BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - What will the Relief Well Find? - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6936.

Update: Link to new BP report on results of internal investigation into the causes of the accident.

With Labor Day weekend, and the recovery of the blowout preventer from the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico, the remaining parts of the operation are going to be increasingly directed at plugging the well, so that it can be abandoned. Part of this operation will be to ensure that the bottom plugs at the reservoir end of the well have adequately sealed off the bottom of the well. To do this, the relief well will be used to intersect the top of the unlined section of the original well, and determine the condition and fluid content of the annulus surrounding the production casing at that point.

There was concern that when the relief well intersected this annulus and then injected fluid into it as part of a possible additional plugging process, that this would increase the fluid pressure in the annulus. This could have raised the fluid pressure to the point that it might have been able to flow past the top seal at the well head, that was separating the annulus fluid channel from the path through the production casing. It was along that second path that the cement travelled to plug the bottom end of the well. Now that a BOP has been installed that can handle 15,000 psi fluid pressure in the well, the concern that a leak in the seal could allow oil to flow into the Gulf is of less consequence. So the relief well can proceed.

At the same time, it is likely that work will continue to prepare the top of the well for additional plugging so that the well can then be abandoned, according to regulation.

One of the remaining issues that will be resolved when the relief well intersects the annulus is over what type of fluid is actually in that channel. In the original sequence of events, before the well failed, the well was full of mud, and then a cement plug was pumped down the center of the well, to the bottom, from where it flowed up the outside of the production casing, filling the lower section of the annulus. In the process, it pushed the mud that was already in the well, up the annulus ahead of the cement. As that cement started to set, and filled the annulus, there should have been no flow path up the annulus to the well head. Thus the fluid in the annulus should still be the original mud that was in the well ahead of that first cement injection.

In a large part of the early thinking of how the well failed, there was a preponderance of opinion that the fluid flow in the well developed up through the cement in the annulus, from the oil reservoir. This then flowed up the outside of the production casing, dislodged the hanger seal at the top of the well, and flowed on up into the BOP and on. But when the second set of cement was sent down the well, to seal it after it had stopped flowing the cement, apparently following the path that the oil had taken in leaving the well, only flowed down the production casing to the bottom of the well, and thence back up to the oil reservoir. This suggests that the early thinking which would leave the annulus full of oil and natural gas was not correct, and rather than oil, the annulus still holds mud.

We won’t know which is right until the well is intersected, but once the information is available, then it will make it easier to decide what steps to take to complete the final stages of plugging the well.

At present the DD2 is preparing for these plug and abandon procedures. It is also, given past problems, testing the new BOP to ensure that it is fully functional before the process restarts. With there being sensibly no further likelihood of oil from the well escaping into the Gulf, the pressure to complete the process has diminished, and there is no urgent need for the relief well to be completed (apart that is for such matters as the amount of money that both the drilling rigs are costing BP every day).

As the Admiral instructs, it will be interesting to see when, and what, the relief well finds as it completes its mission in the next week or so.

At present the DD2 is preparing for these plug and abandon procedures.

That would be DD3, no? DD2 was doing the second relief well (confusingly, the numbered order was the reverse of the actual order of operations).

It is confusing. Let's see:
* The Enterprise removed the capping stack.
* The Q4000 removed the old BOP
* The DD2, which was on standby on the second relief well, brought over its BOP, installed it on the blowout well, and has its riser connected to the well. It will do whatever operations are done from the top, logging and P&A.
* The DD3, which drilled the first relief well, is still on that well and is preparing to do the bottom kill/cementing.

So both DD's will be involved, but the DD2 will do the 'traditional' plug and abandon procedures.

Do I have this right?

The relief well is DD3.
There was a backup relief well being drilled by DD2.
DD2 moved off that well, sealing and abandoning it and moved its BOP to the Blownout well. Thus the rig managing the blownout well is DD2.
The Q4000 removed the bad BOP from the blownout well and (I presume) is now transporting it to shore.

From Thadmiral's press conference a change of plans:

First will go fishing for drill pipe in the hole with DDII.
Second will make a P&A procedure from DDII by perforating the casing just above the cement plug and then cementing off the annulus.
Third will make a bottom kill via Relief well and DDIII.

In my opinion the third step is now just a public relation issue not a technical necessity.

Thanks Moon~ So IIRC, the second step (perforating the pipe at that location and cementing the annulus)is what I believe RM and a few others were stating they would do if they had the choice, and agree about the 3rd step but if they didn't I can just imagine the BS stories going around. Did he give a timetable for the P & A?

TIA and I appreciate all your effort.

SL~That confused me also, unless the scenario that justenough posted is correct about DD2 doing the traditional P & A.

SL~That confused me also, unless the sceanrio that justenough posted is correct about DD2 doing the traditional P & A.

Yeah, I think that's right. I was considering P&A to be the final wrap-up deal, and it's been repeated so often that the relief well operation will be the ultimate stake in the well's heart, I wasn't thinking of a separation between bottom kill and P&A.

5 Well control response actions failed to regain control of the well. The first well control actions were to close the BOP and diverter, routing the fluids exiting the riser to the Deepwater Horizon mud gas separator (MGS) system rather than to the overboard diverter line. If fluids had been diverted overboard, rather than to the MGS, there may have been more time to respond, and the consequences of the accident may have been reduced.

This does not make any sence. To get fluid to the MGS, it has to come up the choke or Kill. The Haliburton chart showed no pressure on the C&K line, either blocked with the heavy viscous pill they were trying to dump, hydrates or the fail safes were not opened. Also the only fluids that can come up the C&K are from below the BOP.

BP says the diverter was closed, this is a one button operation to open the overboard line close a rubber donut on the pipe to direct the riser fluid overboard. Yet they contradict themselves by saying this is what should have been done.

As I have stated before, it looks to me very likely the gas on the rig has come from the pop offs in the pump room releasing at 6000psi which is where the Haliburton chart finishes.

Got to go

Mucho thanks pusher. I don't know the hydraulic flow well enough to comment but to even my limited geologic brain their statement confused me also. Hope you have time later to dig into the report deeper.

The BP internal investigation report is up on their website.


"Conclusions reached" from the Executive Summary:

1 The annulus cement barrier did not isolate the hydrocarbons. The day before the accident, cement had been pumped down the production casing and up into the wellbore annulus to prevent hydrocarbons from entering the wellbore from the reservoir. The annulus cement that was placed across the main hydrocarbon zone was a light, nitrified foam cement slurry. This annulus cement probably experienced nitrogen breakout and migration, allowing hydrocarbons to enter the wellbore annulus. The investigation team concluded that there were weaknesses in cement design and testing, quality assurance and risk assessment.

2 The shoe track barriers did not isolate the hydrocarbons. Having entered the wellbore annulus, hydrocarbons passed down the wellbore and entered the 9 7/8 in. x 7 in. production casing through the shoe track, installed in the bottom of the casing. Flow entered into the casing rather than the casing annulus. For this to happen, both barriers in the shoe track must have failed to prevent hydrocarbon entry into the production casing. The first barrier was the cement in the shoe track, and the second was the float collar, a device at the top of the shoe track designed to prevent fluid ingress into the casing. The investigation team concluded that hydrocarbon ingress was through the shoe track, rather than through a failure in the production casing itself or up the wellbore annulus and through the casing hanger seal assembly. The investigation team has identified potential failure modes that could explain how the shoe track cement and the float collar allowed hydrocarbon ingress into the production casing.

3 The negative-pressure test was accepted although well integrity had not been established. Prior to temporarily abandoning the well, a negative-pressure test was conducted to verify the integrity of the mechanical barriers (the shoe track, production casing and casing hanger seal assembly). The test involved replacing heavy drilling mud with lighter seawater to place the well in a controlled underbalanced condition. In retrospect, pressure readings and volume bled at the time of the negative-pressure test were indications of flow-path communication with the reservoir, signifying that the integrity of these barriers had not been achieved. The Transocean rig crew and BP well site leaders reached the incorrect view that the test was successful and that well integrity had been established.

4 Influx was not recognized until hydrocarbons were in the riser. With the negative-pressure test having been accepted, the well was returned to an overbalanced condition, preventing further influx into the wellbore. Later, as part of normal operations to temporarily abandon the well, heavy drilling mud was again replaced with seawater, underbalancing the well. Over time, this allowed hydrocarbons to flow up through the production casing and passed the BOP. Indications of influx with an increase in drill pipe pressure are discernable in real-time data from approximately 40 minutes before the rig crew took action to control the well. The rig crew’s first apparent well control actions occurred after hydrocarbons were rapidly flowing to the surface. The rig crew did not recognize the influx and did not act to control the well until hydrocarbons had passed through the BOP and into the riser.

5 Well control response actions failed to regain control of the well. The first well control actions were to close the BOP and diverter, routing the fluids exiting the riser to the Deepwater Horizon mud gas separator (MGS) system rather than to the overboard diverter line. If fluids had been diverted overboard, rather than to the MGS, there may have been more time to respond, and the consequences of the accident may have been reduced.

6 Diversion to the mud gas separator resulted in gas venting onto the rig. Once diverted to the MGS, hydrocarbons were vented directly onto the rig through the 12 in. goosenecked vent exiting the MGS, and other flow-lines also directed gas onto the rig. This increased the potential for the gas to reach an ignition source. The design of the MGS system allowed diversion of the riser contents to the MGS vessel although the well was in a high flow condition. This overwhelmed the MGS system.

7 The fire and gas system did not prevent hydrocarbon ignition. Hydrocarbons migrated beyond areas on Deepwater Horizon that were electrically classified to areas where the potential for ignition was higher. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system probably transferred a gas-rich mixture into the engine rooms, causing at least one engine to overspeed, creating a potential source of ignition.

8 The BOP emergency mode did not seal the well. Three methods for operating the BOP in the emergency mode were unsuccessful in sealing the well.

  • The explosions and fire very likely disabled the emergency disconnect sequence, the primary emergency method available to the rig personnel, which was designed to seal the wellbore and disconnect the marine riser from the well.
  • The condition of critical components in the yellow and blue control pods on the BOP very likely prevented activation of another emergency method of well control, the automatic mode function (AMF), which was designed to seal the well without rig personnel intervention upon loss of hydraulic pressure, electric power and communications from the rig to the BOP control pods. An examination of the BOP control pods following the accident revealed that there was a fault in a critical solenoid valve in the yellow control pod and that the blue control pod AMF batteries had insufficient charge; these faults likely existed at the time of the accident.
  • Remotely operated vehicle intervention to initiate the autoshear function, another emergency method of operating the BOP, likely resulted in closing the BOP’s blind shear ram (BSR) 33 hours after the explosions, but the BSR failed to seal the well.

Through a review of rig audit findings and maintenance records, the investigation team found indications of potential weaknesses in the testing regime and maintenance management system for the BOP.

The BP whitewash. That's all this report is. PR Whitewash and blaming the crew for BP's outrageous corner-cutting.

I guess in today's america, where there is no accountability if you're powerful and rich, we let the criminals investigate their own crimes and we accept their blame-shifting conclusions at face value. Of course it was the dead crew's fault. Did anyone ever expect a different conclusion from BP?

Not me. But you already knew that.

The point hinges on whether the flow did come through the production casing annulus or not. If it didn't, the long string well design and centralizers points are moot. It could still be a bad design that didn't contribute to this particular failure. If BP is wrong, it remains a high point of contention. Also, BP notes that it had limited involvement from TO or HB, so its hard to say whether the team would have gotten any different viewpoints than their or comen and drilling engineers. That will come out in court. I'd be surprised if TO doesn't release their own report (which they should also have been working on) which could either validate or refute the BP report based on their own understanding. If they haven't bothered to do one, that's a real lack of due diligence on their part. I wouldn't expect anything from HB as cementing failure is not a significant criminal failure. It may show poor engineering, but there is no assumption of success in cementing. That is why they rigorously test it. BP could sue HB, but I doubt it and it shouldn't get very far.

"Cementing failure is not a significant criminal failure"??

You might want to read pages 58-59

Evaluation of Halliburton Lab Test Results
The investigation team reviewed Halliburton laboratory test results dated April 12, 2010, and noted several discrepancies, as follows:
ƒ Halliburton indicated in subsequent correspondence that this April 12, 2010, document reported results of slurry tests conducted on April 18, 2010.
ƒ The report did not include testing for fluid loss, free water, foam/spacer/mud compatibility, static gel strength transition time, zero gel time or settlement. Testing for these parameters is commonly provided.
ƒ Some of the data provided appeared to pre-date the April 18, 2010, slurry testing. At the time this report was written, the investigation team was unable to reconcile these discrepancies with Halliburton.
After the accident, the investigation team contracted a third party cementing lab (CSI Technologies) to evaluate Halliburton’s lab reports and to conduct tests on representative cement products and additives. The purpose of this effort was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Halliburton cement slurry design. According to Halliburton’s OptiCem™ model, obtaining nitrified foam cement slurry with a density of 14.5 ppg at downhole pressure and temperature in the Macondo well required the average foam quality to be 18% to 19%. Foam quality represents the concentration of nitrogen gas in the cement slurry, which is expressed as a percentage of gas volume to
total foamed slurry volume. To obtain this downhole density, a 55% to 60% foam quality must be generated at an injection pressure of 1,000 psi. CSI Technologies evaluated Halliburton’s lab test results dated April 12, 2010, to determine if the slurry properties would meet design criteria for this application. The investigation team and CSI Technologies identified several areas of concern:
ƒ The Halliburton lab test dated April 12, 2010, should have used cement with an 18% to 19% foam quality, which would have been consistent with the OptiCem™ model. Instead, the lab test used cement slurry with a foam quality of 12.98%.
ƒ One purpose of the Halliburton lab test was to evaluate the nitrified foam cement slurry mixability and stability. The results of this testing indicated foam instability based on the foamed cement weight of 15 ppg. The investigation team believes that those results should have led Halliburton to conduct further testing and to continue working on the slurry design.
ƒ The lab test results dated April 12, 2010, indicated that fluid rheologies were extremely low, with a yield point of approximately 2 lb/100 ft2 at 135˚F (57˚C). Yield point is the minimum pressure gradient needed to initiate flow. The yield point for cement slurries used in foamed cement is typically greater than 5 lb/100 ft2. This low yield point could have led to difficulties in foam stability.
ƒ A defoamer additive was used in the cement slurry, as indicated in Table 1. The investigation team understood from CSI Technologies that Halliburton standards included a specific recommendation to avoid using dispersant or defoamer additives with foam cement. Dispersants and defoamers could lead to foam stability problems.

Well Integrity Was Not Established or Failed
ƒ The cement design did not include an additive for controlling fluid loss in the slurry. Fluid loss control is important to prevent flow after cementing. The lack of a fluid loss additive for the lead cement (16.74 ppg) could have increased the potential for fluids to permeate the cement.

Looks to me Halliburton has some 'splainin' to do!

I guess in today's america, where there is no accountability if you're powerful and rich, we let the criminals investigate their own crimes and we accept their blame-shifting conclusions at face value.

In today's America, you presume a man to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

In today's America, you allow people to investigate incidents they were involved in.

In today's America, the defendant is allowed to speak in their defense.

At least, I hope that's still the case, otherwise the founding fathers would be spinning in their graves.

Good points, all of 'em, Red. I think you nailed me pretty good there. But we do have a problem with accountability in this country. A very serious one.

And when does the dead crew get to release their report and have the national media play it as exonerating them?

I have always understood that it is the state (meaning the government) that speaks for the dead and has an enormous weight of resources, discretion and power to perform this duty. I hope they do their duty competently and indeed represent the 11.

bb:Yes. I share your same hope for the 11 lost souls. Also, for their families, as it will be VERY important to them how this transpires in terms of grief, helplessness and personal bitterness. The latter one can wreak all manner of harm and damage in a person through time.


Transocean: BP probe 'self-serving' and misleading

NEW ORLEANS — Transocean Ltd., the owner of the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig leased by oil giant BP, said Wednesday that BP's internal investigation into the explosion and massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill had covered up the critical factor leading to the incident: the design of the well.

"This is a self-serving report that attempts to conceal the critical factor that set the stage for the Macondo incident: BP's fatally flawed well design," Transocean said in a statement released shortly after BP released its internal review. "In both its design and construction, BP made a series of cost-saving decisions that increased risk — in some cases, severely." ...

And TO is 100% correct IMHO.

On the long string design being inherently flawed, or the centralizer issue (or other that I've forgotten)?

If Transocean considered the well design was wrong, why did they carry on and drill it? Why did they not walk away from the contract? Production casing strings are fairly common in that area of the GOM. Does TO have a company policy that says it will only drill wells with Tied Back Liners? I don't think so.

acorn -- Just a guess but often it's not so much "I think you're dead wrong" as it is "I don't think that's the best way to get it done". So often it falls into that big "experience factor" hole. IOW: I can't prove why I think your way isn't the best route but I wouldn't do it that way. Most engineers I've talked to thought the BP csg program was a poor choice. But none of them said they would have turned down the contract if the had been in charge of TO. It's very easy to strongly support one's opinion on some matter but very different if you're the one who has to make the actual choice. Consider this: if the well had not blown out would anyone be very critical of BP's design today? Or would they just say that it wouldn't be the way they would do it?

Just a guess but often it's not so much "I think you're dead wrong" as it is "I don't think that's the best way to get it done".

And I think that is the big problem that RIG has now. In MMR interview, I think RIg man in charge stated on the record that he didn't have any problem with BP decision (the pressure test, the spacer, the casing design etc.). So RIG is explicitely stating that they believe BP design is good enough for this well.. They can't go back and claim that BP design is flawed.

If BP's well design was fately flawed - TO shouldn't have agreed to drill it -IMHO.

If BP's well design was fately flawed - TO shouldn't have agreed to drill it -IMHO.

that is not their department, that belongs to the well engineer,
the driller/contractor is basically doing the work at the behest of the operator and the operator is expected to follow standard API practice. MMS also does the approvals when it comes to design practices and the changes of them/variances.

drilling contractors are not typically involved with well design of the well owners/operators

If BP's well design was fately flawed - MMS shouldn't have agreed to let anybody drill it - IMHO.

(Thank you, our government).

So, how do we fix this so that it won't happen again?

No more drilling? Yeah, that will work.

Fire everybody in MMS? Yeah, that would be a good start!

Bar BP from the GOM?

Bar TO from the GOM?

Bar Halliburton from the GOM? (Cheney is evil, right?)

Bar MI-SWACO (Schulmberger) from the GOM?

Put Mr Vidrine in prison for the rest of his life? Yep, that will fix everything.

That (above) is what I cane here to try to figure out. Doing away with oil exploration entirely is not an option, as far as I'm concerned.

Making oil companies be safe, well if that costs me an extra 10 or 20 cents a gallon, I can handle that.

If syncro's legal crap pushes that delta up to 30 or 40 cents a gallon, for no increase in safety, then I might be in favor of shooting two out of three rather than the 50% that I've been willing to go along with for the past 50 years.

Oh, nevermind.

What do you think of this?

The investigation team did not find evidence that the pits were configured to allow monitoring while displacing the well to seawater. Furthermore, the investigation team did not find evidence that either the Transocean rig crew or the Sperry-Sun mudloggers monitored the pits from 13:28 hours (when the offloading to the supply vessel began) to 21:10 hours (when returns were routed overboard).

BTW the Sperry-Sun flowmeter was bypassed when they routed the spacer overboard at 21:10, so they could not monitor returns via that flowmeter from there onward.

So the way to monitor the returns would have been to monitor the level in the mud pits, right? BP figures the gas flow should have become detectable at 20:58 and TO could have closed the BP before gas entered the riser up until 21:38, so this was a critical period to monitor the returns.

BTW the Sperry-Sun flowmeter was bypassed when they routed the spacer overboard at 21:10, so they could not monitor returns via that flowmeter from there onward.

According to the report the drillers console flow meter was not bypassed by dumping overboard. The sperry-sun meter was bypassed as you say though.

If all they have on BP is well design, they're hinging a whole lot on the annular flow possibility. I hope they release their report of what happened and their belief of what failed so we can compare and contrast.

I agree, syncro, but this is an astonishing statement coming from a lawyer:

"...we let the criminals investigate their own crimes and we accept their blame-shifting conclusions at face value..."

Replace "criminals" with "lawyers", and it would still be a true statement.

Yes, the statement is more of an inflammatory rhetorical device to try to put the report into the cynical context it belongs, IMO. And I am angry I suppose that BP has such a loud mega phone while those it blames have none. It's not too difficult to see what their point is.

So please forgive me for my rhetorical excess and any irritation i caused.

Would you rather have the cops to call a plumber or a medial examiner if the town doctor has a patient die on him or her?

Have you ever seen a crooked medical examiner's report to clear a cop guilty of murder. I have.

It's happened a few times here in NOLA and in the not so distant past, to boot.

I had a friend of a friend who, according to the M.E., committed suicide by shooting himself in the head three times with a bolt action rifle.

One last thing before I run out. Check out the caveats in the intro. These caveats render the report incomplete and its conclusions suspect right from the beginning:

In preparing this report, the investigation team did not evaluate evidence against legal standards, including but not limited to standards regarding causation, liability, intent and the admissibility of evidence in court or other proceedings.

This report is based on the information available to the investigation team during the investigation; availability of additional information might have led to other conclusions or altered the team’s findings and conclusions.

At times, the evidence available to the investigation team was contradictory, unclear or uncorroborated. The investigation team did not seek to make credibility determinations in such cases.

Read: This is what we think happened and who we think is responsible based on what we were told happened. Ok, lawyers ready...set...go!!

Here's what I saw as critical aspects of the executive summary from the BP report.

"Indications of influx with an increase in drill pipe pressure are discernable in real-time data from approximately 40 minutes before the rig crew took action to control the well. The rig crew’s first apparent well control actions occurred after hydrocarbons were rapidly flowing to the surface. The rig crew did not recognize the influx and did not act to control the well until hydrocarbons had passed through the BOP and into the riser."

IMHO this is not a shot across the bow of Transocean...it's an arrow aimed straight at their heart: "the crew... did not act to control the well".

"Well control response actions failed to regain control of the well. If fluids had been diverted overboard, rather than to the MGS, there may have been more time to respond, and the consequences of the accident may have been reduced."

And a viable excuse offered: "The explosions and fire very likely disabled the emergency disconnect sequence, the primary emergency method available to the rig personnel, which was designed to seal the wellbore and disconnect the marine riser from the well.

Given a number of highly questionable decisions, BP appears to volunteer to take a few arrows themselves: "The team did not identify any single action or inaction that caused this accident. Rather, a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces came together to allow the initiation and escalation of the accident. Multiple companies, work teams and circumstances were involved over time."

So BP may claim a collective blame but I go back to their lead off position: ""the crew... did not act to control the well". If you followed the debate between syn and I you can see how I take BP's report: yes...BP and others made mistakes. BUT the TO drill crew "did not act to control the well". And that lack of action allowed the kick to turn into a blow out that killed 11 hands and wrecked the GOM.

Opinions will vary, of course. And in the end there will be legal judgment rendered. But each person, including the surviving participants, will come to their own conlusions.

I've considered asking you before but maybe this would be a good time for you to explain (in your usual understandable way) in more detail how a kick should normally be handled. For instance, you have used the phrase 'shut the well in' several times. What exactly does that mean, close the BOP? When the 'kill pill' is being pumped down, what path do the returns take, the kill line? Could you include the role of the BOP, annular, diverter? MTIA (mucho TIA). Any of you other experienced drillers feel free to pitch in.

just -- When they detect a kick coming up (by seeing the well start to unload mud even with the pumps off) they close all the valves that allow mud to flow out of the well. That would be the well being shut in. At that point the driller/tool pusher goes to the "kill sheet". This a prepared set of hydraulic responses and mud weights used to get the well back under control. They'll essentially pump down a kill pill (heavier mud weight) that should stop the bottom hole flow of oil/NG. Sometimes if enough oil/NG has accumulated at the top of the well they'll divert this to a flare boom and burn it off. This would be the mud gas separator (MGS) system or the overboard diverter line BP refers to in their report. They'll essentially "circulate out the kick" under controlled conditions.

You may have seen me mentioned before that well kicks are not uncommon. I had 3 well kicks in the last month. They were relatively minor so didn't take much effort for the drill crew to kill them. In each case they were detected the same way: increase in drilling mud gain with the pumps off. The drill crew responded the same each time: shut the well in and circulate the kick out. Probably done like this a dozen or two times every month in the Gulf Coast.

Just like bad cmt jobs: well kicks are always anticipated and well flow monitored at every critical juncture...if not more often. In my safe drilling protocol I have the driller/tool pusher and my coman stop he pumps and check for flow even when they are just adding a new section of drill pipe. It takes just a couple of minutes to do and thus really isn't a cost factor at all.

I kind of feel that the people who work on rigs are too willing to accept 'kicks' as routine events. Just as the US Army did away with the term 'accidental discharge' and replaced it with the term 'negligent discharge' - I feel that we need to start paying more attention to well kicks and penalizing companies for any 'preventable' well kick.

IMO - you criticism of the drill crew is akin to criticizing an airliner crew for a crash caused by improper responses to an engine fire. Both the crew response and the engine defect were at fault and _both_ issues need to be addressed.

Unless you can make a BOP 99.999% reliable at stopping a blowout - relying on the drill crew for safety means that there is no backup if the crew makes a mistake in interpretation or procedure.

what would you estimate is teh percentage of wells drilled that have a kick occur at some point in the drilling of the well? Also, what percentage of cmt jobs are bad and to go with that what percentage of wells drilled have a bad cmt job at some point in the wells history?

daa -- I can only give a WAG but I would offer that somewhere between 1 in 5 to 1 in 3 deep wells take some form of a kick. But kicks can vary greatly. I might get a 5 bbl gain in my mud and shut the well in, raise my mud weight 0.3 ppg and drill ahead. Take a hard kick and I might spend 3 days "on choke" flowing 1 million cf of NG out my flair line until I can finally pump a very heavy kill pill down. I might run a $15 million string of csg in the hole (that I had not planned on) so I could get back to drilling like before I took the kick. Take a real hard kick I might stick my drill pipe and pump a slug of cmt to kill the well. Then I would spend maybe $50 to side track the hole and then spend that $15 million to case it at the depth I took the kick. So when I say a well took a kick it really doesn't tell you how potentially dangerous the situation was. Obviously the ultimate bad kick turns into a blow out and hands die and rigs sink.

Cmt jobs fail all the time. Not as spectacularly as the BP blow out, of course. Last Friday we tested a cmt shoe on a string of csg we just ran. Needed the cmt to test up to a 18.0 ppg pressure. The cmt failed at 15.6 ppg. Don't know why it failed and never will. So we went into the hole with a "squeeze tool" and pumped more cmt in. Tested again and got our 18.0 test. No one ran around crying and bitching that the first cmt job failed: it happens. Getting a good cmt job probably has the lowest success rate of any significant operation on a well. We keep the sqz tool on location throughout the entire drilling ops. That's how common it is. And does Halliburton give you a rebate when one of their cmt jobs fail? Heck no. Not only do they charge you full price for the first cmt job they charge you full price for the sqz job. No cmt company has ever given a warranty with their work and none ever will. Cmt failure is ot uncommon. And you seldom have a lue why one failed.


I've been 'lurking' on this site for quite a while now.

Also, I've been very impressed by some of the messages you've posted. However this latest one has made me bite the bullet, sign up, and respond.

You're (by your own admission) a rock-licker. A geologist, in other words. I'm a freelance 'Company Man', who worked his way up the ladder from roustabout to driller, to toolpusher, to where I am now, and with 33 years' oilfield experience under my belt. Just so you know my CV. The first 'pressure control' exam I sat was in 1980, when I was still roughnecking in the North Sea.

And that's why I'm posting a message here. Because your explanation of dealing with a kick is facile,simplistic, and very misleading. I'm not going to go into an explanation of how to deal with a kick, because it would take far too long. But that's why drilling personnel from Assistant Driller level upwards are obliged to resit their pressure control exam every two years, either paid for by their employer, or in the case of people like me as a consultant, out of my own pocket. It generally adds up to about 4000 bucks.

Geologists don't have to have a 'BOP ticket'. Also generally don't know how a rig actually works. So please, just stay within your speciality regarding your posts. And if you 'had' three well kicks in the last month, you're working for the wrong people.


fullhouse - About time you opened your damn mouth. LOL. You and I both know there is nothing more dangerous than a geologist who plays engineer. But I give simplistic answers for two reasons. First, I often don't know the detailed answer. Second, even if I do know the details you have to remember your audience here. The TODer's are a clever group in general. But unless you're willing to post a 2,000 word message with dozens of graphic you need to be prepared to simplify your answer. Otherwise few here would gain anything from your effort.

For goodness sake...stop hiding. If you think some of my answers aren't too good now you should have been here at the beginning of the the blow out. I was one on the very few oil patch hands on TOD and had to stick my neck way out beyond my acutual knowledge base.

As far as the 3 kicks they were minor. We only work with good drillers. But we drill very deep and at the edge of capabilities. The BP well was child's play compared to what we're doing. As far as not knowing how a rig works I'm certainly not as familiar as you. So help me out: give me a specific where I was so wrong so I can learn from my mistakes.

There you were, just trying to help some folks out with their BlueBell affliction and some one comes in and bends your spoon!

Edited to add:
Thanks Rockman... I'll take the simplified answer any day. I'm not here studying for any test!

here. Because your explanation of dealing with a kick is facile,simplistic, and very misleading. I'm not going to go into an explanation of how to deal with a kick, because it would take far too long.

heh heh, then why bother showing up ?? There are tons of people who know how deepsea drilling work but Rock and a few other here are the only onw that who care to share what they know with us and educate us. You, on the other hand, are just sitting on the sideline since day one according to your own post.. So why should we care about what you think??? You are not going to share with us anyway (too long to type .. yea, I understand. Apparently have enough time to read other's discussion though...lol).

So BP may claim a collective blame but I go back to their lead off position: ""the crew... did not act to control the well". If you followed the debate between syn and I you can see how I take BP's report: yes...BP and others made mistakes. BUT the TO drill crew "did not act to control the well". And that lack of action allowed the kick to turn into a blow out that killed 11 hands and wrecked the GOM.

Of course, if BP had followed proper well control procedures, they never would have displaced the riser without a second barrier in place and the blowout never would have happened.

SYN - And of course if President Obama's MMS had not issued a drill permit the well would never have blown out. Thank goodness we now know where the real fualt lays. It's President Obama'a mama. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it. LOL.

Of course that's ridiculous, RM.

syn - Of course it it. Thank goodness you finally agree with me on something. LOL

Okay, i'm good with that, Rock.

Sorry i'm irritable. Too many late nights this week.

...and i'm off to do real work.

syn - Hey..I've been poking enough pins in to get anyone irritable. I good at it...just ask my wife. I'll ask her to drop you line the next time she's talking to me.

Thank goodness we now know where the real fualt lays. It's President Obama'a mama. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it. LOL.

If you got the time to watch this all the way through, that is pretty much what this black minister says. You can kind of skip ahead if short on time to where he gets to the juicy parts, about Obama's Mama. LOL


Of course, if BP had followed proper well control procedures, they never would have displaced the riser without a second barrier in place and the blowout never would have happened.

Yes, but you could also pick a dozen other factors and say the same thing:

  • If Halliburton had cemented the shoe correctly - the blowout never would have happened
  • If the cement job had closed the float collar - the blowout never would have happened
  • If the Transocean crew hadn't misread the negative test - the blowout never would have happened
  • If the company man hadn't misread the negative test - the blowout never would have happened
  • If the Transocean crew had noticed and reacted to the excessive mud returns - the blowout never would have happened
  • If the Transocean crew had reacted to the drill-pipe pressure rise - the blowout never would have happened
  • If Transocean's rig had a working gas-detection system - the explosion never would have happened
  • If transocean's BOP's Yellow POD had been properly maintained - the blowout would have been controlled
  • If transocean's BOP's Blue POD had been properly maintained - the blowout would have been controlled

and so on.

Focusing solely on any one of these is insufficient to prevent future incidents.

Some of those make sense, the rest just show you have an axe to grind.

Whomever singles out any one of those might have.

My point was expressed in my concluding sentence.

Okay, that makes sense then. Sorry i was focused on the synthetic issue of establishing legal liability.

Red - let me repeat one more time: if BP had intentionally done everything wrong in drilling and completing this well and really wanted it to blow out it still would not have blown out if the crew had seen the kick coming and shut the well in. WE'VE BEATEN BP TO DEATH ON TOD FOR ALL THE OBVIOUS AND LESS OBVIOUS MISTAKES THEY MADE. I don't recall one person ever really offering much defense for the mistakes they made. But BP wasn't responsible for monitoring the well for a kick. That is the sole responsibility of the drill crew. And had they seen the kick coming and shut the well in then none of the BP mistakes would be discussed by any of us because none of us would know about it since the well would not have blown out.

I'm sure some folks are getting as tired of hearing it as I am of saying it: well kicks happen all the time and can happen no matter how a well is drilled. Monitoring mud returns, again, is the sole responsibility of the drill crew. It is the primary safety protocol to prevent a blow out. It always has been and always will be.

You mean the car got totaled because even with bald tires and bad brakes, you still need to drive between the ditches?

Hey - stop baiting the poor guy and let him enjoy his BBIC in peace ;-)

I just paid a small fortune to get the front tyres and brake disks replaced in my car :-(

TFHG - If I get your point: NO...you don't need to keep it between the ditches. You need to leave it in the drive way and hitch a ride.

But it brings up a point: I can't guess how many times I've gotten the same answer to this question: If you thought there was a problem why didn't you stop? And the answer is always the same: did't want to take the time. I constantly beat my hands with the same order: Don't rush...take the time it takes to get the job done right. Even with that you still have to keep a close eye on them.

Actually, I was wondering what you really do in terms of averting disaster. Out of 1000 hypothetical wells do you get 10 'near' kicks that were averted by competent operations. Do you walk off the job or threaten to and that usually works if you feel a well is not right? Probably up to 10% of the cars on the road have bad tires or bad brakes and it can cause an accident, but pilot error still has to be the number one cause. It usually does comes down to the operator. That was my real point. Sometimes you work for a cheap boss that will not maintain the company van. You can choose not to drive it or you can choose to be extra careful. You can also choose to ignore it all and fly around with glee. Maybe I should have said do you think the operators were being like the gleeful drivers?
How many Macondo's has a good driller or company man averted? I am curious how often these 'signs' you constantly mention actually appear. Can I go a ten year span and not see any? A whole career? From the standpoint of a safety engineer, is the rarity of these events perhaps a contributor to the problem?

TFHG -- I can offer some general answers. How many near-Macondo's have there been. Just my WAG but enough to scare the hell out of most of us. A very long story short: I was on a DW well about 7 years ago. Compared to what this operator, with the concurrence of the drilling company, did BP is the safest and smartest operator out there. The only reason this company didn't kill the majority of the 125 souls on board and sink the drill ship was that they didn't find any hydrocarbons. One of the hands on the BP told his wife he thought the BP well wasn't safe. Compare that to some of the hands on that drillship who were sleeping in the escape capsules when off tower.

Check my other post about kicks. While they are not uncommon most aren't too serious or difficult to handle. Also. I'm not sure what you mean by "near kicks". Sounds like being "a little pregnant". Maybe you meant "near blow outs". Hard to tell industry wide because operators don't tend to advertise such potential screw ups. In my career I've witnessed maybe 3 or 4 near blow outs out of around 50 deep wells.

7%? They should have detected it then IMHO. In life or death, 7% is HUGE.


I kind of got lost "in the mud" during the dual hearings. According to one of the mud engineers, they had some confusion at the mud pits and he wasn't sure if they were monitoring returns or even had the capability while pumping mud to the tender. They stopped the transfer because visually (I took it) they seemed to be gaining returns as they tried to make room for them. There seemed to be some confusion as to how the monitors were set up and what they were using to measure returns.

Can anyone straighten me out on that? Seems as though the TP and Driller should have had tighter control of the process and better communication with the mud guys?????

RM--Recall the Captain of the mud-receiving vessel stating he called to DH crew to notify that his tanks were filling-up too quickly and approaching capacity, i.e. conditions were outside his expectations.

He was observing his end of the operation and saw persistent and excessive flows of mud [mud-flow rates].

He saw an indicator that signified "kick".
How could the DH crew not be watching one of the Emergency Stop indicators?

If they were observing, how could they shut-in the well and explain it to visiting BP executives who were partying on the rig to celebrate $ucce$$?

From my nuke experience, I know that people at all levels--- execs, engineers and managers and tradesmen---can make terrible decisions that, in hindsight, were obviously wrong.

BP submitted plans to MMS that assured BP was ready to protect walrusses, sea lions and polar bears in the GOM in event of release of pollutants. That demonstrates BP carelessness and contempt, at highest executive levels, for USGov
regulating and monitoring. Every contract BP signs is proofread. The MMS document was not. Management character flows downhill and infects all...even the little people.

Hi, reddot. If we've heard that story about the captain before, I've forgotten it. Was this in the hearings, or where/when?

BP submitted plans to MMS that assured BP was ready to protect walrusses, sea lions and polar bears in the GOM in event of release of pollutants. That demonstrates BP carelessness and contempt, at highest executive levels, for USGov
regulating and monitoring. Every contract BP signs is proofread. The MMS document was not. Management character flows downhill and infects all...even the little people.

From testimony that I heard/read from other oil companies these contracts are mostly boiler plate stuff and they all have had it, not just BP. Although, I know much has been made about this being in the contract.
Funny the things people are wanting to focus on in this mess. I didn't think too much of it myself, but others for whatever reason seem fixated on stuff like that. I would be more concerned about BP engineers not doing their job, the company men, the rig managers, crew, etc. But that is just me, I guess from being born and raised into an oilfield family and with 45+ years in it myself. Started as a roughneck on water well rig and on a workover rig as as wee lad.

When I saw this my first impression what that BP was simply overconfident. They felt that clean-up would not be an issue because they were too smart to have a major spill in the first place.

Kind of like my general manager - for four years I have been asking for an evacuation drill for the plant and he has never agreed because 'nothing will ever happen.'

red - How they missed the signs of the kick is still a mystery to me and others. I can only guess but I doubt the presence of the BP wheels made them hesitate to shut the well in. I've seen many drillers gets their butts chewed out for missing a kick or not shutting a well in fast enough. I've never seen one chewed out for doing so when someone else thought it wasn't necessary.

I doubt the BP plans were that much worse than many operators. For decades both sides of the fence (industry and govt) have just been going thru the motions as far as I could tell from my limited perspective.

RM, you said: "How they missed the signs of the kick is still a mystery to me and others. I can only guess but I doubt the presence of the BP wheels made them hesitate to shut the well in."

In a previous post you quoted BP's noting "The rig crew did not recognize the influx and did not act to control the well until hydrocarbons had passed through the BOP and into the riser"...

Using the phrase "did not recognize" indicates, at least to me, that BP may also wonder why the crew missed the signs of the kick.

My question to you is can you comment on what time frame can this final kick be most reasonably reckoned? Like you, I don't see "wheels" onboard causing the crew to hesitate in shutting in the well, if they saw the kick coming.

How did the drill crew miss the kick?

Simple they were expecting the well to be plugged. That is whst's done before you displace a well to salt water. When the well is plugged and the mud displaced to a boat it is an open system and much more dificult to monitor. So much so that it is very often not done. Line up on sea water and pump till you get water at the returns. Yes, you can pump into an empty pit (if you have one) and then stop your pumps while you move that to the boat but it's slow. Two well tested plugs and you don't need to take these extra steps. I have seen several menstion of flow meters. These are not calibrated to pump output. Why, because would be dificult to do and not possible with the type of paddle flowmeter commonly in use. They are good enough to detect an increase/decrease in flow but not detect small differences in flow in/out. One thing I have not seen mentioned is if the mud were oil based. I assume that it was for several reasons. One thing to remember is that gas will go into solution and stay there long after you would expect to see a difference in mud volume or flow. I have had personal experience where it did not break out until long past the BOP and up the riser. This was on a closed system and the volume alarms did not go off until mud was flowing up the rotary table onto the floor. Lucky for us it was a small volume but it still blew the bushings out of the rotary table. This was on a bottoms up circulation after a long flow check after drill the pay zone and another when bottom was below the BOP. We were looking for it and it still took us by surprise. If that is what happened on the Horizon the crew would have had a hard time seeing it if they were in the well must be safe since we are displacing to water mode.
There have also been comments about seeing and increase in pressure on the drill pipe gauges. Think about this for a second. You are pumping water down the string and displacing heavy mud. You are losing hydrostatic pressure as you pump the water until you get water to the bit. Lose the hydrostaic in the string and the pressure will come up. If the mud engineer is complaining about high flow rates while he makes room for the mud coming onboard the driller may have had to decrease his pump rates depending on the avalible pit volumes. This change would change dp pressure and made a increase difficult to recognize as a problem.
Most rigs do not have a MGS on the divertor. This is a relativly new arrangement. If there is a MGS in the diverter line why would the drill crew not use it? One reason might be they could seperate out gas and keep the expensive mud out of the ocean. They might have been told by BP to do this. At what point do you go to the MGS and what point do you go overboard? How do you know when that point is reached.

BP, your report.......try again.....without the lawyers in the same room.

BP can throw blame at the drill crew but what did they do to make the job easier? Nothing, they made it more difficult.

How did the drill crew miss the kick?

Simple they were expecting the well to be plugged. That is whst's done before you displace a well to salt water. When the well is plugged and the mud displaced to a boat it is an open system and much more dificult to monitor. So much so that it is very often not done. Line up on sea water and pump till you get water at the returns. Yes, you can pump into an empty pit (if you have one) and then stop your pumps while you move that to the boat but it's slow. Two well tested plugs and you don't need to take these extra steps.

OTP, thanks for your fascinating post. It explains a lot of things that have been a lingering mystery. About kicks, plugs, displacing, and monitoring. And why the crew may have appeared complacent. Obviously, had they known the cement actually failed the pressure test, they would have been handling things much differently.

Your comments about two plugs before displacing raises a question. What if you were told by the co-man ... a rookie in DW drilling BTW ... what if he told you at pre-tour meeting that plans had changed and you were going to displace the riser before setting the top plug? It would save time, be much quicker, with the mud still going to the boat. The bottom cement with a negative pressure test would be good enough.

Does that happen very often? That procedure, I mean, displacing the riser with just one tested plug. Not the scenario.

Thanks again for your post. Very enjoyable read.

Old TP, that's a real good job of getting into the world of the drilling crew just before the blowout, thank you.

I've wondered why water, gas and mud came out of the hole when it blew, but not oil; gas dissolved in the mud might explain that. And your comments on the DP pressure change hiding the higher pressure kick coming up the hole makes a lot of sense.

If you don't mind a question, does the tapered casing string complicate the picture? This well had about 6000 ft of 7 inch casing at the bottom, with only half the volume per foot of the 7000 ft of 9 7/8 casing above it. Could this make it harder to spot a kick coming up because it's not displacing a large percent of the mud at first? Or is tapered casing just business as usual?

I went looking for the captain's testimony .. Capt Alwin Landry testified on Tues, May 11th, the first day of the first set of MBI hearings. (transcript here.)

He says nothing about noting excessive flows.

He does say

A. ...Before we started the transfer, a derrickhand came back to me and informed me that it be approximately 4,500 barrels they would pump to us. We started the transfer - that was the next day - on 1317 - 1328 we loaded mud - from 1328 to 1717 we took on mud and they shut us down, which came out to be approximately 3,100 barrels of mud transferred during that time.

Q. Do you recall what the weight of the mud was that was being transferred was?

A. Yes, 14 pound mud - 14 pounds per gallon.

Q. Was the weight of the mud consistent throughout?

A. Yes

Q. To the best of your knowledge, was the transfer rate consistent throughout the transfer?

A. Yes, it was

Q. ... To the best of your knowledge and recollection, could you briefly outline for us the events of the 20th and how they unfolded?

A. As previously stated, we stopped the mud transfer around 1717. The rig told us they would be shutting down for a little while. I assumed it was for dinner break.... I contacted the Horizon bridge at 2100, approximately, and asked them the status of the the mud. I was informed by the bridge that they would be displacing the riser here shortly and we would be receiving the rest of the mud thereafter. And that was around 2100.


We stood by alongside waiting to transfer...

The transfer never resumed - the next thing the Capt saw was mud hitting the back half of his boat.

Another crew member, Gervasio, also testified that day. Gervasio also did not mention anything unusual about the mud flow.

Did not closely follow testimony/hearing. The remarks I read ,re: mud-flow to the Bankston, were on the internet and newsmedia a few days or so after April 20 incident. Maybe sent into non-existence since then.

By the way, Congressional and other govt public hearings are often orchestrated sideshows. There is absence of trial procedure, key questions and rigorous follow-up. Responses are rarely answers to the question asked. Brief and apportioned time limits for each "questioner" preclude sharp questioning and instead, the game is to "run-out the 3-minute clock". Behind the scenes are where the data is hashed-out and deals [bipartisan, of course] are made.

Recall Watergate and Alex Butterfield's testimony that "surprised" everyone...that Nixon had tape-recorded most conversations? All was arranged before the hearings for it to be "discovered" on camera...down to the Dem. Sen. who would ask witness Butterfield the key Q. The only surprise was that a Repub. Counsel, Fred Thompson, snuck the Q in out-of-turn [if I recall correctly].

In similar but more elite fashion, handling of BP Macondo affair may well already be resolved at very-high/highest Anglo-Amer levels. There are primary global political/strategic aspects in play that trump transparency.

Seems TheOilDrum was born to impinge on matters where transparency ain't gonna easily happen. Macondo is a detour. For perspective, recent membership might be well served by reading The Seven Sisters, a remarkably candid story of BigOil's beginnings...and clout.

You mean don't slow the boat down in spite of the iceberg reports? Ismay wants his record!

That is the sole responsibility of the drill crew. And had they seen the kick coming and shut the well in then none of the BP mistakes would be discussed by any of us because none of us would know about it since the well would not have blown out.

I'm sure some folks are getting as tired of hearing it as I am of saying it: well kicks happen all the time and can happen no matter how a well is drilled. Monitoring mud returns, again, is the sole responsibility of the drill crew. It is the primary safety protocol to prevent a blow out. It always has been and always will be.

That is true, but such as it is, BP still has primary responsibility as the well owner/operator. Government will always look to the operator for accepting their liability for THEIR well and the control of it. However, I have questioned why the OIM didn't take more responsibility for the safety of his crew and his rig, for the way the whole thing was being managed that last day??? At least one toolpusher kept questioning why they were getting the results they were getting and didn't want to accept it. I am guessing he didn't have the stroke to override the rest of the head knockers by himself.

RM and syncro
I've been following your dialogue and have to admit I find it very interesting. On the legal side, i.e. Syncro's arguments, very educational. I follow both lines of reasoning but I think Francis downthread sums it up well. One is a legal side and the other is a technical side. For all of us that have ever worked on a rig, the lines of responsibility are clear. It's hard to explain to anyone who has not been there, but every rig I was ever on, everyone knew exactly who had what authority and when. For the most part, all the toolpushers and company men were well experienced seasoned pros and well respected. I hate generalizations and realize there are exceptions to that but that is how I see it. I know the Coast Guard hearings have really struggled with this demarcation of authority, but watching the various testimonies, it didn't confuse me at all.

In our legalistic system, I can see how synros arguments might play out in our court system. But if it was truly a jury of peers, i.e. oilfield hands, syncro might be surprised how it would play out.

I have been reading the report that came out today with great interest. In between other commitments I have had so I haven't completely finished yet but find it very interesting. If the other reports that are still outstanding support BP's finding that all the flow came up the casing, then most of the discussions about well design go out the window. One might still disagree with the design, but it had nothing to do with the accident if it can be shown that all the flow was up the casing. The cement design is another story. I've got to admit, I had no experience with nitrified cement over my career, but reading the report gives me the creepies as to how fickle this stuff must be. Or maybe I should admit I don't know what I don't know on this particular aspect of cementing operations and maybe it's not as bad as it sounds. Irregardless, at the beginning of this saga, I thought the issue of running a cement log was a red herring. I'm wavering on that now. But again, this may be because I'm not as familiar with this nitrified cement and others are.

One thing very, very interesting. Did you look at Appendix O? Remember the other oil company execs saying they would never run a long string. They might want to go back and look at their well records. Appendix O shows this not to be the case. Including Anadarko.

Syncro, one qualification to something you keep saying though. Your repeatedly stress only one barrier. They actually thought they had two. Granted they actually had zero due to mistakes made but they had the mindset of two barriers. On the casing side it was the cement in the shoe and the float collar. On the annulus, it was the cement and the hanger seal.

Anyways,I generally just lurk and take it all in, but felt like contributing tonight. At least, I hope it's seen as a contribution

ROM, thank very much for your insightful comments.

I guess i like how you put it about those who work on the rig know exactly what is going on in terms of lines of authority even if it may not seem that way to outsiders. The law is like that.

You can't see it, but there is a legal structure surrounding every rig out there that operates as constantly as the laws of physics do down hole. The rules are alien to outsiders and don;t seem to make sense. But remember, it is a separate free-standing structure with a different purpose. It is designed to achieve specific objectives and the ways and means the law deploys to get that done are highly refined and efficient. And that goes from financing to damage claims. Yes, it is imperfect, but the task it seeks to achieve is no small one.

So yes, the legal and technical are different. But they are also closely intertwined, as noted in my response to Francis.

As far as my posts, i'm struggling to learn and understand more than anything. It's a distraction from the hours of daily tedium at the computer. But I don't have the time to really invest in it and do the research to get beyond the kind of internet speculation I do here for fun.

Thanks for the clarification on the barriers. I guess I should stay with plugs, then. Is a float collar the equivalent of a plug or hydrostatic balance in terms of being an effective barrier?

Edit: fixed error last paragraph

> Focusing solely on any one of these is insufficient
> to prevent future incidents.

I'll just focus on the last two; as a controls engineer, they're the most UNBELIEVABLE to me. The whole point of machine fail-safes are to apply rigorous logic to control a situation when human reasoning fails, people have sand in their eyes, or whatever. For one fail-safe system to crap out is maddening. For BOTH - inexcusable.

The drillers should have been able to displace their mud with frickin' haiku and count on the BOP to save the day.


Opinions will vary, of course

From WSJ's take:

... The BP investigation, led by company safety chief Mark Bly, has been billed as an objective examination of events leading up to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers and damaged a well, which unleashed nearly five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

But the report dismisses many of the other criticisms that have been leveled against BP by congressional investigators and outside experts. Mr. Bly's team, for example, concluded that the controversial "long-string" design of the well likely didn't contribute to the disaster. The design provides fewer barriers against gas flowing up the sides of the well than an alternative design that is more widely used in deep-water wells. But the investigation found that gas likely flowed up the inside of the metal pipe lining the well, not up the sides, making the design irrelevant. ...

One immediate question likely to arise from BP's account of the accident involves how much, it at all, it reflects the point of view of other companies involved in the well. A person familiar with the report, said the inputs of Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron International Corp., maker of Deepwater Horizon's blowout preventer, into shaping the report were of a "limited nature."

Indeed, BP's report cautions that its conclusions might not be universally accepted. The report says that BP recognizes that other investigations "could reach different conclusions or ascribe different weight to particular information." ...

What an intriguing phrase, "limited nature." I sure would like to hear more about that (and expect we shall) . . .

Not sure if this has been posted yet, but it came across the BBERG news a few moments ago that the WEATHERFORD VALVE failed at bottom of the Macondo well, there wer no more details but I will grab them when I see them come across.

Will pop in when things slow down to read more about the RW, and status. Thanks again for everyone's patience:) BBIC for everyone except RM (I want him to get his 5 month chip), so we'll have to figure out something else for RM.




This might be another insight to hydrate formations.

WEATHERFORD VALVE read casing shoe and float

I ... need therapy. TOD has contributed to my becoming a cowardly lion. :)

Some of you may recall I had a goal to ride my motorcycle 200 mph and posted a link to a video showing someone doing a a 230 mpg blast. Well, due to legal reason I suppose, rumor has it on the past bright, calm, sunny labor day I pulled the throttle back at a little past 180 mph indicated.

Accelerating past 150 Macondo crossed my mind and the word blowout rattled around between my ears... not that there is a LOT of empty space there of course. I could hear Rockman whispering in one ear, 'there is what is planned and what actually happens'. Going through 160 I hear TinFoil in the other ear saying, 'do it, do it, do it'. I hear BeachMommy shaking her head asking 'why worry'?

Passing 170 I become aware how noisy things have become. I wanted to poke my head up to have a good look at things flying by but I had this image of getting blown off the bike by the wind blast. One of the engineer types here suggested I calculate the braking effect of jeans on asphalt at 175 mph.

Going past 180 I heard SwiftLoris saying, 'I told him not to do it' and was reading where DavidBrown wrote my obit psychoanalyzing my weakness and cowardice instead of writing about how charming, good, kind, compassionate, giving, loving, etc. .. oh yeah, smart and good looking too, ... things that you would normally expect to read.

I'm a weak man after all. I caved in fear. No wonder my mom had more kids after me. I should retreat to some mountain cabin to reflect and consider the meaning of true manhood. Become a monk? An engineer? Get married, settle down? Anyone got the number for AARP? I should move to Scotland and wear a skirt. Sheesh.... I'm adrift....

As someone old enough to know better, I have to confess to also riding fast motorcycles and have to say that 200 mph is way faster than I have ever been or intend going. I recently had to go pick my son up after a low speed bike accident. Even at 30mph sliding along the ground is no good for any object with a heartbeat and his scars from what were quite a minor accident remind me that fear is there for a reason.

Pocono and Daytona used to rent out rack time real cheap. They still might do it. I would suggest Daytona. I also am guessing that you would have to sign a waiver and notify your next of kin. I think I saw about 200 at Daytona there myself, but that might have been Team Honda. I can only give you car speed analogies. I have been 180 MPH in a car. For about 20 minutes. When I slowed back down to 100 MPH I honestly felt like I could get out and walk. That was the difference to me. If you do decide to do it, I think the poster's here will forgive that one off topic post. Personally, I think you have to be nuts, but I am the one that just rode his bicycle down the Doc Holmes Bridge at night. Both ways. I hit 40 MPH. Speed is relative. 40 MPH on a bicycle is about 80 on a motorcycle. I have footage. I will find it and post it.

" I should retreat to some mountain cabin to reflect and consider the meaning of true manhood."


It is my fault. I am the one that was screaming for youngin's. Well we got them. Now we have to babysit. It is worth it, we need to keep our young safe and keep a few around here. Nobody wants to blog at the AARP site. We would lose touch with reality IMHO. Sometimes I wonder if we already have.


Winter before last, I spent 8 months living in a small shelter I built, high up on la montaña , off the Blue Ridge Parkway. September until April. Just put everything in storage and off I went. My vacation after 3 years working 2 jobs in Key West... Probably sounds strange to most ,if not all, of the TODer's, but if you can hack it, it will do wonders to "blow out the pipes", and perhaps give you the opportunity to think a little deeper about who you are and what your place in the world is. See how fast you can ride your motorcycle in innerspace, if you catch my drift :)


rightsize nutt'n wrong with you. Welcome to the 180 club! I used to drive NHRA AA/Fuel dragsters. When you pass the 180+ mark things visually turn into slow motion all the way to 300mph. The brain can not process the visual fast enough. Ask the NASCAR guys who drive Datonya. Next time you will be more relaxed and prolly be laughing all the way to 200+. It's a thrill no doubt about it, and I might say very addictive.

OK, David you can analyze both of us now. I was once told that I had a suicide complex. But as you can see I'm still here at 68!

DavidBrown wrote my obit psychoanalyzing my weakness and cowardice instead of writing about how charming, good, kind, compassionate, giving, loving, etc. .. oh yeah, smart and good looking too

Well, now he can write (and had better, or I'll beat him about the head and ears) that you have good judgment!

What she said!!

Who me? A Coward?

right -- everyone has a story. About 20 years ago a coworker was dove hunting with a friend. The friend teased him about crawling under a barb wire fence. His friend hopped over the top, drop his shotgun and blew off a good chunk of one foot. I'm pretty sure his friend had a different mental image of how his fence hop was going to turn out. I always look at risk the same way: what do have to gain if you take the risk? What big payoff was his friend going to get by hopping the fence? What's the big payoff you get by running your bike fast? If it gets you a $1 million/yr paycheck then I might see the logic in the risk taking.

So, what is the big payoff for you by driving fast? I know what the payoff is for me eating a whole half gallon of Blue Bell ice cream every week. Turns out it's not enough to risk heart failure...who woulda thunk?

ROCKMAN for me it was a profession. I made about 5k a weekend with maybe 2k in expenses during the 70's.

No foolishness just like you oil patch guys. Anyone on the crew could tell me to shut it down. Heck I even told the starter that if he didn't like something to give me the shutdown signal.

Safety was always the prime concern when using nitromethane as a fuel.

Don't you have to have a Federal license to handle Nitromethane? Isn't it considered a Class A explosive?

TFHG, Don't you have to have a Federal license to handle Nitromethane? Isn't it considered a Class A explosive?

Today probably, but back then you could just buy a 55 gallon drum from any supplier. We usually cut it with 10% methanol just to cool the engine down a bit. Call it horsepower in a can. Nothing to deal with foolishly. I was driving so I would not allow anyone else to mix the fuel for me.

You did need a FAA Class A physical and have three other licensed AA/Fuel drivers OK your drivers test. They just don't allow anybody to race at 300 mph.

OK, no more off topic. Have a great one y'all.

I get it useless. It hard for me to ever stop thinking about risk vs. reward even with the litle stuff. That's why I was bustin his chops a little. Making a living with that bike, like you, is one thing. Risking yourself to impress a gal or some nameless diver on the road is another IMHO. OTO if it was a thrill he was after and it was that important to him, then I would say go for it. In the end we all do our own rate of return for our efforts.

ROCK. It appears you called it correct. The clever ones in the Middle East are saying they go with the BP interpretation. The bit they question is the negative pressure test. Perhaps you may know. As far as I understand it they say, displacing the heavy mud with seawater was premature. They would have displaced to base oil for the negative test and only to seawater when the NG test was proved and a decision made for plug and abandon. What say you?

The executive summary IMO, is a repeat of the Piper Alpha enquiry summary. "If we prosecute one, we will have to prosecute hundreds", as the lawyers said afterwards.

I appreciate the comments. Sorry I didn't reply sooner but we went target shooting getting ready for elk season. Had targets out to 500 yards. Lots of fun.

Thanks for letting me in the 180 club. I think I'm done though. At my advancing age I feel like I'm leaving adolescence and should start playing responsibly. :) To TinFoil: I have a ticket for doing 35 in a 25 on my bicycle... framed, of course :)

To SteveMersey: I 've had several friends who have had bad wipeouts and/or collisions with large masses. One died and the others messed up. I hear you on fear and instead of managing fear ... like Rockman said, what's the payback? For me, I've had zero wrecks but feel like I'm starting to ride above my skill level. I'm done. If I want to break 200 MPH it will be in the seat of an airplane. I hear you on roadrash. I've gotten pretty good scrapes sliding playing sports. Of course, with my speed... naw.

To Isaac: :) Planning just that. Elk/Deer/Bear season is approaching and I live 15 miles from the Blue Mountains just south of Walla Walla. Look for me there. Plan on writing some songs with my guitar around the campfire too.

To Swift: You only got to tell me once. No thinking about infinity, excessive speed on rural highways, etc. Thanks

To Useless: Safety was a fleeting consideration I must admit. I do have one of the best Shoei helmets... but then, it might just barely save you so you can spend the rest of your life wondering, what in the world was I thinking? Triple the speed limit works for me. I'm done. Trading for a Suzuki DRS 400. I figure the knobbies will let me ride when it snows around here. :)

Anyway, I don't want to clutter the thread with off topic stuff. I do wants to say thanks to TOD and the great minds here explaining what really is happening in the Gulf. I won't be posting much from here on out but will lurk undoubtedly. Thanks again :) RSG

Don't quit; there is a shortage of organ donors.

Just to wrap up the causation argument from the last thread. Jinn you're just wrong that TO is responsible for interpreting the negative pressure test. BP is and BP did it. You gut feelings on what it should be don't change that.

And Rockman, I am disappointed in your response. You're not addressing anything I say, just repeating what you already said. Causation is a legal issue. Concurrent negligence is the rule, not the exception in a situation like this.

And you are not looking at all of the evidence. You have not even mentioned the negligently performed pressure test or the lack of a second barrier. Yet you have admitted previously that if they had done the top plug and and lockdown sleeve first, there would have been no blowout. And if BP had correctly interpreted the pressure test, instead of misleading them with incorrect info, they would have brought the well under control immediately. You ignore that completely. Your analysis is therefore flawed.

Indeed, according to your theory, BP could intentionally put the well into a kick situation, intentionally remove the second barrier (as they did) and lie to the crew that the cement was fine per the pressure test, and it would still be the crew's fault, because under your logic, if a kick comes for any reason at any time, and TO fails to catch it, it's TOs fault and BP skates. That would be pretty lame public policy, if your theory were correct.

But since you haven't had to read all of those cases on causation and how that interesting and complex philosophical concept evolved over the decades, I can't really fault you.

Edit: Added parenthetical stmt.

Just a guess, but I expect TO's defense will be: When BP forced our hand against our protests, they took on all liability. How can we (TO) be expected to handle emergencies that never should have occured had we followed the process we fitted out our ship and trained our crew for?

What I don't know is whether TO has a responsibility to its client to refuse bad direction. I expect that if the owner of an airline wanted the pilot to undertake dangerous procedures on a regular passenger flight, he would not do it. I don't know if the same idea applies to a driller. Generally a "Professional" is someone who does not do what the "customer" asks but what they professionally deem best for the client.

The answer to this is going to take a lot of really sophisticated legal argument. It's not really obvious either. The other thing is that as investigations continue, further facts may be discovered that make the answer either easier or harder.

Reading BP's report I don't get a comfortable feeling about the Oil Industry. I want to know that they and the government are run to the highest standard. I don't get that feeling from the report. I don't care who loses legally, I am really clear the public has lost.

I agree. If this report does anything, it makes on hell of a case for the moratorium. We surely need it if this report is deemed credible.

I agree. If this report does anything, it makes on hell of a case for the moratorium. We surely need it if this report is deemed credible.

Says a man who argues well, but appears clueless as to the reality of drilling operations. Damn shame you read RW's words, and don't understand any of em.

Wells kick for any number of reasons, and drilling crews are expected to kill them when they occur. Eleven dead this time when the job wasn't done, $billions wasted, and thanks in large part to clueless lawyers further collateral damage will continue for decades.

hammegk, thanks for the compliment. Obviously undeserved, though, given the rest of what you say.

I could throw your words back at you, but I won't. We are not talking about drilling any more, we're talking about legal liability. I suspect you've never had the opportunity to contemplate concurrent negligence and causation, have you? You're stuck on the idea that it is one or the other, period.

But why get nasty. Between the science of drilling and the art of law, there is enough complexity here to confuse anyone, probably even those getting paid to devote all of their time to sorting it all out.

I guess this is where the disconnect is. Law versus engineering, and as I fear, law versus safety. Legal liability is a great thing is if you want to follow the story of who gets hit with the fines and pays the money. It has almost nothing at all with stopping the next accident. There are a lot of engineers and allied professions here, and I think, to a person, we all want to understand how to avoid more accidents. And to put it bluntly, the issue of a legal definition of liability leaves us, at best cold, and mostly worried that such a hunt will leave the rig workers no better protected against further failures than before.

From an engineering and safety point of view it makes not the slightest bit of difference which company was responsible for what action. Replay the accident with one change - make TO a wholly owned subsiduary of BP. OK? Does this change the fact that 11 hands died? It does not. The physics of the well cares exactly nothing about the nicities of the law in the USA.

Second guseeing the outcomes on the decision of legal liability is great fun if you are a lawyer. It is useless otherwise. I does not help prevent further deaths, and does not help understand the real, versus the legal fiction, of reasons why. If the accident happened in a different country - with different laws - the accident would have happened identically. But with different laws, probably different legal liability. Wells are drilled across the planet. A deep water well off the coast of Australia (something that is currently being debated) will be not one tiny bit safer due to a finding of legal liability in the US. So we care exactly nothing about such things except as a bit of entertainment.

In chasing the legal liability story versus the physics and engineering story maybe we should be quite explicit about which one an person is posting about.

Francis, I would encourage you to study some law. It is as much a pillar of civilization as anything any engineer ever designed. It was around for thousands of years before the first oil well was drilled, and it will be around long after the last one is P&A. Without it, there is no civilization. You can curse it and demonize those who practice it, but you might as well curse the the tides.

Law is relevant to this event because the law sets the rules for who is responsible for the economic losses (people's ability to feed their families) and property losses. Responsibility is an issue very important to those harmed by the spill.

Law is also relevant because the law can impose new rules to make DW drilling safer so we can hopefully avoid a third GOM blowout. Law is about protecting the public welfare as much as private property rights. The goal is to make drilling safer as well as productive. We have just seen what happens when govt. does not take this responsibility seriously and leaves it all up to industry.

In order for law to accomplish these and other objectives, the most accurate determination possible of what happened has to be undertaken. The facts have to be established. In that sense, the technical is very relevant to the law. And without the law behind it, no such investigation would ever happen. (Or are we talking utopias now?)

Engineering does not happen in a vacuum insulated from the demands of society as reflected in its laws. And likewise, the law has to be responsive to the real world or it does not work.

You are demonstrably wrong that law has nothing to do with making sure this does not happen again and that safety advances are made. It has everything to do with that. Without the law, seat belts, air bags, air scrubbers, and on would not have been deployed despite the technical capability. The same will be true here. You can bet the next generation of BOPs are going to be beauties! Industry could have done so much, but instead did nothing to prepare for this. Well, there's no cause for whining about the law when that happens.

[btw, having worked in the oil filed for a few years, i find it all very fascinating, that's why i am here. A sick hobby i guess. (No excuse, i know. lawyers can't have fun.)]

I was once involved with a project bid in which engineers and lawyers stood on the same side of the fence and we engineers were very thankful for the lawyers support since we had little support from marketing folks.

A high-rise hotel-casino in Las Vegas was to be built and the company I worked for was one of multiple companies to bid for the HVAC system in the building. A technical/liability problem arose because the building owner wanted agreement that HVAC controls would shut off air flow thru ductwork during a fire. The engineers said it was impossible to make that guarantee because there were WCS that would prevent controls from operating to shut off air flow. The lawyers took the engineers advice to heart and convinced upper management in company to walk away from bid.

I don't actually disagree with your point of view on the role of law. I know enough about the fundamentals of law to be a bit dangerous (at least to myself.) But I think you missed my point/worry.

At the core of the legal discussion seems to be the sheeting home of liability. Which, as far as I can see, has come down to a mechanisms for assinging "fault" to some party, and the framework for which this is done seems to be a mix of staute and case law, as evolved in the USA. The primary target of this mechanism is money. Since it is very unlikely an extant human being will be charged with any crime, we are left with the legal curiosity of charging a corporate body with a crime, and the matter of damages. So, since no-one will go to goal, it is all about money. (Even if BP, TO, Halliburton, or others, are convicted of a crime, it only comes down to money in the end.) Even bans of drilling or other operations in the US are only about money.

So the entire process is driven by money. All the players are going into investigations, lawyers in tow, and are producing testimony that is crafted to an optimised goal - that of minimising loss of money. As we have seen, there is the possibility that BP are crafting their position to be one of minor culpability, with just the right mix of mea culpa to assuage the demands for finding of guilt, whilst minimising the final monetary blow. The guidelines by which these actions are constrained are the legal definitions of liability. Nothing to do with the real fault, or the real mechanisms by which the accident occurred. Purely the logic of liability that the money flows adhere to. Yet this same testimony will be used to fashion the conclusions made of the technical process, and the real manner in which the failures occurred. Otherwise you admit into the proceedings the idea that the legal liability findings can differ from the technical liability findings.

So, faith that the correct technical findings are made, and that useful and productive changes to the legal framework in which the rigs operate (i.e. the regulations and oversight), ones that will actually protect the rig workers and the environment, as opposed to protect the rig owners and operators from monetary loss, is something I have little of.

Years ago, when I used to teach professional ethics to the final year engineering class, one of the case studies we used was the collapse of a very large TV antenna. A number of riggers died. It was captured on video, and makes horrifying watching. The riggers fell hundreds of feet to their deaths. More than enough time to be totally cognisant of their imminent deaths. The technical cause of the accident was quite clear. The riggers had used an unsafe lifting bracket to lift a final antenna component. Why was it designed unsafe? Because it had been designed by a rigger, not an engineer. Why had it not been designed by an engineer at the antenna design company? Because the engineer at the design company was told by his lawyers not to design it - as it was out of his expertise. So the rigger designed it. He got it wrong, he didn't understand that his design placed a torque on the bolts in the bracket that was three times the design loading of the bolts. The bolts sheared, the piece fell, the shock of the unloading on the travelling crane caused the antenna tower to fail and it collapsed. We covered a range of ethical issues, including the fact the the design engineer knew that the rigging company was going to attempt to lift with a bracket that had not been designed or checked by an engineer.)

There were a number of companies involved. The antenna construction company, the antenna design company, the rigging company, the bolt company.

So, who got sued?

The answer is, the bolt company. Despite the fact that their bolts were stressed to three times their design limits. They settled. Why. They had previously been successfully found to be negligent in manufacturing some other bolts. There was no technical reason whatsoever to stick blame onto the bolts. There was no evidence that these bolts were in any way defective. But the legal trail of sticking liability onto them was hot enough that they decided that they would be better off settling.

Nobody else was charged or sued.

The issue of an engineer knowing that a potentially unsafe operation was proceeding, and yet doing nothing to stop it, was a key point. It should be clear how this part of the story relates to DWH.

I am a system engineer IT/communications/elec.eng etc.. Aged 72.

I number among my friends quite a few senior lawyers. One of the themes that often arise in lawyer bashing is that we operate in an adversarial jurisprudence, wherein blame is to be determined and dealt with. Our system is based upon the British system, for historical reasons. Under this system not all of the evidence is available to the court. There is a concept of inadmissible evidence. This gives rise to all sorts of maneuvers to manipulate evidence.

This is in contrast to the Napoleonic Code wherein the first order of business is to establish what actually took place, for all to see ,before the protagonists meet in court for judgement.

What we are seeing here in regard to the GOM blowout is a manipulation of evidence in preparation for the day in court. Unfortunately 11 people will not be able to give their evidence.

Over to our TOD legal commentators.


legal liability. I suspect you've never had the opportunity to contemplate concurrent negligence and causation, have you?

The idea that no one is ever actually responsible for thir own stupidity, and that it's better for lawyers' personal enrichment -- to hell with the unanticipated costs to society at large -- to find deep pockets to sue?

Yeah. I've contemplated it, and conclude the best use for a lawyer would be LCM.


Calibrated flow meters and pressure gauges don't lie and kicks happen because downhole, ones field of vision is severely narrow to the actual conditions.

Imagine trying to drive down the street with a 20 degree sight range. You couldn't see the car pulling out 100 feet in front of you until it was right in front. All you have is your sensors to tell you what is going on and your brain to interpret them. Now, you have a passenger with a similarly narrow vision , but he is looking at a map to get you where your going. The map indicates you need to make a left soon and so he tells you that's what you need to do. He doesn't see the lake next to the road because he's looking at a map. So you start to turn, but your car beeps at you because it doesn't detect asphalt ahead. You tell your passenger that there's no road there, but he insists there is one on the map. What do you do?

Greg, thanks for trying to help me see things differently. I appreciate you taking the time to do that.

It's the concurrent negligence people just can't get their heads around. It is counter-intuitive. The court opinions explaining it and the evolution of causation can run twenty pages long. It's a complex web of philosophy and public policy. I will try to come up with a better way to get the concepts across this evening. But i won't rehash everything, don't worry!

And thanks again, Greg. I appreciate your lending me a hand.

Just to wrap up the causation argument from the last thread. Jinn you're just wrong that TO is responsible for interpreting the negative pressure test. BP is and BP did it. You gut feelings on what it should be don't change that.


How bout you deal with what I said rather than some fantasy you created.

TransOcean is not responsible for interpreting the negative test. TO's responsibility was running the test. TO is responsible for running the pumps, valves and piping that make up the negative test. The BP men relied on the TO men to do this correctly. If the TO men fail to line the test up correctly the results become meaningless.

It has never been explained what TO did exactly. We don't know what lines they had connected or what valves were opened or which valves were closed. But there is one thing that is crystal clear from looking at the data - The negative test was never run. The well was never held in an underbalanced state as it was supposed to be.

No one can interpret a test that was never performed.

If you look at the pressure data from what was called the first test there is only a brief few minutes that the well would be underbalanced (looks like around 3 minutes). It was never in the underbalanced state that the test required (zero pressure). That was not a test.

Then there is the business of 50 barrels of mud that disappeared from the riser during the first negative test. It seems obvious that didn't go into the well past a closed valve. How could it? There was only about 5-6 minutes where there was any differential pressure across whatever BOP valve they had closed. How could 50 barrels leak past the closed BOP valve in 5 minutes with only gravity driving it? That equals a flow rate of 14000 barrels per day. That is not a leak it is a gusher.
Now I have no explanation as to what happened to that 50 barrels of mud. The subsea engineer (Pleasant) testified that he is positive it didn't leak past the closed BOP annular. I think he is right. It is much more plausible that they just had something hooked up wrong.

The same can be said about the second test. The data indicates that a negative test was not done. What was done is again not clear.

The reality is the first time the well was tested in an underbalanced state was about 40 minutes before the blowout (just after the sheen test) when the spacer mud was being pumped overboard. Due to the fact that no negative test was done it was unknown how the well would react to being underbalanced.

edited for clarity.

jinn -- Your post highlights a situation syn and I have been beating each other up over: where does one party's (BP/TO/Halliburton/etc) stop and another's begins. I've been pounding syn about TO's responsibility to monitor the well for flow and syn has been pushing BP's badly designed well design. But as you point out they are never completely separate. TO did the pressure test and BP did the interpretation. But while TO was responsible for getting a valid test BP was also responsible to determine if the test was done properly. But what if TO misrepresented how the test was done? What if BP suspected the test wasn't valid but accepted it to save time/money? The drill crew didn't monitor the well closely enough to see the kick coming. But did BP orders to shut down ops hinder the drill crew in their efforts to monitor the well properly. Or was the drill crew too distracted with the thoughts about going home to take care of business properly? Did the BP coman instill a sense of security in the drill crew that caused them to take their eyes off the ball?

I still make a clear distinction: BP was responsible for the well design and its implementation. But what if that plan was impaired by a third party like Halliburton or TO. TO had the responsibility to monitor the well and control any flow anomaly. But what if BP's management complicated/hindered their efforts? I color my argument black and white: BP was responsible for letting the well kick. TO was responsible for letting the well blow out. Unfortunately the reality has enough gray areas in it to cloud the analysis.

Unfortunately the reality has enough gray areas in it to cloud the analysis

Blessings and condolences to the jurors-to-be. Can I get an Amen?

What strikes me is that it appears that there was no single person in 'command' of the operation. Responsibility was split several different ways and people answered to different chains-of-command.

In effect there was no single person responsible for _everything_ that happened on the rig. Why should an oil rig be any different than any other operation where the commander is 100% responsible for everything that happens?

If no single person is responsible - there there is no responsibility, period.

05, the guy heading the coast guard investigation made the same comment. Everyone was in charge, no one was in charge.

There is the fiction that the OIM is in charge, but no one really believes that. Even the OIM's attorney noted BP pays the bills and so they call the shots. BP also indemnifies TO against TO screw-ups, so of course TO is going to do what its told short of out right insanity.

De facto, the tough calls seem to be made by some guy like Halfe sitting off-shore. Halfe told Vidrine not to worry about the first pressure test. They would have detected the kick already if the cement was bad. (from the NYT article Lotus cites to).

Halfe told Vidrine not to worry about the first pressure test. They would have detected the kick already if the cement was bad.


Hafle's statement is correct. If they had properly done a negative test (i. e. underbalanced the well and held for 30 minutes) like they were supposed to, they would most certainly have taken a kick. There is no doubt about that. The well started to flow when later they did underbalance the well. Of course Hafle was on shore and probably had no way of knowing that they had not done the negative test as required. He was being told they did a negative test and that is all he knew.

How do you explain the returns, then, on the first test and the 1400 psi on the DP on the second test? BP says they indicated flow in the report, copied below, indicating a failed pressure test. (Although BP blames the crew for not calling the first test a failure when the determination was BP's. Lots of confusion and cchaos around these tests.)

I applaud the independent thinking and analysis leading to your theory, But it conflicts with BP analysis, and does not explain the returns if they never achieved an underbalanced state, or the 1400 psi. Additionally, how could they not have been underbalanced after displacing mud with seawater to 3000 feet and closing annular, even with a 50bbl leak. Can you reconcile those?

[This is the first test] According to witness accounts, 15 bbls of fluid returns were taken. The investigation team's analysis indicates that approximately 3.5 bbls should have been expected. This excess flow from the drill pipe, with the well in an underbalanced condition, should have indicated to the rig crew a communication flow path with the reservoir through failed barriers.


[This is the second test]The investigation team concludes that the lack of flow from what was believed to be an open kill line, coupled with the erroneous explanation for the 1,400 psi on the drill pipe, led the well site leaders and the rig crew to the incorrect view that the negative-pressure test was successful and that well integrity was established. The well site leaders and the rig crew maintained this view despite the contradictory information of 1,400 psi on the drill pipe connected through the wellbore to the non-flowing kill line with 0 psi.


And if BP is right, what is Halfe talking about? The report says the 1400 psi was a sign of flow into the well. Hafle says go for it, don't worry about it.

In addition, notes from an interview he gave to BP officials investigating the blowout, obtained by The New York Times, show Mr. Vidrine raised concerns about the possibility of a surge of gas, or a kick, with a superior in Houston before going ahead and replacing the mud in the riser pipe with seawater.

Mr. Vidrine said the superior, Mark Hafle, an engineer, responded, “If there had been a kick in the well, we would have seen it.”


What was the 1400lbs on the drill-pipe, a kiss? Can we agree the negative test was a disaster in motion from the start?

EDIT: Remvoed some quote text, added new quote text, added new last sent.

Additionally, how could they not have been underbalanced after displacing mud with seawater to 3000 feet and closing annular, even with a 50bbl leak. Can you reconcile those?


Pumping seawater from 8300' to the well head and closing the annular does not create an underbalanced well. The well was still way overbalanced at the point.

As Hafle said if they had tested the well underbalanced using the method and time period as outlined in the well plan, they would have taken a kick. If they had done the correct test there would have been no doubt, no discussion, no ands, no ifs, and no buts about it. Everyone would have been convinced the negative test failed and the well was flowing. We are only still batting this around for the simple reason that rig did not perform the test. It is not the fault of engineer's who designed the well that the rig didn't do the test.

The BP investigation did conclude that the botched procedure that they implemented did give some evidence of a flowing well if one looks close enough. And this is because there were a couple minutes at the beginning when the well was slightly underblanced. But that was actually before the rig crew thought they were doing the test. In the 30 minutes when the crew claimed they were running the negative test the well was not underbalanced and that was why there was no evidence of flow during that period of time. The Transocean crew and OIM and senior toolpusher all agreed it was a good test. The only one who questioned the test was the toolpusher whose shift ended during the first test and the BP men.

And yes the BP men should have known that it was a bad test. But unfortunately all the evidence indicates that BP men did not know. They relied on the assurances that
the Transocean crew made.

There is certainly no evidence that any of these people understood the danger that was lurking as a result of making the well underbalnced. It is as if they completely failed to comprehend that there were about to make the well underblanced. The drilling crew behaved as if they did not understood at what point in the process the well would become underbalanced, because it was right at that point when the well became underbalanced they stopped logging the flow and started dumping the returns overboard.

You ask what was 1400 PSI on the drill pipe was. 1400 PSI on the drill pipe is evidence that makes it certain that no negative test was being conducted. It is all the evidence you need to know that the well was overbalanced by some 500-600 psi.

So you obviously think BP got it wrong in their report, then. Interesting. I don't have the knowledge to evaluate your analysis of why there was 1400 psi on the drill pipe if it was not formation pressure. Your saying it was hydrostatic pressure from the mud. How do you explain the rise up to 1400 then? The clogged kill line? And how or why would BP not agree with you?

"There is certainly no evidence that any of these people understood the danger that was lurking as a result of making the well underbalnced. It is as if they completely failed to comprehend that there were about to make the well underblanced. "

Sure. They thought the cement was good. Except for those who thought the cement was bad but were ignored.

I like OTPs explanation on this much better.

Do you agree with him that two tested plugs is the way to go.

Syncro my advice to you is first get the facts right before you worry about what they mean.

You have consistently tried to twist the facts to fit your preconceived conclusions.

I don't know who is liable in this mess, but I haven't seen any evidence the engineers had a bad well design. Had the negative test been performed as it was supposed to in the approved well plan the bad cement and bad float collar would have been discovered. There would have been remedial work done and none of us would have ever heard anything about this well. The BP report makes the argument that 3 barriers had to fail at once for the well to flow when underbalanced (the nitrified annular cement, the cement in the shoe track and the float collar). Having all 3 barriers fail is bad luck. But not testing the well to see if it would hold underbalanced wasn't bad luck. That was negligence.

The evidence I see says that had the design been implemented by the rig as it was written in the well plan it would have worked. But that didn't happen. The rig had its own ideas about how to test the well and ended up not putting it to the test.

The engineers do have some responsibility to make sure the plan they create can be carried out by the people they know will be implementing it. There is testimony that neither Brian Morel or Bob Kaluza really understood what the purpose of a negative test was much less how to implement one. Those were key BP personnel that were supposed to guide the crew through this process and obviously they were useless in terms of giving that guidance.

What is clear is that the engineers should have understood the dangers of making the well underbalanced and they should have communicated the importance of understanding this danger to the rig. They should have stressed the importance of correctly testing the well to see if it was safe to proceed to the step where the well became underbalance.

The rig crew should have been keenly aware that this was a critical and dangerous point in the process, but all the evidence suggests they were oblivious to the danger.

Pumping seawater from 8300' to the well head and closing the annular does not create an underbalanced well. The well was still way overbalanced at the point.

Just to be sure there is no miscommunication, you're saying the mud that was in the well, when displaced with seawater to 3000' below the mudline, that amount of mud, not including anything in the riser, would still be "way overbalanced?"

From when RM did the calculations, that would seem incorrect.

How deep would they have had to displace the well with seawater to reach underbalance under your calculations?

There is no clear and accurate description been given as to exactly how the negative test was lined up. We don't know what valves were open and what were closed and when exactly they were opened and closed.

We can see from the pressure data that the first test the drill pipe pressure stayed at 1200 psi during most of the 30 minutes that was supposed to be the negative test. At 1200 psi the well is not underbalanced it is overbalanced. The purpose of a negative test is to simulate the underbalanced state that was going to exist when the riser was displaced. It is crystal clear from the pressure readings the well was not tested.

We know that Harrel, Ezell, Anderson all declared the first test to be a good test.

We know the BP men disagreed. From there on everything just gets muddier and muddier.
Again we don't know the piping and valve arrangement, but we do know that the well again was not held in a controlled underbalanced state for 30 minutes as proper test would require.

The BP reports that their analysis indicates that when the well became underbalanced at around 2100 hours it was flowing at a rate of 9 bpm. What that means is if they had done the negative test correctly at 1700 hours they would have seen about 270 barrels flow out of the well. There would have been no question what that meant.

Syncro et al:

One thing that has been bothering me is this "I can't do anything without the boss' approval" culture. Seems to me that should have changed after Piper Alpha. In that event, operators of at least two other platforms could see the fire, knew what was happening, knew their own production could be contributing, yet hesitated to shut down because they couldn't contact their bosses onshore. If you have a small fire in your office, do you call your boss for permission to use the extinguisher? Or do you do what has to be done while there's still time to do it?

IMO, there should be a regulation something like the "whistleblower" idea. If anyone on the scene thinks there is reason to take emergency action and does so, it should be illegal for that person to be punished if the action turns out to have been unnecessary. Safety first - what some far-away boss will think should not be a factor.

According to some stuff I've read, at least one bridge person on DWH wanted to activate the EDS but "couldn't" because the Captain said no. There should be no such restriction - the first person who thought it was necessary should have just done it. In any emergency, there will be people who are better able to handle it than others, and it doesn't matter where such people stand on the totem pole, they should be allowed to take the lead when things go sour.

This is an excellent post, right on the money. 2nd Paragraph. If anyone on the scene thinks there is a reason to take emergency action and does so......! But it belies our culture of being on the caste ladder in any job. so somehow the culture has to be altered. It has been stated many times, including at at the joint board that anyone on the platform could bring action to a halt, while things got sorted out, yet no one did so because he/she feared for their job, right up to the top dog on the rig. There is no doubt in my mind that a number of workers on the rig realized that something was wrong but because of culture restrictions were held immobile. My job is on the line if I raise the alarm and am proven wrong.

Look at Pinks 2nd paragraph for confirmation of the culture problem. "at least one bridge persn on the DWH wanted to activate the EDS but "couldn't" because the Captain said no. (Even the Captain was held immobile due to the possibility of repercussions if he said 'Yes', or at least didn't stop the safety action.

So I'm with Pink, how do we go about making it safer for a worker to "blow the whistle", well in this case cause a "time out" while things get sorted out. The companies philosophy of anyone can holler stop belie the reality of "no one can holler stop" and work again tomorrow.

The mystery is how can rules / laws be changed to allow more autonomy for workers in fields such as DW drilling.

and the captain chewed out the young woman for issuing a mayday call.

PINK. I think you are correct. Many years back I was a junior on a project with equipment supplied and installed by an American company. The frustration reached a peak when one of the electricians said; I paraphrase, "... we will be here till Christmas, 'cos XXXXX has to phone America every time he wants to take a s**t!

"I can't do anything without the boss' approval"

Not exactly true. Everyone has authority to call a halt to operations if they feel things are unsafe.

But halt-operation authority doesn't infer authority to order any subsequent action far as I know. For example if a mud logger calls a halt to displacement because he/she feels things are unsafe, they don't have authority to order the well shut in. They can request it, but they can't order it. That's where they have to let chain of command work.

I also believe this is a case where magnitude of the operation tends to overshadow one person's sense of safety. Calling a halt to displacement would cost BP about $22,000 in rig time for each hour operation was halted to sort out mud logger's concerns, not counting hourly cost of other contractors involved. If it resulted in another negative test with a conclusion well was flowing, yes they might have prevented a blowout, but maybe nothing would have happened as far as they knew at the moment, so they're taking a big risk, maybe job-ending risk far as they know, so even halt-operation authority on safety grounds is a high risk-reward thing just like the whole operation was a risk-reward thing.

Your suppositions are not supported by any evidence. Who is it that you think was inclined to call a stop to the displacement? There is no evidence that anybody on duty that night had any misgivings about moving forward.

Where is there any evidence that a mud logger or anyone else on duty had a concern about continuing with displacement?

syn - that's exactly right. It's no different then you telling a cop you're going to fire your gun into the air. And he doesn't stop you even though he knows it's dangerous. And the bullet comes down and kills someone. You're absolutely guilty of of committing a dangerous act. Just like BP was guilty of drilling the well dangerously. But the cop is absolutely guilty of allowing it to happen, isn't he? He was responisble for mitigating your actions. He took an oath saying he would mitigate such actions. TO signed a contract saying they would be responsible for controlling the well. Would you let the cop skate because he wasn't the one to pull the trigger? Would you let TO skate even though they didn't fullfill their obligation to control the well? Did you read the comment from the OIM far above stating clearly, in no uncertain terms, that it is the responsibility of the drill crew to detect a kick coming and to control the well to prevent a blow out?

BP was 100% responsible for causing the kick. It is not, nor has it ever been, actionable. You seem to keep missing my point: kicks happen all the time for a variety of reasons. No operator has ever been sued for causing a kick. Typically the only monetary damage done is to the operator itself. BP caused the kick. TO was soley responsible for seeing the kick coming and preventing it from blowing out. BP had no authority to interject itself into the well control procedure. The drill crew has absolute authority over well control. It was solely TO responsibility to control the well. You may have a different view of that. You may not like how the responisbility for well safety is split between the operator and the drill crew. But that has been the system in place ever since I started and I don't see any change coming.

Rock, I see your point. It's wrong, though. Causation does not work like that. You need to follow the jury instructions. If you refuse to do that, the judge will throw you off the jury.

"BP was 100% responsible for causing the kick. It is not, nor has it ever been, actionable."

This is too simple for the real world, Rock. You have erected a conceptual wall against liability that can never be breached no matter what BP does. BP could tie the crew up and throw them overboard and under your reasoning TO is still liable for the crew not controlling the kick.

You are imposing what is called absolute liability on TO, which is beyond even strict liability. It does not exist anywhere except in private contracts applicable only to the parties, not injured third-parties. You are also giving BP absolute immunity for any kick no matter the circumstances. That also does not exist under the law, but it can in a contract between he parties. No one else is bound by that. Just TO and BP.

And I note that there is an indemnification agreement in that contract that completely supersedes your points. If you want to stick to the contract and not the law, then BP is liable for everything, even TO's gross negligence, despite the allocated responsibility.

You are trying to take their contractual roles and use them instead of the common law rules on liability and concurrent negligence.

Heading out for lunch...

syn -- I know but the only chance I have to compete with your legalize gray matter is to go over the top. I haven't really been trying to convince you of anything...just hoping to draw in more opinons and thoughts. Maybe folks thought it was a personal battle between us and didn't want to become collateral damage. LOL.

Well I applaud your strategy, RM. Because you and i are just repeating ourselves over and over. We need someone to shake us out of our loop.

Maybe we can trick the new guy into commenting. He seems like he might know more than both of us put together.

Fullhouse, when would you have headed for the escape capsule?

Seriously, though, I have a real question. Is it common practice to displace a riser the way they did with only the bottom cement and no top plug or hydrostatic balance in the well as a second barrier?

Heck, you guys, no one is interrupting because we're enjoying the show. Y'all are into the 13th inning and I'm not blinking til one of you drops from exhaustion or the beer runs out ; )

Thanks you, you brat. Where's the beer?

I'm hanging on to the beer, wouldn't want you to get distracted!

Rockman, since you’re looking for outside opinions...

BP's decision to cut cost to regain lost projected profits due to the unforeseen replacement of the first drilling rig by the DWH along with all the other unanticipated expenditures depleted the project’s contingency fund and left them with a hard decision, “What are we gonna have to do to get back on schedule and within budget?”.

I would suspect the “clouds parted from above” and directives were given to middle management to do whatever it takes to “get it back in budget”. I don’t know how it is in the oil drilling business but in the construction business we “get it back in budget” by shorter schedules, cheaper materials and attempts to influence contractor methods. It’s very possible BP used the Golden Rule, that “unspoken” advantage over TO to “bend” or “look the other way”, this may never come out but stories from the driller’s wife and father and the “pincher” comment seem to point in that direction. If that’s true, BP pushed the contractor and subs too close to the cliff and ultimately into an unsafe situation that took them over the edge and into the abyss. The last 4 months of forensic discussions of all the “what if’s” and “it’s in the details” doesn’t hold a candle to the core reason for the disaster – BP’s Decision to Regain the Lost Profit Margin.

During the “dog and pony show”, the BP lawyers and witnesses all had a common theme. “Good engineering practice”, always the answer on cross, never “saving of equipment time, material or labor” for their decisions. Isn’t BP in business to make a profit? And isn’t a big part of that profit, saving of equipment time, material and labor? At least one thing they got right, they all stated the safety of the crew came first… IMHO, signs of good coaching.

In my industry, we schedule inspections based on permit requirements to get progress approvals at each phase of construction. Testing lab results are usually a required document needed to obtain government agency permission to move forward. Wasn’t some kind of government agency approval required for the process of securing the well prior to the DWH moving offsite? What was the role of the government inspector at this important milestone in the schedule? Since it’s almost impossible to sue any government authority for any cause, one might assume that’s the reason not much discussion about their role in this disaster has been mentioned or are they possibly as pure and clean as a new fallen snow or are you oil patch folks not speaking up for fear of retaliation on your projects? Strikes me as a little odd no mention about the role of the local authorities… what’s with that?

In conclusion, I can only hope that the contractor and his subs look beyond the temptation to cave-in and “play ball” with BP in the courts. When they decide on how far they’re willing to compromise, and I know they will, they need to consider other issues besides just their bottom line. Being able to look one’s self in the mirror with a clear conscience immediately comes to mind, people’s lives have been lost. Standing up to this operator might just level the playing field down the road. If they don’t, they’ll be guilty of making the behavior of BP more confident in the way it rules the seas in the future.

Picture forming in my mind is BP re-arranged P&A steps to save money (no other motivation I can see) knowing said re-arrangement increased possibility of kick if not blowout, and told themselves handling kick should one occur is TO's responsibility, hence all reward and no risk.

This post is to and about Alex Higgins. You guys and gals have been easy on him but you did not let him post bad info. You chided him for his bad info. Perfect. Lest all you here forget we are 'old folks'. He is a 'youngin.' With too much time. There is a million things he could be doing but he chooses this arena. His blog is technically sound, he has just been listening to the wrong crowd and his poster's data is suspect. He can be saved. I can sense it. I think that young man could potentially make a hell of a real 'reporter.' Well, if Beck and say Garafalo are reporters. In fact, I think I can get him a job if he is interested. Of course, that would crush his creativity.
You 'mentors' and 'teachers' keep it up. I am impressed how you handled him. Even the ones that confronted him several times went easy. I thank you.
Alex, it is time to start going more mainstream. There are tremendous threats to our way of life and our environment. Do you even know where this waste is ending up? We are finally getting the approval to make roads with ours. In no small part due to my efforts. I made a difference. So can you. In fact you already have. Just concentrate on making a 'positive' difference. Sometimes that does mean taking someone 'out' or discrediting them. Most of the time it does not. I had to get a County Commissioner out of office. No easy task, but fate intervened and I got lucky. It happens. Here is the waste to road story.
Alex, is it too late to do this in Escambia?

TF, if you want to make Higgins your project, please do it on your own blog. Thank you.

He is not my project. He is a poster here just like you. He is bringing the real fears of many that live here to this post. If I babbled on so be it, I will reduce it, but then that was part of my advice yesterday wasn't it. His participation brought increased activity and interest. Isn't that the goal. Sorry for thanking folks for the help, all the info discussed was related to Macondo 252 as was my post about recycling the waste into road topping. I respectfully think you are off base on this one given the fact we started with fast motorcycles this morning. I want more young folks here, but there is a price. They are going to have assumptions and process data in ways you are not as versed in as perhaps you are the formal science or blogs worlds. Nonetheless, I counted many posters as having interest and participating. Besides, I should think some of his information might actually be useful. It should concern all if all we have here is the AARP set.

that was part of my advice yesterday wasn't it

I don't know. Except for handles like Pinkfud or snakehead, I skipped over all that because babbling (especially quarrelsome, barely-literate babbling like Higgins') doesn't hold my interest.

Age is immaterial, but I gather that most of us are here for the intelligent, highly-trained, insightful, flavorful, well-mannered companionship. Sure, some people prefer another kind, but I don't perceive that many TODers do.

Nor has this community been advertising for a self-appointed social director. I remind you of something that's been pointed out to you before, TF: TOD isn't your blog. Please keep trying to absorb that.

Oh, I do, as the bulk of my blogging has actually moved back to al.com . The advice I gave was keeping one thought to one post and keeping them short. I am not self-appointed anything. You used the same words that the County Commissioner used on me when I met him. It does not work on me. I live my life and that is the way it is done. If my expressions call you to question my choices so be it, I am fine with them. I am not insecure like Alex. Still, the few posts I make I will defend. Folks here are concerned. This concern can have a ripple effect. I am much more worried about the economy. The national economy. I am seeing the evaporation of decades of work around here. I really have not mentioned that much because I see no real easy 'fix.' I also see no point in being such a bummer. I can tell you things are getting very bad around here. The economy is down over 50%. Soon unemployment will be revealed. The bump from the response will fade. Then the real tragedy will begin, IMHO. I have guessed long ago you actually hold an official position here, but the users and the visitors are the real drivers. Just like the players and fans in the NFL. The owners, coaches, and staff all have a role to play and sometimes that entails enforcing the rules or letting folks know that certain actions need to be changed. I understand that. Just don't think Godell really control's Ochocinco's mouth. The fans and his skills do.

Yes, I'm as worried as you are about the economic and social stress, TF. But like Gobbet, I can't see how "foot-shooting" with fearful imaginings does the Gulfside population a lick of good.

I have guessed long ago you actually hold an official position here

Huh? I'm a li'l ol' biddy in Florida, nothing whatsoever to do with anything.

Godell and Ochocinco apparently have something to do with football. Well.

Thank you, I will cut it out too. We remain friends. Regards.

Edit: Godell is the NFL Commissioner (head cop) and Ochocinco is the head loud mouth. His name is Ochocinco because he changed it to his football number. Legally. And yes I know it should be ocheta cinco, Chad is not exactly fluent in many languages.

Edit2: My images are 'clean' but Alex saw oil. I did not comment because that was more of an opinion thing. Perhaps he was mistaking the 'normal' darkness that is there but no matter. In the absence of hard data concerning environmental issues, the emptiness of the beaches is the real story today. It might change, but that is the real story. That is a more 'measurable' event, at least at this time.

We remain friends. Regards.


WHEW!! SO glad that ended well! heh! heh!

Me too, GWS. Sometimes TF's Tangents™ make me crazzzy, but then there's his grace . . .

You all are a good bunch here!! Pretty dang funny sometimes too!! I was just about to pull the car over and get out!Heh! Heh!

If this were Skype based, you would laugh beyond all belief. One question GWS22B, how in the hell do you do this on the road? Maybe I should avoid the road when you drive, LOL.

I really do try to watch out for bikes and motorcicles!! Heh! Heh!

Lotus- I am sorry and yes we are done but you trademarked my insanity and musings? Do I get a cut? LOL.

All rights assigned to TFHG, yew betcher. (Now don't blow it all in one place, okay, hon? Save some fer yer ol' age, when you'll really need it.)

Hah! Everyone knows "lotus" is the Keyser Söze of The Oil Drum.

Dang it, boy! You coulda warned me you were fixin' to do that -- nilly broke my . . . self . . . going over backward, chair and all,* laffin'.

* A move known as a "707."

Great flick!

Yeah, but Kevin Spacey and I don't look a thing alike!

if all we have here is the AARP set.


Reading various reports over the last several months I have seen comments regarding gas getting into engine rooms causing the engine(s) to “overspeed”.

Would this be the case?

The reason I ask is that several years ago, a group looking into the disappearance of WW II aircraft in the Bermuda triangle hypothesized that a bubble of methane gas from the sea bottom might be to blame. The investigation entailed setting up radial engine from that era and carefully aspirating increasing levels of methane into the intake while it was running. At a surprisingly low level (3 to 5% if memory serves me) the engine ran rough then stalled.

Would a diesel respond differently?

Thanks in advance for any insights.

I have told this story before here. I was foreman on a cable laying job near a town and a Cat D5 bulldozer cut into a secondary natural gas main. The dozer was right over the leak and it started overevving from the gas going into the intake. The operator panicked and it was up to me. I felt if I did not take action, lives would be lost. I sucked it up and jumped on the D5 and drove it off. I thought I remembered that shutting off equipment can also cause a spark and that is why I did not try to shutdown the dozer. I was probably wrong, but it worked out. So the answer is yes, gas does increase the performance of a diesel engine in certain conditions, but it can be an explosion hazard. I understand Banks makes a propane based injection system to increase performance similar to what NOS does in gasoline engines.

I sucked it up and jumped on the D5 and drove it off. I thought I remembered that shutting off equipment can also cause a spark and that is why I did not try to shutdown the dozer. I was probably wrong, but it worked out.

Glad it worked,

Some diesels have electronic fuel controls some are mechanical. I drove Farmall 780 and 760 tractors on one you had to turn off a key to shut it down the other just turn off the fuel.

Again glad it worked for you. That took some stones.


This type of overspeed is a potential problem on any diesel, even very small ones. I am aware of a runaway diesel on a small sailboat, and I have heard of many others. The specific issue with diesels is that no ignition source, such as a spark plug, is required for operation. Normally the combustion occurs from the highly compressed air (i.e., hot) in the cylinders and a brief injection of fuel. If a source of fuel comes in with the air, however, the engine will run even without injection of diesel fuel.

One scenario is that the engine runs low on lubricating oil, the oil becomes hot, and oil fumes come up from the crankcase and enter the air intake system. Another potential problem is oil pumping up through bad piston rings. All normal speed control and overspeed governor action is targeted at controlling the normal fuel system. They can do nothing to control the air intake. There is a additional safety system used on some diesel installations. Specifically, it is possible to use a quick-acting damper on the air intake. If activated this shuts off the air and the external gas "fuel", if any. It would not shut off the pumping lube oil, but the engine will not run without intake air in any case.

The DWH apparently had two different types of overspeed control for the main diesel engines. The first is the traditional governor that controls the ordinary fuel system. This is the safety control that was routinely tested. It apparently worked in the tests. The other system was a bit different than I described above. Namely, the entire engine room air intake had a quick-acting damper system. This should have activated when the gas alarms were triggered, but it is not clear if it did. Even if the engine room damper did activate correctly the engine room may have already been hit with such a large puff of gas that the engines could overspeed. It is not clear to me if the engines had shutdown dampers directly in their air intakes.

All reports indicate the engine(s) oversped and then "exploded". It is not clear if the engines simply oversped to the point of destruction or if some other source of ignition in the engine room created the explosion. The end result is the same, but the future corrective actions might be different.

Namely, the entire engine room air intake had a quick-acting damper system. This should have activated when the gas alarms were triggered, but it is not clear if it did.


No this system for closing engine room air dampers was not working at the time of the accident. Mike Williams testified that he reported that this system was by-passed. He was told it was by-passed because if the dampers closed the engine room would develop negative pressure that would suck the doors off their hinges.

The engines themselves were equipped with air shut down valves. These shut-offs were called "rig savers". Nobody that testified was able to say how the "rig saver" were deployed. It is possible that they required manual activation by somebody in the engine control room.

The reason I ask is that several years ago, a group looking into the disappearance of WW II aircraft in the Bermuda triangle hypothesized that a bubble of methane gas from the sea bottom might be to blame. The investigation entailed setting up radial engine from that era and carefully aspirating increasing levels of methane into the intake while it was running. At a surprisingly low level (3 to 5% if memory serves me) the engine ran rough then stalled.

Would a diesel respond differently?

Yes, a diesel is a compression ignition engine,
the radial airplane engine is a spark ignition engine.

When fed extra fuel (but no extra air), a spark ignition engine just runs rich - thus the sputter and stall. (spark timing is fixed to piston position.) When you "step on the gas" in a spark ignition engine, you actually open the air intake throttle, which aspirates more gasoline+air through the carburetor (trying to maintain a constant fuel/air ratio), thus more power -> more speed. Often the spark is altered as well (vacuum advance or electronic) to assist in more rapid acceleration of the engine.

When fed extra fuel, a compression ignition engine runs faster, since the ignition timing is just piston position, and more power from more fuel will (absent increased load) make the engine run faster.

Diesels are normally governed by the fuel injectors/pumps.
BUT, when the fuel is coming in already mixed in the air (flammable gas ingestion, oil leak in turbo-/super-chargers, oil leaks in valve guides, etc.) the fuel governor is now useless.

The ONLY way to shut 'er down is to close off the air intake.

There's an MMS regulation that offshore rigs must have such systems,
but they're allowed to be manual in case of continuously staffed engine rooms.

search on: diesel overspeed
for info/horror stories. Best case, an uncontrolled diesel seizes, worst case they violently disassemble themselves in an uncontrolled fashion.

Finally found an old thread from May 17th with more details:


"The ONLY way to shut 'er down is to close off the air intake."

the Autocar diesel dump trucks circa 1950's had a cab mounted lever that lifted the camshaft which stopped a runaway. was expensive to fix afterwards!

Would a diesel respond differently?

more like run away is what they will do, they are basically out of control once they start huffing a bunch of gas, the only way they can be shut down then is to close off the air coming through the intake, if you can

GM's (jimmies we always called them) have a big flap that is set right over the top of the blower with a cable connected to a trigger. If the cable is pulled the flap is supposed to snap shut. However I have seen some that even with the flap closed they were still trying to run although at a much slower speed. I guess they don't always seal as tight as they need to be. Diesels need two things to run air and fuel, gas(vapor) will work nicely in that regard, but like I say it will be basically ungoverned speeds. I have even heard of them running away on air, if the engine is hot enough and the fuel runs out. If that happens and you can't close the air off you better start running, because engine parts will begin to scatter in fairly short order. I remember a diesel truck in Morgan City blew up one time when it started huffing some vapor while pumping fuel. I missed the fun of that but the fire in Morgan City was big they say and the truck explosion that followed. I think this was in the late 70's if memory serves or very early 80's.

Wire and sunnnv-
It sounds like I made the right decision to drive off instead of attempting a shutdown. Dang, it was a guess, I had less than 10 seconds to make a decision. Reminds me of something else, eh?

One you'll want to read at NYT:

Documents Fill In Gaps in Narrative on Oil Rig Blast

LAFAYETTE, La. — In a quiet suburb of this oil town, there is a spacious brick house with all of the shades drawn. Inside is a graying and pale man who knows as much as anyone about what happened on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig the day it exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. He is not talking.

“No comment, no comment,” says Donald J. Vidrine ...

So BP lawyers leaked their interview with Vidrine to the NYT? What's with that?

The BP interviews are with the investigators and have been referred to at the Hearing. I'd suggest that is the "leak" source.


TO's OIM (Harrell) said the first and second test were good.

BP's day CoMan (Kaluza) stopped after the first test to wait for the night CoMan (Vidrine) to come on shift and review the results together.

Vidrine skipped part of his sleep shift to escort VIP's and then came on early to help Kaluza.

The TO drill team convinced Vidrine/Kaluza that the 1400 psi on the DP was due to a 'annular compression'. Vidrine/Kaluza, and the TO toolpusher were skeptical. (The BP report could not find evidence that this phenomenon exists.)

Vidrine ran another test using the Kill line. The Kill line showed zero while the DP had pressure, so he accepted the 'annular compression' theory and approved moving ahead. (Apparently not considering that the Kill line was showing zero because it was plugged.)

From the BP Executive Summary:

In retrospect, pressure readings and volume bled at the time of the negative-pressure test were indications of flow-path communication with the reservoir, signifying that the integrity of these barriers had not been achieved. The Transocean rig crew and BP well site leaders reached the incorrect view that the test was successful and that well integrity had been established.

Also note from the long report:

At 13:28 hours, Deepwater Horizon started offloading mud to M/V Damon Bankston.

Mudlogger told assistant driller that pit levels could not be monitored during offloading. Assistant driller told mudlogger that notice would be provided when offloading to M/V Damon Bankston ceased.

17:17 Mud offloading from Deepwater Horizon mud pits to M/V Damon Bankston ceased. Mudlogger not notified.

(BP/TO discussion of test results and second test is run.)

20:58-21:08 (Well flow increases during circulation to seawater. 39bbl gain over this period.)

Where was the mudlogger?

Where was the mudlogger?

Mudlogger Joseph Keith did not testify when called. From questions directed to Harrell and Ezell it appears he may be claiming to have been stood down by someone no longer alive.

I noticed that.... he's been scheduled at least twice and then dropped from the witness list.

rainy -- I wonder if folks are confusing mud logger with mud engineer? It's very typical to shut down the mud logging unit at this phase of operations. The mud logger does monitor gas in the mud returns but with the csg set and the cmt tested it really wouldn't be out of line to shut the mud logging unit down. But as we discussed a while back, there is a lot of rushing around by the subcontractors during a shut down. The mud loggers have to secure their mobil unit for ship board transport. Others are doing inventories and offloading. I'm sure the "get the hell out of Dodge" mood played some part in the drill crew not watching returns close enough.

If the annulus is sealed with cement at the bottom and by the new BOP at the top, just how are they going to pump mud and cement into this closed off space without causing something to burst? I am assuming that oil is a relatively uncompressible fluid.

Isn't there another reservoir the annulus might be in contact with?

That is what the choke line on the BOP stack is used for. When the choke valve is openned the well fluid and gas flow up the choke line to the choke manifold on the rig. The manifold has one or more choke valves analgous to a water facet. By pinching off the flow the pressure is reduced on the down stream side. Then other valves on the manifold route the gas/fluids to other systems such as flares, mud tanks, etc. This is the primary means of circulating out a kick.

Should a pathway(or pathways) into the reservoir interval be still open at the approx. depth of the relief well intersection, all that is needed is sufficient pressure to overcome the reservoir entry pressure. If no flow is encountered (cemented-off zone) then there is very little to be accomplished with the RW. At this point, effort to place plugs uphole to P&A according to regs is time better spent. Unfortunately, politics, etc. mandate some final action on the RW so stay tuned.

After reading the info from AH's blog site, I started looking around to see how often TOD posters are quoted other places and was shocked to find at least 50+ sites, more shocked to read this:

Edited on Mon Jul-12-10 07:34 AM by PJPhreak
Start Here...http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6464 the May 14th Thread:"Is 70,000 barrels a day a possibility for the oil spill?"

Then use the search feature...The amount of info on The BP Mercado Well #1 Blowout will curl yer Hair!

Look for posts by Rockman,Heading Out,Gail The Actuary,Tinfoilhatguy,RioHondoHank,Beachmommy and others...The amount of Knowlage these folk have about The BP Blowout and other Peak Oil and future global Energy issues in all forms is truly Amazing!

Oh,and Break out the Ramen...You will feel like you were back in the Dorms again! Quite The Education it was for Me!

Whomever this is obviously hasn't read here enough to understand I know next to nothing about everything he listed above, and FTLOG I hope he reads this before he ever quotes me, while I feel incredibly honored he even mentioned my handle with the above posters, I am here to learn and really have nothing to add other than what I find on BBERG or photos, I am here to learn from TOD so PJ pls for your own reputation quote anyone but me:)

Also found another nic as BeachMOM.

Whomever this is obviously hasn't read here enough to understand I know next to nothing about everything he listed above, and FTLOG I hope he reads this before he ever quotes me, while I feel incredibly honored he even mentioned my handle with the above posters, I am here to learn and really have nothing to add other than what I find on BBERG or photos, I am here to learn from TOD so PJ pls for your own reputation quote anyone but me:)

Ah, but you have supplied the pictures and pictures speak louder than words. That is an important contribution to the pool of knowledge about this incident.


Oh yeah, quoting TinFoilHatGuy will get you a Pulitzer. It might be spelled S-U-B-P-O-E-N-A at the top, but it is a Pulitzer. Alex will get there, it just will take a little time. At his age I 'proved' how the CIA killed Bob Marley to reduce Rastafarianism and cannabis smoking among America's youth.
I should have known godlikeproductions would still be floating that one.


Alex may get there, but I don't have 30 years left to wait.

Snake, you keep pounding him hard. Who do you think helped fix me? You are needed too. It is a balance. Thanks for helping the youngin's but we need you to keep this the 'big' boy and girls table. If anything, go harder. I do not have kids of my own but I know that is what it takes. You must be a good dad.

My son would agree, but it took him getting past 14 and 21 before he considered the possibility. If AH comes back and wants to tangle, I might accommodate him.

Totally understand, with my daughter from the age of 14 until about 18 she thought I was evil (prolly because I nailed her windows down), but now all of the sudden I'm "cool" to hang out with and a good mom. The boys were easier IMO:)

Group hug for the dwarf seahorse, 2 cm long and mates for life.

Fortunately, Corexit 9500 is not an endocrine disruptor, according to EPA tests.

What gave me nightmares was all that sargassum-burning, Gob. Oy.

The Corexit drones are still at it.

Thanks snake. The numerous references in support of their case to the peer reviewed literature (oops, I mean Washington's blog and Floridaoilspilllaw) were especially helpful. ;-)

I'm pretty sure "corexit" will become a verb for some of these people before too much longer.

BP Clean up Crews: Long Version


I am not proficient at posting youtube videos, sorry if there is any mistakes.

I couldn't upload a video if I tried, so I applaud the effort. The problem is I can't tell what it is I am looking at in the video, if you have a camcorder and were on ground level it might be easier to film with more clarity. But, from what I saw last night and today on the vid and photos, these don't look any different than normal small tractors I have seen on the beach at night for yrs picking up trash. It's possible one might be a sifter, and that would make sense to sift at night since in the heat of the day the tar balls tend to be sticky, so cleaning up and sifting at night would make more sense to me anyway (especially during the season since you wouldn't want them all over the beach with tourist). Once that ends, and it's cooler out I would expect to see more clean up during the day. I remember late June-August, the clean up crews here got sick all the time and were hospitalized, and in every instance I know about it was heat exhaustion and dehydration, so they moved alot of crews to night work (even made them wear red lights on their hardhats because of the turtles), but it was wild to watch what looked like 100's of red lights all over the beach when I was on the pier for 2 nights looking for the dumptrucks that were hauling in sand from New Jersey......never saw them though. I did find that sand (no clue from where)was brought in for the parking lot at Margaritville.

There is video of the local officials copping to night work when the public was questioning the level of effort in June. That is why I am trying to get our young South Park friend to go artistic. You even mentioned in your post how captivating this stuff is. If he goes artistic, the news will grow out of it and yet he can get widespread exposure. If there is a problem there, it will be found out. Unfortunately, a phone camera is often not good enough for night work although they are getting better. Also night work usually requires a tripod as long exposure times are the norm. The good thing is he can make money right away with it AND inform properly. Go artistic, I think you have the 'eye' young man. I bet if manbearpig asked, the officials would help. There is a way to do this that gets the officials on your side. The results can be wonderful. Just make sure to remain unbiased and you are home free. The pictures speak for themselves. Being a photojournalist can be way easier in that regard. Everybody loves the photographers and hates the reporters. Including the hot chicks (sorry ladies, he is a youngin).

Edit: manbearpig - Start with the Mayor's office or the county if it is unincorporated. They love youngins. Youngins turn 18 and have friends that are 18. They also have parents. The powerful parents youngin's do this kind of stuff all the time, so can you. Just ask, the officials will let you know if they can help you out fairly quickly. I am thinking they would be thrilled, but I do not know your county. Go to http://gcn01.com and join. I will upgrade you to contributor and then you can say it is for YOUR website that you contribute to. You just have a host and an admin take care of the technical stuff. You just take pictures. See they love you already. As far as I am concerned, if you contribute, you 'own' at least a piece of the idea's there. I would be honored too. It is important to seed folks like you the right way. I wish someone had helped me so when I was your age. I had to wait for the technology to get here.

Since we're talking about beach clean-up again today, thought I'd post a pic of Grand Isle's monster machine, apparently the only one of its kind that exists in the world; took this yesterday. The're doing the entirety of GI with this machine...


Cool. If that is your wife, cooler. Love the tattoo.

7 weeks since the well was capped and still this area is closed to fishing.


I am going to wildly speculate that part of that is keeping folks away. A G-man buffer zone. The Mayor did the same thing here to control the water crowd for the Buffett concert. I wonder what they will do for the Bon Jovi concert. I am pegging my odds of arrest at 50/50 right now. If I get arrested for being in the Gulf, it will make the news. I predict a showdown. I spent the last incident doing the research.

Off topic alert: #1 yahoo news story today.

LONDON (Reuters) – A giant bale of hay has killed a founding member of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) band after it tumbled down a hill and crashed into his van.

Cellist Mike Edwards, 62, died after the 600 kg (1,323 lb) bale rolled down a steep field in Devon, southern England, smashed through a hedge and careered on to the road.


I am a fan. RIP. But a bale of hay? GTFOOH.

ELO fan here too. Hell of a thing to have to go like that though:(

It was originally reported on the Grauniad or BBC, can't remember which. Those bales are the size and weight of a Hummer. Brings to mind Adge Cuttler.


TFHG, Why did you go off topic on this thread, why didn't you make a new comment?

In response to Q's repeated comment about continued fishing closures, I'll repeat my suggestions.

1. North winds have been infrequent during the spill period, so it's quite unlikely that the last oil should be way offshore. Are you and TFH implying that there is a mass of oil offshore that the government is hiding? Do not airplanes routinely fly over the GOM? Why would the government want to lie about such a thing?

2. The shallow areas still closed near shore have had small amounts of oil within the last month, which is grounds for closure. Also the closed nearshore area west of the Bird's Foot is the heart of the seasonal dead zone, and possibly that's a consideration.

3. Possibly the deepwater areas remain closed to protect bluefin tuna stocks. Bluefin are attracted to features like Eddy Franklin. It is feared that bluefin spawn for this year took a big hit from the spill. I may be wrong about this, but I think most of the fishing effort in deep water is longlining for large pelagic fish such as tuna and swordfish. Even though they may not be kept, bluefin are often taken as bycatch and die after release.

No lies. Like the 30 mile fence at Area 51 it is just to keep telephoto shots off the TV and Internet. More of a PR move. Just like the restrictions the Mayor took advantage of. He did it to keep 'freeloaders' to the concert off the TV. Nothing really nefarious, just a simple decision that had an additional benefit.

Gob, I wonder how far west Eddy Franklin has made it by now. Seen any recent reports on that? On Google, the freshest reference I found was Jeff Masters' on June 4:

... Eddy Franklin will move slowly west-southwest at 2 - 3 mph in the coming weeks. By August or September, the eddy will have moved far enough west that the Loop Current will be able to push northwards towards the spill location again, increasing the chances of oil getting into the Loop Current and being advected through the Florida Straits and up the U.S. Southeast Coast. ...

That was a lot scarier then than now, wot?

See this page and run the animations for August. I guess Franklin is out of the picture, but there was a cold eddy about 100 miles south of the BFoot that got swallowed by a larger one to the south.


I somehow missed seeing your comment earlier, but wow, thanks. Fascinating animation.

To save time and space, my bad I stepped on you. I get carried away with trying to 'sneak' in stuff. In retrospect #1 yahoo story and the fact that the former primary transportation fuel was the instrument of death I should have guess some interest. Plus ELO Rocks. Jeff Lynne is a demigod.

That's because they discovered that Corexit turns one species of fish into gold. They've got their habitat penned off. I have proof.

Ain't a fish. It's the Head Cheeto on its way to a Halloween party.


I've seen carp almost that big before, but they sure weren't that, um, gaudy. (Didn't think goldfish would live long enough to get that big, either.)

Loren Steffy, the Chronicle's biz-blogger, thinks he's seen the Bly Report somewhere before. Say, Texas City . . .

The CSB did a pretty good job on the Texas City incident investigation. I look forward to seeing that one.

I sure am glad I'm not a WellSite Leader for BP. Look what these pr!cklickers have done in the report:

"For the purposes of this report, the BP Macondo well team refers to BP’s Houston-based wells team that worked on the Macondo well, excluding BP’s cementing services provider (Halliburton) and also excluding the BP well site leaders aboard Deepwater Horizon. "

No wonder these guys ae pleading fifth or sick. They are not on the TEAM.


Further, the reports states:

The investigation team reviewed the decision to install a 9 7/8 in. x 7 in. long string production casing rather than a 7 in. production iner, which would have been tied back to the wellhead later, and concluded that both options provided a sound basis of design.

Whereas it should state:

We originally planned for a 7 in. production liner, which would have been tied back to the wellhead later but since well costs got away from us we re-investigated the issue and decided to go with the cheaper option.

also from the report:

To evaluate the effectiveness of the Halliburton cement slurry design that was used, the investigation team requested a third party cementing lab, CSI Technologies, to conduct a series of tests. To test the cement slurry design, a representative slurry was formulated to match,as closely as possible, the actual slurry used for the Macondo well ( the investigation team did not have access to the actual Halliburton cement and additives that were used for the job).

WTF ... ???


Forget where I read it just today, but supposedly the investigators asked Halliburton to provide samples, but they "declined." That was the term used. No reason given.

Plausible deniability. We didn't make this right, it is not representative of the 'actual' formula used. Therefore, the ten failures we showed are not valid. A neat trick if you ask me. The government did confiscate the remaining cement, no? Convenient excuse. At some point, the government has to provide a sample if possible as part of the discovery process, no? I would not have made another batch, but you know Hally has nothing to lose from this less than ideal test. Pro keep it, con toss it.

era - I don't think they meant they didn't have access to the same type components. I think they meant actual samples of the cmt pumped. They normally retain a set samples of every cmt job pumped. Unfortunately those samples went down with the rig. The retained samples can be critical evidence when a cmt job goes bad though. Cmt is a mixture of various components. Just because a mixing plan says this is what went down the hole it ain't always true. I've seen additives mixed in at 10% of what they should have been because someone misplaced a decimal point.

So what happened to all the bits of debris that landed on the boats in the area during the blowout? Who has got those. Did they "accidentally" find there way to the bottom of the Gulf. It was reported that there were bits of cement in that debris.

BTW. Production casing string or liner??? Please study the following to aid discussion. This was Halliburton's attempt to seed the ground for the politicians. IMO they already new they were in trouble and needed a diversion strategy.


acorn - good point. Forgot about those.

Any of y'all ever seen Loren Steffy and PapaWhisky in the same room at the same time? Just askin' . . .

BP’s Engineering Technical Practice ... specifies that TOC (top of cement) should be
1,000 ft. above any distinct permeable zones, and centralization should extend to 100 ft. above
such zones. If those conditions are not met, as in this case, TOC should be determined by a
“proven cement evaluation technique,” such as conducting a cement evaluation log, which
would typically be done during the completion phase of the well. The investigation team has
not seen evidence of a documented risk assessment regarding annulus barriers.


A formal risk assessment might have enabled the BP Macondo well team to identify further
mitigation options to address risks such as the possibility of channeling; this may have included
the running of a cement evaluation (CBL) log.

In this scenario, engineering analysis identifies that it is possible for the seal assembly to be uplifted if sufficient force is applied. Uplift forces approached (if the casing was secured by cement), but did not reach, loads sufficient to unseat the seals during the negative-pressure test.
However, the analysis indicates that with sustained flow from the reservoir, the temperature of the casing string would have risen, thereby adding the uplift force resulting from thermal elongation of the pipe. In this case, it is plausible that the seal assembly could have lifted and an additional flow path could have been established after the well had been flowing for a sustained period.

So the negative pressure test made a bad situation worse ...

Papa. Good thinking, the production string would have expanded in hot oil. A lock down collar was not fitted to the casing hanger seal (???). The job of the lock down collar is to prevent thermal movement of the hanger. This assumes that the prod' casing was in fact anchored by cement at the bottom and not free to expand downward.

I remember seeing a ROV shot that showed a measurement being taken on the well head, after the DWH BOP was removed. I am guessing but, could they have been measuring to see if the hanger had moved in the well head? If it had, there is a chance it would have vented the production annulus to the 157 bar mud-line seawater pressure, when the BOP was removed.

As there was not a gusher at that point, either the hanger is tight and the annulus is at at some unknown pressure; or, the annulus is vented and sealed with cement at the bottom end.

The power engineer in me says I would be tempted to go in the well head through the new BOP; with a little tool, and drill a little hole in the prod casing and see what happens. With a suitable packer to hand, to seal off the little hole again if required. What price on a relief well intercept then?

Rock; Toolpush and the other knowledgeable oil guys on TOD, are probably screaming, "don't let acorn anywhere near that well"

An explosion at Mexico's third-largest refinery Tuesday killed one worker and injured 10, the state-run oil company said.

The blast at the Cadereyta refinery outside the northeastern city of Monterrey was caused by a leak in a hydrogen recirculation compressor, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said in a statement.

AP story at the Los Angeles Times:

The kidnappings of five petroleum company workers along with 30 others have terrorized the oil community, paralyzing segments of the business. Months later, families have still heard nothing.

LATimes story:

Newest info on BBERG~BP Well May Not Be Permanently Killed until October. Sorry I would link it but unless you have a BBERG terminal you couldn't pull it up.

Looks like after reading the article that Allen consider's this to be in a "diagnostic phase" at the moment and trying to figure out "what the current status of the well is"........OK, sorry but I want the P & A ASAP, but I don't know jack about drilling, I am just getting nervous with all of this, and looks like they aren't even considering step two until September 18th or as late as September 28th (of course this timeline is sans storms/canes ). Also, he states the DDII is attached to the new BOP on the well, and may be used to puncture the well's steel pipe from the top and pump in more cement, according to Allen.

I guess I am just impatient:-(

Is Allen paid by the hour? He is from the government sector. I would rather be safe than sorry, but it seems as though this thing will just keep going. I am almost as worried about it now as I was in May. This is uncharted waters.

I doubt it LOL, but I wonder why they can't plug and abandon and "consider" the relief well after, or am I missing something? I thought they gave up on fishing the DP out of the well before they removed the old BOP and installed a new one, but that is what is also stated in the article....that "BP may also try and remove pieces of the drill pipe that remain in the hole", so I guess I am asking WHY? They already went fishing once, and decided to stop, now they were successfull in removing the old BOP and adding the new one, so I just want someone with drilling experience to try to explain this to me like a 3 yr old, can they not plug and abandon if there are still pieces of the DP in the hole?

Perhaps they're conflicted between the view that the well is already as dead as a dodo, but just might (1% chance?; 0.1% chance?) turn nasty if they give it a kick up the backside before perforating and cementing any remaining vulnerable annuli and setting plugs... and the promise that only the relief well will kill it so it's gotta be done before everyone packs up and leaves. Otherwise they lose face and the CT's turn it into another Area 51 or Grassy Knoll.

They may be interested in the pipe from the point of view of checking the end that was in the BOP. The scars and chewing on the end may tell them a lot about the operation of the BOP. As for P & A, I am all for their getting it done quickly but I don't want them to rush to do it before they are sure they have the dragon under control. You may have your dragon tied down and want to cut off its head but if it whips it's tail around you may find yourself having issues.


Thanks guys~I want his head, tail and **** cut off myself, but I just thought the "fishing" expedition was over. Agreed about the CT's and RW, and could almost guarantee that if they don't use the RW the CT's will be flying about using it to produce the well (not the resovoir).

Gotta run for now, time to go for a swim and decompress:)

TF, did you read the transcript of Thadmiral's Sept 4 presser?


Unless I really don't understand, they're already into the P&A process.

Thanks for the link that is what he seems to say is that they are preparing for the process.

Thad Allen: Well in response to your first question yes, the well has been effectively secured regarding any potential source of pollution in the Gulf. That’s the reason for my statement we’re actually while we’re moving to kill the well and finish the cementing job from the bottom we’ve effectively constructively moved a good deal into the process that would be used to plug and abandon the drill.
So an overlap between what I would call source control or source containment and the final plugging and abandonment of the well and some of the activities that are involved in the end of source containment in the beginning of plugging and abandonment are the same.
That’s the reason I’m being careful with the terms and how this moves forward here. We have substantially basically eliminated any threat of discharge in the well. But either to complete the well kill itself and to move to plug and abandonment both of those require that we finish really well and conduct the intercept. Was that responsive?

Was that responsive of Tinfoil?

Was that responsive of Tinfoil?

Exceedingly. Ver' good, m'man.

I don't know whether Bly's version of this graphic is more legible than TPM's reprint, but ya sure gotta have peepers more functional than mine to make head-r-tail of it. Yeesh.

Bly report, Figure 1, p. 181.

yes, it's probably more legible.

Thanks for the page number, dissent. Okay, yeah, it's large enough to see there but still pretty unuser-friendly. By far the poorest graphic I've seen yet from BP. (Strange place for them to want to go muddy, isn't it?)

What we used to call sequences of events lining up in a 'keyhole' allowing a disaster to unlock. My engineering professor just used an electrical lockout as a demonstration. There is a reason it takes six keys to remove the lockout.

TFHG, six keys? Too complicated. Back in the 70's I had a trim carpenter show me how to do it with a bolt cutter. I can't remember why we let him live.

Boss's addition to his house.

This feed: http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:36825.asx?bkup=36826 has been intermittent but it appears someone on the DD2 is going 'fishing'.

Time for a little xkcd break.

(Dunno whether the mouse-over caption will show here; you may have go there for it.)

bb: They were watching TOD and they SAW that we saw MAX H. (on loan from MI6?).

EGAD, these guys are sharp!

After misunderstanding, first thinking that the reporter was asking about the lower Moon Pool Cam (where Rodan and Godzilla are lurking just below water level; believe me, I SAW them!), the Admiral explained the following:

"Admiral Allen: I guess I'm not sure what your question is or what you would like us to do.

"Question: Are we going to get the camera that has been showing the old BOP up until Saturday that went offline.

"Admiral Allen: Oh, well, I'd have to refer that to the Department of Justice. There were some constraints put on that videotaping based on the people that are looking at the Blow Out Preventer and their identities and so forth. And I think there may be some security issues associated with it. But we will post that information."

Aw, no fair to start clinkin' before me, Lizzy!

Y'know? I actually did that before I poured. HOWEVER, I have now poured and am pleased to join you.

Let's clink to those amazing security folks who are protecting our beloved and beleaguered BPO.
SecurityBOP! CLINK!

SecurityBOP it is!

Ahhhhh . . .

lotus, it was the other night after they got the BOP up and out of the way; while ya'll were distracted on the deck, I was watching the moon pool in the dark. I not only saw Rodan and Godzilla. Before they came swirling up, I saw SATAN. I swear. It was awesome. His horns and fork-ed tail and ALL! Thing is, his eyes were not glowing fire and brimstone; so I am a bit concerned--either for my perception or for the fallen angel hisself. Something's not quite right in Hell, I fear. Maybe GLP or one of the more super-connected sites could help out with that. I am surely not a pro in these matters. I just know what I saw.

I apologize for interrupting, but I thought I might be able to contribute.


"Perhaps [Matt Simmons] was one of their sacrifices for the three-planet planetary alignment that just occurred."


Thanks, snake; but all I can see there is an Albino Panda Head. Obviously I'm losin' it in my old age. Maybe I should make a few more clinks and revisit?

Yeah, I think so. Followed up with a shot of good ol' 9527A. Chilled, not stirred.

Before I continue, the image below is straight; it has not been manipulated and is just as I captured it from the NewsWeek website.

Background: I was catching up on news over the weekend and clicked into Newsweek’s WikiLeaks story. The image in top is an editorial image that goes with the story and BP’s ad is immediately below in an ad region of the page. I started to post this ad as an humorous example of bad ad placement Newsweek website also suggesting BP may want to speak with its online ad agency about monitoring placements.

I stopped then because it was too OT. Here’s a chance to run the captured image.


More proof of the second well.

ma buddy, bb, done done it agin'.

Do I perceive that they neglected to fire the guy who came up with all that photoshopping?

Ya know, life has it own way of making editorial comments.

The Newsweek story with the editorial picture s still up but with a different advertiser in the ad region right now. The ad region is fed by an ad server so it is dynamic.

See http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/2010/09/04/efforts-afoot-to-o...


The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth which conceals that there is none.

The simulacrum is true.

from Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, Stanford University Press, 1988


Time to swing on over to BeePee OilDisaster's channel for the latest vids ;)

[Edit] ....he....has....a.....website.


So.....is there a simplified story/reason/excuse that so many different aspects of drilling a well are subbed out ? Seems to make assigning responsibilities nearly impossible.

Thing is, his eyes were not glowing fire and brimstone; so I am a bit concerned--either for my perception or for the fallen angel hisself.

Lizzy, there's no smoking allowed on the rig, Mr S just didn't want them to call up Charon and send him home.

BTW, how many clinks did you have before these characters appeared?

Whoops! That would be Beloved and beleaguered BP Officials (BPO), right? Hell, why not? After all, they are human and they are probably a wee bit stressed. Give'em a clink! :)

[BTW: Historically and still in "acceptable" styles, so far as I know (all my style books are 10 and more years old and in storage), acronyms consist of partial words, syllables put together to make a new word. Many to be found in military stuff, like CENTCOM. Those abbreviations made from first letters are Initialisms. FAX, BOP, ROV, EPA, etc. Sometimes an initialism is SO used that it turns into a word, such as Fax.]

acronyms consist of partial words, syllables put together to make a new word

The definition I'm familiar with is that an acronym is pronouncable as a word, whether derived from syllables (CENTCOM) or the first letters of a string of words (NATO, UNICEF).

Think you're right. Merriam Webster (online) seems not to differentiate, but to see them as synonyms.

They leave a little logical hole, but no matter. It's about as important to most people as are rabbit turds.


LSU's WAVCIS director says oil remains below surface, will come ashore in pulses

BATON ROUGE – Gregory Stone, director of LSU's WAVCIS Program and also of the Coastal Studies Institute in the university's School of the Coast & Environment, disagrees with published estimates that more than 75 percent of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident has disappeared.

"It's most definitely there," said Stone. "It's just a matter of time before it makes itself known again."

Be nice if he'd added what evidence he found for this proposition. Not a stitch mentioned here, though.

No, there isn't. One can hope they pop out some data. However, it makes intuitive sense to me, FWIW, which admittedly isn't a lot.

Worried about Igor. So which is it? Seriously. ee-gore or eye-gore? This one bears watching.

On topic, I predict the relief well will find ... cement.

In the open category, in other news, we have regulatory CAPTCHA!

"... an Interior Department review board has found that poorly trained, ill-equipped and overextended federal inspectors who were supposed to be policing the nation's offshore oil and gas drilling facilities were routinely bullied by industry representatives and were often undercut by their managers when they reported safety violations."

It's hard to be hard when you're snorting drugs off the shapely backsides of beauteous "representatives" of the oil industry in NFL skyboxes, I suppose.

Lather, rinse, repeat...

And where's the FailBop?
Under armed guard out in the Gulf?
(Keep watching marinetraffic dot com for boats pulling into NSAS Michoud.)

FailBOP and its LMRP are still on Q4000, separated and each now on his very own skid, in preparation for travel. The Admiral said that he expects the Q4000 to begin journeying closer to shore sometime in the next 24 hrs, where BOP and long time friend will be transferred to other vessels for transport to Michoud.

btw, the live video of the scale and moon pool are back up - the Q4000 deck cam continues to respect the privacy of the FBI'ers.

ETA: Allen also said that this is basically the last time he's saying anything about FailBOP. It's out of his hands now. All questions about it should be directed to DOJ and the JIT in the future.

Walking dead: Ongoing BP Gulf disaster may be killing millions

It's by the inestimable Terrence Aym, on the unimpeachable Helium site.

I ran into this at Zerohedge, a response to a post by "George Washington" titled
"Dispersants Can Make Chemicals from Oil Airborne ... Exposing Coastal Residents to Toxins"

just another well poisoned with black plague by the usual suspects, move along please.

Walking dead: Ongoing BP Gulf disaster may be killing millions


after the famine they'll move in for the kill as always.

Find it if you like. Bring a pound of salt and something alcoholic.

Depends how you define 'kill'. Is working a hard labor job because there is nothing better leading to an early death killing?

Helium, huh??

how appropriate.

Heh, never mind the relief well, we just had a look inside the failBOP on the Q4000.

Partly cut and crimped Drill Pipe jammed in the sheer rams, the cause of the bloody leak.


(Not confirmed, but what else could it be?)


RockyP's version:


trip's versions of the earlier excursions of the BOP cam,



Then the BOP cam went in the other side and we saw the broken drill pipe inside the annular preventer.

Pic by rainyday: (Video to follow)



Looks like my last colonoscopy. I have some wallet size I can scan and post.

and the two eroded areas above the ram in the second photo.... all those HCs through not very big openings

"All those HC through not very big openings"

Indeed. I certainly expected to see a wide open path. It appears the annular functioned and is still fairly intact. The shear ram didn't cut the pipe but it did crimp it. With the erosion over time factored in, the shear ram must have initially choked the flow considerably.

Hate to sound like a broken record, but I don't think that skinny little 60' Phyllis Diller of a sand could produce 50,000 BOPD plus 50 million cu/ft/day under the conditions that existed.

Edit: Great job snagging the photos.....remarkable.

Yep, if this is my colonoscopy, I am dead.

NU, I remember a post here 2 or 3 months back that showed an opening of just over an inch diameter was sufficient for the volume flowing out the BOP. With a pressure differential roughly 4000 psi over the water pressure at the BOP, a channel or two through the failed cement in the bottom annulus, and a web of wormholes in the formation, it doesn't surprise me that this much oil/gas came squirting out of that small a formation.

Now this may be the nearest thing to a money shot we will see. This is clearly the shear ram. You can see the actual cutting edge (the dark band of metal under the ram proper in the second pic.) The thing is that the ram is clearly completely closed. As observed above, the leakage path is clearly around the outside of the ram, and has eroded the BOP body. It may be that when the ram was only partly closed there was already enough high velocity flow to start eroding the body, and when the ram was closed some days later by the ROV enough damage had occurred to continue the leak. Alternatively there was not enough integrity in the seals and even with the rams closed the seals failed. The questions about maintenance and recertification resurface in this case.

The forensics are suddenly starting to look really interesting.

The first pic is in the upper part of the (now separate) LMRP - around the flexjoint? Not sure as I didn't catch it when the cam first went in.

Second pic is from not far down in the BOP, that one I did see go in, and it's been out of the hole and looked around and sent down again a few times. I thought the shear ram was down near the bottom of the BOP, but the cam didn't go down very far at all? I don't understand what that seemingly open slot is in pic 2. Impressive (in a scary way) erosion at the walls, though.

OK - yes, I'm confused, getting it figured out slowly though. The top pic is from the LMRP. The flexjoint assembly has been removed. There are two annular preventers in the LMRP, the upper annular is closed around the crimped pipe, that's what pic 1 is.

The uppermost set of rams in the BOP have been retracted (one side), there IS drillpipe below the blind shear rams. The DP WAS cut by the blind shear rams. The flow was not between the two opposing blades because there was unsheared pipe preventing them from closing; they were closed. Flow was between the sides of the rams and the housing.

Like getting a glimpse of the Holy Grail.

More like looking down the barrel of a loaded gun!

Yep, amazing. At first we thought we were looking down-hole, then we realised it was the failBOP on the Q4000 deck.


And we see clues that suggest _________________? Speculation expected and noted.

I don't know about clues, but there was a heck of a lot of erosion of the hardened shears in the first vid.

Dull scissors? Couldn't cut the pipe? That makes sense.

TFHG, oh no, I was thinking it was erosion from 200 gazillion gallons of oil passing through. Those shear rams are extremely hard, and the trace of sand in the oil is a relatively weak abrasive. But the speed of flow as the oil accelerated thru the small gaps turned it into an obviously effective sandblaster.

So the wear occurred post 4/20, got it. What about my smoking post below?

TFHG, I really don't know, but a hell of a lot of the hardest workers around here smoke, so I'd be surprised if it's totally banned, these rigs are huge after all.

I just stole your meme for comedy value in my reply to Mz Rain.

I understand and I think it is nothing too, but he is smoking, hiss, then boom. It does sound like at least we need to know where this 'smoking' was occurring and what safety measures the smoking room had. Were those safety devices disabled too?

Of course. Just like a cnc waterjet cutter, thought that conclusion was made months ago already..

It is late and I was looking for new speculation and interpretation.

Could have been rapid cooling of the oil from the flow being choked back by the obstructed flowpath. I got some grasping at straws for you.


Isaac, yes, assumptions and conclusions were made months ago. But the eroded steel wasn't visible til tonight. Your point...?

"Your point...?"

My point is that after 3 freaking months, we get to actually see what we pretty much knew.

Don't get me wrong I'm in no way belittling the effort people make to post photos. On the contrary, it might be a better insight into the behavior of the oil as it passed the restrictions, a better insight into how much oil could have actually physically passed through it( were estimated flow rates taking into account possible restrictions, or were they calculated with the idea there was no obstruction, ie a clear flowpath ?)and maybe more as well. I think we'll find out that here's more to this than just failed hydraulics and dead batteries. Maybe even some insights into the high quality Chinese BOP refurbishing techniques.

I'm excited.

were estimated flow rates taking into account possible restrictions, or were they calculated with the idea there was no obstruction...?

The restrictions were discovered by Sec Chu's gamma ray imaging early in the spill. There was a lot of discussion here, including some rather precise estimates of the opening size required for the flow observed, which was surprisingly small to some of us non-engineers.

BOP cam on the Q4000 looks in the fail-BOP and we see the broken Drill Pipe in the annular BOP clear as day.


(Posted on next thread as well)

O'Bryan was in the simulator. Sims was on the bridge. Harrell was in the shower. Ezell was running to the rig floor. Winslow was smoking. The captain opened the portside door and saw fluid pouring onto the rig.
A loud hiss filled the rig. The first of two explosions shook the vessel.

I thought there was no smoking at all on the ship. Anywhere. Is there a super isolated smoking room?

After dinner, Chris Pleasant, a Transocean subsea supervisor, went to the drill shack to begin his shift. He was told that 60 barrels of mud appeared to have been lost during the pressure test.
Ideally, rig workers like to see little or no mud lost in the test. Losing too much mud can signal a leak in the casing — which could cause an oil spill, or in the worst-case scenario, allow gas and highly explosive methane to seep through the casing, leading to a blowout.
Wyman Wheeler, a Transocean toolpusher, said something wasn't right. He ended his shift and was relieved by Jason Anderson.
An argument erupted over how to do the second negative test. Anderson wanted it done as it had always been done on the Horizon, and finally persuaded the BP crew.
By 8 p.m., the test had ended.
"Go call the office," BP's well site leader Don Vidrine told his counterpart, Kaluza. "Tell them we're going to displace the well" — a critical task in which the mud that keeps the oil and gas under control is replaced with seawater before the well is closed and abandoned.


Edit: Quote from above.
oilfield brat on September 9, 2010 - 12:10am Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top
Lizzy, there's no smoking allowed on the rig, Mr S just didn't want them to call up Charon and send him home.

Oil on the bottom of the Gulf, pictures and story at:

Now everybody knows the bottom of the GOM is the 'disappeared' zone. Screw Spongebob and the rest of Bikini Bottom. We have to have clean beaches.

TF, I noticed Samantha Joye described the 3 cm layer as "oil aggregate snow", and it was found in a valley. Wonder if it gets that thick on the flats? Even if it collects mainly in low spots, there are a lot of finfish that congregate in seafloor depressions, at least in the upper couple thousand feet.

I think you'll have plenty of fuel for your blog for a long while as the extent of the residual oil and its effects become clearer.

As you know, snow forms peaks and valleys according to land topography. Air is an aerodynamic fluid, so I assume it would be a similar situation in the GOM. Valleys would see more coverage and peaks less. Makes some sense to me.

I thought we went over this. Night work, already admitted to on video. Now what that night work is comprised of, that is what we need to know. Click my name and get my e-mail address. I really want to help you. You are at a crucial time. Do you want to rile folks up with conspiracy thoughts and lies from officials or do you want to tell the real story? Take it from the hack of all hacks, the conspiracy stuff does not pay. It makes folks worried over nothing. Folks like your parents and siblings. Don't do it. Any positive you think you are doing is not helping. Now if you really found out something, I will submit the Pulitzer application myself, but otherwise what did your folks teach you? I am quite sure they taught you to tell the truth as you best knew it. What I am telling is you might not know what you think you do. Do not quit thinking it, find out if it is an issue. Email me and I will get you started. We need to keep this forum free for when you get real data. It will take only a few days. Then you can post and be a regular that contributes positively, even if you tell us we are doomed. There is just a way you go about it. You are dealing with adults probably older than your parents. Don't let that intimidate you, but you do have a responsibility to them. That responsibility is to the truth as best as you can determine it. This is a good source but I think you need to heed the advice. I did and look where it got me. More mainstream.

Edit: BTW Are you supposed to be up this late? School night? Almost all here are parents too. I am not getting on to you, but I respect all parents. You want me to, right? I know you do.

Heck I am not sure if that works. I have done it before but here it is gulfshoresaintbad(at)yahoo.com
Replace the (at) with @ and you have it.

Past my bedtime, too. Goodnight TF, et al.

For the miners still stuck inside a foothill of the Andes:

MBP, if this is a secret operation, why are they making so much noise right outside your hotel?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, err, the well:

DD2 is looking down a large pipe. At the bottom of the pipe is what looks like a set of blind shear rams, one of which is closed and the other just peeking into the bore. Since I haven't been paying attention to the feeds lately, that kind of surprised me. I'm thinking riser? With closed rams below? Hmmm.

I could be wrong, but I think this is the failBOP cam from Q4000. I know it is labeled "live from DD2" but I think that's an error at BP's web ops.


Me too, totally confused. DD2 is supposed to be displacing their riser from water to mud according to the ops update. In which case this image doesn't fit. Besides, this unit does look severely damaged like the FailBOP would be.

Edit: Yeah. My bad, this is clearly the same thing Rainy was discussing above. I wasted space :--/

Confirmed Q4000 -- as they removed the camera, I saw a hemp rope and a brief glimpse of what I think was the deck.

n/m - I found lots of stuff to read that explains most of it...

BP's head of safety and operations to WaPo:

... [T]he investigation did not address issues of the company's safety culture.

Asked whether the probe overlapped with his area of responsibility, Bly said that he dealt "at a very high level." He said, "You could say that the investigation caused me to investigate things related to me," but "it's a somewhat distant linkage." ...

I must not understand corporate nomenclature. Or maybe even words like "level" and "linkage." Hm.

Top Tory says Barack Obama went too far in attack on BP
Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent

A senior Tory MP today launched a scathing attack on Barack Obama over the BP oil spill after a report claimed the initial cause of the catastrophe was a failing by a US company.

Tim Yeo, chairman of the Commons energy and climate change committee, accused Washington of behaving like a “third world” country.

He probably has shares in BP. (Well probably not, since he is an MP, but you get the idea.) Sounds mostly like playing to the home crowd. The manner in which the parliament has been going after TO sounds a lot like political scapegoating and blame deflection from the home grown company. TO is probably perceived as a US company despite its Swiss registration. NYSE listing however. The Brits do patriotism just as well as the US. And partisan politics too.

“The way BP was treated by the administration is not what you would have expected two to three years ago.”

We agree there, Tim. The rest, not so much.

Yup, flower, you homed right in on it! That is the key statement in the whole rant. We have us a little play within a play goin' here. More than one. And more to come.

"All the world's a stage...."

I think Tim Yeo strikes a chord with some of us in the UK. The point about Obama influencing the decision on the payment of a BP dividend deserves more scrutiny than it got and probably does no favours to the US in terms of attracting long term investment. How BP funded the clean up and fine is a concern of their management and shareholders. I agree that withholding the dividend was the right decision, the political interference was not.

British MPs to grill BP CEO Hayward

LONDON (Reuters) - British Members of Parliament (MPs) will next week grill outgoing BP Plc Chief Executive Tony Hayward, as part of an investigation into risks around deepwater drilling in the North Sea.
BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill has raised concerns globally about the dangers of drilling in ever-deeper waters...While the committee said it would question Hayward about the implications of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill for deepwater drilling in the UK, the agenda did not specifically include plans to discuss the causes of the spill itself.

Now that will be interesting. See how the Tories treat the barrow boy.

Francis, from snakehead's other link:

“We are not here to give him a roasting,” said Mr Yeo. “We want to find out what share of the responsibility BP had for the disaster in the Gulf and whether there are lessons to be learned for our own regulatory regime.”

Yeah, Tony H. should be a real beacon in that role.
/sarcasm off

Halliburton Says Errors in BP Report
By Tiernan Ray

As we continue to review BP’s internal report published earlier today, we have noticed a number of substantial omissions and inaccuracies in the document.
Halliburton remains confident that all the work it performed with respect to the Macondo well was completed in accordance with BP’s specifications for its well construction plan and instructions, and that it is fully indemnified under its contract for any of the allegations contained in the report.

I'm looking forward to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber speaking out about Corexit.

Reuters, "BP Spillcam" deemed top TV word."Guido" close behind.

Did anyone have a comment about Wilson smoking at the time of the explosion. Did the DWH have a smoking room? Is this common? Were there safety devices? All my offshore friends dip Skoal because they cannot smoke on the rig. What gives?