BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - the Relief Well Starts and Miners Watch TV - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6955.

Admiral Allen issued a statement today, in regard to the situation at the Deepwater Horizon well:

After extensive consultation between BP engineers and the federal science team, as well as reviewing data collected from measurements I authorized Friday, the Development Driller III today began the final steps towards the completion of the relief well that will intercept the Macondo 252 well and perform the bottom kill procedure.

This accelerated progress was possible after several discussions between BP and the federal scientists and engineers, leading to the installation of a lock-down device over the weekend, which resulted in the necessary conditions to commence the finalization of the relief well. I will continue to provide updates on the progress of the relief well, the final step that will ensure the well is fully and finally killed, as necessary.

Following this BP announced that relief well operations re-started.

BP re-started relief well drilling operations from the Development Driller III (DD3) today at 1:40 p.m. CDT following the successful installation of a lock down sleeve, a mechanical device that secures the MC252 well's casing hangar.

The lock-down sleeve was installed on Saturday, and successfully tested – though I am not quite sure what that would entail, since it is a bit like putting a locking nut above the retaining nut on a bolt. It stops the retaining nut from moving – but how to test?

The DDII is continuing to run diagnostic tests on the original well, as the relief well slowly drills forward, over the last 50 ft to make the intersection. Remember that with the very small target (the unlined section of the borehole annulus), the intent is to drill a short distance, re-survey the location and that of the well (determined from an electro-magnetic field generated in the production casing) to make sure that the well is moving on target, and then drill a little bit more. It will still take some time, perhaps four days, to get to the well. Then there will be the circulation of fluid to determine what is really in the annulus will be one of the last stages, before the well is plugged with cement at the bottom, to fill the annulus above the current levels and provide no potential flow path from the reservoir.

Once that is completed, then the relief well can be also plugged both at the bottom and then at the top, and both wells can start the process of inserting plugs close to the seabed and then removing the wellheads and going through the process of abandoning the wells.

Trapped Miners in Chile

In regard to the miners trapped in Chile, it has now been reported that it may take as long as 3 hours for each miner to be lifted to the surface, which may make the process last some four days.

The miners have been sent a small tv set, through one of the three 6-inch diameter supply holes already in place, and are now being sent electricity as well as cooler fresh air, to help with the environmental conditions, which are otherwise very hot (88 degF) and humid (85%). And by using U/V lights they are apparently also setting up a day/night cycle for them.

Sadly the mine is reported to be broke.

. . . sanctions may be hard to enforce. The mining company has filed papers to declare bankruptcy. The company also says it can't pay anything for the rescue effort, not even the wages owed to its miners.

I do remain concerned about water flows underground over that length of time, unless they have some alternate way of getting the water out of the mine, since I presume that the rock falls stopped any pumping operations that were ongoing. For example:

Morning showers require the men to climb aboard a bulldozer-type mining vehicle that rumbles 300 metres up the tunnel to a natural waterfall where they shower, shampoo and clean off the ubiquitous rust-coloured mud.

There is also another two sets of problems, evident from what is generally considered good practice. The first comes from the rescue effort itself:

Another group of men reinforce the mine walls and divert streams of water seeping into their refuge. Several of the drilling and communications tubes connecting the men to the surface use water as lubricant, meaning a constant stream of muddy gunk trickles into their world.

And then there are the other water needs, that are also provided.

After the (Chilean:Ukraine football) match was over, the men prepared to sleep. They walked down the ramp to the bathroom, an area kept constantly clean by a stream of fresh water that washes away the urine and faeces.

All that water has to be going somewhere.

They do monitor the gas content of the air around the refuge, and are preparing for when the big drill first breaks through to the mine with the pilot drill. That is now expected to happen in about 3 weeks, and then the miners will have to start removing the debris from the larger reaming bit as it moves down, enlarging the hole to the required size for the rescue cage. It could be as much as a thousand pounds of rock an hour, though the rates will hopefully and likely be kept slow enough that there is no risk of the pilot hole being jammed with too large pieces of rock.

gCaptain.com ( http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/ )has a excellent follow up on the BOP....

To quote Indy: "It belongs in a museum".

I mean, this BOP/LMRP combo has probably caused more media attention than most stuff in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. So, why not put it on display after the investigation? Even though it failed, it IS a very impressive piece of technology (and a central part in our modern economy)...

Or reuse it as an anchor.
and put a cam back on it so we can watch it ;-P

Hmm, as for the cameras: Why not create a law that ALL oil operations carry webcams and/or livestreams?

Google would probably offer a free service called "Google Oil" paid by content sensitive ads like "Blowout? Buy Corexit here" . Possible future extension: "Google Spillview" where specially equipped Cars and ROVs make Maps with zoomable 3D pictures of spill sites.

Because oil operations are private and some of these operations are confidential. The law allows for government officials to inspect and audit operations. Law officers can be present at will. Cameras for outsiders are, however, non-sense.

I suspect that is why we had that period of poor quality video of the BOP - there was probably a secret military vehicle or somesuch down there figuring things out.

I don't think the people in Spillville IA will take kindly to the latter idea.

Set it next to the "BILLY CLOCKS".

AP (via Sun Herald):

New rules slow Gulf drilling pace in shallow water

... The reduction in applications in recent months is a reflection of drillers' uncertainty about the new rules, industry officials say. On average, drillers applied for 20 permits a month in 2007, 18 a month in 2008 and fewer than nine a month in 2009, as falling energy prices curbed the industry's zeal. In the first four months of 2010, applications were back up to 11 a month.

Complying with the new rules hasn't been easy, drillers say. They must hire independent experts to review well designs and certify that spill-prevention equipment - the very equipment that failed BP - will stop the flow of oil if there is an accident.

The government has held weekly conference calls with oil industry officials to explain the new rules. Still, industry officials say they remain perplexed by some requirements - like how to calculate worst-case spill scenarios for an exploratory well.

"We just started asking them, 'Tell us what you want,'" says Seahawk's Hoffman. "It's still really confusing." ...

I read more BOEM changes are in works.
- API is against proposed increase of inspection fee from $20m to $45m.
- Congress asked for $80m and inspection fee increase
- 60 current inspectors for 3500 Gulf platform/rigs will increase
- Congress previously approved $29m in emergency spending for new drilling inspectors
- McKinsey & Co consulting firm hired to reorganize BOEM ($4.4m)
- Six month deepwater moratorium on track to end by Nov 30
- Bromwich recommendation report to Salazar by Sept 31

These points are summary from "Oil industry: Nix higher offshore inspection fees":

Virtual standstill in Gulf drilling
Environmental groups approve
By David Koenig and Chris Kahn THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The drilling moratorium enacted after the BP oil spill applies only to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Yet energy exploration in the Gulf’s shallow waters has come to a virtual standstill as drillers grapple with tougher federal rules since the spill.

The pace at which regulators grant drilling permits in water less than 500 feet deep has slowed sharply this summer, an Associated Press analysis of government data shows. Four out of 10 shallow-water drilling applications have been approved from June through August; 15 applications were sought and approved in the same period last year.

P-R headlines:

Wages earned in oil spill cleanup may not be deducted from claims

... One angry man charged toward Feinberg after the event, demanding to speak to him personally. Several police officers swarmed around Feinberg. ...

State senator asks judge whether he must release BP recovery money records

[Of little import outside Alabama but good for laffs.]

How out of touch with reality can Feinberg be thinking it was alright to deduct wages earned in cleanup from peoples claims?

Those people earned that money after being forced to do a nasty job for BP because BP destroyed their livelihood and they had to survive.

The people lost their right to do a job they love and earn an honest living.

They owe them for the money they lost.

I would deduct it. They were paid for the nasty job, and they took the job willingly.

A separate compensation can be paid for the hassle and stress, but that should be a payment made to everybody, the ones who did work, and the ones who didn't as well. I don't see a reason to pay them for working and also claim cash from BP because they weren't working. It just doesn't make sense.

And you would be correct to deduct it if applying the standard rules on damages. But if it was an insurance benefit, it likely would not be deductible.

If the claims are for lost wages and the claimant has wages from other employment, that should be deducted from the lost wages compensation. It should not matter whether the new income is from BP or another employer.

1) Many of them put their safety and health in danger to work for BP, who not only did not provide respirators and other protective equipment, but threatened to fire those who brought their own;

2) Out of work and with a lousy economy in the area -- in large part caused by the oil disaster -- if they needed a cash flow, they really had no choice but to work for BP;

3) If they turned down a (potentially dangerous) job from BP, the wages they would've gotten would be deducted anyway.

Sweet deal. NOT.

So what Feinberg is saying is that if a person lost $30,000 of wages, made $10,000 on clean up work - the person is entitled to the full $30,000 for a total income of $40,000?

Sounds like simple greed to me.

Our shallow water hands that were laid off are being denied payments from the BP fund --

"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."


That's BS.... IMO

What I can't figure out is why BP should even be paying people who were laid off as a result of the moratorium. Since this is the result of a decision made by the US government - then the US government should be the ones responsible for the damages.

It was done by agreement. People (corporations) can agree to do anything they want that is not against the law.

I think obama just asked if they would mind allocating 100 million of the 2o billion for these workers, and BP said fine. It was a smart concession and cost them nothing extra...unless the 20 billion is not enough.

I think obama just asked if they would mind allocating 100 million of the 2o billion for these workers, and BP said fine. It was a smart concession and cost them nothing extra...

I think it was a separate donation, not taken from the Feinberg-administered claims fund.

"It was done by agreement"

I once "agreed" to allow OSHA to inspect my business after they explained they would return with a search warrant if I would not consent to a voluntary inspection. They also stated that the seach would be very intense if I insisted on a warrant.

I wonder if the words 'or else' were used by Obama. Considering the way he treated the bondholdders at GM and Crysler in favor of the UAW the cynic in me suggests that Obama made some kind of threat.

Actually,as you may have read in the news today, BP is now taking the position that the law requires everyone to go through the fund. If they don't, they can't sue. If they do and get an award, they have to take it. That is the position they took in a court filing today.

The law apparently requires spill victims to demand payment from the responsible party before suing. BP says the fund is now their mechanism to pay all such claims.

So, BP is seeking to turn the fund into a mandatory arbitration process without the right to a hearing (thus far) and without all sorts of rights, including appellate review, and using it to effectively extinguish the right to a jury trial. If the court rules their way, that is.

Tell that to the hand who has no income and was working up until the BP incident....

All of us have seen our business hurt in one way or the other. But it's hard to separate the BP mess from the low gas prices from the lousy economy which leads every company to pull their heads into the shell for now. I don't think all the rig hands out of work can point to BP, many of them are just victims of the cycle our industry is repeating, as it has done so many times. Things will hopefully turn around by 2013.

Things will hopefully turn around by 2013.

Gingrich/Barbour 2012?

Palin/Angle or Palin/Paul.

Maybe Palin/Gingrich.

I will be so disappointed if Sarah Palin is not the nominee.

How 'bout Palin/Coulter?

I heard somewhere Joe Arpaio is considering a run. I can't even come up with satire on that one. That's just scary.

Probably worthy of a new topic - "What's next for the Gulf of Mexico Offshore Industry". The confusion of the BOEM on their new rules relative to the shallow water industry gives an indication that the deepwater is in for a long wait before it gets back to normal......

I'm sorry but the above posts imply that the BP spill was caused by the Bama WH and that the response was less than adequate. So I'm puzzled by appointing a Czar over all of the operations, adding a rather powerful scientific team including a bunch of high powered engineers associated with the space program and then Bama engineering a $20B fund, how and why some of you folk think this was bad. Is this how the previous administration handled Katrina?????? Maybe what we needed on this job was Brownie to oversee and manage the resolution from places far far away from the scene.

The laggardly gov't oversight and the cozy cozy arrangement didn't happen under Bama's watch it happened with purpose during the previous administrations.

The moratorium is for sure appropriate to figure out how to get DW wells under much better control. Right now from an outsider's (outside the patch) view it was like the wild wild west in oil work. Anyone doing just about anything they wanted including what has been a resounding condemnation of the safety and good practices by the core of this TOD group.

So what I hear some folk saying is that they want to return to the status of the Wild Wild GOM where anything goes including needless blowing of wells just so we can have unfettered drilling. I'll bet these same folk want to do away with drivers licenses and drivers tests and all the traffic laws to boot.

... settle down Bromvich - it will get better...

I quit caring after I sent 155's downrange to waste starving college students. It had to be done. I know it is all a lie, but it is MY lie. I'll take what I can get and move on, just like a hurricane recovery.

HEADING OUT. Has there been any mention of them perforating the production casing, to fix the "nowhere to go" scenario? Or, perhaps they are just going to squeeze the cement into the annulus. I guess it is down to the Boots & Coots boys now; they are 40 for 40 on bottom kills to date. Who is doing the cement, I bet it is not Halliburton.

I think it has been Halliburton all along. At least that is what has been reported on the IRC channel with the boat watchers.

ACORN - typically operators tend to go with who has their equipment on the rig. Change cementers and they have to change equipment. Not a huge costs by it doesn't happen for free. Folks can pick on Halliburton all the want but they are the perferred subcontractor by many operators.

Hell, if they're worried about the cement not having a place to go they can perf the well low in the shale, and pump cement until they frac it. This whole annulus job sounds like a waste of time now, but it's not a big deal to shoot and squeeze cement. They can pump 1000 bbls of cement if they want, most of it will go down the fracture.

FD. Agreed; I was looking back at Moon's diagram, where he shows the prod casing cemented to 13000 feet and the annulus to 17000 feet. He shows a prod casing perforation just above the prod casing cement level. Moon's data has a record of being reliable.

"Moon's data has a record of being reliable." - Lovely - that tastes like hot chocolate on this rainy cold day here ... thanks - I'll try to keep it that way.

But note - I have no internal knowledge nor experience in anything oil. The graph is an engineering response to Admiral Allen's order to fill that annulus at that depth. I can just think of no other way to do that and in the discussions here no one came up with a better approach.

Ha ha. Made me laugh, Moon.
"I stole it from BP...". etc.
Good times.

Bringing over a thread where Lotus wonders if Samantha Joye is getting carried away by her semi-celebrity. Interview stories by MSBBC and ABC are linked, where Joye talks about the team finding oily floc on the seafloor.


Both stories repeatedly and grossly misstate the Unified Command's oil budget in the customary fashion, apparently to convince the public that NOAA and the Unified Command are big liars (when actually only Carol Browner was either a big liar or an ignorant doofus).

If it is BP oil, it could undermine the federal government's estimate that 75 percent of the spill either evaporated, was cleaned up or was consumed by natural microbes. (MSNBC)

And Dr. Joye makes some sensationalized comments.

"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." (MSNBC)

Here she claimed the fluffy material is oil, when it is actually a poorly understood biological material that contains an unknown proportion of oil.

Also, Quantum wrote:

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."

It seems that Joye rather than Lubchenco made the statement about dispersant sinking the oil. Actually the statement is false. All of the residual degraded oil products will eventually be sedimented. Dispersant has nothing to do with that process other than speeding it up by speeding degradation by microbes. Dispersants do not make the oil "sticky"--quite the opposite, they break the oil into separate invisible droplets. The residual material becomes sticky either because it is reduced to tar or because (in the case of floc) it is processed by organisms and mixed with organic matter. I can't imagine why Joye would have made that statement. It is not only false, but inflammatory in the current climate.

Quantum also made the interesting suggestion that NOAA has not reopened some federal waters to fishing because they know about the floc deposits and are concerned that trawling would stir up the oil. But the closed waters are 90% deep waters well offshore where fishermen do not work the bottom. Also according to Joye the floc deposits are much heavier inshore than offshore.

Was hoping you'd smack that one when I teed it up, Gobbet. Good stuff -- thanks. Having been a Joye fan for months, I'm now "considering my position" (as the Brits say).

This Brit would agree with you. Professors are not what they used to be. Mother nature only allocated a specific amount of little grey cells - as Poirot would say - for so called professors. There are now more of the buggers than you can shake a stick at. We even have professors who are ex public sector trade union leaders for f***s sake.

I'll never forget the time I was thrown out of class (in the 60's)by a professor for questioning his statement that cars would never be able to accelerate in excess of one G. Or in the 70's I watched a prof (PHD..expert eng) nearly come to blows with a PHD bug guy. The expert told the bug guy the machine I had built for him would not work. He sued, we proved it would work, end of suit.

My favorite though is the Girl/Woman Prof who wanted to stop the leak by putting an inner-tube in the well and inflating it.

I can plug oil leak, says NY genius

BP's engineers can't stop the gushing oil spill, but a young genius from Long Island says she found the solution in less time than it takes most people to finish a crossword puzzle.

Since the "top kill," "junk shot" and "top hat" techniques failed to end the environmental nightmare, Alia Sabur -- who started her engineering Ph.D. at age 14 -- is pushing for a more radical idea.

The Northport native, who started reading before she could walk and who at 18 broke a 300-year-old record to become the youngest-ever college professor, proposes surrounding a pipe with deflated automobile tires, inserting it into the leaking riser, and then inflating the wheels to form a seal.

One vote here for the nanobots who would somehow assemble themselves into a plug despite 10k or so psi. I don't recall his academic credentials, however.

Yeah, that one cost me about 6 radios. Every time I heard that report, I'd bounce it of the wall or take a hammer to in.

Know whatcha mean, Scube: I used to have to throw books at the wall. (Generational diff, I guess.)

Most people greatly underestimate "invisible" forces. Same happens here - i work as sysadmin in an automotive company.

Really don't matter if it's the big DC Motor that shredded its own axle on an emergency stop or that 5V/500mA (USB 2.0) is indeed enough electrical power to melt the plastic on a badly designed thumbdrive.

Actually lotus, I was expecting to get smacked myself, and may yet be. It doesn't make sense that we should understand this material better than a senior scientist, so I just don't know what to make of the comments.

I was also a fan of her blog and of a youtubed press conference where she was superb.

They seem to be living their 15 minutes of fame blowing hot air, and the media swallows it. I recall a guy discussing the false wellheads and recommending the use of nukes. Can't remember his name now, I think he wrote a book about peak oil and died recently.

I am sure her colleagues are horrified.

Hey TFHGuy --previous thread

Yeah I can imagine how they thought about swinging a new BOP, but they shouldn't have been the thinkers on this job. They should've just let the driller went ahead and done it. H I've done it before on a blowout. Well, similar, a wimpy BOP busted off diverter pipe, and tweren't no oil coming out, just gas, but a elluva lot of gas, and not a mile under the ocean. That driller had a mile of sea water between him and the gusher. I'd do that all day long skippin and whistlen. I wouldn't worry about hydrates just gob a bunch of synthetic grease on the connection and set the heavy down on there.
Sorry about mentioning synthetic around crude oil people, but if you've ever had to clean that stuff off...

Also for TFHG, and completely OT, here's a "zorse" of a different color for your picture collection.

Doc, you probably know this can happen to humans. Often due to Chimerism. I saw a story about a woman failing a DNA match for her own son. It was on a Discovery Health Channel special called 'I Am My Own Twin' that focuses on chimeras with no outward characteristics of the trait. Even the father vouched for the mother and it was a divorce/custody hearing. The judge was old and wise. The woman was pregnant and he appointed someone to take a test right when the new child was born. He failed to match too. That is when this judge called the University. He got his explanation.
Sample of two tone skin. I thank God mine got 'blended'


TFHG: Still better'n having skin grafts and donor sites all over your body. Not bitchin here, mind you, just saying that backside looks pretty cool compared to mine and some others I was in hospital with. I'm goin with what I got. Just gotta. Heh. Heh.


jinn - I agree that the statement "a casing shoe failure was statically likely" isn't correct. OTOH we both know cmt failures are not uncommon either. I wouldn't try to throw a probability at it since circumstances vary greatly between wells. But as I pointed out before, drilling out a shoe and having it fail is never a big shock. I've probably had 5 liner shoes sqz'd in the last couple of months. Yet I've never tested the shoe on a prod csg run with the drill rig on location. No need to for a couple of reasons, as you know. First, I've never left a well unbalanced when I moved the drill rig off. But I never had to deal with a riser removal on my onshore/shelf wells either. Second, the completion crew will run a neg test and CBL when they move on.

So as far as a qualitative answer to the big question: how likely was the prod csg cmt job to fail? Here's my response: would we expect the BP prod csg cmt job to be significantly better than the typical cmt job? I'm tempted to say it didn't have as good a chance when you consider they thought they needed to run N2 in the cmt to make it work. That seems to indicate some concern on their part. But let's assume the odds were the same as a typical liner cmt job. Failure certainly isn't above 50/50. OTOH, it wouldn't be a big surprise to see it fail IMHO. If BP didn't think there was even a small chance of failure why would they burn rig time with the neg test? (I'm still not clear if the regs required it). At best I would guess it had the same chance of failure as a liner job.

But I think you keep hammering a valid point: decisons impacting cost have to be balanced against the risk. The problem there: it tends to be it is a perceived risk. Though risk may be like beauty (in the eye of the beholder) going forward who wouldn't now think having an underbalanced well (for any period of time) in 5,000' of water with a flow capability of 50,000 bopd as a very risky condition?

I have been following these comment threads on TOD for some months without adding to them. I hope I have learnt enough to ask a few questions that might bring even greater clarity to discussions.

It is clear that the probability of a cementing job failing is rather large. But what is the probability of the failed job remaining undetected by testing? And then, what is the probability of a subsequent failure of a cement barrier that has tested as good? My uninformed guess at answers to these questions is "very small" for the first if a valid test is performed, and "almost negligible" for the second. What are informed opinions?

A comment also: when talking about "risk" it is really necessary to define risk of what clearly.

smij - I suppose the answer depends on the type of test. When we drill out a cmt shoe we'll pressure up on it (a positive test). Pretty straight forward: the cmt begins to leak at X ppg effective mud weight. Very rarely have I seen indications that a cmt failed after passing a pos test. A neg is a very different animal and I have no experience with them. But as I pointed out above I see no reason to expect the cmt on a prod csg job to have a different chance of failure than a liner job. In theory a neg test should work as well as a pos test. But obviously a much more complex operation in a DW well. The disagreement between the folks on the BP well seem to indicate the same.

The risk discussed is the possibility of not isolating zones which have significantly different pressures. That is the primary goal of any cmt job: zone isolation. Typically the csg doesn't need to held in place...it's not going anywhere. Fail to isolate and you have a flow potential. And that is almost always a bad situation: from a poor producing well to a blow out. The BP well blew out because the 11,900 psi reservoir was not adequately isolated from the lower pressure in the csg above the shoe.

smij - I suppose the answer depends on the type of test. When we drill out a cmt shoe we'll pressure up on it (a positive test). Pretty straight forward: the cmt begins to leak at X ppg effective mud weight. Very rarely have I seen indications that a cmt failed after passing a pos test. A neg is a very different animal and I have no experience with them. But as I pointed out above I see no reason to expect the cmt on a prod csg job to have a different chance of failure than a liner job. In theory a neg test should work as well as a pos test. But obviously a much more complex operation in a DW well. The disagreement between the folks on the BP well seem to indicate the same.

The risk discussed is the possibility of not isolating zones which have significantly different pressures. That is the primary goal of any cmt job: zone isolation. Typically the csg doesn't need to held in place...it's not going anywhere. Fail to isolate and you have a flow potential. And that is almost always a bad situation: from a poor producing well to a blow out. The BP well blew out because the 11,900 psi reservoir was not adequately isolated from the lower pressure in the csg above the shoe.

drilling out a shoe and having it fail is never a big shock.


So what? That is completely irrelevant.

You are talking about cement in the annulus failing. You are talking about cement that is between open hole and casing failures. That has little to do with what actually failed in the Macondo well. What is the probability that what actually failed in the Macondo well would fail?

The evidence I have seen all suggests that the failure that did occur was extremely unlikely to occur. You have already stated you have never seen or heard of the failure mode that this well had.

So what is the probability that heavy cement in a 7" shoe track and the 2 steel check valves in float collar would all fail at the same time?

jinn - First, I've never had a well that had a neg test done on the prod csg cmt job. The BP well is the first for me. So for me the failure rate is 100% (relax...just teasing). But you do seem to be saying that the cmt and the float collar did fail, correct? As you know more about this equipment than I you need to teach me: if the cmt fails and the 11,900 psi reservoir pressure is exerted against the shoe/FC what kind of differential can it handle? I have no sense of its strength: can it take a 1,000 psi differential? A 5,000 psi differential? That would seem to be the answer to you very good question:" would all fail at the same time?" If the specs on the shoe/FC are such that they would fail under a relatively low pressure differential then it would seem the odds would be based only upon the probability of cmt failure. IOW if the cmt fails to isolate the reservoir from the shoe/FC it will fail at some point. But at what point? Thus the coincidental failure may not be coincidental at all: did the failed cmt cause the shoe/FC to fail? Or was it pure coincident that the shoe/FC failed at the same time the cmt failed?

And if it isn't a coincidental failure than the probability of shoe failure is only dependant on the cmt job. And that is very relevant to the point I made IMHO.

Do you mean gather some info before forming a conclusions and and tossing out accusations? Sounds like an idea.

I would think Weatherford would have the data on the casing shoe pressure limits. I would guess that normally if everything is working as it should the production casing would implode before the shoe track would fail.

BP's investigation said they haven't arrived at a firm conclusion as to exactly how the shoe assembly came to fail.

Thanks jinn. Sounds like the shoe/FC specs may become a key witness in this whole mess. If the specs should have not have been exceeded by the known BHP then it sounds like BP may have a case against those folks. I think I see it the way you do: a seperate but joint failure of the cmt and the shoe/FC seems highly unlikely.

The point where they did not stop and think, was when they had circa nine attempts to convert the float collar. They over-pressured that float collar by several orders of magnitude. They didn't stop to think they may have have buggered its primary ability to be a non-return valve in the production casing. If the cement had been good in the shoe track, that would not have been a problem.

acorn -- never saw that point before: they got rough with the FC? Any sense of how much that excessive pressure could have damaged the shoe assembly? You have any spec/tollerance numbers handy?

I know nothing about oil wells and am not an engineer, so this is idle speculation from a chemist.

As I understand it from some of the drawings, the float collar used includes an autofill device that is positioned through the flappers during casing deployment and drops down during conversion, freeing the flappers to close. After dropping to the shoe I guess it helps with even distribution of cement.

There were multiple attempts to convert this thing and the "successful" conversion was at a much higher pressure than expected.

I get the impression that the only evidence that it has converted at all is from a pressure spike.

Question to the people that know about these things - is it even remotely possible that it didn't convert properly, or at all, and the pressure readouts were misinterpreted? If that could and did happen then how important is the autofill part to a successful cement job? A poor float conversion as a contributor to subsequent multiple failure?


Once the Auto-Fill tube is dislodged it serves no purpose. It's just litter.

With the tube in place, I think it performs three functions. The most obvious is holding the pair of flapper valves open. In conjunction with the caged ball and circulating ports, it allows downward flows through it up to around 5 bpm. At some higher rate the net downward force deriving from the pressure drop across the assembly is sufficient to dislodge it and the flapper valves are then free to close.

The function that gives it its Auto-Fill name requires some guess work, as the Weatherford site provides no help. I found a hint somewhere that the assembly allows mud to slowly enter the casing as it's being lowered into place. So it provides some of the "float" of a float collar with closed valve, plus giving a head start on filling the casing with mud. The same means presumably would allow the casing to fill (auto fill) once it's in place--as long as the annulus around it is provided with mud. My guess is that function is enabled by the caged ball rising to the top of the tube and coming to rest against a seat that makes for a leaky valve.

A Weatherford L45WP dual flapper Auto-Fill float collar is shown on this page. (I'm assuming its construction is like, if not identical, to that of M45AP that appears to have been used on the Macondo production casing.)



Thanks, Mainerd, that's a document I'd not seen. It pretty much confirms my suppositions.


Could you explain your suspicion.

t looks to me that when they applied pressure and it finally popped the only thing that could have happened was the auto-fill tube dropped down. Are you seeing something else?


What was reported as 9 attempts and 3142 psi to convert the float equipment in BP's 24 May Washington briefing (p13) has evolved to 9 attempts and 3142 psi to establish circulation in BP's investigative report (p70). The difference is significant. If the circulating ports in the float equipment fill tube were clear, and at the same time the ports in the casing reamer shoe were plugged, one could pressurize the casing to say 3000 psi, have no flow, and not harm the float equipment. If reaching 3142 psi then cleared the casing shoe blockage, the float equipment may have converted, not converted, or died violently, depending on the dynamics of the clearing.

If the shoe ports were clear and the restriction was in the float equipment, the 3142 psi event may have destroyed it. (I think the float collar was a Weatherford M45AP, but I was never able to find any literature for that model.)

BP's report now draws no firm conclusion as to what actually happened. The report does say that after circulation was established flow rates never reached the 5 bpm minimum required to convert the collar (5-7 bpm to establish the 400-700 psi differential required to convert). This reinforces the view that at the time they thought the hangup had been float equipment and that it had been cleared when circulation commenced.

The report also cites another incident that may have affected the float equipment. It took 2900 psi to rupture the bottom wiper plug, rather than the expected 900-1100 psi.


Chuck - you obviously know more about the shoe assembly then I ever will. Is there a simple answer to how much pressure this equipment can handle. Early I wondered if failed cmt could have exposed the assembly to high enough pressure (from the bottom). Then it occurred to me that they had 14.2 ppg mud in the csg. So if at some point there was isolation there would be a BHP below the assemble around 12,000 psi and above 13,500 psi. Way out of my field but even if this situation developed that's only a 1,500 psi differential. Just my WAG but that would cause any failure of the assembly, would it?

But what about during the neg test? For simplicity assume there is no cmt. And they do the neg test. What sort of pressure differential are we talking about? I don’t think I’ve seen a number for the effective MW the neg tests was suppose to create. Jinn seems to imply that a failure of the shoe assembly and the cmt at the same time is not very likely but I think that assumes those two aspects are independent. But could cmt failure lead to the assembly failure?

Or is it more likely a simply a matter of various ports and /or channels being plugged?

I don’t think I’ve seen a number for the effective MW the neg tests was suppose to create. Jinn seems to imply that a failure of the shoe assembly and the cmt at the same time is not very likely but I think that assumes those two aspects are independent. But could cmt failure lead to the assembly failure?


You are misrepresenting what I said. didn't say it was my opinion that the casing shoe failure was probable or improbable.

What I said is that the vast majority of experts in the oil industry that in May and June analyzed what happened to the Macondo well said the probability that the shoe assembly failed was extremely low.

Here is a example of what I mean. This is a quote (9/8/10) from Bob Cavnar about the BP report. He is still not convinced that the shoe assembly failed.


The report concluded that the original influx of gas into the well came up through the production casing, which is the least likely path that required 4 simultaneous failures to occur. The obvious path, up the outside of the production casing to the casing hanger that we've talked about before, was dismissed, though they left the door open to that possibility, buried in the back of the report. As part of their defense of this conclusion was the live feed of pressure readings from the rig up until the explosions; they also cited the pressure behaviors of the well during the static kill, but left that data out of the appendices.


There have been many similar opinions about the failure mode expressed. The problem with jumping to conclusions before you have the facts is that you can shoot yourself in the foot.

For instance, there were all those oil company executives that testified before Congress. In their testimony before congress they expressed essentially the same opinion Cavnar does. They were all in agreement that it was unlikely the casing shoe had failed and BP was guilty of creating a bad design that resulted in a flow up the annulus.

At this point it is going to be tough to make the case that BP should have known the shoe assembly would fail when you have all these people on the record declaring that mode of failure to be highly unlikely.

I don’t think I’ve seen a number for the effective MW the neg tests was suppose to create.


The integrity test was supposed to simulate seawater gradient from -8367 to sea level. That simulation would produce a pressure of about 11,125 Psi at the bottom of the column (10000' @ 14.2ppg and 8367' @ 8.6 ppg). The well was supposed to be held in that state for 30 minutes.

The purpose of the test is to see what will happen when you actually do displace to seawater without removing any mud from the riser.

Bigger hammer mindset?

Have problems like these been seen on other wells? How did they respond to the problem? Were there related issues afterwards?

"... decisons impacting cost have to be balanced against the risk."

1) There was no significant time/cost savings to be had.

2) The risk was catastrophic. Blowout, rig destruction, loss of life.

There was no reward to be had. It was all risk, and catastrophic risk at that.

So what if chance of cement failure was only 10%, 5%, even 1%? When risk is catastrophic, 0% is the only acceptable number.

Better yet, don't even rely on 0%. Don't underbalance the well period unless BOP is closed and verified holding, and then only long enough to do a negative test, which is irrelevant, you're going to restore hydrostatic balance before opening BOP and moving ahead.

Better yet, don't even rely on 0%. Don't underbalance the well period unless BOP is closed and verified holding, and then only long enough to do a negative test, which is irrelevant, you're going to restore hydrostatic balance before opening BOP and moving ahead.

Now there are a couple of tricks worth good money to watch you try to pull off.

All they had to do was restore 14.2 ppg mud back to well head, easy to do, danger eliminated, open BOP, carry on with P&A.

Oh wait, that WAS original plan. :)

Personally I might go a smidge heavier, get it slightly overbalanced considering I'm displacing riser, little extra margin of safety.

Displacing out the 14.2 mud with seawater for a negative test is a bit hard to do with the BOP totally closed, as is displacing out the seawater with 14.2 mud afterward. You simply can't make it through life without ever having your butt hanging out. At some point it is negligent to not change your skivies out for a fresh pair... and depending upon your shape, weight, and gender, it could be considered gross negligence if you did it where I could see.

Very simple, pump mud down drillpipe run seawater out kill line, you know, like they did during neg test ...until someone valved it off.

I might not get through life never taking small risks, but we're not talking about small risk here, we're talking about catastropic risk, and I damn sure hope to get though life without taking catastropic risks.

Remainder of your comments are childish blabbering not worthy of addresssing.

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.


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.

And finally we have the point of departure. JINN's statement here is where he and I depart. I think up to this point we agree. Had the casing been balanced with the well pressure, as the regs. and standard good drilling practice dictate and require, the well would not have kicked and blown out the way it did.

I say this is reckless conduct because it involved willfully undertaking the risk of taking away the crew's first line of defense in fighting a kick and in doing what they knew would create a single point failure scenario that could lead to a blowout, with the crew greatly handicapped in fighting any kick.

JINN thinks it is okay that they did this because they did not figure out ahead of time exactly how this well ended up failing. They never saw it coming. They did not know and felt the risk was minimal.

Had good practices been followed, no dead crew. But because they were unable to see the risk, JINN thinks it is okay that they knowingly did away with the protections the law provides the crew and those living along the gulf that would have protected against this very risk.

This is where we disagree. And luckily for future crews, jinn's position is completely untenable. The law will take his facts and come to a completely different conclusion than he does.

What gets me is the arrogance of jinn's position. BP only had to take precautions for those risks it could clearly see, even if the scope of potential risk is oceans bigger. If we don't clearly identify a risk until after the crew is dead, then that's okay, even if it is risk that normal good practices and following the regs would have eliminated.

And what if they were negligent in discovering the potential risk? Jinn does not say.

In any case, his position is thankfully so wrong on the legal side we don't have to worry about it. He has the the concept of legal duty bass ackwards. Completely turned on its head.

But beyond that, it is not believable that BP did not see the single point failure risk. Jinn seems to acknowledge this. He states they figured it was minimal and the negative pressure test (ha!, that beauty of procedural wonder) covered it.

But again this is an untenable position. And this is the very sort of thinking that regs. are intended to guard against. Safety is not optional, unless you are BP or JINN.

And to put the final nail in the coffin, as RM points out and as has been obvious throughout, they could have done it the safer way VERY EASILY. Jinn even says it would not have taken more time (be he is wrong here i believe...i almost have this worked out). But they took the risk anyway.

Lord help any crew working for Jinn. They only get protection from risks he can clearly see.

SYNC. Give it up for Christ's sake. You haven't got a clue what you are talking about. If you were the prosecuting attorney; and, Jinn and I were called as witnesses; between us, we would blow your arse out of 5000 feet of gulf seawater.

acorn - Not that I haven't been enjoying this pissing battle from afar but a simple question: what would you offer as a reasonable justification for leaving the well in an unbalanced condition for any legth of time? Just an honest and friendly question.

My justification would be; I had spent north of $26 million dollars on a gizmo called a BOP. That BOP was designed to hold 15000 psi, even if the well was full of gas from top to bottom, it wouldn't give a toss, it could handle it.

My justification would also be that I can't get my BOP off this 5000 foot deep well, without spilling some crap into this ocean - which the government says I can't do - unless I wash out my BOP and its riser with seawater back to the rig tanks. And, that SOBM costs $500 dollars a barrel, I want that back, I can use that on the next job.

In order to get my BOP and Riser flushed with seawater, I have no option but to reduce the hydrostatic pressure on the bottom of this well. To avoid under balancing the bottom hole pressure, I could fill the casing with some very heavy mud. Snag; that very heavy mud plus the pressure from the mud in the riser, will subject the bottom of the hole to pressure that may bust the cement in the shoe and the formation. Christ, I also have to worry about the cement at the back of the well bore liners as well. All my heavy mud could bust out that cement and end up in some Hillbillies water well in Hick town Alabama.

I know what I will do. I have my BOP ready at the push of a button. Those TO guys will have kept it in A1 condition. Ready to box in this well should some little bug fart out of turn down there. I will go in hole to the point where I want to stick my cement plug. The man says OK for 8760 feet. Squeeze in the seawater, nowhere to go except up the riser. Shit, the man says I have got to stick it up the kill line. Bugger, does anyone remember what's in the kill line? The U-Tube on the neg test, will be arse backward if we call that wrong.

No problems. I have Halli's best brew in the shoe and the formation. The shoe has not one but two flappers in it. The wiper plugs must be in the float collar, boy did we give that some stick, nine times we humped that sucker.

What could go wrong?

My justification would be; I had spent north of $26 million dollars on a gizmo called a BOP. That BOP was designed to hold 15000 psi, even if the well was full of gas from top to bottom, it wouldn't give a toss, it could handle it.

I guess that's what we got them pinchers fer.

(Hee Haw theme, to play us out)

Sounds pretty scary, Acornus. So these are the tactics you use when the facts are not on your side? As a self-designated BP shill, you're sounding a bit shrill.

That's me, a BP shill. An Engineer who understands the mechanics and thermodynamics.

It's been fun, but I have to move on. Please try and resist bombing Iran in the next couple of weeks. I will be next door in the Emirates and too close for comfort. (I am assuming you know where Iran is on the Map). So if Obama says stuff like, "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and "45 minutes to launch", ignore him. You will know it is bollocks, just like Bush said about Iraq.

Do the rest of the world a favour; bring your grunts home. Stop spending more on your military than the rest of the world put together. Everyone who has intentions of doing your lovely country and your lovely people harm, are not in Afghanistan; Iraq or Iran; they are already in your communities and have been for some while. And if any of the b*****ds damage any of your ski resorts, I will be back asking questions. ((()))***

Acornus, you are the one who said you were a shill. I didn't.

And as for the wars, if that poodle Tony Blair had not sat in bush's lap the whole time, he could of stopped the war from happening. He is the one guy in the world who could have stopped it. Without the support of the UK, it's unlikely bush could or would have invaded. But that's like expecting the OIM to go against the Coman i guess.

That does not let us off the hook, but you're hanging there right with us.

And you owe me a beer!

Do you want us to bring our troops home from the Balkans also? Let you europeans deal with that mess that the US did not cause?

I remember just how viscously the US was criticized when we declined to send our troops to East Timor.

BTW - I thouight you europeans were going to show us yokels in the US how you could resolve the issues with Iran through diplomacy? Can you tell me just how well that worked out?

You just self-designated as adolescent troll. Congratulations.

I never said it was OK for BP to blow up a rig and kill people.

What I did say was you make up evidence and then jump to conclusions based on that fabricated evidence that BP blew up the rig intentionally.

You ask:

"And what if they were negligent in discovering the potential risk?"

Well of course they were negligent. That is already established. The Oil Pollution Act is written such a way that all we need to know is there is oil in the Gulf to establish BP's negligence. That is why BP put up 20 Billion dollar escrow fund to pay off claims against their negligence. There is no question that they were negligent in discovering all the potential risks.

BP was negligent. They already admitted some degree of blame in their report. On the other hand, they did not "blow up the rig intentionally," in the sense that they wanted it to blow up. Nobody is suggesting that. The question under debate is whether BP (or TO) acted with reckless disregard for safety. Should they have known they were placing the crew in a dangerous situation? (If the answer is yes, then it's reckless.) It seems this is the major point of disagreement between jinn and syncro, am I right?

Exactly. And this is an important distinction to make in truly understanding what happened and figuring out how to prevent future similar situations.

Part of the risk is outside of the well. It's the people making decisions and how/why they make the ones they do.

I'm going to stick in my view (again) that the prime problem is the gradual erosion of appreciation of risk. As I wrote in the previous thread, there are very unlikely to be statistically valid estimates of risk. It is simply not possible in a complex system like a deep water well to create such estimates. This is a hard but true issue. Estimates of failure probabilities are often indefensible and bogus. But a culture where there have not been any bad failures brings about a complacency. Each time you try what was once considered a risky operation, and it works out, you get more confident. The trouble is that that confidence is misplaced and not reasonable.

It seems pretty clear to me anyway, that nobody on the rig, within BP, or TO, thought that they were trying anything risky. Where risky is any worse than normal everyday risk aboard a deep water rig. (Which alone is an interesting metric of risk.) What is also apparent is that they were wrong. Not just wrong in the particular procedure they attempted, but wrong in their overall understanding of risk management.

Another anecdote from the Apollo era. Early in the programme some VIPs were touring the booster development site (which ironically is the Michoud site) and were introduced to one of Von Braun's engineers. A VIP asked about the risk of failure of the booster. The engineer was asked if there was any chance of the booster failing, to which he emphatically replied "nien, nien, nien!" The manager conducting the tour turned to the VIPs and said, "there you are gentlemen, we have 0.999 reliability."

In reality there was not, and never has been any statistically valid way of measuring or estimating launch vehicle reliability. Only 12 Saturn V launches were ever performed. Of those, at least two had significant annomolies. The shuttle has launched roughly 100 times, with the loss of two vehicles, both losses due to launch time issues. However to deduce that the chance of a loss of a shuttle on launch is 1 in 50 is not mathematically defensible. Both losses were due to different failures, and each failure was investigated and (hopefully) remedied. So it isn't reasonable to include those failures in future estimates.

For what it's worth I have a vague recollection from the early days of the shuttle of reading a prediction of failure rates of the system.

It might be worth the effort, if that's in your field of interest, to dig it out, because I think it might have been something in the ballpark of the 1 loss out of 50 flights we've experienced. Don't quote me on that, though.


There have been a few commentaries about the risks. The Feynman addendum to the Challenger accident report may have been the source of your memory. He was scathing in his opinion of the official risk versus the engineer at the coalface's gut feeling. The gut feeling was a lot closer to 1:50.

The simple reality is that if the NASA was to have gone to congress to ask for money for the shuttle programme and quoted a one in fifty accident rate they would have never got a cent. As history has proven, that is an accident rate that the people won't stomach. Whilst there was never an official safetly estimate for Apollo, an unoffical gut feeling was that 1:100 was about what they could manage. The shuttle was of course meant to be a paradigm shift to vastly improve on that. That 1:100 was for the entire mission, including the lunar landing, which makes is multiply strict. Yet they lost a crew, and very nearly lost two. 1:10 was probably closer to the truth.

Jinn, thanks for clarifying. I am glad you concede that they were at least negligent. I thought you were saying that because they did not figure out the specific failure scenario ahead of time, they were not negligent. But your analysis still deserves further consideration.

Generally, if a risk is not reasonably foreseeable, then it does not constitute negligence to fail to foresee it and take actions to prevent it. So in that sense, your reasoning his some validity in seeking to deflect responsibility for the decision.

But that is not what we are dealing with here. First, what we do know is that cementing fails fairly frequently. Sometimes it fails for reasons we know, sometimes it fails for reasons we don't know, in part because what is happening is thousands of feet underground and invisible. We cannot observe it to verify integrity. That means cementing is inherently full of unknowable risks. We can test to verify, but those tests are by no means fool proof themselves. That's what makes drilling so risky. You don't always know what is going on despite best efforts and no negligence.

For that reason, we have redundant barriers as the foundation of safe drilling practices. There is a built-in back-up, so to speak, to insure against all of the unknowns that we know can and do happen.

And the regulations codify that standard of care. When you violate it, you are presumed negligent.

However, I submit that this is not just negligence. You may recall the distinction I drew some time back between negligence and recklessness. Negligence here would be coming up with the new plan and inadvertently violating the reg. or failing to understand that the plan introduced the risk the reg. protects against. This is being careless.

Gross negligence would be knowing full well that you were introducing a single point failure scenario but not understanding the implications. You cannot be a safe driller if you don't understand that. This is incompetence.

Recklessness would be like getting in your car to drive knowing you are slightly over the legal limit, but thinking the risk is small and that you will drive very safely, you dismiss it and do it any way. You can see how that might apply here. They were aware of everything, but figured the risk was small and doing it carefully (with the neg. test) would make it safe enough. Of course, they were wrong.

If people are taking the risk on themselves, and no one else is affected, then fine, let them do it and bear the consequences. But here, if their gamble (and that is what it was, even if the odds were really good) did not pay off, the crew and the spill victims also end up paying a very steep price for it. BP is required to weigh that in the mix. It is part of the overall risk load. The greater the potential damage, the higher the standard of care required.

Simply put, BP took risks that the law says are unacceptable even if BP may have deemed them acceptable. Bo took risks that appear to have been unacceptable to the crew, or close to it. There appears to have been a struggle. Had the crew gotten their way, I will postulate, they would not have taken that risk because it was their lives on the line. They feel the risk more acutely than engineers sitting at a desk on shore who have never had to fight a kick, especially ones who seem to care more about cost-cutting than safety. Engaging in reckless conduct can be profitable. It allows all sorts of efficiencies that are not possible if the rules are followed. I am still fairly certain that such a trade off exists here, we just haven't found it yet.

And a big PS: At this stage, in my personal quest here to understand what went wrong, I am still testing theory. Pieces are falling into place for sure. But it is still theory being tested. Jinn, please try to grasp the significance of that. It might bring your blood pressure down a notch.

Edit: deleted redundancy

Syn, a general question from those of us who are not in the legal profession:

In a case like this, how much weight, if any, might the courts give to BP's previous patterns of behaviour? To previous fines, sanctions, etc that have been made on BP for safety and environmental failures. I'm obviously thinking about Texas City and the 2006 Prudhoe pipeline spill.

A link from propublica on the Alaska spill that I posted sometime back is still relevent: http://www.propublica.org/article/years-of-internal-bp-probes-warned-tha...

Another couple of older links from a safety at work blog that I found recently get at the issue. On BP's corporate approach to safety http://safetyatworkblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/a-personal-insight-into...

And on BP safety culture and integrety management http://safetyatworkblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/bp-safety-culture-and-i...

In other words, what I'm asking is do the courts only look at the DWH disaster in isolation, or can they consider past behaviour?

syncro can do a more thorough job of this, Alaska_geo, but yes, that's called "similar acts" evidence, and it's certainly admissible.

Lotus, you got the tag right, but the application is a little tricky. Sometimes it's admissible. Sometimes it's not. It depends on the state in part, but more on the context.

Generally, similar past acts are not admissible as evidence of current bad conduct, whether it be negligent or even criminal.

Past acts typically provide no basis for actually proving subsequent conduct, such as the elements of a crime. Moreover, past acts offered as evidence of present conduct are often highly prejudicial. The logical leap people want to make is not supported by logic often. Instead, it's prejudice based on a logical fallacy.

Past bad acts are very relevant, however, for punishment in assessing punitive damages or fines, or jail sentences, or in deciding whether to extend the privilege to drill. Habitual offenders are usually the most destructive to society and are punished more severely. But they are not good for establishing liability of guilt.

There are exceptions to the general rule. For example, you can sometimes wiggle in past bad conduct for the limited purpose of establishing knowledge of a risk, but not as proof of present negligence or criminal conduct. But that would be subject to the rule where the probative value of the evidence must outweigh any potential for prejudice.

Edited to clean up

syncro, good thing you were handy to fix that -- thanks! Out in the kitchen I was thinking "Shoulda said a little more, at least 'usually admissible in the punishment phase.'"

Haha! That's funny Lotus. I sure know that feelin.

syn - Yes...sounds like a tough path to follow. But I'll remind you of that little fact that few outside the oil patch are aware of: kicks. Every rig keeps a tower report. Every well that BP/TO drilled has a tower report the covers every minute of every day they were drilling. What if the investigators, or any party for that matter, can subpoena the tower reports for both BP and TO for, let’s say, the last 10 years. I won’t try to estimate the number of kicks (both small and near blow out level) but the number could be a real shock for the general public. Again, the simple example: the BP well. IF they had seen the kick coming and shut the well in 99.99999% of the American public wouldn’t have a clue how close we came. Probably 98.99999% in the oil patch might not have heard about. It’s not like the oil patch rumor mill does buzz with news of some operator taking a kick…it’s just not that big news to us insiders. And what if there is a documented history of csg shoe assemblies failings? The makers aren’t going to advertise those failures. Most ego’s in the oil patch don’t go around talking about THEIR screwed up wells.

I’ll just make up some numbers (jinn…you should stop reading now). What if one the last 30 wells BP drilled they had 15 kicks….some mild…a few really bad? What if the last 50 wells TO drilled they had 5 kicks almost make it to the floor because they weren’t watching returns close enough? I know you said it’s a tricky strategy. But we’re not talking about the ole “lack of safety culture”. It’s a potential history of actions very similar to those that led to the blow out. Just curious if such an angle would fortify some attorney’s weapon system.

Evidence of kicks is not evidence of similar bad acts. The "bad" part of the past act is that you failed to do your job. So evidence that BP negligently or recklessly allowed other wells to blowout would not come in. But evidence of the number of wells that take a kick would, if you can show how it is relevant to the claims at issue on a sound, logical or scientific basis.

People seem to have a hard time understanding that both BP and the crew can be negligent and responsible. And it sure appears someone should have insisted on some monitoring given the confusion over the test. But recall that the guy in charge at the time of the blowout was a victim of false confidence based on his defective annular compression theory. That's compounding of error there. If the other driller or ATP had been on duty, the one who had serious doubts, things may have turned out differently. Same thing if the TP and OIM had been spent as much time on the floor that day as they did with the VIPs.

But I think there is a good argument here that any negligence by the crew is nominal, for several reasons.

1. Had BP not been negligent/reckless, the crew's negligence would not have matter, or not as much. They did eventually catch it, just not quickly enough. And arguably, there never would have been a kick.

2. BP's conduct severely compromised the crew's ability to fight the kick. And to spot it. The BP plan took away the mud, the first line of defense as the MMS reprot terms it, leaving only the BOP. And the way the mud was handled did make monitoring more difficult.

3. There is some evidence that the crew rebelled against the plan and wanted to do things in a safer manner in accordance with good practices that likely would have prevented the blowout, but was overruled.

Failing to monitor the electronic data monitor is hard to excuse no matter what, though.

But when you add it all together and look at it from the point of view of BP knowingly subjecting the crew to a single point failure scenario on top of the crappy test procedures and the wrong result, and the off-laoding of the mud, the crew did not create that dangerous scenario, they fought against it. BP created it. Had the crew been more on the ball, they may have been heroes and saved the day. But they are victims here, not the main negligent/reckless actor, IMO, if the facts are as they appear. Still a lot of ifs out there, though.


P.S. And don't forget, the crew probably could have saved they day if they had not been blown up.

Maybe if TO had obeyed not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of it too, and made damn that the rig floor and surrounding area could be rendered free of all ignition sources at the flip of a switch, the crew could have gotten it together enough to get the job done.

The same goes for some of the other safety equipment, including the leaky BOP annular. It kept flowing after they shut it in because of poor seal. For some time, too.

The crew got cheated. They were not given the emergency/safety tools to do the dangerous job expected of them that the law says they were supposed to have. There is a persuasive argument to be made that had they been given those tools, they would have got the job done. They were obviously committed and put their lives on the line to do just that. They could have cut and run.

.....Generally, similar past acts are not admissible as evidence of current bad conduct, whether it be negligent or even criminal.

Past acts typically provide no basis for actually proving subsequent conduct, such as the elements of a crime. Moreover, past acts offered as evidence of present conduct are often highly prejudicial. The logical leap people want to make is not supported by logic often. Instead, it's prejudice based on a logical fallacy.

Past bad acts are very relevant, however, for punishment in assessing punitive damages or fines, or jail sentences, or in deciding whether to extend the privilege to drill....

Thanks, that was more or less what I thought to be the case. I just wanted to make sure I was understanding properly.

To make an analogy: I am on trial, accused of driving my shiny red Hummer at 80 mph through the crosswalk in front of the school that Rockman's kid attends. The fact that last year I was convicted of a similar act at Syncro's kids school, and the year prior to that at Lotus's kids school has no real bearing on whether or not I committed this act.

HOWEVER, if I am convicted of this act based on other evidence (the police radar gun and 3 eyewitnesses), then the fact that I failed to learn my lesson and reform in the past can be used to justify much more severe punishment this time.

Probably the very best I can hope for is that they ship me off to a high security prison in another state....before Rockman gets his hands on me!

After reading Alaska Geo's post again, I should add that there is some evidence that will likely come in pertaining to corporate culture issues. How far they can take it will depend on a lot of factors. Relevancy is the test for admissibility. If you come up with the right theory of recovery, you can get stuff in you would not be able to under a different theory.

But one area that likely will get attention is what the incentives are for people like Halfe and Guide. How are the bonuses set. How are goals and expectations set. If you can win the discovery battles and get you hands on enough info and documents, a good team can put together a theory that ties the corporate culture stuff right into the claim, such as one that foster dangerous risks. There has to be some clear, direct connection to the claims, and the evidence has to tend to prove those claims. Ultimately, you have to be able to make a direct causal link between the corp. culture evidence and the blowout. That's hard to do.

But such evidence is much more directly relevant if punitive damage claims go to trial. The burden there is to prove outrageous conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others. Disabling safety devices comes to mind as an example of such outrageous conduct that would meet most state law standards. Evidence that the corporation encouraged risks of the type at issue over safety and knew or should have known that the consequences of doing so would mean more kicks and dangerous situations would probably make the cut if the evidence was really good. It is a tough burden to meet, though.

But sometimes you have enough evidence to get the right claim to trial and to get the evidence in you can only get in under that claim, and by doing so, you strengthen all of the other claims, even if in the end you end up losing on the one claim that allowed you to get that evidence in. So it's always good to try where feasible.

...But one area that likely will get attention is what the incentives are for people like Halfe and Guide. How are the bonuses set. How are goals and expectations set.....

Based on what I hear from friends (and I know lots of BP folks), the 15% bonus quoted in one link is quite real. In some cases maybe even higher. Metrics would also include an HSE component of course. But those would be essentially meaningless things that everyone will satisfy. Stuff like "No Personal Safety Infractions" (in other words don't run over anyone in the parking lot), and "Complete all required safety training" (in other words check off a bunch of mindless web based classes).

But saving a half a million bucks on a well that is already way over budget will definately get you a decent bonus, and maybe even a promotion as well.

Oil Online
"Two-Key Scenarios for Hazardous Offshore Operations"
Dutch Holland, Jim O'Neal

Could a two-key solution have a place in offshore operations such as BP's Macondo well? Quite possibly; therefore, thinking through two-key scenarios can help operators better understand their situation and potential solutions. Let's consider some obvious two-key scenarios involving "the company man" (who holds one key) and a second party (also with a key) who must concur with a decision to perform certain critical well operations...

Given today's difficult and dangerous times, a word to the industry is warranted. If the offshore industry does not move quickly to establish workable operational safety standards, policies and procedures on their own, there will be a natural tendency (or even a mandate) for regulators to step in and dictate solutions. That could be even more disastrous than a dozen oil spills in the Gulf.

Perhaps, but remember the picture.

CNN, http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/14/justice-department-expects-to-sue-bp/

The Justice Department expects to sue BP for damages from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a filing made Monday night with the U.S. District Court in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Interesting article.......


Two snips that remind me of why I still swim in the GOM:

Swimming in chlorinated pools can cause an increased risk of cancer in bathers, Spanish researchers said on Monday. Researchers from the Barcelona-based Centre of Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and Research Institute Hospital del Mar studied changes in indicators of mutagenicity -- permanent mutation of the DNA -- among a group of swimmers in an indoor chlorinated pool. Researchers found indicators of an increase in cancer risk in healthy subjects as well as potential respiratory effects from the cholorine used as a disinfectant, the statement said.

"The positive health impacts of swimming can be increased by reducing the levels of these chemicals," he said.

Then onto the topic of the miners, if I was stuck down there~I would want a RX of valium ASAP.

Of course you are correct, but you probably don't know that one of my former workout partners is none other than Coach Chuck Anderson. He was the one that got his arm bit off by a shark right in front of the Pink Pony Pub. He was at an event in his honor two weeks later with a plastic shark on his amputation. Coach got tangled up with the shark because the shark was going for his buddy and he intervened. John 15:13 sums it up for me.

Didn't know that, but what an incredible story and yes that verse sums it up to perfection. I'm personally far more afraid of rip currents than sharks or any oil/dispersant mix in the GOM, I have seen weekends when 90+ ppl were pulled out just by lifeguards. This article just interested me since it was talking about mutations etc., sorry I'm a little distracted at the moment......just bumped into Phil Keating down the street........I'll be back on topic shortly:)


Has anybody seen this? I thought a stake had been driven through the heart of this several weeks ago. Is there any new information in here? Or just fairy tales that refuse to die?


11 Sept 2010- This article is dedicated to the victims of 911 and the people who are still working to unearth the truth.

Coming from a guy who's still pushing made up trash, that's about as cynical as it gets.

about as cynical as it gets

Oh, I dunno. Come sit by me, snakehead. Let's hide'n'watch to see how fast he tops that one. (They always have to, you know.)

Yep, basically an episode each week or so and there has to be a topper in each one.

You mean they haven't yet announced to deception around the fourth well drilled by ancient aliens??? ;-)

Or BeePee's creature-de-jour.

And why should I or anyone else be interested in reading anything that BK Lim writes? His credibility is totally shot with me. If he wants to churn out his stuff, I hope he has fun doing it.

Like many, I followed the intense discussions at The Oildrum.com (TOD) to get some fair technical coverage of the BP’s oil spill disaster. As the disaster wore on, I started to wonder why industry experts like Art Berman, Rockman and many supporting actors (Rocdoc, PinkFud, Quaking, CraigWcoop & others) were so defensive of BP’s lies and zealously stamping out any independent bloggers’ views. If they had been truly professional and interested in seeking and disseminating the truth of the disaster, why were they not discussing incriminating issues that BP seems to be avoiding? Granted that nuking the gushing well was not really a good idea, but why should they be bitterly thrashing Matt Simmons’ apparently valid assertions as well.

Here we go again. Gotta love them. I wish I could send folks like that a TinFoilHat of their own.

Edit: Rocky is a man of peace, but I got the impression he almost felt like going to look for some BP and TO folks. No, I think BP would prefer if Rocky kept quiet I am sure.

Edit2: Have they at least sent down some beer and nachos to the miners?

What's the purpose of quoting him and repeating the link, TF?

Directly refuting some of the data. If someone gets a mention, then the blogger must hold the persons quoted in some esteem. Since the post mentioned TOD and posters here, I was ensuring that those mentioned knew that they were being mentioned. I would do the same for you. That is what these type things need, lots of sunshine. Thanks for watching out for us.

I did not mean to start a war or waste blog space. I was trying to ask a legitimate question because I do not have the knowledge or resources to judge this for myself. Just a simple reply of "oh, wow, here is a new factoid:________" or "was crap, still crap, always crap" would suffice.

Sorry, that was not about you, TH. People here have just lost all patience with certain bloggers who run hoaxes, crank theories, and scare stories exclusively.

It's based on ignorance of geology, fallacious reasoning and a probable desire for blogroll fame.

Okay, "was crap, still crap, WILL LIKELY always BE crap." I added the slight modifier because I do hold out the hope for redemption and grace; but, I am a well-known optimist ;-)

I don't think it’s directed at you, Thor, some folks are just tired of Lim's brand of crap.

Please don't take offense, T'Hammer -- none of this is aimed at you. But BK Lim has again and again peddled crap, so we howl whenever he comes up. Please stick around. Pretty quickly you'll notice the differences between the talk of knowledgeable people and the talk of a shyster. Before long, you'll know quite a bit more yourself.

I concur with those who are fed up with people spreading these false rumours. However I am wary of people posting those links here as many of them have been sockpuppets trying to drive traffic to those links.


EDIT: Missed phrase

Which is why one iteration of a BK Lim link is already too many.

TFHG - Who said that? I needed a good laugh today and your post came just at the right time. So the Rockman was "defensive of BP’s lies and zealously stamping out any independent bloggers’ views". Outstanding! That's one of the aspects of TOD I really appreciate: the archives. Here's the challenge of the day: a half gallon of Blue Bell ice cream for every post I've made that supports that claim. But here's the hook: I get to meet every challenger with a post of mine where I might not only blast BP but have also pointed out aspects of the oil patch that are far from complimentary. Trust me: exposing these matters was not enjoyable. I have no grudge against the oil patch. But I do feel I have a very serious obligation in this matter. Not sure how I'll deal with my BBIC abstinence program if anyone takes up the challenge though.

And no TFHG...I'm not a man of peace. I truly do have a nasty temper. And I was born in the blood if you get my meaning. Physical violence doesn't bother at all...as long as I win. But maturity finally allowed me how to control that aspect of my nature. But it's never far away if I feel there's sufficient justification. I just try like hell to avoid those situations. Just another reason I wouldn't want to be on the BP jury.

I don't think you will get any takes here, RM. Other places maybe. In certain circles, TOD is considered to be a haven for BP shills and may actually be a front for BP itself. LOL

TH's quote comes comes from BK Lim's bog on Sept 3 at http://bklim.newsvine.com/_news/2010/09/03/5039904-forensic-analysis-of-... and repeated and endorsed in the Alex Higgins blog at http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/09/03/bk-lim-fires-bp-shills-oil-d...

Just more of the same tripe.

I wonder if there is a way to hack the TOD archives so I can get Rock to send me some Blue Bell. I had it once many years ago and it is not available in California.

Tin Foil, the food in Chile isn't like Mexican or faux border chow.


Indeed. They make some fine, fine fermented grape juice down Chile way.

Well everybody drinks beer and my brother had nachos in Japan. But yes maybe I should have said a empanada, a pastry usually filled with pino (a unique combo of stewed beef and onion) or queso (cheese), and red wine. From http://www.chipsites.com/ww/food-common-snacks-in-chile.html .

Besides, I did not want to degrade things here, but I would demand some good cannabis. I mean I am stuck with 33 men and no women until Christmas. I suppose smoking is out, but I would just eat it. Gotta keep the weight on anyhow. Cannabis is the perfect thing to send down. I am not a big cannabis person either but it would help IMHO. There are reports of concern over weight loss and fried nerves. Also the biggest TV they could fit and you can roll up one of those Airbooks can't you? I would do a reality show while I was down there too. My agent would already be negotiating the contract. I would make sure everyone that left that mine, left rich. Also I would need some workout equipment.
What would you demand?

Cannabis is the perfect thing to send down.

That is a brilliant idea.

You couldn't send cannabis without munchies. That's just cruel.

Para mí, Empanada de Mariscos y Ostiones a la Parmesana, por favor. Yumola!

Right, Tom, from empanadas with whole olives and a boiled egg crammed in with the meat and onions, to completos --a hot dog with the works like you've never seen, to sweet kuchen, to conger eel stew, to steaks falling off the plate, to wines so good I hardly drink anything else, it's a rich food culture. And these poor guys have to diet so they can fit in the lift! BTW, I hear they are asking for vino to lighten their spirits, not huiro to give them the munchies.

If y'all missed some of the earlier Chile links, check out this slide show of scenes in the Atacama, part of a huge site on the region:

TH -- Lot's of different ways to make the point about this "story". Here's one fact: it would take at least a couple of hundred folks (really more like thousands) to conspire with BP to make this true. It would included folks in the MMS, the Coast Guard, the regulators in La., all the service companies involved in the drilling of the well (many of whom despise BP especially now that they lost much of their livelihood thanks to the moratorium), all the other oil companies (who are competitors with BP) who are operating in the GOM, all the chopper companies who would have to file false flight plans with the FAA (and risk imprisonment), the FAA if they were to actually receive the flight plans for those choppers and then buried them, etc, etc, etc.

I hope you get the idea now. Drilling a well in the GOM isn't like driving 20 mph over the speed limit when there's no cop around. I can't think of any operation one could conduct in this country that would be more difficult to hide.

Was it activated that called the BIG CT's on this one 'like the moon landing' CT's on the whole thing being faked? For the record, I saw the The Apollo 11 lunar laser ranging retroreflector array laser bounce myself, but hey the green men could have had their mirror cars out that day. I have the audiobook version. I also found three things science learned from this.

(1) The moon is spiraling away from Earth at a rate of 3.8 cm per year. Why? Earth's ocean tides are responsible.
(2) The moon probably has a liquid core.
(3) The universal force of gravity is very stable. Newton's gravitational constant G has changed less than 1 part in 100-billion since the laser experiments began.

Rocky I do not know if you have studied any astrogeology (the whack but genius Geos go there I am guessing or is it Astronomy folks?) but when did the moon get a liquid core? From this array I am reading. I learned that just now. The moon was a dead rock to me until today. Even from college. I love science. I knew the moon was very, very, slowly moving away from us. I would hope gravity is not going to disappear soon, but a liquid core moon? Well I'll be. No plates though, mooncanoes would be so cool.

TFHG - I barely recall some chatter about a differentiated core in the moon but don't remember the liquid aspect. Never been much into astrogeology. I have enough trouble figuring out the rocks I can walk on.

Here is what I don't understand. What is keeping this gas and oil leaking at the wellhead from forming hydrates down in the seabed and not coming up to the seafloor? Why within 12 feet or so does it form hydrates? Hydrates do not need water to form. Is it the pressure pushing it up that is keeping hydrates from forming down lower?


Ha Ha - no offense taken - I lurk here all the time - and post rarely - mostly questions - I'm a retired aerospace engineer/executive - mostly software and electronics - but I know enough structures and hydraulics to be dangerous -

I've been around a lot of blocks more than a few times with some of the nations "best", so I know how to smell BS - but occasionally stuff that smells like, ahem, crap can actually turn out to be true. So just checkin'. Thanks everybody.

I could take a SWAG at why, and that's temperature. I've heard somewhere along the line that at approx. 2300 PSI (ambient press. at 5000') Hydrates would sublimate at 64 degrees F. Ambient water temp is 40 degrees or less. Someone else may know for sure but it may well be that the seabed temps are higher than 64 degrees at 12' or more, so it wouldn't go into a Hydrate form below that. i looked around a bit for water temp. and seabed temp profiles but couldn't find much.

Quantum, hydrates do need water to form. No water, no hydrates. This is why we dehydrate the gas before it's sent into large pipelines.

fdoleza, that is what I thought until I read this.

Free-water need NOT be present for a hydrate to form! It is a commonly held misconception that free water is required for hydrate formation. This misconception is especially common in the natural gas business. It is interesting to note that the latest edition of the GPSA Engineering Data Book 11th edition, (1998) has been corrected in this regard.


Q, if there is sufficient water dissolved in the oil/gas flow out of the reservoir, you don't need extra free water. That looks not to be the case in this well, as hydrates don't seem to be forming until the flow encounters seawater. Of course rapid cooling at the well head has something to do with it also.

Didn't Cueball say the gas was mainly nitrogen from the cement ?

Necessary Conditions for Methane Hydrate Formation
The National Methane Hydrates R&D Program

"The National Methane Hydrate R&D Program, enabled by the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000 and the subsequent 2005 amendment to this Act, is managed by DOE through the Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), and the program’s design is formulated through discussions among the six participating federal agencies and in consultation with advisory panels from industry and academia. The brochure, “Interagency Coordination on Methane Hydrates R&D”, describes this unique federally funded, collaborative program that is designed to optimize hydrates research, avoid duplication and ensure that no important questions are left unanswered. A second document, an “Interagency Roadmap for Methane Hydrate R&D” outlines the goals and objectives of the Program."

Bloomberg's done a very good interview with Mike Voisin (the Motivatit Oysters guy). His bottom line:

We’ll come out of it scarred, that’s the truth. Louisiana will be scarred; however, we will continue to function. I’m a realist. It’s not going to be easy to get there, but if we don’t think we can, we won’t. It has been tough. I said some of these exact same things with Katrina. We put a plan in place post- Katrina and I’ve gone back to review those plans, and we are now working on those plans again. In the long run, the seafood community will be better here.

Pretty good article about the freshwater diversions' effect on the oysters here.

A local scientist says that unless the state immediately reduces the amount of freshwater being released into Barataria Bay, the handful of oyster beds that survived a massive kill-off will fail to spawn, adding another year or more to their recovery.


From Gobbet's link, I gather that Bobby's lost him a few votes:

But oystermen are not optimistic that the state will cooperate.

“They’re not going to shut it down,” said Wilbert Collins, a Lafourche oysterman who says he lost half of his oysters to the freshwater diversion. “They’re so proud of the good it did with the spill. They created the biggest oyster kill in the state of Louisiana, and they’re proud of it.” ...

“If you remember when the oil spill came, the governor went on TV every day and said, ‘Save our fishermen,’” Collins said. “But now they’re destroying us. If they get their way there won’t be no more oystermen in Barataria Bay. The[y] don’t listen to nobody, we’re small people down here.”

The most interesting news for me here, Gob, is the longterm piece -- that the wetlands-restoration plans bode ill for oysters. First I'd heard of that, and I'm sorry to realize it.


On my kitchen wall I have a couple of decorations, bought after considerable begging from a Mexican restaurant that sat, pre-Katrina, near the junction of I-10 and US 49 in Gulfport (would have gladly bought several more if the guy had been willing to sell; they hung in all his booths, so he liked them too). They're framed labels from who-knows-how-old products of the Barataria Canning Co.: mine say "Pelican Prawns" and "Cake-Walk Oysters" -- very evocative and lively commercial art of the 1940s or 50s, I'd guess. They must have been stashed somewhere safe, because they're in perfect condition.

Online several years post-Katrina, I found a local to ask whether the Mexican place made it: No. So among all the other-and-greater Katrina losses I've mourned, count that restaurantful of grand remnants of the Barataria Canning Co. Just hope the staff themselves somehow came out okay.

the wetlands-restoration plans bode ill for oysters.

I think if they use the diversions more, the effect could just be to shift the oysters Gulfward after a period of adjustment. I'm sure there are oysters somewhere in the Atchafalaya estuary despite massive freshwater diversion all year. I read somewhere that, in the past, they have not used the Davis Pond and Caernarvon diversions as much as they planned to because of opposition from oystermen.

One of the motives behind closing Dauphin Island's Katrina cut was a loss of oyster grounds caused by, in this case, an increase in salinity. But nothing stays the same around a low-lying coastline.

I gather that Bobby's lost him a few votes

Don't forget, even Vitter got reelected after the hooker thing. I don't think logic or reality has any effect on things.

Yes, but Jindal blew 300 million on the 'Useless Dunes from Hell'. That cost him any higher office EVER, IMHO. At least our idiots only blew 20-30 million on useless perhaps even destructive mitigation. Why do folks think?
1. A bachelor's degree and the vote of the people means you are an expert in engineering and science.
2. That just because an engineering firm makes plans, they are good plans or reflect best current science and current practices.
3. Just because a contractor agrees to do the work, the contractor thinks it is a good idea too.
4. That money HAS to be spent for a certain purpose or it is somehow 'lost' forever.
5. That federal approval of anything means that ANYONE thinks it is a good idea. Think MMS.
6. That the feds can 'take over' local government and the more pragmatic approach smaller government uses to solve problems with better results than using a more cooperative approach. Unless of course, the locals think 1-5.
7. That feds are any smarter than anyone else. Even federal scientists. No, they are not a bad lot or lacking in knowledge or ability, but I listen to the private science voices a little closer.
8. That folks are going to forget the bad or remember the good.

This has been bothering me since leak began. After The "EXXON MISHAP" we received an RFQ from numerous people to quote on hydraulic systems for units that were to be stationed at various ports
around the world. As I remember they were skid mounted to be used for either skimming, seperation, or oil removal. We didn't get the bid and I lost track of the project.

Does anyone remember the project and what the final outcome was?

The Bly report flow models showed a peak gas flow of about 165 MMSCFD. This implies interesting and scary numbers:

1) Gas flying out of the riser at ~660 mph.

2) Torch blowing away ~2,000,000 BTUs per second or 2110 MW of power - equivalent to a 700 MWe nuclear power plant.

No wonder some folks jumped off the rig.

I'm looking at Dahr Jamail's latest, Evidence Mounts of BP Spraying Toxic Dispersants. Incorporated are several photos, but they're all a month or more old. The dispersant "remnant" photo is from June 26. There's one identified as "Oil sheen and dispersant remnant" from August 1 but all I see is a slick. Ad another, "Corexit tanks, September 1, 2010" but no evidence as to whether they're full or empty.

[ed: fixed typo]

BP pays people to sneak out and spray Corexit in the darkness where there is no oil. It's just pure meanness.

;-) ... yea, a lot of that going around.

No, actually I was told by the local youngins that they used a commercial garden sprayer for most of it and they only use it to 'knock down' patches, most of which are tire size or smaller. I just cannot picture that being effective against weathered oil. Corexit probably takes hours to never to break down such stuff. Again, this is TinFoil stuff.

Careful what you say about Fracking on the internet.

Gov. Ed Rendell will hold a press conference today at 6 p.m. in his office at the capitol to address Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security activity related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.

The Patriot-News reported this morning that leaked intelligence bulletins from the PA Office of Homeland Security show that the office - through a private contractor in Philadelphia - has been tracking the Internet activity of anti-drilling activists to determine the public meetings they are planning to attend - including public screenings of the film “Gasland.”


EPA demands contents of fracking fluids (Halliburton's big in this)


And a little more background on Quantum's linked story.


Thanks Quantum. That was in today's Drumbeat too. It's horrible. A couple more quotes from the article:

...State Homeland Security Director James Powers explained that he has been including anti-gas drilling activist information in his tri-weekly intelligence briefings for about a month...

...Powers said the briefings are sent to local law enforcement and the owners and operators of “critical infrastructure...”

...When one of these intelligence bulletins [PIB's] was spotted on a pro-drilling Internet site and disseminated among anti-drilling activists, Powers sent an e-mail of reprimand to the woman who e-mailed it. He mistakenly thought she was pro-drilling...

The full email is here. An excerpt (bolds mine):

...Please assist us in keeping the information provided in the PIB to those having a valid need-to-know; it should only be disseminated via closed communications systems.

Thanks for your support. We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies.


James F. Powers, Jr. | Director

Office of Homeland Security

2605 Interstate Drive | Suite 380

Harrisburg, PA 17110-9382

717-651-2715 | Cell: 717-307-5335

We’re All Eco-Terrorists Now

Forget about fracking and freedom of speech issues for a moment...

James F. Powers Jr. is just too fu©king stupid to be Pennsylvania's Director of Homeland Security. It worries me.

An embarrassed Gov. Ed Rendell apologized Tuesday to groups whose peaceful protests or events, from an animal rights demonstration to a gay and lesbian festival, were the subject of regular anti-terrorism bulletins being distributed by his homeland security director.


Rendell said he was “deeply embarrassed,” and said the fact that the state was paying for such rudimentary information was “stunning.”

Rendell said he ordered an end to the $125,000 contract with the Philadelphia-based organization***, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, that supplied the information, but said he was not firing his homeland security director, James Powers.


Not good enough, ED. Fire Powers. Teh guy is an idiot.

***Israeli based.

This morning I saw the Olympic Challenger UHD-30 ROV at http://bp.schmorp.de/, ready to launch, so I decided to record it. It's always interesting to see if there are schools of fish under the ship as the ROV descends. As it turns out, the UHD-30's job was 'Top Hat #4 Inspection". I got some screen grabs, and will be putting video up when I get a chance. If anything belongs in the Smithsonian, I think "Cappy" (as the IRC channel nicknamed it) does.

Click on the image to get a larger version.

Top Hat # 4 Inspection - A

I did notice that the UHD-30 tugged on one of the lines, then did a close up on some of the brackets. I hope that means they're going to try to recover it.

Thanks and you're right, aethervox -- lots of fond feeling for Cappy here'bouts.

From BP's flickr page, pix from saturday's move of the DWH BOP:

BOP armada in formation: http://tinyurl.com/2codjnh Original (4896 x 3264): http://tinyurl.com/276lrgv

BOP armada alongside Pelican State: http://tinyurl.com/23fe453 Original (4197 x 2768): http://tinyurl.com/2bvga9v

The Helix Q4000 in the South Pass, LA, after BOP was transferred to a barge: http://tinyurl.com/2dmwqzt Original (4010 x 3127): http://tinyurl.com/23tdvo8

Department of Justice expects to sue oil companies in gulf spill
Officials say the U.S. expects to file suit, charging violation of U.S. environmental laws in the disaster that began with the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. BP and Transocean could face steep civil fines.
Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times
September 14, 2010|4:01 p.m.


Here's something we've missed in our observations/commentary on the foibles of scientists tracking the oil plume/cloud: an attempt to counter press exaggeration of conflict with a bit of maturity, by Richard Camilli of the WHOI study.
I love his characterization of the WHOI and Berkeley Livermore studies as "orthogonal."

And Terry Hazen made a point of characterizing the studies as "complementary."

My view: two out of three scientists have the right attitude.

I had a little bit of a laugh today listening to an Osgood interview of Joye. Osgood says, "Sounds like you need a microbial community organizer."

UHD30 Finds Cappy: Olympic Challenger's ROV UHD30 finds and inspects Top Hat #4, otherwise known as "the capping stack," or "Cappy," unceremoniously dumped on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The ROV tries to pull a hot stab out of the mess of crud and clathrates, left from Cappy's many weeks of channeling and venting Macondo's 60K bbl/day of hydrocarbons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41rLXX98O0w

Music is "flying geese" by Richard Ingamells.

These gas companies don't know squat about fracking compared to the US government.

The Feds know how to frack.

As described in the book 'Nuclear Witnesses, Nuclear Insiders' (by Leslie J. Freeman, 1982): 'The test proceeded on schedule, throwing some of the demonstrators up into the air.' The 5.5-magnitude earthquake from the blast threw one group of about 25 protestors about half-a-foot into the air. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the federal agency behind the test, stated that no radioactivity escaped accidentally during the underground blast.

'Welcome to Colorado: AEC's Playground' was depicted on a popular bumper sticker in Colorado in the years following the test.

Low-tritium strategy backfires

Rulison's bomb yield, of 43 kilotons, was three times the yield of the Hiroshima blast, larger than the combined yield of New Mexico Plowshare tests (in 1961 and 1967) and even surpassed the average yield of above-ground tests at the Nevada Test Site from 1951 to 1962. Project Rulison "produced a shock wave that damaged the foundations of buildings, irrigation lines, mines and an industrial plant." (Freeman).

The AEC's Plowshare Project's scientists planned such a large yield atomic blast in order to reduce the amount of radioactive tritium, which had plagued a previous New Mexico gas stimulation test also under the Plowshare Program. But Rulison, which had stimulated less gas than expected, produced a lot more tritium than expected. Although the Rulison experiment succeeded in freeing the 'trapped' natural gas, because of the radioactive contamination it was unsuitable for sale.

So, what happened to all that radioactive gas? DOE documents state that Rulison was accompanied by an 'operational release of radioactivity detected offsite.' (DOE/NV-209). What that means is twofold: First, some radioactive gases escaped right after the test into Colorado's air when samples were collected. Second, the 'fouled product,' the contaminated natural gas was 'flared.' Flare is a fancy term for burning it into the air.


Thank God for Linus Pauling and Alexander Fecklisov. I think they are a big reason why we are not glowing right now. Maybe they also helped create some the risk but at the end of the day I think both should have gotten the Nobel Peace prize instead of just Pauling and Sahkarov. That is why we shall never even detonate a full scale test ever again. At least unless we break a treaty.

I would like to return to the question I posed previous thread. Why didn't they simply disconnect the fail-bop, cut the "handing DP" and mount a new BOP. There must have been some rationale that disallowed that option. I have been reading the discussion on hydrates and now wonder what would have happened at the well pipe if the fail-bop was removed. Would there have been such a massive buildup of hydrates, in hours for instance, that would have precluded mounting of a new BOP? I still cannot figure out why this option seems to have been rejected out of hand or never even considered.

When they mounted the Capping stack on top of failed-bop there was no massive buildup of hydrates so that doesn't seem to be a good rationale except for the fact that we now know there was substantial throttling in the failed-bob by the various segments including the annular valve, so without any throttling would we have had some massive build of hydrates?

Would it have been impossible to mount a new BOP on a free running well?

What other technical considerations would have precluded this option????
BP toyed around with a number of other options but I don't recall there ever being a consideration of simply replacing the BOP. WHY???

Ever see the 'Hellfighters?' New tree, BOP whatever. Open her up and stick her on and button her up. Then shut it down. Thing is, the shot callers did not know if that would cause a Simmons Scenario. It was 'too' risky AT THE TIME or they would have looked at that harder IMHO. It sure is easier being Cronkite than Nostradamus.

What bothers me about this whole thing is that our - and when I say 'our', I mean us as a species - our best information, technology, and equipment wasn't even half damn good enough. And this was just a hole in the ground. What happens when we're faced with something difficult?

p.s. and wells that aren't underbalanced don't blow out and kill people.

DUCK - Don't know what they were worried about but I would have had two major concers: what if the damage allowed me to get the BOP half way off only. Then there would be no chance of making any sort of collection cap work. Second, even if I had gotten the old BOP off there's was no guarentee I could get a new one hooked up. Looks easy now that they've done the switch out. I doubt anyone seriously thought it would work so smoooth back then.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill response leader Thad Allen to step down Oct. 1

Edit: For you Admiral. Sorry for calling you Thud Allen, Thug Allen, and of course Captain Kangaroo. I heard a copy of my artwork was hanging in the Times Picayune newsroom.
My bad, can you forgive me?

Edit2: I wonder if I sent him a signed copy with an apology if he would get it? It bet he would, I'll work on it. Clickable picture.

This is totally off topic and politically insensitive, but I am compelled...

A commenter here recently flagged another commenter for his use of the word "teabagger" to descibe a member of the Tea Party. In an example of great minds thinking alike, three other commenters quickly pointed out that the Tea Partiers themselves coined the usage.

Now comes this, from the surprising Charles Johnson:


Just folks being 'oversensitive'. You should see my race posts on al.com . Have gotten threatened with violence. I just reported folks to the admins and went on. Teabagger is fine with me. Heck, I have done 3 of the 7 you can't say here. If you regret it delete it. I sure have but most folks beat me to it.

It looks like woodstock. At least they're not running around naked.

So,I take it that you know the guy personally as a TEA party member?

What guy?

The guy in the picture, teabagging himself at a Tea Party rally?

Never met him. Why?

Think maybe he's a plant?

Maybe they're all plants.

Best I can recall, the whole thing originated with an email campaign calling on folks to mail tea bags to the White House, and included the catchphrase 'TEABAG THE WHITE HOUSE!' So the 'teabagging' thing was invoked by the 'patriot real American' types who started it. Somebody with better anger management than me can go looking for the original email, I'm sure it's easy to find.

Maybe it was a Freudian thing?

Maybe it was a Freudian thing?

It was an ignorance thing. In the sexual sense, it's a fairly esoteric term.

Self-satirizing would be my guess.

Edit: Referring to the guy in the teabag costume.

Thanks HO for the update on the Chile mine story. Very difficult to find much on it. If it was a mine in the US it would be covered ad nauseam, but of course only Chilean miners are involved, probably lots with native ancestry. Not very news worthy, right?

Very difficult to find much on it.

Huh?? It's been all over the U.S. media. Huge human interest story. Of course there'd be even more coverage here if it were U.S. miners; it's not exactly surprising that there's more coverage of the Chilean miners in Chile than there is here--but there's been plenty here.

BP cited for North Sea safety failings

Wed 15 Sep, 2010 07:31

LONDON (Reuters) - Safety regulators criticised BP Plc, whose blown-out Gulf of Mexico well caused America's worst oil spill, last year for failing to properly train North Sea staff in safety procedures, newspapers said on Wednesday.

Inspectors told BP "training of some new personnel to basic safety standards was ineffective," the Daily Telegraph reported, citing a letter sent to BP executives in October 2009.

U.K. Lawmakers to Quiz BP on ‘Witch Hunt’ After Spill
September 15, 2010, 5:02 AM EDT
By Brian Swint

...“I’d like to explore whether BP feels there is a degree of political risk to operating in the U.S. at present,” Tim Yeo, chairman of the U.K. Energy and Climate Committee, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “There was a bit of a witch hunt taking place against BP, and that’s something which was a legitimate matter of concern for the U.K.”

With new oil sightings, concerns about response manpower continue

..."There's been oil called in -- captains pulled aside -- they called it in, waited, waited, and no one responded,” the worker said. “And then, there's officials that are marching from BP, demobilizing the skimmer boats and no one will send us out there to work 'em."

I hope that the relief well operation serves it’s purpose and kills the well finally, making sure that it does not cause any further oil spills in the future. To control all these mishaps there should be strict governing policies ensuring that offshore drilling is only permitted if all the necessary precautions are taken with regards to Environment and Human life, as neglecting the same has already caused serious damage to marine environment and human life.

I think it is high time we started taking nature and our planet earth seriously and do our bit about environment, sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, clean energy, green living and so on. One great place to start would be http://www.elpis.com. Elpis is an online community focused on responsible living and sustainable growth. You can measure, reduce and offset your carbon footprint; set up petitions, volunteering and fundraising projects for your favorite causes; help create action plans for sustainable communities; buy a range of eco friendly products and services; and network with other people who share a common interest in a low carbon, responsible lifestyle.

Dear Vaibhav Shende from Pune, India:

Yeah, we'd all like a cleaner world but have to use products that make it less than pristine. Actually it wouldn't be all that pristine if humans didn't exist. "[S]trict governing policies ensuring that offshore drilling is only permitted if all the necessary precautions are taken with regards to Environment and Human life" would functionally mean no more offshore drilling. Have you posted this in China? Figured out how you're going to stay warm if this prediction happens? How are you going to make certain that your iPod batteries will be disposed of in an ecologically beneficial manner?

Your pal,

buy a range of eco friendly products and services;

Oh boy I can't wait to sign up. Do you offer financing?

Imagine the energy that goes into production and distribution of Spam. Do you suppose that IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE GULF?

[ed] I suppose not. Probably came from the enviro-friendly Russkies or out of the North Sea. Website info:

Sucker, Boris
Auf Der Gans 13
Nieder-Olm, Nieder-Olm 55268

I did not make up Herr Sucker's name.

I found one I like better.