BP Criminals In The Gulf

The major media and rest of the country are catching on to what should have been patently obvious from the start, i.e. the discharge from the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Mississippi Canyon offshore oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico is many factors larger than was being disclosed by either the relentlessly dishonest BP or the US government partnering with them in the disaster response. But while the public attention has been focused on the Top Kill well closure attempt and the mind numbing spill cam BP was finally forced to “allow” the public to see, hearings have been proceeding in not only Congress as covered by Emptywheel (see here and here), but also in Kenner Louisiana in front of a joint Coast Guard/MMS Federal inquiry board.

There have been startling revelations, especially out of the Kenner joint inquiry. The New Orleans Times Picayune is once again on a path to a Pulitzer for their disaster coverage and has given comprehensive coverage from Kenner and The Hill in Washington. Here are some items from the evidence set being adduced in Kenner and Congress:

The failed blowout preventer on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig had a hydraulic leak and a dead battery in one of its control pods, and testing in the hours before an April 20 explosion revealed that pressure in the well was dangerously out of whack.

While some data were being transmitted to shore for safekeeping right up until the April 20 blast, officials from Transocean, the rig owner, told Congress that the last seven hours of its data are missing and that all written logs were lost in the explosion.

Heavy drilling fluid was unconscionably replaced with lighter seawater against industry standards just prior to the blowout. Over heated objections by experts on the scene, BP management supervisors overruled drillers, and insisted on displacing the mud with seawater

The broken blow out preventer had not been inspected in over five years.

BP was in a severe economic and time crunch to finish the job quickly and were over six weeks behind schedule.

Immediately leading up to the explosion, BP used procedures that violated their own drill plan; and in spite of indications of a “very large abnormality,” kept testing until they got something they could disingenuously claim fulfilled the test.

BP management supervisors refused to run the comprehensive cement bond log test, a definitive test of the integrity of a well’s cement mandated by Federal Regulations if there are concerns with the results of negative and positive pressure tests like were clearly present.

The BP management official on Deepwater Horizon making the unconscionable decisions, over the vehement objections of seasoned drilling experts, Robert Kaluzza has refused to testify by invoking his 5th Amendment criminal right against self incrimination.

BP officials aboard the rig wanted to skip required pressure tests and tried to impose a drilling plan sent directly from BP’s Houston headquarters that had not been approved, as required, by the federal government’s Minerals Management Service.

As a direct and proximate result of the above described reckless, wanton, willful, and grossly negligent conduct, eleven men are dead and the biggest environmental disaster in history has been unleashed on the fragile and critical Gulf of Mexico, threatening the lives and livelihoods of untold numbers of American families. Some of the toxic death foisted upon the environment cannot even be seen because it lurks in deep giant underwater plumes miles wide by miles long.

The applicable criminal provisions of the Clean Water Act are set out in 33 USC 1319, which in pertinent part provide:

(c) Criminal penalties
(1) Negligent violations
Any person who—

(A) negligently violates section 1311, 1312, 1316, 1317, 1318, 1321 (b)(3), 1328, or 1345 of this title, or any permit condition or limitation implementing any of such sections in a permit issued under section 1342 of this title by the Administrator or by a State, or any requirement imposed in a pretreatment program approved under section 1342 (a)(3) or 1342 (b)(8) of this title or in a permit issued under section 1344 of this title by the Secretary of the Army or by a State; or

shall be punished by a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $25,000 per day of violation, or by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or by both. If a conviction of a person is for a violation committed after a first conviction of such person under this paragraph, punishment shall be by a fine of not more than $50,000 per day of violation, or by imprisonment of not more than 2 years, or by both.

(2) Knowing violations
Any person who—
(A) knowingly violates section 1311, 1312, 1316, 1317, 1318, 1321 (b)(3), 1328, or 1345 of this title, or any permit condition or limitation implementing any of such sections in a permit issued under section 1342 of this title by the Administrator or by a State, or any requirement imposed in a pretreatment program approved under section 1342 (a)(3) or 1342 (b)(8) of this title or in a permit issued under section 1344 of this title by the Secretary of the Army or by a State;

shall be punished by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $50,000 per day of violation, or by imprisonment for not more than 3 years, or by both. If a conviction of a person is for a violation committed after a first conviction of such person under this paragraph, punishment shall be by a fine of not more than $100,000 per day of violation, or by imprisonment of not more than 6 years, or by both.

(3) Knowing endangerment
(A) General rule
Any person who knowingly violates section 1311, 1312, 1313, 1316, 1317, 1318, 1321 (b)(3), 1328, or 1345 of this title, or any permit condition or limitation implementing any of such sections in a permit issued under section 1342 of this title by the Administrator or by a State, or in a permit issued under section 1344 of this title by the Secretary of the Army or by a State, and who knows at that time that he thereby places another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not more than $250,000 or imprisonment of not more than 15 years, or both. A person which is an organization shall, upon conviction of violating this subparagraph, be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000,000. If a conviction of a person is for a violation committed after a first conviction of such person under this paragraph, the maximum punishment shall be doubled with respect to both fine and imprisonment.
(B) Additional provisions
For the purpose of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph—
(i) in determining whether a defendant who is an individual knew that his conduct placed another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury—
(I) the person is responsible only for actual awareness or actual belief that he possessed; and
(II) knowledge possessed by a person other than the defendant but not by the defendant himself may not be attributed to the defendant;
except that in proving the defendant’s possession of actual knowledge, circumstantial evidence may be used, including evidence that the defendant took affirmative steps to shield himself from relevant information;
(ii) it is an affirmative defense to prosecution that the conduct charged was consented to by the person endangered and that the danger and conduct charged were reasonably foreseeable hazards of—
(I) an occupation, a business, or a profession; or
(II) medical treatment or medical or scientific experimentation conducted by professionally approved methods and such other person had been made aware of the risks involved prior to giving consent;
and such defense may be established under this subparagraph by a preponderance of the evidence;
(iii) the term “organization” means a legal entity, other than a government, established or organized for any purpose, and such term includes a corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, joint stock company, foundation, institution, trust, society, union, or any other association of persons; and
(iv) the term “serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

The Federal criminal provisions for negligent and reckless homicide (statutorily known as manslaughter) are contained in 18 USC 1112 and specify:

(a) Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of two kinds:
Voluntary—Upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
Involuntary—In the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or in the commission in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, of a lawful act which might produce death.

(b) Within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States,
Whoever is guilty of voluntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both;
Whoever is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

It is hard, if not impossible, to find any way that the conduct of both BP and its key decision making officials responsible for the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, and corresponding mass loss of life, do not fit within the ambit of the above crimes. Why has the Obama Administration and its DOJ not acted? Why is there not a dedicated criminal investigation open and securing critical evidence?

As best as can be ascertained, the only real DOJ Main assets sent to the Gulf scene are Tony West and Ignacia Moreno, the talking heads for the Civil Division and Environmental Divisions respectively, a tasking that screams of a total coddle the petroleum industry and manage the fallout move, not a get tough criminal consideration.

The DOJ could also be using the Texas Refinery Fire probation case that BP is still under the court’s jurisdiction for from their 2007 felony conviction as an easy investigatory and prosecutorial tool; but the DOJ will not even address the thought, much less act on it.

Why?

The Obama Administration and its DOJ owes the citizens a better effort than they have mustered to date. It is funny they are out trying to prosecute Guantanamo defense attorneys for doing their jobs and are still hell bent to persecute inconsequential marijuana crimes, but have no burning desire to go hard after BP, the biggest environmental criminal in history. How can that be?

UPDATE: I have two things to add. First, is an article just was put up by Jason Leopold at Truthout which dovetails perfectly with this post. It is dead on point with the subject of this post and relates multiple former senior EPA criminal and debarment authorities asking the same questions about focus as are raised in this post; a must read.

Secondly, as I described above, 33 USC 1319 contains the criminal provision of the Clean Water Act. Specifically, 33 USC 1319(c)(1)(A) and 1319(c)(2)(A), through their reference to multiple other provisions, but most notably 33 USC 1312, make the toxic contamination of navigable waterways and wetlands a crime. For an idea of just what contamination of wetlands we are dealing with here, check out this chilling overflight video and post by the National Wildlife Federation. This is criminal in multiple senses of the term.

[Graphic – BP: Broken Promises. Logo design by Foye 2010 submitted as part of the Art For Change BP Logo Redesign Contest and used with permission]

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

572 replies
  1. bittersweet says:

    bmaz, I am a huge fan and daily lurker. Thank you for your constant intelligent commentary, (and humor)!
    In the above post, I totally understand the negligent homicide. I am less sure of the

    negligently introduces into a sewer system or into a publicly owned treatment works any pollutant or hazardous substance which such person knew or reasonably should have known could cause personal injury or property damage

    I want to be sure, because I care so much. Would you be willing to explain how you think this statute could be applied, and how you think the defense might try to wiggle out of it? Is it the

    or reasonably should have known

    the applicable piece? Is urging the drill master to ignore protocol tantamount to causing the spill on purpose?
    And, who of BP…just the official on the rig, or higher ups, could be liable? (Can we convict the entire corporation, build them a whole prison…sigh).
    I appreciate your clarifications!

    • klynn says:

      Welcome! Thanks for delurking! Great questions.

      I’ll let bmaz answer your questions but one insight I can give is in terms of your first question,

      negligently introduces into a sewer system or into a publicly owned treatment works any pollutant or hazardous substance

      The Gulf Coast is about to start hurricane season. The criminal recklessness of BP introduced all the oil which will get washed ashore and will cause the above quoted action to happen.

    • bmaz says:

      The operative crimes for BP would be contained in the (a) sections. The (b) sections are superfluous in this case and do not apply; I probably should not have copied them in. It was late and I did not think about it, but I have removed them now so as to not create any further confusion. Sorry about that.

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        How’s your new friend this morning? I read through all that late last night. Pretty funny. You better get some long sleeved shirts once you sell your cars. You’re going to get a mighty sunburn walking around that desert all the time.

        • bmaz says:

          No kidding. In the summer, it is deadly just walking all the way out to the curb to get the mail; need to get in the pool immediately. Walking and biking around town would be death.

          • bobschacht says:

            That being the case, why do so many of you guys live down there in the desert, rather than up here in Flagstaff, where the weather is mild all year round?

            Bob in AZ

            • bmaz says:

              You want us all up there Bob? Anyway, it ain’t the same without the Latin Quarter for Tequila Sunrise. Is the Museum Club still open?

              • bobschacht says:

                You want us all up there Bob?

                Well, no, actually. But if more of you moved up here and breathed the liberal air up here, maybe the state’s elected officials would improve.

                Anyway, it ain’t the same without the Latin Quarter for Tequila Sunrise. Is the Museum Club still open?

                Yeah. Guy staggered in there recently critically injured by a stab wound. But the bar patrons took good care of him, 911 was called, and they eventually nabbed the perp. So all’s good. *g*

                Bob in AZ

              • Synoia says:

                The O’bama administration’s policy is look forward not backward. I’m not holding my breath for prosecutions.

                A Sternly Worded Letter? Oh yes, lot of those.

                aka:
                Stop using Corexit.
                No.

  2. sojourner says:

    Maybe Obama et al will do us a big favor and allow BP to skate. I think it would serve to point up to the public at large just how subservient our government is to business interests.

    It is supposed to be a government of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, and for the PEOPLE. Nothing said about business interests. Yet, that is what seems to rule us…

    Great post!

  3. DWBartoo says:

    Thank you, bmaz!

    That is a most comprehensive list of both egregious criminal behavior and possible legal consequence.

    You are laying out the facts, such as we know them to be thus far, in such a fashion that Bee Pee’s intention to skirt their responsibilities regarding virtually EVERYTHING required (both legally AND “technologically”) of them, must be, now, abundantly clear to all.

    I especially appreciate the information that criminal charges, hopefully beyond mere misdemeanor, may be pressed against BP and, I would hope, against individual “actors” whose decisions were central to, if not directly responsible for the catastrophe.

    It is “interesting” to me, that Bee Pee is planning on having a specific judge,District Judge Lynn Hughes, hear their cases. I did not realize that such an option was available, but perhaps it is available only to certain “defendants”?

    DW

  4. TarheelDem says:

    As to why the DOJ has not acted, there is the possibility that although they have not acted publicly but are working on it. On Guantanamo defense attorneys, I think that is a case of different sections doing different things. On the Clean Water Act, I believe that EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) will have first crack at this, making any criminal referrals to DOJ. You can report environmental violations through EPA’s Criminal Enforcement web site.

    Are there any provisions of maritime law that might limit what can be done?

    Does Louisiana have any criminal jurisdiction, and what are the provisions of its manslaughter laws?

    The Obama administration owes citizens better communication of the what-the-fuck it’s doing. Daily briefings and updates. Dominate the news cycle.

    I sense a real concern that if the federal government does too much it will dilute BP’s liability in some way. And given the large and growing liability, if the federal government moves punitively before the leak is closed, BP might just walk away and say “You fix it.”

    A diary from you, bmaz, about all the ways BP might wiggle out of its liability would be appreciated.

    • ghostof911 says:

      And given the large and growing liability, if the federal government moves punitively before the leak is closed, BP might just walk away and say “You fix it.”

      Better to wait till the emergency is over and all the facts are all in. Minimize the space for “wiggle room,” then prosecute with the full force of the law.

    • b2020 says:

      “As to why the DOJ has not acted, there is the possibility that although they have not acted publicly but are working on it”

      Right.

      Obama let the split incentive operation (BP tries to save themselves and their well, not the Gulf) drag on long enough to have himself publicly Katrina’d by the usual suspects. Unless he perceives a need to shore up voter support for 2012 (and he seems *very* confident in that respect), he will not unduly interfere with corporate business after the Gulf fell in the well. Bygones.

      • ghostof911 says:

        The job of the POTUS is to protect and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic, blah, blah, blah. There was a singular failure of POTUS to fulfill that obligation on one late summer day 9 years ago. How many in positions of authority were prosecuted, fired, or even hand-slapped for that purported breakdown of intelligence?

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          How many in positions of authority were prosecuted, fired, or even hand-slapped for that purported breakdown of intelligence?

          Oh, have you not seen today’s sound bites? It’s all GOPers, badmouthing Obama 24/7 for being lax.

          The GOP has gone completely to hell.
          Partly because they never, ever made anyone accountable.
          Not even Presidents who told CIA briefers they’d ‘covered their ass’ after warning about OBL.

          So here we are.
          Evidently, they think pissing and moaning about Obama is the answer to all our problems.
          Yeesh…………!

          • ghostof911 says:

            You misinterpreted the gist of my comment. Zero persons were hand-slapped. The only explanation for that is because they all had foreknowledge.

  5. Peterr says:

    As a direct and proximate result of the above described reckless, wanton, willful, and grossly negligent conduct, . . .

    When lawyers start talking like this, CEOs get nervous and stockholders get spooked. When judges and juries start quoting the lawyers, it’s all over.

    I’m hoping bmaz gets quoted by those judges and juries, though it probably won’t be any time soon.

    • bobschacht says:

      Good morning!

      Thanks for this, bmaz.

      I’m hoping bmaz gets quoted by those judges and juries

      Well, it would help to get this into the mainstream media, which we can help by using the spotlight feature.

      Bob in AZ

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Amazing thread last night, bobs!
        Thanks to you, JMTinIA, Hmmm, newtonusr, and bmaz.

        And bmaz, this post cuts to the chase.
        This is **exactly** what the next phase of conversation needs to be, IMVHO.

        BP officials aboard the rig wanted to skip required pressure tests and tried to impose a drilling plan sent directly from BP’s Houston headquarters that had not been approved, as required, by the federal government’s Minerals Management Service.

        Emphasis on “BP’s Houston headquarters”, please.
        Over. And Over. And Over. And Over….

  6. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Seven hours of tape missing – I don’t buy it. I think you folks mentioned this a little when this news first came out but then we haven’t heard any more since then. Has anyone heard what the normal replicating delay is for the transmission of this info back to shore? I can’t believe the onshore offices are always seven hours behind in their data.

    • TarheelDem says:

      The ghost of Rosemary Woods strikes again.

      BTW, most companies do not replicate data in real time; they don’t want to upgrade the hardware and software and especially bandwidth to do it. You would be amazed at what data only gets replicated once a day, twice a day, or in eight-hour intervals.

      But in this case, it looks like destruction of potential evidence of negligence.

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        It’s my understanding that some of the decisions are made onshore although that may be wrong. How can those decisions be made without timely data?

        In any event, wouldn’t this be something a good lawyer could easily find out? If it was a one time thing that would be unusual if they suddenly couldn’t find data or decided to delay transmission.

        I’ve put together quite a few disaster recovery projects down here since Katrina, Rita and Ike. For much smaller companies than Transocean, Halliburton and BP. People down here have been spooked in the last few years and are willing to spend money to protect their data and operations in the event of a significant weather event. I just find it difficult to believe companies of that size don’t have the necessary equipment. In fact, it’s not even that expensive any more.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          I just find it difficult to believe companies of that size don’t have the necessary equipment. In fact, it’s not even that expensive any more.

          Very good points.

      • PJEvans says:

        One of the problems here is that they’d have to send it by satellite, and that means uplink capabilities for each rig. (It’s too far out for cellphones to be reliable.) You have to convince management that it’s a necessity, and keep people from using it for personal purposes.

        • GulfCoastPirate says:

          Are you telling me they don’t have Internet or television on those rigs? Maybe, but I just find that difficult to believe.

        • Sparkatus says:

          These rigs rent for 500k per day. You don’t think they have real time voice and data link for phone and data? 500k just for the rig, not to mention other contractors and staff time? That’s just not credible.

    • Larue says:

      I can’t believe the onshore offices are always seven hours behind in their data.

      No way, they have every single second of info and data bits and bytes.

      And it’s either been destroyed, or hidden.

      And THAT, if investigated and prosecuted, is a major felony, too.

  7. lysias says:

    Does the Federal Criminal Code contain any special provision for “depraved indifference homicide”, the way some state codes do?

  8. fatster says:

    Go bmaz!

    And here’s some more:

    U.S. official: Flow of oil from spill has stopped
    But BP says it will be 48 hours before success of ‘top kill’ will be known

    LINK.

    BP CEO Changes Tune On Relatively ‘Tiny’ Spill: ‘Clearly An Environmental Catastrophe’ (VIDEO)

    LINK.

  9. tjbs says:

    Do you think there were drugs test on the 115 survivors, crew and executives, as soon as they came on shore?

    This is a fatal industrial accident and usually that involves drug testing of those in control. Happens in most other incidents where fatalities occur.

    • fatster says:

      I’ve been looking for info on that, tjbs, but keep coming up with very little. Once or twice, I’ve seen a state or county health department mentioned, but that’s all. I don’t know what’s going on with the US PHS. Seems to be nothing at this point. Grrrrrr.

      • JTMinIA says:

        G’morning, all. Wish I knew why they were moving a chain around earlier. Maybe they are concerned that a sealed BOP needs more lashing down to avoid popping off.

        As to respirators: most would be useless, anyway. It’s fumes, not large particles, that are sickening the workers. Need organic or microfine masks for that and them’s expensive. Easier to pay (or fight in court) the widow.

        • fatster says:

          Yeah, sigh, and you’re probably right, too, about the relative expenses (prevention and treatment vs “compensation” after 20 or so years of legal hassles).

  10. lysias says:

    What about prosecution by some state attorneys general or local district attorneys? It’s hard to believe some state criminal laws may not have been violated.

  11. BoxTurtle says:

    Bmaz, is it difficult to type when your teeth are grinding hard enough to create purple sparks? :-)

    There is one possible other reason for the current lack of criminal charges: If you go after them criminally, a lot of the data they’re sharing will go away until subpoened. And they could fight that paperwork for a long time.

    Personally, I think it’s the oil money talking. There MIGHT be enough political pressure to eventually force criminal charges against BP management, but I’m cynical about the chances if anything going beyond the officals where were actually on site.

    Now, if state charges could be brought, that would be a different story. State Atty General’s are generally elected and respond well to political pressure, especially if they’ve got their eye on the Governors chair.

    I also notice that ObamaLLP is paying no attention to attempts to move assets that could be used to satisify civil judgements to difficult to reach places.

    Behavior like this is exactly what I expected if Hillary was president, not Obama.

    Boxturtle (telling myself that Obama is STILL a better choice than McBush, but I’m not very convincing)

  12. Leen says:

    Bmaz ” But while the public attention has been focused on the Top Kill well closure attempt and the mind numbing spill cam BP was finally forced to “allow” the public to see, hearings have been proceeding in not only Congress as covered by Emptywheel (see here and here), but also in Kenner Louisiana in front of a joint Coast Guard/MMS Federal inquiry board.”

    “mind numbing” indeed. This morning on Washington Journal this guy was on
    “Garland Robinette, WWL Radio New Orleans, “The Think Tank” Talk Show Host”

    He was great. Bmaz/others think you would be interested in his show.

    This morning on BBC’s World Service one of the reporters mentioned twice that BP is committed to cleaning up the oil on the “surface” of the Gulf. This stood out for me. Is there any difference between what they will be required to clean up on the “surface” and the massive oil plumes below the surface?

    Also anyone else shocked by the White House Press Corp asking only one question about foreign policy..the war in Afghanistan. Thank goodness for Helen Thomas. Christ all mighty Iraq was not even whispered about. This was the first Presidential press conference in months. This is what we expect out of our press. Pathetic.

    When are they going to let Jane, Marcy, Glenn, or someone competent in? They all had BP’s oil catastrophe coming out of their ears, eyes and mouths. This has been going on for a month. I get that this catastrophe is critical to cover. But our foreign policy has been buried by all of them. Can’t they mix it up? Ask other critical questions?

  13. fatster says:

    Hearings: BP cementing engineer refuses to admit his actions led to disaster

    Joint hearings of the US Coast Guard and MMS.

    LINK.

  14. bobschacht says:

    Follow-up to last night’s conversation with Hmmmm, who was trying to convince me that the live feed showing multiple leaks was looking at the bent riser pipe, rather than part of the BOP:

    Take another look at BP’s schematic from theoildrum: Look where the robot with camera is positioned: it’s *below* the bent riser pipe, looking at the upper part of the BOP, perhaps the plenum. I don’t know how much reliability should be placed on the position of the robot, but hey, its theoildrum.

    Last check of the live feed at al.com showed black, with some kind of calibrations on the screen but no picture of the BOP or any other part of the rig. I wonder what they’re doing?

    Bob in AZ

    Bob in AZ

    • Leen says:

      is there any difference between what clean up responsibility BP has to clean up on the “surface” of the Gulf catastrophe and what is below the “surface”

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Prove that the plume, which was not observed actually coming from the geyser, has been diluted in seawater, and is now a couple hundred miles away, comes from the geyser. We’ve already established that there are tar balls coming from other sources that have washed up on Key West.

          Further, once the oil has been dispersed and sinks to the ocean floor, prove that it has caused actionable damage. Keep in mind that most of the ROV’s that can operate at that depth and collect evidence are owned by oil companies.

          BP could certainly use the above to postpone the day of reckoning and increase the court costs enough to force some smaller players to settle.

          I could proably think of other bogus arguements that could be proposed that the courts would have to spend time dealing with.

          I think the deep water injection of dispersants will significantly reduce BP’s ultimate cost, simply by hiding the damage where it can’t be documented. It likely won’t convince a court, but it might given pet congresscritters something to hide behind when they write the law to protect BP’s profits.

          Boxturtle (If I were a BP exec, I’d be looking for an estate in Paraguay)

            • BoxTurtle says:

              There will be MANY arguments made, that’s my point. And even the bogus ones will have to be dealt with by the courts.

              When you know you’re going to lose big anyway, the idea is to delay a final judgement as long as possible. People die or lose the will or money to continue. Some will settle. And at the end, the federal government will settle to prevent it from hurting someones re-election.

              Boxturtle (Every American gets a $15 BP gas card!)

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            I think the deep water injection of dispersants will significantly reduce BP’s ultimate cost, simply by hiding the damage where it can’t be documented. It likely won’t convince a court, but it might given pet congresscritters something to hide behind when they write the law to protect BP’s profits.

            Possibly.

            But I think that between chemical analysis and better ability to track and rout corrupt electeds, this may be the last, desperate moment for the status quo. It’s possible.

            There’s nothing but opportunity for good attorneys who want to make change via legal actions against corporate personhood and corporate crime.

            Notice how all the GOPers on the news sound bites are chewing Obama’s ass like crazy, blaming Obama for not being on the scene fast enough, tough enough, blah, blah, blah. These asswipes need to be called out, but their conduct stinks of desperation. The more hysterical they get about Obama, the deeper their fear.

            I have yet to see the politico shows talk about how this BP disaster is going to affect the fall elections, but if it is true that Lincoln’s taken tons of oil and energy money, then she’s political toast. And personally, I hope that she has plenty of company clearing out desks in DC.

            We need electeds who agree with this post, who will fund more DoJ environmental prosecutions, who will pony up more money for good lab work to supply the evidence used in courts.

            … maybe time for another bmaz post on Daubert v Merrill Dow…?

    • JTMinIA says:

      A moment ago we had a picture of at least eight feeds at once. The mud gushing from what we now have been calling the plenum was the same as last night. If they were (or are) trying a junk shot, it ain’t doing squat.

      • bobschacht says:

        A moment ago we had a picture of at least eight feeds at once. The mud gushing from what we now have been calling the plenum was the same as last night. If they were (or are) trying a junk shot, it ain’t doing squat.

        These BOP structures, especially those with a stack of rams(?), weigh many tons. I concede that my brief fantasy last night about the whole BOP toppling on its side as a result of the collapse of the platform and riser pipe was misconceived, but a mile of 21 inch pipe itself would weigh a lot, and when it tipped over and bent (as everyone agrees) must have generated a lot of tension on the top of the BOP. I can see how that might distort the top of the BOP enough to result in ruptures of the sort we see on the multiple leaks video.

        I don’t know how accurate this schematic from theoildrum is, and I don’t know enough about the names for the parts of the top of the BOP, but perhaps these together can help us understand better exactly where the leaks are.

        Bob in AZ

        • fatster says:

          Over at that monkeyfister site Hmmm told us about, they are talking about a “riser bend”, which might be that manifold-plenum thing. LINK.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          According to WSJ, the BOP weighs about 450 tons.
          That would wreak plenty of havoc on any pipe linked to it, eh?

          • bobschacht says:

            According to WSJ, the BOP weighs about 450 tons.

            Yeah, I saw that, too. So that BOP ain’t gonna tip over. However, that whole structure is not uniformly rigid. Attach a mile high, 21″ pipe on the top, and then tip it over. Most of that stress went into the pipe, which bent near where it attached to the top of the BOP. Look at this labeled schematic of a BOP. When the 21″ riser pipe tipped over, that put enormous stress on the upper components of the BOP: the injector head, the stripper, and the drill floor. Any weakness in that column might have been exposed by the force of the toppling riser pipe, and that’s where I would most expect leaks in the BOP assembly.

            Bob in AZ

            • JTMinIA says:

              Bob –

              Don’t be too impressed by 450 tons.

              21″ pipe has about 350 square inches of area.

              At 10,000 psi of upwards pressure, there’s 1750 tons of upwards pressure on the bottom of a (closed) BOP.

              • PJEvans says:

                Also 2400psi of downward pressure from the 5000-foot column of water on top of it. (Hey, engineering classes do that to you.)

                • JTMinIA says:

                  Yeah, OK. Round it off to 1000 tons net upwards on a 450-ton BOP.

                  (Being a pedant, I hate it when I miss something and another pedant scores a point off me. I’ll be gunning for you from now, you know. tee hee)

                • Synoia says:

                  The BOP is attached to the well casing which is some 15,000 ft of pipe (8 inch I believe). The BOP 450 tons is negligible compared to the weight of the Well Casing.

              • bobschacht says:

                21″ pipe has about 350 square inches of area.

                Wha…? That would be a pretty short length of pipe!

                I don’t understand the point you are making; you left out too much.

                Bob in AZ

                • Peterr says:

                  The pipe is 21″ in diameter, giving the circle formed by the end of the pipe a surface area of about 350 sq inches. With the oil pressing upward at 10,000 pounds per square inch, that’s 3,500,000 pounds of pressure going up, or about 1750 tons.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              When the 21″ riser pipe tipped over, that put enormous stress on the upper components of the BOP: the injector head, the stripper, and the drill floor. Any weakness in that column might have been exposed by the force of the toppling riser pipe, and that’s where I would most expect leaks in the BOP assembly.

              Thanks, bobs.
              I was thinking something similar last night, only farther down below that location.
              Given the descriptions of what occurred to the oil rig itself, the force of the blast even at the seabed must have been horrific. So I figure that a whole lot of piping and parts must surely have erupted parts of the seafloor, given the psi.
              But none of this is my area of expertise, so I’m kind of falling back on analogies to garden hoses.

  15. ghostof911 says:

    “Top Kill” really means “Hail Mary pass.” But in this formation, the wide end is sitting on the bench.

    Photo from today showing what happens when opposing forces meet. The upward force of the escaping oil appears slightly larger than the downward force of gravity.

  16. DeadLast says:

    As the current SCOTUS has granted corporations personhood, then they should suffer the same consequences as if you or I had done the same thing: BP has to go to jail!

    Well, at least figuratively. They should lose their rights to contribute financially to any politician or use a lobbyist. They should have their assets seized and held in trust, operated by a foster-receiver, while restitutions are being made, they should be banned from all federal contracts, and everyone in the executive offices, and those on the corporate boards, should be banned for life from serving on any other corporate board or as an officer.

    (Oh, I forgot, these guys have MBAs and are therefore more equal than the rest of us!)

  17. chetnolian says:

    Can I suggest some of this gets toned down a bit. If I were Tony Hayward’s lawyers and took this stuff seriously I’d suggest he gets out of the USA pdq.I really don’t think you want BP to spend more time at the moment thinking about criminality than trying to stop this thing as soon as possible.

    And by the way, why just BP? The points on the blowout preventer BMAZ raises point clearly at Transocean.

    I haven’t heard BP say yet that they aren’t going to pay. The London Stock Exchange clearly thinks they will.

    • Peterr says:

      Tony’s lawyers have been thinking like this since day one. That’s what they get paid to do. The fingerprints of the lawyers for BP, Transocean, and Halliburton were all over the public testimony given before Congress.

      This blog post isn’t going to change the behavior of BP and its partners in the Gulf. But one would hope that it would shame the DOJ into putting a few criminal investigators into the mix alongside the civil and environmental folks.

      And as long as we’re hoping, I’d also like a pony.

      • chetnolian says:

        No they haven’t. Last time I looked Hayward was still out there, where he should be while such a disaster is going on. He’s a proper oil man, not an MBA but a geologist. One of his tasks was to tighten up safety. And this happens on his watch. How do you think he feels?

        I spent my life in the aircraft industry where the whole approach was to try to avoid failures, to deal with and understand failures when they occur and then, only then, to look at whose “fault” it was.It makes civil aviation outstandingly safe. That’s all I ask.

        • qweryous says:

          “No they haven’t. Last time I looked Hayward was still out there, where he should be while such a disaster is going on. He’s a proper oil man, not an MBA but a geologist. One of his tasks was to tighten up safety. And this happens on his watch. How do you think he feels?”

          This clip comes from a lecture by Hayward at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, on 12 May, 2009.”

          A FIREDOGLAKE video.

          Hayward says a few things in this less than 2 minute clip.

          “We had too many people that were working to save the world. We’d sort of lost track of the fact that our primary purpose in life is to create value for our shareholders.”

    • Mary says:

      I think (JMO) Hayward and his lawyers have already had all the relevant discussions, way before any blog posts, and they have received all the assurances they wantd or needed from Obamaco.

      I do agree you want BP focused on fixing the problem, but the guys who need to have that focus are more the engineers, geologists, constructionists, etc. and BP was/is rather infamous in the industry for cutting that kind of in-house expertise to the bone. So while Hayward was marginally moving things back in the direction of having the kind of inhouse expertise available at the other multinationals, they don’t have the same core you would expect for your worthwhile goal of “find it, fix it, THEN worry about blame” That’s one reason I think Obamaco did actually do the right thing when they went out and recruited in more outside talent to work on the fix.

      Tony Hayward admitted to a group of employees in America in 2006 that the group needed to restore the company’s core skills in engineering to reverse his predecessor’s drastic cuts.

      The explosion at the Texas City refinery that killed 15 people, the dangerous list of the $1 billion Thunder Horse oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and two oil spills from pipelines in Alaska had aroused outrage across America.

      “We have a management style that has made a virtue of doing more for less,” said Hayward. To increase BP’s profitability and share price, Browne had encouraged the departure of hundreds of BP’s skilled engineers. To save money, Browne believed BP should use subcontractors to drill for oil, maintain refineries, monitor corrosion in pipelines and supervise the construction of oil platforms. Investigations of the accidents blamed cost savings and the inadequate skills of BP’s own personnel for poor supervision of the subcontractors.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        To increase BP’s profitability and share price, Browne had encouraged the departure of hundreds of BP’s skilled engineers. To save money, Browne believed BP should use subcontractors to drill for oil, maintain refineries, monitor corrosion in pipelines and supervise the construction of oil platforms.

        Sounds like BP management and corporate culture was taken over by MBAs (probably finance and accounting), whereas the original company was probably built by engineers.

        • bobschacht says:

          Well, that’s the same philosophy that animated the Bush administration for 8 years. No wonder MMS was so unprepared to deal with the oil companies.

          Bob in AZ

      • bobschacht says:

        I do agree you want BP focused on fixing the problem, but the guys who need to have that focus are more the engineers, geologists, constructionists, etc. and BP was/is rather infamous in the industry for cutting that kind of in-house expertise to the bone.

        One of the things that should come out of this is that the Coast Guard should develop the expertise and technology to defend our shores against such invasive catastrophes. Such activity fits well within the mission of the Coast Guard, but exists in oil companies only as a burden and a drain on profits.

        The Coast Guard could draw on the expertise of outfits like Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and university research organizations. For a labor pool, they might draw on the National Guard. But the Coast Guard really is the right place for this kind of capability to be available as needed.

        Bob in AZ

  18. manys says:

    I’ve been curious whether there’s an SEC complaint to be had, if you look at BPs intentional understating of the severity to be geared toward propping up their stock price, misrepresenting liabilities, etc.

      • fatster says:

        That’s one heck of an article! Jason seems to have outdone himself on it, huh? Thnx so much for the link, harpie.

        • harpie says:

          Wow! I just finished reading Jason’s article, and I emphatically agree!
          The part about BP providing 80% of the DoD’s fuel.

          Jeanne Pascal was the debarment counsel at the EPA’s Seattle office who spent more than a decade working on issues related to environmental crimes BP had been convicted of.

          She said the power the company wields might be due, in large part, to the fact that BP supplies the military with 80 percent of its fuel needs. Because of that, she had to proceed with caution. […] “If I had debarred BP while they were supplying 80 percent of the fuel to US forces it would have been almost certain that the Defense Department would have been forced to get an exception,” Pascal said. “There’s a provision in the debarment regulations that says in a time of war or extreme need exceptions can be granted to debarment so that federal agencies with critical needs can continue doing business with debarred contractors. […]

          It’s difficult to know what to excerpt…but, really, everyone should just go read it!

          • DWBartoo says:

            How does that “exception” work during an endless war?

            Would the exception be endless as well?

            Emphatically agree: Everyone should read Jason’s article.

            DW

  19. DWBartoo says:

    Bee Pee has requested in papers filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistric Litigation, that all “pre-trial issues” related to the “spill” in the Gulf of Mexico be heard by a single District Judge, Lynn Hughes, in Houston Texas. Bee Pee’s American headquarters are located in Houston. As are Halibuton’s and Transoceans’s.

    The Panel will decide, sometime in July, whether or not to grant Bee Pee’s request.

    DW

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I await bmaz assessment of that judge. He is CLEARLY close to the oil industry in general, and gives talks about ethics and the law at Oil industry get-togethers.

      However, he has also ruled against the oil industry in several decisions and the one decision of his in favor of the oil industry I’ve actually read seemed well grounded in law.

      But judges should avoid even the appearence of conflict of interest, and on that basis alone Hughes should recuse.

      Boxturtle (Thinks any litigation should be in La)

    • PJEvans says:

      Most of the petroleum industry is headquartered in Houston. I’d be surprised if they can find anyone that doesn’t have connections, actually.

      • DWBartoo says:

        Who is “they”?

        Bee Pee isn’t worried about “connections” EXCEPT if there aren’t.

        DW

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        I live about 20 miles outside Houston on Galveston Bay and I’m not sure a judge having oil connections is going to turn out to be a good thing for BP. I have friends who work for some of these companies, including Transocean and they are pissed. The general feeling seems to be growing that BP frakked this up for everyone. It’s actually kind of weird listening to some of these people. In some ways they are more pissed than anyone around here.

          • DWBartoo says:

            Yes, the “golden age of oil” is over, and the sobering reality is sinking in deeper, every single day this charade goes on.

            And GulfCoastPirate may well be correct that Judge Hughes might not be as receptive to Bee Pee’s pleas, as they appear to hope.

            DW

              • DWBartoo says:

                A number of people have suggested that this ins not Obama’s Katrina, but a
                Chernobyl, instead.

                Fifty to one hundred or more years are numbers I am hearing for “regeneration”, however, in the mean time …

                Several generations of human beings will “remember” this event, however hard some might hope that all will forget.

                DW

            • Hmmm says:

              Yes, the “golden age of oil” is over, and the sobering reality is sinking in deeper, every single day this charade goes on.

              That’s an interesting idea to mull. What would that mean as far as the future of power blocs, both inside the US and around the world? Texas as a domestic power center receding? Good, never liked their textbooks much anyway. Sauds and UAE receding? Put Texas together with Sauds and you get Bush/Cheney. More to the point, if oil players start to fade, who replaces them? Russia, China, Israel?

  20. Mary says:

    Oh bmaz, there you go again, wanting to use things like actual statutes and actual legal standards.

    tsk tsk tsk

    After all this time, have you learned nothing? Sure, maybe BP was blowing up people and setting the nation on course for crisis, but they were doing it in …

    in …

    what’s that phrase I’m looking for?

    In …

    Oh yeah, got it, in “good faith.”

    Not, ya know, the REAL good faith standard, but the one where they say, “we ran our response plan by the Executive Branch and they didn’t reject is, and besides, technically speaking, so far we have done a good job saving the walruses (walri?)”

    I can’t believe you want to attack so viciously the patriotic (they have flag pins for 12 different countries!) men and women who ran everything by the Executive branch before they wreaked havoc.

      • Mary says:

        Dangblessit – you’re right. The real mystery is why no one has classified this leak so far. After all, it’s just like a black site, except, well, bigger. And now our enemies know just how we are deploying our coast guard and government resources to deal with the spill! I mean, just by turning on FOX NEWS or watching all the traitors in Congress they can find out things like how incompetent our government responses are for things like offshore rig leaks.

        Who needs a suitcase nuke when they can pretend to be an engineer and be hired by Transocean or Halliburton or BP – or worse yet, MMS! I bet some of those engineers those guys use are from India – and that’s like almost the same as Pakistan, Right? What kind of a name is Jindahl, after all? He’s been a sleeper, hasn’t he – planted here to suck us all in, pretend he has good conservative credentials, then try to destroy us from within by promoting socialism.

        And there goes our liberal press, just flaying the life out of our national vulnerabilities on screen, 24/7, for our worst enemies to see. Endangering our national security left and … lefter. Sending all kinds of reporters to the shoreline – didn’t they learn anything from Iraqhanistan coverage? You don’t show civilian casualties – you don’t even show the puppies being thrown over the cliff or the donkey parts that litter the street after your drone bombings!

        So why are they lining up to cover all this stuff? Pelicans that Obama just wisely took off the endangered species list, covered in oil, fisherman distraught over losing their livelihood, names of rig workers lost in the explosion, members of Congress overwhelmed at the destruction of our marshes. WHY are they broadcasting all this stuff and endangering our national security!

        For our enemies to see – no other reason. @&$%$!

        /s

        • b2020 says:

          “The real mystery is why no one has classified this leak so far. After all, it’s just like a black site, except, well, bigger.”

          Another legal black hole!

          • DWBartoo says:

            When do the OLC “findings” come out? Remember we didn’t know what Yoo knew, way bay when …

            It may not be secret but you would be wise not to try to fly over the rather BIG area affected by such a “little” spill.

            Oh, and stay off the sunny beaches, b2020, don’t want no pokin’ ’round goin’ on … ya hear?

            sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssnark

            DW

        • Petrocelli says:

          So with one comment, prolly while tending to Horses, Mary totally trumps all of JTMinIA, and my, silly conspiracy parodies of the past 24 hours.

          Well done, Mary !

        • substanti8 says:

          What kind of a name is Jindahl, after all?  He’s been a sleeper … to destroy us from within by promoting socialism.

          Your humor is so hydrophobic that I got dry mouth from reading it.

    • DWBartoo says:

      “good faith” and they never “intended” that such a thing would happen, after all, who would?

      Rotunda would be able to put this all in perspective, no doubt.

      Wondered who would bring up “Good Faith”, Mary, and, I confess, you came immediately to mind.

      DW

    • chetnolian says:

      Just read your post Mary. I have often found you sensitive and clear thinking. But how dare you even bringb the nationalities of the people involved into this? Are you suggesting, just possibly, that only Americans can have good faith? I have thought several times of asking on this thread how many Americans went to jail in France after the Amoco Cadiz put 1.5m barrels of oil on the Brittany coast, but thought it unfair. But now I can.

        • chetnolian says:

          I’ll take your word for it they were there. If so, sorry Mary I must have had a brief irony bypass

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I’ve read Mary for awhile now.
        I’m 99.9% certain she was being totally snarky.

      • Mary says:

        I’m sorry – that was a kind of inside joke here and I should have put the /s there too. I forget that now and then. It doesn’t have anything to do with nationalities and I do apologize if it came off that way. It has to do with a long standing set of posts and comments here about the way the Department of Justice and Congress used “good faith” in connection with the Executive Branch torture programs.

        Executive branch spokespersons and members of Congress used it over and over as a mantra, “you can’t prosecute guys who tortured in *good faith*” in a way that was completely divorced from the actual, legal standard of good faith and as a result, made it a blanket, catchall excuse that didn’t have to meet any legal rationale. So far from saying that only Americans can have good faith, it was a comment on how, with the way Americans in Congress and the Executive Branch have degraded the term to suit their purposes, it has become the ubiquitus, catchall excuse for anything.

        And I guess, now that I’m looking at it, more to the point about the flag pins/patriotism, that’s been on my mind since Obama has been so careful to be wearing his lately. But the point was still linked to the torture discussions, where somehow it became “patriotic” to torture and all the good torture supporters were always wearing their flag pins when they praised those who tortured for “us.”

        • chetnolian says:

          Sorry sorry sorry! I’ve read the darn posts! I should have recognised.

          But like bmaz I get cranky. I am concerned as I said earlier, that people realise that one of Hayward’s prime aims was to get safety back into BP and that he must see this as a deep personal failure in one of his main targets.

          And can I also respond the qweryous at 102. The context here was that BP had been playing at alternative energy generation(and I do mean playing, they should have left that to people who are good at it). Hayward’s response had nothing to do with safety.

          But it does raise an issue. Like bmaz I like my cars. So I need oil. I also want BP to succeed not least cos as a Brit part of my pension probably relies on it doing well. So if I expect my pension trustees to invest well for me and they press the pension funds to get maximum return, and the pension funds press BP to provide shareholder value, am I partly responsible for this disaster? Let he who is without sin…etc.

          • Mary says:

            I don’t blame you – I get cranky too and have this insular, egocentric tendency to toss up posts thinking all the context is implied in them ;)

            If you read the article I linked, one thing that’s a bit unkind of the fates is that this mega disaster hit under Hayward instead of his predecessor (who had disasters, but smaller ones), since Hayward has acknowledged for a few years the misdirection of ditching all their experienced engineers and talent pool and was supposedly, bit by bit, trying to build back up.

            I’m on the fence on this one. I’m very disgruntled and biased these days, but it seems to me the buck stops with the guy who told us a few weeks before all this happened that oil rigs don’t leak and who was running his administration with that as his lodestar. That’s Obama.

            His press conf was pretty frightening for me in some ways. Despite walking into office knowing all about the cronyism and ineptitude at MMS, and despite walking in knowing what relying on the healthcare industry to police itself and the banking industry to police itself and the investment industry to police itself had generated, he had the nerve in his presser, when asked if he didn’t regret his actions opening things up to say something like “Well, if I’d known that the O & G industry didn’t have its act together any better than this, then I wouldn’t have done what I did”

            What absolute nonsense and how do things run the way they should when that’s the competence and mindset of the oversight mechanism. Of course environmental waivers are going to be handed out right and left when Obama is giving speeches on how rigs don’t leak.

            The thing is, we give corporations (and llcs and ltd partnerships) this thing called limited liability and huge amounts of this stuff called OPM and then load them up with this profit need that is terribly exacerbated when you have a huge company that is making $$ from a dwindling resource. If they don’t diversify (and bc we don’t want to “interfere” in the “free market” we have not required diversificiation or even encouraged it by, for example, implementing something like the windfall profits tax but with a huge tax credit offset program for investments in renewables) then they die – they can’t live off of “small” deals (that would be huge deals to a wildcatter or mid-size o & g company) – they can only keep on track by getting more and more money for their existing – and dwindling – reserves or by things like the participation agreements would have given the multinationals in Iraq.

            No one is running any smart or aggressive policy.

            The O & G companies aren’t Evil Incarnate – they are a big beast – a three headed dog at the door. With a Dog Whisperer who isn’t afraid and imposes *rules, boundaries and limitations* – they can be a force for good and can make act in a manner that promotes security for the whole “pack” of us. With W’s and Changelings and the Republicans in Congress or the worse at times Dems in Congress, notsomuch.

            • PJEvans says:

              Hayward at least is an oil man, not a money man, so he does have some idea of how hard it is to plug that well. He should have been more honest about the scale, though.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Then why don’t he go swim in it?

      Boxturtle (Attn MODS: I am not implying he should walk the plank. Really. You believe me, don’t you?)

  21. harpie says:

    Lynn Nettleton Hughes:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Hughes
    He was a President, Southwest Resources, Houston, Texas from 1969 to 1970
    http://www.southwest-resources.com/

    Southwest Resource’s business is composed of two natural resource commocity sectors, both of which are currently experiencing upward price trends:
    1)The acquisition, exploration, and development of natural gas and oil properties […]
    2)The acquisition and surface mining of gold, platinum, and other precious metals […]

  22. bmaz says:

    Okay folks, I just put the following update in the main post above:

    UPDATE: I have two things to add. First, is an article just was put up by Jason Leopold at Truthout which dovetails perfectly with this post. It is dead on point with the subject of this post and relates multiple former senior EPA criminal and debarment authorities asking the same questions about focus as are raised in this post; a must read.

    Secondly, as I described above, 33 USC 1319 contains the criminal provision of the Clean Water Act. Specifically, 33 USC 1319(c)(1)(A) and 1319(c)(2)(A), through their reference to multiple other provisions, but most notably 33 USC 1312, make the toxic contamination of navigable waterways and wetlands a crime. For an idea of just what contamination of wetlands we are dealing with here, check out this chilling overflight video and post by the National Wildlife Federation. This is criminal in multiple senses of the term.

  23. WilliamOckham says:

    I haven’t been able to follow this blog as closely as I normally do, so if this has been posted before, I apologize. Everybody needs to go read this analysis of the root causes of the disaster:

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/TVNews/Nightly%20News/2010/BobBeaPreliminaryAnalysesrev5.pdf

    Bob Bea, the author, is a very credible expert. His analysis is spot on. Here’s the key part:

    Based on the information available to me thus far, I believe the Deepwater Horizon failure developed due to:
    • improper cement design (segmented discontinuous cement sheath)
    • flawed Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA / QC) – no cement bond logs, ineffective oversight of operations
    bad decision making – removing the pressure barrier – displacing the drilling mud with sea water 8,000 feet below the drill deck
    • loss of situational awareness – early warning signs not properly detected, analyzed or corrected (repeated major gas kicks, lost drilling tools, including evidence of damaged parts of the Blow Out Preventer [BOP] during drilling and/or cementing, lost circulation, changes in mud volume and drill string weight)
    • improper operating procedures – premature off-loading of the drilling mud (weight material not available at critical time)
    • flawed design and maintenance of the final line of defense – including the shear rams of the Blow Out Preventer (BOP).

    [Emphasis mine]

    • DWBartoo says:

      Thanks, WO.

      Bea is one of the best.

      His last statement shows the only proper “way” forward: “We must have the right stuff to realize the right things.”

      DW

  24. JTMinIA says:

    bmaz (or anyone else) –

    How typical is it for an official gov’t hearing (in this case, the joint investigation by the USCG and MMS) to have each interested party (incl. Haliburton, TransOcean, BP, etc) get to ask questions of witnesses? The high-point (low-point?) was the TransOcean lawyer asking the TransOcean worker a series of questions.

  25. JTMinIA says:

    Wow. Don’t know how many of you (who were live-blogging the fun last night) have seen this, but BP has said/admitted that around 90% of the injected mud was leaking out. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/us/29spill.html?hp

    Assuming that mud is delivered by boat (which, of course, is true), that famous quote would seem to apply: “you’re gunna need a bigger boat.”

    • PJEvans says:

      They had three loaded barges, theoretically way more than enough – don’t know how loaded those are now, though.

    • bobschacht says:

      BP has said/admitted that around 90% of the injected mud was leaking out.

      Given the volume that they pumped in, that’s actually pretty good, because it means that 10% stayed in– and the total volume of the conduit in the BOP can’t be that much. If enough mud stays in, then the leak is blocked and they can cement it.

      Bob in AZ

      • JTMinIA says:

        Yeah, good point. If 90% is leaking, then 10% is staying and that, given enough pumped in, could be enough.

        See Peterr for the square inches to tons story.

        I see in the live feed that there’s some new plumes coming back at the camera making the video even more annoying than usual.

        [grumpy]

  26. harpie says:

    Very sorry for the O/T:

    Guantanamo Bay Whistleblower Retaliated Against

    Lt. Col. [Darrel] Vandeveld needs your help to defend his honor, as he has stood up to defend the Constitution.
    TAKE ACTION NOW! Demand that the Secretary of Defense protect Lt. Col Vandeveld, and grant him the honor he has earned.

    I Was Slow to Recognize the Stain of Guantanamo”, Vandeveld, 1/18/09

    Testimony of Lt. Col Darrel Vandeveld at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearings, in regard to Military Commissions, 7/8/09

  27. Bluetoe2 says:

    and when can we expect criminals charges filed by Obama’s DOJ, headed by the former highly paid attorney for big oil, Eric Holder?

    • JTMinIA says:

      By amazing coincidence, charges will be filed the same day the wetlands return to how they were before the spill.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      When hell freezes over. And St. Peter is down there ice skating.

      Boxturtle (Can’t decide if I’m being pessimistic or realistic)

  28. bobschacht says:

    Peterr,
    Thanks for your attempt to enlighten me. Your point is relevant to what?
    My point was that BOPs are built to handle vertical pressure, but not horizontal pressure. When a mile-long 21″ riser pipe tips over, the pressure on the joint between the pipe and the top of the BOP (plenum? injector head? stripper?) will be enormous. Apparently, that joint held, and the riser pipe bent. The forces on the top of the BOP are not measured by vertical psi, but by force vectors that are not all vertical. If the pipe falls to the left, then the wall on the right side of the BOP will be stretched, and if there are any weaknesses in that wall, they will be exposed.

    I’m still just trying to understand exactly where the leaks are. I know that several of them are in the broken riser pipe. I’m just trying to understand if the thing with the multiple leaks spewing forth is near the base of the riser pipe, or some part of the top of the BOP.

    Bob in AZ

    • JTMinIA says:

      I was talking about the pipe coming up the well. It has 10k psi in it and a cross-sectional area of 350 sq in. Ergo, the upward pressure the BOP needs to hold down is 1750 tons. Now it gets a bunch from the fact that it’s a mile down, plus it weighs 450 tons, but that leave a lot left over. Ergo, BOPs are bolted down pretty firmly, so they aren’t about to tip over because (maybe) 3 tons of the pipe sticking out the top is now laying over to one side.

    • Hmmm says:

      Thanks for explaining that. Seems like to make any predictions about material failure modes and points of failure, you’d have to know a lot of details about the construction (including relative strengths) of the BOP, the transition parts, the riser pipe, and all the connections between them… wouldn’t you? I mean that if the riser pipe and BOP used the same materials, for example, then the whole assembly would likely be stiffer, so the kind of BOP wall compression/expansion stresses you suggest would be larger. But I have the impression the BOP is cast hardened metal whereas the riser is rolled pipe, making the riser weaker, and so a likelier first point of failure, and therefore reducing any in-wall stresses in the BOP. The greater the difference in strength, the smaller the BOP in-wall stress issue. Or so it seems to my not-recently-trained-in-failure-analysis brain, as ever I could be mistaken.

      • bobschacht says:

        All good points, Hmmm. Of course, this fits your view that the multiple-leak video streams we’ve been watching are from the bent base of the riser pipe.

        But what do you make of the illustration from theoildrum that shows the ROV camera positioned *below* the bent riser pipe, looking at some part of the upper BOP?

        Bob in AZ

        • Hmmm says:

          I think that there are multiple ROVs and that at least one has Roved to other position(s). To produce the current view it would have to be higher, on the left side of the BOP rather than the right side as the diagram shows, and angled downwards to the right.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      When a mile-long 21″ riser pipe tips over, the pressure on the joint between the pipe and the top of the BOP (plenum? injector head? stripper?) will be enormous. Apparently, that joint held, and the riser pipe bent. The forces on the top of the BOP are not measured by vertical psi, but by force vectors that are not all vertical. If the pipe falls to the left, then the wall on the right side of the BOP will be stretched, and if there are any weaknesses in that wall, they will be exposed.

      I’m still just trying to understand exactly where the leaks are. I know that several of them are in the broken riser pipe. I’m just trying to understand if the thing with the multiple leaks spewing forth is near the base of the riser pipe, or some part of the top of the BOP.

      Yes, I’m trying to envision this, as well.

      Here’s my ‘garden hose’ analogy, but you are free to discount it entirely:

      If I had sunk a garden hose down into a well in order to get water for my garden, and the water in that well was under huge psi, then the water would naturally spurt up the hose and spray out quite easily, due to the released pressure at sea level.

      Now, if I’ve multiplied the psi by a factor of 2, or 3, or 4, then wouldn’t my garden hose basically alter its configuration, particularly if the hose attachment that I use at the top was inadvertantly closed, so the force began to build up within the hose?

      Wouldn’t weaknesses in the hose (i.e., the subfloor sea pipes) build up to a point that they would likely spring multiple leaks in that hose, which would also be deformed by the huge pressures, and almost swirl around in its ‘casing’ (or mud hole) due to the huge amount of force?

      So I could end up with multiple leaks, in a garden hose that is not even located where I thought that I’d laid it — because the force of the pressure has shifted it and wiggled it around, thereby also shifting the dirt and subsoil of the garden?

      Or am I way off base here?

      (Sorry about using such a simple analogy, but I generally like to start with the simplest analogies possible.)

    • Larue says:

      Don’t know if yer still around, but wasn’t it the newly deployed manifold that was leaking all to hell in the past 49 hours as they pumped mud down to the BOP?

      In MY mind, the pressures from below, flowing thru the BOP, if there’s NEW LINES to a manifold, and new lines to the manifold from the surcafe . . . all that bottom pressure would put a SEVERE test on manifold and hoses and fittings from BOP out to manifold and up to ships.

      Bottom line, BOP may be holding, but nothing else is, so mud is NOT down the well.

      None of it. Mud got into BOP, but was blown back out and released where pressure points gave between BOP, Manifold, and hoses and couplings.

      In other words, this fucker failed early, and they dragged it out, and they continue to lie and spin shit.

      That the BOP itself has not blown itself apart yet in in of itself fucking amazing, ain’t it?

      • bobschacht says:

        …wasn’t it the newly deployed manifold that was leaking all to hell in the past 49 hours as they pumped mud down to the BOP?

        Do you have a source for this? Your comment is the first I’ve heard about this.

        Thanks,

        Bob in AZ

        • Larue says:

          Um, BMAZ threads, Oil Drum . .

          And the vids from past 48 hours . . .

          The one with the 4 gushers . . . where was that from?

          Some said it was top of BOP, others referred to the manifold.

          So that’s my cites.

          • bobschacht says:

            I think you may have been partially following my discussions with JTMinIA, and perhaps missed the evolution in our thinking. We’ve both migrated from paying much attention to the manifold as the source of leaks to some part near the top of the BOP as the main source of leaks. Keep in mind also this illustration, which shows several places where the broken riser pipe is leaking. The debate JTMinIA and I were having was the location of the multiple leak video stream we were all watching.

            Two days ago we were speculating that was the manifold, but we have both abandoned that conjecture. Now we are debating, with Hmmm, whether the multiple leaks video stream shows the bent base of the riser pipe, or whether it shows some part of the upper BOP, such as the stripper, which has become distorted and damaged. So you gotta keep up with us, or be stuck with discarded conjectures *g*

            If you’ve gotten any of those ideas from elsewhere, let us know your sources.

            G’nite,
            Bob in AZ

      • JTMinIA says:

        I apologize for my weak theory that we were looking at the manifold (from two days ago). That was almost definitely wrong. I saw what looked like a plenum and thought the only plenum down there was on the manifold. That’s definitely wrong.

        Other reasons why that probably isn’t the manifold: 1) it says “RISER” on it, 2) it’s all banged up when the manifold was safely off to the side, and 3) it is missing several other bits that a manifold would have.

        I now believe that we’re looking at the stripper bulge on the top of the BOP. But I’m only about 70% on that. It might also be one of the hydraulic storage tanks that stores pressure for the “dead-man” activation of the rams and shears. This is on the same circuit as the kill and choke lines, so a leak there would be a serious problem for the top-kill process. Plus, we have reason to believe that at least such tank was damaged in advance. This is one of the six or seven reasons why the darned BOP didn’t do it job in the first place (with other including a dead battery, wrong rams installed, and miswiring of the controls).

        • bobschacht says:

          …I now believe that we’re looking at the stripper bulge on the top of the BOP. But I’m only about 70% on that….

          Ah! Once again, our minds are running on parallel tracks (see my comment @ 231).

          Bob in AZ

        • Larue says:

          Ok, that’s interesting . . . thanks. But I thought others on BMAZ’s thread last night and at Oil Drum were positing the manifold thing . . . and citing the fact that BP was showing vids with no explanations, not to mention who the folks were LINKING to the BP vid sources and what THEIR agenda’s are (who’s paying WKRG to run this vid stream? BP?)

          Bottom line, BP feeds vids, and NO FUCKING ONE is able to tell us what those vids are showing.

          Not one oil guy, not one scientist, not one engineer. Only a bunch of cartoons, and thoughts from folks about what they all mean.

          We’re being fed a vid load of shit . . . with NO explanations.

          Funny, huh, how that works . . .

          I still wonder what we are seeing . . . the four leaks vid, and any other vids.

          I guarantee we ain’t seeing the truth, though. ;-)

          I’d bet the manifold fucked up, and then, I’d lay money on the added pressure from the mud from above stressed the BOP further . . . . and the pressure from below is less contained than it was 48 hours ago.

          But, I’m not a rocket scientist. I just know how PR/Deception Works, when money’s involved.

  29. alank says:

    I’m sorry but BP has a precedent in the banking world, and faces no criminal or civil charges that can’t be dismissed in 25 years.

  30. Hmmm says:

    I guess another way of looking at is that before the accident, the load of the riser pipe was borne evenly on all sides by the top of the BOP; for the minutes while the riser top was coming down, the load was shifted all to compression on one side of the top of the BOP, with expansion on the opposite side; until the riser pipe failed where it meets the BOP, at which time the BOP no longer bore the weight of the vast majority of the riser pipe. So I guess it currently has an off-center load, but of a much much smaller magnitude than the BOP was designed to bear.

    • Synoia says:

      I expect the top of the BOP is designed to fail before the body of the BOP is damaged.

      As we see from the TV pictures.

      • Larue says:

        Wouldn’t the manifold fail LONG before the top of the BOP?

        Now that the manifold is in place and taking lines from above, and taking pressure from, the BOP as a ‘backwash’.

        That pressure from below, up into the BOP, is greater than the manifold and the hosings and couplings can take . . . the BOP is solid other than for the riser pipe issues, but I thought it was the newly placed manifold that was failing greatly?

  31. bobschacht says:

    I have more questions. This annotated diagram shows that for a kill, the intake is down near the bottom of the BOP, just above the wellhead. It also shows a “mud return” valve near the top of the BOP. So, it looks like what is supposed to happen is that you pump the mud in at the bottom, it gets pushed up the BOP and is supposed to be tapped out at the “mud return” valve. Once you get mud returning, then you know that you’ve got mud in the BOP, so you can theoretically close it off. But what is apparently happening here is that the mud cannot be contained within the BOP, but gushes out of the top into the riser pipe (or what is left of it), out onto the ocean floor. We’re well beyond my sphere of knowledge here, but fortunately the wikipedia has a recently updated article on BOPs, including a paragraph on BP’s Deepwater Horizon well. Alas, it does not have all the info I want, but it is well worth reading. And it has lots of links.

    Bob in AZ

    • Hmmm says:

      Well, assuming that they’re using the mud return port in that intended manner, though I don’t know that they are, I would interpret no mud coming up the mud return as an indication that the mud is leaking somewhere below the kill insertion port (maybe in the BOP stack, maybe downhole somewhere), not out of the top of the riser. Because the riser is above the mud return port.

      Given the lack of a final concrete pour way below, I would be thinking about the bottom section of the well bore intersecting some porous layer of enormous extent, i.e. volume greater than 2 barges of mud.

    • JTMinIA says:

      Sorry, Bob, but that’s way off.

      Filling the BOP with mud is a minor victory and plays almost no role in success. To “top kill” a blow-out, you must exert as much downward pressure into the well as the upward pressure from the oil and gas. Filling the BOP with mud will contribute very little to this. It’s the filling of the entire pipe in the well that creates the “weight” to stop the blow-out.

      The animation that BP put out shows this. Sorry I can’t find the URL right now.

      • Larue says:

        I’m in accord with what you said.

        However, I haven’t conclusively read if this drill is 11K (permit granted) or if it’s 30K ft. down into the chamber of oil/gas.

        How far down the bore would you have to have mud to stop the gushing? And as you go deeper, isn’t the pressure coming UP greater? So why would any mud at all overcome the bottom pressure coming up?

        This one’s a loser, IMHO . . . Top Kill fails.

  32. pluege says:

    From the moment the BP disaster started you knew the criminal behavior of the greed-obsessed was behind it, including extending back into the bush criminal regime.

  33. Mary says:

    Responsive to nothing, but something I think would have, and still could, help the situation out. IMO, Obama and Allen need to approach Honore and see if they could work out something to use him in at least the shore response oversight/implementation. He knows and loves LA and the big players. He has the respect of almost everyone. He knows how to deploy resources and he knows what kinds of things are doable by, or good ideas for, nat guard or other military response/utilization. He’s pragmatic, but focused on the highest and best outcomes, and from the bits that I saw from Katrina, he can take control of a situation like very few can – not just a lot of bluster and bark to intimidate, but real control.

  34. JasonLeopold says:

    Since there is a reference to Gitmo in bmaz’s post, this is not entirely OT. Looks like a Friday night dump. The final Guantanamo Review Task Force report is out via WaPo: http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/pdf/GTMOtaskforcereport_052810.pdf

    Here’s the story to go along with it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/28/AR2010052803873.html?wpisrc=nl_natlalert

    Previously reported, but according to the Post:

    The final report by the Guantanamo Review Task Force recommends that 126 of the detainees be either transferred home or to a third country; that 36 be prosecuted in either federal court or a military commission; and that 48 be held indefinitely under the laws of war. A group of 30 Yemenis was also approved for release if security conditions in their home country improved.

    The report was completed in January but only sent to select committees on Capitol Hill this week. The administration sat on the report in the wake of the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day because there was little public or congressional appetite for further discussion of its plan to close the military detention center.

    • harpie says:

      Thanks, Jason.

      Quoting the report [emphasis added]:

      48 detainees were determined to be too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution. They will remain in detention pursuant to the government’s authority under the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Detainees may challenge the legality of their detention in federal court and will periodically receive further review within the Executive Branch.

      • JasonLeopold says:

        ah! thanks for emphasizing that! So I suppose we should assume that the AUMF will remain in effect indefinitely as well?

        this is never ending.

        • MadDog says:

          …So I suppose we should assume that the AUMF will remain in effect indefinitely as well?

          this is never ending.

          Per Footnote 21 on page 26 (of 32 page PDF):

          …Second, the stature of limitations for these offenses is typically eight years ( see 18 U.S.C. § 3286), which may bar prosecution for offenses that occurred well before the detainee’s capture…

          So while the SOL is SOL, the AUMF is forever!

          • DWBartoo says:

            That is the “logic”.

            This war is forever, and of necessity, ever expanding.

            If the entire world is a battlefield, then it will take forever to subdue it.

            AUMF FOREVER!

            (It is rumored, today, that GWBu$h has declared that war is good for the economy …)

            DW

          • JasonLeopold says:

            aaah! Thanks for pointing that out MadDog! You guys may have covered this already, perhaps Mary discussed it or it was cited in a previous post, but I thought the authorization to use drones was via AUMF. But then, I believe it was the NYT, said the authorization came from the newly revised military commissions manual. How the heck did that happen?

          • fatster says:

            Descriptions of reasons why those 48 are being detained indefinitely are something else again. For some, there is insufficient evidence “to satisfy a criminal burden of proof”, and for others there is no evidence that they “participated in a specific terrorist plot”. So, why are they being detained? Although there is no sufficiently strong evidence that could be presented against them in a military or civilian court, somehow or other it is known that they did have a “Significant role within Al-Qaida, the Taliban, or associated forces. . . . Advanced training or experience [including “veteran jihadists. . . expertise in explosives or other tactics geared toward terrorist operations.” . . . Expressed recidivist intent.”

            But don’t bother with hand-wringing over this situation, for there is hope: “Work on these cases continues. Further exploitation of the forensic evidence could strengthen the prosecution against some detainees. Other detainees may cooperate with prosecutors.”

            My brain hurts now. Guess I better get back to BP’s mind-numbing video.

            • bobschacht says:

              Too many of these detainees are being held only because of the embarrassment factor– they didn’t do anything, but they were tortured, and BushObama don’t want them out in public blabbing about their abuse by the CIA, DOD, JSOC, etc. The only “secrets” they have is about their abuse.

              Bob in AZ

              • fatster says:

                I also wonder how many of them can’t be allowed to be “seen in public” since they are now bat-sh*t crazy.

      • bobschacht says:

        Quoting the report [emphasis added]:

        48 detainees were determined to be too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution. They will remain in detention pursuant to the government’s authority under the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

        I really truly hope that this gets declared unConstitutional. This is SO unAmerican it just makes me sick.

        I place some hope in the last part:

        Detainees may challenge the legality of their detention in federal court and will periodically receive further review within the Executive Branch.

        When will this happen?

        Bob in AZ

        • harpie says:

          I do have a problem with that last part, though, because the review will be kept out of the Courts where [I think?] it belongs…could be wrong. the whole paragraph sounds like a peon [sp?] to Authoritarianism.

        • Mary says:

          The challenge in court is the habeas cases that have been ongoing, where Obama has been ignoring the courts when the detainee wins. So what they meant to say was, a detainee can challenge his detention in federal court and bwahahahahhahaha – a President can ignore the court’s ruling.

          And they’re running at a lag now, what with not mentioning the recent case law the Obama admin has made – that they can kidnap people from anywhere in the world and then ship them to a *battlefield* and THEN claim that they no longer have habeas rights.

          Meanwhile, the Burge torture trial has started up in Chitown.

    • JTMinIA says:

      > “David Dayen is upstairs!”

      I know that you’re following convention, but IMO you have the direction of the staircase reversed. :)

  35. JohnLopresti says:

    I wonder how much of the de-JamesWattification of DOI*s MMS Salazar will deem appropriate for IG study. British Petroleum was on a long leash, however egregiously BP exploited the known laxity of the watchdog agency. If O*Co intends to restart its Alaska drilling plans, the administration is going to want thorough evaluation of the fissures which MMS had a record of ignoring. MMS botched many arenas besides oil drilling. Their excessive permissivity had wildlife impacts in several areas documented during Bushco.

  36. JamesJoyce says:

    A foreign corporation has fouled American waters and placed the American people in harms way and our habitat! The question is will the US government protect the due process right of the American people or the due process rights of a foreign corporation which profits “BIG TIME” on a monopolized commodity, one form of stored potential energy, a gallon of gas! Meanwhile, 75% of the energy created by combusted gas, 75% of the “monetary value” YOU purchased is wasted out your auto’s tailpipe! This is a recipe for extinction, not the protection of Life and Liberty. I said it before I will say it again. BP, overthrew a legitimately elected Prime minister in Iran to protect its corporate interests. Corporate Servitude is Corporate Sodomy, not Liberty! A recipe for extinction?

  37. Jeff Kaye says:

    Am out of action today, but am surfacing long enough to say how much I appreciate the tag team of bmaz and Jason on this issue! Great work by both!

    And harpie, thanks for linking to that Gitmo report. The AUMF represents everlasting war abroad, and state repression at home.

  38. fatster says:

    A footnote to Jason’s excellent new article. Actually they should have cited Jason’s article.

    U.S. pressure leads Transocean to revise liability bid

    LINK.

  39. Mary says:

    OT – re: Obama’s child-predator drones

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127238920

    The UN special rapporteur will be calling for the US to quit having the CIA assassinate people in Pakistan with drones. He’s not going to call it a war crime, but just say that the use of the drones should be by the military, not the CIA.

    David Glazier, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, says he agrees that the drone strikes are not war crimes. But he says that the CIA pilots who fly the drones could be regarded as common criminals. “They have no legal authority to be killing anyone,” Glazier says. “They have committed the crime of murder under Pakistan’s law.”

    Apparently,

    “That comment drew a response from a U.S. official: “Those who think we strike at terrorists over the objections of the Pakistani government are mistaken. This is a common fight against those who menace both our countries. That fact alone renders absurd the notion that U.S. officials might be tried in a Pakistani court for counterterrorism operations.”

    Think about that for a minute.

    I’m sure the guys who were involved in the Penguin Revolution and the Pakistani courts will love that one – a US official saying that the US intel services can murder Pakistani citizens and not be tried for it.

    And then the NYT wonders why the “U.S. Is a Top Villain in Pakistan’s Conspiracy Talk”

    I did like the sanctimonious tone of this article – especially when the NYT, which has done as close to nada as they can get by with when it comes to US torture prisons and torture murders and torture detentions of bipolar London chefs at GITMO, etc. – when the NYT says that Glen Beck’s Pakistan’s donspiracy theories are “a defense mechanism that deflects all responsibility for society’s problems and protects against a reality that is too painful to face”

    Ah.

    And golly, they even point out that “denial is dangerous because it hobbles any form of public conversation”

    So wise – when it comes to Pakistan’s baseless conspiracy theories – I mean really, it’s not like there’s some conspiracy between the Pak gov and Obama to let Obama bomb people in . . .

    Um, let me rephrase that.

    • DWBartoo says:

      I wonder if drones were used by some other “government” to attack Americans IN America, whether those attacks would be considered to be “war crimes”?

      Well, Mary, as Dean Rusk once said, when asked why the Vietnamese would attack American warships in the Gulf of Tonkin, “They just see life differently than we do.”

      (The fact, of course, that such an attack never happened, was and is irrelevant, that “they” are “just different” is what had to be made clear.)

      But it is maddening and it is destroying everybody’s future, even for those who believe that they are making a “killing”, money wise (or money stupid, money mad, or money-wacked insane) from endless, mindless, warfare.

      DW

    • Leen says:

      So amazing the endless coverage of theis disastrous spill in the Gulf. Can you imagine if our MSM spent this much time covering why no one has been held accountable for the false pre war intelligence, the false Niger Documents. Can you imagine if RAchel Maddow or any of the talking heads spent even half of the the time on how many people in Iraq have died, been injured, displaced as a direct consequence of our illegal invasion. Hell before this oil diaster Chris Matthews and the rest were not touching these critical issues. What a NIMBY nation.

      Has been really tough for me to swallow that most people in the U.S. do not give a rats ass about the people who have been slaughtered in Iraq, Aghanistan, Pakistan due to our invasions, due to our drones.

      What did our government and the U.S. military learn from Vietnam. DON’T SHOW THE PICTURES Hell don’t even report about the deaths in those countries, or the returning soldiers. Just ignore the reality of our actions and the American people are happy not to know and those who lied this nation into Iraq know this about the American people.

      All of these issues have been completely covered over by the oil spewing out of the Gulf of Mexico. That oil is spewing out of the mouths, ears and eyes of our MSM

      Fully understand why many people around the world hate us

  40. papau says:

    Kabuki-theater to cover criminal act – yep – and the odds are it will work – BP stock was recommended for a “buy” by some talking heads.

    60,783 square miles, about 25 percent of Gulf waters now dead- off limits to fishing per Coast Guard.

    The 40 barrels per minute mud inflow may need to go on for another 2 days – and BP warns they may run out of mud. The 60 barrels per minute mud inflow increase report appears to be in error as BP says they have only run the mud at a maximum 50 on occassion.

    The “junk shot,” of rubber shards did not work as the pipe was keeping less than 10 percent of the materials. There have been two pauses in the mudflow – one for the junk shot, and of course back on Wednesday 11 hours into the operation as the Coast Guard reported the mudin flow was not paused.

    Late Sunday after Sunday talk and 6 pm news we will be told about the next thing to keep us busy while we wait for the relief well in late August – most likely installing a second blowout preventer atop the original – but a bigger Top Hat containment dome might come first since there is so much time to kill.

    And no one speaks of the 11 dead. Or of the decades it will take to get our Gulf back. The bacteria that eat the oil use up all the oxygen – making a “dead zone” for fish. Florida already has such near the Keys every year from Gulf oil leak bacteria and other stuff dumped into the Gulf. The corporations are not doing a good job running the world.

  41. qweryous says:

    This just up at NOLA.com:

    Researchers begin 8-day mission to test for subsurface oil plumes in Gulf
    By Gwen Filosa, The Times-Picayune May 28, 2010, 7:23PM

    “A crew of university researchers Friday began an eight-day mission designed to study the depths of the northern Gulf of Mexico amid reports of a possible underwater plume of crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.”

    “NOAA Lt. Commander Damien Bailey said the facts aren’t yet in, let alone analyzed. “There’s not a big ball of oil underneath,” Bailey told reporters during a three-hour workboat ride from Venice to the Gulf. “People have this idea that the subsurface is filled with a big black ball of death. We haven’t seen anything like that.”

    Bailey said he is not trying to minimize the impact of oil spill, the largest in U.S. history.

    But “some things haven’t been made very clear,” he said, downplaying questions about whether an oil plume may exist deep in the Gulf.”

    • fatster says:

      Excellent news, qweryous. Thank you–whichever way it turns out, at least it will be resolved.

  42. fatster says:

    So what’s going on now over at the oil “spill”? The feed on WKRP is a surface shot right now. Update: Now it just says “Not Recording” across some jumpy background.

    • bobschacht says:

      Yup. Same thing on al.com– its the BP feed. I guess they don’t want us to see what they’re doing, or else something is going badly wrong.
      …or they’re trying something that could go badly wrong.

      Bob in AZ

    • prostratedragon says:

      The hope, per folks at The Oil Drum, is that BP is pulling their usual evening switcheroo and making preparations for something called an LMRP (sorry, have lost the reference link), yet another way to put a cappable top on the thing, for which they are known to have some equipment in place on the sea floor already.

      I sure hope so, because some of the transition shots that I saw sure looked discouraging.

      • fatster says:

        and Bob @ 203. Many thanks. I understand so little about this, that I’m hesitant to trust my own eyes (though when a worker walked by in a hard-hat and red jump-suit, just before the video stopped altogether, it was impossible to deny that the camera was above water–haha).

        • prostratedragon says:

          Oh, de nada.

          (though when a worker walked by in a hard-hat and red jump-suit, just before the video stopped altogether, it was impossible to deny that the camera was above water–haha)

          Well I don’t know, this is BP we’re talking here … They have caused me to recalibrate my low standards for what chicanes, if that’s a word, will try to get away with.

          Btw, the feed is back up. At WKRG we’re getting the oil-spouting riser pipe again. Image is pretty murky, appropriately.

    • bobschacht says:

      Thanks. I was thinking about this option, but I didn’t have the vocabularly to talk about it.

      As for equipment already on the bottom– remember they dropped down several containment domes– a huge one and then “Top Hat”– that they left on the ocean floor when they didn’t work the way they were expected to. I wonder if that is the equipment that they’re referring to.

      Bob in AZ

    • prostratedragon says:

      They’re giving the customer, a driller/tanker ship up top, a carryout lid, fitted to the LMRP*, with a straw.

      That article gives a preview of the next switch, seems.

      * Looks like the LMRP is actually the length of riser from the BOP to the well opening on the floor, not the remedy package.

    • Larue says:

      and to collect the flow of oil from the leak points.

      And that, in one half sentence, is why this disaster and our nation and our government are guilty of abusing we the people.

      They never intended, and still don’t intend, to stop this, just capture it for the profits they are losing.

      Environment be damned.

      Lesigh.

  43. john in sacramento says:

    Forgot where I’d read it, but, I think the Sec of the Navy said they should sink a battleship over it and hope that that does the trick

    … Course, how do you sink a battleship that’s a mile above the gusher and get it to fall right on top

        • bobschacht says:

          And even if they scored a direct hit, I’d bet that the gas and oil from the wellhead would find a way to leak around the sunken tanker, and then there’d be no way in the world to stop the leak except by a relief well.

          Bob in AZ

        • bobschacht says:

          Yeah, I saw that too, but there are several problems with his diagram. He was talking about forcing the mud down the well bore, and I don’t think they’re able to do that, because the BOP itself is not sealed. His diagram also shows them forcing the mud down through the riser pipe, whereas I think they are supplying the mud through the manifold, and connected to the mud valve at the bottom of the BOP.

          We’re having these problems of understanding because no one is providing good graphics of the BOP and the precise location of the leaks, as well as good info about exactly which RAM valves have not worked as designed.

          Bob in AZ

          • JTMinIA says:

            Hey, all….

            Nope. His description is correct, as is the animation. The reason that this can work, even with a leaking BOP, is that you pump in so fast that the “back-pressure” at the leaks (e.g., the top of the BOP) is higher than the pressure of the oil and gas coming up the pipe. When you achieve this, some mud is forced down the pipe and eventually, in theory, you have enough mud in the pipe to hold down the oil and gas.

            As to whether an LMRP will work if there’s damage at the top of the BOP: it depends on the LMRP. The small ones that only clamp onto the stub of the riser will not, for the reasons you give @231. But there are big LMRPs that can cover a lot of the top of the BOP. Maybe that’s why the ROV was picking up chains earlier today: to get ready to chain a big LMRP to the top of the BOP.

            • bobschacht says:

              Nope. His description is correct, as is the animation. The reason that this can work, even with a leaking BOP, is that you pump in so fast that the “back-pressure” at the leaks (e.g., the top of the BOP) is higher than the pressure of the oil and gas coming up the pipe. When you achieve this, some mud is forced down the pipe and eventually, in theory, you have enough mud in the pipe to hold down the oil and gas.

              Well, great. So then we can all stop watching the gusher leaks and go about our business because its all good, right? Color me skeptical. I grant what you’re saying is what is supposed to happen. This is the part I don’t believe:
              “The reason that this can work, even with a leaking BOP, is that you pump in so fast that the “back-pressure” at the leaks (e.g., the top of the BOP) is higher than the pressure of the oil and gas coming up the pipe.”

              The proof is in the pudding.

              Thanks for your other info.

              Bob in AZ

              • Larue says:

                That back pressure has not been realized.

                The fucking gusher from below, at 30K fucking feet below the ocean floor (BP violated the fucking permit for 11K ft drilling why is THIS not a major legal issue!), into a chamber full of oil n gas has a pressure upwards that has yet to be tamed.

                I THINK you’ve said this, repeatedly, for the past 24 hours.

                Why others don’t get it is beyond me.

                They get it at Oil Drum.

                My take on recent fails is the BOP is holding other than the leaks that were there from day one, but the newly placed manifold is not.

                And the mud into the BOP is coming out of the BOP and into the riser pipe (as was all that gas and oil all along) as well as out of the manifold and the couplings and hoses recently installed. They can’t handle the pressure.

                Nothing’s changed from day one or 10. Where the BOP was weak is still weak, the riser’s still gushing.

                And they haven’t stopped shit, and the mud is backin out in the OLD leaks and it’s backing out from the new manifold and hoses and couplings.

                And I’m a phreakin layman and know only what I’ve read from day one.

                Fuckers are lying all the time. You can tell cuz their mouths are moving.

                A million gallons a day or more, of oil and gas, gushing out.

                Since April 20.

                Again, thanks for all you have shared . . . .

                • JTMinIA says:

                  If BP was telling the truth that only 90% of the mud was leaking out, then they did achieve the required “back-pressure.” The only other place for the mud to go is down the well. The problem is that with that much leakage, they might not have enough mud on hand to build a column of mud in the well that is deep enough.

                  • Larue says:

                    Heh, they are not telling the truth, why would they start now?

                    And 10% mud would likely NOT be enough to stop back flow from below.

                    Not from anything I’ve read at Oil Drum . . . or here at FDL.

                    Pressure has NOT been equalized, end of story, shit’s still gushing.

                    • JTMinIA says:

                      > “And 10% mud would likely NOT be enough to stop back flow from below.”

                      Drat. This means I’ve failed to explain it very well.

                      If the amount of mud leaking is anything less than 100%, then they *have* reversed the flow in the well-pipe since that’s the only other place for the mud to go.

              • JTMinIA says:

                I’m sorry if my tone annoyed you. That was not my intent.

                Please note, also, that I don’t believe that the top-kill will work. My personal theory is that the leak is too far up the pipe to allow for a column of mud on top of it that is heavy enough. I was only explaining how a top kill works in theory. And the theory requires that the leak is far enough down that you can put a big pile of mud on top of it.

                As to how much is needed (which was Larue’s Q at 239), this depends on the upward pressure of the oil and gas. I’ve seen estimates from 8,000 psi to 12,000 psi. Assuming the worst case, you’d need about two miles of mud, which is two fifths of the well’s depth. [My math here might be off, as I’m very tired tonight. The key point is that you’d need a lot.] Of course, if you seal the BOP, then it’s a snap using the pumps on the rig. What I’m talking about is how much mud you’d need in the well for the mud, on its own, to hold down the oil and gas.

                • bobschacht says:

                  I’m sorry if my tone annoyed you. That was not my intent.

                  Not to worry. I was not annoyed. You’ve done a lot to help me understand.

                  Please note, also, that I don’t believe that the top-kill will work. My personal theory is that the leak is too far up the pipe to allow for a column of mud on top of it that is heavy enough.

                  I don’t understand that last statement. It seems premised on the idea of forcing the mud down the riser pipe, but I don’t think you mean that, do you? Normal procedure is to pipe in the mud through the manifold to the mud valve at the bottom of the BOP, isn’t it?

                  For a moment, I had the idea that the “pipe” you mentioned was the pipe in the well bore. But with the pressures you’re talking about, I don’t see how you can get any mud down into the well bore unless the BOP is sealed, and it’s obviously not. Since the top of the BOP seems to be open, unobstructed, to the ocean, there’s no pressure other than water pressure at that depth.

                  Bob in AZ

                  • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                    And to me, this comment really underscores your earlier — sterling — insights about the dearth of good animations and/or diagrams.

                    I mean honestly, there’s no way that BP wouldn’t have exploded diagrams of every element of that BOP — if only for maintenance or for putting out bids, or for insurance. Yet we have seen so little information about the internal configurations of how these things fit together, and where the weak spots are most likely.

                  • JTMinIA says:

                    I know what piece of the puzzle you’re missing and if we were face to face I’d be able to explain it in a minute. I’ll try again in words only. Don’t be offended that I do this simplistically and say things you already know.

                    You have a pipe coming out of the ground through which (by default) oil and gas are coming out at let’s say 8000 psi.

                    On top of this pipe is the BOP which is now just a T junction, since it’s broken. One input to the T is the pipe coming out of the well (see above). Another input to the T are the choke and kill lines into which they can pump whatever they wish since its connect to the new rig via the manifold. The third input to the T is the top of the BOP and, therefore, the ocean (via leaks and the broken riser pipe).

                    The first input (the well) is a nice, smooth, 21″-D pipe.

                    The second input is a pair of 4″-D lines.

                    The third input – the top of the BOP – isn’t the nice, big, smooth, 21″ pipe it used to be. Plus, some of the ram might be partly constricting the inside of the BOP above the kill and choke lines. That this input has much less area and lousy flow compared to the 21″-D pipe down the well is the key to a top-kill.

                    If you can shove enough stuff into the BOP via the second input (i.e., the kill and choke lines), the back pressure of that stuff trying to exit the BOP through the third input (i.e., the top) will be greater than 8000 psi. Think about taking a mouthful of thick soup and blowing it through a bent straw. That will take a lot of pressure to do. When the so-called “back-pressure” of shoving so much stuff out through the top of the BOP is greater than the pressure coming up the well, some of what you’re shoving in there will start going down the well, instead. Stuff flows from high to low pressure. If you can achieve more than 8000 psi inside the BOP, then the flow in the well pipe will reverse to going down.

                    That’s a top-kill. You keep shoving mud into the BOP at a rate that causes at least some of the injected mud to move down the well pipe. Keep doing this until the “weight” of the mud equals the upward pressed times the area of the pipe. Then it will hold itself with no help needed. Stop pumping (since you don’t need to anymore) and shoot in concrete.

                    • Larue says:

                      Keep doing this until the “weight” of the mud equals the upward pressed times the area of the pipe. Then it will hold itself with no help needed. Stop pumping (since you don’t need to anymore) and shoot in concrete.

                      And this didn’t work and we don’t know why it didn’t work or they’d all be clamoring about it.

                      So?

                      Back to simple shit.

                      Pressure below is greater then pressure above, with leaks in between that can’t be closed off.

                      You?

                    • bobschacht says:

                      Thanks; I knew most of this. Here’s the piece where things have been vague:

                      The third input – the top of the BOP – isn’t the nice, big, smooth, 21″ pipe it used to be. Plus, some of the ram might be partly constricting the inside of the BOP above the kill and choke lines. That this input has much less area and lousy flow compared to the 21″-D pipe down the well is the key to a top-kill.

                      At issue here is the “partly constricting” thing. I’ve been assuming that there’s virtually no restriction, since the volume of gas and oil gushing out of the broken riser pipe (and possibly elsewhere) is so huge. You’re right that for the top kill to work, there has to be some restriction in the middle of the BOP, but BP has not given any public info about this that I know of. One source that I read said that the 21″ pipe had a drill pipe inside, and that when the RAM tried to cut off the flow, it could shear one pipe but not both of them. Who knows. We’re both skeptical that the top kill will work, but for it to work, there has to be at least some restriction in the BOP around the RAMs, and I don’t think there’s enough.

                      I was busy with some other stuff for an hour or two, and I don’t really have time to respond to everything tonight.

                      Until tomorrow, then…

                      Bob in AZ

                • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                  My personal theory is that the leak is too far up the pipe to allow for a column of mud on top of it that is heavy enough. I was only explaining how a top kill works in theory. And the theory requires that the leak is far enough down that you can put a big pile of mud on top of it.

                  Well, I’m a layperson, but this makes sense. But I wonder whether even BP knows where the leaks are. Drilling over a mile down, with no way to really determine the damage…
                  (Smacking head on keyboard…)

                  • JTMinIA says:

                    They can’t know for sure where the leak is, but there’s no evidence that the bottom plug moved so the best bet is the sealing concrete around the pipe in the annulus. (I.e., the odds are, Haliburton f*cked up – what a surprise.) I’m a pessimist, especially where Haliburton is concerned, so my theory is the leak in the walls of the pipe is up high.

                    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                      Well, a leak up high makes the most sense considering a huge amount of force coming up from below; it would travel as far as possible before blowing out the pipes. And if the pressure varies a lot at the top, the damage would be closer to the top (or so it seems logical to me). There wouldn’t be enough force built up low in the pipe; it would keep building as it exploded up toward the top of the pipe, surely?

                      And thanks for @258. Interesting.

                    • JTMinIA says:

                      Actually, from what I understand, the higher up the leak, the less pressure it is likely to produce (since it would have to do most of its upward travel in the annulus, which is supposed to be packed with concrete and isn’t anywhere near as smooth as the inside of the pipe. If it’s true that there’s 8000 psi coming up, I’m probably wrong. It all depends on how badly Haliburton did its job. The better the job they did, the less likely that I’m correct.

                      (There’s just something vaguely comforting about being on the opposite side of an argument from Haliburton, so I’m sticking with it.)

                    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                      (There’s just something vaguely comforting about being on the opposite side of an argument from Haliburton, so I’m sticking with it.)

                      Well, that makes at least two of us.
                      A sound policy.

                      G’nite, and thanks again.
                      Much appreciated.

                      And now, here’s hoping Jason Leopold’s news about criminal investigations proves to be accurate.

                    • Larue says:

                      Pressure from below at 39K foot is gonna seek any outlet if can find.

                      The depth, or the pressure at which that outlet is found, is simply a matter of easiest egress.

                      There are leaks, gushers, from this operation likely from down deep, thru soft rock, thru piping, thru ocean floor sources including well head, BOP, riser pipes bent and broken, and now thru manifold and hoses and couplings.

                      Lets NOT worry about this stress release that’s been created on the rock cap over this chamber 30K foot below, and how this soft rock cap might be fracturing due to an initial release of pressure, and the sediment erosion and flow rates and vibrations that are caused and how THAT further stresses the soft rock cap.

                      If that rock cap fails, or has a sig hole punched thru it . . . it’s volcano time.

                      And Billions of gallons release all at once. Oil, and gas.

                      This is a major clusterfuck of the likes of Chernobyl or more, and it’s just waiting for one more thing to fuck it up and make it worse.

            • Larue says:

              Nope. His description is correct, as is the animation. The reason that this can work, even with a leaking BOP, is that you pump in so fast that the “back-pressure” at the leaks (e.g., the top of the BOP) is higher than the pressure of the oil and gas coming up the pipe. When you achieve this, some mud is forced down the pipe and eventually, in theory, you have enough mud in the pipe to hold down the oil and gas.

              Has it not already proven BP can’t overcome pressure from down below as it rises to pressures above?

              And so, now it’s a NEW top hat design, with chains?

              I’m reminded of David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’ for some reason.

              The asshats tried to salvage this drill site and still are.

              LMRP is yet another means to salvage it.

              Bottom line, pressure is pressure.

              And I see NO ability so far, for BP to counter the pressure from below.

              Not to cap it, not to salvage it.

              It’s all nuckin futz.

              • JTMinIA says:

                > “Has it not already proven BP can’t overcome pressure from down below as it rises to pressures above?”

                As I said above (somewhere): if BP is correct than only 90% of the mud is leaking, then they have achieved the required pressure inside the BOP to reverse the direction of oil/gas flow. There is nowhere else for the other 10% to go beside down the well pipe.

                With that said, the live feed is now showing leaks on what appear to be 4″-D lines. If this is new, then they might now be leaking the whole 100% of mud. If this is old but they didn’t know about it before, then maybe they underestimated the amount of mud leaking and it never was working.

        • Larue says:

          Pump seawater down there?

          To block the pressure upwards?

          WTF?

          Where’s the science that says seawater is heavier n mud?

          Or can be applied with SUFFICIENT pressure from above, to stifle pressure from below?

          Steiner is . . . is he fucking nuts or am I missing some basic precepts of how science works here?

          • JTMinIA says:

            It’s pressure differences that determine direction of flow, not weight or mass or whatever. So, even though sea water weighs half of what mud weighs, you could possible achieve the required pressure inside the BOP to reverse the direction of flow in the well-pipe.

            I doubt this, but not because sea water is light. I doubt this because sea water can slip out the top of the BOP so easily that you’d never achieve the required “back-pressure.”

            ps. if you’re wondering or annoyed by the quotes around “back-pressure,” it’s because I ain’t laying myself open to correction (again). There’s no such thing as “back-pressure.” There is only pressure caused by resistance to flow. Those of us who work on turbocharged cars talk about “back-pressure” all the time. Physics majors correct us. So we kick their butts in the next race (since physics majors drive Honduhs and such, which can’t launch for sh*t) and then take their girlfriends home and show them what they’ve been missing. And, yes, all the time, we are subconsciously aware that said now-single physics major was correct that there’s no such thing as “back pressure.”

            • Larue says:

              It’s pressure differences that determine direction of flow, not weight or mass or whatever. So, even though sea water weighs half of what mud weighs, you could possible achieve the required pressure inside the BOP to reverse the direction of flow in the well-pipe.

              They have applied pressures from above, and those pressures, along with pressures from below, have created or have increased the gushing somehow.

              There’s leakage, gushage, and they have not stopped it. Mud, gas, oil, don’t matter.

              End of story.

            • Larue says:

              I doubt this, but not because sea water is light. I doubt this because sea water can slip out the top of the BOP so easily that you’d never achieve the required “back-pressure.”

              Agreed in fully. *G*

          • JTMinIA says:

            Also, how much pressure you can achieve at the rig is only directly relevant when there are no leaks. When there are leaks, you must focus on the pressure you can create in the BOP. The way to create pressure there, when it’s leaking, is to rely upon “back-pressure” which is created by shoving lots of something into the BOP. So it’s really flow into the BOP that matters, because it’s the resistance to flow that creates the pressure inside the BOP.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Steiner is highly regarded. That man is legendary to anyone who has even partially followed the history of the ExxonValdez. (And he must be persistent as hell, which I say as a compliment.)

            As someone (JTMinIA?) pointed out, if you force seawater at a high enough pressure, it could be possible. Because seawater is still more dense and heavy than methane (although how the freezing temps play into this whole scenario is beyond my expertise by far).

            So Steiner’s not nuts.

            The BP people are more likely to be delusional and nuts than Steiner is — plus, Steiner is quite likely among the people who started reading the BP documents for the MMS permits-payoffs and spotted that BP had talked about walrus’s in the Gulf. Jeebuz, Mary, Joesph and all the saints and angels (!).

            • Larue says:

              You can’t force seawater to stop 10,000 psi of pressure from below if there are already leaks in the system yer trying to force that seawater down to do the job. Do you have a link to show what pressure BP is able to CREATE from above? Is it past 10,000 psi downwards? I forget what their ability is to pump pressure down. Regardless what the medium being pumped is.

              Steiner’s nuts. He fails on this one. The system is not sealed, it phreakin leaks, it’s been GUSHING, since April 20, from some 30K ft. below the ocean floor with incredible pressures the phreakin BP has NO ability to stop.

              But thanks for your thoughts.

  44. defogger says:

    All multinationals are foreign entities.They have no allegiance to any nation,only to shareholders from whom they garner short-term enrichment.Banking,health-protection racketeering.mining,oil drilling,militarism,agribusiness or other corporate transnationals own our nations.We are the only country to endure 3 decades of class warfare and not even know it was being waged against us.The ruling internationalists have used deregulation,privatization and debt to parlay a landscape of no-tax austerity to avert a fiscal nightmare.This will all be done via I.M.F. strictures,which is being run by Geithner out of Treasury.and will be the end of pensions and entitlements . Ironically,these debt-reduction measures shall create even greater debt,but with middle-income wealth being confiscated by Wall St.,then the oligarchs shall cheapen their highly-leveraged debt via monetization that mugs everyone without mobile capital that can flee hyper-inflation.

  45. bobschacht says:

    Animation of top kill procedure on youtube

    I don’t believe this animation is accurate. For it to work, the BOP must be sealed off below the riser, and the Deepwater Horizon BOP obviously cannot do that.

    Here’s a graphic of the progress of the two(!) relief wells, as of May 24

    And here’s a graphic depiction of the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) Cap procedure. I think this has the best chance of working, as long as they can get the LMRP secured properly on top of the BOP, and that the leaks are only in the pipe riser, and not in the BOP.

    Bob in AZ

  46. JasonLeopold says:

    Out earlier this evening from the LA Times:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-investigation-20100529,0,3427456.story

    Feds weigh a criminal probe of BP

    The focus is on whether the oil company skirted safety regulations and misled the U.S. government about its ability to respond to a blowout.

    A team of top federal prosecutors and investigators has taken the first steps toward a formal criminal investigation into oil giant BP’s actions before and after the drilling rig disaster off Louisiana.

    The investigators, who have been quietly gathering evidence in Louisiana over the last three weeks, are focusing on whether BP skirted federal safety regulations and misled the U.S. government by saying it could quickly clean up an environmental accident.

    The team has met with U.S. attorneys and state officials in the Gulf Coast region and has sent letters to executives of BP and Transocean Ltd., the drilling rig owner, warning them against destroying documents or other internal records.

  47. JasonLeopold says:

    This could be the first leak. But basically, what I see in this story is the letter that I posted here earlier today forming the basis for much of this story.

  48. JasonLeopold says:

    Also, this one nugget from the LA Times story:

    In one sign of its potential scope, the Obama administration has asked for $10 million to be set aside to pay for the investigation. President Obama, in a letter May 12 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- San Francisco), said the funding was needed “to hold BP, and other responsible parties in this spill, accountable for the crisis.”

  49. bobschacht says:

    The diagram of the LMRP procedure is interesting for a number of reasons. Though idealized, it may show in better detail what the top of the BOP looks like, if you look at the inset graphic (left center). What interests me with that graphic is that the part underneath the circular gizmo at the top looks somewhat like what we’ve been seeing in the multiple leaks videos. Note especially the two hose attachments on each side. I don’t know what this part of the BOP is called, although this graphic suggests that it might be the “stripper.”

    The parts of the top of the BOP shown in the above illustration are described as follows by the Wikipedia:

    Coiled tubing rigup

    The main engine of a coiled tubing intervention is the injector head. This component contains the mechanism to push and pull the coil in and out of the hole. An injector head has a curved guide beam on top called a gooseneck which threads the coil into the injector body. Below the injector is the stripper, which contains rubber pack off elements providing a seal around the tubing to isolate the well’s pressure.

    Below the stripper is the blowout preventer, which provides the ability to cut the coiled tubing pipe and seal the well bore (shear-blind) and hold and seal around the pipe (pipe-slip). Older quad-BOPs have a different ram for each of these functions (blind, shear, pipe, slip). Newer dual-BOPs combine some of these functions together to need just two distinct rams (shear-blind, pipe-slip).

    The BOP sits on top of the riser, which provides the pressurised tunnel down to the top of the Xmas tree. Between the Xmas tree and the riser is the final pressure barrier, the shear-seal BOP, which can cut and seal the pipe.

    Here’s a picture of a stripper.

    Of course, if the leaks we’re seeing on the live streams are coming from the stressed wall of a stripper, the LMRP won’t really fix the problem because it sits on top of the stripper.

    But then, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

    Bob in AZ

  50. JTMinIA says:

    The one aspect of that guy’s explanation on KO’s show that doesn’t quite fit for me is when he said they could use water, instead of mud.

    The “back-pressure” produced when you shove stuff through a hole is proportional to the square of it’s viscosity. While water is a tad heavier than oil and gas, it doesn’t have anything close to the viscosity of mud. And if 90% of the mud is leaking, they are barely achieving the back-pressure necessary when using mud, so switching to water doesn’t have a chance *unless* they have the ability to pump in water about 4 times faster than they can pump in mud.

  51. bobschacht says:

    Rachel talked about the Ixtoc blowout in 1979 a few nights ago. Here’s a description of that blowout for comparison:

    There was a blowout which was close to this… the IXTOC I blowout in the bay of Campeche in the Gulf of mexico. However much is very different…and this blowout now is very unique. The IXTOC I blowout is the largest accident spill/leak in History. It leaked an estimated 3.3-3.5 Million Barrels of oil…140 some odd Million Gallons. It flowed virtually full wide open for 9 months before they could stop it. They tried to close the bop, but it started to rupture valves and they had to open it to prevent it from being destroyed and ripped out completely from the well head, which would have made the task of capping it much much more difficult. The IXTOC I well blew out oil and gas at a rate of 10,000 – 30,000 Barrels per day…we may perhaps be at that rate already at the Macondo blowout…I doubt anyone is sure, but easily possible. One thing which is very different is that IXTOC I happened in 50 meters of water…about 165 ft deep….this one is in over 5,000 feet of water…divers can easily reach 165 deep…this is impossible at 5,000 ft…so everything must be done with remotely operated subs…making the task of working around the well head far more difficult.

    Ixtoc details here.

    Rachel spent some time making the case that all the attempts at remediation being tried to stop the Deepwater Horizon volcano were also tried, without success, to stop Ixtoc. In other words, she said, the only thing we have learned in the 31 years since Ixtoc is how to drill wells in deeper ocean.

    Bob in AZ

    • Larue says:

      I was in love with Rach and Olbie, until after Obama was elected, then they kinda seemed muzzled.

      And this disaster don’t get either of thenmany kudo’s from me for their less than stellar hardball questions to folks about it all.

      You, how ever, have earned all my deeply felt gratitude and respect and thanks for all you continue to add, share, comment and speculate about.

      Thanks. *G*

      • bobschacht says:

        You, how ever, have earned all my deeply felt gratitude and respect and thanks for all you continue to add, share, comment and speculate about.

        Thanks for your kind words, but I’m just trying to understand what the heck is going on, and this place has enough folks with sharp minds to help, and inquisitive enough to look up other resources. I don’t have the expertise to participate in a list of oil field guys– they’d just laugh me off the list.

        Bob in AZ

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      They tried to close the bop, but it started to rupture valves and they had to open it to prevent it from being destroyed and ripped out completely from the well head, which would have made the task of capping it much much more difficult.

      Do we know for sure that the BoP is still on the well head?

      Also, per Jason Leopold’s news that DoJ may be investigation for criminal charges; I don’t see how they can avoid it.

      • JTMinIA says:

        > “Do we know for sure that the BoP is still on the well head? ”

        It has to be or they’d be wasting their time doing a top-kill and it would be too easy to verify for them to pull such a stunt.

      • bobschacht says:
        They tried to close the bop, but it started to rupture valves and they had to open it to prevent it from being destroyed and ripped out completely from the well head, which would have made the task of capping it much much more difficult.

        Whoa! You’re quoting a description of what happened to the BOP in the IXTOC blowout, not the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

        I don’t know of any evidence that the Deepwater BOP is not on the wellhead.

        Bob in AZ

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Apologies; I’m getting too tired but wanted to check in before I head off for badly needed zzzz’s.

          My intended meaning:
          On Dylan Ratigan’s show (Wed? Thurs?) Matthew Simmons was a guest. He was speaking about observing a fish swimming on the video feed — it was swimming into what Simmons had supposed was a gas plume so he figured the fish was a ‘goner’. However, the fish came out the other side of it still alive, and still light-colored (i.e., not covered with dark oily goo). That led Simmons to surmise that the plume we’re seeing on the video cam is not the only source of leakage from the oil reserves.

          If I understood him correctly, I thought he was wondering whether the force of the explosion might have dislodged the BOP off the pipe, or might have severed something off the wellhead — leaving the wellhead basically spewing oil and gas freely.

          However, if JTMinIA is confident the BOP remains at the top of the 21′ diameter pipe, then I defer; he’s more knowledgeable and has been following this far more than I have.

          Simmons then stated that there must be more than one leak.
          The site where we see the camera, on the BOP, is one– and that’s where he observed the fish swimming.
          But he hypothesized that the plume of oil must be coming from some other fissure.
          That’s what he said.

          Which led me to wonder whether the pressure of that explosion might have wrought havoc on that pipe below the BOP; in the diagrams it is shown vertically linking the oil reserves below the ocean floor all the way up to the BOP, then more pipe rising vertically up to the oil rig.

          However, a tremendous explosion would wreak havoc with a 21′ pipe, at the psi += 6,000 psi, surely? And if your estimates of up to 10,000+ psi are accurate, I can’t even conceptualize the amount of force, or what it would do to pipe.

          However, JTMinIA’s idea that the leak is so high up the pipe that they can’t enough of a ‘plug’ in there to tamp it down does make sense.

          But I still think there must surely be more than one leak down there.

          As you pointed out earlier, without better diagrams this is more difficult to try and sort out.

          • JTMinIA says:

            No-one I’ve seen has suggested the BOP has been moved. The other leaks are (a) at various points along the mile of riser pipe laying around on the Gulf’s floor and (b) at fissures in the Gulf’s floor that are leaking oil and gas that have been forced across, sideways between layers of rock.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              The other leaks are (a) at various points along the mile of riser pipe laying around on the Gulf’s floor and (b) at fissures in the Gulf’s floor that are leaking oil and gas that have been forced across, sideways between layers of rock.

              Okay! NOW I have it.
              I still don’t understand why BP couldn’t make up a diagram showing this at some point the past 30 days. Crikey.

              • JTMinIA says:

                I don’t want to insult you (as I worry I have Bob), but diagrams of that are out there. I haven’t seen a pic of fissures leaking, but the idea that there are three types of leak – at the BOP, at the far end of the riser pipe, and along the riser pipe – is the “standard” view.

                • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                  Wow, I must be dog-tired. Because the comments as I’ve read them around FDL seemed to focus on one leak only, which was making me scratch my head in great confusion.

                  Clearly, time for zzzzzz’ on my end.

                  And no offense taken; only my apologies for wasting your time with questions already answered elsewhere evidently.

          • Larue says:

            Explosion at surface does nothing to pressure and pipe below but relieve the pressure that rose.

            Explosion at surface, be it from them diesel’s as big as houses revving up as methane gas entered their air intakes, or from just a spark as gas leaked out at surface of rig (however that happened, be it up pipe or out of pipe bore and thru ocean) would NOT blow back down the drill piping.

            Simple pressure math don’t allow that.

            Just to keep clear here, explosion up top had NOTHING to do with below. What happened below was a result of fucked up planning to cut corners and get subcontractors off the rig (mud operators, evaluators, etc).

            Until rig collapsed, and piping bent, and put stress pressure on BOP, as pressure from BELOW at 30K ft begin to rise once a hole was breached to let it up . . . . what happened up top in the explosion had no impact below.

            Apples and oranges, IMHO. And I only believe this from 30 days of reading FDL, Oil Drum, and Truthsky. And more. Every linky posted . . . I have a hundred or more linkys, you want?

  52. JTMinIA says:

    I just came up with another analogy.

    Imagine a garden hose (spigot wide open, so it has 50 psi and effectively unlimited flow) with a gun-type nozzle on the end. The nozzle is stuck partly open, so it’s leaking. That’s the BOP. The garden hose is the pipe coming up the well.

    You need to stop the leak. So you drill a hole in the side of the handle of the nozzle. If you shoot in bits of rubber into the handle, hoping it will clog up the nozzle, you are doing a junk-shot. If you merely blow really hard into the handle, hoping that enough pressure from your breath will be created in the handle – even as air now leaks out the nozzle – then you are doing a top-kill. But think about how hard and how fast you’d need to blow to do that. The air would leak out the nozzle really easily, so it would be hard to produce the 50 psi inside the handle that is required to hold back the water. So you switch to blowing in a thick soup, instead. Thick soup will have a hard time leaking out the nozzle, so it will be a bit easier to get to 50 psi in the handle to stop the water. That’s why mud is used to do a top-kill.

    Did that help?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Did that help?

      If I weren’t so bloody tired, I’d be standing on my chair hollering and clapping in applause.

      That is EXACTLY how I needed to understand the dynamics!

      I’m sure it’ll be helpful for others as well; you’ve made it as simple and clear as I think it could be explained.

      Thank you ;-)))

      • JTMinIA says:

        You’re welcome. I’m glad. In fact, maybe I’ll claim this as “public service” on my yearly review. tee hee

    • Larue says:

      So yer sayin, in effect, BP is givin this a blow job?

      And a lousy one too, as they can’t suck hard enough to create a release.

      Hmmm . . . . lol

  53. JTMinIA says:

    I agree that we could be given more information and that BP has several reasons why they wouldn’t want to.

    I agree that they are probably lying about several things (on the simple grounds that previous behavior is the best predictor of future behavior).

    I also agree that what they’ve been doing could end up making things worse.

    But most of all, I agree with my wife who just said “you need to turn off the f*cking computer and go to bed.”

    See you tomorrow, tho’.

  54. bobschacht says:

    Rachel Maddow’s show last night(?) had an interesting graphic of the “Junk shot” procedure that surprised me. That graphic (from BP, I think) showed that the junk was being piped into the broken end of the riser pipe— i.e., against the stream of gas and oil.

    The graphic, like the one earlier showing insertion of a 4″ pipe into the end of the broken 21″ riser pipe, showed a collar of some kind around the 4″ pipe that would have helped restrict the flow of gas and oil escaping from the riser pipe, but that collar would also have made pushing the 4″ pipe into the broken end of the riser pipe more difficult. In effect, what this suggests, is that they were injecting the junk shot in one end of the riser pipe while they were injecting mud into the other end (from an insertion point in the BOP from the manifold).

    Bob in AZ

    • fatster says:

      and JTMinIA — Something went on a little while ago, regarding a saw which seems to have gotten dropped. I couldn’t see it at WKRP and I can’t view the video on Rep Markey’s site. Here’s conversation I read over at DU. Do either of you have update info about this?

  55. JTMinIA says:

    G’morning. That’s (299) really silly. And it’s been described enough for them to not make that mistake.

  56. JTMinIA says:

    I just watched the Maddow clip: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#37408543

    She has her sarc going WRT cutting and pasting, but her staff really let her down. The idea that a junk shot would be done at the far end of the 1-mile riser is really silly. Also, the siphon pipe they stuck in the end of the riser is 6″-D while the feeder pipes from the manifold are 4″-D which is why the size of 4″ has come up so often when talking about the limits of a junk shot.

  57. JTMinIA says:

    If that’s a saw, then they’re going to cut the riser off the top of the BOP in order to do the LMRP.

  58. JTMinIA says:

    Whether the kind of LMRP move that they’re planning is a second BOP or just a pipe remains to be seen, I guess. But Step One in either case is to cut off the broken/floppy riser.

    Note that, to the extent that the broken/floppy riser is providing useful resistance to flow, this could be a fricken disaster. If they cut off the riser and then can’t get something on top, they will have to go nuts with the mud injecting or this will become a gusher. On the positive side, if they succeed, then they’re golden.

    • fatster says:

      They’re moving the saw blade into place. Hope you’re watching and can explain. thnx.

  59. JTMinIA says:

    Got the feed working (for me). But where the heck are they about to saw? Looks to be somewhere in the middle of the BOP, not the top.

    • bobschacht says:

      G’morning.
      Your observation would strengthen our theory that the leaks we’ve been watching were coming from the stripper, rather than the base of the riser pipe.

      Bob in AZ

      • JTMinIA says:

        Oh, I think is’t definite that the most-frequent video view is the top of the BOP, not the manifold plenum or some storage tank. The OilDrum folks say it’s the bent riser pipe. That effectively the same thing as the stripper and sealer, since the latter are toast, anyway.

        • bobschacht says:

          The OilDrum folks say it’s the bent riser pipe. That effectively the same thing as the stripper and sealer, since the latter are toast, anyway.

          Why do you say that?

          Bob in AZ

          • JTMinIA says:

            The purpose of the stripper is to maintain a seal against the pipe as it is slid down through the BOP as you dig the well. Whether the leak at the top of the BOP is due to a bent-and-therefore-cracked riser pipe or a faulty stripper seal doesn’t really matter, since any leak above the core of the BOP is effectively the same thing. The only aspect of the leaks above the core of the BOP that makes a difference is the amount of resistance to flow that they provide. If the resistance to flow is decreased, then the gushing will increase *and* future top kills will have much less chance of success.

            However, you need to create something clean at the of the BOP in order to do any form of LMRP. And you don’t attach the LMRP device above a leak, since that defeats the purpose. So whatever that leaking thing is at the top of the BOP is going to get cut off before the LMRP device is attached.

  60. Leen says:

    Amazing tto think we can watch a livee video feed 5000 feet down and they cannot counte the dead in

  61. bmaz says:

    Hey! What’s going on here?? Sorry, got waylayed last night in Phoenix and had to take my obnoxious dog for an extended walk and play this morning. Need a bit to catch up on and a couple of posts to do. but wanted to see if someone would give me a readers digest version of what is going on in the land of BOP.

    • fatster says:

      I’m waiting for JTMinIA or bob to tell me what is happening. They had a saw down there and used it and now everything’s coming up oil.

      Ain’t that grand?

      See the link for Leen @ 310.

      Sigh.

  62. fatster says:

    “Military fuel consumption makes the Department of Defense the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S.”

    LINK.

    Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be riding a bike, but it does put things into perspective.

  63. JTMinIA says:

    Someone named aardvark over at oildrum has the same worry that I do: that the leak could be so far up the well-pipe that a sufficient column of mud can’t be created to kill the well. Otherwise, the most useful item from oildrum is agreement that the most-frequent view we get from the video is the riser bent over and kinked (i.e., the switch from thinking that plenum-like thing was part of the manifold to thinking it was at the top of the BOP was a correct switch in assumptions).

    No-one has said anything about what being shown on the NPR feed right now. It’s black, so I assume it’s oil, but where it’s coming from is anyone’s guess.

    • bobschacht says:

      …the most useful item from oildrum is agreement that the most-frequent view we get from the video is the riser bent over and kinked

      Well, they know more about BOPs and riser pipes than I do, but what do they think of those side hoses that we’ve been seeing in those multiple leak shots?

      Bob in AZ

  64. JTMinIA says:

    bmaz –

    Top kill failed because too much mud was leaking.

    They tried a few junk shots, but it also failed. Several “experts” at oildrum suggested that these were small/non-aggressive junk-shots because BP is worried that a clog at the kink in the riser will just rip the riser right off, which would reduce resistance to flow and the gusher would get much worse.

    They are getting ready to do some form of LMRP, which is a fancy way of saying “put something on top of the BOP to either take all of the oil away or act as a new BOP.” This would entail first cutting off the bent riser, which fits seeing a ROV with a circular saw on it.

    But right when the fun was (possibly) about to start, they switched the feed to a worthless view of some oil leak elsewhere. We don’t know whether they are doing the LMRP right now (and hiding it) or what.

  65. fatster says:

    Sure wish we had instant replay.

    BTW, after they cut whatever it was they cut, they moved quickly to another scene and showed an array of gauges–briefly.

    • JTMinIA says:

      This already *is* instant replay.

      In contrast to all the babbling about this being unprecedented, there are plenty of precedents. This is just the worst one so far.

      /s

    • bobschacht says:

      Yeah, but that is Suttles, the COO guy. It looks like the LMRP project is underway, but Suttles isn’t saying anything about that. He said there will be another news conference this afternoon at 4 PM.

      Right now he’s belittling the talk about the plumes, and minimizing other talk about adverse consequences. But he did say BP has spent about 940 mil already.

      He just said he was several hours behind in what they’re doing at the wellhead because he’s been flying around and not in touch.

      Bob in AZ

      • fatster says:

        Flying around. Hell, they’re all flying around–by the seat of their pants.

        BTW, thanks so much for summarizing the press conference (I gots no tee vee).

    • fatster says:

      It was a press conference on the tee vee over at CNN, JTM, if that’s what you’re seeking. Here’s what they’re saying about it over at DU.

  66. JTMinIA says:

    This video is useful for seeing what BOPs look like underwater, but also provides a new possible “excuse” for BP. It wasn’t the North Korean, it seems. (Note: in the case of the Gulf, substitute walrus for swordfish.)

        • fatster says:

          Many thanks for all your clarifications and help. So with the LMRP will we have exhausted their bag of tricks? Next stop is August when they supposedly will have drilled the other two lines?

          • bobschacht says:

            IF they can get a clean cut below all the leaks at the top of the BOP, and IF they can attach an LMRP over the clean cut, and IF the LMRP works like it is supposed to, and IF there are no leaks below the BOP or in the ocean floor, then the gusher will be capped, without killing the well.

            As JTMinIA suggested, however, once they’ve done the clean cut (it looks like they have already done this), then the gushing will be worse (temporarily) because it no longer has the resistance provided by the broken riser pipe, and he worries that the LMRP won’t be able to shut off the gusher. I’m not worried about that; the LMRP can be attached while the core pipe is wide open; once firmly in place and attached, the RAM can be activated to cut off the flow. The original BOP was supposed to do that, but malfunctioned. Presumably, the LMRP that they’re going to attach has been tested and works.

            Bob in AZ

            • JTMinIA says:

              I don’t think that they’ve cut it. The live feed is showing the far end of the riser and it’s gushing happily. The far end will, of course, stop gushing when the riser is cut off the BOP.

              • bobschacht says:

                The live feed is showing the far end of the riser and it’s gushing

                OK, if that’s the case, then obviously they haven’t done the cut yet.
                BTW, I’m sure their internal debate right now is where they can do a cut below the leaks that leaves them with a stub that they can firmly attach the LMRP to. You mentioned that some of the larger LMRPs are made to encompass not just a stub of the riser pipe, but the top of the BOP, including the stripper. It’s that “encompassing” part that I’m not sure how it works. Can you elaborate?

                BTW, bmaz, the LMRP is different from the Top Hat, as I understand it, because the Top Hat is basically an inverted funnel placed over the damaged BOP, whereas the LMRP, IIRC, actually attaches to the BOP– its not just an inverted funnel.

                Bob in AZ

  67. JTMinIA says:

    Thanks. Nothing we didn’t already know, it seems, but I like it when they say out loud what we have inferred.

    That they switched the feed right when they were about to do something that could results in this thing going totally out of control is very annoying. But I can understand why. If you were a surgeon, would you want your operations video-taped?

    “Dr. Suttle, when you clearly slipped and cut the femoral artery instead of the piece of lipid tissue that my deceased client asked you to remove, would you consider that to be at least partly causal to why my client bled to death on your table?”

  68. fatster says:

    Lawsuit to Challenge Salazar’s Wholesale Disregard of Marine Mammal Protection Laws in Gulf of Mexico
    400-plus Oil Projects Illegally Approved by Salazar Without Permits to Harm Endangered Whale
    s

    The sub-heading seems to need the editorial touch of skdadl. I hope.

    LINK.

    • skdadl says:

      I heard the batcall. Sadly, it appears that some permits might allow some harm, but yes, that’s not the point of the permits. Any limits would be good limits, and I hope they sue the pants off Salazar for letting this happen. Do you think he would know?

      The part about exposure to dangerous sounds — we can empathize with the whales and dolphins and manatees. The Toronto police dep’t just bought four LRADs, affectionately known as sound cannons, for the upcoming G20. Pittsburgh spent $18 million last year on security for the G20; we are spending ONE BILLION DOLLARS (on both the G20 and G8, and that’s just security — it doesn’t cover the shrimp cocktails). That estimate just came in this week; people are starting to get annoyed. A month from now, people may be very annoyed.

      • fatster says:

        It’s all in our sonar, dear skdadl.

        That upcoming techno-demo in Toronto surely has me highly annoyed. Jeebus.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Good excuse to enjoy the coffee, croissants and beer at some of Toronto’s local businesses.

          • fatster says:

            After having your ear-drums blasted by the mighty cannons, your body beaten by police batons (nothing like the sound of one of those on the human skull) and your lungs filled with noxious gas, I suppose.

            Actually, it’s very difficult for me to run anymore, so I think I’ll join you in a nice little indoor cafe where we can let bitter tears into our beers and watch angrily as beaten and bloody protestors walk by.

  69. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Thanks for the updates, and also the link to the OilDrum video cam link. What I see coming up out of that view is darker, and more volume than I recall from the earlier leaks.

    Again, thanks all. Will check back later.

    On one hand, no doubt there are people who scoff at those of us online following this stuff. On the other hand, it’s our future. If we’d been able to view the damage and leakage of the ExxonValdez, I do believe that more would have changed by now in US politics.

    But Valdez arm is so distant, so narrow, and relatively few Americans ever see those tankers that the disaster really remained out-of-sight-out-of-mind for most people.

    I really think people need to keep paying attention, and I take heart from the fact that smart, shrewd minds here and elsewhere on the Toobz are keeping watch.

    • JTMinIA says:

      The current flow out the far end of the riser pipe (which is what they’ve been showing for a while) is dark because they have given up (again) on top killing. So that’s oil.

      Caveat: maybe the lighting just stinks and that’s mud. I doubt it, but maybe.

  70. JTMinIA says:

    Yes, a LMRP (something marine riser package) is a gizmo you put on top of a BOP, replacing the riser, which can either be a new pipe to the surface or a new BOP (or both).

    The only trick to these is attaching them firmly to the existing BOP. This always involves removing the existing riser. If the existing riser (such as it is) is helping to reduce the flow of oil and gas, then cutting it off means you just upped the flow of crud/e into the ocean. So, if you have other options, you save this one.

    You can infer whether they cut off the riser from the BOP from the feed we’re being shown now. When they cut the riser off the BOP, the flow at the far end of the riser will, of course, cease. I’ll bet some pinheads in the MSM will see that and rush a story out that says “BP has stopped the leak!” When they later learn that BP really only moved the leak (and probably made it worse, at least for a while), they will look silly.

  71. JTMinIA says:

    Also, I’m not worried that an installed LMRP won’t be able to stop the flow. I’m worried that they won’t be able to install it (firmly enough).

    Note, however, that if they have really only tried wimpy junk-shots up to now for fear of making the leaks in the riser worse, then, once they’ve committed to an LMRP, they can be more aggressive and shoot as much junk as they wish (subject to the 4″ limit of the feeder lines). The risk of further leakage is minimal when the sucker is gushing wide open.

    This is BP. The feds – regardless of what our new decider says – are just standing around watching. Imagine what it means if they start the LMRP and it fails. I’ve seen estimates that put the flow as increasing by a factor of 5 without the riser.

  72. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The top hat captures and redirects the flow without slowing it. The LMRP is a new shut-off valve attached to a section of pipe from which defects – leaks, etc. – have been cut off. Once firmly attached to the pipe, it can be closed and the flow stopped or regulated, assuming all seals, the pipe’s integrity, etc., are A-OK. Conceptually, it’s similar to the shut-off valve under your kitchen sink, but a lot bigger and more complex.

    • JTMinIA says:

      I’ve seen several different options for LMRPs, ranging from the second BOP to something very much like a top hat. In other words, if you read or hear about BP doing a LMRP, don’t infer that this definitely means a second BOP; it could also mean a top hat. LMRP is pretty vague. It covers just about anything you put in to replace the original riser.

  73. fatster says:

    Bob, JTM, and EOH–so many thanks to all three of you for walking us who know so little through this mess. It’s still muddy (no pun intended, of course), but ever so much more understandable now that you’re explaining it. You three really have a knack for taking such complex stuff and rendering it graspable to a fatster.

  74. earlofhuntingdon says:

    When and who makes the call that BP must stop polluting at this record rate, even if the short-term direct “cost” is that it destroy an expensively drilled well, the cost of which pales compared to the cost of the damage done to people and businesses, and the the cost of the enivronmental clean-up?

    Surely, Shirley, that decision is not up to BP or its contractors; it must be a governmental decision. If Joe Blow is dumping barrels of crude off the dock into the Puget Sound, isn’t it up to the local police to stop and arrest him rather than wait for him to stop when he’s ready?

  75. JTMinIA says:

    I wish I knew if that was mud of oil coming out the end of the riser right now. The color, where there’s decent lighting, suggests mud. But the fact that it is billowing upwards suggests that it is oil. (Remember: mud is twice as heavy as sea water; it would not billow upwards on its own.)

    Back in an hour or so. (That means something interesting will happen in ten minutes.)

  76. fatster says:

    EOH, I trust you will hang around for about an hour so you can explain to Bob and JTM what happened while they were gone. They are very patient people, but my working vocabulary for this matter (the Borg, the ______thingy (the blank is an all-purpose receptacle), bungee cord, eye-bar, Yellow Submarine etc.) might stretch even their patience too thin.

  77. JTMinIA says:

    One last note before I go. I just heard from two source (although one was Fox, so let’s say one source: NPR) that the type of LMRP that they’re going to try is just a top hat.

    later

    • bobschacht says:

      the type of LMRP that they’re going to try is just a top hat.

      I thought they already tried that, and it didn’t work. What’s different this time?

      The advantage may be that if they’re just trying the top hat, they don’t have to cut anything off, so its undoable. They can always do a real LMRP later.

      Bob in AZ

      • fatster says:

        And meanwhile assure us how hard top management is working to get this thing fixed. Or is Admiral Thud the one who’s supposed to be reassuring us?

      • JTMinIA says:

        The thing that tried earlier is a huge dome that covers the entire BOP, but it froze up. This is a small one that only covers the top of the BOP. Roughly the same idea, though.

          • JTMinIA says:

            I remember them talking about a top-hat, but not the kind that is attached to the top of the BOP (which is an LMRP top hat). They didn’t do it since it would also freeze up.

            The main difference between LMRP methods and domes or plain top hats is that the latter allow the gas and oil to come out into the ocean before being sucked up. When the gas comes out into the ocean, it expands a lot, since it switches from being under 8000 psi to being under only 2400 psi. That expansion absorbs a ton of heat, so the hydrates form crystals.

            With an LMRP-type device, it’s bolted onto the BOP so it doesn’t exapand before getting into the pipe to the surface. Therefore, it doesn’t have a chance to expand, get cold, and freeze up.

            Make sense?

  78. fatster says:

    Oil spill hearings: Deepwater Horizon rig’s two senior officers now considered “parties of interest” in explosion investigation

    LINK.

    Oil spill hearings: Questions about design of Deepwater Horizon rig will wait until July

    “Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Saturday that internal BP reports obtained by that newspaper indicate that BP had long-running concerns about the well’s safety.”

    LINK.

    • john in sacramento says:

      jevman at fark via correntewire

      “One loser from Connecticut puts the wrong fertilizer, fireworks, and closed propane tanks in his car, kills 0 people, injures 0 people, and we arrest him, a bunch of people he conspired with (rightfully so of course), and are considering re-writing the constitution to remove the rights from the rest of us who aren’t terrorists (not rightfully so).

      A company shows a pattern of ignoring safety rules, causes a complete environmental catastrophe, that kills 11 people, and ruins the lives of thousands of people. No one arrested. No one charged. And they have a limit on their liability, so we the taxpayer will wind up subsidizing the losses, while they keep all the profit.

      The corporate oligarchy continues.”

      • fatster says:

        Ain’t that the truth! Thanks.

        Oh, and I forgot to tell you about the pop quiz. Tell me, what is the past tense of sh*t? (You really should pass this one with flying colors since I’ve made it so easy for you. Have fun.)

          • fatster says:

            LOL. U 2 funnee.

            Actually, it’s “sh*t”, following the convention we have of using the * for a vowel. (If you actually went to that link I left for you a day or so ago, you’d know we use the “i” when speaking in the present tense and the “a” for the past.)

            Apologies for the trick question, BTW.

                • skdadl says:

                  Funny you should ask that. I’ve just been studyin’ the maps for the “exclusion zone,” and I fear that my preferred spot on Front Street (the Royal York) is out — they won’t let us out of Union Station that direction. (Man, are these people uptight or what.)

                  Actually, I don’t want to be anywhere near Union Station that weekend (26-27 June). Subway, GO (commuter trains), and VIA (srs trains) passengers all arrive there, and they are going to be herded something awful. And we’re doing this for a billion-dollar photo-op for a bunch of empty suits (or if they aren’t empty suits, they’re actively evil). Why can’t they just teleconference?

                  The gossip is that Obama is going to be flying home to Washington every night of both summits. There are no words.

                  • fatster says:

                    Why would any city want to host these things? I guess the luxury hotels and other luxury establishments get lots of money providing for the needs and comfort of the the super-rich for those few days. But it hardly seems anybody else benefits.

                    Imagine if they simply built a super-luxurious liner, oh, say, called the Titanic II, complete with a companion aircraft carrier or three for their private jets, and held their get-togethers in very remote locations. Oh, say, perhaps, the Arctic?

                    I know this would deprive them of being entertained and kowtowed to in the more beautiful cities and towns around the globe, but it would surely relieve the rest of us the enormous cost of having them descend upon us and demand that we use our tax dollars to protect them from us. I wonder if any of them enjoy the prospect of watching protestors get trampled by all the gear, guns and men being amassed for “crowd control.” Sort of like the Romans and their circuses.

                    • Petrocelli says:

                      Toronto stands to get $2-3 Billion in its coffers from this summit, so there’s that. And great publicity for the tourism industry. The Leaders get to show that they’re in charge of the World … which is something the public should remember at election time.

                      Why would anyone waste good chocolate on Cake, when it’s so much quicker to make Martinis ?

                      *You can even make Chocolate Martinis on a Cycle, it’s that easy*

                    • fatster says:

                      That’s $2 – $4 billion before or after the $1 billion it takes to protect them from us during their two day meet-and-collude fest?

                      Hey, those chocolate martinis do sound scrumptious. This similar to your recipe?

                      PS I made the cake in a large coffee mug in the microwave. Takes about five minutes to mix up and three to nuke. It actually makes enough for two, but I bravely downed the whole thing.

                    • Petrocelli says:

                      Including the security … you have to feed those folks and give them a place to sleep.

                      That recipe looks pretty good, mine was shared some time ago over here …

                      1 oz Absolut Vanilla Vodka [almost frozen]
                      1 oz Creme de Cacao
                      1 oz Bailey’s
                      1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
                      6 ice cubes
                      Chocolate Flakes & extra Creme de Cacao for the Rim.

                      Take a cocktail shaker and pour the Vodka, Creme de Cacao, Bailey’s Irish Creme and Chocolate syrup.
                      Add the ice cubes.
                      Shake well.
                      Rub rim of glass with Creme de Cacao then dip into a shallow dish of Chocolate Flakes.
                      Strain and pour contents of cocktail shaker into a martini glass. If your guests are really special, melt some chocolate and make swirly designs inside the martini glasses, then put them in the Freezer for half an hour before serving.

                    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                      And great publicity for the tourism industry.

                      Toronto needs advertising?!

                      BTW: I hope you have forgiven me for my error of the other day.

                      Also, are you willing to pony up the Cycler’s Chocolate Martini Special recipe? (I just got off a good cycle ride; watched a video. Quite fun. But a Chocolate Martini would have improved it.)

                    • Petrocelli says:

                      LOL … no worries.

                      I had posted this same recipe for you around Christmas, last year.

                    • skdadl says:

                      {{{Petro!}}}

                      Petro, don’t make me come down there. Or up there — I guess you’re upstream from me. Don’t make me come up there. Or … are you barbequeing? Maybe I could …

                      Where on earth do you get those ridiculous numbers from, Petro? Everyone I know except for the young and the adventurous is decamping for the duration. U of T is closing down, and U of T never closes down. What’s going to happen to Hospital Row (directly south of Queen’s Park, the “free-speech zone,” solid mile of research hospitals)?

                      Petro! Don’t make me come up there.

                    • Petrocelli says:

                      I wish you would come … how about we meet halfway at Miller’s Tavern. *g*

                      I read it somewhere, that Toronto will see a boost of $2-3 Billion over the duration, is that wrong ?

                    • skdadl says:

                      skdadl looks up law for citizen’s arrest. Briefly encouraged by Criminal Code, section 494, but then discovers that own conviction re offender’s guilt not quite enough to justify arrest — must also perceive that said offender is escaping from and “freshly pursued” by persons with lawful authority.

                      Well, good luck with that, eh? As usual, we are scrod.

      • ghostof911 says:

        May be just smoke and mirrors, but at least someone’s making of show of checking into possible criminality. LAT.

  79. JTMinIA says:

    The whole dome has the advantage of not requiring any cutting. The top hat LMRP requires that you cut the riser off. So, the thinking behind why you do the dome thingy first and the top-hat LMRP matches what you said about reversability.

  80. bobschacht says:

    One reason they may be doing the top hat again is that they’re not quite sure where to cut off the top of the BOP. As earlier reported here, they had the saw out and looked ready to do it, but apparently they didn’t.

    BTW, I’m dividing time watching the Cards & Cubs while monitoring what’s going on here.

    Bob in AZ

  81. JTMinIA says:

    My theory on why they got the saw out and then didn’t seem to use it is that they are now trying an aggressive junk-shot. The danger of such is that it will bust open a bigger leak. That’s not a big deal, tho’, when you’re ready to cut the riser off, anyway. (In other words, they were only getting the saw ready and in position; they didn’t intend to cut until after they tried an aggressive junk-shot.) The advantage of an aggressive junk-shot is that it has a much better chance of success than a wimpy one.

    I just wish that they were showing us the top of the BOP, instead of the end of the riser.

  82. bobschacht says:

    They tried the top hat two weeks ago, but according to this stupid illustration, they lowered the top hat over one of the leaks in the middle of the collapsed riser pipe!

    When BP later abandoned the top hat effort, the report includes an illustration showing that the large containment dome again was aimed at the far end of the riser pipe, not at the BOP.

    So if this information is correct, what is different this time is that they’re planning to lower the top hat over the BOP? Or once again over the far end of the riser pipe?

    Bob in AZ

  83. JTMinIA says:

    First, the difference is that a LMRP top hat has a grommet or other sealing device to clamp it to the top of the BOP so that the gas can’t expand before getting into the pipe up to the ship.

    As to whether it was stupid to put the plain top hat over a leak in the riser pipe … that actually makes sense. The farther down the riser pipe, the more likely the gas has already expanded and absorbed heat, so the less likely it is to freeze up. I’ve been wondering why they didn’t bring in a super-tanker and suck up as much as they could from the far end of the riser pipe. The answer appears to be the lack of an available super tanked, but I’ll bet there’s another reason.

    • bobschacht says:

      As to whether it was stupid to put the plain top hat over a leak in the riser pipe …

      Did you look at the illustration? If you did, you’ll see why I called it “stupid.” If you didn’t, you won’t understand why I used that word.

      Bob in AZ

    • bobschacht says:

      the difference is that a LMRP top hat has a grommet or other sealing device to clamp it to the top of the BOP so that the gas can’t expand before getting into the pipe up to the ship.

      How can they do that without cutting off the riser pipe?

      Bob in AZ

    • ghostof911 says:

      May very well be that no supertankers are available. Don’t speculators keep the filled tankers at sea until the price at the pump gets high enough for them to score a nice profit? With gasoline prices relatively low, there is no rush to offload.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Don’t speculators keep the filled tankers at sea until the price at the pump gets high enough for them to score a nice profit? With gasoline prices relatively low, there is no rush to offload.

        Precisely.
        Hence, a shortage of supertankers available to go hoover up that oil pollution floating around.

        FinReg didn’t address the whole derivative speculation off-books for commodities, now did it? Hence, different parties have tankers filled with oil and parked until spot prices rise.

        So derivatives trading and speculation windfalls remain more important than making oil tankers available to hoover up oil spills.
        But not to worry – the government’s going to do all it can. /s

  84. JTMinIA says:

    I once thanked my then-current girlfriend for her “hortative behavior.”

    Not only lost a girlfriend, but my cheek hurt for several days afterwards.

    Started dating chicks with large vocabularies instead of large [bleep]s after than.

    • skdadl says:

      lol. Mind you, I can imagine that hortative behaviour could get on your nerves after a while. Especially with that verb.

  85. JTMinIA says:

    A LMRP top hat (with grommet) requires removal of the existing riser, just like any other LMRP action.

  86. JTMinIA says:

    Just to recap. I think they got the ROV with a saw ready because they are going to do some type of LMRP, which, by defintion, requires removal of the existing riser.

    My guess is that they haven’t done this yet (as evidenced by the continued flow from the far end of the riser) because they are doing an aggressive junk-shot, first.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      I just heard it straight from the horse’s ass on CNN myself. Has anyone answered the question (that Obama did not) about whether there is a vacuum type system available/on the way?

  87. JTMinIA says:

    I can’t remember if we talked about it in detail. I took it as implied when the talk about LMRPs got serious and the ROV with a saw appeared.

  88. bobschacht says:

    BP has always made clear that there’s no room for a supertanker to maneuver among the flotilla of ships in the immediate wellhead area, i.e. supertankers are not welcome. However, they could still be employed sucking up the vast oil plumes, etc elsewhere, and I don’t understand why that’s not being done.

    Bob in AZ

    • ghostof911 says:

      The supertankers need not be in the vicinity. Smaller vessels could ferry the siphoned oil to the large vessel moored away from the congestion.

  89. Hmmm says:

    Yo there all ye fellow vigil-keepers.

    Maybe they’re waiting to get the new top hat in place before they try a final all-out junk shot, so that there’s a container in place in case that causes the BOP to blow up? Or, if it merely fails, then they can go immediately to the LMRP phase and cut off the riser…?

    Dunno, just trying to read the few tea leaves we’re given.

  90. fatster says:

    So, this is a question that will probably merit a “You’re so dumb you died before breakfast” response, but I would like to ask it.

    They drilled a hole very, very deep and cracked some of rock down there, leading to this problem. Why is it not possible that they could insert pipe just a couple of inches less in diameter than the drill hole and, in that way, bypass the crack in the rock, and blah blah blah?

    Thnx.

    • Hmmm says:

      Well… of course I don’t know, but I imagine they would have to have a good idea where in the 18,000+ foot hole the leak is before they could attempt a patch that way. And there’s the pressure flowing up that they’d have to overcome, and as far as I know, they can’t send ROVs down the drill hole to serve as eyes nor as hands.

      • fatster says:

        Your scenario is simpler, at least. I was imagining just relining the entire drill-hole, I guess. And thank you for indulging me.

        • Hmmm says:

          On second read, I understand you better… Sorry I didn’t get you at first. But there still seem to be problems.

          So you would have a long, intact pipe inside a long, leaky pipe, with oil & gas coming up through both. Seems like to stop the flow, you’d have to cap off both pipes. That’d be easier for the new/inner/intact pipe, but that would just force all the upwards pressure into the outer/old/leaky pipe, which we can’t secure now — so that’s not the order to do it in. And if you started by capping the outer/old/leaky pipe, then again we would have already done that if it were possible to do.

          As I often find myself saying, I hope I’m wrong about that.

          • fatster says:

            Oh, I was figuring they if they could get stuff coming up the smaller pipe, then it might enable them to place some kind of stuff blocking off the 1 or 2 inches in between the old and new pipe. Hey, it’s just a pipe-dream of mine anyway, so don’t waste any more time and thought on it, Hmmm.

            • bobschacht says:

              They already have a 4″ pipe inside the end of the long 21″ pipe, and they’re sucking oil out of it. But they can’t push that pipe far enough down the pipe to get very much of the oil and gas, much of which can escape around the small bore pipe anyway, besides leaking out of other kinks in the riser pipe.

              Bob in AZ

              • fatster says:

                Well good grief, that leaves a 17″ “express lane” for the oil, then doesn’t it?

                (If they’ve already put a small pipe down there, though, that doesn’t make me feel quite so dumb. So thanks for helping me salvage a bit of self-confidence.)

              • JTMinIA says:

                At the risk of being annoying again, the siphon pipe was 6″-D.

                The 4″-D pipes are the feeders from the manifold to the kill and choke valves.

    • bobschacht says:

      They drilled a hole very, very deep and cracked some of rock down there, leading to this problem.

      I don’t think that’s a helpful summary. The problem is not that some rock is cracked; the problem is that some equipment is leaking. And the riser pipe is badly bent in several places, so you can’t just run a smaller pipe down inside of it.

      Bob in AZ

    • JTMinIA says:

      Was anyone watching before the video switched? Did the flow at the far end of the riser ever slow down?

      • fatster says:

        I’ve only been watching for a few minutes now (took a break for chocolate cake). I haven’t seen the flow again. Right now the screen is black.

    • fatster says:

      I think it is topside, because there are droplets on the camera lens. Maybe the guy in the hard-hat and red jump-suit will come into view again.

  91. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Lordy, there was a Coast Guard hearing in LA today?!
    Glad to see they were working on a Saturday.

  92. Petrocelli says:

    ‘kay folks, duty calls … must go and visit some great friends BBQ Goodies … *g*

    Have a great weekend !

  93. bobschacht says:

    JTMinIA @ 423:
    OK, thanks for the correction.

    I haven’t heard any discussion of the collar that the illustrations show around the 6″ pipe. Do you know anything about that?

    Bob in AZ

  94. bobschacht says:

    THERE’S A SECOND LEAK, LARGER
    THAN THE FIRST: SIMMONS

    “Matt Simmons, founder of energy investment bank
    Simmons & Company, also says that there is evidence of
    a second oil leak about five to seven miles from the initial
    leak that BP has focused on fixing. That second leak, he
    says, is so large that the initial one is ‘minor’ in comparison.

    Anyone heard anything about this? Here’s a link:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/prominent-oil-industry-insider-theres-another-leak-much-bigger-5-6-miles-away

    Bob in AZ

      • JTMinIA says:

        Isn’t Simmons the same jerk who was saying there was a second leak that had nothing to do with the well? Now he wants a nuke??? He’ll do anything to save the value of his BP shares, won’t he.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          He mentioned nuking it at least a week ago.

          However, I think it was Larue who made a really interesting observation around here yesterday, to the effect that the bottom of the seabed has probably caved at some point. I suppose that it depends on the geology in that area, but it sure sounds possible. In which case, we are in very deep sh!t.

          • bobschacht says:

            There’s been some interesting research on the connection between oil extraction and earthquakes. Makes some sense– remove thousands of barrels of fluid from a rock deposit, and it will create something like a vacuum (not the right word) in the rock, which will invite compensatory movement in the adjacent deposits. But I’m not a geologist, and I didn’t even sleep in a motel 6 or whatever last night.

            Bob in AZ

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              My spouse was a geology major (and wouldn’t have worked for an oil company if he’d been threatened at gunpoint, as it’s not his culture). He speculated about that last week; it sure does make sense that if you are dislodging material — particularly at great depths — then you’re going to have ripple effects.

              • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                The notion of earthquakes makes sense, but more relevant to that conversation was the question of the geology in that region of the Gulf of Mexico; apparently, the likelihood of some kind of big sink that would explain the multiple plume depends a lot on the geology.

                Note that neither BP nor the government has given a good description of that geology; at least not that I recall.

                • DWBartoo says:

                  The Macondo Prospect is located on Mississippi Canyon block 252 (MC252), in what is known, reasonably enough, as the “Northern Gulf of Mexico”, one of seven geologic regions of the Gulf as described by Antoine (1972), a region generally thick with sediments from the Mississippi river.

                  The Gulf of Mexico is considered a “stable geologic province characterized by the persistent subsidence of its central part …”

                  One might read an MMS “report”, “Deepwater Gulf of Mexico 2008: America’s Offshore Energy future”, and learn very little about much of anything … or one might think of these terribly reassuring words:

                  “The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left out there. It’s as natural as the ocean water is.” Rush Limbaugh, May 21, 2010.

                  Learned some interesting things about “Eddy Entrapment into the Loop Current and Gulf Stream”, yesterday … enough to consider that the knowledge of a number of disciples is going to become evermore critical for our survival and even for having a meager grasp of what is “going on”.

                  “The loop current extends down to 3000 feet. Below this depth, there are deep energetic eddies and waves.”

                  It may be assumed, lacking further information, that most of the oil has found “neutral buoyancy” levels well beneath the surface …

                  DW

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      bobs, in case you see this — I’ve been mentioning that for days. And noted it up @262.

      Simmons is an oil guy.
      He said on Ratigan’s program both Wednesday and Thursday that he was sure there was some other big leak.

      (I thought that y’all watched Ratigan, but I’m certain that I posted a link some days back, although perhaps on an FDL thread rather than EW.)

      He made a ton of sense, at least to my novice perspective.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Oh, I hope that I didn’t sound ‘scoldy’ (!). I just thought that you’d mentioned at some point or other in past threads that you watch his show and think he’s a smart guy.

          He has had some really good guests on recently, including Simmons.

  95. JTMinIA says:

    No, but it does not surprise me to hear such a report. It’s a BP-induced snow-job. “You can’t blame us for all the oil! Some of it came from somewhere else!” A-holes.

    (Looking for a pic of either a collar or a LMRP top hat.)

      • JTMinIA says:

        Yep. But I believe the Grommet in those ‘toons is spelled Grommit.

        In any event, a ring to fill an annulus and seal it is called a grommet. I was just being silly.

  96. JTMinIA says:

    Live feed now showing what looks to be a huge, billowing, gush. Maybe they cut the riser off.

    • fatster says:

      Ooooh, looks pretty ominous to me. Here’s the link for others interested.

      PS I wonder if those white things floating around now and again could be the golf balls. Surely, they’re nothing that’s alive–not in that mess.

  97. fatster says:

    U.S. fears BP cleanup workers imperiled

    “Federal regulators complained in an internal memo about “significant deficiencies” in BP’s handling of the safety of oil-spill workers and asked the Coast Guard to help pressure the company to address a litany of concerns.

    “The memo, written by a Labor Department official last week, reveals the Obama administration’s growing concerns about potential health and safety problems posed by the oil spill.”

    LINK.

    Well, well. Over a month later, the feds are beginning to get a clue about the impact of poisonous substances on human beings. Now, what will they do about it–keep writing “internal” memos and emails and applying “pressure” through Admiral Thud?

    • fatster says:

      Finally!!! There is movement; let’s hope it grows and gets ahead of the need, which is probably going to be considerable.

      U.S. Rep. Charles Melancon announces health clinics for ailing Gulf oil spill relief workers

      “U.S. Rep. Charles Melancon, D-Napoleonville, today announced that the federal government will deploy a temporary health care clinic to south Louisiana to treat and screen workers and residents affected by the oil spill in the Gulf.”

      LINK.

  98. bobschacht says:

    Here’s a new(?) illustration of how the LMRP is supposed to be installed.

    In this version, the top of the BOP is left intact; only the riser pipe is cut off. Also in this illustration, the LMRP=Sealing Grommet has no RAM, i.e. does not have its own BOP facility. Note that the Sealing Grommet also has methanol lines attached (for bleeding off any methanol hydrate?)

    According to Upstream Online:

    If the top kill does not work, the UK supermajor plans to cut off the riser from the lower marine riser package (LMRP) and attach another to collect the flow.

    The device would be coupled to a flex joint above the LMRP with a sealing grommet to keep water out of the flow and control gas hydrate formation.

    The cap also has valves to inject methanol or hot water into the production stream.

    BP has already lowered the LMRP cap to the seafloor so it could be deployed immediately after a failed top kill.

    Installing the cap would take about four days, Suttles said, and it could be in place early next week.

    The LMRP cap would allow BP to capture as much of the flow from the well as possible while it works on other options to kill the well, he said.

    He announced Wednesday that BP preferred option in that instance would be to add a second BOP on top of the first.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6523#more

    Who or what the heck is “the UK supermajor”?

    Bob in AZ

    • JTMinIA says:

      Yep. That’s what they said they’re trying next. Maybe tonight, since it’s been on the Gulf’s floor nearby for a while, it seems.

  99. bobschacht says:

    From http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6523#more:

    “BP and Admiral Landry just held a Press Conference in which they said that, based on a decision 90 minutes ago, by the “best and brightest minds” that it was time to move on the next option, the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP). BP was unable to block sufficient flow out of the well to make the injection of cement possible, and thus to kill the well. They had made, I believe he said, three attempts to inject material (the junk shots) without being able to get that material to block the passages through the Blow-Out Preventer (BOP)….”

    I.e. the junk shots were to try to clog up the BOP, not the broken riser pipe, as some other sources suggested.

    Bob in AZ

    • JTMinIA says:

      > “I.e. the junk shots were to try to clog up the BOP, not the broken riser pipe, as some other sources suggested.”

      I’ll bet if the junk shot had clogged the riser and the later held, they would have taken credit for it, even though the *fear* was that junk would make leaks in the riser worse.

      * * *

      Given that tonight’s demonstration as to how *not* to be a hockey goalie is over, my third window is showing South Park. Therefore, it’s getting very difficult to not make a very weak and rude joke on the word “annulus.” I will, however, try to resist.

  100. bobschacht says:

    From the same report on the BP/Landry press conference:

    Mr Suttles said that they had given the technique every chance, but could not get it to start to provide an effective seal. They had, however, determined that the majority of the pressure restrictions to the flow of oil was coming from some resistance within the well itself, and from the BOP. Since the riser above the BOP was not contributing much to the resistance, and thus to control of the oil flow, the next plan is to remove it, using a band saw device (of which pictures will be available) and then to lower the LMRP onto the existing BOP. They intend to cut the surface flat that the LMRP will sit on, so that it will give a good, but not perfect, seal. Thus there will be some leakage around the joint, and they will monitor that and use dispersant as appropriate.

    This provides an answer to one of JTMinIA’s previous concerns about the possible effect of removing the riser pipe. What worries me about this is that they won’t be able to completely seal the interface between the LMRP and the top of the BOP. This is bad news. I would think they might leave a stub of the riser pipe for the LMRP to clamp to, but apparently not.

    Bob in AZ

  101. JTMinIA says:

    The riser is bent right above the BOP. They can’t leave much if any of a stub.

    As to BP’s claim that the riser isn’t providing much resistance to flow, I don’t buy that at all. That bent in the riser was probably helping a lot.

    With that all said, it’s all probably moot. Occasionally the lighting in the current feed becomes decent and it looks like an incredible gusher. I think they already cut it. I think they cut it while showing us feeds from worthless ROVs.

  102. bobschacht says:

    Continuing from the BP/Landry press conference report cited above (emphasis added):

    The assembly, which has been constructed, is not the Top Hat assembly built earlier, to fit on the bottom of a riser. Flow of oil from the LMRP will rise up a 6 7/8 inch drill pipe within the riser (the same size as the one currently fitted to the RIT). The riser will also carry hot water down to the LMRP to protect against the formation of hydrates.

    He noted that their inability to stop the well “scares everybody” but is reasonably confident (no success percentage estimates) that this will collect the majority of the oil and gas. Because they do not know the flow path of the oil below the seabed, it is difficult to estimate what is actually going on in terms of oil path below the BOP. Thus they are, again, trying something that has never been done before, but expect, based on the RIT, that it will work.

    On being asked about the cleanup of the dispersed oil – he pointed out that the reason that the dispersant was used was to break the oil into small droplets. These are small enough to be consumed by the microbes in the sea, and thus there is no plan to do other than let nature take its course. For the oil on the surface, they are getting better at spotting oil pools and sending skimmers to deal with them.

    This last paragraph explains BP disdain for supertankers to suck up the oil and separate it. Suttles seems to have faith that the microbes will do their work fast enough to save the coastal marshes. He is an idiot. He should be over-ruled on this by the Coast Guard, which should order super-tankers immediately to start sucking up the oil, especially the patches that are already threatening the marshes. This idiotic “let them eat cake” strategy should be broadcast over all the Gulf Coast communities in order to raise a public outcry. The US Coast Guard needs to stop being so passive, and take command of this aspect of the situation.

    Bob in AZ

    • Hmmm says:

      You mean besides the ones that run parallel to the bent riser? The riser always had other lines attached, for example the hydraulic ones they use to trigger the BOP rams from topside in an emergency. (Cruel joke though they may have been in this one case.)

  103. Hmmm says:

    If cutting off the bent riser lowers the resistance, maybe less oil will be forced out into sub-surface mineral strata.

  104. JTMinIA says:

    They also need to give the ROVs cute names, like in Silent Running: Huey, Dewey, and Lewie.

  105. JTMinIA says:

    The middle pipe seems too darned small to be the riser, but I guess it’s a case of having nothing familiar to anchor on. (My wife is the vision expert, but she went to sleep.) That must be the riser. Thanks.

  106. bobschacht says:

    What’s the yellow thingy? is it the LMRP, or is that black thing hovering near the top of the view the LMRP?

    I keep looking for the scroll bar to move the image up or down.

    Bob in AZ

  107. JTMinIA says:

    So, my guess is that our ROV will hold that yellow box out of the way while the other ROV cuts the riser off.

  108. JTMinIA says:

    The yellow box-like thing is just a corner bumper. Assuming that that’s the riser bent over, going to the right, the other ROV is either cutting if off or messing with our heads. tee hee

  109. Hmmm says:

    [Edit: Replying to @466]

    I think the way it crumpled makes it look smaller than it once must have been. Big indent across the middle of the underside, for example.

  110. bobschacht says:

    Looks to me like the bent riser is at the top of the window we’re seeing; the bend is illuminated with a bright light, and there’s stuff (gas? Oil?) rising but not gushing from it. If that’s right, then they haven’t cut the riser off yet.

    Bob in AZ

  111. Hmmm says:

    The other ROV has a yellow solid top/side cover and black sled-and-tubes underframe. Our ROV is holding a small yellow thingie.

  112. fatster says:

    What’s the thing that resembles the garbage disposal underneath a kitchen sink? Its at the bottom of the picture right now. Thnx.

    • JTMinIA says:

      I think that’s the stripper. (It seals to the pipe being pushing through the BOP during drilling.)

      • bobschacht says:

        In response to fatster @ 474 (show text)

        I think that’s the stripper. (It seals to the pipe being pushing through the BOP during drilling.)

        That was my thought, too.

        Bob in AZ

  113. JTMinIA says:

    No sign of the saw. It was in an ROV’s right “hand” last time, but it will be more than a 12″ circular saw this time, I’ll bet.

  114. Hmmm says:

    Is the other ROV pushing the riser joint over to the side, so that this ROV can sneak in and cut the joint?

  115. bobschacht says:

    Ah. What I called the black thing hovering near the top of the window is the Millenium 12 machine. The bottom half is black, but the top half is yellow. Does it have the saw? It looked like the flat black bottom was contacting (and holding?) the riser bundle, and may have detached a few things.

    Bob in AZ

  116. JTMinIA says:

    My guess is that the loose pipe our ROV is pulling on is the original kill or choke line feed. Remember: they switched these to being fed from the manifold off to the side.

    • bobschacht says:

      When the camera panned down the horizontal section of riser, did you see the sheath that seemed to encompass the bundle of things? was that the 21″ pipe? IOW, what we see at the bent joint is not the 21″ pipe, but the bundle that was inside the pipe?

      Bob in AZ

  117. JTMinIA says:

    They have the nerve to still use the yellow/green flower symbol when showing this???? A-holes!

      • Hmmm says:

        I think folks think the turbulence is so great that some of the mud actually is getting put into suspension and getting blown up & out the leaks.

  118. JTMinIA says:

    Actually, I have some Jean Michell Jarre going now, instead of South Park. It works well.

  119. bobschacht says:

    The camera panned down the horizontal riser pipe a few minutes ago. What that seemed to show is that what I’ve been calling in the last hour the riser “bundle” is all the stuff inside the pipe; I knew there was supposed to be a drill thing in the middle, but there also seem to be other things in the bundle– probably connections to monitors and control devices?

    Bob in AZ

    • JTMinIA says:

      There are at least five other lines (besides the main pipe) on a riser. Kill feed, choke feed, aux hydraulic feed, and electrical bundle.

  120. JTMinIA says:

    Hey, our guy might be the one with the wire saw. That would be cool. (But they’ll just change feeds, I’ll bet.)

    • bobschacht says:

      There are at least five other lines (besides the main pipe) on a riser. Kill feed, choke feed, aux hydraulic feed, and electrical bundle.

      Oops. And control lines (also electrical).

      OK, what it looks to me like what they’re doing is that in preparation for cutting the riser pipe, they want to get all these other lines out of the way, although I’m not sure why.

      Bob in AZ

      • JTMinIA says:

        I think they need to make sure that they can attach new lines to those inputs later. You know, like when they start making money off this. You don’t think they’d hurry to stop the leak at the cost of delays and money later, do you? /s

        • bobschacht says:

          Right. I was puzzled because the lines upward were clearly dead-ended, but I forgot about the lines downward, which are still connected to the BOP. They’ll want to use those.

          Bob in AZ

  121. Hmmm says:

    Well, if they’re going to sever the riser, then they’re also going to have to disconnect or sever all the additional cables it comes with (see [email protected]). This looks like prep for all that cutting.

  122. JTMinIA says:

    This is my understading: ACC wrote a short story called “Sentinel of Eternity” much earlier. Kubrik expanded it with ACC’s help into the movie. Then ACC wrote the longer version after the movie.

  123. fatster says:

    Do you find yourself moving your mouth around, trying to help the “hands” grasp something?

  124. bobschacht says:

    CNN is re-running the Landry/Suttles news conference this afternoon.
    Suttles is still focused on “capturing” the flow, rather than stopping the flow. And he still has primary faith in “dispersants” rather than any process to suck up the oil plumes that are already floating around.

    Which tells me that BP is more concerned with the profit line.

    Bob in AZ

    • fatster says:

      They’re also concerned with the deceit line. They seem to use those “dispersants” as camo.

    • bobschacht says:

      They did actually say it would take several days to set this up.

      Now I think I understand why. They have to sort out all those lines, then probably cut them one by one, and tuck the ends of the lines going down to the BOP somewhere out of the way where they can find them again.

      Then maybe they’ll suspend the LMRP above the riser a couple of meters, so they can pull down the lines from the LMRP. Then how do you solder lines together under water? I would guess that the lines from the LMRP will be in the form of some kind of plug or connector plate, but if so, they’ve still got to get the old line ends fixed up so they can be connected to the new lines. And I can see how that would take a while, especially a mile under water.

      Bob in AZ

  125. fatster says:

    Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig

    “Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.”

    LINK.

  126. JasonLeopold says:

    Revisiting the discussion on Predator drones earlier in the thread, the NYT has this story:

    Operators of Drones Are Faulted in Afghan Deaths
    By DEXTER FILKINS

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The American military on Saturday released a scathing report on the deaths of 23 Afghan civilians, saying that “inaccurate and unprofessional” reporting by Predator drone operators helped lead to an airstrike in February on a group of innocent men, women and children.

    The report said that four American officers, including a brigade and battalion commander, had been reprimanded, and that two junior officers had also been disciplined. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who apologized to President Hamid Karzai after the attack, announced a series of training measures intended to reduce the chances of similar events.

    Trying to locate a copy of the actual report.

  127. JasonLeopold says:

    and from Stars and Stripes:

    A redacted summary of the investigation into the incident, released Saturday, raised new question both about the use of unmanned drones, which are often piloted remotely from the U.S., and about oversight of Special Operations teams in Afghanistan.

    The report said two children were seen among the vehicles prior to the airstrike but that Predator drone operators at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada “ignored or downplayed” indications that the vehicles contained civilians. U.S. troops tracked the convoy for roughly 3½ hours before helicopter gunships arrived and opened fire with missiles and aerial rockets.

      • DWBartoo says:

        I hope every American takes the opportunity to see that cartoon, tvt.

        I wonder if that might change anything?

        As always, tvt, I thank you, for placing very important things in front of us, that we might understand a little bit more … or even a lot.

        DW

  128. fatster says:

    I’m watching theoildrum vid. Nothing happening there. Does BP give its workers Sundays off?

    • bobschacht says:

      Well, what’s a day when its only costing $30,000,000 a day? The guys need a break. After all, its a holiday weekend, right?

      Bob in AZ

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Could someone double-check my math please?

        I divide $30,000,000 by 24 hours = $1,250,000/hr

        $1,250,000 per hour / 60 min in an hour = $20,833.33 per minute

        And $20,833.33 per minute /60 sec per minute = $347.22 per second

        Someone care to double-check my math?

        • R.H. Green says:

          Following the money seems like a good thing to do. I recall the House hearing (Waxman committee?) a congressman attempting to justify skipping some of the cement plugging plans on the grounds that “a whole precious day had been lost”. I thought that the word precious should be reserved for the 11 dead, but we all have different priorities. I saw someone here linked a comment from a BP official (CEO?) that they had “already spent $900 million on this”.(Can that be right?). Bob’s comment @445 included the words from Suttles that the BP preferred plan is to install a second BOB on top of the failed one, so trying to capture some of the escaping oil withe the LMRP is an interim measure. Some time will be spent locating, transporting, and installing the 450 ton structure. Meanwhile oil is escaping and money is being lost. There seems to be a Kabuki theater aspect to all this underwater opera, and keeping an eye on the money is a high priority.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Fatster, here’s a good CBS item on what the sea looks like in infrared. Along with Rick Steiner’s interviews and Matt Simmons interviews, this is probably the best news report that I’ve seen.

      And I see the SF Chronicle has put up the NASA video following the oil spill over days – it’s spooky, and (grimly) informative. I put the NASA link up a few days ago, but here’s the SF Chronicle link.

      And for DWBartoo, I think they’re working off Univ of South Florida infrared-based current animations. They’re mapping infrared over time, which is what I’d been trying to locate.

  129. bobschacht says:

    Why is this LMRP being called a “sealing grommet” when they are apparently going to rely on nothing more than gravity and a clean cut to connect the flow from the top of the BOP to the LMRP? Seems like they oughta be able to do better than that.

    Bob in AZ

    • R.H. Green says:

      Yesterday someone posted a link to an illustration showing the LMRP and its relation to the BOP (stripper?) and I thought at the time that I don’t see any attaching flange that would allow connection to the BOP. Nor did I see any clamping structure, which led me to believe that there has to be more to this than the illustration portrays. I’ll try to find the comment. But,yes, a gravity connection seems amaturish, and I think I recall a spokesperson saying that it is expected to be a leaky (RubeGoldberg?)fit.

  130. bmaz says:

    569 comments?!?! Jeebus. Holy crap. I really fell down on the job by going to that damn game. Okay folks, that is a little high for our servers; so please continue this discussion over on the Trash thread for now. I am working on a Gitmo post and will be along with that in a bit. But for now, please run up the count on Trash if you would. This thread needs a blow out preventer!

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