say are unjustified and potentially harmful.

Generally in the U.S., you have some control over funds you contribute to a 401(k). You get to select from a menu of different funds and usually your company stock. Matching funds contributed by the company go into company stock. After 5 years, you can move any of it among the menu of funds. For an IRA, you have even more options.

After Enron, people should be wary of leaving any sizable portion of their funds in any single stock. In fact, I think if your fund manager packed sizable portions into single stocks, they could be open to litigation for mismanagement.

Minor correction: As I understand it, the way it works hereabouts is either

D) You live in NJ and rely on the state pension. The government lies to investors and pensioners about contributing to the pension and set up a double account to transfer funds between to make it appear like money is being deposited and paid out while in reality the taxpayer money is disappearing.

Alex the government budget has been a Ponzie scheme since Jackson. Before Ponzie. They get a pass on it. It is called not looking behind the curtain. Wait till you have kids, you get used to it. Didn't the Santa Claus lie tell you anything? For all TOD poster that I just told that Santa does not really exist, I am so sorry.

EDIT: TOD, go easy on Alex, he just needs the AGE card. Please use it gently like I have.

Really interesting piece about N.O., New Fuel for an Old Narrative: Notes on the BP Oil Disaster

The consequences of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, which began on April 20 when the offshore BP Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, are still being reported and researched, and will unfold for years to come. Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella recalls a long hot summer, and he puts this latest disaster into the broader cultural and environmental contexts of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, describing a complex history of third coast exceptionalism, of a city and region that are paying a disproportionate price for the nation's hunger for oil.

snake -- Interesting how they keep pulling in my former home town, N.O., into the conversation. As you know it's about 90 miles from the GOM, has few if any fisherman living in the city and probably very few oil patch workers. Few if any service companies operate out of N.O. Likewise, few oil companies have many personnel left in the city. No oil reported in Bayou St. John. Other than sea food being a little higher priced I'm not sure how much negative impact they've felt. I'm sure the rental car companies, hotels and bars appreciated the boost in business from all the news reporters who flocked there the last few months.

I've been through the bayou country south of Lafayette and you can almost smell the despair in the air. In N.O., OTOH, the smell on Bourbon Street on a Sunday morning has changed for decades. Maybe it's just left over Katrina angst.

The author's at Tulane. Seized the opportunity to pitch his "exceptional" wares, I guess.

I just want to say many, many thanks to Rockman, Heading Out, and all the rest of you for my education in oil drilling, well blowouts, and related topics.

I am going to be giving a lecture this afternoon on the BP oil spill and thanks to all of you I can give the students a - hopefully - accurate overview of what happened before plunging into biological impacts. (It's a conservation biology class, mostly seniors and 1st yr grad students, so the focus will be on biological impacts and remediation.) And a special thanks to Tinfoilhatguy, I borrowed a landfill picture from your website for my powerpoint (education copyright exemption). One 'meta-theme' is going to be the lack of technical expertise in the MSM.

Thanks again, to everyone who posts on these TOD threads!

Those poor BP executives...

"[I]ncome distribution in the United States is more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador."


Surely, like the bankers before them, BP executives deserve huge bonuses for how well they handled the disaster they created. What about the workers who risked their lives to seal the well? This is America, so they should and will get nothing, unless it's having to pay for more of their health care plans.

I just had an idea. Let's extend tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of families in America and borrow the money to pay for them. Better yet, we can cut social security to pay them! That way people can work longer and make more money. That's their right! Only a socialist marxist would take away their freedom to work until they drop over dead.

If we don't keep the tax cuts for them, they will leave America for a better country and we will all die.

Thank God syn...For a while there I didn't think you would come around. Now if we can just reduce the taxes paid by the law firms life would be perfect.

I finally saw the light, RM. It was Alan Simpson, last week, when he scolded wounded vets for not saving America (like they did on the battle field) by not giving up their rights to health care coverage.

But getting back to your comment, law Firms making millions in profits qualify as small businesses, and we would not want to hurt the small businesses, now, would we Rockman? That's unamerican i think. Besides, it would throw this country into a tail-spin toward total economic collapse. Just think of how many people would end up sitting in jail suffering if there were no lawyers to represent them. The lawyers may leave America and be lawyers in another country if we do that to them.

syn - tell you little lawyer story with a sweet ending. My daughter-in-law is off to her first embassy post in Africa in a couple of months. She was one of the last young attorneys laid off from the firm despite having a good track record. She won a couple of very big suites against S. Am. NOC’s for a couple of Big Oil. Big enough that the public never hears about it.

But corporate law left her flat. A very big hearted liberal gal. When she was laid off we sat and had that long chat: how much money does it take to make you enjoy a job you don’t enjoy? She had been thinking about the State Dept for a while. Told her about our running joke when I was an undergrad in geology: get your degree in geology and then sell shoes for Tom McCann. Since we were young and foolish that was OK with us. So a month ago we went to DC for her Swearing In Day. Naturally it’s 10 degrees hotter than Houston and the beginning of the giant Boy Scout Jamboree. Hill was suppose to swear them in but she was still in Afg.

Needless to say she’s been the happiest since I’ve known her. She’ll do well in the service. Didn’t know the diplomatic corps was split into two ladders: management and *ss kissers (my term). She’s obviously in management. She was just home for the holidays and filled her up with Texas BBQ. I’m very proud and happy for the kid, to say the least.

What a wonderful story, Rockman. There are lots of miserable lawyers out there. Litigation is an ass-busting job with horrible hours and lots of stress with no way to fudge it. You either win or you lose, and when you screw up, it's there for everyone to see.

And what a jump from law to the state dept. She's set. Glad you had that talk with her. That's a happy story.

I worked at big firms with clients like GE, Chrysler, Aetna, LLoyds, Black & Decker. The money was great, but so were the demands, and there's little time left for having a life or a family. Most of the young attorneys are miserable. There wasn't much passion for me, either, in representing a giant corporation trying to beat individuals or other companies either.

Where'd she go to law school.

SYN -- Un of Texas @ Austin. But I'm sure she would have went to Texas A&M if they had a law school. Naa...Austin is too muc fun.

Please pass along my Brava too, Rocky (I'm proud and happy for you). I've had a few career foreign-service friends, and the ones who most sound like your description of her deeply enjoy their work (and decorate their houses with fascinating stuff with great stories attached).

Will do lotus. Thanks

BP will release the BLY report (BP's internal investigation) tomorrow at 07:00 EST.

Two joint industry task forces have released their initial reports on lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon spill and recommendations to improve spill response and containment moving forward. The Joint Industry Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Task Force and the Joint Industry Subsea Well Control and Containment Task Force presented their findings today in Houston during a fact finding forum hosted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).

You can find them on the NOIA website. From a quick scan - this is not the "rose colored glasses" view that BP provided.


ray - Was anxious to read the reports but was somewhat disappointed. Interesting how they tweeked the spill response effort but didn't really add much to the process than had been done with the BP well. I thought under lessons learned there would be some mention of safer drilling protocols and improved BOP performance. But couldn't find one mention if the two most critical factors that led to the spill. Guess they just need a little more time to figure out the obvious: if the well doesn't blow out, or if it does and the BOP works, then the spill plan isn't so critical.

I understand there is also an Equipment taskforce that will look at BOP and other equipment.... It seems to be the recent announcement by the big four majors (BP, Shell, Chevron, Conoco) on their non-profit $1B investment into containment and response stole the task force thunder as many of the near term actions recommended by the taskforce seem to be in the big four plan. Tomorrow's report from BP should be interesting as they are walking a narrow line -- can't take too much blame (lawyers won't let them) and can't be seen as a whitewash either.

I'm probably not alone among the folks here at TOD in being more accustomed to thinking about things that are measured in electrical units of Volts, Amperes, and Ohms [for steady-state conditions (DC)], plus sometimes Farads and Henrys [for time-varying conditions (AC)], rather than in terms of pressure and fluid flow. Some poor engineer souls may be more accustomed to the language of heat flow.

For those less fluent in fluid dynamics than in electrical current or heat transfer, it is useful to know the hydraulic analogies for non-turbulent flow. The Wikipedia article has an OK explanation and a table.

The basic analogies are:

Electrical potential (Voltage = energy/charge) <==> Pressure (force/area or energy/volume)
Electrical current (Amps=charge/second) <==> Volumetric flow rate (volume/second)

Some basic circuit elements are:

Resistor (a wire) <==> Pipe (a tube)
Battery (a constant voltage source) <==> A pump that maintains constant pressure
Capacitor (an insulator separating two conductors) <==> A container with elastic walls.
Inductor (a wire wound around a magnetizable core <==> A moving mass of fluid (such as water in a pipe).

More explanation is given in the two articles linked above.

LOL, Nubs. It happens that I've held a ham radio license since 1967. Yeah, I get your analogy just fine.

Oops, you blocked my edit. A capacitor is analogous to a container with an elastic partition between an inlet and an outlet.

An accumulator. For electrons!

Knid of, but the net charge on the capacitor remains zero. One side accumulates an excess of electrons while the other side has a deficiency. That's the hardest thing about capacitors to teach. The fact that charge comes in positive and negative flavors is a difference from the hydraulic analogy.

I've been uncertain about how your underwater accumulators for hydraulic fluid work. Are they just pressurized chambers?

The hardest thing to teach about pressure is how to think about the fact that it is measured in force/unit area rather than just force. That's a pretty subtle concept, and most college students don't really get it. It is hard to accept that a thin column of water of a given height exerts the same pressure at the bottom as a whole lake of water of the same depth behind a dam (unless the thin column is so thin that capillary action gets involved). The advantage of having a large volume behind the dam is not that it generates greater pressure, but that it has a much larger capacity to deliver water before the pressure runs down.

I always dread having to teach these basic concepts.

One of the nicest and most unexpected things that my oldest sonever did was to get my father's ham radio call sign. He had to make a special application.

Nubs, that's very special.

Pink, I got my Novice ticket in 1962 when I was 12 and passed my General the next year. Had a W5xxx call. All of the analog and RF theory that I know didn't come from university but my ham radio days. Trouble is, I didn't go further. All digital from college on. I let my ticket lapse in college. I've been thinking about getting the no-code license because I hate the idea of trying to get my Morse back.

da dit da dit da da dit da

widelyred, I'd pronounce that dah-di-dah-dit dah-dah-di-dah, but then I'm a Yankee (KA1).


Cool! I keep my license current even though I'm not active. I figure it's something I'll want to return to when (if) I get to retire. I Have a WAØ call.

QRZ DE W5HJ since 1963

Microbes Munch Oil, Haven't Robbed Gulf Of Oxygen

Contains the phrase "sweet spot" in relation to Corexit which may be greeted rather rudely.

© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Steve Murawski, the scientist who headed the federal research team, said that means efforts to control the oil with dispersants hit the "sweet spot" they were aiming for.

Of course, he was specifically referring to the sweet spot in the trade-off between digesting hydrocarbons and depleting O2. This has nothing to do with other toxicity trade-offs, which are likely to have different sweet spots.

Nevertheless, it will no doubt be misinterpreted by those who thrive on misinterpretation.

I think this is the underlying report, just released. It took me about 10 minutes to find it on the !@#$ NOAA website. Haven't read it yet.


Thanks for the post. There's other fodder for misinterpretation in the report, such as:

Significant DO2 low values (depressions) relative to background concentrations are being measured in the water layer at many stations where MC252 #1 oil has been observed. These depressions have been measured by means of different DO2 instruments and methods.

The word "significant" clearly is being used to mean "statistically significant" (i.e., that their techniques were good enough to distinguish the observed reduction in dissolved O2 from "noise"), but this quote can easily be misused to imply the opposite of the next main point:

Measurements of the DO2 depression have not approached hypoxic levels. Hypoxic conditions are not expected to occur in the deep-water layer where MC252 #1 oil has been observed.

Nor will the misquoters bother to mention the final point in the list:

This report does not discuss the broad ecosystem consequences of MC252 #1
hydrocarbons released into the environment.

P.S. My, this report has lots of figures and tables in the Appendix.

Great work, our Gobbet! From pp 7-8 of the report, the full list of conclusions:

On the basis of all the information presented in this report, the JAG conclusions to date are:

• Significant DO2 low values (depressions) relative to background concentrations are being measured in the water layer at many stations where MC252 #1 oil has been observed. These depressions have been measured by means of different DO2 instruments and methods.

• Measurements of the DO2 depression have not approached hypoxic levels. Hypoxic conditions are not expected to occur in the deep-water layer where MC252 #1 oil has been observed.

• The depth layer of the DO2 depressions is coincident with fluorescence-based measurements of MC252 oil when a fluorescence anomaly is present.

• The DO2 depressions are most likely due to biochemical oxygen demand of MC252 hydrocarbons in the deep-water layer.

• The minimum DO2 levels in this data set were measured using the SBE 43 by the R/V Walton Smith on May 27 (station WS15a) about 18 km from the wellhead (2.96 mL/L) and the R/V Ocean Veritas on July 28 (station OV144) about 40 km from the wellhead (2.56 mL/L).

• The DO2 depression has been found more than 80 km from the wellhead based on CTD DO2 measurements.

• DO2 depressions do not appear to be increasing over time, suggesting that the rate of hydrocarbon BOD is compensated by mixing with higher DO2 waters surrounding the DO2 depleted water layer.

• DO2 levels should continue to be monitored using polarographic sensors and discrete samples from Niskin bottles using amperometric end-detection Winkler chemical titration methods until the end of August 2010. At that time available DO2 and other data should be evaluated to determine if any further monitoring in support of response operations is warranted.

• This report does not discuss the broad ecosystem consequences of MC252 #1 hydrocarbons released into the environment.

You guys are quicker studies than I. These were my notes:

Note: data is only through Aug. 6th.

p. 5: The deep dispersed oil is confined to a particular density layer and will tend to stay at the same depth.

p. 6: A model indicated that hypoxia would already have occurred if the plume water were not mixing significantly with adjacent water—therefore substantial diffusion has been occurring in the actual Gulf. This model was conservative and probably understated the rate of oxidation that is occurring.

p. 6: No clear trend in dissolved oxygen levels between late May and early August, i.e. not getting worse

p. 7: “Hypoxic conditions are not expected to occur in the deep-water layer where MC252 #1 oil has been observed. “

Provided it holds up, this is really good news for the deepsea critters and their choreographer.

You guys are quicker studies than I.

Well, actually, Gobbet, um, I just read the conclusions and glanced at the nice color pictures. Apparently you actually, like, read it (at least up to p.7).

The press release about it from the Unified Command.

No Dead Zones Observed or Expected as Part of BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Deepwater Horizon Incident
Joint Information Center

Phone: (713) 323-1670
(713) 323-1671

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a report today that showed dissolved oxygen levels have dropped by about 20 percent from their long-term average in the Gulf of Mexico in areas where federal and independent scientists previously reported the presence of subsurface oil. Scientists from agencies involved in the report attribute the lower dissolved oxygen levels to microbes using oxygen to consume the oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

These dissolved oxygen levels, measured within 60 miles of the wellhead, have stabilized and are not low enough to become "dead zones." A dead zone is an area of very low dissolved oxygen that cannot support most life. Dead zones are commonly observed in the nearshore waters of the western and northern Gulf of Mexico in summer, but not normally in the deep water layer (3,300 – 4,300 feet) where the lowered oxygen areas in this study occurred. Dead zones, also known as hypoxic areas, are defined in marine waters as areas in which dissolved oxygen concentrations are below 2 mg/L (1.4 ml/L).

"All the scientists working in the Gulf have been carefully watching dissolved oxygen levels because excess carbon in the system might lead to a dead zone. While we saw a decrease in oxygen, we are not seeing a continued downward trend over time," said Steve Murawski, Ph.D., NOAA's Chief Scientist for Fisheries and the head of the Joint Analysis Group. "None of the dissolved oxygen readings have approached the levels associated with a dead zone and as the oil continues to diffuse and degrade, hypoxia becomes less of a threat."

Since the Deepwater Horizon incident began, EPA and NOAA have systematically monitored dissolved oxygen levels along with other parameters from the sea surface to about 5,000 feet deep near the spill site. Data from 419 locations sampled on multiple expeditions by nine ships - NOAA Ships Gordon Gunter, Henry Bigelow, Nancy Foster and Thomas Jefferson and the research vessels Brooks McCall, Ferrel, Jack Fitz, Ocean Veritas and Walton Smith - over a three-month period, were analyzed for this report.

The JAG report does not specifically address the question of the rate of biodegradation of oil, which cannot be determined looking only at dissolved oxygen data. But it references a recently published peer reviewed study conducted by researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Using field sampling and laboratory experiments, the scientists found that half-lives of some components of the oil were in the range of 1.2 to 6.1 days. Their results suggest that the light components of the oil are being rapidly degraded by microbes. This report also did not find hypoxic oxygen levels.

The report released today documenting moderately low dissolved oxygen levels is also consistent with a study recently published by academic researchers led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and supported by the National Science Foundation and NOAA, who also reported they did not find dead zones where they found subsurface oil.

"It is good news that dissolved oxygen has not reached hypoxic levels in these deepwater environs," said Shere Abbott, Associate Director for Environment at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. "This work testifies to the nation’s commitment to applying the best science and technology — directly through federal agencies and indirectly through the support of cutting-edge academic research — to understand environmental impacts in the Gulf and in all our treasured ocean ecosystems."

Dissolved oxygen levels reported by the JAG were measured using a range of different instruments and methods including dissolved oxygen sensors and Winkler titrations. The dissolved oxygen data underwent preliminary quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) described in Appendix 4 of the report.

Dissolved oxygen levels are continuously monitored as part of the EPA monitoring protocols required for the use of subsea dispersants. If concentrations had fallen below 2 mg/L (1.4 mL/L) – hypoxic levels – the Unified Command would have considered discontinuing the use of subsurface dispersants. Based on evidence to date, dissolved oxygen did not decrease to these levels. The lowest dissolved oxygen measured was 3.5 mg/L (2.5 mL/L), which is above hypoxic levels. However, this report does not discuss the broad ecosystem consequences of hydrocarbons released into the environment.

This report is the third analytical report from the federal Joint Analysis Group (JAG) about ongoing Deepwater Horizon / BP research and monitoring. The JAG comprises scientists from NOAA, EPA and OSTP and was established to facilitate cooperation and coordination among the best scientific minds across the government and provide a coordinated analysis of information related to subsea monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

Wow, a press release that is clear, full, and accurate. I would say reporters will have a hard time garbling that up, except I just read a CNN story that makes a weak attempt at "He said, she said" using the non-pertinent "toxic" oil deposits around DeSoto Canyon.

From McClatchy:

Feds: Gulf oil blowout won't lead to dead zones

... Dissolved oxygen levels would have to drop by an additional 70 percent to create dead zones, and that's unlikely, said Steve Murawski, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's chief scientist for fisheries and the head of the group of federal scientists who analyzed data and produced the report.

Dead zones are less of a threat as the oil degrades and spreads out, and as the oxygen-rich waters mix in from surrounding areas, he said.

Still, the impact of the oil plume at such deep levels isn't fully understood, Murawski said.

"While it's a relief not to see deep dead zones as a result of the oil droplets that remain below the surface, there's lots of work to be done to understand their long-term impacts on the ecosystem," he said.

Scientists are continuing to track the plume, and NOAA has started what Murawski called a "ramped-up effort" to account for the oil and chemical dispersants. ...

Remember that Times-Pic story and graphic about the benthic critters, Tiniest victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may turn out to be most important? Heh, in the middle of May, no one guessed how wrong the word “victims” could be. “Champs,” more like . . .

Here's a little more about UK vs. TO, from The Guardian.

Transocean UK boss clashes with MPs

Oil chiefs insist that Britain's oil rig safety regime in the North Sea does not need to be overhauled

The UK head of Transocean, the operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, has clashed angrily with MPs in the first British hearing into what lessons can be learned from the disaster...Referring to the HSE report, King insisted he had no evidence of "large amounts" of bullying taking place.

Ahhhh..the money quote from the article.

Jake Molloy, general secretary of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC), a union representing North Sea workers, agreed that many were still reluctant to raise concerns. "If you are constantly a thorn in the side of management then you very quickly find yourself branded as 'having the wrong attitude'."

When I was in the military I did not pay much attention to the people who were always complaining. The complaints I paid attention to were the ones from the people who rarely - if ever - complained.

We were taught in the Army that when the men stopped complaining there was real trouble brewing.

Nope, complainers get KP. Damn complainers get KP and weekend duty. There were no G** Damn complainers but I understand those got shot. Now if it is legit then that is a different story, but the non-coms knew how to make the call on that one. Otherwise, we defended democracy, we did not observe it.

Drilling Ban Foes Ask Judge to Find New Rules Illegal

Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Opponents of a federal ban on deep- water oil drilling asked a judge today to rule that a new moratorium is illegal, according to court papers.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans on June 22 threw out the six-month ban imposed in May by federal regulators after the BP Plc oil spill, finding it too broad. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar issued a revised ban on July 12, saying it superseded the initial suspension.

The new rules violate Feldman’s order stopping the ban, lawyers for Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. and other oil service companies said today in a court filing. They asked Feldman to bar the government from enforcing the newer moratorium and sought a Sept. 22 hearing.

Any news on the autopsy yet ?

The analysis of the BOP should take on the order of months I would think. I liken it to the TWA 800 plane. Could be wrong, but it is the most significant piece of technical equipment to study so I imagine it is being examined by committee by at least 4 or 5 top people. I can only imagine all the test that so many will come up with. Theories and retest. Remember TWA 800?


I gotta say that the 9/7/10 Comments illustrate a lot of very smart, diverse and high powered people, often in FLAME-ON mode (the nonsexual type), but who can really write, think and parry. I haven't seen so many issues dealt with by so many at the same time in quite a while. I think you are all great! But, I suspect if y'all were locked in a room together for a few days there might be some fatalities, especially if there was whiskey in there too. Just my thoughts....

Who would even show if the gig had to be DRY?

Don't know what kind of doc you are but if we had food and enough different tv's with satellite, we would never leave. Except for walks. Long walks. Whiskey included too of course.

BP & Late Night Cleaning Operations:

I am not tech-savy, so I need someone to explain to me how post links of pictures and videos. I have two videos of them doing this crap under the cover of night, and about ten pictures also. I am currently sending the pictures & videos from my phone to my computer. If anyone wants to see them, I need quick/user-friendly instructions on how to do this.

I thought all the oil has evaporated BP? I thought all the beaches were fine BP? Dipshits, I hope you go bankrupt and get kicked out of the Western hemisphere. What do you have to hide? Last time I was down there you were operating in broad day light.

Go to youtube for videos. Setup account. Follow instructions. Go to photobucket for the photos. Setup account. Follow instructions. Both create links you put right in. Choose HTML code.

Personally I find Google Picasa to be the best. http://picasaweb.google.com/ 1 Gig of free upload space for photos and everything integrates with your Google account.

You can create a Google account if you don't have one an associate it with other email address if you would like (eg @yahoo.com, eg@hotmail.com, etc)

It automatically finds videos and photos on your computer.

You can right click an entire folder or multiple photos an upload them at the same time. You can also add captions to you photos and automatically synchronize your folder with your only photo album.

You can title, tag, categorize and upload to YouTube from within the program and the upload time is way faster + more reliable than using the YouTube web page.

Also while Picasa is running your print screens automatically get saved to a photo, no need to past into a separate image editor.

Beachmom the photos have been downloaded. One on the left if from 8/30 the other is from 9/7. There is a noticeable difference. From my photobucket http://s892.photobucket.com/albums/ac126/tinfoilhatguy/GS-OB%20September...

From the heavy rain last week.

Don't mention heavy rain!! We've lost 3 bridges over here. Landslides and flooding are causing further havoc and more rain is yet to come.


I know how popular Gregg and GLP is here but he has video from Pensacola beach from yesterday that matches the photo on the left above.


It appears he also went to Fort Pickens Two days ago in response to beachmommy's previous photos as well.


One big problem Alex. I do not put my foot in the frame because I want folks to see my flop tan line. It is for reference. Pensacola/Navarre Beach is over 40 miles in total. Gulf Shores main beach is less than half a mile. I will go to the park and get some more isolated beach shots. Also we are 25 miles apart. Different conditions need to be assumed. These photos seem in all different focal lengths etc. If you click my pictures in my bucket (not here), the extended information gives you all that data.

Exactly TFHG~One part of P-Cola Beach, especially at the ranger station is about 5 miles west of me, and looks far different, once you enter Ft. Pickens gate the rules change due to being part of the Nat'l Seashore........my area of the beach on Saturday had holes dug all oever it and the rest of the beach looking for buried lines of weathered tar, it's simply not there. I'm by no means stating you won't find an occasional tarball, but the lines of weathered oil/tar are NOT in the areas I spend my afternoons and weekends on. Even the erosion lines from the surf are vastly different, I didn't see any in 6 -7 weeks until last week and by the weekend they were gone. I just don't like vast generalizations that are factually wrong, and if my income isn't hurt nor helped by beach conditions as my business has ZIP to do with anything like tourism, fishing, real-estate, it has to do with the financial markets and institutions needing a "safe haven" in which to invest. This is my area on Sunday the 5th of September......again, these look the same as last yr and the yr before and so on, I have posted before the pic's when we had tar balls but they were picked up in 2 days, so after months of this, I just get tired of posting the same thing everyday since it isn't changing and for that I am grateful



The link itself appears to go to an empty album.

Clicking on Gulf shores 9-7 does have pictures.

This photo appears to have oil washing up and staining the shore line.

Also in the first video Gregg says the oil is being covered by the heavy machinery and matches your photos -- until he rubs the top 1/2 inch of sand off with his foot after which the oil he says is fresh appears.

But, I will post the two times we were hit on P-Cola, one was early June 4th -6th, and the other was June 23rd, so if you need to see how it looked east of the pier compared to west, here ya go:) Still not that bad at my area of the beach! The further west you go, the worse it gets.......common knowledge and now I'm done with this, it's like wrestling with a pig, you get dirty and the pig enjoys it. Night all:)


Worst hit we took AT MY AREA OF THE BEACH


Cropped out my friend, but if you look you can see the tiny tar balls and some seaweed


I said foot. Gail is going to have to put a do not enter unless 18 soon, LOL. Sorry about the link Alex, it looks different when you are logged in. Try this.

Click around you should find footage back to June. Let me know if you can't find it all. I took all of it. Also look at the image info label on the left. That is where the exact date and time and other info is.

BP Clean up Crews: (In the Middle of the Night)


How about this for BP transparency?

Location / Date? Also are these aeriel or taken from a hotel or tall building?

BP: Would you please inform us before people start laying out on the beach that there is still oil in the sand? Would you please not act in this kind of a shady manner? Would you please explain to me why the past two times I have been down there, that you were conducting clean up operations in the daylight-and now you are conducting them in the middle of the night? Would you please explain exactly what the hell you are doing? Would you please explain why you have been making statements about the beaches being fine, yet acting sketchy like this?

The pictures are too poor to make much out but if I blow up the picture in an image editor 800% the equipment looks like pretty standard beach sand sifting gear. Can't see enough detail in the blow up to see very clearly but the equipment looks similar in class and size to http://www.beach-tech.com/en/products/beachtech/beachtech-2800.html (there are several models)

BTW, this NOT BP's Sandshark which does cleaning at a greater depth. Here's a picture of the Sandshark http://www.flickr.com/photos/bpamerica/4880166906/in/photostream/

The smaller gear in your pictures looks more like regular beach maintenance gear because of its size.

Also, it doesn't look like a very secret op with all of those lights.

It is fairly standard practice for many cities to do this work at night when the beach isn't being used and the temperatures are kinder to the work crews. I also vaguely remember hearing that in our township it is also a time-and-tide thing. Our township manager wants it all done before sun-up so the tourists don't see the equipment.

This has been done every night (in season) in front of my beach house in another state for the last 25 years that I've owned the house. Off season, they cut the schedule way back but still do it regularly. Beaches in my seaside community get groomed every night but not for oil; instead, they are there to pick up the stuff people drop or loose in the normal course of using the beach. Picking up metal, glass, bottle tops, etc. that can cut beachgoer’s feet is one of the primary goals. Making the beaches look nice for the locals/tourists as a goal too. Taxes are high here but the township provides a lot of services and the everynight schedule has survived several budget cut in order to keep the beaches pristene.

BTW, we're a smaller beach community and don't have 25 sand sifters/rakes but we do operate 12-16 in three crews much as I think you describe. They are deployed in a "conga line" fashion with each track slightly overlapping and each machine slighly behind the one in front. The county uses different gear down the beach; bigger machines but clean less often. Supervisors here also use ATVs and the beachmaster is in a four-wheel drive. I often sit want watch them work from the dunes. The supervisors come over to sneak a beer from me and talk.

In front of my beach house it is a township operation within its limits and further down the beach (out of the township limit) it's a county op but the county has cut back their schedule some for budget reasons. Pretty standard in of of California too and many other highly-trafficked beaches I’ve visited. In California (Orange, LA, Ventura), I think I've heard it’s an all-county op but probably changes by location and is probably up to local traditions/politics. My guess is the budget situation there has cut ops back too.

You could/should check with the city/county to confirm if it is their operation. My initial thought is that this was regular beach maintenance op and not a BP op due the equipment being used. Sand sifting doesn't work all that well for oil and I think I've read it only so-so on tar balls unless they’re pretty weathered.

I have read that some jurisdictions are using BP money to increase their normal operational tempo so it may be a case of the city/county being proactive by increasing their regular beach maintenance but using BP funds to pay for it.

The city/county should tell you. I don’t see way they would keep it secret.

Edit to add links and for clarity.

It's not exactly secret that cleanup work is sometimes being done at night ... the main reason given is the lower temperatures, which make it easier on work crews and facilitate the use of "machines [which] are most productive at night, when temperatures drop and the debris is less gooey."
See the nola.com article Oil cleanup continues ....

Yes, Here in Gulf Shores the city officials admitted just as much work at night in June. On the other hand with different equipment those photos have real artistic potential. Need to adjust shutter speed and aperture setting. Probably need some sort of tripod. These have real poster possibilities with some better equipment. If it is artistic, the news value also goes up dramatically and people will stop and look at it. It honestly has a really nice surrealistic quality about it. This needs to be pursued. I will volunteer.

The creepiest thing that happened was when I went down to the pool area for a closer view. I apologize for only catching two of the tractors in the pictures- but there was easily about 25 of them all along the beach. Anyways, when I went to the pool to get a closer view- I could have sworn that I was seeing small little blue lights flashing every 30 seconds or so just 30-50 yards in front of me. Sure enough, after a while one of the areas that had been completely dark just lit up & the sound of engines got loud. It was BP people, on an ATV that people call "mules". They had just been sitting there silently & in complete darkness for over 20 minutes while the tractors were much farther away. It's sketchy as hell.

I am going to post the two videos I have of them in a little bit. It's just going to take a while because like I said earlier, I am not tech-savy, uploading this stuff is new to me.

Forget the tech stuff. That is easy. Concentrate on your camera. Check this out.
By volunteer I meant guide you to better photojournalism and artistic photography. If you can combine the two well, you can make the wire services if it is good enough. Certainly the local paper. Problem there is how you got access. You probably need to keep some anonymity. Stay out of the local paper unless you have authorized, private, routine access to the photosite.

My family owns the condo those pictures are taken from. I don't have any background in journalism & I'm not trying to get in to it. The pictures are not 100% clear because they were taken from my cell phone several stories high. This is not normal activity, and once I post something to demonstrate I have legitimate reasons to be concerned, you blast me with this BS.

I have two videos of this from my phone also. One is around 30 seconds long, I'm going to post that on here in a little bit- I think it has been uploaded on youtube without any problems. The second one is about three and a half minutes long- I am having trouble getting that uploaded. When I try to email it from my cell phone to my computer it says the file is to big. I am going to try to get that figured out. I threw away the crap that connects your phone directly to the computer for uploads the day I got this phone because I never thought I would use it. If I can't get that second/longer video posted, I will go to the store & get what I need to upload it asap.

BP Clean up Crews Video:


This is the short one, I'm working on getting the longer one uploaded but I'm having trouble with it because my phone says the file size is too large to send it as a text message or email. I will get it posted on here soon though.

My bad man, I thought you were being sarcastic.

The Guardian, liveblogging the Bly Report:


The report has been published on BP's website.

"The investigation found that no single factor caused the Macondo well tragedy," is BP's findings in short.

"Rather, a sequence of failures involving a number of different parties led to the explosion and fire which killed 11 people and caused widespread pollution in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year."

Much more to follow.

Bly's 29-minute video summarizing the findings and analysis:


Thanks for the links, lotus.

How's your tea this morning? My coffee is great!

Curiosity: Could the congressional subcommittee now subpoena Hayward and McKay back to answer all the questions they swore (under oath) they could not answer until "the investigation is complete"?

Amusement: I keep reading that Mr. Hayward was "fired" or "lost his job." Seems to me that Mr. Hayward "stepped down," subsequently leaving the employ of one "part" of BP (gathering in a rather large sum of money for doing so), and promptly was hired by another part of BP (probably gathering in a "hiring bonus" for doing so). Nobody's ever said whether he is moving the family and yacht to Russia--my suspicion is that he will commute.

It's kind of fun to watch these people, and the media that continues to imply that "He really screwed up and got his sorry ass fired!" :)

LONDON (AP) - Shares in BP PLC have extended gains after the release of an internal report on the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that deflects much of the blame onto contractor Transocean.


On the other hand, it may be more due to this: BP rises over 3% on Fitch upgrade