BP's Deepwater Horizon - Well "Effectively Dead" - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6975.

Update: Sunday, 11:40am: The well is effectively dead, according to Admiral Allen. The official statement is as follows:

After months of extensive operations planning and execution under the direction and authority of the U.S. government science and engineering teams, BP has successfully completed the relief well by intersecting and cementing the well nearly 18,000 feet below the surface. With this development, which has been confirmed by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, we can finally announce that the Macondo 252 well is effectively dead. Additional regulatory steps will be undertaken but we can now state, definitively, that the Macondo well poses no continuing threat to the Gulf of Mexico. From the beginning, this response has been driven by the best science and engineering available. We insisted that BP develop robust redundancy measures to ensure that each step was part of a deliberate plan, driven by science, minimizing risk to ensure we did not inflict additional harm in our efforts to kill the well. I commend the response personnel, both from the government and private sectors, for seeing this vital procedure through to the end. And although the well is now dead, we remain committed to continue aggressive efforts to clean up any additional oil we may see going forward.

Additional information from Sunday statement by Admiral Allen:

The cement pressure test on the DDIII relief well was completed at 5:54a.m. CDT.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement has confirmed that the cementing operation on the Macondo well was successful, that the well has been permanently sealed with cement plugs, and that pressure tests verify the integrity of the plugs.

Oversight of the well now transitions from the National Incident Command to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement under the process laid out in the National Response Framework.

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement will oversee the continuing decommissioning of the Macondo well and its associated relief wells.

Since we have this update, I am removing the copy of yesterday's post that was previously at this link.

From last thread

Francis - yes…a “team effort”. But the cmt hand is the man on the job. No cmt company ever decides what cmt to pump or what the procedure will be. But the cmt mix and the procedure are always generated by the cmt company. They make the recommendation to the operator’s rep and gets approval. That’s why Halliburton charges full price does a failed cmt job: they didn’t make the decision….just gave advice. The cmt company can be penalized if they give bad advice in the opinion of the operator: they don’t get to work for the operator on the next well. And no small penalty: if I replace Halliburton with BJ the Halliburton equipment is taken off the rig. If the next company using that rig wants Halliburton they have to pay for the equipment change out. Many operators will choose the cmt company that already has their equipment on the rig. The cmt hand may get some physical help from the drill crew but he makes the mix and he runs the cmt pumps.

Cementing, like most other jobs on a rig, are very experience dependent. That experience factor is shared across the board from every one on the rig to everyone onshore. None of these decisions are done in isolation. The cmt company designs every aspect of the job and the operator signs off on every aspect of the cmt job.

So the cmt company figure out how the work should be done, mix the cmt and pump it but take no responsibility since everything is approved by the operator?

The cementing company is responsible for the ingredients and the procedure used to pump the cement, as well as the pumps, and that cement perform as it did in lab tests. In other words, they're supposed to pump what they say they will pump as per procedure, and the stuff is supposed to set as per the lab results. It's up to the operator to make sure the lab is receiving the right samples, and to coordinate the job, because this usually involves other companies as well, such as the one providing the cementing jewelry (such as centralizers) as well as the company running the casing, and of course the rig itself.

I don't know anything about nitrified cement at 18000 feet, but evidently they had a very touchy situation if they had to lighten the cement the way they did. In the old days, we would have used a two stage cementing job to get around the problem.

Also, in the previous thread somebody said it was impossible to frac the well to squeeze the annulus because the mud weight wasn't high enough. But there is plenty of pump capacity to pump at high pressure from the surface, and if the pumps discharge at say 3000 psi, that's enough to frac the well and squeeze the annulus. And the frac will usually open up at the highest point in the section being squeezed, which means the casing shoe for the previous casing string, whatever that was. This means they can put cement in the annulus all the way up to the outer casing shoe.

This means they can put cement in the annulus all the way up to the outer casing shoe.


Keeping in mind your suggestion about us outsiders asking questions rather than making statements, any idea how far "all the way up" might be in this particular situation? What do you suppose might be the effect of pressuring up two bores separated by less than five feet? Pretty good chance of getting a reliable plug where you need it, or more of a crap shoot?


First time poster. Have been following all along. I am totally new to this field before May 3rd and doing research for a project, so wanted to give thanks at all, esp Rockman.

fdoleza asked about specific centralizer placement. This is what my research shows.

The core BP investigation report identifies on page 54 three separate 12.6 ppg production zones


Bottom of shoe 18,304

The BP emails from Brian Morel show the centralizers at following depths (feet) - and HAL OptiCem cement report reveals approximate corresponding hole diameters (inches)

17,836 11.46
17,973 10.68
18,110 11.25
18,160 ?
18,253 8.75
18,297 8.99

The deviation at the bottom was ridiculously low... 0.6 degrees. As Cocales said, almost perfectly straight at the bottom

BUT, up at the stuck pipe 12,200 it was 9.9 degrees. (Again referencing HAL OptiCem report)

So my question is, given that the top three or four centralizers were placed in a wider section of the well bore; given that 2 of those centralizers were placed exactly in the sandy production zone; and given that the pipe came around a good bend from higher up ....

is it possible that the lower two centralizers did stick the pipe in the center at the bottom, but since the pipe came in from an angle from 12200 that there was possibility of channeling directly at the production zone.

We are talking about a 7 inch pipe moving 1-2 inches over 150 feet. That is 1/10th of 1 pct.

Does channeling only create problems upward? Couldnt a channel, esp at a production zone, help guide gas down to the shoe, esp when compressed during the negative test before its ready.

P.S. If they had used 21 centralizers, my analysis shows they would have placed an extra 6-7 centralizers in this portion of the well, with the other 7-8 being higher up.

The lead cementer from the rig, Vincent Tabler, indicated that he had done just that, prepared the procedure per the instructions received from Gagliano, and then taken to the OIM for discussion and approval. He made a reference to a foam team leader (Paul Anderson IIRC). He also said he had never done a foam job at depth, just a few at the surface, and that he was not sure what the cement cure time was.

I repeat, BP's suggestion that the API needs to take a serious look at the use of cement (particularly foamed cement) at depth as a high priority. Clearly, the level of experience is quite low and the incentive for the cement vendors to do more research is low given that the do not warranty their work and the industry accepts squeeze jobs as a fact of life. They have defined failure of a cement job down.

Definitely not what was expected by my co-workers at Grumman.

That standard was expressed in 25 characters including spaces and the period.

Failure is not an option.

Bruce - the cementers are constantly researching their product. Getting a good cmt job is always difficult. The first cmt company that develops a highly reliable cmt/procedure will rule the market and virtually all other cmt companies will disappear. This Holy Grail of cmt/procedure is the $billion payoff. The incentive is there.

The companies always pray for this new major cmt silver bullet. As was said on M.A.S.H. many years ago: God answers all prayers. Just sometimes the answer is "No"

~ RM, et al, question. I've been reading about what's called called " sustained casing pressure "-- usually gas caught between the casing and well wall,that typically signals bad cement work. ..Then , I stumbled on this cementing process using micro-spheres, it seems the main problem with nitrogen foamed cement is attaining a perfectly homogenous blend that will allow even dispersion ?


" For foam to be used successfully in an oil or gas well, the bubbles should be discrete and well dispersed. "

Is there validity to this, or are you familiar with this process ?


Micro-spheres are touchy because significant numbers of them don't make it through the pumps unscathed, thereby changing the density of the slurry. Otherwise their use would likely be far more widespread.

That experience factor is shared across the board from every one on the rig to everyone onshore. None of these decisions are done in isolation.

Yeah, this is more what I would expect. I find this interesting since what you describe is essentially an out of band process. There is experience, and a shared understanding, and I suspect a significant amount of decision making that is not recorded as part of a formal process.

This is what bothered me when reading the BP schedule. It looked pretty much as you described, clearly implying a previous round of consultation that become welded into the formal work document. So far so good. Yet they didn't stick to it. Back to the centralisers. (I don't care what impact the centralisers had on the final outcome, it is simply that they are evidence of how the work process actually proceeds.) So, clearly there is a remaining informal process of variation from the formal schedule that is within the purview of the coman.

Coming from a software engineering direction, I find this process almost alien. Even with quite simple tasks, or designs, we have a vastly more rigourous process - and we don't do safety critical work. The idea that a change to a work schedule could be carried out without minimally a formal review and sign-off by a peer engineer amazes me. Again, I could perfectly well believe that the review would say, "yeah, fine go with six centralisers" it isn't the decision that worries me, it is the structure and culture that the decision was made within.

The other issue that comes to mind, it the one of experience. This whole cross contractor responsibility culture is clearly somewhat informal, and is underpinned by a level of mutual respect based upon years of experience in the job for all parties. The TO safety report commented on the loss of experience, and we have had a background level of talk here about it. I can't help but feel that there is a underlying problem brewing here, where there will be a critical loss of the needed level of experience to maintain that necessary level of trust. When that happens safety may suffer quite badly.

Francis -- The fastest way to relate to your software situation: You write a line of code: if X is greater than 4 do Y. No problem, eh? Run the program and X = 6. And the program doesn't do Y. It does Z. How the heck did you screw up something so simple?

Easy: Mother Earth didn't care what your program said. She did what she wanted to do. That's the point to remember about what we do. I can do the same procedure 20 times in the same circumstances. And it doesn't work 3 times. We interact with Mother Earth. The moment we think we're in complete control of Mother we've started down a path that can readily lead to failure, injuries and sometimes death.

We have lots of safety procedures. And keeping safe might mean taking 3 steps to the right. But a hand takes 3 steps to the left and dies. I've seen this happen. Mother has no sympathy...she just does what she does.

Being from the computer field, I can relate to what the simple logic should expect for results, but what we expect isn't always what we get because of our own personal understanding of terms.

While I was working at IH, one programmer was struggling with a program that simply wasn't woking correctly. After about a week, her supervisor began helping her and both of the together couldn't find the problem.

I happened to be walking by and they asked me to take a look and see if I could find anything wrong. It toook less than a minute before I caught it.

Her program was performing a loop which was applying payments by subtracting the payments made from an amount due until the payment amount was negative (or not positive in this case). When applying a payment, it is subtracted from both the balance due and the amount paid so if the payment is greater than the amount due, there will be a leftover 'credit' amount. The exact relationship changes as one works through the 'payment dates' since the amount paid can cover more than one months payments and each months payment has to be applied in the correct order.

The problem is that zero is neither positive or negative, it is simply nothing and therefore any testing being done had to tast for an amount less than .01 rather than negative. Testing for zero wouldn't work correctly either if the payment was greater than the amount due because after subtracting the payment, one would have a negative or credit balance. Also, a determination of the relationship of the payment to the amount due also needed to be done up front to know what condition to test for to stop the 'loop'. If the payment was greater than or equal the amount due, one needs to test the amount due for zero after applying each payment. If the payment is less than the amount due, one needs to test the unapplied payment for zero as each portion is applied.

The language the program was written in (COBOL) was smart enough to know that zero ment zero, positive was +.01 or greater and negative was -.01 or less Since the payment applied equaled the balance due, the balance due could never become negative and any unapplied payment could also never be negative.

Without going into detail, since numbers are stored in the computer as SIGNED numbers one has to also consider that subtracting a negative number from a positive mumber actually winds up adding that number rather than subtracting it.

When testing a program such as this, there is a mix of payments greater than, equal to, or less than the amount due and while some of the test conditions may pass, others may fail and it wouldn't be obvious why they failed as long as one was thinnking in normal english usage rather than absolute terms.

Since I had previously done a lot of programming which involved applying payments, I was able to spot the flaw immediately. The other programmer hadn't done this particular type of programming earlier and therefore couldn't see her error.

This is simply another case where experience helps a lot.

Francis, I don't think the situation is similar because in the oil industry we work with missing information, which is gathered as the work is done. This means the information has to be integrated and decisions made on the spot by qualified individuals. However, I do agree with you, the procedure written for this well was sloppy, and it did not account properly for changes. I suspect that internal to BP may be a requirement to do a better job, they relaxed, and they ended up in a hole. Which means today BP must be going through a very harsh re-training of their engineering personnel to make sure they improve the quality of their work in this area.

I think the basic problem these guys had can be boiled down to:

1. Improper or sloppy procedure writing and change management
2. Lack of respect for industry tradition - running a cement bond log may have been the critical difference.
3. Improper training and decision making by rig personnel, both BP and Transocean.

In the software development field, we deal with revealed information we did not know when we started. For someone who is not a professional developer to be guided by their own experience of programming in college or to solve their computational problems is just like me using my experience of actually digging a deep hole once with digging an oil well.

Major software projects are always shifted by changes in the market, competing products, new technology or just management changing its mind. All these things are very capricious. So a good software designer starts with some expectation of these changes and plans for them. When they occur and there change proposals, the software designer re-verifies all assumptions. There are also techniques such as regression tests that measure whether the code still works on a component level after the design changed. An extreme example would be someone developing a flight simulator game, only to be told that the control system for a real aircraft would be a much better opportunity. In point of fact, much of the code has the same purpose but the history of a time-to-market flight simulator project would be quite different from a human-lives-at stake aircraft project. That would be a design perturbation that would be unwise. Real world, it's more subtle than that but there are techniques that measure the effects of these subtle changes and manages them.

I have also worked on joint projects with electrical engineers on complex systems. They too have this "sonny boy, we deal with physics" thing too. Eventually they learn that the transistors are physics, the complexity of many transistors along with management, market forces is not physics. That complexity of competing ideas and egos is what successful software engineers do all the time. My observation of this incident, the ROV's, the space shuttle like complexity of the rig, the interaction of different parts and people is that it is much like a software or, perhaps I should say, a complex engineering project.

So I agree with the previous post. There does not appear to be in BP's report clear boundaries between contractors, sub contractors and what the different responsibilities are. There is no tracking of the decision making process or any real sense of history with doing that on past projects. This is indicative of disfunction. The simple fact that very obviously BP was unable to really appreciate the conditions of the well in the first couple of months and report things accurately, even self serving, and the hemorage of credibility are all indicative of very poor complexity tracking. Did anyone have an indication that Tony Hayward had any clue or access to a clue? I'm not talking about deliberate dishonesty, I'm talking about actually knowing anything at all.

The other issue that comes to mind, it the one of experience. This whole cross contractor responsibility culture is clearly somewhat informal, and is underpinned by a level of mutual respect based upon years of experience in the job for all parties. The TO safety report commented on the loss of experience, and we have had a background level of talk here about it. I can't help but feel that there is a underlying problem brewing here, where there will be a critical loss of the needed level of experience to maintain that necessary level of trust. When that happens safety may suffer quite badly.

Yes, we do have a problem brewing here. It has been brewing for quite some time. Due to the ups and downs of the oil industry, there was a period where very few people were being hired. Hence we have had a bimodal distribution of experience in the industry. There was a big hump of hands who came in during the '70s and early 80's (for example Rockman, myself, and many others). Then very few people were hired for a decade or so (and many of the previous group were let go). Then more recently a whole new crop of beginners.

Now of course, that first hump is at the age when many are retiring, or about to. Because there are so few in the middle, the second age hump is moving into positions for which they may not be well prepared by experience. Many of them learn fast and do well, but they still don't have the years of seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In many cases, company policies have exacerbated the problem. A friend of mine who works (rather worked) at BP, a highly experienced engineer, got laid off last spring. This person had probably 30 years of experience, but was in a purely technical role, rather than management. BP decided they had too many people at too high a grade who weren't doing management work, so they cleaned house. The irony is that at the same time, they were talking about the need to deepen their technical expertise, and are sending a lot of young folks to long training schools. I shouldn't single out BP however. A somewhat similar thing happened not long ago at ConocoPhillips, the other big shop here in town. I suppose I shouldn't complain, since this opens up a lot of work for geezers who want to do contract/consulting jobs.

I'll be off line till this evening. We have been having some awesome weather lately, and I plan to get outside again today and enjoy it.

I've heard it said that engineers are paid more than their worth when they are just starting out after college and much less than their worth with 30+ yrs experience.

I don't really know but it appears that the technology is changing fast. Good professional instinct in a deep water well of today probably is quite different from one shallow a generation ago or on shore two generations ago.

The same thing happens in the software industry. There is an illusion in a managers mind that he understands the current problem but if he hasn't worked the engineering lately, they probably know enough to be dangerously opinionated.

I see the same thing in the software business. Managers who have not designed software for a decade or two are dangerously out of touch and, being techies in spirit, cannot manage at the high level. I have some metrics I use to shake them loose. One is that in 1990, about 3 feet of book shelf held pretty much all the knowledge a designer needed. Today, it's not even possible but if a DVD with a modern API guide were printed, it would be probably about 10x that much material. Then the components, their interactions, the fact that there may be several computers involved, several processors in each computer, event driven programming and so on .. it's far beyond the complexity of 10-20 years past. At the same time, the tools available for handling that make it possible but they are essential whereas in past generations, they were less important to success.

I imagine that all this maps in some way to the drilling and probably the mining industry. "The Kid" probably has better instincts than "The old man" as far as technology but "The Old Man" has been humbled. They need to work together and respect one another, in a risk reduction culture.

From last thread

Thanks duckey. I was hoping I wasn't too subtle in my point. Not so much bragging about my company but showing how the decision process tree can get sidetracked by monetary concerns. Nothing alarming happened on my well. Just the little crap that happens during ops. And many companies could have followed a less safe process and got away with it. And no one would have given much of a second thought to it.

BUT if the well had kicked with an unexpected high pressure, blew a valve apart and hit a hand fracturing his skull then everyone not involved with the decision would be critical of the same choices they would likely not have objected to before the fact. I’ve mentioned it before about young hands I’ve trained: I tell them to imagine sitting in a court room and trying to justify the decision they made that lead to an accident. If you can’t come up with a reasonable answer then you better reconsider your decision. And to be more blunt: how much money did you save by your decision that led to the death of someone’s husband/father?

I'm sure that very question has crossed the minds of a number of BP/TO managers. And their lawyers.

I've observed that discussions about mud, cements and column weights etc were often backed up with calcs of 2-3 places of accuracy. Is this actually possible in the real world or are these values only for debate purposes. I Have no experience in drilling and was just curious.

You mean 2-3 significant figures? That's something I used to complain about when I was working for a multinational, engineers presented their work as if they had the ability to measure things more accurately than they really can.

Another issue which really ticks me off is the way people forget to use the right units or pressure-temperature references. And finally there are engineers who lack the common sense to tell when they're given a number which doesn't make sense, but plug it into a computer model, and run the crap out of it for several weeks, to come back with lousy projections.


Question: 2+2 = ?

Young engineer: 4.000

Old engineer: 4

Lawyer: What do you want it to be?

Hooker: It's your money...you tell me

Halliburton cmt engineer: whatever the contract says

And ta da!

Geologist: somewhere between 3 and 5

Mathematician: I'm not sure, but so far I think I can prove that it has at least one solution.

Cosmologist: Somewhere between 10E-1 and 10E2.

I helped my wife correct homework for her math classes and some of the of the answers were priceless. Did you know a 10% sales comission on $100,000 in sales is $1,000,000? Kid would not believe it was wrong because his computer was always smarter than old Mrs. R.


Geophyscist: 10 Possible, 5 Probable.

Physicist: 4 +/- h/(2Pi)

Depends on your definition of 2.

Excuse the use of "places of accuracy". It's a shop floor term I used when dealing with machinists and inspectors. I guess what I'm asking is how much of the actual process is controlled by calcs & modeling and how much by experience. Several years ago I was building a landing gear for a homebuilt and spent hours calculating every force known to man. To be safe I called an engineer who was highly placed at Boeing for input. He stated they had a landing gear guy who usually got pretty close but they still went out and broke the unit to see what it would take (mid 70's before widespread computer modeling).

The process of drilling and completing the well is controlled by human beings. The do so using written procedures which have to consider, reference manuals, internal company practices and policies, industry recomended practices, and government regulations as well as the law. The procedure includes instructions for the rig which are the result of calculations and modeling. For example, the type of casing, its metallurgy, connections, wall thickness, internal diameter, etc, are the subject of calculations which have to take into account all of the above. The way the casing is installed also requires calculations, and a very detailed written procedure.

But there are some factors which are the result of intuitive knowledge. For example, the decision to use less centralizers was apparently biased by the perception that centralizers could stick the casing before it was in the right position. The casing landing point was critical in this case. The design strategy itself in this case was faulty, because they decided to use a casing string, rather than a liner, which is less touchy when it comes to landing. I know the centralizer issue lost a lot of relevance, but it sure sounds crazy to run a string your cementer says will likey have a bad cement job. It's stupid to work that way.

I know the centralizer issue lost a lot of relevance, but it sure sounds crazy to run a string your cementer says will likey have a bad cement job. It's stupid to work that way.

The centralizer issue may have lost relevance to the folks here for the simple reason they are focused on actual causes.

But I am certain that limited focus is not shared by those conducting the investigations. One obvious focus is defective procedures that lead to increased risk. The pressure test confusion is a text book classic case of poor procedures leading to the opposite result. A false test result that leads to disaster. The cementing design process is similarly flawed.

Some here have invented wonderful sounding excuses for why all of the confusion and disconnect surrounding the haliburton and BP engineer warnings on the cement job was okay, rationalizing away why engineers waving red flags means nothing and can be safely ignored. That level of disconnect and confusion is too much to tolerate in the real world when the stakes are so high.

It may not have caused the disaster this time, but that's only through sheer luck. Sure, they can just squeeze...assuming they get the pressure test right or run a CBL if there is any doubt. But they did not do that. You cannot look at procedures in isolation of one another.

P.S.: Since the cementing issues are still unresolved, I think there is still room for a legitimate opinion that the casing design was flawed from a cementing risk standpoint, given all relevant considerations.

The MMS attorney raised an interesting question that did not get the follow up I think it deserved.

If the final section was 5" instead of 7", how much better odds would there have been of getting good cementing results, both annular and shoe? Would the concerns that led them to run nitrogen cement have been eliminated? Would the overall risk profile (for failed cement) have been more in line with acceptable industry standards, whatever they may be? Were they going out on a limb by going for the 7" when the 5" would have been much safer?

Would the concerns that led them to run nitrogen cement have been eliminated?

Apologies but I've forgotten - or never understood in the first place - what the motivation was to use the nitrogen cement. I'd appreciate being reminded...


Hi Rainy,

BP were struggling drilling that final hole section because the fracture gradient of parts of the formation was very close to the pore pressure of other parts of the formation. This means that they have to weight up the mud to prevent influx into the well, but when they do so they are perilously close to losing the mud by causing the formation to fracture and leak off. That combination of circumstances is every drillers nightmare and can lead to loss of the well.

They faced the same issue during the cement job and were trying to ensure that the pressure caused by the cement job head plus the pump pressure required to place it didn't frac the formation and cause the cement to leak off, resulting in poor annular isolation. They obviously felt that the properties of the foamed cement, in particular the reduced density and perhaps viscosity(?), would help with this.

I've personally never heard of foamed cement being used at such depth, though I dare say it has been done before. Most of the drillers I spoke to immediately after the accident were horrified.

Bignerd, do you know if changes in mud pressure or temperature can cause a casing string to expand or contract enough in length to mess up a cement job? I assume that a negative pressure test before the cement is cured could result in some contraction in length. And circulating in relatively cooler fresh mud or cement might also cool and shorten the casing. But is this (assumed) movement ever enough to affect the adhesion or integrity of the cement?

A float collar (or shoe for that matter) needs to be a larger size to accommodate higher pressure valves.
IMO, for overabundance of caution, they should also be required to run a shoe with valve, and two or more float collars (yes, this means having to fill the pipe with mud as they run it). This would up the cost but consumers can/will absorb it.

edit- Also, I read (somewhere) that offshore engineers would run liner AND casing for such depths.

edit, again- I also think, if this isn't already supposed to happen, whenever the BOP sheer button is pushed, the diverter should automatically divert to the overboard pipe.
And looking at its picture in that Bly report, that pipe should be a lot longer.

another edit- Drilling crew should be doing the complete cement job. THW Haliburton. (can't believe I almost missed this dig)

And they should also run casing & liner from top to bottom every time they have to change size, and cement it all the way.

And none of this temporary abandon nonsense - produce it ASAP or permanently abandon it.
... and fill it completely with cement.
... make that concrete.
... and throw in some rebar too.

I once devised a computer program for economic evaluation using inputs which were just estimates or educated guesses by other engineers. The final result was arrived at with a iteration or loop. Rather than have the loop run multiple times (computers were slower then) I had it round the result to the nearest whole number. I got word back that the company president in a meeting questioned why the answers couldn't be more exact. I had the program spit out the answer to two decimal places. Everyone was happy - didn't get a raise though - we had a saying "Do a good job and you get to keep it (maybe)".

Weighing systems can commonly work to 1 part in 5000, so that's nearly 4 significant digits.

If you are doing multiple calculations, it is usual to run the numbers at higher precisions, and round the final result, to avoid early rounding adding calculation noise.

The smartest rounding, is to eventually match the instrument readouts the operators will see, as that avoids mental slip-ups.

Then, someone on the floor, might decide to 'add a tad more' ;)

Isn't this the "Don't go looking for trouble, trouble will find you" doctrine at work, Rock?

syn - If I follow you correctly...yes. Not meaning to be overly dramatic but drilling a well has some similarity to fighting a war. Even when you win the war you lost many battles along the way. As you drill a well there's typically one problem/failure after another. Usually small and readily fixable. Every well cost estimate includes a contingency amount...usually 10%. So a $100 million well has a $10 million cost over run built in. And often that doesn't cover all the problem...especially on the high end wells.

John Wright reflects.


I wonder when we'll have a "tells all" piece from a disgruntled engineer or drilling ops guy.

Many thanks to John Wright and the Boots and Coots team. If he writes a book about the incident, it'll be the one worth reading.

I'd especially like to read the chapter about the Halliburton takeover.

Wright said he was glad to "hopefully, steer people in the right direction." Sure hope that before long, he or someone else will get around to explaining that more fully.

40% by mass GOR discussion continued...

I downloaded Valentine's report, "Propane Respiration Jump-Starts Microbial Response to a Deep Oil Spill" to find out exactly what he said about GOR.

He assumes a GOR of "3000 ft3 barrel–1 (at atmospheric pressure)".
Then I checked reference for this metric and all it says is, "Materials and methods are available on Science Online."

My notes show one comment at TOD felt GOR would be around 2000 Scf/stb. Also, my crude calculation with BP capture shows GOR of 2180 at unknown pressure.

I would think if the 3000 that Valentine is using is true, then 40% by mass is reasonable. But where exactly did Valentine get his number from?

Hey, brit: thanks for your discussion of this--it helps us understand what we know and don't know.

WRT the Valentine et al. sampling methods, they're downloadable here:
Your comment on any light shed there would be interesting.

Have you found an analysis of the hydrocarbon constituents as emitted at the wellhead, and can you share an interpretation of them for us? Have you looked at the NOAA research vessel Brooks McCall and Ocean Veritas sampling of hydrocarbons in the GOM ("Subsurface Oil Monitoring Data") and can you comment on how they resolve (or don't) the nature of what spilled?

Thanks for the comment with links.
The report you've posted explains the GOR. The 3000 figure was from info released by BP and confirmed by collection devices at well head. The same collection also found the gas was made up of 87.5% methane, 8.1% ethane, 4.4% propane and neligible amounts for other HC such as butane, isobutane or pentanes. It also further defines 3000 GOR at 14.73 psia and 60 degrees F. I wonder if the restriction of the BOP caused the GOR to elevate from what it would be if there was no restriction.

However, these numbers still are far away from my calculation for what was captured at surface since I now get 26.2% with 2180 GOR value. Perhaps I need to do a spreadsheet as one comment suggested and see how value changes for each day.

Regarding other questions/comments, I haven't found a crude oil assay for oil at the wellhead. That would give breakdown for other HC. Gobbet has done a fantastic job explaining what will happen to the HC in the water column. I've been following his comments closely and adding what little extra I can find.

I suspect the scientists are also struggling with this. I'd expect many of the calculations are buried in analysis and simulation software so even a scientist may struggle to provide some of these details if asked by a journalist.

Just as a reminder, the figure 40% methane by weight came from the 29-Jun-10 Oil Spill Summit II document:

The DH oil contains approximately 40% methane (by weight) compared to the usual 5% (Kessler 2010).

And the Kessler 2010 reference is cited there as:
Kessler, John. 2010. Cited by Associated Press, in Oil spill full of methane, adding new concerns. The Huffington Post 6/18/2010.
But this was not HuffPo grist. Instead, this was an Associated Press story carried widely, for example:

The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill.

And here's more on Kessler, a NYT blog on his methodology:

He evidently posted a post-mission blog on his TAMU webpage, subsequently taken down but still available on at least two websites:

Kesslser appears to have been drawn into the "methane tsunami" meme in some interviews. I'll spare you the links, since we know this as a harmful diversion.

He was the second author of the Valentine et al. study and has a nice blog on it:

There was a recent article on Rigzone that noted...

" Preliminary information on the composition of the petroleum from the Macondo project indicate a gas-oil ratio of 500 Sm3/Sm3, i.e. a light oil. Light oil with high gas content will have higher flow rates than oil with little gas content. "

A quick calculation, assuming 75:15:8 C1:C2:C3 as the gas composition came out around 35% mass/mass, and methane about 21% - if I didn't screw up ( unfortunately, a high probability event ). I recall that there was a daily Excel spreadsheet of the recovered gas and oil. I think the gas and oil densities were also reported, maybe that would provide a more accurate basis, especially for days when only small quantities escaped from the cap.

Unfortunately, until we see detailed HC compositions and volumes of wellbore effluent, estimates will mislead.

It's dead Jim


Statement from Admiral Allen on the Successful Completion of the Relief Well

"After months of extensive operations planning and execution under the direction and authority of the U.S. government science and engineering teams, BP has successfully completed the relief well by intersecting and cementing the well nearly 18,000 feet below the surface. With this development, which has been confirmed by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, we can finally announce that the Macondo 252 well is effectively dead. Additional regulatory steps will be undertaken but we can now state, definitively, that the Macondo well poses no continuing threat to the Gulf of Mexico. From the beginning, this response has been driven by the best science and engineering available. We insisted that BP develop robust redundancy measures to ensure that each step was part of a deliberate plan, driven by science, minimizing risk to ensure we did not inflict additional harm in our efforts to kill the well. I commend the response personnel, both from the government and private sectors, for seeing this vital procedure through to the end. And although the well is now dead, we remain committed to continue aggressive efforts to clean up any additional oil we may see going forward."

Additional Background:

The cement pressure test on the DDIII relief well was completed at 5:54 a.m. CDT.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement has confirmed that the cementing operation on the Macondo well was successful, that the well has been permanently sealed with cement plugs, and that pressure tests verify the integrity of the plugs.

Oversight of the well now transitions from the National Incident Command to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement under the process laid out in the National Response Framework.

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement will oversee the continuing decommissioning of the Macondo well and its associated relief wells.

+1000. But a very long way to go.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement has confirmed that the cementing operation on the Macondo well was successful, that the well has been permanently sealed with cement plugs, and that pressure tests verify the integrity of the plugs.

Landlord, fill the flowing bowl till it doth run over!


The top two images here make visual what I'm feeling right now.

I guess BP and the Government are just going to ignore these leaks.


and this...


and they did not have to do this........


then we have this.......


Not a single one of those videos is evidence of leaks ... not one.

One shows marine life swimming near the camera. There are all sorts of shrimp, jellyfish, salps and so on that swim around the well.

Others show "stuff" leaking out of the well but not hydrates. Chemicals are deliberately injected into the well to clean out, to displace or to disolve any latent hydrates from when there was flow. None of that "stuff" looked like hydrates or like oil.

None of those videos were taken since the well kill was done. I don't think that the videos are of hydrates or oil but there may well have been small amounts of leakage ... hence the additional need of the kill.

Just because someone thinks something is happening, based on ignorant viewing of a video, does not mean that it really is. I don't believe that government or industry should be trusted implicitly but to post with certainty that you have "caught them at something" simply minimizes the real instances. It's crying wolf and acting from ignorance.

First I would suggest you put your glasses on before watching the videos.

Second, each one of those videos show exactly what I say they show.

There is leaking at the base of the wellhead and they have been cleaning up the hydrates it is forming at the wellhead.

Are you actually suggesting that when they did the kill on the well it stopped those leaks? Then there must have been gas and oil in the annulus.

First ... I never said I didn't see stuff. I was clear about that. I don't think it is oil or hydrates and that was my point. Insulting me and suggesting that I didn't have the perpicasity to see what you did, doesn't make you right. Why are you so certain that what you see in those videos is Hydrocarbon? I told you what else it could be and you never answered that point. Just threw back an insult that is meaningless to me.

In addition to my prior point, I am also saying that sediments on the ocean bottom produce hydrocarbons from decay. You can see often see this if you go rowing in a pond. Stick an oar down in the muck and quite often bubbles will come up. This occurs in the ocean as well, anywhere that there is decaying matter. What you might be seeing in some of these videos is not hydrocarbons from the formation but gases and oils from the sediment and the fact that it has been disturbed during seismic tests.

Yes I am actually suggesting that the well is killed. I am also suggesting that there are more expert eyes on those cameras than yours or mine. Those experts know what the composition of the mud is, what has been done to it, what has been injected and when.

These observations are interesting but they are not as conclusive as you seem to be so unalterably convinced that they are.

Once again, insults are a confession of ignorance. They are not persuasion.

Here is another thing. For weeks up until the day of the kill they watched this leak 24/7.


After the kill they have not focused in on that exact spot.

Either it died, which means the kill was a little more complicated then they said or they just don't want to look at it for some reason.

geoffreyf, you also said none of those videos were from after the well kill. The last one is and watch it, every 25 seconds or so it burps out gas.


My viewing of the feeds has not been ignorant like you say, I have talked about everything I have posted with people that know. Mainly people on here and on the IRC channel.

There is gas in the sediment due to decay. No doubt there have been seismic tests which have disturbed the sediment. In fact, that it "burps out" really suggests that it is from the sediment and not the formation.

Consider other possibilities and especially that the deep ocean is very active biologically. These depths are outside my experience but I have personally experienced little burps of gas just from shaking the sediment with my hand at around 100 feet. What you see in those videos is quite similar. I've also seen multiple accounts of the same thing happening at these depths. What you see in those videos show no indication of formation levels of pressure.

Here is a video of them cleaning hydrates after the kill.


I concur, the well is still gurgling.

btw it was still gurgling right after removing the old BOP.. oh yes it was.. don't make me dig up videos.

I'll feel much better after they stop piddlin with it and put the cement plugs in and put a tub over it.


BP holding back data on oil spill impact, Louisiana officials say

Louisiana's legislative auditor and some lawmakers say BP is putting the state at a disadvantage by keeping secret the data it is collecting on public sector claims and economic losses caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A BP statement said the information is on the company's internal data base and for security reasons cannot be shared.

Not forgotten.


Eleven crew members died during the April 20 explosion; 115 were rescued.

Jason Anderson, 35, toolpusher, of Midfield, Texas. He and his wife Shelley have two children.

Dale Burkeen, 37, a crane operator from outside Philadelphia. He and wife, Rhonda, have two children.

Donald Clark, 49, assistant driller, of Newellton, La. He and his wife, Sheila, have four children.

Stephen Curtis, 39, assistant driller, of Georgetown, La. He and his wife Nancy have two children.

Gordon Jones, 28, mud engineer, of near Baton Rouge, La. He left behind a pregnant wife, Michelle, and a son.

Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27, assistant driller, of Jonesville, La. He and his wife, Tracy, have two daughters

Karl Kleppinger, 38, floorhand, of Natchez, Miss. He left behind his wife, Tracy, and a 17-year-old son. Dewey Revette, 48, driller, of State Line, Miss. He and his wife, Sherri, have two children.

Shane Roshto, 22, roustabout, of Franklin County, Miss. He left behind his wife, Natalie.

Adam Weise, 24, floorhand, of Yorktown, Texas. He was not married.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/05/21/94649/remembering-deepwater-horizo...

In the blame passing by BP is blame for the tool pusher

The negative pressure test was accepted although well integrity had not been established - Primarily Transocean's toolpusher's fault; BP's fault that company man accepted toolpusher's explanation.

I presume that would then be Jason Anderson, dead and unable to defend himself. Also per other workers, a hero who helped save lives.
In discussions with some of the 115 rig workers who were rescued after the blast, Billy Anderson said he learned that his son’s efforts during the final minutes to control the pressure surge saved scores of lives.

And someone who bucked heads with BP unfortunately to no avail
“My Jason told me he had argued BP down a few times on previous wells when they wanted him to speed things up and make changes that were unsafe,” Billy Anderson said yesterday in an interview at his home near Blessing, Texas, about 110 miles southwest of Houston. “But the last two times he was home he said they were putting more and more pressure on him and he was worried.”

How convenient to turn this man into part of the problem. One might say to BP "have you no shame". But it has been clear all along that they don't.

Jason Anderson and the drill crew stayed at their posts (when they could have ran) and according to BP managed to shut the leaky BOP completely in the last minute before the explosion but too late as the gas was already coming to surface. Had the emergency gas alarm shutdown not been set to manual then perhaps there would have been no explosion.

However there is plenty of testimony from TO employees (never mind BP) that Jason Anderson effectively over-ruled the day tool pusher (who thought correctly they had well flow) at the shift change and said the well was safe.

See testimony from Subsea Supervisor Chris Pleasant, OIM Jimmy Harrell and Senior Toolpusher Miles Ezell. Testimony of Dr John Smith (expert witness) was also that the actions (or lack of until too late) by the drilling crew were inexcusable.

BP decisions may hang them but the TO "pilots" were asleep at the wheel. This can't be swept under the carpet if lessons are to be learned no matter how painful.

The Drill Crew Leaders failed to interpret the data. Fullstop. They then continued to displace the well ignoring the fact that arguements about integrity had taken place. We have serious leadership problems here. TO, may be found to be ultimately responsible for the way in which the well was allowed to flow out of control, their main responsibility!!!

However there is plenty of testimony from TO employees (never mind BP) that Jason Anderson effectively over-ruled the day tool pusher (who thought correctly they had well flow) at the shift change and said the well was safe.

I've been puzzling for some time about the apparent inconsistency between Anderson's deep concern that safety was being shortchanged, and his taking a big safety risk at a crucial moment.

We'll never know, but I've come up with an explanation that makes sense to me: He was so anxious about something going wrong, he wanted to get the hell off the rig as soon as possible--and took a risk he shouldn't have in the interests of speeding up completion. Paradoxical if so, but all too human.

If Anderson over-ruled the other TP then we may have a major source of where the well's failure occurred, and perhaps, the last 5 months of 'Inquiry-cum-witch hunt' will be resolved.
Does that mean the Enquiry Hearings Committee will apologise to Heyward?

He [Anderson] was so anxious about something going wrong, he wanted to get the hell off the rig as soon as possible

Wasn't he due to leave the DWH a few days after the 20th anyway, and join a different rig as senior toolpusher?

He was supposed to have already left DWH to take up post as Snr TP elsewhere but had been specifically asked to stay on DWH for a few more days to finish the current job due to his knowledge and expertise.

Nothing in his reported demeanour or actions on the night suggests he was in the slightest bit concerned about any major problems right up until the incident.

Continuing from yesterday's thread, re the really interesting dialog of Gobbet, Cheryl, and Issac.

I don't have much to add to your excellent discussion (I was outside in the 92 degree heat, temporarily setting back plant succession by use of John Deere, gasoline, and Roundup). I'm an ecologist, but not a specialist in marine systems. In fact, I've had the luxury (and necessity, due to scope of greatly enlarged academic community and time constraints of new administrative role) of halting my specialty work and for the last 15 years have worked hard to gain more general knowledge in a ridiculously wide array of disciplines. [Have thoroughly enjoyed it, too.] So I don't have special knowledge of the GOM system, other than that acquired in the last 6 months and as informed by other systems I more about.

That said, I think the thrust of your discussion is correct. Ecological succession happens, but the huge array of dynamic components and processes is not orchestrated and only somewhat coherent/predictable, at least in other systems that are relatively well (better) known. Instead each organism does what it does according to opportunities and constraints, interacting with all the other components, and inevitably some factors turn out to be more prominent than others in ways that are to scientists/observers variously expected (where prior experience with similar systems exists), or "emergent properties" or surprizes (because the biological-physical-chemical situation is unique and unprecedented).

Just to appreciate the full complexity of this, the full array of includes human and social factors as well as the biogical-physical-chemical ones). I've attempted to depict this larger complexity as the "social-ecological system":

Back to your natural science discussion, a couple of particulars: One has to do with interaction among species. You might reconsider what it would mean for one microbe species to "crowd out" another. I used to think in those (IMO anthropomorphic) terms but gave it up, in most cases lacking evidence that competition for space is a constraint (there are well-known exceptions, such as territorial hawks). What would they be competing for? On the other hand, I would expect to see competition for food within a species, and this is what gives rise to the population bust that follows the population boom triggered by new resources and rapid reproduction of the well adapted species. My point is that these booms and busts occur relatively independant of one another, except for the kinds of secondary modulation (symbioses) you nicely discussed.

Second, Issac's introduction of catalysts into the conversation is very helpful and appropriate. Presumably we know little about this in the particular case at hand, but chemists and microbiologists deal with this as bread-and-butter knowledge in biotechnology applications. (As an aside, in the biofuels biz, the engineered-microbe company Cellunol merged with the biological-process-catalyst company Diversa to form Verenium, which then advanced its cellulosic ethanol technology to pilot and then demonstration phase, then BP bought Verenium, and the effort to commercialize is under way. Oops, I'm wandering again.)

This brings me to a thought. Probably the integrative thinking you'd like to see ("the bacterial tag team") is not articulated anywhere. I'd pay big money to hear "synthesis" lectures by some of the primary researchers we've been following. Their students are going to be very fortunate indeed.

I'm still intrigued by the discovery of a new species of oil-eating bacteria of which little has been said since the early days.
This new species was given credit for the larger and quicker than expected disappearance of underwater oil. Does that still stand as fact, meaning the credit given? And if so, has this new species had an effect on the larger community of oil-eating bacteria in the GOM as far as number and distribution go? Also, is finding a new "species" of bacteria, not a variant of an already existing species, a common thing? I know that new 'extreme' micro-organisms are being discovered in various 'extreme' locations but do such discoveries occur regularly in natural environments?

As to the discovery of new species, I have seen entomologists drive with nets down rural Texas roads in the summer to bag several new species. They almost never fail to find multiples.

Really!!! That amazes me. Thanks. Guess I have some homework to do...

nepeta: The Terry Hazen work still stands as a seminal piece of work in my book, and I expect to see much more from them in later publications. We've only seen three publications on this general subject so far, and dozens more will appear as small pieces of a large puzzle over the next several years. It will be important to remember that only a few will end up discounted as not valuable, whereas most will be largely accepted by the community of experts who can judge them. The whole will form a coherent image, marred only by missing pieces.

As to your second question, I don't have any understanding at all about the interactions among species.

Third, many or most species on earth are still unknown to science, especially among insects, soil organisms, and microbes. Look up the lengthy writing of biologist Edward O. Wilson on this subject.
Hard as it may be to believe, I myself described a new subspecies of mink from the Gulf and Atlantic saltmarshes about 25 years ago.

NSR, Thanks! I will indeed read the link you provided. E.O. Wilson is always a pleasure to read. And I love your discovery! What a cutie. Congratulations!
Your statement that most species in the areas you mention are unknown to science is complete news to me. I was under the impression that even in those areas the classification of species and subspecies was pretty complete.

Hate to go all unscientific on y'all, but I've spent a good part of the weekend watching web casts of the Dalai Lama's visit to Budapest, at which there were 22,400 humans in attendance at each of four sessions during which the wise old man say "be a good person," and give some hints as to "how."

Now, in my mellow mood of altruism towards all sentient beings, I want to congratulate NatResDr on his discovery of this precious little critter, and to state that even if it were a very ugly bug, I would be equally impressed. Good goin', Doc! There is NO END to the "miracles" provided by Mother Nature, is there?

Running late this evening, but to you and little Sandy there,


NatResDr wrote:

You might reconsider what it would mean for one microbe species to "crowd out" another. I used to think in those (IMO anthropomorphic) terms but gave it up, in most cases lacking evidence that competition for space is a constraint (there are well-known exceptions, such as territorial hawks). What would they be competing for?

My thought was, the bacteria would be competing for physical space on the periphery of oil droplets, which I imagine, perhaps incorrectly, as coated with bacteria. Does that not seem plausible? I realize such competition is fundamentally between individuals, but if one "team" (however unorganized) is able to reproduce faster than others, it seems there could be crowding out on a species basis, until the preferred food sources for Team Busy are exhausted. (Obviously any such process would be raggedy and not a crisp sequence.)

I haven't seen anyone say this, but given weeks with EPA water samples testing below reportable values for petrochemicals, it seems that the dispersed oil (oil as suspended droplets) and dissolved fractions are essentially gone from near-surface waters (not including sediments) and have been for weeks. They were mostly metabolized by bacteria except for tarry fractions. It remains to be seen whether significant amounts of non-metabolized dispersed oil is still in the floc sediment.

Let me agree with what NatResDr is saying and try to give Gobbet a mental model. What NatResDr calls anthropomorphic I would tend to call linear.

I'll go back to "everything happens at once." I've modeled chemical reaction systems, and the inclination there is to think that first reaction A happens, which provides reactants for reaction B, which provides reactants for reaction C, and so on. Gobbet's succession model is something like this. But that's not the way it happens.

Granted, in chemistry, some of reaction A has to happen first if it is the only source for reactants for reaction B, but once those reactants are there, they may react back to A or react with something else entirely. And after the first few microseconds for most chemical reactions, there will be a large network of things happening.

An ecological system is much more complex, and much less amenable to simple sequences. But it can be modeled by the same sorts of mathematics as chemical reactions. Each reaction (or birth and death of organisms) is represented by a differential equation or two. The whole system is represented by hundreds of differential equations, or, in chemistry, if you can keep things very simple, less than a dozen equations.

When I was first introduced to this sort of modeling, I tried to work out simple paths, but I finally gave up and realized that the whole mess is stewing all at once. There are interactions, and sometimes you get interesting "blooms" where a chemical reactant or bacterial species builds up, but ultimately, the only way you can predict that is to model the whole system or to be smart enough to eliminate what doesn't contribute much. But most of us aren't that smart except for the very simplest cases.

Would these same principles apply in a more macro case such as Easter Island? I have always thought the humans as a 'closed' population that is destroyed by the scarcity of resources and external influence from explorers, slave traders, and missionaries.

Yes. You are describing some of the equations, which would include
- dependence of births and deaths on resources (multiple equations depending on resources)
- births and deaths caused by explorers
- births and deaths caused by slave traders, plus removal of individuals from the island
- births and deaths caused by missionaries

And so on, for the various influences. An island is more 'closed' than, say the Gulf of Mexico, but, as you can see, explorers, slave traders, and missionaries come in, and the slave traders take people out. So it's not entirely closed.

An island is more 'closed' than, say the Gulf of Mexico, but, as you can see, explorers, slave traders, and missionaries come in, and the slave traders take people out.

You've missed the by-far largest external-borne impact, which is disease.

The mortality rate of some of the isolated communities, were truly terrible.

Quite a few examples in history of the first-contact reports being of a relatively advanced and productive society, then just a few years later, big declines.
The Amazon was similar.

the whole mess is stewing all at once

Uh-huh, and that's why it's so good to find a place where people like you, NRD, Gobbet, Rockman, bignerd, and others who bring bits of clarity hang out. Dang!

" I tried to work out simple paths, but I finally gave up and realized that the whole mess is stewing all at once. "


Well, that makes me feel less stupid. I got completely lost trying to make heads of tails of it all. To grasp at a shorter straw, how would methane possibly effect other organisms, and their ability to utilize other catalysts for digestion ? It seems it is fairly acidic.


So now that the well is dead, we can look back and say that had they stuck with the original bottom kill plan, the well would have been killed 5 weeks ago.

The BP strategy of killing both the well and the best evidence of flow took a little longer but worked out in the end...by the skin of BP's teeth (remember, the valve in the cap nearly failed ... not sure they could have repaired that with ROVs, and oil would have been flowing till they did).

Thadmiral said in a CSPAN interview when asked if it was a mistake to allow BP to do top-kill that the reason *he* had decided on top-kill with cement was because they were not prepared to allow the cap to remain closed and unattended in the event of a major hurricane before they could complete bottom-kill unless they had a cement seal first. And he still considered that it was the correct decision.

yes, on the 5 weeks, and assuming a different(deeper) intersection point. Wonder how many model runs they had in their basket that showed no kill under reasonable pump rates at an intersection that high up? Glad for the industry this debacle is over. The impact, however, will be around for a long time coming. The economics of deepwater drilling have changed forever.

General economics were changing before 4/20. Obamacare is at least an attempt to work on the medical world. If I were a lawyer I would be worried. Our municipal judge took a cut this last contract and they lost 1 clerk. No industry is immune or untouchable anymore.

So now that the well is dead, we can look back and say that had they stuck with the original bottom kill plan, the well would have been killed 5 weeks ago.

The BP strategy of killing both the well and the best evidence of flow took a little longer but worked out in the end...by the skin of BP's teeth (remember, the valve in the cap nearly failed ... not sure they could have repaired that with ROVs, and oil would have been flowing till they did).

Took a little longer? How do you figure that?

Five weeks ago would be August 15.

A month earlier than that, they deviated from the plan and shut the well in.

Late on August 3, a week prior to your date, another plan deviation put the well into a static state, greatly reducing the pressure the BOP was under.

The next day, top-kill cement was injected and the well was permanently plugged. That wasn't in the plan either.

Yes, Syncro, back in mid July they should have stuck with the plan and let the well run wild for a week or two while getting the collection stuff hooked up.

At that point, if a storm drove them off the site they wouldn't have had much choice but to open the cap and let thing run wild for another couple of weeks PER STORM.

Yeah, it's pretty clear where you are coming from, and that "valve in the cap nearly failed" FUD is just icing on the cake.


"Yes, Syncro, back in mid July they should have stuck with the plan and let the well run wild for a week or two while getting the collection stuff hooked up."

I don't recall saying that, or implying it.

Bottom kill was set for 8/13, if i recall.

They could've swapped out the whole BOP from the getgo.

apologies if I'm repeating or stepping on anyone. I'm a slow reader and easily distracted.

duh... did I miss something syncro but hasn't the well been dead since July 15th? Longer than five weeks. Today is the stake through the heart to let everyone sleep soundly. Or if you prefer, a super-abundance of caution. Paraphrasing something I said before, just because you do something that is probably superfluous, but might, just might pre-empt a disaster, doesn't mean that you think the circumstances to cause the disaster are true. I still buy insurance, even though I don't expect my house to burn down this year.

"did I miss something "

Duh. Apparently you did. The stake through the heart would have happened a month earlier. But forget it. It's not worth the effort.

In an earlier Open Thread, I posted screen captures from the "Top Hat #4 Inspection" done by Olympic Challenger ROV UHD-30.

I have made a video tribute to "Cappy" which is posted at YouTube.

I really hope they recover it, and don't leave it on the seabed.

Looks like they are recovering cappy right now on Olympic Challenger UHD30 feed.

This was slipped in the Pensacola New Journal today.

A quote from a laid-off spill cleanup worker.
Skimming the surface
Robinson, who has a degree in biology and works as a caregiver for the developmentally disabled, said he took a cleanup job because it sounded like good money and a good way to help the area recover from the oil spill.
But after a couple of shifts, he decided cleanup crews were only skimming the surface of the problem.
"Down 4 to 6 inches you could find some big chunks. Platter-sized chunks," he said. "You weren't supposed to reach into the sand because there was supposedly this risk of contaminated needles.

New one for me.

Bob Marshall's Oil spill is far from over for those who live, work along the Gulf begins:

FOURCHON BEACH -- Don't tell Forrest Travirca that you've heard Louisiana dodged the bullet on environmental damage from the BP oil disaster. You might find yourself eating those words.

"Smell this!" Travirca demanded as he grabs a handful of brownish sand from this beach just west of Grand Isle and pushed it at the nose of a reporter. "That's right -- it's oil."

The field inspector for the local property owner shook his head in disgust and pointed down the beach where tiny yellow and red flags mark oil deposits that must be removed.

"All the brown spots and patches you'll see on this beach for the next nine miles is oil, too," he said. "And if you dig down a few inches or a few feet, you'll see oil, too. And if you walk into that marsh back there, you'll find oil.

"So don't tell me we dodged any bullets. Or that it wasn't so bad. 'Cause I've been out there every day since May dealing with all that oil we dodged. It just makes my blood boil." ...

Take in not just the text but the 17-photo gallery and the video here. Hosanna that the well is dead, but as you see, it finished only the first chapter of a long and not-cheerful book.

Being a near the impact area in Alabama, I have to say the Grand Isle impact does come closer to the Valdez impact than any other location, IMHO.

The fact is and always has been that people don't clean up oil spills. Oh perhaps they can get some fraction of it, but the reality is that the technology doesn't exist and it probably never will to put the Genie back in the bottle.

So it's going to be nature and time. Telling people anything else is lying to them.

Fortunately nature is more resilient than people imagine.

Snake posted that yesterday, and I started to repost it this morning because it is such a powerful reminder of the serious damage that has been done. No folklore or hysteria in there either.

Bob Marshall is a smart and usually thorough journalist, but alas, in his other piece this morning, he falls into the usual misconstruction of Samantha Joye's careless words:

According to recently released research, oil from the Deepwater Horizon has settled to the bottom of the Gulf in several places. If this eventually floats to land, it would be "new oil."


Snake posted that yesterday

Oops. Apologies for the repeat (but as you say, Gob, it's a do-not-miss).

Snake posted that yesterday

But there's more:

BP man: "That's not the point."

Me: OK, I give up. I'll change the sentence to, "A wave of old black oil came ashore west of the Mississippi River on Friday and Saturday, coating beaches and fouling interior marshes, according to anglers' reports."

BP man: "There's no oil coming ashore. There hasn't been any for weeks. There's none out there. Whoever told you that was wrong."

Me: "Well, Ryan Lambert and Sidney Bourgeois were there. They saw old oil wash ashore on Friday. It was confirmed by the state's official press release on old oil sightings."

BP man: "That wasn't oil. It might have been tarballs, but it wasn't oil."

Me: "Tarballs! Tarballs the size of giant cow patties? Tarballs in continuous sheets across hundreds of square feet of shoreline?"

BP man: "If you analyze that old ex-oil, you'll find that many of the components of crude oil have weathered out of it. So it's tarballs. They travel in bunches, btw.

Me: Okay, you win again. The sentence will be changed to "A bunch of old black tarballs came ashore west of the Mississippi River on Friday blah blah blah ."

BP man: Fine, as long as you don't say the old black tarballs came from BP.

Me: Oh, I get it - I can't say the tarballs came from BP because they could have come from a natural seep or a different spill and I haven't chemically traced them and you won't give me the ingredient list, correct?"

BP man: No, because it's TransOcean's oil.

Edit: Added links

Very nice work :) But it actually is more accurate and less misleading to the general reader to call it "old black tar" than "new oil." Also this material may already have been inshore, possibly refloated from the bay bottom by a change in salinity.

"And if you dig down a few inches or a few feet, you'll see oil, too."

But IF you dig down you will be punished for that (in the land of freedom) !


And sometimes it is illegal to take samples (in the land of freedom) !


But it´s difficult to keep the filming tourists away from the beaches, because their money is needed.


I dedicate to the american people the old song "Marching up to freedom land" from Joan Baez.


J.D. Crowe's cartoon for the editorial page of today's Press-Register:

Perhaps we have killed the Grendel but still have to kill the mother.

Chile update: An oil-industry drilling rig that chews a 28-inch hole in one pass has started work at the San José mine. The "Yikes!" is that, cased, this hole's diameter will be only 23.5 inches.

I would demand the government start looking for 'skinny' women, LOL. I am telling you 'reality show'. Does this new diameter hole mean escape is possible? How much do you need? I guess maybe fasting is in order?

To both your irrelevant comments:

A completely meaningless, I mean totally meaningless, reference to Beowulf which I doubt you could discuss for more than 5 seconds without constantly Googling and then passing that info on as your own.

And by your dubious posting standards (Do you have any other than what floats across your mind?) I could now legitimately post: an etymology of the word "demand", a diatribe about government, song lyrics about skinny women, funny things I've seen on reality shows, a mathematical discourse on the concept of diameter, great holes of all time, great escapes of all time, a philosophical discussion about possibility and need, and any and all anecdotes I can scrounge up about people I've known who have fasted.

As at least one other poster (I suspect there have been more) has clearly said to you: THIS IS NOT YOUR BLOG.

Not knowing if mine escape is possible with the new hole. I think this is on topic and you protest out of line. I thought Berkley was about inclusiveness?

Edit: And let me clearly reply. It is not your's either old man (per your handle).

I agree. I'm with TFHG on this one. If OldBerkeley doesn't like the post, he has complete freedom to scroll on by.

Edit: This means that at least one other poster (I suspect there have been more) agrees with TFHG that OldBerkeley is the one who is out of line.

from a previous thread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6931#comment-715936 -by rainyday

"NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources."

Can NOAA talk "Peak Sun"?

If so, please direct me to those discussions, which must include discussions on the nature of dark matter.
and for the CTs I'll start with my favorites:

Try this. Search "peak sun" with quotes in search box. I had many hits. Use quotes to only match phrase.

lol Thanks Guy, but there's no really good discussions on the topic, thus narry a chance of CT flybys ;-p

Muons almost as bad as Corexit.

A completely meaningless, I mean totally meaningless, reference to Beowulf

I understood him to be saying the well was dead, but we still have work to do to fix what was responsible for the blowout in the first place (BP's safety problems, MMS's incompetence, etc.).

The other comment was expressing his concern about whether the miners would be able to fit in a 23-inch tube.

Neither comment was irrelevant, and your diatribe is out of line, IMHO.

You have a liberal arts degree too don't you? Thanks, there was nothing more than an attempt to convey the situation here as it pertains to the most recent well news. I imagine this is a regional feeling.

And he's not on your dried-up old lawn, either!

A repost from last night ....

Nice interview with a couple of the guys from one of the crews drilling in Chile, after they finished enlarging their hole to 12".

Team plots next step in rescuing miners.

They thought they would be taking a day or two off from drilling before beginning the expansion to 28" so that the 12" hole could be used to lower supplies that had not been able to fit through one of the smaller openings.

Ok here what I was looking for.
So if all goes well and there are no delays, this largest drill could enable the miners to begin their escape Oct. 18.
The new drill is 28" and the design is for a 23.5" shaft. It should be able allow all the miners to escape. The new drill requires no smaller bore or works in 'one-pass',

edit: wrong symbol.

From previous thread
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6966#comment-722230 -by Francis

It will all come down to Money Spent & Time Served. History is full of precedents, you need only skim the past 234 years to see how commercial entities have fared:

Large fines levied, later reduced to pennies on the dollar, and then ignored/never paid. The money spent (and the loss of capital investment earnings expectations) will be made up from tax breaks, and by passing higher prices on to the consumer.

Brand image is scorched in the beginning but quickly heals, as it is forgotten about by some after the next big headline, others will be distracted by toilet bowl cleaner commercials.

Most civil suits will be settled out of court, some will be snubbed and ignored forever, the rest that play out will be crap shoots.

We'll glean some cool innovations from all this.

We'll see new regulations, but those regulations will be rescinded via political campaign payola, and the rest ignored as usual because the overseers will be wined and dined, again. And there aren't enough inspectors, and there will never be enough because the industry pays better.

Back to business as usual.

Pretty much true, but then the secured $20b set-aside is a substantial ding (even after the write-offs?) and it ensures that most of the damaged folks will get a reasonable degree of restitution. It seems like a smart and innovative move by the government.

I don't understand the tax situation, but how much federal income tax does BP normally pay?

BP plc (ADR) financials

BP spill fund tax break could bite back

BP to cut U.S. tax bill by $10 billion because of losses in gulf spill

If MMS had rejected the request they approved to allow BP to set the top plug at 3000' instead of 150' like the regs. require, the well would have been balanced when the riser was displaced and the disaster averted. (It is unclear whether MMS knew the well would be underbalanced when the riser was displaced. BP's refusal to release the drill plan remains a significant question. What are they hiding?)

Wasn't that the request MMS approved 20 minutes after it was made by email?

I think the new BOEM will actually result in a significantly improved risk environment, but that's only because MMS was so horribly corrupted and hobbled as a regulatory agency. It's mission had become promotion of production, not management of risk. It's okay to promote production, but that role or function has to be separate from the role of managing risk because the two have inherent conflicts.

Your analysis is completely incorrect. The well was always overbalanced. Then, came the integrity test to ascertain whether or not it was possible to continue with the displacement......and go underbalanced. All failed during this testing sequence. And, none know how to interpret data. God knows how they'd get on with a full set of instructions!

dglang's above comment reminds me of a particular Cobal program that gave me fits: The computer doesn't initially recognize blank fields. Had to manually insert the numbers and run the program to initialize the fields.
We can do the windwork, the planning, and get in all our signs and cosigns in their right places (and don't forget the periods/stops/dots), but until we actually do it we never really know what will happen. And invariably the variables change so we have to change how we do it as we go - "there's what we think should happen, then there's what really happens.", and thusly, some of us know from experience what "may" happen. But because ya can't teach them thar younguns nuthin, every generation has to prove or disprove everything all over again using their own newfangled measuring sticks.
I'm sure I was a young person too at one time but it was so long ago I can't remember

Inside every old person is a young one wondering "What the heck happened?" :-)) or should that be :-((

Ain't it the truth :-((

You got that right!

NYT's "the well is dead" story includes an interactive graphic showing June 13-28 as the height of the spill's (estimated) spread. But the page has a number of other features (for instance, the "Where Oil Has Made Landfall" tab shows the aggregate extent of the slicks -- bloody awful, and "Methods That Have Been Tried to Stop the Leaking Oil" has diagrams of the various gizmos involved). Quite a retrospective.

Answers to questions I was asked in the previous thread:

"So Hazen is "BP's advisor"? Did you unearth some previously unknown personal contract between Hazen and BP?" - snakehead

You read the linked article, right? It's about Terry Hazen. The headline says:

Berkeley scientist advises on clean-up in gulf oil spill

Some quotes from the article:

1 A Berkeley scientist who is advising British Petroleum is cautioning against the use of too many detergents to clean up the vast oil spill in the gulf.

2 Terry Hazen... is advising authorities that using detergents to clean up oil-contaminated sites may make matters worse.

3 Hazen, the head of the ecology department at Berkeley Lab, is advising BP on behalf of the Department of Energy.

Q & A continued:

Writing off Berkeley Lab as tainted? Contrasting Hazen's interviews with Joye's? Or what? - snakehead

I was objecting to cheap criticisms of Joye in the last open thread by pointing out that anyone can be smeared, even Terry Hazen, who has been praised and defended on TOD by some of those same critics of Joye. Both Joye and Hazen are susceptible to having their words and research twisted and their motives maligned.

Some folks issue a clarifying statement when they believe they've been taken out of context. Some don't. - snakehead

So Joye has to correct everyone who misrepresents her findings? Has Hazen corrected every reporter and so-called reporter who used the word "oil" when the word "alkanes" should have been used? Has he corrected himself?
Like fdoleza said:

Ref Dr. Samantha Joye, read the material she posted - not the garbage being said in the blogosphere.

It is really disturbing that nearly all the press coverage referring to Joye's findings--not just crackpot sites--speak of a "layer [blanket, etc.] of oil" covering a large area of the Gulf floor. We know what is in average readers' minds as they read this. The reason reporters are writing it that way is that Joye herself called it "oil" in "layers two inches thick." She is not the only scientist to make statements that inspired misleading scary press coverage. But she is the media darling, and she has taken to making incautious attention-grabbing statements about layers of oil sunk by Corexit.

I love her blog (including the latest entry about floc sediment) and also a videotaped press conference from June or July that I learned a lot from.

The reason reporters are writing it that way is that Joye herself called it "oil" in "layers two inches thick."

No, Gobbet. They're writing it that way for the same reason they're writing that Hazen "solved the mystery of the missing oil" by discovering that a new type of bacteria had "munched through massive oil plumes."

They suck, or they have an agenda.

"Dr. Hazen, a microbial ecologist who acted as an advisor to BP on behalf of the DOE." Hired by DOE, sent over to advise BP. Not the same context as "BP's advisor", is it?

I don't have a beef with her blog. Some of the garbage being carried by NPR etc. and then getting passed around by blogs and tweets is because of what she's said in interviews, quoted directly.

I'll just ignore the hairsplitting, point-missing part.

I love the article you quoted (and not just because your quote comes from a sentence that obligingly cites the Berkeleyside article I linked above, on Hazen's advisory role with BP).

Bugs to the Rescue in the Gulf starts with this:

This piece was energized by the August RTEC Breakfast Forum

Not written - ENERGIZED!

Dr. Hazen and colleagues discovered that these wondrous new creatures did their job with minimum oxygen consumption. They measured the oxygen saturation to be 59% within the plume, compared to 67% outside it. All this falls neatly in the “Isn’t Nature Wonderful” category. Needless to say, Dr. Hazen is now a believer in the use of dispersants.

I bet rainbows shot out of the authors a$$ when he "energized" that one.
The ending is especially good:

A final footnote of interest: Dr. Hazen’s work was funded by the Energy Biosciences Institute at Berkeley (EBI). The EBI is comprised of The University of California-Berkeley and The University of Illinois. Coincidentally, they are funded by BP to the tune of $500 million over 10 years...

In addition, the principal executive on the giving side was Steve Koonin, then Chief Scientist at BP. The principal recipient was Steve Chu. These two are respectively co-number two and number one at the DOE today. One does wonder whether Dr. Hazen was given a bit of a nudge by DOE high ups.

One doesn't, does one?

Your point seems to be that 1)journalism is generally crappy and 2) Joye shouldn't suffer criticism because of her blog, which neuters her statements to interviewers. I'm in agreement with the first.

This really has nothing to do with Hazen whether he's misrepresenting anything or not.

I thought I made my point in the previous thread: We shouldn't hold researchers responsible for what others write about their work unless we are willing to apply the same standard across the board.

If you look at, for example, Gobbets' posts about Joye, and compare them to his comments on Hazen, it's clear that the same standard isn't being applied.

This really has nothing to do with Hazen...

It has to do with hypocrisy.

Edit: Gobbet's hypocrisy, I should say. It was to Gobbet that I (and fdoleza) replied. You inserted yourself into the thread because you agree with Gobbet, apparently.

I think Joye could have and should issue a statement to one legit media outlet clarifying her preliminary findings, unless she's happy with the characterization of oil coating the floor of the Gulf. As far as Hazen goes, I'll wait for some further science. He's made preliminary observations and has a hypothesis. My position has nothing to do with Gobbet's or anyone else's.

Interesting nexus between this subthread and a graf from brit's Nature article just below:

Other researchers were also unprepared for the crush of attention, which might have caught even the most media-savvy scientists off guard. Samantha Joye, a biogeochemist at the University of Georgia in Athens who collaborated with the Pelican crew and has grant funding through NIUST, was quoted by The New York Times as saying "There's a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water." Joye says that she now chooses her words more carefully and makes a concerted effort to be "less excited" when giving interviews, but that she does not regret spreading the news about the plumes because the opportunity to study them might have been missed if the press had not learned about the Pelican data.

Emphasis mine. Sure enough, in that May 15 NYT story (and this May 16 USAT one, and no doubt others we could Google), her rhetoric did front-run her knowledge by a few blocks.

I'll just note that the publication date of the Nature story was August 4 -- a good six weeks before the “two inches of oil,” “pieces of warm bodies,” “slime highway,” and “dispersants sink oil” misrepresentations. So I guess her resolution didn't take. That's a shame because, as (I think it was) Francis noted a couple of days ago, her rhetoric has probably crossed the line of discomfort in her professional community.

If the Mandy Joye who talks to reporters more resembled the Prof. Joye who blogs, Dr. Joye the scientist might have an easier time of it in future.

There is a short article in Science magazine behind a paywall that is called, "Hunting for Plumes, Learning to Live in a Media Spotlight" that talks more about Mandy and the journalists.

I try to get my impression of people more by what they do rather than what they say. She has placed a spotlight on the need for additional research for us to know the impact of the DWH oil spill. She was one of the first scientists to claim the oil would not rise to surface and would float in the water column. She organized the Walton Smith cruise in 4 days rather than the normal 2 months. And NOAA's reaction to her interviews has changed their policy of not putting out reports on preliminary results of cruises.

In above article, Mandy is quoted as saying, “It’s a disaster, and I love the Gulf of Mexico. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to figure out what’s going on out there.”

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad she's doing the science.

Thanks. I understand and was just trying to give a more rounded view. I have also scratched my head at some of Mandy's words in interviews.

Here's an interesting story called "At the Centre of the Spill" that discusses interaction between scientists, journalists, NOAA administrators and BP.

Great (if frustrating) find, thank you!

Agreeing with SL, brit -- thanks so much. By the way, for anyone who shies away from pdfs, the same story is available in non-pdf form (though with fewer and smaller pictures) at Nature.com here.

NYT's Sunday Book Review today reminds me of the video someone brought in a few weeks ago of a monster wave smashing into a North Sea rig. Susan Casey's The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean discusses, among other things,

the big question: Will global warming lead to stormier oceans and bigger waves? With varying degrees of hesitation — because the data is not in to confirm a long-term trend, not because they are global-­warming deniers — the answer is a resounding yes. (Though, as one attendee pointed out, “you’re not going to be able to prove it until it’s too late.”)

Scientists do know, however, that average wave heights rose by more than 25 percent between the 1960s and the 1990s, and insurance records document a 10 percent surge in maritime disasters in recent years. From 1990 to 1998 alone 126 vessels were lost, along with more than 600 lives.

The future most likely portends meaner hurricanes, freakier waves, higher ocean levels and dramatic geologic events that will create devastating tsunamis. Given that 60 percent of the world’s population lives within 30 miles of a coastline, wave science is suddenly vital science, and the experts are keenly aware that there are levees, oil rigs, shorelines, ships and millions of lives at stake.

For this and other reasons, The Wave sounds like a book lots of TODers would enjoy.


Good stuff. Maybe drumbeat though. I promise to be more on topic too.

Maybe drumbeat though

TF -- I say TF -- goes for droll.

I have a good drumbeat post on marine grade fuel and few comments. Frustration with trying to use the system properly. Sorry.

"Given that 60 percent of the world’s population lives within 30 miles of a coastline..." For this and other reasons, The Wave sounds like a book lots of TODers would enjoy

Given that I live within *300 yards* of the coastline, I'm not at all sure I'll enjoy it!

Coulda-woulda-shoulda picked another verb there, hey? (In my defense, other parts of the book do sound like a hoot.)

Hi Lotus,
Just google "soliton" and you will learn a lot about rogue wave behavior.

Thanks, Juan.

And for entertainment purposes, there's a 2002 BBC Horizon episode titled "Freak Wave".

Saw a headline, "Govt boost for oil and gas exploration" and clicked through. New Zealand.

I think I see what you're intimating. And if I understand correctly, you're right, snakehead. Now is the perfect time to boost the unregulated, rickety, influence-peddling oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Give 'em more subsidies. Give 'em more environmental waivers. And if something goes wrong, not to worry -- we'll call the admittedly dead scientist on one of the identical environmental response plans submitted by the major oil companies. The walruses in the Gulf will be spared harm! Never again!

Yeah, well, when you come up for air maybe I'll take time to dissuade you from cramming so many presumptions into one paragraph.


So what is your point, Sage?

1. It's nominally not a good idea to increase energy dependence by prohibiting drilling in US waters.
2. Petro's going to be the major energy component and the basis of zillions of products for quite a while.
3. I'm not advocating slapdash standards.
4. I'm against radical environmental policies that will cripple the economy further.
5. There's some other stuff but I'd rather be watching the "Manning Bowl" so that's what I'm going to do.

So I wasn't that far off the mark.

You act as if the obscenely wealthy, well-connected oil industry is about to see its operations in U.S. waters shuttered forever by an armada of Greenpeace vessels. I hear this scaremongering all the time. So who's prohibiting drilling? Certainly not the Obama Administration. Only weeks before the Deepwater exploded, Obama opened huge new swathes of the Gulf to drilling, and don't you worry -- those federal waters will be dangerously exploited in good time.

Today, the only drilling that's been halted -- and temporarily, at that -- are the exploratory operations in deep water: roughly 30 of them. As you're well aware, there are thousands of rigs, in deep and shallow water, in production, in the Gulf, and none of them are effected.

It's amazing, though: after a preventable industrial f***-up caused by pervasive incompetence and raw greed that uncorked a three-month-long uncontrolled gusher in one of the world's most fragile and vital ecosystems at a depth of 18,000 feet below the Earth's surface, the people holding the loudest microphones are bitching about the tiny moratorium, while talk is muted and dwindles of how regulation can be strengthened, how oil-industry-planted corruption in government can be weeded out, and how it is that a corporation like BP can come to behave in the 21st-century like a blundering cutthroat buccaneer.

I suspect the people bitching about the moratorium and the imminent demise of the oil industry at the hands of environmentalists are from the same crowd that droned the apocalyptic slogan "Drill, Baby, Drill!" with psychosexual vigor, before it became just a wee bit unfashionable.

And look at the industry these groupies support. Like some miscreant trust-fund baby who drunkenly totals the Porsche and then demands a new Rolls Royce, the oil companies are shameless, spoiled, freakishly money-grubbing and, as are the bankers, characterized by chutzpah. They hold all the cards; they get whatever they want; they take enormous socialistic handouts from the government while making the largest profits in human history; they lie, cheat, bribe, and steal; and when they feel the slightest heat, they throw a hissy fit, pretend they're the "small people," and mobilize the useful idiots.

They seem to be echoing Hayward: "I want my deep-water drilling operations back!"

As for your nonsense about energy dependence: give me a break. Even if we opened up every tract of virgin parkland from sea to shining sea -- and every shining sea, too -- to the oil companies, we would still never compete with Saudi Arabia, or Russia, or Venezuela, or Iraq, or Iran. We don't have many reserves left. It is mathematically impossible for America to become energy independent without switching to renewable resources, unless you can show me an undiscovered American Ghawar Field, in which case I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. But I sense that just writing the phrase "renewable resources" will trigger people's adrenal glands and earn me all kinds of scorn around here -- the kind of scorn I got a few days ago, the last time I wrote something anti-industry, and was promptly accused of driving a small electric vehicle and eating organic. (I do neither.)

Finally, it occurs to me that lax regulation, and not the "radical environmental policies" of your fevered imaginings, has "wrecked this economy." But hell, let's deregulate further. Let's make out another blank check to the the oil companies.

Drill Baby,Drill !!!!!

No, pseudo, I was suspecting that you favor radical environmental policies. I never suggested that 100% energy independence is possible. I'm not in favor of total deregulation, but I do think that regs should be 1)re-written and 2) enforced to make them 1) more effective and 2) less inefficient. I'll leave the rest of your passionate presumptions alone except to say that they're also inaccurate.

Dudley Faces Battle to Drill in Gulf of Mexico as BP Says Goodbye Macondo

The BP Plc relief well that killed the worst U.S. oil spill may be last it drills in the Gulf of Mexico for some time.

Robert Dudley, the American who takes over as chief executive officer from Tony Hayward on Oct. 1, risks being shut out from the region where BP is the biggest producer as he deals with legal battles over blame for the spill. The London-based company, called “reckless” by President Barack Obama, will come under greater scrutiny than rivals from regulators when drilling resumes, analysts said.

The last he drills in the Gulf -- until he reopens Macondo.


Do you want to make up my lost dividends??????

It's hard to use the inside of one's head effectively if you set your hair ablaze first.

True, but it sure does make you move faster, don't it ?

"Effectively dead"?

So why is there -- what appears to be -- a seep at the mudline?


This is the new standard for killed wells. They can leak some.

The only possible explanation is that they have plugged the wrong well. Should be interesting to see what comes rocketing out when they remove the BOP.

I don't think so. It clearly states the right well in the ROV title and hydrates are still building up and being cleaned off this morning.


The leaking is from the Atlantis well which is melting. BPOD's sleuthing discovered that BP mislabeled the videos. Evidence is here.

After drilling on this pipe for 10 hours that is leaking from the BP killed well......well, it is still leaking. LOL


Aw, BP should just pack it in and go home. Admiral Thad said it's no longer a threat.

No kidding. I don't understand why they just don't leave. It appears they have set new standards for well abandonment, it is alright if it leaks in a bunch of places. Cap it and go on to the next one.

After all we still have 50k square miles of the Gulf shutoff, nobody will know any different.

It looks like they are drilling a vent hole under the new BOP...? This is getting a little interesting.

Is it possible that oil and gas worm-holed up the outside of the casing (or close to it). I still recall, and have a screenshot, of the top of the BOP after the crimped flange seat was removed. It clearly shows drilling mud shooting out of one of the sections of the DP, whilst oil flows around it. That's 2 different flows, from 2 different areas. How does that happen ?

Hypothetical :

Well casing in bore weakened in the upper/middle sections during original loss of control. Bull-headed cement-kill(out of the ordinary ?). Well "killed" at the bottom. Pressure builds, seeks alternate route. Travels up, close to, or around the outer casing, finds a re-entry point further up. I know this goes back to the endless discussions of leaking oil and gas coming up through the layers, but it is the only logical explanation for what I still see as a slight leak....Unless....the cementing from the bottom gradually pushed more trapped fluid up, as it expanded, maybe forcing it out through any weak points, maybe the weak point really wasn't the seal at the top. I was under the impression the cement actually takes weeks to cure completely.


That pipe they are drilling on has been leaking gas for months now. They have tried to clean it out with different tools and now they are using the power drill and bit. It looks like they are trying to drill to the valve now. I have no idea what their plan is when they get to it.

" If you look close, you can clearly see...it's got a nose....2 eyes..oh wow man. ...." ~ BPOD

You know, we are all going to feel mighty dumb when he turns out to be right about things o,0

Professor Warns Against Rig Removal

A professor at UL Lafayette says a decision by the Department of Interior to order more than 650 oil platforms, some of which have been abandoned for decades, to be dismantled is a lousy idea.

Michael Bromwich, who heads up the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, says taking the old platforms apart will reduce the chances of a future disaster in the Gulf.

But UL Professor Susanne Frederick says taking those rigs apart will have a huge detrimental impact on marine life in the Gulf of Mexico who have transformed those rigs into manmade reefs that support a wide variety of ocean life.

Professor Frederick says the loss of those rigs would also have a profound impact on offshore fishing because most fishermen find the areas directly adjacent to the old rigs to be the most productive.

You know, I was wondering when this would come up. Remember Ben Raines' video of diving on a jackup rig and how robust the critter community on/around it was? Maybe "check and replug the wellbores but leave the rigs intact" would make the best compromise?

I know better, but I still wish these sorts of decisions could be taken out of the political arena. Forcing removal could make Jindal's follies look minor league by comparison.


Guys - Actually there's an easy compromise that would make most happy. Over 15 years ago the feds changed the rules for offshore platform removal. We were considering buying Zapata Offshore's last platform in the GOM. In 600' of water this was probably going to be the most expensive removal op in the history of the GOM: $25+ million. And that was 1994 dollars. But it also was a vibrant reef ecology. So instead of pulling the entire platform out we just had to plug and abandone the wells, cut the top 100' off, put a life time buoy on it and pay the state of Texas $200,000 to take care of the bouy perpetually. The entire cost was reduced to $6 million and the fishes and fishermen are happy. BTW: the platform is not only still producing a little but it also serves as a gathering point for DW production farther out in the GOM.

There can be good solutions that satisfy everyone's need. Just need to keep the political windbags quiet long enough to get it done.

Artificial reefs don't have to break the surface to be swarming with life. Works just fine with old Liberty ships, bridge rubble piles, old rail cars, etc. Should work just as well with an old platform broken up and dumped in a few hundred feet of water.

To the Oil Patch, for clarification, please:

Definitions for "rig" and "platform." I had thought a "rig" is a drilling rig, and a "platform" is a production platform. But I see them used interchangeably, so HELP!

Why do oil companies just go off and leave production platforms (which are what I understand we are discussing as "abandoned" throughout the GOM)? Seems to me that given the expense of such equipment, as I have understood so far, that is an extremely costly habit. Are the production platforms just "throw-aways"? Are all these platforms just the "trash" left behind by oil producers?

Edit: bad edit [oil companies]

University Group Raises Concerns About BP Oil Spill Contaminants in Livestock Feed

One can only guess what the menhaden in the Gulf are now filtering out of the water there.

Why guess? Menhaden aren't exactly too stealthy to find and test.

In other Corexit-related news, I discovered that it melts boots.

Aw pshaw, it merely "dispersed" the boot.

Being RT'd by Twits as "Concerns Raised About Oil Spill Contaminants in Livestock Feed! /The Toxin COREXIT permeates Everything!"

Sept 20 (Reuters) - Plains Exploration&Production Co:

* Pxp executes agreement to divest Gulf of Mexico shallow water properties for
$818 million

* Says has begun the process of marketing the company's Gulf of Mexico
deepwater assets

Yup. Why wait for the value to decline further? At this point and for the foreseeable future, investing in GoM drilling is like buying a disappearing pig in the poke.

CRS research for members of congress and committees:
Maybe info here that some can use.


It looks like BP may have stopped monitoring air and workers for petrochems. Last data posted to the zip files is from 9/10.