BP's Deepwater Horizon -Intersection has taken place! - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6966.

Last night, we learned that the well intersection had taken place, and that plan was to proceed with the bottom kill. According to Admiral Allen:

"I have received extensive briefings over the last 24 hours regarding the final effort to intercept the Macondo well. Through a combination of sensors embedded in the drilling equipment and sophisticated instrumentation that is capable of sensing distance to the well casing, BP engineers and the federal science team have concluded that the Development Driller III relief well has intersected the Macondo well. This determination was made based on a loss of drilling fluids that indicated communication had been established beyond the relief well, the pressure exerted against the drill bit as it came in contact with the well casing and, finally, an increase in pressure in the choke line of the Macondo well blow out preventer. While each of these indicators taken separately would not necessarily be conclusive, the aggregate data available supports the conclusion that the two wells are joined. It is also important to note that none of the measurements supported a scenario where the annulus of the well is in communication with the reservoir. Accordingly, we intend to proceed with preparation to cement the annulus and complete the bottom kill of the well. Further information will be provided as cementing procedures are completed."

I note that while this says that the annulus is not now in communication with the reservoir, it does not say that it was not earlier (after the initial cementing of the well).

More details on the drilling(s) here.

AP video: Just 41 seconds, but you'll never see anyone celebrate a drill bit coming at 'em like these guys -- WOOHOO!

That is good news Lotus!

The Telly:

... Psychologists at the mine are preparing to address a condition known as the "astronaut syndrome".

"Like astronauts these men have endured a prolonged period in a small enclosure away from their normal atmosphere but in the miners' case they haven't the exhaustive training and preparation," said Dr James Polk, the US agency's chief of space medicine, who is advising the Chilean authorities.

"They are going to have a lot of things thrust at them when they get out - a lot of press attention, dealing with family issues and such things thrust upon them very immediately, they will need help to readjust to society. Some could well suffer from post traumatic stress type disorder."

He predicted that it could take at least twice the length of time they had been trapped to recover from the ordeal.

"We plan on two months recovery for every month confined - but some will get over it quicker and others may never return to normal." ...

More there and from CNN.

Interesting; I wondered about the analogy to astronauts and whether NASA were interested/involved.

Yes, Joffan, NASA sent four experts down a couple of weeks ago; sounds like at least one is still there.

NASA is going to learn, not teach. IMHO

They didn't invent cabin fever, nor do they have a definitive cure. They will be curious like the rest of us as to the results of this little "experiment". Other than the mistress issue, I don't think the psychologists are right about the mental health issue of this. Instant fame can mess up folks who haven't gone through a particularly bad ordeal, the ordeal isn't the problem the fame is.

On the Schramm site are some more videos, which could please a drillers heart :


We know, that some of the miners must lose weight (I saw at the minimum three of them in the videos).
When the drill is faster than expected (what I really hope) it could happen, that these guys are still too "fat".
May be, its an extra income for Schramm to drill an "xxl hole" for fat miners...lol.

Go Schramm Go!
I ran an earlier model, similar - T120 trailer mounted, air only, to 5,000', 7 1/4" hole, with booster of same size. http://www.schramminc.com/products/t130xd -sweet

Sorry HO, but the annulus never flowed oil. http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=7065070

Relief well drilling from the Development Driller III (DD3) re-started at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday, and operations completed drilling the final 45 feet of hole. This drilling activity culminated with the intercept of the MC252 annulus and subsequent confirmation at 4:30 p.m. CDT Thursday. Total measured depth on the DD3 for the annulus intercept point was 17,977 feet.

Operations conducted bottoms up circulation, which returned the contents of the well’s annulus to the rig for evaluation. Testing of the drilling mud recovered from the well indicated that no hydrocarbons or cement were present at the intersect point. Therefore, no annulus kill is necessary, and the annulus cementing will proceed as planned. It is expected that the MC252 well will be completely sealed on Saturday.

Damnit, this destroys the whole narrative. All those days of congressional hard hitting questions...and for what!!?! Stupid facts ruining all that good congressional drama. Its almost as if...but no...I can't say it...Congressmen would never jump to conclusions.

Well ... this is a totally unique situation ... I'm just sure that this was the very first time Congress has EVER jumped to conclusions in their rush to get out in front of the public, before investigations are completed, to assure the electorate that they are on top of things!! ROTFLMAO

Can you really say the annulus never flowed oil just because there was none trapped in there during the intercept. Couldn't the top kill have pushed the oil out of it?

Another thing is I don't understand the loss of fluid they had at the RW. How can they compress drilling mud. Isn't it pretty much like water?

The loss of fluid come from the fact that the mud would have suddenly had alot of space to fill in the annulus when they broke free. It wasn't really lost, but they had to fill the annular space before they could get it to flow back.

This is where my ignorance makes it hard to ask the right question. Shouldn't there have been mud in the annulus from the original drilling of the well?

You're right of course that there is fluid in and around the annulus, maybe seawater, maybe drilling mud, but at the pressures they're pumping the mud at, the mud could still have force the fluid somewhere (other formations, compressed, etc).

Nothing is incompressible.

Thanks GregTX !

Water has about the same compresibility as steel.

Water is so nearly incompressible that it is generally considered to actually be incompressible in any ordinary engineering work;the introduced error is negligible;this would apply in oil well work.

" Nothing is incompressible. "

What a statement in itself.

" Nothing is incompressible. "

What a statement in itself.

Indeed. But, as far as I know, true.

I was a rookie EE when an old ME told me something similar that I always keep in the back of my mind: "Everything is a spring."

The reason I retained that is to remind me that us engineers deal with "models" when we are designing stuff. What we put down on paper as a "resistor" obeys Ohm's law, E = I x R. But the physical "resistor" device we solder into a circuit doesn't match the model of Ohm's law exactly. Depending on the circumstances, the difference might be so small that it can be ignored, or it might be so great that the design doesn't work. An extreme example - a wire wound resistor is fine for a power supply but it's a coil whose inductance MUST be taken into consideration at higher frequencies.

oldfarmermac wrote:

Water is so nearly incompressible that it is generally considered to actually be incompressible in any ordinary engineering work; the introduced error is negligible;

Note the qualifiers "so nearly", "generally considered to actually be", "ordinary". He's recognizing that water does not exactly match the model of perfect incompressibility.

Then he says:

this would apply in oil well work.

That's where that "everything is a spring" memory comes out. While generally true, is what we are considering so extreme that the very slight compressibility of water can no longer be ignored. Does a couple of thousand psi delta-P on a 13,000' column of water produce a measureable change in it's length? I don't know for sure because I have no real-world experience with that situation, but it's a question I would try to answer.

Which brings me to QuantumUS's question:

Another thing is I don't understand the loss of fluid they had at the RW. How can they compress drilling mud. Isn't it pretty much like water?

I recall that at least twice we've heard accounts (from Rockman if I'm not mistaken) that as a pressure test is ending, it is expected that some relatively small amount of mud will flow out of the hole.

That tells me that drilling mud is not so perfectly incompressible that the effect can be ignored. That MIGHT BE the explanation for what Adm. Allen so imperfectly described.


This isn't exactly hard to check out and crunch the numbers for.

Water has a compressibility of roughly 4.6x10E-10 m^2/N (It varies, but this is close to reasonable.)

The pressure at the bottom of the well is 11,800psi = 81.4MPa

4.6x10E-10 x 8.14x10E7 = 0.0037 which is about 0.4% reduction in volume.

If the pressure differential between the two wells were say 1000 psi, that is about 1/10 the formation pressure, so
call it about a 0.04% volume change due to the pressure differential. That is at the bottom of the well, but we assume the delta in pressure affects the entire well bore, since it is closed at the top.
If you have 1000bbls of mud in the annulus, that would translate to roughly 0.4bbls of volume change as you intersected the well. That ignores the volume inside the liner, which whilst isolated by the steel liner, is still going to compress, since as a rough approximation the steel is of similar compressibility. So we might expect to see a bbl of so of volume change. It the well is shut in enough to contain any pressure change in the liner, we can consider the liner volume as compressed fluid like this. If it is not shut in, and is able to flow, we only get to look at the steel liner as an elastic barrier, and we could assume that compressing it will yield a much larger change in volume, Essentially treating it as a balloon.

Note, this assumes an infinitely strong geological formation surrounding the well. Which it clearly isn't. So, you might imagine that this lack of such infinite strength might have a bit more to do with the volume changes. However that I leave the geologists.

Thanks for that, Frank. I remember RM answering my questions about mud compressibility, had to do with exact composition, among other factors.

I have learned so much from you guys over the past two months,especially the correlations between fluids and electrical systems. Invaluable, really, since the ideas I have, and the things I want to study in school next year will draw on both to see fruition.

The future's so bright ..


Thanks again to all.

...and from the pressure vs. volume records, top kill went down the inside of the production casing to the shoe then back up to the reservoir. Had it continued into the annulus it would have forced (lighter) oil up to the top of the annulus where it would have been trapped, until it was circulated out today for inspection.

Once the leak was established as being at the shoe, it always seemed unlikely to me that it would also have reached the annulus. That would have require two opposite breaches to open up and flow, more likely the first would relieve the pressure and the second breach never happen.

They must have perforated the production casing before the intercept, so that the annulus and production casing were in communication when the intercept happened. Must have, or the pressure on the kill line couldn't have risen, and they couldn't have circulated the fluid out of the well. IIRC Moon suggested days ago that the perforation happened when the recovery ships were nearby, in case there was flow through the annulus from the formation - there was not so they moved the ships away. They knew the annulus was not in communication with the formation at that time, but they didn't know what fluid was in the annulus until they circulated it out using the relief well, and what came out had no HC's in it so the annulus apparently never leaked. The top kill would not have pushed mud into the annulus above the formation, not of the leak was at the shoe anyway. If the leak had been at the hanger and the hanger seal was open, fluid in the the annulus could have been displaced but the hanger seal apparently was not open.

From what I learned here, thanks all!

the annulus never flowed oil

So saith Bruce ("Frequently in Error, Never in Doubt") Thompson.


... [Thadmiral] said that pressure readings and other data obtained after the interception indicated that the annulus had been effectively sealed off from the reservoir of oil and gas below it by a procedure in early August.

In that operation, called a top kill, mud followed by cement was pumped in to plug the casing pipe. BP and government scientists thought that some cement had gone up into the annulus, sealing it off from the reservoir as well, but they were worried that about 1,000 barrels, or roughly 40,000 gallons, of oil might still be trapped in the annulus. Work was suspended on the relief well for several weeks while BP replaced safety equipment at the top of the well to eliminate the possibility that any trapped oil might leak into the gulf.

But the BP announcement on Friday indicates that no oil was trapped in the annulus after the top kill procedure. ...

Emph. mine.

Ok if oil ever had been in the annulus and isn't there now then where did it go? What other option is there other than if no oil was trapped after top-kill other then it wasn't there before top-kill?

I guess if they had seen mud volumes that indicated they were ciculating mud down the annulus, that would indicate a flow path and also would mean that they would be able to force the oil back down into the formation. But since I haven't heard that, yeah, coming up the annulus they could only push oil AWAY from the formation, potentially trapping it. Not seeing it then indicates that it was probable never there.

If there was no oil trapped in the annulus after the top kill, why is there any reason to assume there was oil in the annulus before the top kill...because from my understanding they claim never to have flowed mud down the annulus, only down the casing and then up the annulus to the formation. I never read anything about them ciculating mud all the way up the annulus back to the BOP. So if they didn't flow down the annullus and sealed off the formation with cement from the bottom, shouldn't there be oil trapped in the annular space if it had flowed up the annulus? That they didn't find any should be a pretty good indication it never flower that direction from the start. Right?

I think you're trying to read the words without trying to understand what they really mean.

I think you're trying to read the words without trying to understand what they really mean

Entirely possible that I don't understand, but I've sure been trying to for months.

I think back in June - BP seriously thought the flow was through the annulus -- if the flow was only through the casing via the bad cement/shoe issue - then I would think this is huge for BP. All the issues around their well design (long string), lack of centralizers, etc... at the end of the day were not the culprit. Therefore - the allocation of blame (and thus future penalties) would certainly benefit BP relative to what was thought a few months ago. I think the weighting of blame (for penalties) will still be heavily BP - but TO and HAL will pick up more of the allocation then thought in June... IMO.

So, if there was no oil in the annulus and there never was, then all of those scare stories of oil bubbling up from the seabed were impossible. There must have been billions of internet posts claiming to show the oil seeps. And of course, the Matt Simmons stories of oil flowing from a leak seven miles away would also be impossible.

It won't be long until there is a post claiming that BP has paid off the Admiral so that they can continue to cover up the leaks from the secret wells.

CT never sleeps, never goes away and doesn't even attenuate! The Energizer Bunny of if-you-can-think-of-it-then-it-must-be-true reasoning. Conjecture and speculation morph into meme. It is postmodern perpetual motion. It survives on its own weight.

DWH was secretly built entirely of solidified nanothermite and was destroyed in an Obama false flag operation intended to force us to declare war on Great Britain!! NAILED IT

What, no link to your donate button? ;-)

The so-called 'fireboats' were actually pumping gasoline onto the rig to make sure it went down. There are videos of it, plain as day. Clearly gasoline. You can see the big gasoline tanks on the 'fireboats', the tanks were right out in the open and they didn't even bother to try to hide them. The DWH rig was made of steel. How else would a floating massive hunk of steel burn for 3 days???????///questionmark

... and the gasoline ignited the solidified nanothermite!! Now I see. It all makes so much sense now. They, all of them, must in some big cabal. I don't know the direct link yet, but I sure Corexit is involved some how.

Corexit is a mind-control drug. Like fluoride. Look it up!!!1one

Don't forget when the BOP erupted in flames.

That was terrifying. The whole thing could have blown.

And of course, the Matt Simmons stories of oil flowing from a leak seven miles away would also be impossible.

Not that they weren't impossible in the first place.

For the CT'ers it remains easy. Its the wrong well. (Matt Simmon's thesis) They are lying. (The eternal get out of jail card for the CT'er, where "they" may include as many people as is required, usually including the US government.) Physically impossible but impressive sounding mechanisms. (often including misquotes or selective quotes from real science.) Mutual requoting of one another's blogs (forming a self supporting microcosm with its own weird rules and consistency). Aliens, creatures from under the earth, Cthulhu, and so it goes.

We have seen just about every one of these so far. In all as much as I have learnt about the oil patch, I have learnt as much about conspiracy blogging. Maybe I can use this new found knowledge to keep me into old age. It wouldn't be hard sadly.

KO, MSNBC, less than 2 minutes ago: BP is stuffing "the believed well".

He gets to eat some blame.

KO, MSNBC, less than 2 minutes ago: BP is stuffing "the believed well".

You're kidding. That's inexcusable.

But Oil Industry Expert Bob Cavnar said the video feeds are on a continuous loop, which means nobody can believe anything anybody says about anything. Except for stuff Oil Industry Expert Bob Cavnar says, I guess.

Thought of you when I read this.


But the BP announcement on Friday indicates that no oil was trapped in the annulus after the top kill procedure. ...


Sloppy reporting.

At the time of the top kill, Allen told us that the flow path of the mud was down the production casing only. None went into the annulus from the top.

So whatever was in the upper annulus after the top kill is exactly what was in the annulus before top kill. The writer's inclusion of "after the top kill procedure" has no significance whatever.

Whether or not Bruce ("Frequently in Error, Never in Doubt") Thompson is deserving of your snark, I'll leave to others.

But I reached the same conclusion, that the annulus never flowed oil, independently as soon as I first saw the BP release this morning.


It is entirely true that there was "no oil trapped in the annulus after the top kill procedure..."

or before it, or after the static kill or after the blowout etc. etc.

There never was oil in the annulus.

Ol' Admiral Allen has the high paid spin doctors helping him with his "testimony". Unlike most of the rest of you (even the ever truthful Rockman who admits to it) I am an engineer, I do not have to "play" one on TOC.

I'd be more impressed if you had posted " There never was oil " here in May, but now, after convincing evidence arrives ...

Am I to assume the well wasn't designed, drilled, or under the control of engineers - who apparently are never wrong?.

Get over it, there were a lot of industry engineers who were concerned that liner was not locked down, and thus could have dislodged ( temporarily or permanently ) under the extreme gas/oil flows. They clearly forgot to ask your advice.

"This determination was made based on a loss of drilling fluids that indicated communication had been established beyond the relief well, the pressure exerted against the drill bit as it came in contact with the well casing and, finally, an increase in pressure in the choke line of the Macondo well blow out preventer."
How can the pressure increase in the choke line without drilling through the casing ?
As I understand, the annulus has no communication with the BOP - or am I wrong with this ?

Oil in the annulus or not - BP´s reckless displacement of mud from the riser remains as a matter of fact !!!
The "well from hell" gave them at no time any reason to be unworried !


And when challenged by what you say is in short supply on TOD, you do what?



"Mexican ports on the Gulf remained closed and Pemex installations evacuated as Hurricane Karl approaches."


Busted: Pipeline owner cons victims into signing waivers, releases of health documents.


Is just me or do these symptoms ring a bell? I seem to recall reading about something like this happening in the gulf states. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic here)

Early last week, a lawsuit was filed in the Calhoun County circuit court alleging that residents at Baker Estates trailer park have suffered “head aches, nausea, burning and/or itchy eyes, skin rashes, sore threats, ear aches and dizziness” as a result of “exposure to the Defendants’ [Enbridge’s] heavy crude oil elements.”

Similar in pattern to the claims filed after an auto accident - unverifiable soft tissue injuries.

Yes, everyone is a faker and a fraud, except when it comes time to paying taxes.

And even then, there are a lot of frauds.

On April 15th, 1987 - seven million children in the US disappeared. The cause of this dissapreaance was an IRS rule requiring a social security number for each child you claim as a dependant on your taxes.


Variant story: Lawyers con locals into expensive lawsuit on the basis of unverifiable* health effects.

Note that the alleged victims' health documentation would automatically be available to Enbridge's lawyers in the event of reaching discovery, by their own act of bringing suit.


* - Not all of the effects are unobservable (although most are), but the link to the spill is hard to either prove or disprove.

If you're at all interested in the Mississippi River, you gotta see this map and read this story.

That is really neat.

The Mississippi River always brings to mind one of the best songs from my youth:

The Mississippi and Robeson - two of God's marvelous creations. :^)

Thanks for all of the great musical references, Philmb. This is one of my all time favorites.

The thirth marvelous creation is the Pascagoula Squirrel :


Good remedial teaching for the " donation guys" - lol.

Lotus, great link, thanks. You can see traces of those old channels on Google Earth/Maps. Here's the Ohio River confluence featured in the story: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.035706,-89.250909&z=10&t=h&hl=en

My first post.

Tomorrow evening when I get back to my home system I was thinking about creating a collaborative project using Google.Doc.

The project will focus around creating a report on what caused the accident and how the operation proceeded.

I have some ideas I will place in the template and ask others to contribute in areas they feel they have a good handle on thing.

Send me your e-mail address and I will add you as a contributor with editing capabilities of the document.

Reply here with your thoughts on the validity of such project. E-mail me through my profile if you wish to contribute your take.

A question for the pro's:

The Halliburton data chart has a line called Gas Units with a 0 - 200 scale. I assume this signal comes from a gas detector in the mud return system.

Consider the following sequence:

19:55 2nd negative test completed. Rig crew decides the test was good and starts to displace the mud with sea water.

20:16 - 20:56 Gas units signal comes off zero with a peak of 70 (35%) at 20:22.

20:50 Spacer reaches the surface.

20:52 Well starts to flow according to Bly report models.

Was that gas detector trying to say something about the well's integrity? Is this another clue the rig crew missed?

Was that gas detector trying to say something about the well's integrity?



The scale on the gas detector chart is in units. Ten thousand units equals 100% gas so 70 units is less than one percent gas (0.7%). This is a very low reading and is regarded as background gas or a baseline. It's likely due to the oil base mud and therefore is not gas coming from the well.

I think the gas chart does provide a valuable clue. The gas detector typically analyzes an air sample from a gas trap placed on the front of the shale shaker (the possem belly) which is the end of the flowline coming from the well. The gas reading dropping to zero suggests the gas detector was being bypassed.

If the gas detector was not bypassed, it may have provided an early warning of the kick. The initial fluid gain on the surface was due to oil and gas entering the well three miles below and therefore this fluid probably did not contain gas.

Even without an increase in the percent of gas in the mud, the increase of flow thru the gas trap can manifest itself in a gas increase.


I can't think where I saw this, but they are still catching birds that were oiled six weeks ago, and it took the birds that long to weaken to the point of being catchable. Only one collected yesterday, but plenty still in the bird hospital.

The DWH Response page is still being updated.


They have collected a total of ~4500 oiled birds, half of them DOA. Probably the abundant laughing gull was the most numerous species in that mix. It doesn't look like the spill will have made much of a dent in the precarious Louisiana pelican population. Maybe Corexit should get some of the credit for that.

It amazes me that pelicans in LA took so long to recover from the Rachel Carson era and DDT--still haven't recovered to anywhere near normal abundance.

Getting uglier between the Alabama AG and guv. BP must be lovin' it.

The AG should have waited until the first round of checks to have cleared. This crap only hurts BP, they are the real bad guy in this IMHO. It looks like they are taking advantage of local politics.

Just reading on BBERG that Cement is now being pumped into well......and there is no is no longer a need to use mud in tandem because pressure from the well isn't an issue. Expected to be permanently sealed by Saturday.

So...is that normal to NOT use the DM?


There is no well pressure to overcome so no mud is pumped as I read it. If they pumped "kill" mud they would put additional downward force on the intact cement barrier for no reason - if I understand correctly.

Thanks..is that because of the static kill?

I think it means the barrier has always been intact. There never was hydrocarbon flow up past the much criticised centralisers/cement. The annulus above the formation has always been dead and the BP guy who said "we will probably get a good cement job (and if not then we do a remedial squeeze)" was seemingly correct on this particular issue.

Atleast in regards to the effectiveness of the centralizers, if not the fact that they'd get a good cement job.

Ok.....So different from what I initally expected. Thanks again

Tow - I can offer one scenario that allows a possible explanation for no CURRENT flow in the annulus: the top kill pushed the bull headed cmt above the reservoir and sealed it off from the annulus which had been in communication prior. As far as the centralizer issue that may still be on the table: if the flow went down the annulus and then up the prod csg the cmt had to have failed in the annulus below the reservoir. And that could be argued to be the result of insufficient centralizers.

Also above you meantioned they didn't drill with the RW with a "kill fluid" (I think). It would have been suicidal if they drilled with a MW less than 12.6 ppg (the reservoir pressure). Essentially you're always drilling with a kill fluid in a well: a MW sufficient to keep any reservoir from kicking. We just don't call it a "kill fluid" while drilling. We just say we're drilling overbalanced.

Anyone know if they tagged the mud in the DDIII top kill, or if there is another way to identify which batch of mud was found in the annulus?

The mud likely has enough difference in density and composition that they can tell whether it is the original mud that arrived there during the original cementing or if it is mud from the static kill. If that information doesn't come out there is something seriously wrong with the way this is being investigated.

Tow - I can offer one scenario that allows a possible explanation for no CURRENT flow in the annulus: the top kill pushed the bull headed cmt above the reservoir and sealed it off from the annulus which had been in communication prior.


Yes this is a reasonable explanation. They also bullheaded a large quantity of mud prior to pumping cement. You have to wonder where all that mud went.

The BP press release said: " Testing of the drilling mud recovered from the well indicated that no hydrocarbons or cement were present at the intersect point. "

BP didn't say there were no hydrocarbons in the entire 2.6 miles of annulus.


The original comment about the mud wasn't mine. It is BP that said there was no need to pump mud into the annulus to kill it (from beachmommy's link above: "a spokesman said Friday there is no longer a need to use mud in tandem with cement") but instead they would go straight to cement. I was just commenting on it. Obviously there was mud in the RW of a sufficient weight to more than balance any expected pressure as you say.


Relief well drilling from the Development Driller III (DD3) re-started at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday, and operations completed drilling the final 45 feet of hole. This drilling activity culminated with the intercept of the MC252 annulus and subsequent confirmation at 4:30 p.m. CDT Thursday. Total measured depth on the DD3 for the annulus intercept point was 17,977 feet.

Operations conducted bottoms up circulation, which returned the contents of the well’s annulus to the rig for evaluation. Testing of the drilling mud recovered from the well indicated that no hydrocarbons or cement were present at the intersect point. Therefore, no annulus kill is necessary, and the annulus cementing will proceed as planned. It is expected that the MC252 well will be completely sealed on Saturday.

Once cementing operations are complete, the DD3 will begin standard plugging and abandonment procedures for the relief well.

And http://cbs2chicago.com/wireapnational/Quotations.of.the.2.1919300.html

"I am ready for that cigar now." — John Wright, a drilling contractor, in an e-mail to The Associated Press from aboard the Development Driller III vessel in the Gulf as a relief well pumped cement into BP's blown-out oil well. Wright last month said he was looking forward to finishing the well and celebrating with a cigar and a quiet getaway with his wife.

Also if the top hanger seal held (as we are told it did) then where would the displaced hydrocarbons have gone if bull-headed? Unless I am missing something wouldn't that require another hole in the annulus somewhere above?

You must not care that AP will/can come after TOD and maybe you for republishing their copy. Of course, you're republishing what looks like a Bloomberg feed of AP content, Bloomberg being the paying subscriber for the content. And maybe you pay for Bloomberg's feed of the content. But I see Bloomberg is claiming copyright as well, so maybe both Bloomberg and AP could come after you and/or TOD.

Have a nice day.

Thanks Unconformity for your concern, you are correct I pay 1800.00 a month and we can use it however we wish just as long as it has the bloomberg label is on it (if I cropped it out that would be a problem).....

We pay that fee in order to use there articles, trading tools for everything we do-even sending the content out as screen grabs......thus why they have screen grab tools~imagine that :)

But just so you don't get your panties in a wad........here ya go, my computer, my phone and my desk, now what are you going to bitch about????


In fact, this from Bloomberg's Terms and Conditions of Service:


But wait, there's more:




OH~One more thing.......we don't use Bloomberg.com NOR is it there website, I assume this is for bloomberg news on the net and not the terminal as it is NOT BLOOMBERG.COM.
So this link isn't even relevant to paid users of the terminals we use.....


There's a copyright at the right hand bottom of your first post about the cement.
I'd check that out before posting another news item from wherever you got it.
It wouldn't come under fair use because of the amount you posted.
I am not being mean, but I take copyright seriously.
I think they mean it when they say no part of the service may be...

Already did after un-con had an issue, bloomberg.com is not what we use, that is the internet news site. We use the professional bloomberg series which is not under the .com that is for everyday users, we use it for info for account and news issues that are relevant to the market as a whole or this particular equity, this is why we have GRAB screens and screen shots and these options which are clearly what they state......sent story etc., and we have multiple tools to send the story, either the above mentioned or PFM's which is what this is.... I understand you aren't being mean and they can remove it if they wish. I can't edit it once it is commented on. Also, I posted one out of four pages:)


You don't think part of the $1800 dollars a month covers posting a screen-shot?

I see nuthiing...nuthiiing

She isn't doing any of those things.
Also, have you ever heard of 'fair use'?

This looks like a job for Captain Copyright.

Media accounts of yesterday's Science mag. article about biodegradation in the plumes said that bacteria were eating natural gas fractions instead of oil in the deep water. But apparently the idea was just that bacteria were oxidizing propane, ethane, and butane first. These fractions are not greatly abundant and were consumed within days of emission, so oxygen is left over to support attacks on oil fractions. Methane, the most abundant fraction, is being broken down much more slowly. Something like trying to eat black walnuts.

How much oil remains in the water today is unclear, but is it still there."We really don't have a handle on that yet," says Professor Valentine. "We know that there is still a very widespread signal of oil in the deep water in the Gulf and we don't have a real handle on exactly what within the oil has been consumed and what remains.

"However in the last 40 locations we've looked, in 20 of those we've seen tell-tale signatures of oil in the deep water so it seems it's not completely consumed, but its very likely that some components of it have been very heavily consumed. "We think some of the more recalcitrant or less reactive oil components are still there in the water."

So this view seems compatible with the more optimistic reports by the Terry Hazen group and the NOAA oxygen report. Not much else of interest in the BBC article.


I wish we had an update on degradation of dissolved BTEX (benzene etc) in the deep water. It probably matters how long the critters were/will be exposed to that stuff.

Excellent analogy, "black walnuts," Gobbet. (Nasty flavor, certainly not worth the work to get to, in my book.)

Yes, a BTEX update would be fine to have. Hope someone's working on that.

There's a new NYT article on the Science report. This comment is pertinent to the BTEX question & maybe PAH too:

Biological sampling from Valentine's group revealed two dominant microbe strains related to the Cycloclasticus and Colwellia bacteria groups. These bugs bloomed thanks to their ability to degrade propane and ethane, the researchers suspect, though Cycloclasticus is also known for its ability to chew through aromatic hydrocarbons, circle-shaped molecules that are typically found in crude oil in low amounts, and carry high toxicity concerns.

Camilli of WHOI repeats the "not eating oil" idea that I was questioning above:

"This suggests that most all of the microbial degradation that is happening there is just the natural gas being utilized, which suggests that there is proportionately less microbial degradation of the oil itself," Camilli said. "This is where [this spill] is really unique," Camilli added. "For most oil spills, it's just oil, it's not natural gas, but there is so much natural gas that came out of this leak. It appears as though the microbes are just interested in the natural gas. So it suggests that the oil may persist longer than we would like."

A couple months ago there were several articles that mentioned that the bacteria would eat the easy-to-digest stuff first. If folks were expecting that that would be the case then, why is it a surprise now?

Not a surprise, but it's an important question where we are in the sequence. I hadn't heard anyone make the point before that propane would be first, and that's probably because of oil-centric thinking. Whether gas consumption has mostly precluded oil consumption is the question being featured in the media accounts of this scientific paper.As I understand, the bugs adapted to eating propane (an alkane) would also easily crack the simpler liquid alkanes, and it seems there should be no competition between the two food sources for the bugs' attentions, since the gas fractions are dissolved and the oil was/is in droplets.

Incidentally, the NYT article discusses the difficulty of cracking methane; the bugs have to be totally specialized and use a chemical "sledgehammer."

I haven't read the Valentine report, but I'd suspect that the short-chain alkanes are very accessible, either partially-dissolved or superficial on condensed heavier hydrocarbons. Short-chain alkanes aren't good solvents for all oil components, so may have diffused out as heavier fractions condensed from the flow into the seawater.

BETX will dissolve even more into the heavier hydrocarbons ( they are good solvents for most oil components ) as well as dissolving into the water - benzene has the highest seawater solubility of common hydrocarbons, about 0.12% mass/mass at 16C.

It will be interesting to discover how much of the BTEX and alkanes are dissolved in the seawater, how much is undissolved but superficial, and how much is locked within hydrophobic heavier hydrocarbon globules. Over time, weathering should release the volatiles from oil globules, and also allow oxidation ( hardening ) of the residual insoluble tars.

Lots of interesting knowledge to be reported...

This discussion has gone off the rails and should be largely ignored. The Valentine study does not discuss amounts, bioavailability, or biodegradation of the oil fractions AT ALL, only of the dissolved gases.

The Camilli comment is somewhat misleading. While it's indeed reasonable to infer that bidegradation of the gases may be the biggest/fastest set of processes, this does not preclude other biodegradation processes from also operating.

No published study says the bugs identifed by Valentine are the only bugs present/abundant in the 3D space. No published study says bugs are not simultaneously digesting oil fractions. There is no reason to think that only one process can happen at a time--multiple processes can happen, each at their own rates, and one would have to study them to find out. The Valentine report does say that the dissolved gases could have separated from the oil fractions and drifted off into their own plumes; if so, then different bugs could be dominant and different processes happening at the same time in different places, and sampling in one place would not reveal dynamics elsewhere.

I think a common misconception is that this is a " free-for-all Smörgåsbord, everybody rush in at one time " type of event, when the modeling that would need to happen to determine the course of causalities, will likely need to be over a much wider physical area, and for good measure, through the seasons and natural fluxes of the Gulf, which I'm sure is on everybody's minds.

I guess it depends on how we define natural gas and oil. The remaining biodegraded system should be slightly undersaturated at 2200 psi and 39 degrees F. But I don't think this guy understands the bacteria got to eat enough of this stuff to keep it from rising to the surface, so of course they got to be munching the light ends like crazy, all the way to say c8s.

Unless it's emulsified, I suppose. Did they describe what they were finding and putting in their watchmacallits, whatever they use to figure out what type of hydrocarbons are found down there? Is it emulsion or emulsion mixed with dead critters?

How much oil remains in the water today is unclear, but is it still there."We really don't have a handle on that yet," says Professor Valentine. "We know that there is still a very widespread signal of oil in the deep water in the Gulf and we don't have a real handle on exactly what within the oil has been consumed and what remains.

It is unclear and uncertain as to how much oil was originally released into the water. With the very high fraction of the flow (unknown and varriable rate) being NG, it is pretty difficult to determine what part was oil in the first place.

I'll take a wild guess the final volume will be about 3.5 million barrels. Give or take a million.

We've got 4.9 million bbls and recent estimates that 2/3 was ng. That would mean 1.6+ million bbls of oil. One thing I'm not clear on because I've been too lazy to look is this: does $4300/bbl specifically pertain to oil, or does it include all hydrocarbons?

Apparently, it doesn't apply to natural gas.

I suppose even more lawyers will work to define most of the spill as "natural gas", which generally covers gases whose major hydrocarbons are methane and ethane ( typically 70+% of the HCs ).

Propane and butane are generally considered as "liquified petroleum gases", and pentane and larger as "oils".

I also assume BP is also working hard to find natural seeps of similar composition in the vicinity...

I don't think the 4.9 million barrels was defined at reservoir conditions or at sea floor conditions, it must have been at standard conditions (60 F and one atmosphere). 2/3 of it natural gas depends on where you define the properties.

I do assume the 4.9 is high because the blow out preventer valves were eroded, this tells me the flow increased over time. I thought it was a wormhole being cut as the oil went from the reservoir sand to the entry point, but I didn't think hard enough about the valves themselves being almost fully closed and then eroding over time.

I think it's important to keep things simple: the oil spill volume is likely less than officially estimated, the bacteria are eating the light ends, the remaining heavier stuff sinks to the bottom if it gets a chance, some of it emulsifies and the bacteria eat it the best they can, some of it stays floating in deep water as a fine mist of oil in the water column, and overall the impact is less than the Exxon Valdez.

"... and overall the impact is less than the Exxon Valdez".
That's a big call in the absence of much information.

The 260,000 barrels of Exxon Valdez crude oil is still contributing to wildlife mortality, and some scientist estimate that it will be 30 years before some of the ecosystem ( eg mussel beds ) has fully recovered.

"In its 20th anniversary Status Report, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council lists only 10 of the 31 injured resources and services they monitor as "recovered" (which includes bald eagles and river otters). Ten more, including killer whales and sea otters are listed as "recovering." Populations of Pacific herring and pigeon guillemots are listed as "not recovering.".....

This Exxon Valdez oil is decreasing at a rate of 0-4 percent per year," the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council stated. "At this rate, the remaining oil will take decades and possibly centuries to disappear entirely.""

Whilst the Gulf, with it's natural oil seeps, larger volume, and more temperate environment, may handle Macondo oil more effectively, there's still a lot of oil components that don't biograde rapidly. The long-term effect of Corexit may also be ambiguous until further information is accumulated. Surfactants in water don't always discriminate, and may have long term effects, whether beneficial or harmful.

Assuming the volume of oil released was similar to Exxon Valdez, we are still awaiting evidence that the harm will be less, and we may not know for several breeding cycles of larger wildlife, whose ecosystem has been modified.

Nice summary, Bruce. Thanks for putting things into perspective.

John Kessler, a co-investigator with David Valentine on this study, went back to sea last Thursday for a closer look at methane degradation. That cruise returned to port today and the chief scientists's daily log is online. The log is mostly focused on methodology but we should hear more results in a while.

Special report for BeePee!

The "Shadows" from Babylon 5 are confirmed as the alien attackers. KenBee from Gulf Watchers spotted them and rja posted the images

It appears that we're down to user error here, doesn't it? Casing was OK, cement job was OK, substructure didn't give way. With top kill delayed unnecessarily in hindsight. And Hafle et al won't even see a courtroom for over a year.

With top kill delayed unnecessarily in hindsight.

With BOP replacement delayed unnecessarily in hindsight, for that matter.

Rockman's right. It'll come down on the dead and their families.

I don't know about anyone else, but all the posturing by Markey et al makes me sicker now than it did before. Even. Some thanks for that goes to CNBC and dougr.

Granted that the plumbing was intact, was the top kill with Full Monty at the end of May a sure thing?

Just ask their attorneys. Conservatively ~75M gallons of oil and gas flowed between top kill and July 14. That's a lot of money at $4300 bbl. Not to mention costs for damage caused after June 1.

With the information we have now isn't $4300/bbl a lot less likely?

No. It is neither more nor less likely.

While causation may matter in establishing liability, for purposes of establishing the level of culpability applicable to the fine determination, negligence, carelessness and recklessness that does not cause harm is almost certainly still relevant.

When you have a cementing vendor running computer modeling and issuing warnings of a high likelihood of cement failure, and when BP's own engineering team warned of the same thing on top of one of the lead engineers flagging the centralizer issue, and you also have BP managers saying they never read the Haliburton warnings, and engineers saying stupid things in e-mails, and then 11 people die because of failed cement, that does not inspire confidence and it suggests a big risk lies buried in this mess from any number of perspectives.

And while some here think it is significant that the annular cement did not fail (but RM shows this judgment may be premature), it isn't in terms of analyzing whether BP followed correct procedures, or whether the practices if was relying on (as outlined above) are deemed reckless. The fact that the annular cement did not fail, if true, does not change that fact that there was a very high risk that it could have.

When you couple that risk with the faulty pressure test procedures and the risk-taking short cut that resulted in displacing the riser to an underbalanced well, what you end up with is a second very plausible scenario under which the blowout could have happened. Had the annular cement failed instead of the shoe, and had everything else been the same, we would still have the same result. Right? I think that's right. The fact that it did not fail is not dispositive. The fact that there was a very high risk that it could have (and could have had catastrophic consequences in conjunction with the other risks noted) is what is significant in this analysis.

Edit: changed 'not relevant' to 'not dispositive.

I think they are probably digging into past practices and past problems with equipment too. Trouble with BOP's in the past and what they learned about their reliability will be important.

Syncro: Is that really true as far as the level of punishment is concerned though?

As a comparison, isn't the penalty for driving while drunk considerably less than the penalty for driving while drunk and causing a fatal car wreck, even although the driving while drunk offense greatly increases the risk that a fatal car wreck will occur?

Edit: Added "Syncro" for clarification

Your point would be valid except that the blowout did happen and the crew did get killed. So even if it did not cause the harm, all conduct that was negligent or reckless becomes relevant to the punishment inquiry, which is ultimately intended to protect the public from harm.

Spilling the oil establishes liability. The punishment comes only after liability has been established beyond a reasonable doubt. In the punishment phase, the court wants evidence relevant to the punishment determination, not to the liability determination, although the two obviously overlap. Nevertheless, unlike in the liability phase, during the punishment phase, character evidence, including evidence of past good or bad deeds, becomes relevant and admissible. Why? Because in order to do justice, and to protect the public, the law has to size up the defendant and fashion a punishment that fits the crime.

So, the inquiry becomes, was BP's conduct outrageous, reckless, grossly negligent, negligent, careless, adequate, average, above average or did it demonstrate amazing competency and commitment to safety? Does it pose an on-going threat to society and to DW drilling? You can see why fairness would require consideration of things that might not be relevant to the inquiry concerning liability, where issues of causation are fundamental to fairness. Conversely, consideration of issues necessary for a fair punishment phase would amount to a denial of due process if admitted and considered by the jury during the liability phase.

To stick with drunk driving analogy, which I think is an good one for drilling, don't forget that driving while drunk is a crime whether you cause damage or not. That's because it presents an unacceptable risk of injury and death to the public. But if you injure someone or even just cause property damage while driving drunk, you're going to jail in many states, no matter what. How long you go to jail for will depend in part on how many prior DUIs you have, how much damage you caused and whether you pose on on-going threat to society. If people die, the punishment is more severe. If the judge has any discretion at all, character evidence becomes relevant as well.

Edited a lot./

Syncro, just wanted to thank you for all your comments. Some folks here have been a little rough on lawyers, I'm glad you haven't let them drive you away. The legal residue from the spill will probably persist almost as long as the tarballs. I hope you'll keep posting your perspective, it adds a lot to TOD.

Well, most people did not get mad at DougR, either. Some people just don't know any better. But thanks, OFB! I think i'm learning more than I am teaching, though, thanks to the patience and generosity of others...like you!

Okay, I get it now - thanks.

Sure. Or consider that the fact that someone drove drunk 25 times in the past and did not cause harm or get caught is not relevant to establishing whether they were over the legal limit the time they did got caught, after killing someone in an accident. But it is something that will be relevant to the judge in determining an appropriate punishment, assuming the evidence was good.

That person deserves more punishment for subjecting the public to more of the risk that the law seeks to protect against, and for doing so knowingly. The public also needs and deserves more protection from such a person. And the law needs to deter similar conduct to effectively protect the public. So the degree of punishment goes up in proportion to those criteria.

Had the annular cement failed instead of the shoe, and had everything else been the same, we would still have the same result. Right? I think that's right.

Actually no. And this gets interesting. Playing devil's advocate here.

The issue with the centralisers and cement and Haliburton's software is a Furphy(*). And although it keeps coming up, it seems that it actually fails to understand what the warnings and their implications were.

The Haliburton software did not warn about the danger to the well, or safety. It essentially warned BP that there was a high risk that they would have to pay Haliburton to perform a squeeze job on the cement. The Haliburton guys basically said, "well, OK, but if its fails the test, you pay us to get it right, and keep paying until it does pass. We are just telling you that if you use more centralisers there is less risk you get to pay us more." Then we get to the question about the test of the cement. The irony here is huge. The cement in the annulus was OK. The managers call to use fewer centralisers, and that "it will probably be OK" was not poor judgement, it was evidence of a good engineering call. Being "OK" was not an expression of belief that the well would not blow, it was an expression of belief that they would not have to pay Haliburton more money.

Much has been made about the warning messages from Haliburton's software. And the manner in which they were mostly ignored. I have seen a lot of software systems just like this, and there is some body of work about the design risks of putting such a thing into any user interface. Any software like this that presents a set of calculated results (which this one did it appears) and also provides a trivialising summary dialoge is flawed. The problem is that very quickly one of two things happens. Naive users ignore the important numbers, and just rely on a go/no-go output, which inevitably leads to bad outcomes; or more knowlegeable users go straight to the real numbers, having quickly learned that the silly summary outputs are a waste of time. It seems that the latter is the case with the Haliburton software. If someone really wanted to go after the use of software, I would be getting the guy who wrote the code that created the warnings to justify the engineering and scientific basis for those warnings. I would bet that he would not be a happy boy. Typically such trivial summaries are very poorly justified, and the converse, taking notice of the summary output and not going to the proper numbers should and would involve a lot more engineers in the dock after bad things happened.

In the end, I simply don't see this particular train of blame and fault as being very germane to the real failings that led to the well accident. I think the failings are much more insidious, and widespread. Many of them come from the division of responsibility between the rig and shore, and the division of responsibility between the rig owner and the rig operator. Furthermore the over specialised nature of many roles, and further breakdown into many contractors performing those roles. This is a symptom of the great outsourcing disease that besets most of modern companies and many governments. If these structural issues are not addressed industry wide, I think that almost all of the important lessons that could be learnt from Mancodo will be lost, and we will almost certainly see further bad accidents because of it. Whilst I do believe that BP nurtured a bad culture of rewarding indefensible risks, and going after that is clearly important, That is the low hanging fruit of the problem.

(*) Peculiarly Oz expression.

Much has been made about the warning messages from Haliburton's software. And the manner in which they were mostly ignored.


That isn't true. BP engineers did not ignore the warnings. They went to a great deal of trouble to get the centralizers to the rig. It was the rig that decided it would be an inconvenience to use the centralizers.
The engineers deferred to the expertize of the rig. That is what the Morel email says. He would rather have to do a remedial cement job than get the casing stuck which is what the rig was telling him might happen if they used 21 centralizers.

But you are right it was just an engineering choice. There is no reason to believe it would lead to a blowout. And there is no reason to believe using the centralizers that were on the DWH would have prevented the blowout.

syn - Just a quick terminology note. I'm pretty sure you know the distinction but for everyone's clarity we need to be specific when we say the annular cmt did or didn't fail. In no uncertain terms the annular cmt did fail. Had it not the well would not have kicked and then blown out. We can debate which section of the annular cmt failed: the lower annular deeper than the reservoir leading to the flow going down the annulus and then back up the production csg. Or the upper annular cmt above the reservoir failed and the flow went up the outside of the prod csg. One or the other had to happen otherwise there would have been no flow to the surface. One might even debate that cmt failed in both portions of the annulus.

Just a small thing but when we say the annular cmt failed or didn’t we should specify which section of the annulus we’re referring to.


You might have missed the BP statement yesterday AM

Operations conducted bottoms up circulation, which returned the contents of the well’s annulus to the rig for evaluation. Testing of the drilling mud recovered from the well indicated that no hydrocarbons or cement were present at the intersect point.

FH - Thanks but the link wouldn’t open for me. I’ll make a very general statement about analyzing mud returns: it can be useful for positive results: if you see oil or cmt them you very likely drilled through oil/cmt. But not so good as negative proof: not seeing oil/cmt doesn’t mean you didn’t drill through some…and maybe a lot. I’ve drill through 100’ thick sandstones full of hydrocarbons and saw neither sand nor hydrocarbons in the mud returns. A major factor is how over balanced your drill mud is. If it’s a good bit heavy the only oil that will return up with the mud will be very small: just the volume contained in the volume drilled(called the core volume). I can only guess but lets assume they cut 20’ of the annulus. Even if the annulus were 100% full of oil/cmt that might only about to 10 cu ft…or less. And that volume could be diluted by hundreds or even thousand of bbls of drill mud. It could be less than 1% of the returns and thus very difficult/impossible to see.

Again, this is a general statement and I don’t have the details on exactly how they drilled the annulus.

Whoops. I found my error and have adjusted my template so I can't make that particular mistake again.

It's BP statement yesterday AM

I understand your comments. I hope I didn't read too much into what BP said, since I've been unhappy with others doing that.


Hindsight is always 20 20. Trouble with these things is that you go with the best assumptions and everything goes to hell (see original blowout for confirmation). The alternative is to start from the worst case and work it down bit by bit and that takes time. One important thing to remember is that much of what was done broke new ground and new methods were developed as things went along, even equipment was built from scratch and had not existed beforehand. Yes, people can say that this could have been done way back then but those are the same people who would not have to live with the consequences of the replacement BOP not being able to be attached to the well or, if attached, blowing open the casing and cratering the site.


"A U.S. government report showed that about three-fourths of the oil spewed by the Macondo well had disappeared from the Gulf."

If we line up all the reporters who have written this false statement and shoot every other one, would the survivors desist?

I think you have to lay that square on the shoulders of NOAA. They are the ones that made the MSM circuit saying it.

Maybe they need to make that circuit again and tell the truth.

Probably not. But I would sure clink to it!

I think
I'll clink
to the thought of it!


Why false? If their oil budget was wrong, which it seems to me it was (because the BOP valves were seeing so much erosion), then the overall spill volume was 3.5 million barrels. If they were using the 5 million barrel budget, then they were estimating 1.25 million barrels were left behind. And that sure sounds about right. Where do you find more than 1.25 million barrels? Or are you counting asphalt buried at 5000 feet?

Perhaps we could use some good news about the seafloor...

Dr. Michael Hirshfield is conducting expeditions south of Alabama.
Here's some news from the Alabama Alps

And here's a great seafloor video of Alabama Alps (9/13)

And here's a great seafloor video of Alabama Alps (9/13)

Amazing video. Love the sound effects--I assume those noises are being made by the ROV?

Yes, I was also wondering about the audio. I have no experience with ROV's so I guess we'll need for rovman to chime in.

I could be wrong, but it seemed the video was multiple clips tied together rather than a continuous video. The audio seemed continuous so I'd guess it was attached after visual part of video was completed. I'd need one of the video guru's to set the record straight on these questions.

I thought maybe part of it was the camera clicking and whirring as it changed focus and zoomed in and out, but why would they be recording that? I think you must be right, it's some weird sound track they grafted onto it. I suppose it could have been critter noises of some sort, but it also sounded mechanical and/or electronic at times.

Two video's --

The first was shot by a diver:

The second was shot by a giant manta ray that grabbed the divers camera and took it for a swim:

(the second one is probably better but you need the first for perspective)

Now that's one for TFHG to watch :) Oh, and TFHG, note the width of the lights.


Now that is funny!!!!!!!

What the heck did it think the camera was? It must have realized pretty quickly that it wasn't edible.

The second was shot by a giant manta ray

MOB, but for you and that thievin' fish (no word on Mercury), how would I ever expect to see the full moon from underwater? Beginning around 2:00: beautiful.

FOR ALL: Sorry to be late to the party: been out on a well all day. Started at the top of the thread and then ran down quick so I may have missed parallel comments.

Very quickly: “No pressure in the annulus”. Absolutely not, The pore pressure at this depth is almost 12,000 psi. The pressure in the annulus might have bleed off in seconds if there were no permeable zones anywhere in the intersected annulus and they dropped the MW. But I’m sure they never let it get that low…at least not yet. I haven’t read the released details but from the comment that they “lost mud” I’m not surprised. They certainly drill into the annulus overbalanced (MW greater that 12.6 ppg or 11,900 psi). And maybe significantly over balanced. That’s likely why they lost mud: it was injected into any permeable zone in the annulus.

I’m not saying this for a fact but the annulus might have been 11,900 psi and it may still be in communication with the blowout reservoir. The high mud weight would do exactly what it’s meant to do: keep any reservoir from flowing back up the RW. Thus the lack of oil in the RW returns doesn’t mean there’s no oil there now. More importantly it doesn’t mean the RW couldn’t flow 50,000 bopd if they lost control of it. If the annulus were full of oil the only amount that would have flowed back up to the surface would the “core volume”: those few bbls in the interval actually cut by the bit. This volume would have been diluted by hundreds of bbls of drill mud circulated down the RW.

Want to find out if the annulus is connected to the blow out reservoir? Easy: just cut the MW below 12.6 ppg and induced a kick. Not as dangerous as it sounds: essentially do a negative test. If the well starts to flow mud with the pumps off you just crank the mud pumps up and get the ECD above 12.6 ppg and you’ve killed the well.

It’s late and I’m tired: 15 hours days at my advanced age are a lot harder than they used to be. LOL. And the whole day was spent try to kill a well that wouldn’t die. Like I said: I may have missed pertinent comments. I’ll hang on a while for questions and charges that I’m nuts. And again I’m not saying the annulus is still connected to the blow out reservoir. But I haven’t seen any info posted that proves it isn’t either.

OK…now I see so info that indicates the annulus probably isn’t connected to the blow out reservoir. If they saw the pressure jump in the choke lines than that would indicate the annulus backup to the well head of the blow out wasn’t connected to the reservoir. But what was the pressure on the choke line before the intersect? The RW mud weight would certainly have increase the CL pressure if there were communication to the surface since they made the cut overbalanced. But if the CL pressure was close to the reservoir pressure than it could be a different story. Did they ever say what the CL pressure was before the cut?

Not that I have heard.

You are saying there is too little info to draw conclusions. I agree. And if we don't hear more info there is something seriously wrong.

TY Rockman, I am still trying to digest it all.

Me too Quant...and I just started an hour or so ago. I shouldn't try given the foggy head but I'm back to that well at 0700 tomorrow

There was a great interview tonight except it didn't mention the Gulf.
Jay Leno inteviewed Arianna Huffington. I took notes while listening and the most memorable quote from Huffington was "Self love is deficit neutral."

"It's not who you love; but it's who love you."
-- Ijahman

Oh, sweet spot with me. I enjoy reggae very much. I was in Holetown, Barbados celebrating New Years Eve/Day a few years ago.

Great post from Rockman(as usual) he's probably gone now but if he gets a chance to reply later,(or anybody else opinion) I'd like to ask:

(Assuming the bottom kill cementing is completed this week end)

How long before all the equipment, ROVs, BOP, ships, 2 relief well rigs etc etc will have left Macondo area.

Are we talking weeks, months or years?

95 Nope…wide awake though I shouldn't be. Worry is keeping me awake in my cheesy little motel room. I have to go back to the well that won’t die and try to kill it again without hurting/killing anyone. It shouldn't be too risky at all but then I keep reminding myself that it’s often when you think that there won’t be a problem/accident there is one. Think I’ll spend the first hour telling them how angry I’ll be with anyone how gets hurt/killed. LOL.

Equipment/ship stand down? Hours…if not quicker. LOL. Those hunks of metal out there charge by the hour. And it adds up to well over a few million $'s/day real fast. Once the RW has done it’s job a series of cmt plugs will be set with the well either temp or permanently abandoned over the course of several days. In either case the rig will be released the second this is done.

The blow out well will be permanently P&A and the csg cut below the mud line. This will take a week…maybe longer. Same plan: as soon as it’s done with the P&A it’s gone. Though not normally done (and the situation has obviously been far from normal) they may keep a ROV in the area and monitor both wells for leaks. Then leave and then maybe back to do the same in a few weeks. Just a WAG on my part.

Plus somebody still has to go back to finish the permanent abandonment of the second relief well.

Go watchfully get'm, Rockman!

what does "bbl" stand for, it can't just mean barrels can it?

Sure it does. Like '4bbl carb' = four barrel carburetor.

And http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bbl

95 - And why “bbl” and not “bl” or “brl”? Heard an explanation not that long ago. Back in the very early days of the oil patch a barrel was not a uniform volume. Different companies used different sizes. As the story goes Standard Oil had their barrels painted blue so folks knew who it was from. For whatever reason Standard’s bbl volume became the rule. Thus “blue barrel” became bbl. I certain this explanation is either (A) true or (B) Just one more oil patch urban legend that has no bearing on the truth.

The following page says the symbol was used before Standard Oil.
"barrel (bbl or brl or bl) [1]"
But to me urban legends are more entertaining ;)

And here I was, going around thinking "bl" is singular and "bbl" plural . . .

The origin of the standard symbol bbl is not clear. The "b" may have been doubled originally to indicate the plural (1 bl, 2 bbl), or possibly it was doubled to eliminate any confusion with bl as a symbol for the bale



Lawsuit asks if science was manipulated in oil spill estimates

WASHINGTON — An environmental whistleblower group charges in a lawsuit that the Obama administration is withholding documents that would reveal why it issued an estimate on the gravity of the Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout that later was proved to be far too low.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility sued Thursday in federal court, claiming that federal officials are withholding hundreds of pages of reports and communications between scientists on the Flow Rate Technical Group, who were tasked with making the estimates, and Marcia McNutt, the head of the U.S. Geological Survey, who chaired the technical group and released a summary of its findings. ...

I saw this yesterday and wanted to bitchslap these opportunistic underwear hawkers. Politicians playing politics? Unthinkable, right? The further harm to the environment caused by misunderestimating was exactly what?

underwear hawkers

Ow. Big laffs and a tequila hangover aren't a good combo. Have some mercy, snakehead.

Obama administration should know that 12,000 jobs lost because of drilling moratorium is a big loss for Louisiana: An editorial

"The administration says 'only' 12,000 jobs will be lost," Mr. Mason said. "This is almost as if they are telling a region that has been hit by disaster -- both natural and manmade -- time and time again that we'll 'only' wipe out a handful of their communities."

Bullying At Transocean?

The prominent and consistent indicator of Transocean’s organisational culture, according to the HSE, is discipline, blame and zero tolerance. The so-called accountability process, represented in the ‘just culture decision tree’, quickly steers investigations toward blame of the employee. Little consideration is given to wider organisational issues such as fatigue, distraction, communications failures, or defective equipment.

This is really no surprise. However the article linked should be read in full as it isn't as simple as this one paragraph quote, and also just so not surprising. The full report is 29 pages, so will take a bit more digesting.

There is however an all too common message. It isn't TO that is in some sense a bad company, and that bullying is condoned. The picture is a dysfunctional middle management that is being torn between conflicting goals, and is behaving poorly. This becomes a situation where safety becomes process driven, rather than process being driven by safety. Safety by ticking boxes, and then a conflicting message (hinted at) from above to limit damages payouts.

It isn't as if have not seen exactly the same symptoms many times before.

I remember hearing one witness saying the pipe rack was a piece of junk and then another witness saying they were scared of losing their job for dropping a wrench.

I would say money played a big part in the safety tree.

"Page not found," snakehead.

An alternative source: UpstreamOnline's Report slams Transocean 'bullies'