Top Hat and Tails; BP Has Yet Another “Solution”

Now that this is an all oil all the time blog, the restless residents are clamoring for a new thread for the LMRP, the latest greatest bullshit moonshot BP is ginning up for the gullible media and public. You ask, we comply; this is a full service blog!

Here is a quick recap. Top Kill failed. Junk Shot failed. Top Kill and Junk Shot combined failed. The only thing BP has been successful at is failure, but they are very good at failure. There is a very good chance the key to all this failure is contained in this quote buried in the lower half of an article by oil and gas industry publication Upstream Online:

Flow from the Macondo well is not travelling up the main well bore, BP operations boss Doug Suttles said Tuesday, a revelation that supports theories that a cement failure played a part in the blowout.

“We actually believe the flow path is between two strings of the casing and not up the main wellbore,” Suttles said.

Suttles said BP could not be certain of the flow path but diagnostic tests on the well seem to indicate the flow is not coming up main bore.

A veteran industry source told UpstreamOnline that the news about the flow path “almost certainly confirms” what many suspected, that problems with the annular cement around the production casing played a part in the blowout.

The well itself has no structural integrity; it has not from the outset. The well was doomed to blow out and all these hair brained fixes BP has hucked to the clueless media and public were doomed to fail as well. This has been an insane ostrich head in the sand process, apparently all to salve a pissed public and angry mother nature because BP and the government have got nothing else and they know it.

The latest greatest pie in the sky dream fix is LMRP, which technically stands for Lower Marine Riser Package. It is the new and improved Top Hat! Here is a diagram of the LMRP plan.

Here is my question: How the heck is this going to work if the well itself – the casing, seals, cement and well walls – is not intact, which we know it is not as to all of said factors? LMRP may further choke or restrict the flow, but it strikes me it cannot, and will not, stop it; and the resulting back pressure could exacerbate other inherent problems. We have been led to believe all the oil being lost is through the BOP, and such is the only video evidence we have been provided by the unified disaster response command. However, there is no evidentiary proof such is the case, and we have been intentionally prohibited from seeing the full scope of what is going on down there at the Macondo well bore.

Secondly, the existence of decent flow through the wounded BOP has kept well pressure from building up and really blowing out the well bore. When you cap such a compromised well bore with either the LMRP or the “new BOP”, even assuming they can really pull either of those off as BP claims (and the fuckers have not been right about any of their half assed ideas yet), then you will block the pressure vent that has kept the well bore itself from further eroding and being further seriously compromised.

As even Obama Administration flak Carol Browner now admits, the only real hope for stopping the oil flow of the biggest environmental disaster in history comes from the relief wells being drilled. But they can not be completed until sometime in August at best (hey, did you know hurricane season is on its way?), and BP has ceased work on one of the two relief wells because they may want to pirate the BOP from that effort to further jerry rig the Macondo well head by putting it on top of the current broken BOP. The sheer willful and wanton incompetence from both BP and the government continues unabated. Also, from the same link:

Congressman Ed Markey, who forced BP to make available a live video feed of the oil leak, said Sunday he had “no confidence whatsoever in BP.”

“BP has been making it up as they go along the whole way,” he said on “Face the Nation.” I don’t think that people should really believe what BP are saying.”

No shit Sherlock. LMRP, the latest version of “Top Hat”, is just another song and dance. And people laughed at Dr. Sludgelove’s bomb.

UPDATE: Henry Waxman, Bart Stupak and the Energy and Commerce Committee have made a notable document dump:

Committee Releases Memo & Documents Concerning Issues Raised in Recent News Media Accounts Related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Sunday, 30 May 2010 15:06

Today, the Committee on Energy & Commerce released a memo and documents concerning issues raised in recent news media accounts related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.

Yesterday, The New York Times published an article entitled “Documents Show Earlier Fears About Safety of Offshore Well.” The article described documents from BP that, according to The New York Times, “show serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig.”

Some members have asked whether we were the source of the documents cited by The New York Times and whether they can review the documents. We were not the source of the documents, but we have been able to identify most of the documents mentioned in the article. We are providing them to the members as attachments to this memorandum.

Some of these are technical documents about well design. Others are documents that raise questions, but their connection to the blowout, if any, require additional investigation. The Committee staff is continuing its investigation of these issues.

Documents:

Memo from Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak

Evaluation of Casing Design Basis for Macondo Prospect, May 14, 2009

GoM Exploration Wells, Appendix F, Jan 2010

BP Email, March 12, 2010

BP Emails, March 10, 2010

BP Emails, February 8, 2010

BP Emails, November 17, 2009

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.

523 replies
  1. ghostof911 says:

    While waiting for the relief will to be drilled, why aren’t they syphoning as much as they can as a stop-gap measure? Wasn’t that being done with limited success until it was stopped for the top kill attempt? Commandeer a fleet of vessels to ferry the syphoned mixture to a location on land where it can be safely disposed of.

    • fatster says:

      In some of the comments on bmaz’s post on Criminals in the Gulf thread, there were questions and speculation about availability of tankers, even, since many/most may be anchored somewhere full to the brim with oil. Nobody really knows, mind you, but it is a very curious thing, isn’t it?

      By the time somebody actually gets around to taking charge of this mess, it’ll probably be August anyway.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Anybody who wants to know where the tankers are can find them easily here.

        Boxturtle (Face it, it’s hard to hide something the size of a oil tanker)

        • fatster says:

          Thanks, BoxTurtle. Now, if we only knew how many of the tankers are full of oil at the moment. . .

          • BoxTurtle says:

            We can make a very educated guess. Any tanker heading to an oil producing area is empty. Any tanker at anchor in an oil producing area is being filled.

            Any tanker heading to an oil consuming area is full. Any tanker parked in an oil consuming area is full. Any tanker parked at an odd spot is full.

            It’s very expensive to operate a VLCC. They’re not making money if the ship is running empty or parked. The oil companies have a vested interest in minimizing that time. So assume that any tanker that does not fit in any of the above catagories is full.

            My bet is that if you apply the above, you’ll get a number around 50% full at any given time. The oil system has been around a long time and has time to reach equilibrium more or less.

            Boxturtle (WIsh I’d thought of that last paragraph before I typed the first three)

  2. zAmboni says:

    When they were trying to siphon off oil previously, they were touting maybe 1,000 barrels a day…and claiming only 5,000 barrels total were leaking (this is from memory so may be wrong). The .gov is saying that the well was leaking 11,000 – 15,000 barrels a day, so they were siphoning maybe < 10% of the total.

    It almost sounds like they are talking bout the casing being compromised and maybe busted concrete plug blocking some things. I wonder how far down this is and instead of a junk shot, they do a lead shot or maybe more environmentally friendly steel shot to see if they could use a restriction below as a backstop for some weighty stuff to help further block the flow.

    • bobschacht says:

      When they were trying to siphon off oil previously, they were touting maybe 1,000 barrels a day…and claiming only 5,000 barrels total were leaking (this is from memory so may be wrong). The .gov is saying that the well was leaking 11,000 – 15,000 barrels a day, so they were siphoning maybe < 10% of the total.

      What they were doing is sticking a 4″ or 6″ pipe into the broken end of the 21″ riser pipe, and sucking as much oil and gas from that as they could. I heard recently that they were able to shove the small pipe far down the riser pipe, maybe even almost to the BOP, although I’m not sure I believe that, given some of the bends likely in the fallen 5,000 foot pipe. And I read somewhere that, in deference to the new LMRP plan that involves cutting off the base of the riser pipe, they’ve already withdrawn the small pipe from the riser pipe.

      BTW, bmaz, the new LMRP is officially NOT a Top Hat. I provided a link about that in the BP Criminals thread.

      Bob in AZ

  3. BoxTurtle says:

    BeginPopulistRant;

    In China, they’d have already executed some BP executives. And at least one government bureaucrat. A court system based on viglante justice and how badly you embarassed the Party does have some advantages.

    BP should be bankrupted, and the stock in the new company distributed to the plantiffs. Along with the personal fortunes of the BP executives and Directors.

    The BP managers and executives who knew or should have known about the wells condition should be sentenced to long terms of hard labor cleaning up their mess. We use your buddy Sheriff Joe to run the cleanup program and we tell him not to change a thing.

    And at least one BP executive should be sentenced to death, and his body nailed to the wall in BP’s executive suites as a reminder to the next 100 generations.

    End;

    Boxturtle (We now resume rational discussion)

    • greenwarrior says:

      Personally, I prefer this to highly overrated “rational” discussion when it comes to this issue.

  4. bobschacht says:

    One of the problems from the start has been the lack of clear diagrams about where the leaks are coming from. What we need, in part, is a neutral non-BP ROV down there, looking the whole rig over from top to bottom, so that we can tell exactly where the leaks are coming from, and how much is venting from each leak. I nominate the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, which has more expertise than BP does about deep sea submersibles. They’re the ones who made Alvin, and they’ve recently won new grants to make state of the art submersibles.

    BP regards the leak information as proprietary, and only Sen. Markley (D-MA) has been able to pry the live feeds out of BP, but they still don’t provide adequate information about what we’re looking at. During the last week, when the live feeds were focusing on a bunch of leaks, JTMinIA, Hmmm and I (and others) have been trying to figure out exactly which part of the rig those leaks were coming from. We were converging on the idea that it was part of the stripper near the top of the BOP, while others were claiming that it was a section of the bent riser pipe that we were looking at, but why should we have to spend hours trying to figure that out?

    Now bmaz provides info that the base of the BOP, where it connects to the well head, may be leaking. The U.S. Coast Guard should stop kissing BP’s ass and get their own independent contractors down there who can provide a more accurate picture of what is happening. And I nominate WHOI as the contractor.

    Bob in AZ

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yup. We’re operating blind.
      Markey did a fine, fine thing and I’ll be that he had no clue it would morph into an Internet Event.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I’m not sure there’s an ROV that can operate at that depth that isn’t owned by an Oil Company or a government. Given America’s recent resort to blackmail to try to keep information from British courts, I’m not sure I’d trust any government that we could get a lever upon.

      It’s clear that ObamaLLP is backing BP. I wonder how far they’ll go for BP before they cut their losses and crucify an major political contributor,

      Boxturtle (I sure hope there’s a court order preserving all ROV tapes)

      • bobschacht says:

        I’m not sure there’s an ROV that can operate at that depth that isn’t owned by an Oil Company or a government. Given America’s recent resort to blackmail to try to keep information from British courts, I’m not sure I’d trust any government that we could get a level upon.

        Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) owns several, including Alvin. They’re probably all tied up on other contracts, but Obama could commandeer them in a flash, given the national emergency we’ve got on our hands. Then of course it would also take a while to transport them from wherever they are to the Deepwater Horizon site.

        BTW, James Carville has been one of the few public figures giving a shout-out to WHOI to get involved in this. One of their scientists was scheduled to provide testimony to Congress before BP decided they didn’t need their testimony and canceled the gig.

        Bob in AZ

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Obama could commandeer them in a flash

          Yeah, but I thought you wanted something independent. I wouldn’t trust ObamaLLP to tell the truth unless it was in their best interests.

          I’m thinking of something operated by Greenpeace or the WWF.

          Boxturtle (Or perhaps one of those infamous soviet Russian fishing trawlers)

    • PJEvans says:

      The suspicion is that some of the damage is below the visible part of the well – it’s possible, even probable, that some of the seals between casing strings didn’t seal properly. In which case, the whole thing is f*cked up in ways that can’t be fixed except by the relief well[s] coming in on target and killing this one below wherever it’s busted.

      • JTMinIA says:

        As I said earlier, even if the casing is fracked down in the well, as long as the annulus is sealed near the top, it all ends up in the pipe.

        • Mason says:

          As I said earlier, even if the casing is fracked down in the well, as long as the annulus is sealed near the top, it all ends up in the pipe.

          Why do you think it’s sealed?

          I don’t.

          • JTMinIA says:

            I think it’s sealed because I have seen lots of wide shots that include the base of the BOP and I didn’t see any leaks.

  5. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    The well itself has no structural integrity; it has not from the outset. The well was doomed to blow out and all these hair brained fixes BP has hucked to the clueless media and public were doomed to fail as well. This has been an insane ostrich head in the sand process, apparently all to salve a pissed public and angry mother nature because BP and the government have got nothing else and they know it.

    You do have a gift for cutting to the chase, bmaz.
    F*ck all.

    On previous thread, I left the following stats @65, plus the links. Here’s my summary:

    –In 2009, BP reported earnings of $14 billion, down about 45% from 2008.

    –From 2007 – 2009, it appears that BP laid off about 7,500 employees in order to ‘streamline’ its organization. Good thing none of those laid off employees would know anything about Top Hats or other blowout issues, eh?**

    — BP says cleanup has cost them at least $950,000,000 so far.

    — That’s about $30,000,000 per day for cleanup. (So evidently, the future does not matter because it’s too far beyond the quarterly earnings report.) I estimate that amount at about 1/466th of their 2009 earnings (which, you will recall, were nearly half their 2008 earnings). But feel free to double-check my math.

    ** It would appear there’s a silent pool of potential employees for the Fed to hire on contracts to look into BP; but only if they’re pissed enough to bite the BP hand that fed them and then let them go ;-))

  6. substanti8 says:

    hey, did you know hurricane season is on its way?

    And not just a normal hurricane season.  This summer will probably be one of the worst hurricane seasons on record – because the breeding ground off the west coast of Africa is much warmer than normal.

    Record Atlantic SSTs Continue in the Hurricane Main Development Region

    “Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic’s Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes had their warmest April on record, according to an analysis of historical SST data from the UK Hadley Center. SST data goes back to 1850 …

    When SSTs in the MDR are much above average during hurricane season, a very active season typically results….  SSTs in the MDR were an eye-opening 1.46°C above average during April.  This is the third straight record warm month, and the warmest anomaly measured for any month – by a remarkable 0.20°C.  The previous record warmest anomalies for the Atlantic MDR were set in June 2005 and March 2010, at 1.26°C….

    The three past seasons with record warm April SST anomalies all had abnormally high numbers of intense hurricanes.  Past hurricane seasons that had high March SST anomalies include 1969 (0.90°C anomaly), 2005 (1.19°C anomaly), and 1958 (0.97°C anomaly) .  These three years had 5, 7, and 5 intense hurricanes, respectively.  Just two intense hurricanes occur in an average year.”

              I hear hurricanes a-blowin’
              I know the end is comin’ soon
              I fear rivers over flowin’
              I hear the voice of rage and ruin

              Don’t go around tonight
              Well, it’s bound to take your life
              There’s a bad moon on the rise

              Hope you got your things together
              Hope you are quite prepared to die
              Looks like we’re in for nasty weather
              One eye is taken for an eye

              – Creedence Clearwater Revival
              (written about Hurricane Camille, 1969)

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      It’s very hot down here today for this time of year. Yesterday also. I think we should probably be <95 this time of year and it has certainly been over the last few days. I heard the GOM is running +4 degrees above normal. I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple very bad storms this year in the gulf.

      For some reason we don't seem to be getting the afternoon showers here along the coast that help keep things somewhat cool in the evenings. Doesn't seem to be much sea breeze. I'm not sure if that means anything and I'm certainly used to hot weather but this seems to be a little much for this early in the year.

      • substanti8 says:

        Yes, your observations are consistent with everything else I’ve read this year.  And scientists have long predicted that global warming would cause severe weather to become more frequent and more intense as a direct result of increased heat and moisture in the atmosphere.

        The bizarre flood in Tennessee – that obliterated the previous record – was also the kind of storm that will become more frequent, as a result of global warming.  Even without oil spills, this slowly unfolding disaster will get worse as long as we insist on burning so much fossil fuel.

        • GulfCoastPirate says:

          Obviously, I was directly affected by Ike but the more interesting year was the year before Ike. There were two Cat 5 hurricanes in the GOM that year; however, since both went into Central America it seems to some people (the typical right wing, climate change denier type) as if those hurricanes didn’t exist. From what I understand that was the first time on record that two Cat 5’s had formed in the same year. Any storm that comes across the GOM takes a tremendous amount of energy, in the form of heat, out of the water. If we’re 4 degrees above normal now that is a lot of energy to be available to storms this early in the season.

          Ike was unique in my lifetime because it pushed ahead of it such a large wall of water. That also takes a lot of energy. I’d much prefer a compact storm with high winds and little water. The destruction caused by water is more widespread and last a lot longer. Just as we saw in Ike, Rita and Katrina.

          Anectodal – the price of shrimp is rising damn fast down here. Highest I’ve ever seen it. On the other hand, they opened up the snapper season and the price is now actually declining. Too many fish on the market and eating frozen fish down here is not something we do. Crabs have not been very plentiful either and are still small. Most people don’t realize when you go to Maryland and eat blue crab the vast majority of it is coming from Texas and Louisiana. Getting those big blue crabs for gumbo is one of the highlights of the year. If they don’t cap that well (and I doubt they can)and a hurricane comes along this is going to be a frakking disaster.

          • PJEvans says:

            Well, some people seem to figure that if it doesn’t affect them, it doesn’t really exist.
            I was following Ike pretty closely, having family in and around Houston. (Also, I wasn’t going to be getting to sleep early, due to a major accident in the neighborhood that same evening: lots of aerial activity.)

            • substanti8 says:

              In case you’re interested, the folks over at Skeptical Science have a very good page about the link between hurricanes and global warming.  The increasing water temperature and atmospheric water vapor will not increase the frequency of storms, but it will increase the intensity of each storm.  So more tropical depressions will turn into hurricanes, and more minor hurricanes will turn into destructive monsters.

              The National Hurricane Center has an interesting archive of hurricane seasons with numerous maps and satellite images.  I expect the 2010 map to be packed with storm tracks.  Mother nature is going to whip that oil all over the Gulf.  It might even come down in the rain on coastal cities.

  7. DeadLast says:

    Just think, with the Gulf of Mexico in the process of being killed off, just think of how easy it will be for oil companies to get new drilling permits – because what more damage could a new spill do? I mean the gulf coast has already been degraded. It is always easier to get a permit when an area is degraded than before. I am very concerned that this disaster will be a boon to the other major oil companies. (Either that, or all off-shore drilling will be done by joint-venture LLCs so that any damage will bankrupt the entity, and then the Exxon-Mobil or some other company will buy the assets out of bankruptcy – avoiding the liability and pushing the damage/cost on the people.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Speaking of permits,

      “Public Information” (of March 10, 2009. A United States Government Memorandum)

      “Initial Exploration Plan

      Mississippi Canyon Block 252”,

      is most “interesting”.

      Being a description of wells A and B.

      Latitude: 28degrees44minutes17.277seconds N

      Longitude: 88degrees21minutes57,340seconds W

      To the question:Do you propose to use new or unusual technology to conduct your activities? the answer is NO.

      From the General Information section:

      2.5 Oil Spill Financial Responsibility (OSFR)

      BP Explorations and Productions Inc. MMS company number 02481, has demonstrated oil spill responsibility for the facilities proposed in this Exploration Plan according to title 30 CFR part 253, and National NTL No. 2008-N05, “Guidelines for Oil Spill Financial Responsibility for Covered Facilities.

      2.6 Deep Water Well Control

      BP Explorations and Productions Inc. MMS company number 02481, has the financial capability to dig a relief well and conduct other emergency control operations.

      2.7 Blowout Scenario

      A scenario for a potential blowout of the well from which BP would expect to have the highest volume of liquid hydrocarbons is not required for the operations proposed in this EP.

      And so on and so forth …

      DW

      • topcat says:

        It appears that, superficially at least, BP may have some criminal liability here in that they lied on their permit application. They claim to not be using any “new” technology, but the fact they were drilling at 5,000′ presents it’s own inherent difficulties that were apparently ignored. What works on the surface or at 200′ is not necessarily going to work at 5,000′. But the permit was issued anyway?

        But here’s the thing – if BP can be charged criminally, as a corporation, it can receive the death penalty. Remember Arthur Anderson, ENRON’s accounting firm accomplice? The US government could, if it wanted to, charge BP criminally; and if found guilty, all it’s assets could be seized as compensation. Any lawyers here want to chime in on this?

        • bmaz says:

          They are already on two separate criminal probations from two convictions in 2007, one a misdemeanor in Alaska and one a felony in Texas. BP could have been debarred and sanctioned heavily at any point in time. Problem is, the US government has no desire to do it; therefore they will not.

          • DWBartoo says:

            “…the US government has no desire to do it …”

            For a number of “reasons”.

            “Cozy” reasons.

            The more of those “reasons” which may be exposed at this vulnerable moment, the greater chance that more human beings will understand the larger picture.

            Still, the US government will do nothing … until they have no choice.

            DW

            • tanbark says:

              “Still, the U.S. government will do nothing, until they have no choice.’

              Bingo.

              Barack Obama looks like nothing, if not one more center-right political hack, protecting the status quo…unless a shitstorm starts breaking on his head, in which case he will search hard for the price-point of appearing to change, while doing as little as possible.

              A total reactionary. Who knew?

  8. DWBartoo says:

    OT and therefore I ask your indulgence for a brief consideration:

    Jason Leopold has informed us that Jeanne Pascal, former disbarment counsel at EPA’s Seattle office, who worked on BR environmental CONVICTIONS, has suggested that Bee Pee supplies 80% of the US military’s fuel needs.

    We seem to be fairly certain that oil extracted from the Gulf of Mexico by Bee Pee, would NOT likely be sold in or to America … because oil is … fungible.

    Were we to hazard a guess as to “where” much of the oil that Bee Pee supplies to “our” government’s military comes from, what sort of answer do you imagine we might find?

    Perhaps, if we recall what Bee Pee was once upon a time called, we might have a clue?

    Thank you for considering what many simply cannot imagine.

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled Bee Pee/cozy Government shenanigan programming …

    DW

  9. sojourner says:

    There is another aspect to all this that I have not seen much mention of… BP and its partners have an oil and gas lease issued by MMS. Exploration efforts by companies have almost always been super-secret. With the enormity of this well blowout and the secrecy surrounding some of the efforts, I have to wonder if BP is still attempting to protect its secrets (formations, etc.).

    Now, where I am going with this is that if the Feds decide to force BP to become more transparent, or if the Feds decide to take on the effort of coordinating further operations, there are any number of clauses contained in the lease that can lead to even more litigation. BP could potentially transfer a lot of blame to the government itself in the context of “Well, we knew exactly how to kill that thing, but the government stepped in and prevented us from doing what we needed to.” Coupled with the fact that free market people will whine very loudly about government interference, this administration is stuck big time.

    BMAZ, I have forgotten a lot of the language that used to be in MMS leases, and there are probably a lot more clauses these days. I just have to wonder if BP has everyone by the balls and will simply be allowed to proceed as it wants.

    • bmaz says:

      Do we know for sure exactly what name is on the lease and MMS drilling requests? Is it really “BP Plc” or is it one of their multiple alter ego subsidiaries? I would really like to know and am going to put up a working thread on this and some related issues.

  10. substanti8 says:

    The best way to eliminate future oil spills is to use less oil.  That’s the elephant in the room that habitual motor vehicle drivers often don’t like to acknowledge.

    When it isn’t gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, where does BP oil go?  The U.S. Department of Energy states this:

                “Over 2/3 of total U.S. petroleum consumption is for transportation, and
                almost 2/3 of transportation sector petroleum consumption is gasoline.”

    As this 52-year-old bicycling attorney observed, alternative transportation is healthier and readily available.  It is the single most effective way for you to stop the destruction from petroleum.

    If you’re complaining about the BP disaster, when are you going to take personal responsibility for your part of the problem?

    • fatster says:

      And here’s the tiger behind the elephant in the room:

      “The US Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest oil consuming government body in the US and in the world
      . . .
      “The US military is the biggest purchaser of oil in the world.”

      LINK.

      • Hmmm says:

        Option A) I might imagine other companies might be more than willing to take over the USG account from BP. Let’s give ’em the chance, eh wot?

        Option B) Ought to make it that much easier for the USG to nationalize BP then — and in the process realize significant fuel cost savings by eliminating the profit margin. Since that money’s already allocated, we could find something else deserving… teachers, COBRA extension, etc.

      • R.H. Green says:

        So maybe instead of giving up our car dependence, we should give up our war dependency.

        • substanti8 says:

          So maybe instead of giving up our car dependence, we should give up our war dependency.

          That looks like wishful thinking to me – because oil consumption by the military is less than 2 percent of the total for the United States.

          The single most effective action you can take to prevent future oil spill disasters is to greatly reduce – or entirely eliminate – your dependence on the personal motor vehicle.

        • Hugh says:

          What your numbers do not take into account is the energy usage by contractors, the whole of the military industrial complex, and those it employs. Real defense spending in this country is higher than the Pentagon’s budget and closer to a trillion a year. That is about 7% of GDP and would reflect higher oil consumption than you indicate.

          • substanti8 says:

            OK … so the military industrial complex uses more only than the military alone.  Perhaps it’s 3% of the total for the country, instead of 2%.  But I don’t see what your point is.  The largest use of oil – by far – is still the driving of cars and trucks by the general population.  See these pie charts for a quick summary of the data.

            And there are other serious problems with cars (beyond fuel source and pollution) that we haven’t even discussed here.

            The bottom line is that the single most effective action you can take to prevent future oil spill disasters is to greatly reduce – or entirely eliminate – your dependence on the personal motor vehicle.

  11. JTMinIA says:

    With regard to whether a LMRP cap will help given that the casing is leaking due to faulty cement, that depends on where the leaks are and where the cementing is faulty.

    My understanding is that the bottom plug is still in place. At least, I’ve seen no credible suggestion that it isn’t. Therefore, when people talk about leaks in the casing due to faulty cementing, they are usually talking about leaks *into* the main pipe above the bottom plug. Therefore, when you are talking about where the oil is at the top of the well (i.e., the floor of Gulf), it’s in the pipe. Therefore, capping the BOP would be very useful.

    Now, there are other people suggesting leaks from the reservoir to the Gulf by other routes, including a fissure quite a ways away and side fissures from the well that slowly make their way to the floor of the Gulf. These, of course, would not be resolved by capping the BOP.

  12. bobschacht says:

    Once again, here’s the diagram of how the LMRP is supposed to work, from theoildrum. In a comment on this diagram,

    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….

    Other accounts, however, state that BP will only align the LMRP riser with the clean cut shaft at the top of the BOP, and will only rely on gravity for the seal.

    Bob in AZ

  13. Hmmm says:

    If BP is right and the inner pipe is actually still sealed, with all the oil & gas coming up only in the ring between the inner and outer pipes, then that means it’s getting into the outer pipe somewhere. We know shredded rubber gasket material came up to the rig in an early stage of the final accident, so a rupture of gasket is an obvious thing to look to as a source of infiltration into the outer pipe. IIUC that gasket was at the bottom of the bore, sealing the space between the two pipes against the oil/gas reservoir. Maybe there are other gasket locations from which that rubber could have come; maybe there are other leak sources that have nothing to do with the rubber, for example bad pipe failing or undetected earth movement that’s bent pipe joints and broken seals, etc.

    With oil and gas infiltrating the outer pipe for whatever reason, the well could be properly sealed at the top, but still be leaking into surrounding soils/sands/salts layers somewhere in the middle depths. That might go some considerable distance towards explaining the oil plumes rumored to have been observed 5-6 miles from the wellhead site. But it seems like that would require an additional point of failure — a break in the outer pipe, or a seal failure in the outer pipe — in order for the oil and gas to be able to escape out and into the ground. That’s in addition to the gasket failure way below.

    Whole lotta wrong-gone things lining up here.

    • R.H. Green says:

      What you are describing sounds reasonable. Can you (or anyone) tell me where I can find an illustration that gives a visual orientation to the relevant components being talked about. My alternative is to go through the last week’s comments to find links that show this.

      • PJEvans says:

        Try the Oil Drum. They’ve been following this, and a lot of the posters have experience in the field (in both senses). They’re being inundated with newbies, though, who are full of bad ideas.

  14. bmaz says:

    I just put the following update in the main post:

    UPDATE: Henry Waxman, Bart Stupak and the Energy and Commerce Committee have made a notable document dump:

    Committee Releases Memo & Documents Concerning Issues Raised in Recent News Media Accounts Related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

    Sunday, 30 May 2010 15:06

    Today, the Committee on Energy & Commerce released a memo and documents concerning issues raised in recent news media accounts related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.

    Yesterday, The New York Times published an article entitled “Documents Show Earlier Fears About Safety of Offshore Well.” The article described documents from BP that, according to The New York Times, “show serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig.”

    Some members have asked whether we were the source of the documents cited by The New York Times and whether they can review the documents. We were not the source of the documents, but we have been able to identify most of the documents mentioned in the article. We are providing them to the members as attachments to this memorandum.

    Some of these are technical documents about well design. Others are documents that raise questions, but their connection to the blowout, if any, require additional investigation. The Committee staff is continuing its investigation of these issues.

    Documents:

    Memo from Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak

    Evaluation of Casing Design Basis for Macondo Prospect, May 14, 2009

    GoM Exploration Wells, Appendix F, Jan 2010

    BP Email, March 12, 2010

    BP Emails, March 10, 2010

    BP Emails, February 8, 2010

    BP Emails, November 17, 2009

  15. bmaz says:

    And, just in case you forgot what kind of cretinous company and executives we are dealing with in BP, check this out:

    BP CEO Hayward Denies Existence Of Underwater Plumes:

    BP PLC CEO Tony Hayward on Sunday disputed claims by scientists that large undersea plumes have been set adrift by the Gulf oil spill and said the cleanup fight has narrowed to surface slicks rolling into Louisiana’s coastal marshes.

    During a tour of a company staging area for cleanup workers, Hayward said BP’s sampling showed “no evidence” that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface. He didn’t elaborate on how the testing was done.

    “The oil is on the surface,” Hayward said.

  16. bobschacht says:

    Othniel makes a good point in a Seminal diary:
    Don’t let obsession with the oil spill distract us too much for keeping pressure on for REAL financial regulation reform.

    Bob in AZ

  17. bobschacht says:

    OK, now that I’ve just chided us for being obsessed about the oil leak, for those of you who might want an instant replay of last night’s 500+comment marathon, you can find it here on flickr in a 200 slide recapture of the live feeds by seekfaith. There are two ways to identify slide numbers: one is by clicking on “show info” in the upper right hand corner; the other is by observing the minute:second numbers in the lower left. What these live feed frames provide is a detailed tour of the upper part of the BOP. Several frames look like they were very close to the site of the multiple leak live feeds that we have seen so much in the past week. These come at 35:11, 45:49(#96), 49:40(#115), and 50:07(#121).

    Information gluttons, take note!

    Bob in AZ

  18. bobschacht says:

    Hey, I’ve got a dumb(?) question: for the LMRP operation, they gotta use a diamond saw to cut off the base of the riser, right? With gas and oil gushing out at the same time, right?

    You do that in air, and I imagine you’d get a right fine explosion, right?
    But this will be under water, under a mile of water, so everything’s cool, right? No explosions?

    My guess would be that the gas and oil is in the form of small bubbles, and sparks(?) from the cutting could ignite the gas bubbles. Or have the engineers thought this one through, and what with all the water around, no prob. …right?

    Bob in AZ

  19. JTMinIA says:

    The video is jumping around like mad, but they may be about to cut the old riser off.

  20. Synoia says:

    Technically not the correct phrase:

    “The well itself has no structural integrity”

    better

    “The well itself has no integrity”

    best

    “The well seals have no integrity”

    • JTMinIA says:

      One aspect of those diagrams relates to the question of whether sealing the top of the BOP will resolve the leak. The clear description of the difference between choke rams and shears hopefully clarifies why I’ve been saying that it doesn’t really matter what kind of leak it is … as long as the leak is somewhere below the floor of the Gulf and as long as the seals around the casing at the top of the well (i.e., at floor level) are good, it all ends up in the BOP, so sealing the top of the BOP is the key.

      Furthermore, I think that it’s safe to assume that, as of now, the seals at the top of the well are OK because we’ve seen plenty of wide shots of the BOP and there are no leaks around its base. However, with that said, if and when they seal the top of the BOP, pressure in the well will increase (since whatever pressure is now being bled off by the leak will no longer be bled off), which could cause a leak around the base of the BOP to emerge. However, however (as in: back to the positive side), that no leak around the base appeared during the top kill suggests that no new leak will emerge there if and when the top of the BOP is sealed.

      • bobschacht says:

        One thing that the replay offered by seekfaith (see links @ comment 50) has settled for me is that it seems clear that the multiple leak photos we were seeing last week were NOT from the stripper, as we briefly conjectured. Rather, what we were seeing was indeed the bent riser pipe a short distance above the top of the BOP. What confused me is that we were seeing a close-up of those multiple leaks.

        CNN just announced this morning that the plan to cut the riser pipe actually involves two cuts: the first one at maybe 100 feet (my guesstimate) from the BOP, and the second one right at the top of the BOP.

        And yes, recent pictures on CNN seemed to show a circular saw in place, ready to cut; but the current live image stream from NPR doesn’t show that.

        Bob in AZ

        • JTMinIA says:

          Yes, the “manifold” theory was wrong. The “stripper” theory was wrong. It was the bent riser, which, amusingly enough, was the original theory. At least it’s 100% clear now.

          As to two cuts: the first is to reduce the amount of riser connected to the BOP when the second cut occurs. Depending on how the riser is laid out on the floor, if you just made one cut – right at the top of the BOP – the cut-off riser could whack into the BOP and cause lots of damage. So you first cut the riser a certain distance away: far enough away that the first cut doesn’t create a loose piece of riser that could whack the BOP; not so far away that what remains connected to the BOP weighs a lot. It’s just like cutting down a huge tree in your yard, near your house. You climb up and cut pieces off the top, first; you don’t just cut it at the base and let the whole tree come crashing down.

  21. Hugh says:

    Currently on the NYT frontpage online:

    White House Tries to Regroup as Criticism Mounts Over Leak
    By CLIFFORD KRAUSS, JOHN M. BRODER and JACKIE CALMES

    Officials acknowledged the possibility that tens of thousands of gallons of oil might continue pouring into the gulf until August

    Around 15,000 barrels are going into the Gulf each day. That’s 600,000 gallons/day. 24 million gallons to date. 60 days will take us to the beginning of August, or another 36 million gallons. It is just amazing how the NYT is spinning this to make it look less like the disaster it is.

  22. papau says:

    The black wave via a hurricane seems likely.

    Top Hat was sold as an 85% of oil out of water solution – now the LMRP is to get “a substantial portion” and keep it out of the water – of course the LMRP has failed in the past – indeed I can’t find a success – but this time we pump methanol down as an anti-freeze around the thing somehow so those nasty hydrate crystals – or other crystals – don’t block things up. And BP is talking August. I would not bet much on a success – and nothing on this being a real solution to the coming black wave problem.

  23. tanbark says:

    Excellent rip of BP, Bmaz.

    What’s becoming really curious is that Obama seems more interested in preserving “a good working relationship” with BP (as the United States Coast Guard, in their ongoing role as corporate-trained-parrot/BP press-release-reader, has repeatedly bragged of…) than he does in holding these assholes responsible, and incidentally, hanging on to what little chance he has left, of a second term.

    It’s like watching someone slowly but inexorably commit ritual political seppuku.

    With the shelf-life expiring on taking substantial steps to get us out of Iraq, and with Afghanistan also showing not much sign of wanting to become our 51st, the gusher in the GOM is a HUGE spinning plate added to the ones he’s inherited, but seems bent on sustaining.

    With 16 months in office to review and strengthen those offshore drilling regs, and with his signing off on more of it, just three weeks before Deepwater Horizon blew, and with those exemptions from environmental impact considerations, it’s going to be pretty hard to make a case that this is all Bush’s fault, and let’s just give Obama a little Dawn “dispersant”, and he’ll be all clean and pretty, for the mid-terms and then for 2012.

  24. JTMinIA says:

    I guess we will soon find out if the riser is a “significant source of back-pressure.” I plan to keep watching because my guess is that, if cutting off the riser results in a gusher (e.g., a five-fold increase in flow), BP will cut the feed faster than you can say “I take the Fifth.”

  25. tanbark says:

    It’s heartening that so many coastal universities and scientists are taking to the gulf to confirm the sub-surface plumes. This is the next retreat for BP.

    Hayward has been dissing the notion of underwater oil, since “out of sight-out of mind” was so much a part of the real “clean-up’. Now that enough people have been pointing out that NOAA’s job isn’t to restrict fact-finding and investigation, but to further it, it appears that Obama has ordered them to get on board with supporting the investigation of the plumes, instead of using them to suppress it, as was done with NIUST, the first researchers to say that the plumes, in fact, existed.

    That’s becoming the problem for Obama/BP; there are so many people being affected by this, with the number likely to grow, exponentially, that they just can’t spin the bullshit without being called on it.

    As the firestorm slowly builds, I expect to see the words “frozen assets” begin to be spoken by, not just outraged bloggers, but by some Senators and congresspersons. I’m looking forward to that.

    It’s too late for the Gulf, or a large part of it, but if the clean-up results in some real punishment for BP, and some real increase on restrictions in offshore drilling, then this misery may have some kind of a bittersweet upside.

    • Mary McCurnin says:

      But conservation, mass transit, smaller houses, sustainable farming, birth control have to go along with the realization that the Gulf of Mexico has been murdered along with eleven men.

      • tanbark says:

        Mary; all of that. But then, I hit the reality-wall of how little Obama has done, or risked, to make the changes that we hired him to do.

        • JTMinIA says:

          What do people want Obama to do? Seriously. He would have to do it with BP’s equipment, since the gov’t doesn’t have any. He would have to do it with oil people from the private sector, since the gov’t doesn’t have them. Which means it would all end up being exactly what’s happening now, but with the gov’t being responsible if and when they totally f*ck up. Is that what you want? A bail-out of BP by the gov’t taking over?

          • tanbark says:

            JT: “What do you want Obama to do?”

            The question is mistaken in it’s tense. (We’ll do the “present” shortly.)

            Rephrase it to: What DID you want Obama to do?

            Answers:

            At sometime in his first 16 months in office, take even a cursory look at the offshore drilling regs and stiffen them. A lot. Not done.

            About three weeks before the platform blew, REFUSE to sign off on NEW offshore drilling, instead of agreeing to more of it. Not done.

            Two days after it blew, he released a statement still supporting his decision to open up new areas for coastal drilling. At that point, he should have said: “We’re putting everything on hold, while this plays out.” Not done. (By now, I’m thinking that, just like Bush, he’s not only a moral coward, he’s also dumb as a brick. This catastrophe is probably going to ensure that he goes down in history as the poster boy for a failed president, and he’s STILL being dragged, kicking and screaming, into doing the right thing…a little bit.)

            In the days and weeks AFTER the explosion and sinking of the platform, his administration granted numerous exemptions from the requirements for environmental impact reports, for new wells. At least 19, I’ve read.
            This is the proverbial no-brainer. To the companies applying for new permits, he should just have said: “Are you fucking kidding me?”
            Not done.

            Three days after the platform exploded, Coast Guard spokeswoman Rear Admiral Mary Landreau, got down to work covering BP’s ass, when she said:

            “There is no oil escaping from the wellhead.” It was, of course, arrant horseshit.
            Obama should have INSTANTLY called her and asked “Where are you getting your information?” Instead, he let the USCG do their trained-parrot duty, as they toed the BP line.

            A few days after the platform sank, a group of researchers from NIUST, the National Institute of Underwater Science and Technology, spent at least 8 days on the gulf, taking underwater samples to try to determine the possible existence and extent of any sub-surface layers of oil, AKA: “plumes”.
            They have a website, and on it they posted daily reports on what they were doing and what they were finding. After those days of research, they talked to the media and told them that they were finding large plumes of under-surface oil, including one that was 3 miles wide by about 10 miles long. It was the first evidence that something was happening that couldn’t be seen.
            NIUST gets a lot of it’s funding from NOAA, and NOAA (part of the commerce department, remember?) instantly yanked on their chain, dissed their “science”, and told them to stop talking to the media. The website was frozen. Nothing new; no more sampling, and they couldn’t get transportation back out to the gulf.
            Their director, in a moment of candor, said that they had essentially been shut down.
            Now. If Barack Obama is deserving of the defending that you’re posting for him, I would say that he should have publicly commended NIUST for their efforts (which are now being corroborated by other INDEPENDENT scientists at The University of South Florida and other academic centers)
            and should have privately (publicly?) racked ass in no uncertain terms, at NOAA. Nuthin’…

            Last Friday, Obama came down for the mandatory photo-op. He pissed and moaned some for the cameras, fondled a few tarballs (while studiously avoiding the OTHER end of the island where the extent of the pollution is practically breath-taking in scope, and worst of all, co-ordinated his show-the-flag run with BP, who bused in dozens of workers in snow-white haz-mat suits, to serve as a backdrop to his dog-and-pony show. (According to Michael, I believe it was, time-wise, their appearance closely tracked Obama’s, before they re-bused themselves and took off.)

            JT, I’ve prolly left a few things out that he SHOULD have done, but there’s getting to be so much bullshit and non-action that it’s hard to keep track of it all.

            Present tense:

            He should go to congress and start the process to freeze BP’s assets, and, do whatever he can, in that direction, with a stroke of a pen. He should fund an extensive hiring of independent scientists to sit right beside BP on their vessels and in their headquarters, and confirm or shoot down their carefully selected videos and their talking-goody-two-shoes bullshit press releases.

            He. Is. The. Fucking. President. Of. The. United. States.

            If this were LBJ, no matter he was from Texas, with his political life on the line, there would be BP top-enders walking out of the Oval Office needing an ass transplant.

            We don’t even need to talk about specifics; Barack Obama needs to start using some of the power and clout that we sent him to the White House with. It’s in the interests of the American people and it’s in the interest of his avoiding becoming a one-term footnote to preznintial history.

            “A bail-out of BP by the government taking over?”

            You have it 180 degrees wrong. The govenment taking over would, among other things, say unequivocally:

            “You assholes have screwed the pooch, royally. I should never have trusted you. This is now an international crisis. That oil is going work it’s way out into the atlantic at some point. Go sit in the corner while we freeze your assets like they were Saddam Hussein’s, and do whatever man-on-the-moon tasking it takes to stop this misery, and we’re going to do it without ONE FUCKING MICRON of consideration for protecting the Randian mythology about the competence and enlightened self-interest of giant corporations. I am the boss, and I am going to start acting like the boss. That means your ass is roadkill, from a Fortune 500 point of view. And, if you even twitch in the direction of moving funds around to hide them, you will be eating off of metal trays in Atlanta for a good while. Capiche?”

            There, JT. Fixed it for you. :o)

            • Mason says:

              Agree with most everything you said, except:

              Three days after the platform exploded, Coast Guard spokeswoman Rear Admiral Mary Landreau, got down to work covering BP’s ass, when she said:

              “There is no oil escaping from the wellhead.” It was, of course, arrant horseshit.
              Obama should have INSTANTLY called her and asked “Where are you getting your information?” Instead, he let the USCG do their trained-parrot duty, as they toed the BP line.

              I believe she said that because Obama told her to say that and I think Jane Lubchenko at NOAA dissed NIUST because Obama ordered her to do it.

  26. Mason says:

    Hey bmaz,

    Check out this video posted at Monkeyfister of the BOP and the oil spewing from the crimped riser.

    The BOP isn’t upright. It’s got a serious lean to the left problem going on and the bent riser resembles a top hat about to fall off. They may be able to cut the pipe with the diamond saw, but there’s no way they can drop the LMRP down on top of the the BOP with the BOP looking like the reasonable suspicion poster-child for DUI.

    I am really pissed and disgusted with BP for misleading everyone for 12+ hours last Thursday into thinking the Top Kill 1 worked when they knew it failed when they shut down their topside pumps pushing drilling mud at midnight but kept mum until after Obama’s midday news conference. Suttles didn’t mention it until late in his remarks at the 5:30 PM news conference and then the bastards did the same thing Friday with Top Kill 2 and Junk Shot 1 & 2 by turning off the pumps @ 2:30 AM and not announcing they had failed until late Friday afternoon before the three-day weekend.

    The biggest Longshot Louie at Hialeah wouldn’t wager a fin on BP pulling off this latest gambit. We’re watching more of Obama’s patented manufactured drama designed to mislead people into thinking the outcome is in doubt each step of the way and people are working 24/7 to find a solution. BP and Obama damn well know that the relief well gambit is the only card they have left to play and, given the geology, they should know that might not work.

    These scumbags probably are too arrogant to realize they may fuck that up too.

    • JTMinIA says:

      Chill.

      #1: there’s swivel gizmo at the top of the BOP to allow the riser to tild a bit.

      #2: you have no reason to believe that the ROV was level at the moment that pic was captured.

      #3: there are tons of pictures showing the body of the BOP upright.

  27. JTMinIA says:

    Watch the entire video labeled “Incredible capture courtesy of Hx3:” on MonkeyFister’s site. When the view pulls back, you see the upright BOP with the swivel device on top at a angle.

    • Mason says:

      Watch the entire video labeled “Incredible capture courtesy of Hx3:” on MonkeyFister’s site. When the view pulls back, you see the upright BOP with the swivel device on top at a angle.

      I watched the entire video twice before I posted the comment to which you responded and

      I watched it two more times after reading your comment.

      I still believe its leaning a lot, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, until they cut off the riser pipe. If the top swivels to an upright position, I’ll agree that you’re right.

      Cheers.

      • JTMinIA says:

        Wait. I agree that the top is swiveled. What I said was that the BOP, itself, was still upright.

  28. JTMinIA says:

    And, yes, it’s a swivel device, not just a bent something or other. If such didn’t exist, then every shift in the floating rig would exert torque on the BOP.

    • Synoia says:

      With 3,000 to,000 ft of pipe above the BOP there is no need for a swivel joint (which are not good). The pipe will “give” enough to relieve the stress on the BOP.

      Swivel joints leak. Just like to one on your shower.

      • JTMinIA says:

        You might not agree that there’s a need for a swivel, but there’s a swivel there anyway. I’ll locate the diagram for you. bmaz already linked to it.

  29. JTMinIA says:

    You know what really seems suspicious to me? If most stories are correct, then bad cementing is ultimately at fault. More precisely, small cavities in the cement are allowing oil and gas to get from places it is allowed to be to places it shouldn’t be. Cavities. The enemy.

    What is one of the largest ingredients in drilling mud? Fluoride. You know, the stuff they tell us prevents cavities. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_7-ywsAgfzig/S_8ERn4OzTI/AAAAAAAACc8/TBqU2ViwPZE/s1600/Drilling+Mud.jpg

    No matter what you think all this says about deep-sea drilling, our dependence on oil, and the overly cozy relationship between regulators and the private sector, what I want to know is whether having my kids apply fluoride to their teeth twice a year is a waste of time. Plus, didn’t John Waters blame fluoridation for the abnormally high rate of craziness in Baltimore?

  30. fatster says:

    I went to theoildrum, but all was quiet on their feed. Can’t get the wkrp vid any more.

    • JTMinIA says:

      The feed is working, but nothing is happening. That could mean they are waiting for 11 pm eastern as they have been for a week, or they are doing it now and don’t want the Great Unwashed to see the gusher when they cut the riser.

      • fatster says:

        Thnx. You confirmed my suspicions (which I was reluctant to share since I’m so naive about these matters).

  31. JTMinIA says:

    A little earlier I kind of lost it because I feel helpless and find comments about Obama LLC taking over the operation to be rather silly, since the gov’t has no equipment or experience. However, the gov’t has plenty of underwater cameras. Why the heck we are still dependent on what BP feeds us (in both senses of the word) is beyond me.

  32. JTMinIA says:

    [personal reply] Please don’t use my jokes to justify your OTs. I say this because I enjoy making jokes. [/personal reply]

  33. fatster says:

    ” . . . greatly reduce – or entirely eliminate – your dependence on the personal motor vehicle.”

    I’d be delighted to do that, but given the limitations of public transpo around here and my personal situation, I’d need a magic wand.

  34. tanbark says:

    Something I left out that really ranks my ass, is that a couple of days ago, the Coast Guard was hassling media camera crews trying to shoot some of the worst pollution on Grand Isle. They denied threatening them with arrest to make them leave, but after 6 weeks of regurgitating corporate bullshit, at this point even ABC and CBS have more cred than the USCG.

  35. JTMinIA says:

    Please note that I am entirely focused on fixing the leak. Everything you said about what could have been done before it happened could well (as it were) be true, but I don’t care right now. I can only handle so much at a time.

    One comment, tho’, on you “past-tense” section. When Landrieu said “There is no oil escaping from the wellhead” she may have been being technical. It is a very important point that nothing is leaking from the wellhead. It is very important that all of the leaks are at the top of the BOP and beyond. If there were leaks at the wellhead, which is below the BOP, then most of the attempted “fixes” so far have been a complete waste of time.

    Finally, I don’t see an actual argument against my point about the gov’t taking over the operations. I suggested that the gov’t taking over would have zero effect on what is being done, since the same equipment and the same people would end up doing the work, while, at the same time, BP could easily argue that everything that happens after the moment the gov’t takes over is not their problem. That’s why I called it a “bail out.”

    • tanbark says:

      “Please note that I am entirely focused on fixing the leak.”

      Not entirely. You’re also ignoring the fact BP and Obama and their ilk have been spouting off all manner of erroneous crap about this misery…
      to the point that making ANY kind of techie argument based on what they’re spoonfeeding us, just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      Getting all wrought up about the tech is a good way to NOT talk about how we got here. It’s kind of like some of the Obama warbots who are flacking for the “we’re making progress in Afghanistan” line, who won’t talk about the 8 years of lies and bloodshed, and the astronomical sums of money being made off those lies and bloodshed; who instead, just want to talk about village pacification and how to make Jeffersonian Democrats out of fervent Afghan Muslims.

      By refusing to get his hands dirty, Barack Obama is protecting the Holy Corporate concept of not messing with giant corporations; of saying practically none of the things that we read on here, for example. Every giga-corporate interest in amurka is watching this with a puckered asshole. If Obama finally goes off their reservation with “That’s it. I’m getting flayed politically. Here I come, with whatever deep submersibles and tech I can find, and with some engineers who don’t even THINK about the effect on our corporate-worshipping culture.”…they’ll be quaking in their Guccis.

      If he’d done that; if he’d invited in braintrust and hardware from anywhere he could find it, I think it could have been stopped by now.

      I’ll go you one better. He can’t wait until the projected August date for the relief wells to go in. By then, the democrats running in the mid-terms will be saying “Barack WHO???”

      And I’m looking forward to hearing it.

      • JTMinIA says:

        > “Please note that I am entirely focused on fixing the leak.”

        > Not entirely. You’re also ignoring the fact BP and Obama and their ilk have been
        > spouting off all manner of erroneous crap about this misery…
        > to the point that making ANY kind of techie argument based on what they’re
        > spoonfeeding us, just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        Yeah, OK. To the extent that everything that we’re being shown could be edited to mislead us, I guess your political theories are relevant. But I can’t do anything about that, just as I can’t prove we’ve been to the moon or that Bldg 7 is the first and only example of a building imploding because it’s oil tank burned.

        If no-one cares (any more) what we are supposedly seeing on the live feed and/or what is supposedly happening, then I’d be happy to stop posting.

  36. tanbark says:

    JT, excuse me. I didn’t mean to ignore your question about your initials. Nothing sinister. I’m a southerner,and we do initials a lot.

    Ever hear of J.D. Crowe? Even at 76, he’s a bluegrass legend, and still a hell of a picker.

    In other pun news:

    “La plume de ma tante?”

    Naw…”La plume de my chickenshit corporate-hack-of-a-president”:

    http://apnews.myway.com//article/20100531/D9G21E8O0.html

  37. JTMinIA says:

    If anyone who is watching the feed reads this, please watch for when they cut the riser off the BOP. Look for where the oil and gas is coming from. Is it coming up through the small pipe in the center, or is it coming up in the annulus between the pipe in the middle and the outer shell of the stub? (I probably won’t be on-line if and when they show the cutting of the riser off the BOP.)

    • fatster says:

      I take a nap and they actually start doing something!

      Oooh, close-up now.

      How large is that hose or whatever they’re cutting through, pls?

      • JTMinIA says:

        Supposedly the main riser pipe is 21″-D, but it sure doesn’t look like it. Nothing known to compare it to.

        edit: according to TransOcean, the LMRP is 18 3/4″ – ID and 21″ – OD

        • fatster says:

          Wish they would give some kind of info now and again, so I wouldn’t be asking you all these stupid questions.

          They’ve lowered a dual-pack of something.

          • JTMinIA says:

            If they’ve done the first cut on the riser and have all the ancillary (hydraulic) lines cut, they get the LMRP cap in close before doing the final cut on the riser just above the BOP. We all know it will gush like mad when the bent part of the riser is cut off. You gotta assume that bent-almost-to-crimped riser is a major restrictor of flow.

            • Mason says:

              You gotta assume that bent-almost-to-crimped riser is a major restrictor of flow

              Not enough for the top kill to work.

    • Mason says:

      They haven’t sliced and diced the riser yet, but it looks like the annulus for certain and maybe the drill pipe.

      • JTMinIA says:

        You know, the way that riser is bent over almost flat, I’m starting to doubt that the drill pipe is still inside there.

          • JTMinIA says:

            It could have been blown upwards, ripped upwards when the rig collapsed, or yanked out when they made the first cut on the riser. Or, assuming the numbers are right and the drill pipe is about 8″-OD and the riser is 18.75″-ID, it’s still in there and I’m being misled by my visual system that keeps telling me that the riser pipe is about 12″-OD, at most. :)

            @127: It’s seems much more crimped now than it did last night. That’s what made me think there wasn’t a drill pipe inside (any more).

  38. fatster says:

    Kind of Monty Python-esque, with that manifold-plenum thing being a knight’s upper armor, the knight’s head has been chopped off, and now the arms, too.

    • JTMinIA says:

      That’s the bent and crimped riser, not a manifold or plenum. They started sawing it, then stopped to cut some more of the ancillary pipes on the riser. I don’t know if they’ve done the first cut on the riser (50′ away), but I’d guess that they have.

  39. Mason says:

    From a distance, the BOP looks like Shiva, the Destroyer in Hindu mythology.

    Not a good sign!

  40. Mason says:

    How romantic, a methane hydrate snowfall 5,000 feet underwater with a ghostly view of Shiva in the distance.

  41. JTMinIA says:

    When crimped almost flat, a 21″-OD pipe is around 15″ across. I swear that the main pipe of the riser does not “look” 15″ across to me. This, to me, is a clear disproof of intelligent design … stoopid visual system needs anchors to work.

  42. fatster says:

    Whatever they’re doing looks about as much fun as threading the needle while it’s in the haystack.

  43. Mason says:

    Semms like they’re trying to pull away the two cut pipes that they looped together, but something’s caught.

    Advice from a seasoned observer of horror movies: don’t go in the basement to find out what’s causing the snag.

  44. Mason says:

    “So, not to worry. I am Dr. Fraahnkenshteeen & I am here to saw off your hump.

    Hump, what hump?

  45. Mason says:

    Uhm, this movie really sucks! Cain’t we have some good looking chicks and a decent car chase?

    Sheesh!

  46. fatster says:

    Where’s Bob? Here we are fully exercising our OCDs, and he’s probably out somewhere having fun.

  47. bobschacht says:

    Looks like 3 smaller pipes on the right side of the riser pipe. One of the pipes (black exterior) looks electrical.

    Maybe they were just cutting the side pipes?

    Bob in AZ

  48. JTMinIA says:

    Awww. Isn’t that cute. The ROV didn’t just drop the piece of pipe. That would be littering. It put in the garbage basket.

    (What ever happened to Shirley Manson, anyway. She came to a neuroscience class of mine at Bryn Mawr once. Weird chick.)

    • fatster says:

      So the the white thing is the catch-all? The souvenir pipe piece has gone up top, then?

  49. bobschacht says:

    I’m assuming that where they cut the aux lines shows us where they’re going to cut the base of the riser pipe. It looks like they plan to leave a rather substantial stub that the LMRP could latch onto. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t really matter that they appear to be planning to cut above the leaks, rather than below. I’m guessing that they’re more interested in the length of the stub.

    Bob in AZ

    • JTMinIA says:

      I think they’ll cut chunks out of the aux pipes before going after the main pipe. They need the last cut to be clean and fast.

  50. JTMinIA says:

    Also, I think I read they’ll be using a diamond wire saw on the main pipe. No more of these silly little circular saws.

    With that said, they just started to work on the riser (because Bob is offline, tee hee).

    edit: nope. Just cutting another chunk out of a aux pipe. Boooooring.

    • fatster says:

      At that depth, that pressure, it must take humongous power to operate that saw, huh?

      Looks like my kind of cutting–cut almost all the way through, then twist ‘er off.

    • JTMinIA says:

      When they have all of the aux pipes trimmed down to the junction, they will finally cut the riser (up a bit from the junction. The stub of the riser connects to the LMRP cap with a grommet. The “claw” of the LMRP cap grabs the junction to hold it all together (against 8000 psi).

      • fatster says:

        You mean they’re now going to cut the entire riser off? Isn’t that gonna be messy?

  51. JTMinIA says:

    Yep. When they finish trimming all the aux pipes down to the junction, they’ll be ready to cut the main pipe. That’s when the excitement will hit. (Ergo: that’s when I’ll be called away and, maybe, Bob, too.)

    • bobschacht says:

      When they finish trimming all the aux pipes down to the junction, they’ll be ready to cut the main pipe. That’s when the excitement will hit. (Ergo: that’s when I’ll be called away and, maybe, Bob, too.)

      The wife and I are leaving to see the new Sex and the City movie in less than an hour. So you can bank on it that they’ll cut the main pipe an hour to 3 hours from now.

      Bob in AZ

  52. JTMinIA says:

    They’ll cut the main pipe up a bit from the junction. They need a stub for the LMRP cap to press against to get a good seal. The “claw” of the LMRP cap will grab onto the junction ring, itself.

    Note: as I said above, I read that they’ll use a diamond wire saw on the main pipe, not a circular saw. That might take some time to set up. Plus, they’ll probably rotate the attack angle around as they do it, so that the riser comes off cleanly. This will reduce the time spent deburring the cut before installing the LMRP cap. All that time (while deburring), it’ll be gushing big time.

  53. fatster says:

    And you two leave me alone down here with Mason and Lecter, MetalMan, Shiva, and the rest of Mason’s monster collection? Eeeeeeek!

  54. bobschacht says:

    Ah– they’ve lassoed the horizontal segment of the riser so they can pull it away after the cut at the base of the riser pipe. I’ll bet this means they’ve made the first cut, as JT speculated.

    Bob in AZ

  55. JTMinIA says:

    Need one of those for splitting logs. The whole axe, wedge, and maul thing gets old real fast.

  56. JTMinIA says:

    Our (i.e., the viewer) ROV seems the have the job of trimming off stuff that might cause grief when the main cut is finally made. Seriously, Bob, nothing interesting will happen until you go off-line.

  57. JTMinIA says:

    The way the bubbles are moving, our guy may be surfacing. We may get to watch a ROV take a bath again, like yesterday (or the day before). Now *that* was riveting.

      • JTMinIA says:

        If she did such to make me a better person, then it would be great. But, being my daughter, she does it to score points.

        ps. I’m still ahead, even with the sarky slip-ip

  58. JTMinIA says:

    (My daughter wishes it to be known that you divide your score by your age, so she’s winning.)

  59. bobschacht says:

    Uh oh. What’s this on the screen now?

    I’m about to leave for several hours. Y’all mind the store, now, OK?
    Don’t let’em get away with anything.

    Bob in AZ

    • fatster says:

      Bye, Bob. You and Mrs. Bob have a wonderful evening. See you later at the old same place. No bozos on this bus.

  60. Hmmm says:

    OK, I’m caught up. And have added ‘ignernt’ to my vocab.

    So yeah, what’s the ugly yellow thing?

        • fatster says:

          They don’t have jobs there, unless you want to be part of a little clean-up operation on the beach. (Dammit!!!)

          • Hmmm says:

            That reminds me, why is the beach the major focus, when the number of affected shore miles must be so much greater in the barrier and inland marshes? I suspect it’s because the first thing Jindal started mouthing about was immediate tourism losses from dirty beach expectations.

            • fatster says:

              You’re right on. Inland marshes are not a large tourist attraction. It’s those squeaky white sands that are.

  61. Mason says:

    If it is, be a dear and buy it for me. I’m going on safari next week. Lovie and I shall be hunting terrorists and it’ll be perfect.

  62. Mason says:

    I think that yellow thang is the super scissor or shears that they’re going to use to cit the riser pipe 50 feet or so from the crimp to reduce the stress on the crimp when they start cutting with the diamond saw below the crimp.

    • Hmmm says:

      Ah. So there’ll be less lateral force during the cutting that could cause things to move in unwanted ways. Makes sense.

      Think they plan these operations out with tiny little scale models beforehand? Frankly I”m beyond impressed with the tradecraft of whoever’s implementing this part.

  63. JTMinIA says:

    Nope. The ROV went up to give eyes for the decent of the CRAW (fancy name for big yellow shears).

  64. newtonusr says:

    When I have seen the bent top of the riser, it has always looks to me like it is attached to the top of the BOP with a bolted flange.

    So if this has been covered or is inaccurate, apologies…

    Q: Why are they not unbolting the flange and attaching another? Seems likely to be a better seal than what they have in mind.

  65. JTMinIA says:

    Still hooking the hydraulics up to the claw, eh? Guess I didn’t miss anything, yes?

      • JTMinIA says:

        Thanks, I guess. In any event, that thing is the converter coupling that will allow them to feed ROV hydraulics into the shear. The shear is usually used up top, so it doesn’t have a mile-long hose. So they stick that coupling in and then attach a ROV-style hydraulic feeder to it. The shear can cut through 1.5″ steel-wall pipe, so it kind of need a lot of input pressure. But this is making me dizzy watching them try to stick the converter coupling in. Kind of like two fourteen-year-olds on a couch.

        • fatster says:

          I take it your daughter is no longer present. I was watching my language.

          Thanks for the explanation. I do kind of “get it”, though insufficiently for passing a quiz.

      • JTMinIA says:

        Please don’t read it that way. My grumpiness is gone. What’s pathetic is the ROV operator. Ten to one he or she does not have kids … unless adopted.

        • Hmmm says:

          Ah, gotcha. Puts me in mind of Harvey Korman to Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles, who is having trouble putting a pen away, into a pen holder on the desk: “Think of your secretary.”

  66. Mason says:

    Looks like they’ve got the riser supported by a sling and they’re getting ready to amputate with the shears above the wound.

  67. JTMinIA says:

    I keep coming back for a few minutes (yes, my daughter is now in bed, but she often yells for me to come explain something) and nothing happens. If they don’t hurry, Bob will be back (bitching about how awful Sex and the City 2 was) and they won’t have made the first cut, yet.

    • bobschacht says:

      If they don’t hurry, Bob will be back (bitching about how awful Sex and the City 2 was) and they won’t have made the first cut, yet.

      Well, it was mostly pretty silly. But it had some serious dialogue about marital relationships in it. Between the 4 of them, they’ve got just about every kind of relationship covered.

      Bob in AZ

      • JTMinIA says:

        Did they talk about hydraulic devices capable of emasculating King Kong? No? Well, we did.

      • Mason says:

        Nope. Gonna git me some Off. Did shit fer brains choose this fucking place to camp tonight?

        • fatster says:

          Yeah. He likes it cuz the outhouse is jes’ right over yonder. Convenient and all. You brang some pages from the Sears & Roebuck catalog?

  68. JTMinIA says:

    You all may find this amusing. My wife just walked by and muttered something like: “you’ll watch someone else get their tubes cut for three hours every night and then have the nerve to complain about condoms….”

  69. JTMinIA says:

    The flex-joint (between the riser connector and the body of the BOP) is supposedly capable of a 7* angle. Seems more than that, no?

    • Hmmm says:

      Hard to say. The doomers guys think the ROVs have a very wide-angle lens, which I think would exaggerate that. Plus diving and snorkeling have taught me that angles are weird underwater, visually.

  70. Hmmm says:

    Glad they’ve got it all pared away there, but hard to believe this is going to be clean or easy.

  71. JTMinIA says:

    The reason (given) for using a wire saw is to get a clean, flat cut on that cleared-off section of riser. The rougher and less-level the cut, the more deburring. And the deburring will have to be done with a giant plume right there.

  72. Hmmm says:

    Gawd, the saw and the pipe. Just sitting there next to each other. WHat could possibly go wrong?

    Oooh, here we go!

    • JTMinIA says:

      “Our” ROV a circular saw for doing clean-up jobs. It’ll be a wire saw for the real cut.

      Plus, I doubt that little saw can cut through a pipe with 1 1/8″ steel walls.

  73. JTMinIA says:

    Don’t tell me that bend and crimp ain’t acting as a serious flow restriction. This sucker is gunna gush when cut.

  74. Hmmm says:

    Sure seems like unboltng that nice big flange there would be the way to go, doesn’t it?

      • newtonusr says:

        Perhaps, but there’s no better mating surface for whatever the have in mind that a bare flange. It’s possible it is also welded, but it looks bare to me.

        • JTMinIA says:

          A LMRP cap is made to mate with a cut riser pipe, not to the flange. The claw on the cap is designed to grab the flange to hold the cap down on the riser stub.

      • bobschacht says:

        In response to newtonusr @ 339 (show text)

        You might be able to unbolt the old one, but they can’t bolt on a new one.

        Why not?

        Bob in AZ

        • JTMinIA says:

          Really, really hard to get the holes lined up, the bolts through the holes, the nuts on, and the whole thing tightened working with ROVs.

          With that said, that is the next option if and when the cap failed.

          • bobschacht says:

            Really, really hard to get the holes lined up, the bolts through the holes, the nuts on, and the whole thing tightened working with ROVs.

            Can’t be that much harder than what the astronauts do all the time docking, and building the space station, etc.

            Bob in AZ

  75. JTMinIA says:

    If you watched earlier, it took 30 min to get a coupling together. Imagine trying to get bolts lined up etc with a massive oil plume next to you. No way. (Although, with that said, that’s the next option: bolt on a new BOP.)

    • Hmmm says:

      One doesn’t wish to jinx the thing, but no, I’ve come to the same conclusion. And that the primary purpose of all these maneuvers is to reduce the magnitude of the eventual judgements BP will have to pay. “Did everything possible, Your Honor!”

  76. Mason says:

    BTW, doesn’t the flow seem substantially reduced? I wonder if it’s entirely due to not pumping mud?

  77. JTMinIA says:

    shift-PrintScreen
    paste into a draw program with degree-by-degree rotation
    rotate straight line to match

  78. Mason says:

    Meanwhile, according to Maui Surfer @ the oildrum,

    Latest nyt story confirms what Rockman has been saying:

    engineers cannot be sure how much more oil might escape if the operation fails.

    “We’re all concerned about it,” said the technician, who spoke on condition of remaining unnamed because he is not authorized to speak publicly for the company. “We simply do not have the data about the internal geometry of the blowout preventer” to determine what volume of oil is being contained by the damaged blowout preventer and any damaged equipment or debris inside it.

    Link.

    • bmaz says:

      Well now there is a “DUH” statement if there ever was one. Only the idiot gullible media could not have known this.

      • JTMinIA says:

        I think this is actually worse. It’s a snow-job. They actually do know what the “internal geometry” of the BOP is: not one ram moved one fricken inch because the entire BOP was miswired, mis-plumbed, didn’t have power, and didn’t have back-up hydraulic pressure. They know the inside of the BOP is totally smooth. They verified this when their junk shot was a total failure. That guy’s not authorized to speak because BP isn’t about to officially put out a lie that is so easy to check after the fact.

        • JTMinIA says:

          Oh, and BP people beat their spouses and don’t do the voices very well when they read to their kids, too.

        • Hmmm says:

          That would not support their “We did everything possible” narrative, no.

          Guess we should watch for any “emergency” steps that would destroy evidence of the status/configuration of the original BOP & rams.

          • JTMinIA says:

            Maybe. I really have been trying to avoid listening to BP and I don’t know much about the law. That’s a bmaz question, I guess. But I don’t see any way for them to move the rams inside the BOP at this point.

            • bmaz says:

              Maybe, but I think I recall that they have repaired some hydraulics and replaced one or both of the control/battery packs. Not positive of this, or even if so what control linkage they still have. Theoretically possible for them to have altered the status of the BOP though.

              • JTMinIA says:

                Yeah, that’s right. But it’s still BP working with a jerry-rigged BOP. I still doubt the rams moved.

              • bobschacht says:

                Maybe, but I think I recall that they have repaired some hydraulics and replaced one or both of the control/battery packs. Not positive of this, or even if so what control linkage they still have.

                Good point. But they lost control linkage when the riser pipe collapsed (and the rig exploded, and fell over, and sank to the bottom, and… well, you get the picture.)

                Unless, of course, they were able to reconnect the linkage at one of the control panels on the BOP.

                Bob in AZ

                • Hmmm says:

                  I thought there must have been a mechanical issue at the rams, they’ve had more than plenty of opportunity to re-connect any control lines.

  79. JTMinIA says:

    On OilDrum, some people are worried that cutting the riser all the way through, which would include the drill pipe inside, might allow the drill pipe to fall down through the well and smack the bottom plug, maybe dislodging the latter. If that happens, you would suddenly have a wide-open tube all the way to the reservoir that is at least 10″ in diameter at all points.

    That would mean the end of all life in the Gulf, pretty much.

    Nice knowing you all.

    • Hmmm says:

      Gotta be some way of determining whether the drill string is still there or not, and if so, pinning it in place at the cut site.

      • JTMinIA says:

        If they really use a wire saw, they can stop after cutting the outer pipe. try to get a clamp on the drill pipe, cut it, and lift it out.

        But I actually have the opposite worry from the guy on OilDrum. I’d be worried about the drill pipe shooting up and out when the cut it. After all, the well is under pressure and the crud/e is shooting upwards.

  80. Hmmm says:

    I suppose any other debris that could be generated would be so light that the upwards flow would expel it, rather than having it crash down the well… yes?

  81. Hmmm says:

    From a mechanical analysis PoV it really is all kind of a worst-possible-case problem, isn’t It?

  82. fatster says:

    So, how long is that thing gonna sit there kind of lopsided before they do something else?

    • JTMinIA says:

      We are waiting for the claw to cut the riser 50′ to the left. Or we are waiting for something we don’t know about. If the view doesn’t change, you’re watching for the riser to suddenly snap straight up, instead of leaning over, which means they cut the riser pipe and the weight of the riser isn’t bending the flex-joint over any more.

      At this point, tho’, it seems they are waiting for Bob to come back from the movie, first.

      • fatster says:

        Thnx. This is heavy-hearted stuff, isn’t it?

        I hope Bob didn’t forget the popcorn.

        • Hmmm says:

          Grim gallows humor, my friend. An unprecedented tragedy that gets even worse every passing moment. Laugh or go mad from it.

          • JTMinIA says:

            Actually, that’s another reason why we might be waiting right now. People in control of this might be asking each other: “are we sure we aren’t about to open a 10″ hole to the center of the earth?”

      • Hmmm says:

        They immobilized the sideways riser pipe in a sling. Don’t think it’ll shoot anywhere.

        • JTMinIA says:

          I think that they are holding the riser up, because it’s been sinking into the silt on the Gulf’s floor and putting more torque on the BOP. They aren’t holding it down. So when the riser gets cut, it will put less torque on the BOP and (I assume – hee haw hee haw) the riser connector will straighten up a bit.

        • bobschacht says:

          They immobilized the sideways riser pipe in a sling. Don’t think it’ll shoot anywhere.

          JT isn’t worried about that. He’s worried about the drill pipe inside the riser pipe.

          Bob in AZ

      • bobschacht says:

        At this point, tho’, it seems they are waiting for Bob to come back from the movie, first.

        They gotta wait until I get through reading the comments.

        Bob in AZ

    • Hmmm says:

      Until BP and USG execs feel the grasp of existential dread release their cold, dead little hearts?

  83. Mason says:

    BP has a habit of delaying important things to do until late at night and when they fail, which they always do, they sit on the story for as long as they can.

    • JTMinIA says:

      Agreed, but they usually started doing stuff at 11 pm eastern. It’s almost 1 am now.

  84. Mason says:

    From aliilaali @ the oildrum:

    idle thoughts on problems in hitting the target with RW ….had said my 2 cents on wellbore surveys and now form the RW standpoint there are some things to consider with regards to RW target

    1- like i’d said ….current technology’s theoretical limits can hit a 10ft radius ball with a confidence interval of 90%…this limit applies on RW with with a grain of salt since expected interception is 18000 rkb ….but really depth can be +- 50 ft on depth …the problem here is azimuth of RW (think 3d geographical grid) ….so essentially the target for the RW is not a circle but a rectangle (in cross sectional view of leaking well when looked at from right or left) of approx 75′ (length) x 2′ (width)

    2- now there are two options to establish pressure communication b/w RW and LW (leaking well)…(1) mill into the LK csg or run a hot tap (pull along LK and run a perf gun)….high pressures will likely preclude a hot tap and most likely it will be the milling option

    3- for milling we have to hit the LK with our milling bit and hit in a way so that atleast 25-30% of the cross-sectional on the LK makes a connection with the milling bit …to be able to mill and expose sufficient portion of the LK to pump the kill pill..this means the target is really a rectangle (cross-sectional view) of approx 75′ X 1.5′

    4- the Mississippi delta is a known have a high iron content in the formation…this will screw up the gyroscopes and the accelerometers a bit….small errors on the instantaneous will add up over 18000’….

    5- accuracy will be increased in the last 3/4 joints of the DP using wellspot RGR (radial gradient ranging) in combination with PMR (passive magnetic ranging) ….this will get a good lock on the target zone and time drilling will be used ….(the driller will need sufficient supplies of Gatorade, Copenhagen/skoal/husky or whatever dip he prefers but fine cut and complete concentration here)

    git er’ dun

    Link.

  85. JTMinIA says:

    In case you’re wondering, the claw was developed as part of the Spay/Neuter All Pets program. They were going to get Clifford the Big Red Dog to participate.

  86. JTMinIA says:

    Can you read that fine print on the claw? I think it says “Lorena Bobbitt, eat your heart out.”

      • Mason says:

        eating human children that they captured walking home from church, and uhm, all the humans were sore afraid.

        • Hmmm says:
          Well, first there were these dinosaurs…

          eating human children that they captured walking home from church, and uhm, all the humans were sore afraid.

          …And then they lay down at the bottom of the ocean, and eventually they turned to oil, and now they all want to come back up and see the sun again.

          That’s about it, in yer basic nutshell.

      • bobschacht says:

        In response to bobschacht @ 402 (show text)

        Well, first there were these dinosaurs…

        No, no! I’d already read the first 260 comments.

        Bob in AZ

    • fatster says:

      Yay! Thanks for remembering us. Good popcorn, BTW. Thnx.

      Of course you have to read all 160. You wouldn’t want to miss any of our wit and wisdom, now would you?

      How was the movie?

      • bobschacht says:

        That’s the horizontal part of the riser in the slings, so when they cut it off at the base, they can lift the riser pipe off the top of the BOP.

        BTW, anyone come up with an answer to newtonusr’s question @ 274? why don’t they just unbolt the riser pipe from the top of the BOP?

        Bob in AZ

        • JTMinIA says:

          Cutting off most of the riser is more so the riser doesn’t damage anything when they do the second cut right above the BOP. When they make the second cut, expect the cut-off part to be pushed away by a seriously larger plume. Could land anywhere.

        • newtonusr says:

          I assume there is a reason. I simply have not seen anyone state it.
          I also assume that the engineers know all about the flange dimensions and rigidity. So either there’s an unbeatable weld, the drill pipe is an obstacle, or there’s some other technical reason why they didn’t design the LMRP cap to fit the flange instead of the sheared pipe.

  87. JTMinIA says:

    Prediction: the claw has no circuit for opening. They will now lift it back to the surface and pry it open by hand. See you in three hours….

  88. JTMinIA says:

    BP’s pipe-cutting instructions:

    1) bring in the CLAW

    2) close mouth of claw

    3) put claw over pipe to be cut

    4) invert steps 2 & 3

    • JTMinIA says:

      When an astronaut is doing something like this, there isn’t a 8000 psi plume of crap blasting out.

      Turn on a spigot full blast. Now thread a garden hose onto it using a pair of pliers to hold the hose. Oh, and don’t articulate your arm holding the pliers in more than three degrees of freedom.

  89. Hmmm says:

    Wonder if they can clamp the drill pipe & string at the far (leaking) end so it doesn’t go down the well when they sever the riser…

    • bobschacht says:

      Wonder if they can clamp the drill pipe & string at the far (leaking) end so it doesn’t go down the well when the sever the riser…

      Good thought, but then remember that they cut (or will soon cut) the riser pipe 100-200 feet from the BOP. But then they could grab it there. But then if you just cut the riser pipe through near its base, the drill pipe could still fall down the shaft as feared. As someone suggested, you’d have to cut through the riser pipe but not the drill pipe near the top of the BOP, with all the oil and gas spewing all over the place, then grab the drill pipe, then cut it off above the grab, then pull the drill pipe out, all while oil and gas is spewing all over the place, obscuring visibility.

      Bob in AZ

  90. Hmmm says:

    More to the point, unlike an ROV jockey the astronaut can feel the pieces and their spatial relationships with his or her own fingers.

  91. JTMinIA says:

    Another problem would occur as you got the new riser (or BOP) close to the flange. You’d have all that oil and gas jetting out. It would not smoothly shoot into the hole in the bottom of the new riser (or second BOP); it would push the new piece away very hard.

    I suppose you could try to winch it down into place with cables poked through the flange holes on both pieces. But this would take a long time. And then you’d still have the bolts, nuts, etc, work.

    Odds are, we’ll be seeing how they try to do this in about a week.

    • Hmmm says:

      Yeh, that’s why I suggested a 2-part shell. You could loop lines through some of the holes and slowly tighten ’em, then bolt some of the holes, then remove the lines and bolt the rest of the holes.

      Of course, the first half of the shell would go on a whole lot easier than the second half…

      • JTMinIA says:

        Aye. For all I/we know, that’s how they’ll do it. We know they won’t able to just drop it on.

        Heck, they might need to winch down the LMRP cap. Same issue, just more leeway that flange-to-flange.

        And with that, I must sleep. cheers

  92. JTMinIA says:

    See that hydraulic coupling (yellow thing on black hose)? That’s what took them 30 minutes to hook up.

  93. bobschacht says:

    So, who’s doing the choreography here? We’ve got the two ROVs, probably the Millenium 12, and whomever is operating the rig from which the diamond saw is hanging. I wonder if all those operators are in the same room on the same ship, or whether they’re all on an intercom, or what.

    Bob in AZ

  94. Hmmm says:

    I’m going to have to sign off, colleagues. Keep up the excellent work. Try not to let them destroy all life in the hemisphere while I sleep.

  95. bobschacht says:

    Now they’re trying to lasso the CUTter? They’re going to have to hang it from a rig that can control it’s movements rather precisely.

    Bob in AZ

  96. bobschacht says:

    Whoo boy! Looks like they’re trying to maneuver Jaws in position around the riser pipe base! Is the whole deal about to come down?

    Bob in AZ

  97. bobschacht says:

    Oops! They dropped the reins. Looks like the other ROV is pushing Jaws like a shopping cart, with two “hands” on the handle.

    Bob in AZ

  98. bobschacht says:

    I don’t get why our ROV keeps grabbing the reins and then letting them go. Oh– maybe to get them to hang down out of the way?

    Bob in AZ

  99. bobschacht says:

    Looks like our ROV is getting ready behind the riser base to catch and guide the jaws into place.

    The other ROV, pushing Jaws like a shopping cart with no wheels.

    Bob in AZ

  100. bobschacht says:

    Looks like they’ve got it locked in place, but I can’t tell where the blade is. Jaws has grabbed the circular plates that are bolted together at the bottom of the riser/top of the BOP.

    I’ve got some pretty good screen shots of the position, from the side. But I still can’t see the blade.

    They’ve done a nice job of panning around the whole Jaws assembly from both sides and front to show where the Jaws have grabbed on.

    It’s harder to see what’s going on now, but the oil and gas are still spewing forth out of the same old leaks for the time being.

    Ugh. Now the camera is looking at somewhere down the horizontal riser pipe. Why?

    Bob in AZ

  101. bobschacht says:

    Ah! Back to a better view now.

    But now they’re looking back down where the fallen riser pipe has fallen.

    Maybe they don’t want us to see the actual cut.

    I think they’re waiting for me to go to bed.

    Now they’re showing some long contraption suspended by a harness. I have no idea what it is. It looks like it has a rectangular hole near the end, which is wedge shaped(?). The coloration is yellowish and not unlike the riser pipe. It is the underside of a larger piece of equipment.

    Bob in AZ

  102. bobschacht says:

    Now they’re showing something that might be the LMRP. It’s got a pipe coming out of the top, but otherwise looks like a cage. I think they lowered Jaws on this thing.

    I’m getting too tired to keep this vigil. See y’all tomorrow morning.

    Bob in AZ

  103. Hmmm says:

    Quick drive-by… I see some sort of clamp with a black tubular metal frame and some flat metal structure in the middle. ROV is holding it still with its left claw. Looks like this clamp is supposed to go around the BOP or the riser or the pivoting assembly where the BOP connects to the riser end.

    Off to sleep for real now…

  104. JTMinIA says:

    G’morning. Seems we missed nothing by sleeping, since they just managed to get the claw on the pipe 20 min ago.

  105. bobschacht says:

    G’morning!
    Jaws has been on the joint since 1:00 AM! Is that what you mean by “claw on the pipe”? Right now, it looks like they’re using one of the little circular saws to trim stuff on the horizontal riser pipe. I haven’t seen a view of the top of the BOP yet this morning.

    Bob in aZ

    • bobschacht says:

      By claw, do you mean the scissors thing they were talking about yesterday, for cutting the horizontal riser pipe, rather than the diamond saw thing they planned to use on the base of the riser?

      I thought they had already done the first cut on the horizontal riser pipe, as you yourself conjectured yesterday.

      Bob in AZ

      • JTMinIA says:

        They ain’t done nothing. It took until about 8 am central to get the claw/scissor/crimper on the pipe. Then they “discovered” that the aux pipes would cause it to rotate as they clamped, which could rip the riser out of the BOP. So they stopped and started cutting off aux pipes, as they still are doing now.

        • bobschacht says:

          It took until about 8 am central to get the claw/scissor/crimper on the pipe.

          I have screen shots showing Jaws clamped onto the base of the riser pipe, right where the riser pipe base bolts onto the top of the BOP, at 1 AM last night. Looks like a good grab, too. Either you’re talking about a different device, or they removed Jaws for some reason, only to re-engage it this morning. It is possible that they decided that they didn’t like the location of the grab, as I was expecting they’d grab the riser pipe itself, rather than the base.

          Bob in AZ

          • JTMinIA says:

            That’s the wire saw. It’s been ready for 10 hours. Or are you saying the big yellow scissor was on the riser near the BOP? That would be crazy.

  106. JTMinIA says:

    In the time it has taken to line up the claw and now cut aux pipes, I’m wondering if a circular saw could have done the whole job.

    • JTMinIA says:

      I just listened to it again. Cracks me up. BBC is known for its in-yo’-face interview and I love the way McDonald turns it around.

  107. bobschacht says:

    Not sure what you mean by the “big yellow scissor”. The device I’ve been calling “Jaws” has a yellow crate, with the letters “CUT” painted on the side, on a large U-shaped grate. The arms of the U surround the target pipe and clamp onto it.

    What does the big yellow scissor look like?

    Bob in AZ

  108. JTMinIA says:

    The one with the yellow box (with “CUT” on it) is the wire saw.

    “Jaws” is all yellow and looks like a giant Sears RoboGrip.

    Jaws aka claw aka CRAW will first cut the riser some distance away from the BOP, after they cut away the aux pipes so it doesn’t twist when they close the jaw.

    Then the wire saw will cut the shortened riser off the BOP.

    You cut most of the riser off first so (a) you don’t have a long pipe flopping around, smashing into things, and (b) to reduce the weight of the riser when the wire saw is cutting. The wire on the wire saw is $100k. Break it and Tiny Hayward throws a hissy fit.

    • bobschacht says:

      I’ll go with “claw” for the Sears Robogrip thingy, and Jaws for the “CUT” box thing, just to be consistent with my own usage. YMMV. Does BP or the press have a consistent use of these nicknames?

      Bob in AZ

      • JTMinIA says:

        Everyone calls the yellow RoboGrip the Claw or the Craw. The wire saw is either the wire saw or just CUT.

  109. bobschacht says:

    OK, they just showed what you may be calling the scissors clamped onto the horizontal portion of the riser pipe, only a few meters away from the riser base. I’d call it a pipe cutter rather than a scissors, but machts nichts.

    Bob in AZ

  110. JTMinIA says:

    The Oceaneering feed has them both in view now. Jaws on the left, clamped onto the horizontal riser; the wire saw on the right, around the vertical piece of the riser.

  111. bmaz says:

    Top O the morning to all you oil heads!

    As this LMRP hat thingamajiggy is obviously an ongoing process, and it really is kind of mesmerizing, Marcy is going to put up a new short post on the Gulf oil spill. Let us move this LMRP discussion over to that thread in about 20 minutes as this one is getting rather up there in the number of comments.

  112. JTMinIA says:

    Great. Thanks, bmaz.

    Make sure she listens to McDonald calling Hayward “Tiny Hayward” and arguing that it’s at least 25k bbls per day. The link is up a bit. BBC.

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