BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Locking the Hanger and Relief Well Role - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6952.

A short time ago I wrote about the concerns with the casing hanger in the Deepwater Horizon well, and the risk that it might lift and allow whatever fluid is in the annulus between the production casing and the well lining to be released. In his remarks on Friday Admiral Allen discussed that situation. At some point there has to be a seal on the top of the well to prevent fluid escaping from the annulus. The solution that he, the science team, and BP have reached is that the casing hanger will be locked into place, so that it cannot lift off the seat. This was the illustration that I used back then:

Labelled section showing the parts of the casing hanger (note that there is an animation at the source site)

With the casing hanger itself looking like this:

Casing hanger.

The lack of a locking ring was a bit of a bone of contention when the initial Congressional hearings took place back in June, being one of the five issues that Congressman Waxman brought up in a letter to Tony Hayward. (The other four were the design of the well itself; the “centralizer” issue; the failure to run a bond log; and the failure to circulate possible gas-bearing mud out of the well. ) It may not have been necessary back when the well first started to flow (if the annulus is, in fact, still full of mud rather than oil) and the seal is currently working, but by putting a lock on the casing hanger so that it cannot rise out of the seat they are ensuring that it will not move, even if pressure increases in the annulus, after the relief well makes contact. Locking it can be carried out by running a string of drill pipe down to engage the top threads of the hanger, so that it can’t move. Alternatively it can be connected to the surrounding wellhead structure, perhaps by running a sleeve back up to the overlying BOP. It could have been locked with special locking screws that ran through the wellhead, but they aren't in play at this point.

Admiral Allen noted:

In essence, we're going to put a ring or what they call a sleeve around the top that'll lock that casing hanger in place, will not allow it to move. There is always concern that when we pressurize the annulus, that casing hanger would lift, allow free communication between the annulus up into the blowout preventer.

Cement in the annulus will be one way to preclude that from happening. But after some consultation and looking at various alternatives, the BP engineers and our science team agreed that if we could ascertain that the casing hanger had not been dislodged, in other words, where we need it to be, then we could actually put a sleeve around it and basically lock it down.

And the order that I issued to BP, I ordered them to take what are called lead impressions. You go down, you take an impression of the top of the casing hanger. And then that allows you to take measurements on where its location is. Based on that measurement that they took, it appears that the casing hanger has not been dislodged to the point where we'd have a problem with the seal, so we just need to lock it in place, and that would substitute for the pressure control that cementing the annulus would have provided.

Once BP tells the Admiral how long it is going to take to lock the hanger down, and it is done, then he will give permission to restart the relief well. The impressions of the seat were apparently made by lowering lead blocks onto the hanger and deforming them. This provided the required impression of the position of the top of the hanger, from which it was possible to decide that it hadn’t moved.

With that seal in place it is no longer necessary, at this time, to perforate the top of the casing to insert a cement plug, since the seal will itself provide a plug during the relief well operations. (The plug will still be needed for the abandonment part of the process).

MoonofA has illustrated the process that is now to be followed in complying with the Admiral’s instructions. I am copying the comments that go with two of the illustrations from that comment:

(This) picture shows what will happen in the next days.

1. The casing hanger lockdown sleeve will get installed (not shown).

2. Developer Driller II above the original Macondo well will put its drill pipe into the hole and will perforate the production liner long string just above the top-kill cement. (If the annular is pressurized from the reservoir it may take a kick doing this.)

Pumping cement into the annular in this state would be dangerous and difficult as whatever is in there now, mud or oil, has no place to go. To avoid any damage when pushing cement down in there we need some communication to be able to retrieve the stuff that the cement will replace.Therefore:

3. Developer Driller III doing the relief well will intersect below the outer casing into the annular between the long string and the well bore. This will then form a U-tube between the DDII down through the annular between the long string and the outer casing and up to the DDIII. Mud can then be pumped from one rig down the hole up to the other rig to test the communication through the annular.

4. Fresh cement (green) will then be pumped from the DDII down its drill pipe into the annular. As communication is established, whatever is then in the annular, mud or oil, can be pushed by the cement up to the DDIII.

With this the annular is then truly dead and The Admiral’s point 5 demand will be fulfilled.

However, to get the perforations just above the cement, the perforating tool has to reach that position, which it can only do if there is no old drill pipe in the way. We will see if any is found, and they fish for it.

Okay Fifth-Graders here is today's science question.

True or False?

ChuckV will be able to breathe easily at the bottom of a dogpile if he makes sure to take a deep breath first.

What is the density of Chuck ?

The lost drillpipe was some 3,000 feet long, the cement in the production liner long string was said to be 5,000 feet high. It is therefore unlikely that the drillpipe will show up above the cement.

FRANK. (from previous)
Have a look at page 29 of the following for a description of how the hanger seal is set. Fitting the lock down sleeve is a separate process. The lock down sleeve is principally to prevent the casing seal moving, when the well is flowing hot oil in production.

The Dril-Quip well head is state of the art. The best picture of it is on pages 45 to 47 of the first BP report at http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100527/BP.Presentation.pdf

Exactly, Acornus. It seemed to me that your original post was confusing / mixing the hangar seal setting operation with the lockdown sleeve operation.


Two months since the oil well was killed and still this much of the Gulf is closed to fishing.

What is wrong with the fish in there?


QuantumUS: I suspect there's nothing wrong with the fish in there. If I were the government, I would have a rule which sets a time limit since the last time oil was detected in XX amount in an area, before the area can be opened for fishing - even if the fish being sampled are not contaminated. This is a common sense method to make sure tainted fish would not get through the sampling/testing system.

The administration is under attack by both the Faux News and right wing radio propaganda machines, as well as the left wing tree-huggers. Both extremes are a small sector of the population, but they're incredibly noisy, have the ability to move the media, and can swing the voting public. So it makes sense to make sure they're super careful so they don't fall in a trap and let some tainted fish get caught and sold. Meanwhile, the fishing ban is pretty good for the fish, and in any case they'll charge BP for the business lost (the money will come out of the $20 billion fund).

I think the Obama administration is doing a superb job keeping the rabid dogs at bay. This is costing BP a chunk of change, it's costing the oil industry quite a bit, but in the end it helps preserve a bit of common sense, and it avoids the super hysteria we see from the extreme sides, both left and right.

It's a post out of sequence, but fd, what did you want 1000 barrels of Macondo for?

I can't say, it's a secret idea, and i could make money out of it. But I didn't follow through because I've been out of the USA, too busy to get distracted with the idea. Do you have the 1000 barrels available? I can have my daughter work out the deal, she lives in the Dallas area.


They need to make a clear statement why that much of the Gulf is still closed to fishing.

Nobody can use the truth against them unless they can not explain it in a logical way.

The first rule they stated to opening up the fishing grounds was there had to be 30 days of no surface oil in the spot.

The second rule was the fish had to pass the contaminated test.

Now if there was still surface oil 30 days ago or 40 days ago clear out there where was it coming from?

Why wouldn't it have been broken down by then, or sunk? That is a big area to still have oil on it.

It appears they have put in more rules now to opening up this area.

They need to state what those new rules are.

Claims are being paid slow if paid at all.

Question: What happens if the liquid from the annulus is released to the ocean. Can it have any negative implications.

Because if not (from technical standpoint) then we might have a place where regulations prevent common sense actions and force everybody to jump through the hoops, just to be legal? It is illegal to dump a few hundred barrels of stuff, even after a few millions were already spilled.

What about diverting gas and mud from the platform on the blow-out day. It is illegal to dump stuff overboard, so they directed it on the platform. Had they broken regulations, there wouldn't be whole situation?

CC -- Any release of hydrocarbons into the water gets a fine. They might get a waver from the feds for the annular oil but as you say any added fine would be insignificant to what BP faces now.

If they divert to a flare line during a kick it would be ignited. There could easily still be some oil hitting the water. But trust me: if a well is blowing out no one on the rig is at all concerned about a pollution fine...not even the operator.

1. So why don't they just release oil from the annulus, pay the fine and finish relief well without having all the problems of having a "cap" on top of the well? Or they physically can't?


Workers had made another fateful decision in the first moments of the blowout: They had directed the gas and drilling fluid coming out of the well through a system on board the rig rather than straight overboard. Normally, that would have been the right decision. Dumping oil-based fluid overboard is a violation of federal law and could have drawn a substantial fine. The system on the rig was designed to capture the fluid and get rid of the gas.

But in this case, the sheer volume of gas overwhelmed the system.

When they were confronted with an impending blowout (and they knew it by that time) why did they divert to degasser.

Regulatory pressure, judgment call or SOP?

When they were confronted with an impending blowout (and they knew it by that time) why did they divert to degasser.

Maybe the diverter malfunctioned.

MOB - Not very familiar with the system but someone thought the degasser was too limited in design capacity to handle the volume coming out of the well. Why didn't they go straight to the flare line instead? I don't know but it was speculated they either thought the degasser could handle it or there was a panic moment and they chose wrong.

I don't understand why they didn't go to the flare line, they told the Bankston to back off 500 meters and I thought that would be a prerequisite to go to he flare line. Maybe something stopped them from going to it, maybe it was a malfunction?

Rockman, the way that works, it's not a flare, it's just a vent pipe which dumps whatever is coming out of the well right into the ocean. The diverter is set up so you can go on either of opposite sides. In a semi like the DWH this is a pretty practical solution, because the rig can be pointed to have one vent that's clearly downwind.

When a well shows drill pipe pressure, the toolpusher SHOULD already have worked out which way he's going to divert before he has to do it, and it's nonsense to send the flow to the degasser if it's showing pressure like it was, and flowing mud.

The mud, oil and gas coming out of that vent can't be flared, because it just doesn't light up very well, if it's really a mixture. So this isn't really a proper flare vent boom. I've worked on rigts where we had the set up to flare, had diesel tanks hooked up to pump to the flare at high rates, and even had propane to jazz it up. This allowed us to send whatever came out to the flare, and by pumping diesel and propane we could make sure the flare stayed lit (otherwise the mud slugs will put the flare out and you can have a huge mess in your face).

Venting to the vent boom the way the DWH was supposed to vent is a mess because it's going to put oil based mud and oil in the water, but that was definitely the way to go. As I said, the toolpusher just had to make sure he knew which way he was going, and he had to notify the crewboats and anybody in the vicinity to make sure they stayed out of the way (I've heard a story of a vent incident when the crap fell on top of a fishing boat and caught fire, burning a few fishermen to a crisp).

fd - Is that vent pipe not set up with an auto-igniter? Been a long time since I paid attention to such set up but seems they use to have one on the end of the line. Or do they dump and not worry about any NG accumulation? I can see dumping mud, and maybe oil, during an emergency but NG would seem a tad dangerous. The closest I've even been to such a circumstance was about 30 years ago when a well on the Texas coast took a hard kick. They couldn't shut it in in time and sent the flow (NG + condensate) to a flare or vent line over the mud pit. I think it had an auto-igniter but not sure. Took your breath away: about 2 mmcf/d and a couple of hundred bbls of condensate. Roared like a jet ingine. It was on a Saturday night and eveyone in Bay City was parked along the highway in their PU's drinking beer waiting for the rig to blow up. State troopers had to close the highway. We were about 400 yds off the highway. One drunk jackass wanted a better view ans started to dive down the board road to the location before the DPS stopped him.

Don't answer...just finished reading the rest of your post. Thanks

Pages 113-123 of the BP Deepwater Horizon Accident Investigation Report (PDF) contains several pictures, graphs and schematics relating to the diverter system, including maximum pressure ratings.

My Scroogling activities indicate (don't ask me how) that the diverter system on the DWH was a Hydril FS 21-500.

http://hydrilpressurecontrol.com/_pdf/pressureControlBrochures/GE_HY_FS_... (PDF)

I could easily be wrong. Maybe someone can confirm/refudiate?

ROCK. Agreed, government regulations are always years behind any market or technological system. Governments always suffer from obsessive compulsive syndrome; they have to intervene. They will no nothing about the system; so will be influenced by lobby groups who see the opportunity for graft. The regulation will not achieve the purpose of the naive politicians who enacted it. But, a vested interest will gain from it. The lack of understanding will lead to the regulation being a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

We have a classic example in the UK. In 1928, the government passed an Act to fix the date of Easter. That Act has still not had a commencement order 82 years later. The nuts have been dodging the sledgehammer for 82 years.

Canuck, Excellent questions.

Ever since the law was passed that made it illegal to leak even one drop of oil in the water, times changed drastically in the oil patch.I can remember having to fly to Florida with a team of lawyers to explain to the Captain of the USCG why a sheen was being emitted from a pit and then having to pay a fine for that sheen. And, if you didn't disclose the sheen you could go to jail.

What was missing from the sanity of the new law was exactly the question posed by you. What actual damage does a sheen or a drop or a barrel or even 1000 barrels do to the receiving waters? And, what if there's an emergency? The law doesn't provide for discretion or otherwise when dealing with the leaking of oil intentionally.

I submit, although I don't know for sure, that the reason the effluent was directed to the mud/gas separator was because it was oil base mud. If it would have been directed overboard, it is possible the explosion might not have happened. It is sad that there is no common sense in the language of laws. I fault the politicians/lawyers for this and they should be dammed to hell for it.

Every well ever drilled offshore for years was directed directly to the gulf for cleanup. It may have flowed for a day or more to clean up all the completion or workover fluids used in the operations. How many of you knew that this was standard practice in the oil patch until the days of the tree huggers and radical environmentalists came along? How much money has been wasted over the years trying to avoid every drop of oil from ever entering the water? But, I digress. And, don't get me started about having to pissant cuttings to shore for disposal in land fills for fear of burying some form of plankton within 50 ft diameter of an offshore platform or mobil rig. Another ridiculous requirement.

Getting back to Macando, it is clear that without the explosion, the loss of life might not have happened and the blowout might not have happened. Was there justification for the eleven lives being lost because of possible actions taken for not wanting to "pollute" the gulf with a few thousand barrels of OBM?

Was there justification for the eleven lives being lost because of possible actions taken for not wanting to "pollute" the gulf with a few thousand barrels of OBM?

Is this a real issue?

According to BP :

...the [Transocean Well Control] handbook stated that “at any time, if there is a rapid expansion of gas in the riser, the diverter must be closed (if not already closed) and the flow diverted overboard."

Deepwater Horizon Accident Investigation Report, pg 104 (PDF)

It doesn't appear to be.

Are drill crews trained to divert overboard during their well control training? Or does their training emphasize the 'not one drop of oil' idea? In a high stress situation people tend to follow habit. If the people on the rig had always used the separator in the past and were not trained to use the diverter - they may have simply reacted to the situation.

Does anybody know what kind of training well crews get for what to do after they lost control of the well? Do they train military style (over and over again even if you have the procedures down pat) on quick reaction drills?


All crew from AD and up do a well control course every two years. It is a five day course done under Well Cap (Generally US base)or IWCF (Generally European base). We get basically 3 days of theory and a day on a simulator and a day of exams. Most of the simulator time involves shutting in the well and operating the choke. Not too much is needed for operating the divertor as it is a one button push. Port or starboard is preselected depending on wind direction. I have never worked on or even heard of a rig that ran the diverter line into the MGS, and I can only imagine the DWH had a very high rig floor to get everything to work.

I suspect the divertor panel was preselected to the MSG for normal operations to avoid the spill situation and was never changed during the emergency. At the rate that the 21" riser would have been unloading I suspect there was minimal time to do anything once the burst disc went in the MGS. It is doubtfull the crew would have been taught anything at well control about the divertor in the MGS unless it is a common practise in the GOM, as it is not common practice elsewhere.

Kick drills, pit drills are held onboard on a regular basis. Once again divertor drills are not common as it normally associated with surface hole which is normally quite quick and as I said before it is just a one button push.

There has been a lot of comment about the dangers of deep water drilling, to me the greatest danger is the fact of the BOP at anything up to 10,000ft below the rotary table. As we were told many times during the last 3 months, methane is in a liquid form at 5000ft let alone 10,00ft, therefore it is very easy for a small kick to pass the BOP before detection, and before rapid expansion of the gas, which leads to unloading of the riser.

It nearly happened to me once, thanks to Schlumburger doing MDTs, (taking samples on wireline). They pump fluid from the formation to bring to the surface in small bottles. Some of this fluid is left in the mud to be circulated up on the next trip in the hole. This time they were having trouble collecting their samples and pumped more than normal. When the gas started coming out of solution around 1500ft (water depth was 3300ft) we took a big gain but kept circulating. I believe it was a bit exciting at the shakers but I was standing by the divertor button. Did not have to divert but that would have been oil base in the sea and the least of my problems.

Just wondering, how often were the cognizant TO hands trained on that?

Good points EDM, but there is one consideration you left out of the equation. Past behavior by industry leading up to the regulations. There is ample evidence here and in other parts of the world where industry has demonstrated very graphically that it needs to be regulated, and if it is not, it will act irresponsibly and do great damage. I have seen it. You have too, no doubt.

And I will offer an alternative theory. The concern was the VIPs more than the environment if in fact there was a deliberative decision made to go with the one diverter over the other. Or possibly BP failed to train the crew adequately to ensure proper decision making under emergency conditions. Just look at the lax attitude toward emergency equipment. Most of it was disconnected on non-functional.

They didn't seem to mind violating those life-saving regs out of simple convenience, including the ones about no ignition source near the drill floor. indeed, chances are far more likely that if they had obeyed all applicable regs right down the line, including on cement testing and well control, there would not have been a disaster.

EDIT: changed rig to drill floor

Or possibly BP failed to train the crew adequately to ensure proper decision making under emergency conditions. Just look at the lax attitude toward emergency equipment. Most of it was disconnected on non-functional.

I believe it was a full TransOcean drilling crew - BP normally only had a couple of reps aboard.

That said, BP was fully appraised and aware of the shortcomings of the rig, and as such should have demanded correct and timely resolution.

syn - As Phil offers below BP, nor any other operator, is involved in the training of any drill crew. There may a little more review of a DW crew, but otherwise you don't have any idea of the nature of the hands you're getting with the drill rig. Engineers have their prejudice. My engineer likes Precision Drilling and Parker Brothers. He likes the way they keep up training and their attitude towards safety. But not all hands are created equal. And even if you liked the hands, including the tool pusher and driller, on Rig 11 you used last year, this time more than half the hands are different on Rig 11.

As usual we often forget about the obvious: all the time we chatted about the interaction between the operator and the drill crew it never occurred to mention the potential disconnect between the comen and the drill hands. The good comen I've worked make a serious effort to "bond" with hands he may have never met before. The not so good comen will hold themselves apart from the hands. Not uncommon for hands to take that as a snubbing. I've seen some comen take a rather abusive attitude towards the hands. Not a good idea when you're spending more than $400,000/day with a crew that can drag their feet a little and run the cost up a few million $'s on a deep well. And sometimes a lot costlier: not difficult for some deliberate sabotage to find it's way into the ops.

I have no idea about the relationship between the TO hands and the BP comen. Either side of that fence might risk their lives for the other. Or could care less about their well being. I’ve seen both extremes over the years. Just never occurred to me to bring this subject up. No always but some times the operator's well site managers live in a seperate world from the drill crew. And that can obviously be very dangerous for all.

Big slip of the typing finger, Rockman. I didn't mean BP, i meant TO.


And thanks for the insight re Coman and crew relationship.


How do they look for lost DP in the bottom of the well, is there a camera lowered down, or is it more of a blind stabbing motion ? (I'm thinking -parry-dodge-thrust)

Has it been concretely established that the DP is not embedded in the cement at BOH ?

Could they actually complete the process backwards from what they have planned if the DP is stuck at BOH, in the event they cannot perforate the casing at the bottom? ..perforate casing at top, intersect annulus with RW, squeeze cement into the annulus from the top and let annulus fluids at BOH vent through RW, instead of up DD2 DP ?

Does that even make sense ?

Isaac - It's going to be very easy to find any DP sticking up above the cmt: they'll bang into when they GIH with the drill string. If they find DP and it's not caught in the cmt they should be able to fish it out fairly easy. If half of it is stuck in the cmt that won't be a problem. They'll cut the DP at the TOC and fish it out. What's left in the cmt won't be an issue. Of course, at the moment we have an interpretation of where the TOC is. GIH with DP will tell them for sure. If their estimate is way off and there's cmt and drill pipe shallower then the planned perfs it still won't be a plan killer necessarily. They can GIH with a mill bit and grind the csg/cmt as deep as they need to get the perf depth they want. The milling operation will be slow but it's a rather conventional SOP.

Actually if there's no DP in the way I wouldn't mind if the drilled a 1,000' or more of the bullheaded cmt out and re-cmt that interval. The bull heading killed the well. But bull heading cmt is not a good method for getting a good cmt job as a rule. Drilling out just the cmt would be relatively easy/fast. And this way they would have a greater confidence in the integrity of the cmt across the over lapped interval.

Rockman: That's an excellent idea, drilling out and dressing off the cement, then setting a proper plug. Because this is a permanent abandonment in a cased well, they may want to set a bridge plug too. This sucker ought to be buried with as much cement and steel as they can.

fd - With you all the way. I've been worried about the quality of that bull head plug from the start. It might have kiled the well but will it keep it dead while they swapped out BOP's? I'm all for over kill on this project as long it doesn't add risk. Beside a BP I would like to sqz the annulus again up shallow after the get the lower annulus sqz'd off. Wouldn't take much time/more to do another couple of perf jobs and pump another 200 bbls of cmt.

While doing the "Locate Riser Insertion Tool" task, Olympic
Challenger UHD 30 discovers one of the Deepwater Horizon Rovs in the debris field. The Rovs from the DWH, along with those of the Olympic Challenger and the Development Driller 2, were part of the Serpent Project, doing biological surveys of the Gulf of Mexico.

Music is "Dance of the Silkies" by the Paul Winter Consort, from the album "Callings."


Thanks eg...

it's reminiscent of the behavior of elephants when they come across and examine the bones of a former herd-mate.

Reminds me of when I had to have one of my cats euthanized years ago. The vet came to my apartment and did the injection with the sick cat lying in my lap. Then he took the body and laid it on the floor on a cloth he'd brought, preparatory to wrapping it up and taking it with him for disposal.

My other cat--the first cat's housemate for almost 20 years--strolled up at that point, gazed at the corpse for a bit, then carefully sniffed it all over. He looked up at me for a moment and wandered away again. Whatever meaning death has to cats, he knew his long-time pal was dead. Whether or not he grieved, I couldn't say.

What a kind vet, to make that house call, SL. But an awful day for you, so please accept my belated sym/em/pathy.

Thanks, lotus. Housecalls were this vet's specialty; I had never used him before. My regular vet didn't do housecalls. But this guy was wonderful. He told me that when an animal had to be euthanized, he preferred to do it in the owner's home rather than in an impersonal office.

What a really great vet!!!

When it came time for me euthanize a very special dog who had developed cancer at aged 14, I had to take him to the vet. I had raised this dog from a pup and we were very close. He was a very big dog and I put him in the front seat of my car for the trip so he could lay his head on my lap for the drive. I sat in the parking lot of the vet's office with him for about an hour, petting him while he look in my eyes and wagged his tail weakly. He loved car trips with me, even his last! I always felt he knew it was his time and he was ready. But, I knew he never liked going to the vet. I knew it would not be easy or comfortable for him taking into the vet's office. When it was time, after we said our goodbyes, I laid his head to the side, got a lick on the hand, got out and walked around the car. In just the few moments that it took for me to walk around the car, by the time I got to the passenger door, this wonderful dog had passed quietly in the front seat.

I wish I had known such a vet at the time but I got the next best thing.

People bring all kinds of good and bad things here, bbf, but very few bring this much blessing. Thank you for it.

I wish I had known such a vet at the time but I got the next best thing.

It's excruciating to have to bid an animal companion goodbye however it happens, but for the animal to say "Now's the time" and quietly leave at just the right moment, sparing you the pain of having to do the deed, seems to me the best of an awful situation. Bless him. (And you, for sharing.)

Thanks. Special dog and a special day. I won't post his picture here to take up users' bandwidth, but if your interested, here is his picture at 11 months old: http://media.teleworship.com/tod/cardi_800w.png

I've always been a dog person but my wife is a cat person. When it came time to get our daughter a pet when she turned 5, we got her a cat. It's a really great cat but my daughter has also grown up on stories about my dog best friend. In turn, both my wife and daughter help me sponsor and support a community dog park at our church. Dog park at a church? See https://www.cccdt.org/pages/god_and_dog

his picture at 11 months old

Wow, a young emperor!

He did look regal … until he flopped down on the ground at your feet, stuck all four paws straight up in the air and howled until he got his tummy scratched. It sort of popped the bubble of first impressions. He won his first best-in-show at an Afghan specialty show 30 days after this picture was taken. His littermate sister went best opposite in the same show. I was still an undergraduate at the time and my fraternity brothers used to come by every evening and offer to take him for a walk on campus. On the second consecutive night, I quickly figured out that they were using him to meet girls! There wasn’t a girl on campus that wouldn't stop and talk. The brothers unanimously voted him “best wingman” in the frat.

Hello bb - the Afghan picture remembers me on my childhood, because I earned a lot of money with an unbehaved Afghan named Rene.
He belongs to an old woman and never returns to her, when she unleashed him.
I heard her voice in the woods "Rene - Rene - Reeneee".
Then we children were asked to catch him for a little money.
First times it was easy to get him. But after a while Rene knew our intentions, lol.
We had to simulate "dead man" or "eating very good stuff".
At least only the smell of an on heat bitch helped.
But one day Rene disapeared forever in the woods (may be a hunter shot him).

They are an active breed and are too much for many people. Our kennel club had at the time had a very active recuse effort because these stories are common. Afghans are hardy and natural hunters (they are gazehounds or sighthounds. They hunt with them in free-roaming packs with hunters on horseback in wide-ranging hunts in Afghanistan) so Rene might have made a great home for himself in the woods.

What a spectacularly beautiful creature! Was he a show dog? He sure was posing like one.

And that's a lovely song, BTW. Not the way I swing, but I appreciate the simplicity and sincerity.

He had a short but spectacular show career (see posting above) of about 18 months. I didn't want to campaign him with a professional handler (about six months on the road each year) as too hard on him and me (too long away) so we showed him only in the Southwest where either my wife or I could handle him. The travel was hard to pull off long-term while in grad school and getting started.

Housecalls? You man like the mental health help I have been screaming for. Seem these heads shrinkers from Alabama's puzzle factory have never heard of the Internet or TV. I saw the commercial on how BP pays fast about 1000 times. I saw the Taylor Hicks come to Alabama and visit commercial about 100 times. Yet I have to wait for a report or a knock for mental health care? At this rate my bro's grandkids will enjoy the benefit.

While fishing is open and beaches appear oil-free, mental health counselors concerned about lingering effects from the Gulf spill will be going door-to-door in Baldwin County within the next few weeks.
They’ll be describing mental health services available and even provide immediate counseling if needed, according to Robin Riggins, executive director of the Baldwin County Mental Health Center.
The door-to-door work is one of several initiatives from a newly created Baldwin County Mental Health Advisory Committee...
...The Baldwin County Health Department awaits results from a recent survey that attempts to gauge health issues resulting from the Gulf spill. The survey was done in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Alabama Department of Mental Health is paying for emergency counseling programs on the coast from $12 million given by BP PLC.

Ok ADPH, (Alabama Department of Public Health). Hire me to knock on doors and inform people. I will also advertise. That way your PsyD's and counselors can offer therapy instead of working on their walking skills. GEEZ.

Like this helps the fact that you ARE TOO LATE!!!! Ask Capt Kruse's widow. We are STILL WAITING.


My 18 year old cat, Bill was put to sleep in my lap by a gentle visiting veterinarian last week. Oh how painful and wonderful it was at the same time. So thankful that I could hold him while he slipped away... I have his little box of ashes... will scatter it out in the garden where Bill used to like to roam, eat grass and chase bugs...

Aww. RIP little Bill.

{{{hugs}}} to you, Elie.

And more: ((((Elie)))) ((((Bill))))

ok, another happier one before i get back to "real work":

After a long day and night of surveying the gloomy Deepwater Horizon Debris Field and cleaning up icky hoses, Olympic Challenger ROV UHD 30 plays with the fish before surfacing thru the moon pool and being greeted by its humanoid co-workers. Music is "Magdalena" by the Paul Winter Consort from the album "Callings." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p9-MSvWn6E

Love these Paul Winter treats, Evergreen, and that was especially fine. Thanks so much.

another happier one

Oh, how gorgeous, evergreen! Thank you. The music is perfect. And that incredibly beautiful blue-green water!

It's as if the ROV is paying tribute to its dead brother's aborted work with the Serpent Project.

Thanks. Oly is a Good Boy.

thank you all, i'm glad you enjoy these. i have been doing a lot of recording thru all this, and will be eventually doing quite a bit of editing with music. i have animals (both living and no longer), i am a swimmer and a dancer, and the beauty in much of this has impressed me, even under the circumstances. it's also a nice break from constantly trying to wrap my brain around the macondo well and what happened with it.

the beauty in much of this has impressed me, even under the circumstances

You just said what I've been trying to figure out how to express for quite a while now. I'm just thrilled to learn what you'll be doing, and I can hardly wait to see what you'll come up with.

Needs diver advice in snorkeling and UW photography.
1. Tried the fins, they were too hard to 'walk in' and swim with. Would a smaller fin be better? Any recommendations?
2. What camera should I check out?
3. What wet suit should I check out and how much longer can I expect to be able to do dive in one? Maybe an extra month here in Gulf Shores? That two month a year, right?

The primary purpose of this would be to record events subsurface. I would also enjoy it. Where has diverdan been? Snake, you dive don't you?

Oregon Scientific ATC2K Waterproof Action Camera
Waterproof Action Camera Oregon Scientific Model # ATC2K
Play hard, record everything – even underwater! The ultimate waterproof self-contained Oregon Scientific ATC2K Waterproof Action Camera weighs in at half a pound with batteries and delivers full color digital video in 640 x 480 VGA at 30 frames per second!


Just happened to see this when I was looking at weather stations the other day. I'm sure there are others. About $80 on this one.

Thanks but useless for my purposes. Check out this Panasonic.

Yup! I like the part where you can drop it and have shaky hands. :)

As far as fins, it all depends on the currents that you will be in. If mild, smaller or more flexible fins should be okay. Open-ocean and higher currents may need bigger and perhaps more ridged fins (and more muscle behind them to drive them).

BTW, don't walk in them (even the small one). Carry them until you're in the water (assuming your entering the water from shore) and them put them on when you're deep enough to no longer walk.

Wet suits are also a question of budget. Yes, they will extend your diving AND your comfort.

Choice of underwater cameras depends only on the upper end of your budget, the amount of usage you anticipate and the tasks you want to perform.

For video, I use a DV camera plus an underwater housing.

For stills, I never fully trusted the "sport" cameras to hold up in anything but near the surface and don't trust their "depth" ratings. I would strongly suggest that you spend a few more bucks and get something that will hold up.

See http://www.bhphotovideo.com for a complete line of underwater gear (use their search tool).

BTW, your biggest underwater photography asset will be lights/strobe if you want to do serious work. The dinkly little strobes on the sport camera don't put out much light. While they will work with limits, more light in an external unit will improve your photography.

All of this stuff will add up pretty quickly. For anything more than a vacation, it's worth it for gear that lasts and can do the job.

All these yrs and I never knew we were supposed to wear fins, why start now:) But I am also looking for a waterproof camera, yesterday I was watching a huge ghost crab eat a sand flea and it was going after it big time until the crab realized I was hovering, then he dropped the sand flea and disappeared in the sand.

Each to her own!

Snorkling for me has always been more of a free-dive thing. I could hold my breath for a long time and found my range and control underwater was better with them. However, it's just how I grew up doing it.

I can see that BB~I'm not going that deep generally. When I was in the Turks and Caicos I wore them to snorkel, but that was off a boat and not walking out in the water, so I don't use them here. I'm more of a bum snorkeler than anything, lurking over the fish, crab etc., but every now and then go check out the bottom looking for tar or a hermit crab for my son ....

Hi, I just joined and have been reading this stuff since the oil spill. I'm an ex GOM offshore diver (10 years) currently working for the cleanup in Theodore, AL.

They have a smaller fin that is kinda like a tailfin of a dolphin, only problem is they only come in bright yellow and orange... maybe pink too. They really attract the barracuda, so be careful. I use the old black jet fins when we'd do swim-bys on platforms. I also recomend learning the breast stroke, works best underwater with neoprene booties that I bought at Acadmey sports.

I bought a sony camera and bought an underwater housing for it online that I took to 200 feet (which was the "working limit") and it didn't break. Its small, easy to use and pretty good pics and videos although the gloves I wear squeek the housing and you can hear it on the video. Look for underwater housings first online and then get a cheap camera that fits it. You never know when an O-ring is gonna fail and you'll be out a lot of money.

You'll only need a wetsuit in the winter in the GOM, I "freeball" it all spring, summer, and fall down here. I started diving in the waters around Seattle and have a pretty high tolerance to cold water, however. For deep gas diving I wear a 7 mil 1 piece suit that, over 1 season of gas diving compresses down to about 3-4 mil after 20-30 deep dives. I have a "shorty" that is just a top with shorts that works really well for mid water cause of the buoyancy factor. get something that's comfortable, I hate a tight wetsuit, and I hate getting hot underwater, I'd rather be shivering than sweating. First you need to get in your scuba rig or whatever you got and find out if you sink or float, add weight accordingly.

Hope that helps

1) a}Walk backwards especially entering or leaving the water. b}Put fins on in the water.
2) Have a look at Sea and Sea.
3) LOTS of different ones, short,long, semi-dry, different thicknesses. Find a dive shop and have a look at the range. If you don't plan to spend long in very cold water a dive skin may suit.

Your local dive shop should be able to arrange snorkelling and underwater photography courses. From your back view I doubt you need any weight a you are but may need a couple of pounds if you wear a wet suit, the dive shop can help you tune up and get the best result. They can also give you tips on your fins. If I were closer I could do the snorkel training stuff myself but I am just too far. If you have any specific questions pop me an email.


EDIT: Yellow fins are the best for being seen by other people.

You may be able to find used fins / wetsuit at a diveshop since it's the end of the busy season. (also eBay, others?)

Went diving with scouts offshore S Tx last summer. It's a whole new world teeming with all variety of life that you can't see from the surface.

TFHG, if you are going to stay near shore in fairly shallow water, a waterproof digital camera might be fine. Stick with major camera brands like Olympus, Cannon, Fuji. If you want to go deeper, take BB's advice and get a waterproof housing for your digital camera, Canon has good ones. For high quality pictures you need to get the flash away from the camera, on a mounting arm, so particles in the water don't reflect the flash straight back into the lens and cloud the picture.

Get used to putting fins on in the water, if you want to photograph fish, you need to swim like a fish. Also, if you want to go deep, fins will get you down and back up fast so you can maximize bottom time.

Probably best to ask about wetsuits at a local dive shop, they will know what works for the area. It might also be a good idea to take a local snorkel charter trip and spend some time talking to the crew about what you want to do. Down Under Dive Shop in Gulf Shores runs these.

I started free diving in Destin in the 70's. It was a little short on reefs, but chasing rays and swimming through mackerel swarms kept me happy for hours. Chasing girls on the beach was pretty fun, too.

Gulf Coast Residents in Financial Dire Straits, Waiting for BP Claims
Claimants Wait Weeks for Payouts to Replace Income Lost Due to Gulf Oil Spill

In a series of interviews with The Washington Independent, victims of the Gulf spill say they are frustrated by slow progress at the GCCF. Their stories show the severe toll the the losses have taken on the daily lives of Gulf residents, many of whom were just beginning to recover from the country’s sharpest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

As of Sept. 11, more than 56,000 claims have been filed with the GCCF. Of those claims, 13,641 — roughly 24 percent — have been paid. That means that more than three-quarters of the claims, many of which were filed in the first days the GCCF opened its doors, are still being processed.

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Tom Petty

I filed my final claim last Monday. Will keep all posted. The link has Eddie Vetter with Tom and the HB'ers, check it out.

3 weeks ago and still waiting here.....

Sad story, but they'll have to sort out the oil spill impact from the overall economic crisis. The first tale in that newspaper article you link is about a family with the wife unemployed due to the spill, and the husband unemployed due to the economic crisis (lost his job the year before). According to the woman, she lost her job in June when the oil spill closed the beach, so it seems reasonable she should get compensated for the lost income from this job she had since the shop closed. But that family has a lot to deal with, and it seems their real problem was the way their business failed and the husband lost his job the year before.

OT: Acornus (from 2 open threads ago, sorry)

...went mad and was finally found squashed to death between the pages of a dictionary, that had the word "avulsed" circled in blood. They think he may have been a Medic in a previous existence...

They may be right, although he can't be sure because of his amnesia. It certainly explains why he knows words like "avulsed," "bolus," and "distal."

As for the rest of your story, I'm still trying to decode it. I think it means something. It's somehow familiar.

PS: I don't believe that alleged courtroom exchange ever took place - but I do believe the one reported in the comment section of the page you linked:

Judge: “Why did you hit him?”
Defendant: “Your honor, how would you like to be called a limεy mother fu©ker?”
Judge: “But I am not English.”
Defendant: “Your honor, how would you like to be called whatever kind of mother fu©ker you are?”
(Incredible laughter)
Judge: “Case dismissed.”

The Oil Spill’s Money Squeeze
Published: September 12, 2010

In May, Harriet M. Perry, the director of the fisheries program at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, was asked to examine some mysterious droplets found on blue crab larvae by scientists at Tulane University. An early test indicated that the droplets were oil, and she has continued to find similar droplets on fresh larvae samples taken all along the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Despite the potential significance of the discovery, Dr. Perry does not have research money to cover further tests. And like other scientists across the Gulf Coast who are racing to sketch out the contours of the BP oil spill’s effects, she has few places to turn for help.

Someone needs to call Ken Orndoff. I 'smell' a Pulitizer. Warning, not for the squeamish. The video should be rated XXX. Notice the link and storyname. The pressroom was cracking up, I am sure. http://blog.al.com/live/2010/09/oyster_eater_eats_own_vomit.html

MOBILE, Alabama -- Ken Orndoff of Hoover, Alabama, wanted to set a record. One of Mobile’s signature seafood eateries wanted a public endorsement of the post-oil spill safety of its product.
So on Saturday afternoon, Orndoff plopped down on a barstool at the Wintzell’s Oyster House downtown with a team of oyster-shuckers in front of him and a dozen or so friends behind him.
The rules were clear. Orndoff had to eat 403 raw oysters in an hour — and keep them down — to break the restaurant’s 7-year-old mark.
If he did it, Wintzell’s would pay for his meal, give him $25 and put his name on the wall. If he failed, he had to foot his own bill.
A new record this summer would be a bit more costly to the eatery. Wholesale oyster prices are triple the cost of last year, general manager Bob Omainsky said...
...Half an hour gone, Orndoff stuck Nos. 398 and 399 on his fork and swallowed. He speared No. 400. The crowd bubbled with excitement.
That’s when Orndoff vomited.
It started slow at first, just a tiny stream coming through his fingers. But he couldn’t hold it in, retching a violent gray-brown river into a trash can next to his feet.
He cursed, slapped the trash can. The crowd groaned.
"So close!” one woman shouted.
Then Orndoff pointed to the trash can, looked at a shucker and asked: “If I eat these in here, can I keep going?”
Donlon nodded her head.
Orndoff filled his cup with what had once filled his belly, and guzzled the regurgitated bivalves.
He quit after another 22 fresh ones, ending at 421 oysters.
Orndoff kissed his wife, accepted the $25 check, then pondered the moment.
“I’m full,” he said. “I’ve never been this full. I actually want to go throw up again.”

Edit: It were the Corexit that caused the retching, I am sure of it.


There's only one word for a guy like that, and coincidentally it's the only Korean word I know. I'm sure I can't spell it correctly, but here it is phonetically...


Also in NYT:

Gulf Spill May Defy Darkest Predictions

... For the BP spill, said Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the Audubon’s Louisiana Coastal Initiative, “the final number will be in the thousands, not the tens of thousands.” Ms. Driscoll cited several reasons, including warmer temperatures, which make it easier for birds to regulate their body temperatures, and the inability of much of the oil to penetrate the marshes.

Assuming that the food chain remains healthy — and this remains a major question for scientists — even threatened birds like the brown pelican will come back, she said.

The spill also raised alarms about Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Some 600 were stranded, more than seven times the usual number found from May to August, and 56 dead ones were collected, the majority with no visible signs of oil, suggesting they may have been killed by shrimpers. Rescuers scooped up hundreds of living, heavily oiled turtles from mats of sargassum seaweed where they congregate and feed.

Since mid-July, however, rescuers have found the sargassum mats not blackened but clean and teeming with food, and with them, turtles free of oil or so lightly oiled that they could be cleaned and released on the spot, said Dr. Brian Stacy, a NOAA veterinarian.

“I personally didn’t anticipate such a dramatic change so quickly,” Dr. Stacy said.

Leland Hales, an environmental scientist inspecting marshy areas where oil had previously been seen, says much the same thing. Mr. Hales, who inspects previously oiled sites for BP, travels by boat to coordinates near Terrebonne Parish where his notes mention things like “10-by-10 yards oiled grass on the southeast” of an island of nesting terns.

In many cases, there is no longer anything to see. Oil has washed away, leaving grass that appears healthy. “I would have expected rapid die-off,” Mr. Hales said, “But that’s not what’s out there.” ...

More -- fair and foul -- there.

As BP Suits Take Off, a Hard Look at the ‘MDL’ Process
SEPTEMBER 13, 2010, 9:38 AM ET
By Ashby Jones

Critics of the consolidation say these cases become so unwieldy they sometimes drag on for years. The critics point to asbestos litigation filed in the 1980s that has yet to be resolved or the civil case tied to claims from the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, which is still in its initial stages.

“They’re a defense lawyer’s dream,” said Texas plaintiffs’ lawyer Lisa Blue. “You get to charge the client a lot more.”

Jeez, and here I thought "As BP Suits Take Off" referred to Tony's Siberian exile.


BP Thinks Oil Spill Claims Will Come In Under $20 Billion

... Dudley added the $32 billion provision BP made for the total cost of the disaster remained a reasonable indicator of eventual cost.

Dudley also told the analysts that claims by Gulf states for lost tax revenue related to the spill "should not be too high" as any tax drops due to lower economic activity following the spill would be offset by the economic stimulus of the response effort.

Citigroup said that, following the meeting with Dudley, it had growing confidence BP would reinstate its dividend early next year.

"Dudley pointed out that the company was not ordered to cut the dividend by the U.S. government - it was a choice by the corporation to preserve liquidity ... we believe the company can re-instate a dividend with the Q4 results," Citigroup said. ...

And the plantiff's laywer's get paid in company shares?

Probably most TODers get that some of the press and even some scientists have been portraying complementary studies of what happened to the spilled BP oil as contradictory. They're not, and a coherent picture is starting to emerge. For a good interview by Terry Hazen see the 8-minute version here:

Thanks Doc.

In another moment I had scrambled up the earthen rampart and stood upon its crest, and the interior of the redoubt was below me. A mighty space it was, with gigantic machines here and there within it, huge mounds of material and strange shelter places. And scattered about it, some in their overturned war-machines, some in the now rigid handling-machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent and laid in a row, were the Martians--dead!--slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.

from The War of the Worlds by Herbert George Wells.

Looks like the "new bacteria" had "eyes bigger than their bellies" because they seem to have missed the 70 mile long, 2" deep oil swath that now lies on the bottom mud...

Doc chimed in on this on a previous thread. It seems that many top folks are suspecting high levels of 'breakdown' in these samples. We have to wait for the results to come back.

Right, there's oil, and then there's what's left of the oil. On this subject, as so many others, people (even scientists) give opinions all the time colored by their beliefs and philosophical/political views (what they want the story to mean), but data rarely lie. In science, opinions not supported by actual data are hazardous to your reputation.

No that is just stupid and silly speculation.

Jinn, if you wonder why people get disgusted with you, it's because of routine comments like this and the sneering, insulting attitude you bring to this forum.

And you may have shown a reason I had not seen on why they wanted to set the LDS in seawater, you have not come even remotely close to refuting the theory being tested. Would it have taken more time to do things the way they were supposed to have been done: No displacement of the riser to an underbalanced well. Set the top plug and/or balance the well first before displacing. You have to start with the neg. test and end with pulling the riser in any analysis of the theory. If you just look at the immediate task and miss the efficiency gain downstream due to the sequence of tasks and the time it takes to do them under the balanced/underbalanced scenarios, you will miss the gains.

You still have not shown why the had to set the plug at 3000' If it has never done before by anyone and required a waiver of the regs, it was not routine. The excuse you offer does not establish anything in terms of the sequence of tasks leading to displacement of the riser to an underbalanced well.

I have no special attachment to the theory, it just happens to provide the only logical explanation I can come up with for what they did. If someone can knock it down, great. But you fall far short of the mark.

EDIT: added sent.

I have no special attachment to the theory, it just happens to provide the only logical explanation I can come up with for what they did.


I never said they had to set the plug at 8367'. I said it was silly and stupid to think that setting the plug so deep would be faster and cheaper. It is obviously longer and more expensive to go that route.

BP may well have made bad decisions. They may have made many bad decisions, but your knee jerk reaction that that every bad decision in the world is a result of trying to do something faster and cheaper is getting old.

When you start claiming and operation that obviously more complex, took much more time was done because the motivation was that it was faster and cheaper - what else can one say other than that is just silly and stupid?

When you start claiming and operation that obviously more complex, took much more time was done because the motivation was that it was faster and cheaper - what else can one say other than that is just silly and stupid?

Jinn, the problem is you don't know what you don't know. You miss the whole point of what I am doing and why. Entirely.

In trying to find the justification for displacing the riser to an unbalanced well, looking at cost considerations is not a knee-jerk reaction at all where there is no apparent need to do what was done the way it was done. Failing to look at them would be stupid. Idiotic in fact. Even moronic.

I know, Faluza was just being stupid like me when he speculated that the reason they wanted to displace to 3000' was because "they often speed things up at the end." Why listen to the CoMan's explanation when we have Jinn's gut to rely on?

You need to read a book on scientific methods of inquiry. You don't get it. I never claimed anything. I was asking questions. If you can't restrain yourself from making personal attacks and insults, please don't respond to me. I don't come here for that level and kind of discussion. Attack the argument with specifics, not me with name calling.

If you are so smart and Faluza and I are so stupid, lay it out. Let's see you displace the riser to a balanced or fully plugged well in the same time or less. Let's see you displace the riser after the top plug is pumped and after the lock-down sleeve is set in the same time or less as it would have taken them under the plan that made Harrell invoke the pinchers. And the sequence of events starts with the neg. test and ends with pulling the riser. All wait time has to be included.

The thing is, i would be just as happy if you prove the theory wrong as I would be if you prove it right. The point is to use the theory as a tool to understand what happened and why. Refuting or validating it is a step forward in that process.

EDIT: Added last paragraph, moved the old last paragraph


It's actually Kaluza, in case anybody's Googling him and not getting results with Faluza.

Thanks, SL, and sorry.

If you are so smart and Faluza and I are so stupid, lay it out. Let's see you displace the riser to a balanced or fully plugged well in the same time or less. Let's see you displace the riser after the top plug is pumped and after the lock-down sleeve is set in the same time or less as it would have taken them under the plan that made Harrell invoke the pinchers. And the sequence of events starts with the neg. test and ends with pulling the riser.

I already answered your questions.

There was an alternate procedure already written. It was the original plan and it was going to be used if the MMS did not permit the modified plan. The MMS approved the modified plan on 4/16/10

The original procedure they could have used:

Set the LDS
Set the surface plug (top of cement would be 200 BML)
do a negative test (a simpler quicker test)
displace riser to seawater

What would Kaluza know about how "they often speed things up at the end."? Four days before the explosion was the first time Kaluza ever set foot on the Deepwater Horizon.

As for Harrell's pincher statement. there is lots of conflicting testimony about that.
There was testimony that the argument between Harrel and the company man at the morning meeting was on April 19 not on April 20. And the subject of the argument was about the cement job not the negative test.
According to some the substance of the argument was that Harrel did not want to use the 15 centralizers that BP had sent to the rig. Harrel may have won that argument with his pincher statement. The whole bit about the argument being about no negative test on the well plan is nonsense. The well plan's did change several times but all versions of the plan had a negative test. The plan in place that morning had a negative test.

Thanks for validating my theory that trying to debate theories with you is a frustrating waste of time.

But you do dig up good info. And you can see in the alternative plan that they would not be displacing to an underbalanced well with a single point failure vulnerability that could lead to a blowout and death of the crew.

Instead, they would be displacing the riser after achieving P&A status by setting and testing the top plug (and putting aside the reg. on balancing before P&A). No single point failure. Triple point if they balance the well. Double point if they just have the two plugs.

So why did they choose one over the other and take the enormous extra risk, and subject the crew to that risk, and everyone along the GOM, and depart from the regs and do something no one has ever heard of before? To ensure a cleaner lockdown sleeve installation? 200' to 3000' You need 3000' to do that? And does the trade off make any sense?

But you do dig up good info.


You mean as opposed to a strategy of just making up evidence to support your theories?

You ask "Why did they choose one over the other and take the enormous extra risk."

That is an example of you making up the evidence as you go.

There is no evidence that the engineers, drillers, cementers or the company men thought there was this enormous risk of which you speak. There is no evidence that they thought there was a danger that the cement in the shoe track would fail. Even the engineers, drillers and cementers that looked at the data in hindsight after the rig exploded and sank thought that it was extremely unlikely that the shoe track failed. The engineers and the crew on the rig were focused on the danger of flow up the annulus just as many other people focused on that mode of failure after the rig exploded.

In order for the cement to flow up the production case the light nitrified cement in the annulus between the shoe and the reservoir had to fail. The heavy cement in the shoe track also had to fail. And the float collar had to fail at 2 points for flow to get by. There were actually 4 barriers that had to fail simultaneously for the cement to flow up the production casing.

Just about every knowledgeable person who looked at this assumed the real danger in this well was flow up the annulus. It was assumed that a failure of the cement at the bottom and the seal at the top was by far and away the most likely failure mode.

Setting the plug at 8300' had no affect on the hydrostatic pressure in the annulus. The evidence is that no body gave the risk much thought.

And the first negative test that they did where they held the pressure at 1250 PSI, that just happens to be exactly the test pressure you need to do a negative test of the hangar seal to see if that barrier will hold. There is a reasonable argument to be made that the objective of the negative test the rig was doing was to test the integrity of the annulus which they in fact did successfully do. This is just another bit of evidence that no one was looking at a flow up the production case as being an enormous risk as you claim they thought it was.

I haven't seen any evidence that any one involved thought there was this enormous risk you claim they knew about. The danger that they were unaware of has only come to light after months and months of forensic analysis.

"You mean as opposed to a strategy of just making up evidence to support your theories?"

Are you really that dense? I see how rude you are. Everyone does.

"I haven't seen any evidence that any one involved thought there was this enormous risk you claim they knew about. The danger that they were unaware of has only come to light after months and months of forensic analysis."

This is laughable. Patently absurd.

Not everyone.

Jinn is correct. There is absolutely no evidence that anyone in any position in any company thought there was "enormous risk". The problem is that you long ago switched from investigator to trial lawyer. BP is guilty, and therefore whatever works to convince the jury has got to be correct.

Bad decisions? Almost certainly.

Malice? Where's the evidence?

Saltwater, do you think Harrell used the pinchers remarks because the coffee was bad or something? That's evidence, my friend, so are his statements after the blowout with the rig in flames, "Are you f'ing happy...etc." But more so, the real damning evidence is plain as day. They displaced the riser to an underbalanced well. That entailed a single point failure scenario that ended up killing the crew. What more evidence do you need?

Displacing the riser to an underbalanced well was a conscious decision. It qualifies as a reckless decision since it entailed conscious disregard of the known risks to the crew and of a blowout, and it violated industry standard and the regulations (unless MMS granted an exemption, in which case MMS was reckless, too, and BP was still reckless because it was aware of the risk and disregarded it anyway).

The risk of doing so is basic well control 101. The danger as highlighted in the post from the MMS study yesterday is that of single point failure and the crew's first line of defense in battling a kick being taken away from them. If BP was unaware of that risk, then they are so horribly and grossly incompetent and negligent that they have no business drilling anywhere.

The problem is that you long ago switched from investigator to trial lawyer. BP is guilty, and therefore whatever works to convince the jury has got to be correct.

No. My role here, if any, is to provide a voice for the crew, where needed or appropriate.

But all of my theories have support and can be disproved. (Can you say the same?) I am going where the evidence takes me. I have admitted some crew negligence. How could I do that if I was just on a mindless witch hunt?

If you think i'm wrong about no one knowing the risk of displacing the riser to an underbalanced well, then show me. Otherwise, you're just taking refuge in your own prejudicial viewpoint.

Edited 1st sent.


Excellent point....and very well stated.

The annulus cement above the reservoir was and still is very suspect.

I view the production casing cement job in three parts: Cement from the base of the reservoir to the top of the cement, cement below the reservoir to the shoe, cement inside of the casing. By far, the cement from the base of the reservoir to the cement top has the most demerits.

* Any cuttings/cavings in the hole would contaminate (No doubt some).
* Oil/Gas from the reservoir contamination (No doubt some).
* Nitrogen used to combat lost circulation.
* The cement top might not be where predicted due to lost circulation.
* Cement top could have dropped after pumping stopped (very common and hard to detect).

* Nitrogen used to combat lost circulation

* No demerits-Clean uncontaminated cement without nitrogen.


In order for the cement to flow up the production case the light nitrified cement in the annulus between the shoe and the reservoir had to fail. The heavy cement in the shoe track also had to fail. And the float collar had to fail at 2 points for flow to get by. There were actually 4 barriers that had to fail simultaneously for the cement to flow up the production casing.

I have trouble understanding why you don't bring info like this out up front and instead go with the name-calling and insults. I'd have to hear more, but your definition of a "barrier" does not square with the way the regs. use the term, among other sources. And when there are multiple barriers, it is of the type used in the regs, not the ones you are using here. But i'm open to persuasion. Maybe I'm wrong.

And while you make a compelling argument for why the annulus cement is the most likely failure point, what you don't address is the key issue in terms of risk. Are you saying that it would have made no difference whether the production casing mud was also balanced at the time of the blowout? It still would have blownout even if the mud in the production casing had been of sufficient density to balance the reservoir pressure?

Unless you are saying that is true, then your point, while interesting and perhaps valid on its on, does not address my point. The regs say the well MUST be balanced while displacing the riser (or other suitable protection), whether you might think it safe or not. That is the default position. Good well control practice requires redundancy, and mud is the first line of defense for fighting a kick, seen or unforeseen.

You seem to be saying that this standard rule/practice did not have to be followed because no one contemplated the precise scenario of events that actually lead to the failure that happened, even if taking the precaution would have prevented the blowout, most likely. Is that right?

SYNC. Prey tell us how you keep the well balanced while displacing the riser? Perhaps you could draw us a diagram of the pressure profile at the top of the shoe track. I would be particularly interested in how you are going to increase the mud weight as you displace the riser to seawater, to keep the well "balanced". Or, were you going to start with the well massively overbalanced?

As I sense you are rapidly running out of ammunition; due to your lack of engineering knowledge, can I suggest the following sidetrack:- http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jul2010/upda-j08.shtml

"What would Kaluza know about how "they often speed things up at the end."? Four days before the explosion was the first time Kaluza ever set foot on the Deepwater Horizon."

Oh my, i guess you really got me there. Except the choice at issue was whether to trust Kaluza's speculation or yours with regard to why they changed the plan, and you never spent even a singe day on the DWH, and you haven't worked at BP for years like Kaluza has, so it's no contest, Jinn. I'll go with Kaluza's instincts first and follow them up.

Besides, you haven't even offered an explanation! Nothing.


" Harrel may have won that argument with his pincher statement."

You are ranting. In any case, Harrell would have been spot on in his comment if directed to the decision to displace the riser to an underbalanced well.

With little mud in the riser and none in the tanks, the only thing left to fight a kick with is the BOP.

jinn says :
"The MMS approved the modified plan on 4/16/10.
The whole bit about the argument being about no negative test on the well plan is nonsense. The well plan's did change several times but all versions of the plan had a negative test. The plan in place that morning had a negative test."

jinn - as I read Harrell´s testemony the negative test was NOT on the modified plan !

Question :
Was there any discussions between you and BP of any type of unsafe workman-like activities with displacing the riser?
No. We had one little discussion.
The first plan I seen didn't have a negative test in it. So I told him it was my policy to do a negative test before displacing with seawater.
Question :
Earlier yesterday, we had some testimony saying that there was some type of heated debate between you and the company man.
Do you know what he may be referring to?
I don't remember about no heated debate.
We did talk about the negative test. He had given me a plan and I looked at it and it didn't have anything about a negative test and we just remained after the meeting and I talked with him and the driller and the senior pusher, you know, to make sure that we did a negative test before displacing the seawater.

Yes but the actual plan for the days activities was submitted as evidence and it did have a negative test. And the mud engineer testified that the day before he had a meeting with the company man to prepare for the negative test. Kaluza had him prepare the spacer and do the calculations to place the spacer correctly for the negative. And the mud engineer wrote the procedure for pumping fluids and the THINK exercise (TO safety meeting) before doing the negative test.

So it makes no sense at all that after going to the trouble to prepare for the negative test the company man had a big row the OIM about there being no negative test.

"So it makes no sense at all that after going to the trouble to prepare for the negative test the company man had a big row the OIM about there being no negative test."

I agree. And harrell's attorney noting the other week that Harrell was concerned about displacing the mud shows what he was concerned about was an underbalanced well. That's what you get when you displace too much mud. And the pincher remarks were perfectly apt since once the mud is gone, that's all you have left to fight a kick is the pinchers...the rams in the bop.

"And harrell's attorney noting the other week that Harrell was concerned about displacing the mud shows what he was concerned about was an underbalanced well."
syncro - if this would really be the case, than remains the question :
Why did Harrell demanded the negative test only ?
He could have demand to set the top plug first before displacement.
He had the authority to do so !
I think, Harrell´s attorney didn´t get the points right.

LL, that is one version. It may be factually true, as far as it goes, but it may not tell the whole story. Other sourced accounts (NYT and WSJ) provide more detail. One story reports that the driller was the one who did most of the arguing.

This was over a change in plans. There have been differing accounts of what was discussed at the meeting, but from the e-mails BP made the decision on April 16, and did not tell the crew until the 20th. And by all available evidence, the change in plan was the following:

Under the prior plan, they were going to set the top plug first, then displace the riser. Under the new plan, they were going to displace the riser first, then set the top plug. And to save a trip or two, they were going to both do the negative test and set the plug at 3000', which would significantly underbalance the well. So they would be displacing the riser to an unbalanced well. Leaving the pinchers the only tool to fight a kick.

Harrell reportedly did not say much until the end. Most of the discussion was between the driller and Kaluza. Kaluza was the new guy, only on the rig for a few days, passing on orders from Halfe/Morel. He did not know why BP was doing it, maybe to speed things up, he told investigators, but he over-rode the objections of the driller and said "this is the way it's going to be." Harrell then made his pinchers remark, according to the most credible account.

Harrell's testimony was not credible. He went from denying having made the statement, to claiming not to remember to admitting he may have made it. And the story given did not make sense, as jinn notes. He also won the argument, according to his story, hence why the remark? His attorney clarified his position after his testimony.

I believe you and jinn are trying to find sane explanations for an insane plan.

The plan was insanity. It saved no significant amount of rig time. It yielded no significant savings in any other way. It put the well in a severely underbalanced state for an extended period of time with a single pressure barrier of statistically poor integrity. It put Deepwater Horizon in danger of being completely destroyed, put many people in danger of being killed, and put the Gulf of Mexico in danger of a massive uncontrollable and uncontainable oil spill.

I believe whoever was responsible for developing, approving, and carrying out that insane plan should spend the rest of their (miserable) lives in prison.

"I believe whoever was responsible for developing, approving, and carrying out that insane plan should spend the rest of their (miserable) lives in prison."

+100, rf73b !
The more I read (and understand) about the incidents the more I´m convinced about a reckless disregard for safety of self and others.
How could they be sure about having done a good cement job ?
With a bottoms up for only 30 minutes before, without a cement bond log done, with mud returns, and...and...and.

When I read all the testemonies I get the impression, that nobody on the rig really knew what´s going on since the cement job.
And the presence of VIPs made the situation worse.

I give you one example only from Harrell´s testemony (there are a lot more from other testemonies) :

Question :
What time did you all begin offloading to the boat?
Harrell :
I don't know. I know the boat was alongside. Are you talking about offloading or pumping mud?
Question :
Pumping mud.
Harrell :
I don't know if we ever even pumped any mud that day.
Question :
Were you offloading -- what were you offloading to the vessel? You weren't doing anything with the support vessel next to you?
Harrell :
I can't recall at the time. I mean -
Question :
You're the OIM and you don't know what the support vessel was doing next to the rig and what -
Harrell :
He was getting ready to take -- he was getting ready to pump mud from the rig to the boat.
Question :
Was anyone monitoring the returns at the time of the incident to see what type of flow was coming back from the well?
Harrell :
I'm sure there was. You have a shakerhand, also you have the driller, he
2 monitors and also you have the mud loggers monitor.
Question :
Do you know why the mud logger, Joseph Keith, was taken off from monitoring the flow of returns before the well was completely --
Harrell :
I didn't know he was. I wasn't aware of that.

Do you want more examples, jinn ? I can give you hundreds !

I find it perfectly understandable that you are appalled by Jimmy Harrelll - OIM. He is a pretty classic Dilbert administrator.

But Jimmy Harrell had very little to do with the design of the well. If Jimmy Harrel had been doing the well design the Deepwater Horizon would have blown up years ago.

The plan may have been insane, but there is no evidence they understood it was insane.

There is lots of evidence that many knowledgeable people even after the well blew up weren't able to see the probability that the casing shoe had failed.

Yes it is a fact that the production casing was underbalanced when the well blew and the annulus was not underbalanced, yet the vast majority of experts believed it was the annulus that had failed. Are all those people who believed the annulus failed criminally insane also?

...it is a fact that the production casing was underbalanced when the well blew and the annulus was not underbalanced, yet the vast majority of experts believed it was the annulus that had failed.

This seems like an observation worth noting.

Another observation that may or may not be worth noting: IMO you would be more useful here if your trigger finger were less twitchy.

"There is lots of evidence that many knowledgeable people even after the well blew up weren't able to see the probability that the casing shoe had failed."

jinn, I think there were a lot of people aware, that the foamed cement could cause problems :

Harrell :
I think the company man made a statement or something, you know, "Well, be careful with the nitrogen and be ready to close the bag," or whatever.
And like I said, we do have those -- we do have shear rams and all that too, you know.
That nitrogen, it could be a bad thing. If it gets in the riser, it will unload the riser on you.
Question :
But it's in the foam cement so if you're nitrifying the cement so you're mixing it with the cement, correct?
Harrell :
That's right. But anything can happen. I mean, you can get a leak in your
drill string or anything. When you get that foam, nitrous in your riser, you do have a problem.

And again to the negative test :

Question :
The discussion that you had with the BP company man, did it include a negative test?
What procedure were they referring to? Was that a BP procedure that was approved by the MMS or was that a BP procedure that had
10 changed on the fly?
Harrell :
That was a BP procedure from town that had changed, to the best of my knowledge.
Question :
Did the MMS approve the APD that you had on the rig that you looked at? Did it have a negative test on it?
Harrell :
I can't recall. I mean -- I can't recall, but that's something I always require, a negative test.
Question :
But you don't know if the APD that you know that you had on the rig -- do you ever look at the APD --
Harrell :
1 A. Yeah, I look at them.
Question :
-- the procedure that's submitted?
Harrell :
Yes, sir.
Question :
But you don't know if this one had a negative test on it?
Harrell :
I can't remember.

The question is :
Was there anyone on the DWH who was able to understand the "BP procedure" negative test ?

The jinn vs. syncro cage fight is going to remain stuck in the mud until somebody can answer the question:

Why was the well placed in an underbalanced condition?

"I dunno, but the MMS told us it was OK" isn't a valid answer.

I agree the question needs to be asked. And it is disturbing that it hasn't been asked. butt...

Engineering is all about assessing different risks and you can't drill an oil well 18000' deep in mile deep water without accepting there will be some risk. I expect the answer to the question is going to be that they were trying to minimize the greater risk at a cost of increasing a much lesser risk.

Right now a lock down sleeve is being put on the Macondo well and you might ask yourself "why are they doing that?" The fact is the risk of flow up the annulus is still being considered and addressed.

I suspect the answer to your question will be that an engineering decision was made that the risk reduction by getting a good clean lock down ring on the well was considered much greater than the added risk of creating an underbalance in the casing.

jinn - I agree with you. But then aren't we back to saving a little bit of money vs. risk? Now I understand the recommendation to set the lock down ring in sea water. But that didn't require the well to be underbalanced AFAIK. They could have bumped the MW up and keep the well balanced even with the sea water displacement. Yes...would have cost some barite and circ time. But there would have been zero risk of taking a kick while setting the lock down ring. So correct me if I still don't have it right: it wasn't a choice of risk reduction between setting the lock down ring or making the well underbalanced. Rather it was a choice to save money.

A top plug would have been set before the LDS.

If you asking me to speculate how the engineers answer that question if someone eventually asks it - I would guess they will say they didn't believe there was much risk. And what little risk that existed was supposed to be addressed by doing a negative test.

The point I'm making is that the evidence does not suggest there was a belief "enormous risk" existed and the engineers (or anyone else) were willfully ignoring this enormous risk.

The mud engineer (Leo Lindner) who calculated the mud weights and fluid volumes for the negative test and riser displacement was asked if he viewed the displacement of the riser as a risky operation. And his reply was If he thought there was any risk he wouldn't have been in bed sleeping.

You can't blame the blowout on foamed cement because foamed cement was not used inside the casing show. That is one of the reasons people believed that the casing shoe would not fail. And the purpose of the negative test was to simulate the load that displacing the riser would create. So if they had actually done the test a failure would have been detected.

The integrity test they were supposed to do is hold the casing at seawater gradient for 30 minutes. They didn't do that. Had they loaded the casing shoe with that negative pressure for 30 minutes they would have discovered that it was failed.

One can only speculate why they didn't properly test the casing shoe but it seems quite likely that the belief that it was extremely unlikely that they would have a failure in the casing shoe was a factor in not putting it to the test.

The plan may have been insane, but there is no evidence they understood it was insane.

What part of "severely underbalanced with single pressure barrier of statistically poor integrity" do you not understand?

With these two responses to Ladi-li it is now obvious you are heavily biased toward BP, and you are grasping at whatever straws you can to deflect attention from BP's insane, reckless, and highly dangerous plan, which is THE cause of the blowout and DH disaster.

The PLAN was the problem. The PLAN was insane. The PLAN was reckless. The PLAN was highly dangerous.

Actions done pursuant to that insane plan are not the issue. The INSANE PLAN is the issue. The PLAN called for the well to be severely underbalanced for an extended period with one pressure barrier of statistically poor integrity, statistically meaning bottom casing cement jobs having a fairly high statistical record of failure, BP knew it, and they PLANNED to severely underbalance the well anyway.

The PLAN was the problem. The PLAN put Deepwater Horizon in mortal danger. The PLAN put people on Deepwater Horizon in mortal danger. The PLAN put the Gulf of Mexico in grave danger of massive oil pollution.

The PLAN was the problem. BP developed and approved it. MMS issued waivers from safety regulations for it. Transocean accepted it and carried it out.

Those three parties are responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

You can spend all the energy you have trying deflect attention off that insane plan to other things, but your efforts are going to fail, it's becoming clearer by the day, people are seeing it now, and I really hope lots of plaintiff's attorneys are seeing it now.

What part of "severely underbalanced with single pressure barrier of statistically poor integrity" do you not understand?


Your statement is not a statement of fact. it is just another one of your unsupported hypothetical beliefs. There are many experts who analyzed the blowout after April 20 and many believed it was statistically unlikely that the casing shoe would have failed. Your claiming the engineers knew that a casing shoe failure was statically likely to cause a blowout before April 20 just isn't supported by any evidence.

I don't recall any analysis that I saw in May or June that said that because the mud weight in the production casing was less than balanced and mud weight in the annulus was greater than balance at the moment the well started to flow therefore we can conclude the blowout occurred up the production casing. And these people had the benefit of hindsight which the engineers designing the well don't have. That is pretty good evidence that the issue is not as obvious as you are claiming it is.

It may seem obvious to you now as you sit in your arm chair, but there is no evidence that I have seen that it was so obvious to anyone in April, May or June that the hydrostatic balance was such an enormous risk factor.

Using the words "statistically poor" is a very worrisome trend. It has a very clear implication that many people tend to either ignore or skate over. The implication is that there are statistics. And more to the point, there are enough statistics to be valid, in a precise meaning of the word.

The problem with most complex engineering systems is that there are almost no useful statistically valid metrics of reliability. Sad but true. In the case of cement there are two very separate metrics. The success rate of a cement job, and the failure rate of a tested successful cement job. It is likely that there have been enough cement jobs performed over time that some reasonably good estimates can be made as to the likely success of any individual job - so long as the parameters of the job match other similar measured jobs. Therein lies the first problem with the Mancodo cement job. It wasn't common. Nitrified cement at this depth was not a common practice. From the sound of it way too uncommon to build up a valid set of statistics. But that does not even begin to address the failure rate. I would be very very interested to get some numbers to failing cement in wells. That is cement that has been set, tested, squeezed if necessary, and finally passing test (including CBL if appropriate) that then subsequently goes on to fail. The impression I am left with is that this is not very common, but does happen. Now, are there useful statistics about this failure rate? It isn't enough to say X% of cement fails either. To b useful you would need to identify the failure mode, and correlate it with the conditions of the well and the cement job undertaken. If the majority of failures are, say, imperfect bond with formation in sandy formation, you can't use those numbers in shale. Once you break the numbers down in to meaningful catagories, you may well discover that there is not enough experience to generate statistics that are actually valid and useful.

The point of this is that a large amount of engineering of difficult systems can't be done with simple statistical measures. It just doesn't work. A lot of people hate this problem. It makes safety analysis difficult at best.

This doesn't in any way excuse the desisions made about the Mancodo well. In fact reliance on previous success - which become a surrogate statistical measure of safety - is almost certainly part of what caused the accident in the first place. This is the erosion of safety in the face of success issue. Just because you get away with an unsafe practice ten times does not reduce the chance of the practice causing an accident in the the future the slightest.

duplicate removed


BP claim czar considers making key concession

The administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund for victims of the Gulf oil spill said Monday he might waive the current requirement that wages earned from helping out in the cleanup be subtracted from people's spill claims.

Doing so would be a key concession following strong criticism from residents about the claims process.

Fund czar Kenneth Feinberg told hundreds of people who packed a convention center in Houma, La., that he is reconsidering that requirement. He said that no decision has been made, but that he understands the loud concerns raised by people who are still hurting.

"I'm taking it under advisement," Feinberg said. "The last time I said, no way, I'm deducting it. Now, it's open for discussion." ...

He caught hell anyway . . .

Later, when Feinberg told the speakers that there were many people who still wanted to ask questions and he only had 10 minutes left to address them, one woman, in tears, shouted: "We have the rest of our lives."

This is different than handing out millions per head. Alot smaller slices. Not the same Feinburg.

From the T-P, nine closeups of the BOP and LMRP: BP's failed blowout preventer: photo gallery

thank you lotus for that link. some really fine close-ups. having been one of the ones who followed the bop tugboat armada all the way from the q4000 up to michoud via marinetraffic.com (and also the tying down of all those slings on labor day), i really appreciate knowing someone else cared enough to get out there and see/photograph it!

Love the one of the spool piece, which appears to be lying on its back in a coffin, its arms raised in prayer.

Y'all are mos' welcome.

FAIRHOPE, Alabama -- Two major Baldwin County roads were closed at about noon today and students kept inside at 2 nearby schools while hazardous materials crews checked a report of an unidentified container found in a Dumpster, Fairhope Assistant Fire Chief Dale Kelly, said.
Traffic was stopped at the intersection of Ala. 181 and Baldwin County 32 in south Fairhope. A worker at a gasoline station reported an unknown container that had been placed in the business' dumpster.
"Right now, we're here and Daphne hazmat is in route," Kelly said at about 12:15 p.m. "We don't know what it is and until we do, we're taking precautions."
The gasoline station at the intersection was evacuated and a command center set up at a nearby preschool.


A command center because some guy threw some old paint thinner away. Great.

When I was growing up I had a small chem lab in the basement of my father's house. Some of the stuff in it was a lot more dangerous than paint thinner. Nowadays they would probably evacuate the whole town for something like that.

Things have gotten way out of proportion.

I had such a lab too. One day I spilled a beaker full of hot concentrated H2SO4 on the tile floor. I was amazed to see the tile blacken and curl up at the edges. My dad was not amused. I also recall a good many times of chasing globs of mercury around with a piece of paper, trying to gather them up. Yeah, today I would have been in serious trouble for some of the things I didn't give a second thought to back then.

One time I mixed a 16 oz jar of iodine crystals with some ammonia (NaOH) in a metal pot. I think I was 12. Luckily, I did it in the dirt pile and left it. When I came back the next day, the pot had melted and made a melted glob in the dirt. I buried the whole mess. I wonder if the melted pot is still there? DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, YOU CAN BE KILLED! I had the lab as a kid. Imagine Dexter meets Kazinski.

ammonia (NH3)or Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)?

NH3. Gave Red Devil lye symbol. Good eye. Now you know why I went into computers, LOL.

Edit: 3I + 5NH OH ---> 3NH I + NI.NH + 5H O
Maybe Ammonia solution (NH4OH) instead?

Edit2: Did it in my head. Chemistry gods please grade.

possibly NH3OH? I'll similarly wait for the Chemistry gods to evaluate, but the reaction doesn't look right, LOL!

Ok but I thought ammonia solution was NH3 + HOH(water)---> NH4OH

valences don't work. Nitrogen can accommodate 3 covalent bonds. Somethin's gotta give. I didn't look it up but it may be "ammonium hydroxide"? Still waiting on the Lords of Chemistry to weigh-in to determine what, exactly, you concocted. Fun anyway!

Nitrogen is amphoteric.
The fullest (old fashioned) definition is in this abstract: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ed008p2126
dealing with electronegativity.
These days more commonly used re: having both acid and base behavior.
The take home lesson: it has interesting chemistry and can easily change valence (number of bonds).

While nitrogen commonly has a valence of 3 or 5, it can also be 4, 2, 1, -1, -2 and -3.
n.b. the lighter elements in group 15 tend to have this behaviour, so you see lots of interesting chemistry with nitrogen (nitric oxide, heterocyclic amines... - especially with metal ligands - c.f. chlorophyll, amino acids -> proteins..., ...) and phosphorous (ADP<->ATP, phospholipids, ...) in biology.

What was made was a form of
Actually ammonium triiodide.

As long as it's wet, with excess ammonia (in water, ammonium hydroxide), it's stable.
If dried without disturbance, makes a super-sensitive explosive.

With such an excess of iodine (an oxidizer) as TinFoilHatGuy's experiment, the first little bit of explosive that dried out may have been so diluted that instead of blowing things to smithereens, it "just" provided enough activation energy to burn the pan in iodine.

Used to pour potassium permanganate and glycerin into ant hills.

I use grits. Works good. I think the queen eventually explodes. Grits + water = expansion.

Ant hill volcano/rocket motor.
Solid KMnO4 is a strong oxidizer and thus should be kept separated from oxidizable substances. Reaction with concentrated sulfuric acid produces the highly explosive manganese(VII) oxide (Mn2O7). When solid KMnO4 is mixed with pure glycerol or other simple alcohols it will result in a violent combustion reaction.
Mmm... simple alcohols.


Was this what you were after? The balanced reaction is halfway down the page. It does not paste cleanly into this post. Formatting issues....

Yes, that looks like mine except for a space. I think I should have used the term ammonium hydroxide which is NH4OH.
Nitrogen Tri-Iodide, NI3.NH3 (Pyrotechnics) is the name of the resulting substance, listed as a pyrotechnic. All I know is it means ass whoopin' if dad finds out when you are 12.

Lye is sodium hydroxide. Iodine plus Ammonia leaves Nitrogen Tri-Iodide but not for long. 16oz would leave a pretty good sized hole and very small pieces of TFHG.


Good thing I live in the country. Slept right through it.

Making NI3 was a standard high school prank, although no one I knew ever actually did it. The same idea was floating around when my kids went through high school, but they didn't do it either.

On the other hand, my kids told me that their high school chemistry teacher did throw a 1 cc cube of elemental Na into a bucket of water. (They also said he was missing an eye and a finger, thought I never checked it out.) I was just happy to know that they were getting a good practical education in chemistry.

Bah sodium (bare, without any wrappings) just motors around smoking, not much different from dry ice. Now Potassium on the other hand does burst into flames. Both are stored under oil when in the elemental state. Throwing sodium in acid makes it better though.
edit - you have to wrap it tightly in tin foil before you flush it, if you want to make the pipes go boom, but I never did this myself.

Small pieces of sodium, particularly old/oxidizied pieces, will USUALLY motorboat around,
if there is enough hydrogen generated fast enough, and a big enough piece or pieces of sodium,
it WILL get hot enough to ignite the hydrogen, which can be explosive if confined (like the trash can).
If a big enough piece, the sodium itself would melt, expand out and burn explosively fast itself as the surface area increases.
(rough rule: many reaction rates approximately double each 10 degrees C increase in temperature)
Sodium melting point is only 98 deg. C (208 deg. F) - less than boiling water.

This piece must have been wrapped in foil, otherwise handling sodium will usually result in skin burns (i.e, in-situ formation of lye):

even in free air:
Note the secondary explosions as blobs of molten sodium get thrown into the lake from the tub.

Hah - our tax dollars at work, 1947:


All the elemental sodium I've bought was sealed in inert gas in a sealed metal can, round but having a seal like an old-fashioned sardine can with a key to roll up the seal about the edge, or having a metal pop-top.

Making NI3 was a standard high school prank, although no one I knew ever actually did it. The same idea was floating around when my kids went through high school, but they didn't do it either.

In my school, in England in the 1960s, we chemistry club members made it rather often. Then, one hot dry summer, the science block drains exploded and produced a large purple plume.

...chasing globs of mercury around with a piece of paper...

A few years ago a new asst. professor in our chemistry dept. broke a mercury thermometer in her lab. Rather than just cleaning it up she made the mistake of following correct procedure by calling the environmental health & safety people to say that a few microliters of Hg was on the floor. A half hour later some guys showed up in hazmat suits looking for the liters of spilled Hg. What's factor of a million between friends?

My favorite was a Star Wars meeting with Reagan and the science folks spoke. The said they needed a 10^24 (watt ?) laser or EMP beam and they had gotten to 10^12 so far. An Air Force General said, "Good, we are halfway there."


Quicksilver (liquid metallic mercury) is poorly absorbed by ingestion and skin contact. It is hazardous due to its potential to release mercury vapor. Animal data indicate that less than 0.01% of ingested mercury is absorbed through the intact gastrointestinal tract; though it may not be true for individuals suffering from ileus.

Elemental mercury is fairly safe, the vapors is what gets you.

Let's see....
The total output of our sun is about 4x10^26 Watts, so if those Star Wars laser guys needed 10^24 Watts, that's only 0.25% of the sun's total output. And of course they would only need it for a brief time. No problem. Generals gotta think big, man.

Yes, hence the question mark. AIR 1 watt = 1 joule per second. I wonder what the units were? Milliwatts maybe?

Edit: Of course, we maybe talking about a millisecond blast or something.


Terawatt (1 TW = 10^12 Watts) lasers do exist, although as you suspect they produce brief pulses (~100 femtosecond = 10^-13 sec), yielding energies in the millijoule range. Here is an interesting application of a 5 terawatt 350 mJoule laser to atmospheric research, including generating lightning, which sounds like lots of fun.

A Megawatt laser has also reportedly been used to "zap" a missile.

If you want a more modest industrial laser to play with, this company has some used ones for sale. Among other things, they are used for tattoo removal, which IMHO will be a growing industry.

Wear eye protection %-)

And good luck with your BP claims.

But they needed to practice/demonstrate their Security skills and spend some of their Homeland Security grant money, Speaker. What better opportunity than unidentified garbage?

Or they were concerned that the stuff was toxic/explosive waste from a meth lab.

Unknown substances are a nightmare for first responders.

In Iraq EOD was constantly blowing up stuff - then checking it out to see what it was afterwards. We had construction engineer units all over the place making repairs to water pipes, etc that got a 'controlled detonation' because it looked suspicious.

More like the DEA would knock down your door and charge you with having a Meth Lab!!!!!!!!!!!!


FAIRHOPE, Ala. -- Two smoking containers found in a Fairhope convenience store Dumpster that caused authorities to close roads and confine students in 2 schools today was found to be leftover materials from a methamphetamine lab, officials said.

Initial reports left out the word 'smoking.' That is a

Oil spill science: Shallower plume found at Deepwater Horizon site - September 12, 2010


Earlier in the week, the Cape Hatteras collected samples to the west of the main plume, which runs southwest from the well site at about 1,200 meters. A number of research cruises have been collecting data on this plume, which the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is aggregating onto one grid. But on Thursday last week, the R/V Oceanus, conducting research under the same National Science Foundation (NSF) grant as the Hatteras, reported lower beam transmission, a data signal indicative of increased methane levels and the presence of hydrocarbons, between 200 and 300 meters. The Hatteras steamed more than 10 hours back to where these readings were taken, in the vicinity of the well site, to investigate further. "While I would like to have found the western edge of the main plume we've all been mapping," chief scientist Tracy Villareal said, "this new development was way too exciting not to pursue.”


Interesting tiny. I'm not sure if they can do it from such small concentrations but it seems they'll need to type it to the BP oil, if at all possible. In 1973 my ex was a grad student in the oceanography dept at Texas A&M. They were mapping oil plums back then to locate natural seeps. At the same time oil companies were doing such surveys to aid their exploration efforts. Based upon my limited knowledge I would be surprised if no low concentration plumes were ever found. I wonder if any base line were ever established in different areas of the GOM? There should be some oil still left circulating out there from the blow out. But how are they going to distinguish it from the natural seeps?

....they'll need to type it to the BP oil, if at all possible. .... They were mapping oil plums back then to locate natural seeps. At the same time oil companies were doing such surveys to aid their exploration efforts....I would be surprised if no low concentration plumes were ever found.....There should be some oil still left circulating out there from the blow out. But how are they going to distinguish it from the natural seeps?

For whatever it's worth, I ran across this nice primer on using biomarkers to identify oil. Useful for those of us (like me) who have forgotten what little petroleum geochem we ever knew.

Other useful resources on their website at:

Also, while a little after the fact now, there were some questions on TOD about how they could tell that gas seeps were natural, and not induced by the DWH blowout. A good primer on gas at:

I'm not sure about those "oil plums" however!

Mandy Joye hasn't blogged this one yet, but it'll be interesting to see what she has to add.

lotus -- telling the tail of my ex's research at TAMU she immediately ran into a big problem: back then a large amount of the hydrocarbon contamination in the GOM came from merchants ships dumping their bilges. I would think the feds try to cut down on that problem as best as possible but back then the volume just about made her research undoable.

In the may be difficult to point to any one source of any hydrocarbon plume in the GOM. With the amount of oil the BP well spilled you would think it was a major contributor. But as time goes by and more dilution kicks in they may never be able to track such pollution back to it source.

tinys: Saw your quest for research articles on crude oil toxicity on sealife on the last thread. I could find full articles of those (and possibly others) and email the pdfs to you, if this would help. Would add to your fiancee's reading pile! humphrey at ufl dot edu

Thank you very much for the offer. You'll be getting an email from me real soon.

Aramco CEO Says Fossil Fuel Reliance to Last Decades
By Margot Habiby - Sep 13, 2010 1:34 PM ET

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Chief Executive Officer Khalid al-Falih said the world probably will rely for decades to come on fossil fuels, mainly oil, natural gas and coal.

“Even though the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix may decline over the longer term, the absolute quantities of energy from these sources will continue to rise simply because total energy demand is set to expand so significantly,” he said in a speech today at the World Energy Congress in Montreal.

A sad sight, while on survey, a sunken ROV from the Deepwater Horizon is found, still in its cage.


ROV surfaces through a school of fish, lovely visual.


The sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico, with the DWH BOP in the foreground on the Helix Q4000


Forensic examination of the DWH BOP.




The last video shows the DP centered by the upper VBR. How did the 3000 feet section of DP (in the hole)separate from the BOP?

The last video shows the DP centered by the upper VBR. How did the 3000 feet section of DP (in the hole)separate from the BOP?

@ NatResDr

On yesterday's thread, you wrote:

Gobbet: I've noticed that you've said numerous times that the residual "oil" (crude oil after microbial decompostion is finished) will contain meaningful amounts of PAHs. This is the only thing you've said over the past few months that's surprised me, not because I know you're wrong, but because your grasp of things is exceptional yet I haven't read pre-existing evidence for this expectation. Can you point me to a reference or three to help me with this?

NRD, I'm more than flattered by your kind words. Please understand that I have no scientific training. I'm self-educated on the topics discussed here, and that mostly since the blowout. If I have this wrong, I'm glad to be corrected.

The lightest PAH, naphthalene, is volatile and moderately soluble in water. However, PAHs with more than 14 carbon atoms are not volatile and only slightly soluble in water. They are also resistant to biodegradation, and increasingly so in the heavier compounds. Therefore the heavier PAHs tend to be left behind in the oil film or dispersed oil droplets as the oil weathers toward tar. Inside a tar ball or buried in sediment, they can be very persistent.

This study found elevated PAH in intertidal sediments of PW Sound 12 years after Exxon Valdez:


PAH in "very weathered" oil coating gravel of spawning redds caused mortality of salmon embryos:


EPA slideshow: does oil become more toxic as it weathers?


Answer: the PAH concentration increases as oil weathers, because there is less oil stuff left to dilute it. But the bioavailability of the PAH declines, because the heavy PAHs are not water soluble and the toxic compounds are locked up inside the weathered surface of tar balls and mats. So overall it becomes less dangerous, I infer.

I know of a few old time roofers that love to chew cooled 'roofing tar'. Maybe I can talk one into posting here.

G: Many thanks. The EPA ppt is especially helpful--much food for thought. Applicability of the ExxonValdez experience is a question mark to me, since conditions for decomposition were so different in the two cases. I'm more convinced than ever that we'll literally have to see what the heck is in the GOM "oiled sediment" (nice term of art) to know where we stand.

Yes, I've seen a few articles that use the term "sorb" as in some parts of HC sorb to sediment and inorganic materials.

One article, called "Section 5.1.1 The Source and Sink" discusses this topic

The articles I've read also mention potential impact on benthic community that resides on seafloor. One of the things I expect to get misapplied is the use of studies in oil-free environments. Because the gulf seafloor is oil-rich and benthics are more acclimated to oil, I hope they will do a better job weathering the DWH storm. As you say, we'll need to wait to see what is in the "oiled sediment" and how it will affect food chain.

One comment that caught my eye came from Terry Hazen. He used the term "chain" when he described what microbes were doing to oil. Chain is normally associated with carbon chains of molecules that are called alkanes and alkenes. On the other hand, he never used to term "ring" which is associated with naphthenes and aromatics. And this speculation on my part appears to be in agreement with Gobbet's comments above since PAHs are ringed molecules of carbon.

“New wave of oil comes ashore west of Mississippi River”

A new wave of black oil suddenly came ashore west of the Mississippi River on Friday and Saturday, coating beaches and fouling interior marshes, according to anglers' reports. Ryan Lambert, owner of Buras-based Cajun Fishing Adventures, said about 16 miles of coastal beaches in Plaquemines Parish from Sandy Point to Chalon Pass were lined with black oil and tar balls. Meanwhile anglers returning to Lafitte told Sidney Bourgeois, of Joe's Landing, that new oil was surfacing on the eastern side of Barataria Bay in the Bay Jimmie, Bay Wilkerson and in Bay Baptiste areas.

--the reliable Bob Marshall at T-Pic


"Came ashore" from where? "Surfaced" how?

Here's a speculation. We know that tar weathers to near the density of seawater and barely floats or can be suspended in the water column. When it comes ashore it picks up sediment and sinks. But--what if the sinking is caused by encountering brackish water that is less dense than seawater? Then if saltier water covers the submerged tar, it could be refloated. Right now, the Miss. River should be running low and salinity rising because of that and summer evaporation rates. Or maybe Louisiana is closing the freshwater diversion structures that have been pouring river water into Barataria Bay all summer. If this is the case, it might be a good thing, allowing the tar to be collected.

Is this a plausible mechanism?

And here's an amazing fish kill in the area. Never seen a picture quite like this:


There have been massive algae blooms west of the river from over-fertilization--which is worse than usual because of the freshwater diversion. I'd guess this is the cause, rather than oil toxicity.

what does it matter if no one can see?

for those still watching, i am sure
you already know


for those who think it imperative to public oversight to see them back asap, please contact:


Thank you from the Gulf.

teh missing feeds are from ROVs on ships that have departed the scene. no ROV in the water, no video to watch since the ship is on the way to it's next job

Shallow Water Moratorium News...

After a lapse of two weeks with no NTL-06 permits approved, BOEM's website today shows two more approvals. The total since NTL-06 requirement is now 6. One of today's approvals is a sidetrack rather than a new well while the previous 4 were all new wells.

I'm more into watching trends rather than intermittent numbers. In this case the trend would be approvals per week or approvals per month. From this viewpoint, the trend appears to remain flat. However, every permit approval is good news for the rig operator requiring permit.


brit - Later this week I'll be getting my hazard survey reports on two shallow water prospects. With that I began the paper chase with the POE (Plan of Exploration). This is the first step, long before you apply for a drill permit. The MMS is allowed 6 months to process the POE. After it's approved you can go for the drill permit. I'll keep TOD appraised of the progress.

I'm sure we'll all be interested to hear of your experiences with BOEM. Good luck with getting POE approval!

They re-started drilling the relief well at 2:40 Eastern this afternoon.


I dunno, maybe it's just me. But when Mandy Joye starts saying things like

"It has to be a recent event. There's still pieces of warm bodies there"


"The organisms that break down oil excrete mucus — copious amounts of mucus. So it's kind of like a slime highway from the surface to the bottom. Because eventually the slime gets heavy and it sinks"

I begin to wonder how good the attentions of reporters have been for her.

The seafloor is not important. It is just a couple of inches of oil.


"I expected to find oil on the sea floor," Samantha Joye, a University of Georgia marine sciences professor, said Monday morning in a ship-to-shore telephone interview. "I did not expect to find this much. I didn't expect to find layers two inches thick."

The thing is, people give opinions all the time colored by their beliefs and philosophical/political views (what they want the story to mean), but data rarely lie. We do need to await publication of the actual data on composition of oil remnants at various places and times. You'd think a scientist in particular would be wary of prejudging the data. Gotta go revise my class notes on Critical Thinking...

In some areas the oily material that Joye describes is more than two inches thick. Her team found the material as far as 70 miles away from BP's well.

"If we're seeing two and half inches of oil 16 miles away, God knows what we'll see close in -- I really can't even guess other than to say it's going to be a whole lot more than two and a half inches," Joye said.

This oil remaining underwater has large implications for the state of sea life at the bottom of the gulf.

Joye said she spent hours studying the core samples and was unable to find anything other than bacteria and microorganisms living within.

"There is nothing living in these cores other than bacteria," she said. "I've yet to see a living shrimp, a living worm, nothing."


Finding that much oil on the seafloor is shocking. What is she prejudging?

She has, not and has never claimed to find 2" of oil. This is misreporting as usual. Possibly malicious misreporting. She has found a 2" thick deposit of floc, which contains traces of oil in small globules within one of the components of the floc. No analysis of the oil, or its relative concentration in the floc has been forthcoming, and it seems will have to wait until the samples are returned to shore.

There is some reason to believe that the unusual amount of floc is partly the result of much higher than usual activity of the various organisms digesting oil, and the little globules of oil within the floc are likely oil that has been eaten and not broken down.

She is also using the term "oil aggregate snow"

... the oil was trapped by mucus coming from microbes that feast on oil in a natural process that helps break up the contaminant. Those microbes are well documented, but not that their mucus was sinking along with oil to the seafloor.

The MSNBC story also had a nice closeup picture of the stuff:


See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39150640/ns/us_news-environment/

Wild Speculation ON
"Sea snot," the slang term for "marine mucilage" is well known is often associated with other microbes and small creatures (living and dead) that produce mucus and contains much organic material of natural origin that aggregates into a mucilage as it settles out of the water column above (entraining all sorts of stuff into it as it settles - it's sticky stuff.) Part of the broad class of marine snow. It does make some sense, empirically AND speculatively, that with prodigious amounts of released oil (bacteria food), there was a huge bloom of bacteria which (newly learned) produce mucus and in turn perhaps produced prodigious amounts of mucus and entrained some HC as the microbes feasted, settled on the bottom and possibly continues to feast on the HC (temp and digestive processes allowing) in the "oil aggregate snow." Could possibly show the same end result (tar) over time but via a different (more nuanced) mechanism.
Wild Speculation OFF

We all did see some pretty heavy episodes of "snot storms" on the ROV feeds that could, again SPECULATIVELY, be this very same stuff given the right conditions and current. IOW, the oil aggregate snow could have been created and became entrained away from the well head area but “blew back” to the well head as it settled out of the water column when the currents were right. BTW, this isn’t even SWAG, it’s just "wide ass guessing!"

Can't wait to see the data. Could be a very interesting find about the processes of a big spill.

Thanks, bb. Good science is about what is not known, not so much about what is known. People who seek comfort should look elsewhere. g'nite

I just found out that the Oceanography group at the Shelby Center for Ecosystem-Based Fisheries and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab had prepared some very excellent "baseline data" for the LNG terminal previously proposed south of Dauphin Island prior to the spill.

So this maybe will able to help prove this was due to natural sub sea leaks or some other previous sources, or the DWH spew.

Keeping my thumb on this one.

Mandy sounds a little emotional over what she is seeing on seafloor. Scientists don't normally call their observations "weird". It must be very traumatic to see dead tube worms. I read they can live to be 250 years old.

Here's a good article I saw in NY Times about the "benthic community" living on the gulf seafloor. It includes a Slide Show that is very impressive:

Goodness GRACIOUS, how did we miss this article when it was published back in June? I read it with my mouth hanging open. And the photos in the slide show are just extraordinary. Check out no. 8, the "black coral." Heaven only knows what lives on the seabed in the below 1.7 miles, the deepest we've gone in the Gulf.

Wowzers, brit, thanks for the link. I'm with SL, groovin' on that elegant black coral -- and hoping that what Joye finds will be as constricted as possible in area.

I always wonder how much scientists have to "dumb down" when talking to reporters. Start talking science to most people and they will fall asleep while you are in mid-sentence.( this can be used to your advantage in some cases )

Now, If she would have said something like :

" Flaming nuclear microbial drag race " BE THERE !BE THERE !BE THERE, NITRO BURNING FUNNY-BUGS !!"Watch them sink, see them float, hear them pooping..etc

She would probably have the undivided attention of the world, I know I would pay to see that show.


I was thinking a psychrophilic Rat Fink in a '20 T-bucket



Noaa says dispersant sinks oil.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, the government's top ocean scientist, has acknowledged concerns over the effects of dissolved oil, but has said that chemical dispersants had largely done their job.

"Nobody should be surprised," Joye said. "When you apply large scale dispersants, it goes to the bottom -- it sediments out. It gets sticky."


I have a feeling this is the reason such a large area of the Gulf is still closed to fishing. They know the trawlers will stir up the oil and get their catch and nets covered in it.


Labor Day Weekend:

I arrived in Orange Beach, AL around 11:00 P.M. on September 3rd. There was a shrimping boat anchored directly in front of my condo with all its lights on. It was still anchored there the next day. My educated guess is that the total distance was about one and a half miles from the beach, not far from the sand bar. This boat never moved. I posted about this boat and other strange things I saw late in the night on September 6th (September 7th technically). Around 12:00 P.M. on September 7th, the boat was gone.

I swear to god I think BP is still spraying these dispersants in the water, and they read this message board to. The water looked exactly the same as it does in the pictures of areas that have been sprayed with dispersants. I have gone to Orange Beach my entire life, I know what normal water conditions & beach activity are like. There is some kind of BS going on down there and it has to deal with this oil spill and BP. Flame away, but if you think that everything has just "evaporated", well that's one hell of a scientific discovery- I guess disaster response plans just aren't needed anymore.

Now mangearpig, I have also wondered why a particular boat has been anchored in the same location for a whole day. Observation is my best guess. Since you started you have improved 1000%. You have dates and events. The second paragraph is not bad if you listed as speculation. I swear to God (caps for Christians, although swearing to God is a no no too, no big) is close. Keep it up young man, I may have to make another TinFoilHat for you.

Edit: And please NEVER repeat any experiments here without, well just do not do it until you get paid to do it by professionals. Specifically any of the chemistry stuff.

Here is a link for you manbearpig54:

Evidence Mounts of BP Spraying Toxic Dispersants

Before anyone starts flaming me about this subject, I'm am not stating any opinions I may have on this subject. Nor am I going to debate the scientific evidence that most seem to require in regards to this issue. Everyone here is intelligent enough to draw their own conclusions.

Do you remember my posts about the kids saying they were still spraying dispersant like 'spraying a yard with the Chemlawn truck.' Maybe there was something to that 'thin' evidence.

I have a question for the pros. Why did they not, at the start of this disaster, disconnect the failed-bop clip any hanging DS and then reattach a good BOP, and slowly shut the will in? It would seem that letting the well run wild for a few days during the interchange would have been better than what transpired. I have puzzled about this scenario for months, and I simply cannot conjure up a rationale for not doing it. Reminds me of not diverting the blow out material over board because it contained oil products. Sure would like to hear some rationale for why not.

In hindsight that would have been the right answer. However early on they didn't know a lot of things about the situation, and went with what seemed mostly the right thing, and safest thing, to do at the time. In the first weeks the flow from the well was vastly lower, and it was not clear it would increase to the level it did. However the main reason was that they seemed to be really worried about the damage that may have occurred during the time the riser was still attached to the out of control rig, and how fragile the down hole structures were. The spectre of what happened with the Ixtoc well in Mexico, when the well blew out below the sea floor and gushed at full bore for nearly a year would have been foremost in their minds. As it was, they finally worked out that the well was not badly damaged. Yes, they could have probably worked this out earlier, and done a better job, and spilled less oil. But a very early unlatching and replacement of the BOP would have been a wildly reckless thing to do.

Even when they shut the well in with the BOP on top of the old BOP, the old BOP was still restricting the flow considerably, making the task of landing the new BOP much easier.

Lack of suitable equipment on hand was another issue. The manifest lack of planning for a blowout of this scale, and a lack of suitable equipment, on hand and ready to use was another problem. Much complacency.

You saw how agonizing the decision process was to replace the BOP with the well capped. Imagine how the decision makers would have thought about replacing the BOP on a flowing well.

Isn't hindsight wonderful. Thanks for the responses.

Quick dumb question.

When do you typically disconnect the riser before pulling it up during tear-down? Is that always among the last things done?

Would they ever pull the riser while still having to do a pressure test on the top plug?

In other words, can there be DP in the riser when you pull it?

BP, Partners Say Most Victims Not Yet Entitled to Sue
Published: Tuesday, 14 Sep 2010 | 1:39 AM
By: Reuters

BP and its partners in the blown-out Gulf well said on Monday that thousands of fishermen, seafood processors, restaurants, hotel owners and others may not yet have the right to sue over the spill, according to court papers.

BP [BP-LN 415.95 -0.10 (-0.02%)] and its partners such as Transocean [RIG 58.84 0.02 (+0.03%)] and Halliburton [HAL 31.61 0.73 (+2.36%)] said the majority of alleged victims who have brought about 400 lawsuits must first take their claims to a $20 billion fund established by BP.

The document was part of the defense team's proposal for managing the case, which could become one of the largest and most costly in U.S. history.

The Independent
BP oil spill: Disaster by numbers

The scale of the BP oil spill can be hard to take in. Now, five months on, these shocking figures reveal the extent of the devastation. Compiled by Alice-Azania Jarvis.

Oil may have washed up in Coden, Bayou La Batre, say witnesses
Ben Raines, Press-Register Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 5:00 AM

Something that looked like weathered oil washed up in Coden and Bayou La Batre on Sunday and Monday, according to reports from people in the area.
Officials with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and BP said they had not received any reports of oil in the area. Andy Barnes, who lives in Bayou La Batre, said that she saw a lot of what she believes is oil....
...“It came up on the high tide,” she said. “They had airboats out there, and we asked what they were doing. They just said they were cleaning the marsh, but we had seen the oil.”
Heather Byars, with ADEM, said her agency had been working in the area for days but never saw oil or received reports of it washing up.
“If we had been aware of something as specific as that, it would have been in our daily report,” Byars said Monday. “It was not in our report yesterday or today. I don’t think we were aware of that, if it was in fact oil. We did have some tarballs on the south side of Coffee Island a few days ago that we cleaned up. Today, we cleaned some grass lands.”
Full story here...

Look at the pictures. I call oil. Macondo and Herpes. The gifts that keep on giving.


Thanks for the link and pix, TF (and tiny). I call plankton poop.


I call it just plain ol' nasty crap

Yup. Wouldn't want a whiff, either.

First patent announced for alkane production from cyanobacterium that uses carbon dioxide and sunlight as energy sources. Alkanes are secreted like sweat rather than stored in biomass. Commercial plant construction planned for 2012 with predicted yielf of 15,000 gallons of diesel components per acre per year.

Interesting story. I have followed this research for years. Note at the end of the story it says:

" An independent expert, Matthew C. Posewitz, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, said that making an organism that secreted hydrocarbons was “definitely one of the most active areas in the whole game right now.”

He said that Joule did not yet have a proved process, but that it had strong research and development capabilities. “They have some extreme horsepower within that company,” he said. "


Definitely a story to follow.


There's also a technology developed recently to convert plastic back to oil. Perhaps when we get tired of shipping plastic to China to burn, we can use the useless A-whale to harvest floating plastic in the oceans. ( excuse the website, I normally wouldn't link to E-world on the OD )


I know a guy that uses Styrofoam and diesel to make varnish. Probably not EPA approved, but it works great. He also uses straight diesel fuel as a replacement for copper tox (Copper Naphthenate Solution). Again, I am sure the EPA or OSHA would croak, but it is only $2.65 a gallon.

"I know a guy that uses Styrofoam and diesel to make varnish."

Hopefully he's not painting dirigibles for a living.


Styrofoam to Power Biodiesel Engines

by Lori Brown
Published on May 7th, 2009

Styrofoam used to increase biodiesel power output? That’s what a new study claims. Funded in part by the Department of Defense, the study looked for solutions for trash disposal and power generation under battlefield conditions, where recycling is not usually an option.

The study found that by dissolving polystyrene packing peanuts in biodiesel, scientists can actually increase the power output of the fuel, while finding a solution to disposing of the material at the same time. The polystyrene, a polymer used to make disposable styrofoam, can be dissolved into biodiesel at a concentration of 2 to 20 percent, though power output tends to decrease as polystyrene concentration increases. Although plastic doesn’t break down easily in petroleum-based diesel, it breaks down almost instantly in biodiesel.


I have a question for the field hands. If I were to spill say 50 gallons of crude, does the response manual call for dispersant use? Do rigs have a drum or two around 'just in case'? Is routine use of dispersants for oil spills happen for the small stuff too?

T-P headlines:

Rogue oil well in Gulf of Mexico could be officially killed this week

... The bottom kill calls for pumping the Macondo well with mud and cement, via a relief well, at a point far below the sea floor. The mud and cement will be pumped only into the well's annulus, an outer shell, instead of into the main well casing because that much larger area was filled with cement a month ago during the "static kill" procedure.

About 100 barrels of mud will be used in the bottom kill, Allen said. ...

Only 160 deepwater rig workers have applied for aid from $100 million BP fund

... Ironically, the only actual rig workers dealing with furloughs and layoffs so far are those on shallow-water rigs. Though not subject to the moratorium, shallow-water rigs have struggled to resume activity after a series of new rules were issued in June and July.

But shallow-water rig workers have been deemed ineligible for the first round of the BP rig worker fund because the moratorium doesn't directly affect them, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation said.

John Davies, the foundation's president, said the lack of applications to the fund is a good sign. It means other workers in the oil patch -- supply boat crews, shipyard workers, shoreside support employees and others indirectly hit by the moratorium -- will be able to tap into a nearly untouched fund in a second application round scheduled for the spring, he said. ...

Sen. Mary Landrieu, Rep. Steve Scalise unite behind coastal restoration strategy

... Scalise said he plans to submit a bill in the House of Representatives on Tuesday that would create a new Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, which would hand out the money to states that have adopted coastal ecosystem restoration plans that it approves.

The task force would include representatives of numerous federal agencies, and state and local governments.

Scalise said the formula for distributing the money has not yet been worked out, but he expects the distribution to be based on the damage suffered by each state.

A draft of Scalise's bill on Monday indicated it would apply only to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, which suffered the most significant effects.

Landrieu is sponsoring similar legislation in the Senate, but her bill was not available on Monday. ...