BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Approaching the Well and the Birth of Hope - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6959.

With very little change since yesterday in the situation in the Gulf, it may be time to start spreading these reviews out a little more, or if the well is intersected this week, to consider moving to more general topics. The DDIII drilled 30 of the remaining 50 ft between the relief well and the original Deepwater Horizon well on Monday. The drill was then retracted to make a ranging run, and once that is completed, one can assume that they might just go ahead and do the intersection on the next drilling pass.

That will begin to generate the next set of answers to remaining questions about the well condition, and what happened when the well blew out. At the same time

The DDII continues to conduct diagnostic tests on the MC252 well, and final plugging and abandonment procedures are being worked through the approval process.

One wonders how long the approvals will take?

In regard to the progress down in Chile, there is a little confusion about the nature of all the holes that are being drilled. Apparently there are more of the smaller access holes (6-inch diameter) still being drilled as well as the larger hole that will then be reamed to the size that will carry the men out in a special cage. One of the smaller drills apparently broke a bit when it encountered a roof bolt as it approached the underground mine opening. To clear the way forward, the fragments of the old bit had to be removed from the hole using a magnetic fishing tool, before the drill could be restarted. It apparently took a week.

The President of Chile has also made another decision:

Mr. Piñera said he ruled out as too dangerous another rescue proposal involving blasting a hole in the mountain with dynamite. He understands that some would like to see faster progress, he says, but it is arduous work: "It's a very hard rock."

Since there is already a tunnel part of the way down, the excavation would only involve the section that had collapsed, but that is easier for me to say, than for miners there to do. One of the miners became a father today, and they called the baby Hope, or Esperanza.

Weirdness, "DHS confiscates Scientists samples and notes on dangerous disperants"

It's not clear that "Darren" is a scientist. Rather an odd story--he was working on a "theory" that Corexit causes oil to sink, based on information from a whistleblower at Nalco?! Doesn't exactly sound like TAMU-level research.

He's self-identified as an "adjunct professor" and the story is by no means authoritative, but I do keep running into tales of people being stopped by DHS personnel. I like the way "Scientists" is capitalized for added credibility, but it probably should have been "SCIENTIST'S".

Gob, I can't find any mention of this interview on the Science Friday web site, which does play live and archive such interviews. Double check me on this, will you? I'm wondering if this a bit more than just "weird." Lizzy

Nothing from this month, anyway.

The comments on this video are a hoot.

Questions for the chemically literate ( which I am not ):

Would the Zeta potential of a surfactant in a fluid ( a colloid ?)with a gradient of T/P & ρ ( the Gulf...), affect the depth the micelles tended to settle after they have encapsulated the oil ?

Zeta potential [mV] Stability behavior of the colloid
from 0 to ±5, Rapid coagulation or flocculation
from ±10 to ±30 Incipient instability
from ±30 to ±40 Moderate stability
from ±40 to ±60 Good stability
more than ±61 Excellent stability


What seems to be a little odd, is that oil is being spotted in 3 areas : The floor of the gulf in the vicinity of the wellhead, at floating as flocculation at the surface ( my new favorite word ) and suspended at a depth.

I think it's safe to say that the oil was cavitating in the BOP ( unless the Beepster was right about the damage...ulp ), do you think that this would have affected the actual chemical process ? How would the rapid cooling have affected the process, if at all ?

Also, ..is it possible that the surfactants didn't encapsulate all the oil in the form of micelles, per se


, but rather attached to emulsified oil coming out of the wellhead more loosely, in clumps, and if it were emulsified with reservoir brine, would that effect the overall density of the emulsification and where it ended up ?

Would emulsification affect how gases in the oil behaved,IOW, the rate of release ?


I'm not competent to answer your questions, but here's a few observations that may be pertinent.

Whether the oil rose to the surface or suspended at ~1000 m depended simply on the size of the oil droplets. Owing to the violent turbulence at the wellhead, there would have been substantial dispersion even without Corexit, and some of the deep dispersed droplets did not form micelles. They didn't inject enough Corexit to disperse all the oil, and mixing was incomplete.

As you know, the material that has sunk to the seafloor is no longer crude oil. Some of it is tar residue that is naturally dense. I would guess the larger aggregates of tar evolved from oil that was never dispersed but was floating mousse at one time. Some of the sunken material is floc that contains some oil or oil breakdown products, but is mostly organic matter--dead biota, plankton feces, and bacteria. Some of the oil material in the floc was probably dispersed oil droplets that were swallowed by plankton. Plankton feces sink because they contain silica and calcium carbonate. I don't think any of the oil was sunk by dispersant directly.

We don't know whether there is still oil suspended at depth; it could be nearly gone by now. The dispersed oil in the near-surface layer seems to be gone, judging from EPA water tests. Some was biodegraded in the water column and some sedimented as plankton feces/marine snow.

I'm not clear on what floating floc you are referring to. The pale floating material that was discovered Aug. 9th in MS waters by the lawyer's chemist (and said to contain Corexit ingredients) may have been a one-time fluke event. Since they didn't report it promptly or share samples, nobody knows what that stuff actually was. I'd guess it was mostly organic matter of some sort. The north-central inshore waters of the Gulf are a messy overcooked biological stew right now.

There is a small body of research focused on submerged oil. This report produced by the Coastal Response Research Center, a partnership between NOAA Office of Response and Restoration (ORR) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH)is a summary of the research and research needs as of 2006.

Submerged Oil – State of the Practice and Research Needs
Coastal Response Research Center
Durham, New Hampshire
December 12-13, 2006
Report Issued: July, 2007

Most oil spill response strategies, tactics, and equipment are based on the simple principle that oil floats. However, oil does not always float. Sometimes it suspends in the water column; sometimes it sinks to the seafloor. Sometimes it does all three: floats, suspends, and sinks. Furthermore, oil that has sunk to the seafloor can become re-suspended and spread by currents.

There are several types of submerged oil. Submerged oil can be suspended in the water, either throughout the water column or just above the bottom. Sunken oil is appropriate to describe the accumulation of bulk oil on the seafloor. Sunken oil can, and often will, contain some sediment, but it is described more as sediment-contaminated oil rather than oil-contaminated sediments.

Thanks. However, the report seems concerned with oils that are so heavy they sink soon after spilling, as opposed to the degradation products the Gulf is dealing with today.

Thanks. Best laugh I've had all day.

The introduction of the report references "Michel, J. 2006. Assessment and recovery of submerged oil: Current state analysis. U.S. Coast
Guard Research & Development Center, Groton, CT. 34 pp. + appendices.".

The 2006 study examined 26 cases. In 13 of the cases the "initial density of the oil was higher than the receiving waters and the oil
submerged shortly after release". The other 13 cases did not meet this criteria.

It does appear that much of the research on submerged oil is focused on heavy hydrocarbons, but a small effort to read the research reveals that light hydrocarbons can also produce submerged and sunken oil.

McClatchy's story about Jane Lubchenco talking-up the need for the best scientists to study whazzup in the sediments includes this:

Joye's findings "confirm what we initially suggested, which was that there's oil on the sediment and it's widely distributed to the northeast of the wellhead," said David Hollander, a USF chemical oceanographer who was the lead scientist, in an interview.

The area is in a "dead spot in the circulation," where there are low amounts of currents and so sediments tend to settle, Hollander said. It's also one of the areas where the scientists earlier found oil plumes. ...

The area is near the underwater DeSoto Canyon. The canyon serves as a ramp, with water running up it into the shallower water of the continental shelf.

"But now these waters may not only carry nutrients but they may carry all this stuff too," Hollander said.

Hollander's team took water samples and fed them to marine plankton in experiments onboard the research vessel in August. Even in greatly diluted form, a lower concentration than what the EPA considers acute toxicity, the oil in the water caused a toxic effect — the photosynthesis in the plankton was reduced.

The results mean that less plankton will be available at the bottom of the food chain, Hollander said.

The findings raised new questions about what concentrations and what compounds federal scientists should be concerned about, he said. "In spite of the low concentrations, something is in there."

I suspect this was written by a PhD candidate who didn't know enough about oil to discuss the subject clearly and with authority. I suspect we're going to see a lot of university types emerge as "oil spill experts" now that money is available for grants. I worked on a NOAA vessel when I was in college, and one thing the PhD candidates had to do was come up with good ideas for thesis which their professors would back and the government would fund, because it sure costs a lot of money to run a ship and run samples through a lab.

By the way, we also had a tendency to waste money, even back then. So I imagine with BP's money flowing the way it will be, there will be some pretty weird PhD theses being worked on, and there's going to be a lot of pork barrel involved.

The authors with credentials are on page two of the report.

Gulf Oil Spill 2010: Light Crude Oil Information for Health Professionals

About Light Crude Oil

Light crude oil is a complex mixture containing thousands of different chemicals. Light crude is relatively fluid (low viscosity), will float on water (low specific gravity). Because crude oil has a high proportion of light hydrocarbon fractions, it has a high American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity, which means it is lighter than some other types of oils. Oil that contains volatile organic compounds partially evaporates, losing 20 to 40 percent of its mass and becoming denser and more viscous. A small percentage of oil may dissolve in the water. The oil residue also can spread almost invisibly in the water or combine with water to form a thick mousse-like substance. Part of the oil waste may sink with suspended particulate matter, and the remainder eventually congeals into sticky tar balls.

Here's a bon mot for tarball freaks: http://goo.gl/28GX

My guess: Dr. Jove won't be winning a Nobel prize but may be appearing on CNBC as an "oil expert" and guesting on "Coast to Coast AM".

From the tarball link:

" Weathering processes eventually create a tarball that is hard and crusty on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside, not unlike a toasted marshmallow."

...." a toasted marshmallow '...?

Yes...except it's not on a graham cracker with chocolate.

Who's writing this stuff ?

A product of American schools. Raised by teevee, very high self-esteem.

I Googled [tarball s'mores] and a Facebook page for Links on "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency" popped up.

Make sure to check out the comment by Ed Hino.

Alas, so did AH's attack on TOD.

You have to understand that we are not dealing with pure chemicals here. The Macondo oil will be a mix of hydrocarbons with 1 to 100 carbons, present with varying amounts of hydrogen as alkanes, alkenes ( olefins ), and arenes ( aromatics ), with water solubility increasing across those groups for the the same carbon chain lengths, but solubility decreasing with carbon chain length. There's probably some nitrogen and sulfur-containing species as well, especially in the heavier fractions.

Corexit is a formulated product made from complex commercial surfactants that aren't precisely defined chemically, but are quality-controlled by their group properties. Hence manufacturers will change processes and raw material according to price and availability - as long as the final surfactant performance and key analytical specifications are complied with. Each batch could well be chemically different, but still meet Corexit specifications. This is why industrial chemical companies have development laboratories, to remain competitive.

Note that not all Corexit components are stable water-soluble species like the glycol used as the solvent, the dispersants and other components can bind to various immiscible oil particles and allow them to disperse or emulsify and become food for the local micro-wildlife. The composition of the immiscible and miscible oil/Corexit species can also vary widely, according to ambient conditions.

So, returning your question, the settling rate of the original oil is going to depend on the components that are given the chance to dissolve, which oil components volatilise and emerge as surface burps, and which remain undissolved and bind to ( flocculate ) various Corexit components.

The micro-organisims are going to produce metabolite and waste molecules, and also their short lives will produce dead biomass, all of which will contribute to what will dissolve, disperse, flocculate - which can settle or float, along with any virgin insoluble oil and Corexit components. Those with a density greater than water will sink, and a density less than will float - particle size just reflects the time to reach their destination.

That should result in BP's research funds keeping many chemists well away from the dole queues for some little while.

Bruce, I don't have an assay for the Macondo oil, but I've seen some assays in the deep water gulf of mexico, and I saw that plume, and got my own intuitive correlation which tells me this oil could have as much as 7 % asphaltines. Which means it also has quite a bit of resin - say 15 %. I know it's strange for a 37 degree API oil to have so much heavy, but that oil sure looked black coming out, and it seems to have quite a bit of tar ball making ability, so I'm sticking to the 7 % asphaltines figure until somebody shows me an assay I can trust.

And if the oil has a lot of long chains in it, then it's going to make a lot of nice little tar balls as it is biodegraded, so I suspect there's a rain of little itty bitty tar pieces stuck to dead critters falling to the bottom, and this is what Samantha Joye described in the bottom layer.

I think BP's research funds will go to biochemists and marine biologists as well as physical oceanographers, and also there's going to be a huge advance in computational fluid dynamics - I would be having continuous orgasms if I were a computational dynamics PhD at Los Alamos right now, they'll be getting funded forever to figure out what the well rate was as the BOP components eroded.

Thanks for that. I've also not seen a detailed composition. I didn't describe the asphaltene/resin territory because I wasn't sure how much was there. It seems the traditional definition ( insoluble in heptane or pentane, but soluble in toluene ) for asphaltenes is being overtaken by new techniques...

Resins are chemically a real mess, but here's a quick summary for the curious. It's lifted from the abstract of " PETROLEUM RESINS: SEPARATION, CHARACTER, AND ROLE IN PETROLEUM " by Simon I. Andersen and James G. Speight in Petroleum Science and Technology, Volume 19.

" In petroleum science, the term resin generally implies material that has been eluted from various solid adsorbents, whereas the term maltenes (or petrolenes) indicates a mixture of the resins and oils obtained as filtrates from the asphaltene precipitation. Thus, after the asphaltenes are precipitated, adsorbents are added to the n-pentane solutions of the resins and oils, by which process the resins are adsorbed and subsequently recovered by the use of a more polar solvent, and the oils remain in solution. The resin fraction plays an important role in the stability of petroleum and prevents separation of the asphaltene constituents as a separate phase. Indeed, the absence of the resin fraction (produced by a variety of methods) from the maltenes influences the ability of the de-resined maltenes to accommodate the asphaltenes either in solution or as a stable part of a colloidal system. In spite of the fact that the resin fraction is extremely important to the stability of petroleum, there is surprisingly little work reported on the characteristics of the resins. "

As is evident, these molecules are going to precipitate when they hit the gulf waters, and probably agglomerate into yucky black tar balls that will be difficult for the microorganisms to digest. The surfactants will bind strongly to any available ionic resins, but I suspect most will quickly be unavailable to Corexit.

Maybe BP had a contract for paving the Gulf floor?.

Why isn't a full assay available? LSU tested a sample of skimmed weathered oil in late April and said it was so high in asphaltenes they wondered if it was contaminated. They were also given tiny samples of riser oil that BP had collected before the blowout and said it had very little asphaltenes (not quantified).

In a JAG report from August, NOAA scientists sound like they are still guessing as to what is in the oil as they try to predict the BOD:

If we assume conservatively the SLC was approximately 80% biodegradable [based on a 2001 hydrocarbon constituent analysis by Environment Canada17, which showed that unweathered SLC is comprised of 80.8% saturates, 12.6% aromatics, 6% resins, 0.8% asphaltenes, and 1.7% waxes

But a number of labs have had samples to work with.

The following appear to be post spill analysis but I hope they help.

BP Gulf Spill: Mississippi Canyon Block 252 Crude Oil Analysis


" I would be having continuous orgasms if I were a computational dynamics PhD at Los Alamos right now. "

I lol'd.


Joking aside, I was wondering, has there been an assay of the oil released ?

"...has there been an assay of the oil released ?"

I asked this a few weeks ago, but got no response.
But to adress the oil to Macondo they must know the compound of this oil.
Everybody speeks about "Lousiana Light Crude Oil" - but I suspect it is NOT !

There's this, showed up on Cryptome. But no way to know if it's valid.

The initial boiling point of 176C appears rather high, much more likely to be only a water-immiscible fraction or, more likely, weathered oil.

If that analysis is real for the well head ( a very big "if" ), then there should be no worries about hexane, iso-octane, toluene, ethylbenzene or xylenes poisoning, as any significant amounts present would have reduced the IBP.

Bruce, could you please clarify this a bit for those of us without your training? Thanks.

The chemicals he lists are very volatile and will have left any sample that had been around for any time long ago. If they had been there in any quantity the samole wold have have a much lower boiling point and been much thinner.


The process of analysing crude oil and refined petroleum products includes a distillation test which involves heating 100ml of oil up in a retort flask and measuring when the first drop appears at the condenser outlet - that's the initial boiling point. As you apply more heat you measure the mls of condensate and the temeprature, eg 350 = IBP, 10% recovered at 380C, 20% recovered at 400C, etc. etc.

The test can also be simulated by volatilising a small sample into a gas stream and through a long, heated column into an ionisation detector - a process called simdist by GC. It can also be conducted under vacuum for high boiling compounds. The boiling temperatures can be calculated.

For example gasoline will start boiling at around 30C and will be all gone by 180 - 220C depending on specification. Now, n-hexane boils at 69C, iso-Octane at 100C, Toluene at 110C, Ethylbenzene at 136C, xylenes at 138 - 144C. So those components will be present in gasoline, but are not expected to be present in kerosine ( Initial Boiling Point ~ 150C ), or diesel ( IBP ~ 240C ).

So, the sample analysed above could not have much of any the named molecules, otherwise the initial boiling would be much lower than the reported 176C. However, when that specification was first posted here months ago, I noted that it was unlikely to be from the wellhead, as we would expect some gasoline boiling range material.

The aromatics ( benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes ) have significant water solubility, and would be expected to be low, but the gasoline/kerosine range alkanes and olefins should have been present. Of course, if they have volatilised and burped, then those molecules will be present in the air above the water. As noted above iso-octane is not natural, and the ratios of aromatics in the blood report aren't typical of exposure to most crude petroleums either.

It's possible the sample weathered, and in that case the boiling range was probably measured by Simdist by GC, the distillation test is only valid for a clean hydrocarbon fraction. A check on the ASTM/APi method number would reveal which method was used.

I hope that helps.

I hope that helps.

Yes indeed, your good tutorial and NOAM's quick clarifier both helped very much, and I thank you.

I posted that here a while ago, BigNerd nailed that assay down to a tee, even somehow got the company too. He said ,IIRC, it was an analysis of oil captured at the surface , after it had an unknown length of time exposed to the elements. I'm really looking for one of the oil from the wellhead, or even one direct from the bore(if that's even taken or available).

I found a report called DWH Dispersant Use Meeting Report

The report says DWH oil is high in alkanes, and has a PAH composition similar to South Louisiana reference crude, up to C30. Appendix F has analysis tables comparing Source Oil Pre-spill and Lab Ref Oil for alkanes and aromatics. And I think something called GC-MS and IRMS.

I'm still reading report and searching sites to fill in details but I'll post this much for now.

brit - from your link :

"DWH oil high in alkanes, and has a PAH composition similar to South
Louisiana reference crude."

SIMILAR - that implies it´s NOT Lousiana light crude oil !
But EPA, NOAA, BP, Gov. - they all talk about the Lousiana in their analysis.
And the media never asked about the real composition as I believe.
I smell a rat !

I expect many people have dumped oil under cover of the BP spill. Add to that seeps and you can have quite a mix.


"Similar to" is scientist-ese for "I don't want to commit because there's a small probability it's not precisely correct". In the social sciences, it's "but this is a matter for further investigation" tacked onto the end of the Conclusions section.

Totally tubular Brit, thanks, I'll read it tonight. Just scanning over the first ten pages, I see that the exact composition of the oil, again, is not given. What gives..? ...err...or isn't given..?

Appendix F shows Source Oil Pre-spill and I hope that is the Macondo 252 oil. I have no experience reading these documents so I'll need help to identify. I also found BP's website has oil assays. Of course the assay for Macondo is missing...

They apparently didn't use cryogenic cooling on the GC, so they have missed all the volatiles ( and there clearly were some, because the highest concentration of reported alkanes is at the front ).
n-Decane ( n-C10 ) has a boiling point of about 174C, so all of the gasoline fraction has been omitted, so it's probably also a weathered oil sample.

They appear to be obsessing over the polynuclear aromatics ( naphthalene and higher ), but until we obtain a full well-head profile, we've no idea of what was released, and what percentage of the release the sample represents. The PNA profile may help confirm the source, as may isotopes, trace metals, etc. but it's possible a lot of oils in the region are going to be similar, so distinctive Macondo markers may be hard to identify - but I suspect a lot of labs are trying.

I assume BP contract labs are trying to find natural seeps with weathered profiles matching Macondo oil weathered oil. Those labs are likely to have sample documentation that's more brief than the accompanying NDA.

Thanks Bruce.

Just back from vac!

I'll try to read the links properly shortly, but iirc the assay Isaac kindly provided some time ago looked heavily weathered and was also missing an asphaltenes analysis. 

I had a quick skim of the new bp report, some interesting new data in there. Wrt fluids I notice they supplied full wellstream composition and pvt data to the third party carrying out blow-out modelling. But that data is specifically excluded from the report. All they quote is bubble point and gor. The former is very much in line with what we predicted. 

I suspect they are being cagey about the composition for legal / pr reasons; they are perhaps trying to manage their response to potential environmental issues surrounding the nastier components of the crude. 

A lot happened in my absence! Fascinating images of bop internals. Got some catching up to do! 

Good to have you back, bignerd!

In the EPA webcast from a month or so ago on Macondo operations they talked about the Macondo oil analysis and displayed slides of fresh and weathered Macondo oil analysis - I wasn't recording but perhaps someone was or has a link.

They also showed video with sound of them sampling surface oil from a boat between the two surface flares - quite astonishing the noise at the location.

Would the Zeta potential of a surfactant in a fluid ( a colloid ?)with a gradient of T/P & ρ ( the Gulf...), affect the depth the micelles tended to settle after they have encapsulated the oil ?

No, micelles are too small. They will neither settle or rise, nor will they flocculate. They are essentially part of a two phase equilibrium - a solution in water. A micellar solution is thermodynamically stable as the Wikipedia article hinted at but didn't explicitly state. Micelles are highly dynamic structures with short half-lives.

Zeta potential only starts to become important when you have emulsified oil; that is a droplet of oil surrounded by surfactant. These droplets have much longer lifetimes - they could last a very long time. In this case Zeta potential would affect the stability of the emulsion. Emulsions are only rarely thermodynamically stable because the surface area will tend to a minimum due to the energy needed to form surface area. As Zeta potential increases the droplets tend to repel each other. Low Zeta potential will tend to favor coalescence of the emulsion because it will increase the drop collision rate.

As oil ages and the droplets become more increasingly solid-like coalescence becomes less likely - the droplets become too viscous. In this circumstance flocculation becomes important. This is again affected by zeta potential. Flocs can form by a variety of mechanisms - what is important is some sort of collection by a bridging mechanism.

Natural extracellular polysaccharides produced by micro-organisms digesting the oil surely play a key role in forming complexes of bridged semi-solid oil droplets. This the floc people are reporting in the GOM.

The depth the floc ends up is being determined by its density. In some commercial process systems such as waste water treatment air is injected into the process so the floc will trap air bubbles and rise to the surface where it becomes more concentrated. In other cases the floc density is modified by addition of polymers which cause the flocs to become tighter and more dense, thus sinking.

Thanks, Speaker. For sure some interesting stuff, can't wait to go back to school in the spring to learn mo'.

lol, I'm starting to feel like BeePee.In the course of reading about such things, I found the Transition Spool...ahem...I mean "Zeta Potential Mixer".


Anyhoo, I'll post these links jus' for those of you nerdy enough to read them.





Thanks again everybody, for the responses.

My best guess at the moment is that the Relief Well has already intercepted the wild well and that DD-2 has punched through the casing.


Helix Producer, which has been on station some two miles away from DD-2 for weeks has spend the night only some 300 feet away from the DD-2. It them moved off from there a few hours ago and is again some two miles away from DD-2.

The only use of Helix Producer is to capture and process oil. If they expected oil in the annulus moving it to the DD-2 for the opening of the annulus is reasonably.

There will be a Thadmiral press-call at 10:00am CDT. Expect some good news.

Also - BP has new feeds on its video wall, though we don't really know what for.

I've got some mood music for the event


On a separate note, you all might be interested in Terry Barr's contemporaneous opinions on the DWH blowout


Note the use of the term "wet shoe".

On presser right now -- Thadmiral says today....

Okay - I was wrong - according to Thadmiral the relief well will intercept within the next 24 hours. The whole operation could be over in 96 hours.

According to AIS DD2 is moving.


HO's "progress down in Chile" link gives you the full story only if you're a WSJ subscriber. This one works even if you're not.

Long life and happiness to Esperanza and her parents!

This one works even if you're not.

Not for me...gives me only the first two paragraphs.

Well, rats, SL. Ask GoogleNews for

"Chile Miners Are on Track for Rescue, President Says"

Thanks very much, lotus. Not sure how that works, but it does!

Louisiana Says Transocean's Trying To Limit its Liability to the Surface
By SABRINA CANFIELD, Courthouse News Service

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Louisiana wants to be sure that Transocean and the co-owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig are held responsible for the "underwater discharges of oil in the Gulf of Mexico." The state attorney general claims that "Transocean incorrectly construes its liability" under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 "to mean that its liability is restricted to surface discharges only."

"We believe that the owner or operator of a mobile offshore drilling unit ('MODU'), such as Deepwater Horizon, is only a responsible party with respect to discharges from the vessel that occur on or above the surface of the water.
As the responsible party for the Deepwater Horizon, we believe we are responsible only for the discharges of oil emanating from the rig. Therefore, we believe we are not responsible for the discharged hydrocarbons from the Macondo well."

Tricky guys....gives me a little inkling of the future court-scenarios.

There is an old saying, "If you don't ask, you don't get." This probably has a less than 1% chance of flying, but when you might be on the hook for a few gigadollars, even that is worth grasping for.

Given that not all of the rig is above water, and in particular, the BOP forms part of the manifest of the rig and was owned by TO, and which they clearly have responsibility for, they will have an uphill battle.

Tony Hayward visits the MPs, live on C-SPAN3 at 10:15 Eastern (15 minutes from now).

I'm in and out of the room, but Tony just said that BP is currently hauling two capping stacks to the UK to have ready for spill-response there.

So Cappy lives on--through his progeny? I have just made a big glass of iced tea, so CLINK!

P.S. The Brits had a fire alarm and suddenly I've got Grizzly Mom No. X on my screen! EGAD!

That was the "Division Bell" for a vote. Although it does sound like an old style fire alarm.

Does it come in hat shapes?

You want hats? Here you go!


Hey, you have relatives living on the seafloor? Cool! Why didn't you tell us?

Video of the other comfychair.

Eeesh. You know, I get anxious when the ROVs go out on those survey missions. Afraid they will find and zoom in on something I'm sure the families of the 11 lost crew wouldn't appreciate being broadcast on the internet.

something I'm sure the families of the 11 lost crew wouldn't appreciate being broadcast

I had the same thought. Maybe they should put those feeds on a 7-second tape delay like TV stations do.

Dunno about "comfy," but boy howdy, you gotta give that thing "cussed"!

Huge fish kill near Venice (Looks like west end of Bay Joe Wise):


They will have to study this to determine if it is related to the oil spill.

These fish kills are almost surely a result of very hot water and therefore very low oxygen, a common phenomenon.

Dr.H, it was ten or so years ago my son and I were riding dirt bikes near Ocotillo Wells, in the south California desert.
It was getting hot and Casey didn't feel well so I locked the hubs(four wheel drive), A/C on high, and we drove across the desert(15 miles off road) to the Salton Sea. Salton City. Once a resort, now a ghost town with dead Tilapia along the shore. Miles of dead fish.
Low O2 levels and industrial pollution from Mexico and agricultrual waste water from US farms has killed the sea.

I've never seen a fish kill where there was no water between the fish. The picture shows how astonishingly rich these over-fertilized waters are. Ought to scoop up the fish and ship them to Iowa, where the fertilizer came from.

It's nature's Corexit recovery system, according to zillions of tin foil hatters.

scoop up the fish and ship them to Iowa, where the fertilizer came from

Excellent idea -- fishmeal makes fine fertilizer! (But what did that poor innocent railroad ever do to you?)

Sounds like the TV station put in a call to Samantha Joye to get the skinny on the fish kill. That's four interviews reported in the past two days. Busy, busy, busy.

Evidently Samantha Joye did not take the pay off from BP to keep her mouth shut.

BP North Sea rig lacked procedures on blow-outs

(Reuters) - BP Plc lacked a clear chain of command for dealing with a loss of well control on a North Sea oil rig, safety regulators found three months before a blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico caused America's worst ever oil spill.

Most of Hayward's testimony and questioning can be seen at

Not as contentious as the US Congressional meeting, and some interesting points.

One thing he mentioned - that the "long string" is a better way of casing the well, because it eliminates any potential for a separation or leakage with hanging liner strings, and that it has been set as the preferential method. That is contrary to what I believe i saw from Shell, Exxon, et al.

Seriously OT...

The daily Beepster:

" Things are seriously intensifying! There are alien looking reptiles swimming around, This black stuff is now becoming agressive and attacking! They have used whats called "The Two mile hole" to push everything into and for the most part keep it contained but now that is FULL so everything is over flowing and spreading out and is becoming seriously out of control. They do not know what to do... This force is way more powerful than anything known to man... I am watching the live cameras right now and they are trying to get the white substance, eel type creature off of the well, there is a huge pile of that white luminescent substance at the mudline on the well and it seems to be melting the steel just as it did on the Q4000... Have you seen the video where they opened the shear ram and all of that white substance sluffs off down the drain hole but the alien type eels body stays on that ledge? "



Note: Nifty intro with guitar


Edit: Maybe this will spawn a line of BeePee "reaction videos"


Fox better grab BPOD before someone else does.

I swanny, in all my life I've never thought about peeing bees until today.

Speaking of never thought about it: my paternal grandmother used to say "swanny" all the time (a ranching lady, long passed). Hadn't thought about it until today. Great old southern term; adding it back to my vocabulary.

Good, bbf. Don't neglect "I'll swan to goodness" either.

Yea, I've heard all of the variations. After my grandparents retired from ranching, they move onto our place for their last 10 years and, like all good grandparents, became my chief babysitter. Until I was six, I spent as much time at their house as my own. One of my grandmother's friends put an "r" into it too ("swarn"). My grandfather taught me some of his expressions too (Mother blanched, Dad would chuckle ;-)

It's a proxy for "swear" formed along the same lines as gosh, darn, heck, shoot, etc.--preserve the first consonant but change the rest so as to avoid sin. Your granny was skirting around a Biblical injunction against swearing oaths.

My favorite of those may be "Aw, foot!"

Gob, pretty close.

According to reference.com:

–verb (used without object)
Midland and Southern U.S. Older Use . to swear or declare (used with I ): Well, I swan, I never expected to see you here!

1775–85, Americanism ; prob. continuing dial. (N England) I s'wan, shortening of I shall warrant

BTW, the Biblical injunction against swearing oaths isn't absolute; just certain types of oaths (see, my year of Old Testament classes at Baylor paid off ;-)

OH NO ... BeePee is adding production values ... oh, the horror ... I think it's a sign BeePee has sold out and is the indication that he will be a commentator on MSNBC now.

I like the more pure BeePee ... unadulterated and undiluted.

Could be. He's smoother than Cramer and not quite as nutty.


As far as the reaction videos, talk about a "BP Shill" ... the reaction video is OBVIOUSLY a disinformation campaign waged by BP, CIA, NSA, ONI (and maybe DEA).

Our one true prophet is under attack!

Meanwhile, back in this dimension, the guy who posted the reaction video to YouTube, ScottyD, has others starting a month or two back at http://www.youtube.com/user/TheGuyFromZhills#p/a/u/0/EM75E-XKzPM

BTW, as snakehead and I discussed a couple of nights ago, others are beginning to see the real artform that is BeePee.

Our one true prophet is under attack!


Don' worry, 'bout a thing...

(Really cute cover and animation)

Edit: Sorry, put it in the wrong place, but watch it anyway. It'll make ya feel better.

I swear I'm gonna twist me one and re-run that video. Got me to Jonesin' every time he flicked that lighter and took a hit.

Got me to Jonesin' every time he flicked that lighter

Yes, indeed.

But take it from an ex-smoker whose entire being is attuned to the signs of cigarette smoke: those were Marlboro's. His first smokes of the day, if I'm not mistaken, along with a little hair of the dog.

There is some research that smoking suppresses schizophrenia...


I hope he can keep it together long enough to produce the official DVD. I am definitely donating. I think high production values are just what he needs to take it to the next level ;)

Yeah, but he's going to need new material after a while. After bottom kill, 800 hours of footage can only go so far and the ROV's will abandon him.

Oh he got some good stuff this evening I bet, Purple glowing stuff buried in the silt. Lawn chairs on the seafloor, and alien heads.

Haha. It's gonna blow BeePee !! Ruuuun !!


I found this throbbing little ditty :


I think he should find a way to incorporate this track, idk,..maybe closing credits..?


In response to your message to me on the previous thread:

I know nearly nothing about the casing shoe itself. The reamer shoe on the production casing might have been, or been like, the Weatherford DiamondBack shown in this document:


The options for it with 7" casing are listed on page 7. The only pressure ratings given are for the optional check valve, something I tend to think was not installed.

I found no information at all to indicate what sort of pressure differential the float collar assembly might withstand.

I've stayed away from the negative test discussion, so I'd have to ask what someone means by "a shoe failure" and how that would play a part.

As for pressures, I have numbers calculated from Halliburton's design reports--if that's of any use. If fluids were pumped exactly per the 18 April design, the situation at the end of pumping would have been, from the shoe upward, 189' of 16.74 ppg cement, 545.6' of 14.3 ppg spacer, and 15,704.4' of 14.17 ppg mud. The pressure at the bottom of the shoe due to this column would have been 13,517 psi (13,352 psi at the depth of the float collar). The design report says the pressure at the bottom of the annulus overbalanced that in the casing by 38 psi at end of pumping, something I couldn't confirm without jacking up the average foamed cement density to 14.84 ppg. At any rate, some back flow up the casing would be necessary to close the flapper valves--if they were still functional. That would have altered the fluid distribution some.

Halliburton used a pore pressure of 13,265 psi and a fracture pressure of 14,255 psi--both at the same 18,305-foot depth they used for bottom of casing and bottom of annulus.


Thanks Chuck - Your numbers match mine pretty close. Doesn't sound like the equipment was subjected to pressres that would have caused problems but that's just my WAG. Sounds like we've taken this discussion as far as we can with out the completion pros leading the rest of the way.

The reservoir pressure was considered to be 11900 PSI which is lower than the pore pressure of the formation below it.

The most prevalent current theory for the failure that allowed influx from the reservoir is that the light foamed cement between the reservoir and the shoe failed, the dense cement inside the shoe failed and the 2 check valves in the float collar failed.

Influx occurred because of these failures and because the pressure in the reservoir was greater than the pressure on the inside of the production casing at the bottom.

The pressure differential that led to the influx due to the displacement of some of the mud in the column to seawater. The BP procedure sent to the rig stated the hydrostatic pressure would be lowered by 2350 PSI. So using your calculations the pressure the bottom plug would see would go from +1600 PSI to -750 PSI after the displacement to seawater was complete.

The rig crew was supposed to do a negative test which would hold the well at this lower pressure for 30 minutes to see if the casing had integrity. This test not only tested the barriers at the bottom but also tested the casing walls, casing joints and the hangar seal at the top of the casing to verify that everything would hold when the mud was removed from the riser and the well was subjected to the resulting hydrostatic pressure.

jinn- If I understood your comments yesterday you felt it wasn't likely that the shoe assembly and cmt would fail at the same time. Or did I misread you? Have you seen many examples of this type of failure? I'm guessing not because maybe no one has seen too many situations like this.

Do the pressure differentials strike you as significant enough to cause a problem?

What I said is that the opinion that it is improbable that the shoe assembly and cement would fail was an opinion expressed by many who should know - including spokesmen for the other major oil companies.

As far as I can tell, the mode of failure that is now being discussed was overlooked by everybody who offered an analysis for months after the explosion simply because it was considered to be not very likely failure scenario.


1) What are you referring to as a "shoe assembly" when you say ". . .it is improbable that the shoe assembly and cement would fail. . ."? I'd assume you mean shoe track cement (cement in the casing between the shoe and float collar) and float collar assembly, particularly the flapper valve function.

2) I was confused as to whether you were addressing me or Rockman when you said upthread that ". . .using your calculations the pressure the bottom plug would see would go from +1600 PSI to -750 PSI . . ." so I went looking in the closed thread for a reference to same. I didn't find it, but found a note you addressed to me:

Could you explain your suspicion. It 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?

No suspicion. Just said that the document Mainerd linked confirmed my suppositions, meaning what I said here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6952#comment-720070

3) The 2350 psi pressure reduction applied to my calculation would of course drop the pressure above the float collar to 11,002 psi, and if there were communication to the reservoir at your stated pressure of 11,900 psi, there could be inflow. Another "of course": barring a breach of the production casing above the cement levels--or of its seal, the aforementioned communication would require channeled cement from the reservoir depth down the annulus to the casing shoe then up through the cement in the shoe track and through two float collar flapper valves that were not sealed shut when the cement set.


ChuckV, OK I missed your description of the auto-fill.

I don't think your description of the auto-fill function is correct. I believe the way it works is the tube (shown in red) allows the casing to fill with drilling fluid as it is lowered. Then when it reaches bottom the ball is dropped and pressure applied to push the tube out of the way. This operation was completed about 3 hours before cement was pumped.

The check valves I imagine are spring load as well as after cementing when the production case is set the cement would be pushed back against the valves.

Here is a time line of identified anomalies.


When I said "shoe assembly failed" I meant all the components failed together.
The light cement in the annulus down to the shoe,
the heavy cement in the shoe track
and the 2 check valves in the float

What if the 3500 foot missing drill string just broke and punched through the check valves and the new cement?

They would see the change in hook weight instantly on the rig. That is one of the continuously monitored parameters that we see in the data transmitted to shore. Even without the monitoring, losing that much weigh off the string would send quite a shock up to the rig. Hard to miss.

Interesting idea however.


You said: I don't think your description of the auto-fill function is correct. I believe the way it works is the tube (shown in red) allows the casing to fill with drilling fluid as it is lowered.

I said "...the assembly allows mud to slowly enter the casing as it's being lowered into place."

You said: Then when it reaches bottom the ball is dropped and pressure applied to push the tube out of the way.

I said: "In conjunction with the caged ball and circulating ports, it [the tube] 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 ball is not dropped. It's caged and is free to move up or down in the tube in response to differential pressure across it.

You wrote: The check valves I imagine are spring load as well as after cementing when the production case is set the cement would be pushed back against the valves.

About an hour before that, I wrote to Raptor (downthread): "Springs on the flapper valves would tend to close them after cement pumping ceased, but some backflow of cement up the casing is generally necessary to seat them..."

Thanks for clarifying what you meant by "shoe assembly".


I guess I misunderstood , but I thought you were saying the auto-fill tube also served the purpose of regulating the flow of cement through the flapper valves.

My understanding how it generally works (I haven't seen specification for the M45AP) is that the auto-fill tube allows flow and prevents over-pressure on the formation as the production tube is lowered. After the casing is lowered a ball is inserted at the surface and drilling fluid is circulated down the casing. Eventually the ball arrives at the auto-fill tube and that enables the tube to be pushed out of the way. After that the flapper valves prevent any back flow of fluid.

By the way, Transocean did an investigation and report where they advanced the theory that maybe the pressure test done 9 hours after cementing pushed the top plug deeper and at the same time dislodged the flapper valves.


Again, there are no dropped balls relating to the operation of this type of float collar.


double posting

jinn :
"What I said is that the opinion that it is improbable that the shoe assembly and cement would fail was an opinion expressed by many who should know - including spokesmen for the other major oil companies."
jinn - this link is from May :


"BP told congressional investigators there were signs before the disaster that the cement might have been contaminated and that some cementing equipment didn't work properly."

And there is another point of interest about the new plan from april 16 :

"BP's plans for the well, approved by the MMS on April 16, called for workers to remove the mud before performing two procedures designed to make sure gas couldn't get into the well. The first called for installing a giant spring to lock the seal at the top of the well in place after removal of the mud. There is no evidence in rig-activity logs the spring was ever installed. Second, BP opted to remove the mud before placing a final cement plug inside the well."

What´s about the installing of a giant spring ? Did they do it or not ?

Lady-Li you just re-enforced my point. Everyone has assumed from the beginning that the cement failed in some way. But in May and June the general thinking was that it failed in a different way than is now thought to be the case. The reasoning for these theories was that the way it is now believed to have failed was considered to be not very probable.

If you look at the BP Report, they have a table of evidence that they use to support the current theory of how the cement failed. Most of the evidence was available to the rig crew on April 20 and was available to the armchair theorists in May and June. So the evidence was there it was just overlooked because of the belief that that type of failure was improbable.

Here is a "Seat of Pants" hypothesis to consider.
The process to close the internal check (flapper) values in the float collar may have been flawed, resulting in the cured cement holding the values open. When the cement failed, the values offered no resistance to the flow.
No supporting data...I am simply looking for failure modes that line up with the current view of prod casing flow.


Sure. Springs on the flapper valves would tend to close them after cement pumping ceased, but some backflow of cement up the casing is generally necessary to seat them--as far as I know. The required pressure differential between annulus and casing may be sufficient to do this without intervention, but it depends upon what was pumped. Halliburton's 18 April simulation predicted the annulus pressure would exceed that in the casing by 38 psi, which may or may not have been sufficient to effect the seating. You'd have to lower hydrostatic pressure in the casing (by some value, and for some time, that I can't predict) to be sure.

(I doubt that the valves were ever intended to be a barrier against catastrophic fluid flow.)


"No supporting data...I am simply looking for failure modes that line up with the current view of prod casing flow."

May be this link gives a clue what might failure :


US: Abandoned Wells In Gulf Must Be Plugged
Published: Wed, September 15, 2010 - 11:49 am CST
Last Updated: Wed, September 15, 2010 - 12:17 pm CST

The Obama administration says it will require oil and gas companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico to plug nearly 3,500 nonproducing wells and dismantle about 650 production platforms that are no longer being used.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said a formal notice issued Wednesday would make energy production in the Gulf safer and prevent potentially catastrophic leaks at wells that in some cases have been abandoned for decades.

More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk beneath the Gulf of Mexico, and more than 1,000 oil rigs and platforms sit idle. An Associated Press investigation showed that many of the wells have been ignored for decades, with no one in industry or government checking to see if they are leaking.


This sounds like good news for Gulf offshore oil industry workers, no?

Perhaps and I am sure that this a good thing, but you know what happens when you pick at scabs. I am just glad the Industry is greedy and would squeeze whatever petroleum they economically could from a field. Too bad there may be an abandoned Macondo out there. Could an abandoned well have a Macondo spill's worth left? Surely the numbers would have dictated continued production.

Could an abandoned well have a Macondo spill's worth left?

Wouldn't take nearly a Macondo's-worth to be really bad, would it? The companies will howl, no doubt, but this does sound like several years of steady work for offshore crews, and everybody around the Gulf will rest easier for it.

TFHG - Certainly no one is sitting on a well that could deliver even 5% of a Macondo flow and not producing it. But there could be wells that if the leaked could put 10's of BPD into the water. Maybe even 100 bopd but not very many like that. There is a very practical reason for companies to hang on to non-commercial wells and non-producing platforms. Exploration, especially on the shallow water shelf, is constantly being upgraded with new seismic data and play concepts. Much of the new drilling done in the GOM over the last 15 years from existing platforms. And it's not uncommon to see an existing non-producing well bore used as a donor for the new drill. Also, a number of non-producing platforms still serve has hubs for production form other platforms.

The existing non-producing wells and platforms don't have anywhere close to the potential spill damage of the Macondo well or any other for that matter. If they had the ability to produce any significant amount of oil/NG they would be producing. Either keep them or do away with them and in either case it's no biggie IMHO. But if it's being pitched as some big effort by the feds to protect the environment then it really is nothing more than a scam of the American people.

It sounds like what needs to happen is either the wells and platforms get decommissioned or they get some type of periodic inspections.

Or how about charge a tax on any non-producing well that has not been properly abandoned?

Or how about using several to train the new nonexistent Naval Militia capping and spill response teams? The government was bitching about how it did not have the expertise to control a well. Here is how you learn. I think New York/New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, California, and Alaska should all be building up their forces now when the industry is having the layoffs and it is still a hot issue. I also would like to see ships and skimmers as a part of the process with leased equipment for the big stuff.

umm, I'm certainly no expert, but aren't abandoned wells already plugged? (assuming they were abandoned according to regs)

Here's the long version of that AP story, including 3,500 wells TA'd up to 60 years ago that haven't been touched since.

lotus - A TA status of most offshore wells require plugs to be set in them. A well may not be plugged and abandoned but that doesn't mean it's not plugged. Most TA wells are actually P&TA. P&A acutally implies permanently plugged and abandoned. Additional I thin most wells in the GOM that are TA have "storm choke" in the top of th csg. It's essentially a removable plug. I actually think the wells you might be mor worried about are the "shut in wells". Such a well may still have open perforations in a zones that had once produced significant volumes of hydrocarbon.

It can be tricky to follow what folks are really talking about when they use P&A, TA, SI (shut in), plugged, killed, etc. They have very specific meanings in the oil patch but can be easily misused by some folks. I just gave orders to TA a shallow onshore well in Texas last Monday. I set two cement plugs in the csg. And there were no hydrocarbons in the well...none at all. The plugs were to make sure the deeper salt water didn't contaminate the shallow fresh water sands.

Thanks, Rockman. Yes, it's a challenge to parse this reportage if you don't know the scene pretty intimately (and, I see, sometimes even if you do).

lotus - A TA status of most offshore wells require plugs to be set in them. A well may not be plugged and abandoned but that doesn't mean it's not plugged. Most TA wells are actually P&TA. P&A actually implies permanently plugged and abandoned. Additional I think most wells in the GOM that are TA have "storm choke" in the top of the csg. It's essentially a removable plug. I actually think the wells you might be more worried about are the "shut in wells". Such a well may still have open perforations in a zones that had once produced significant volumes of hydrocarbon.

It can be tricky to follow what folks are really talking about when they use P&A, TA, SI (shut in), plugged, killed, etc. They have very specific meanings in the oil patch but can be easily misused by some folks. I just gave orders to TA a shallow onshore well in Texas last Monday. I set two cement plugs in the csg. And there were no hydrocarbons in the well...none at all. The plugs were to make sure the deeper salt water didn't contaminate the shallow fresh water sands.

Back in the olden days when I worked for Amoco they had drilled many wildcats on the LA shelf. These were always T&A with all the required plugs, mud, etc. When a discovery was made, they would come back and set a platform over the T&A well, complete it and drill more.

Dry holes were left in T&A status until they had enough of them to justify a multi-well P&A program. Using a work boat and divers, shaped charges were lowered down inside the wellhead to cut all the casing strings to the regulated depth below the mudline. Wells were then considered P&A.

On the job I was on, the first well we got to had filled up with mud so a shaped charge couldn't be used. The divers dug down into the mud outside the wellhead and wrapped a belt of plastic around it. About a minute after detonating it, the water surface was alive with stunned fish. A couple of hands commandeered a john boat and went "fishing." We ate well that night! If I recall correctly, it took about three more shots to completely cut through all casing strings.

Are you sure or did you need more fish? ;) Electricity like the old EE-8 MASH crank phone ring voltage generators created works well, but alas such things are not legal here.

Now, if somebody were to go to GoogleNews and ask it real sweetly for an article headlined "Opposition grows to BP's legal strategy," somebody'd run up on an interesting read from the Financial Times (just sayin') . . .

Hope it's not a repost, this is for mommydearest et all:
Pcola Gregg tests positive for Hexane, etc.



Quick trip through Googleland...

n-Hexane is a petroleum distillate used as a solvent in vegetable oil
Hexane: Which Soy Veggie Burgers Were Made With a Neurotoxin? Are Prepared Foods Safe?
Are the hexanes in your nutritional supplements giving you vertigo?
Soy is soaked in hexane to produce soy lethicin(sic)
Dangerous Food Additives Source Guide | N | n hexane

Looks like Gregg should probably 1) stop huffing gasoline and/or 2) stay away from this.

... from this.

By God, there IS hope for the world.

Thanks Snakehead~ also Hexane is a reagent which is used as a testing solutiong in gas chromatography also to test other things(industrial HEMP one of them LOL), but every single test that PGI has posted (3 of them) have shown almost identical results on the 6 VOC's, with no prior baseline test and a chiropractor that sells supplements to detoxify interpreting his test .......go figure. Also, VOC's are in everything from carpet to cleaning agents, and I wonder about the heavy metals that show up as VOC's in tattoo ink. Since he just got that massive mayan calendar tat on his back, ya never know-in California they have to give out info about the VOC's from the tat ink before they work on you.

It was his Huffaton Post.


Well, I really am worried about HIM. First off, what did the baseline test show? Who was the control subject? How many different folks were tested? From looking at him, I am calling 'roids. I have done them, I know the deal. More importantly even if this is recent and whatnot, what is the source? The man worked on a car lot for Christ's sake. He sounded depressed. I feel bad for him. Freaking out others is not the way to go. Show me 1000 more test from different folks with chain of custody on the samples and maybe I would be more concerned. Having said all that, it is possible and might be a danger. My question, what is the course of treatment? I know what VOC's are like. When I go to the dentist, the impression materials, adhesives, and materials to make the temps all give me that VOC itch in the roof of my mouth. I wonder how an exposure like that would rate.

I do actually wish him well, but I think his posting this in such a manner is irresponsible and can cause undue stress on others. If he is so damn worried about it, MOVE. Get well Gregg and quit making folks live your twisted, bullshit, rantings. It would not surprise me if you did a shot of unleaded on the way to the test. Even if you didn't, there is Hexane in many places. Please move out of the area until you feel better and your test comes back clean.

Oh, he's not the only one...

Blood tests on Gulf residents show ethylbenzene, other hydrocarbons...



Without concentration and baseline data this means bupkis.

but, but , but........then the donations might stop:( and who would tell the world that BP and the Gov't are poisoning them on video and 5 other sights, we'd all die without the info, so I guess I better put a $10 in the mail per this :

Gregg Hall aka PcolaGregg Tests Positive For Six VOC Toxins | Pcolagregg's Blog
I finally have the hard copy of my Volatile Organic Compounds blood profile. I am posting a video here as well as a picture of the report. Anyone who feels moved to help support my reporting can do so at http://PcolaGregg.com/

I'd like you to share the results of your tests...

None for me, I'm healthy and have no symptoms......no need to chunk out about $500.00 for a test nobody but a toxicologist or an epidemiologist can interpret properly and even then not have a baseline test to start with.

Ignorance is bliss.

Hex, you seem to suspect that everybody who lives along the Gulf has been poisoned. Based on what?

Valdez v2++ ?
Better safe than sorry.

Perhaps, but you should know what you are quoting. Or only partially quoting out of context as the case may be. Which also goes to prove my point.
Thomas Gray
"Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College"

...No more; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.

From http://www.thomasgray.org/cgi-bin/display.cgi?text=odec

'Tis folly to be wise. HMMMMM. TOTALLY changes the meaning of the quote doesn't it.

Other positive tests would be concerning, but I still see it as a small part of the picture. Correlation does not always mean causation. Are these folks symptomatic? What is the demographic and lifestyle of the subjects? Where do they work? How many? Where do they live? How long have they been in the effected area?

Science has a certain way of doing things. Maybe sometimes something is missed or ignored. On the other hand, sometimes you get Thalidomide or Radium killing or harming folks before such things are understood. Like the chemical weapons that Saddam allegedly used on us or we destroyed in the Storm, the evidence is considered anecdotal and specious with no positive identification of a harming agent. Please come back if you have more, but how many tests came back with these 'abnormal' results and what do the toxicologists have to say about it? As far as I know, you are a cashier at McDonald's that doctored some tests. Not saying that is what you are, I am saying as far as I know. Please, get us hard data with DETAILS and we will scream to the world. Otherwise, recognize that worrying other folks is unethical and immoral IMHO.

That guy is the biggest huckster on the beach and you feel sorry for him?

Hell NO! That was on his blog page, I was posting it with the other info that was posted the same as the test results.

Tin was on the beach this past weekend to check it out, we went out by my house and down by Langdon Beach (I knew the area by my house hadn't been hit and spared the visible tar under sand), I was a bit surprised to see the area we snorkeled visibly clear of tar even as we dove to the bottom and shuffled the sand around. I did catch a good size hermit crab though:)

I feel sorry for all who are affected by this catastrophic, including you and part of your portfolio.

Of course I feel sorry for him. Did you see his demeanor? His health concerns? I wish him no harm. I will however, not let up on his theories or 'test' results. Sort of like my snake post about Alex, hammer him and hammer him hard but always point out the scientific and polite (political) way of discerning and presenting controversial data and theories. Especially when the 'main body' of scientists are in disagreement about the data and interpretation of that data. We should always plant seeds of doing things the 'right' way in those that we tend to disagree with. How else would we ever make such things better? Yes though, keep hitting and hitting hard, I can do the soft skills if necessary. Thanks for trying to help the many with your attempts to vet the data. Just understand when I 'work' with some of these folks. We all have a role in life and mine is a little different in this place, but without scientists and detached analysis, this would not be much of a site.

Thanks and keep it coming.

I just had to look at the company doing the testing and I found this:


Interesting, the numbers that is.

I'll say. Isooctane is manufactured from refined petrochemicals. It's used in manufacturing, to keep your car's engine from knocking and in laboratories. And dispersants. Ain't from Macondo oil, could be from Corexit.

A major use is as a reference fuel, used in the development of new petrol (gasoline) blends...
Also found in: Nexcare Advanced Foot Crack Care.

Interesting as the date of the test was BEFORE the Macondo DWH......

Well, there's a simple explanation for that. It's not his test results.

Oh I know....his have been posted all over the place around here, but I just noticed the date on the test so spot on it was Macondo or Corexit (unless mysteriously they were testing it in January)

Good eye mommy. I know you now and personally noticed how good you parent, thus the change. Plus you are quite charming, yet practical. Just like my biological and rearing mommy.

If worried about continued exposure to solvents, the solution is to test for biomarkers, eg for ethylbenzene the test is for mandelic acid in urine, for n-hexane the test is for 2,5-hexanedione in urine. Until I see that data, I'm assuming the analytical data is suspect.

I'd suggest anyone with elevated levels of iso-octane has been inhaling a refined product - whether a volatile cleaning solvent or a refined gasoline ( including aviation gasoline ) fraction.

From the horses mouth:

"Thanks to all of you that show concern. My reasoning for not wearing the protective gear was because the government along with the help of the MSM were painting this rosy picture to everyone that nothing was wrong here. If it was OK for tourists and other beach goers to be out walking barefooted and playing in the sand and water then it should have been okay for me to.

I knew better, but I can only hope that it draws more attention to the matter and that something more is done about alerting the general public.

I am in the process of starting some natural detox processes and I am sure that within a few weeks I will probably be considering leaving the area to get as clear as I can of the toxins.

In the meantime, there are new reports of oil coming ashore in Louisiana and Mississippi and dead crabs on Orange Beach and Johnson's Beach...

As I have been saying, regardless of what the government and the media are reporting this is far from over.

I heard Thad Allen is retiring as incident commander - growing a conscience maybe?

Gregg Hall


Here's the thread:

The fallacy here is that tourists are not going to be working around oil spill residue for 40 hours a week and thus will have a much smaller exposure. There are scores of chemicals where a few minutes exposure won't cause any problem - but spending 40 hours a week around it will cause problems.

Remember even water can poison you in sufficient quantities.

"From the horses mouth:..." OR

http://www.fugly.com/pictures/11635/horses-ass.html ??????

(just askin')

The Mississippi coastal economy seems to be getting off easier than expected, but in Alabama an overview and closeup don't sound nearly that good.

Crabs possibly contaminated with oil
Updated: Sep 15, 2010 4:14 PM EDT

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) - Fishermen in coastal Louisiana say hundreds of crabs caught near Saint Bernard Parish were full of oil, rendering their day's catch useless. Now they're calling for testing to see if those crabs were contaminated from BP oil.

“We got a biologist that was supposed to come here, about an hour passed and he never showed up,” Heier said. “So we called the biologist and said ‘What happened?’ and he said ‘My superior stopped me from coming.’”

If true, how incredibly stupid.

I don't get it. Within a space of an hour from first notification they had called again because nobody had turned up? Is this some super express service? Then they now say they can't provide the crabs for testing 24 hours later because they died? Why can't you test dead crabs?

Why can't you test dead crabs?

Dunno, but maybe Speaker or bbf or somebody can help us out here. (The smell would be enough to dissuade my curiosity.)

Crabs die soon after harvesting. Gulf blue crabs tend to be caught in near shore and inshore waters so refrigeration is not an issue, but the Kings and Opilios come from the Bering Sea and arrive frozen. From observing the deadliest catch, they are iced as soon as they are caught. Point is freezing is an option. As long as the crabs are kept stored in a sealed package, I cannot see what could alter hydrocarbon test. Oysters on the other hand are delivered as live shellfish. They sure must live a long time after harvesting.

Edit: Changed catching to harvesting. Crabs live in traps fine until harvest and cooling in ice.

I hate to disagree, but from watching Deadliest Catch, the crabs go into tanks with seawater circulation, and remain alive until after off-loading. It's my impression that the packer refuses payment on any dead ones.

Maybe I got confused with the fin fish. However we weren't talking about packers we were talking scientists and I have only worked small boats with a few traps. I am sure the Alaska crabs arrive frozen, I bought them. I also am thinking of icing shrimp here too. The crabbers I know around here use a bigger version of a John boat and iced their crabs, but I have only been out with a couple. Live storage does have advantages for sure, and it would save on ice and extend freshness but come to think about it I have done much more shore harvesting. I will ask around. Thanks for the correction.

Back to the main question do you see a reason a test could not be done?

Back to the main question do you see a reason a test could not be done?

No, TF, seems to me they could have iced down at least a few of them in a beer cooler, or something. But my knowledge is limited, I managed to get thru school without any biology courses.

What struck me is that these guys apparently were on the dock with their catch and there were no state or federal inspectors around. What's up with that?

Erainh2o said it well, I think - "a really sucky news story".


Undertow, I was about to post the same thing. Doesn't make sense.

CNN- the leader in science...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The reason you "don't get it" is because it is a really sucky news story. Were I teaching the course, I would give it an F. Were it a part of a final exam, it would carry enough weight to warrant failing the whole course. For many reasons, not the least of which are the facts that it creates more questions than it answers and makes those shrimpers seem dumb, which I highly doubt is the case. Worse, it contains accusatory implications that very well may not be true. He said he said, and nobody checked it out? CNN has been dying for some while, and it must now be dead; no crab could stink worse.

You're talking about the home of Wolf Blitzer and Larry King. Have you no shame?

"Have you no shame?"

Heh...apparently not.

This one has the video included:

Suspected oiled crabs
Reported by: Natasha Robin, Reporter
Last Update: 9/14 11:38 pm


Thanks for the video, tiny. I wonder why (or if) they didn't shell a few to look for oil in 'em themselves.

I am not sure either. I could alter a live crab as easy as a dead one. It is called a hypodermic. Makes no sense to me.

Ladies and gents, meet Igor and Julia, who've danced into something not seen since the 1920s: two Cat 4s at the same time.

They're aiming for the North Atlantic, but Igor will be trouble for Bermuda.

I heard that today, and that Igor was 1200 miles across. I don't think Ike was even that big and it affected us when it was 400 miles offshore, waves 25 ft that broke the end of the pier railing....I hope these stay as fish storms, but bermuda looks like it is in Igor's crosshairs.

Oil spill claims czar: 'I over-promised and under-delivered'
Updated: Wednesday, September 15, 2010, 4:27 PM
Dan Murtaugh, Press-Register

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Oil spill claims czar Ken Feinberg promised several hundred people improvements in the speed, generosity and transparency of his program today, but offered few specific examples of actions he would take to accomplish those things.

Meanwhile, he listened at the town hall meeting at the Orange Beach Community Center as dozens of people told him they filed their claim weeks ago and have heard nothing.

I think that allowing a government-appointed 'czar' to take over the claims process was about the only smart PR move that BP made in this whole mess. It was obvious from the start that the claims process was going to be a mess and this gets BP out of the line of fire.

Activated -

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.

Also in Cali here and received a BBIC tip from another helpful TOD poster some time back that BB is available at Outback. Haven't made it over to our local Outback to try it out, yet, but I will.

And I was at Outback last Saturday.

Plaquemines fish kill is unrelated to BP oil spill, state says
Updated: Wednesday, September 15, 2010, 5:52 PM

Low tide and high temperatures caused low oxygen levels that suffocated huge numbers of fish in Plaquemines Parish, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said Wednesday.

Department biologists found the fish kill in Bayou Chaland had nothing to do with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Olivia Watkins said.

BP program closes in Ala., Miss. & Fla.
Updated: Wednesday, 15 Sep 2010, 5:03 PM CDT

MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) - The Mobile Incident Command Post Wednesday announced the closure of the Vessels of Opportunity (VoO) program in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Closing the highly successful program represents an important milestone in the overall response to the Deepwater Horizon incident, as BP now turns its attention to restoration in the Gulf States.

Now there's some quality arm's length independent reporting. They must have found this on VOA.

Oil spill claims czar: 'I over-promised and under-delivered'
Feinberg also had one last promise for the people in the audience. He brought 20 adjusters with him to the meeting. He told people in the crowd that if they met with the adjusters, gave them their claim numbers and made sure all their financial documents were filed, he would make sure their claims were processed faster.
"When will they get their checks?" Kennon asked him.
"In a few days," Feinberg said.
Nearly everyone in the crowd broke out in laughter.

Turn in your claim number for preferred processing. I call FOUL!


It's 100% unedited press release. Nobody even bothered to put the PR fluff (bragging) in attributed quotes. More crappy work.

Yours truly, Shameless


I think the original prints are a couple meters square.

I am going opposite of protocol and suggest you put one up as a clickable thumbnail, it would be small. If not for lotus, I would have passed it up. I am very glad I did not.

Edit: In a new small post of course, I know when we reply you are done.

Put his name in google image search. Dang.

Edward Burtynsky

Good video of the hydrates coming up and building up under the wellhead sleave.


From closed thread :

ROCKMAN on September 14, 2010 - 1:25pm
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.

Acornus on September 14, 2010 - 4:08pm
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.
That's me, a BP shill. An Engineer who understands the mechanics and thermodynamics.

Acornus - my informations are : The old BOP was able to hold only 7500 psi !
The new BOP that is know on the wellhead can hold 15000 psi.
Have a look on the TO BOP subsea test :


So there was only one barrier between the reservoir and the surface (and that failed) able to hold a pressure of 11900 psi.

Hod do you conclude that the old BOP was only "able to hold only 7500 psi"?

OT to Rockman to this statement :

"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."

When I noticed TOD first time, I only wanted to lurk about "how oil-people try to excuse BP".
But very soon I realized, that here are folks that have a real good sense of responsibility and self-reflection.
And I have learnt a lot about the drilling operations (and it´s problems)from you.
The short cut is not the deepest...lol.
Rockman - by reading your postings I thought very often :
"This guy is really brave about telling insider informations. Hopefully he will be employed in future despite of this."
If all people in the oil business would be like you, Rockman, I would have more convidence in it.
Stay to be a tough guy !

Let's hope Boots & Coots rubs off on Haliburton rather than the other way around.
But I fear Haliburton is already gearing up for orientations on their 10 ways to milk a job.


BP, Spill Victims Clash at First New Orleans Hearing on Combined Cases

BP Plc should face test-case trials over Gulf oil-spill claims within a year, lawyers for victims seeking billions of dollars in damages said in court filings.

BP and other companies being sued over the April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig should begin pretrial information exchanges next month, the lawyers told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans.

“There is no reason to delay” getting cases prepared for 2011 trials, Stephen Herman, a lawyer for some of the victims, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

In its own filing, BP dismissed the victims’ push for early trials as “premature and overly ambitious.” ...

"BP is paying Feinberg to oversee the evaluation of claims outside court."

Gee whillikers, I thought he was an "independent administrator."