A More Revealing BP Hearing?

The House Commerce Committee is holding the third hearing into what went wrong on the BP Deepwater Horizon rig (CSPAN is showing it on CSPAN3). As is typical for a Waxman/Stupak hearing, the Committee has done its homework, advancing the understanding of what went wrong.

Henry Waxman’s opening statement reveals that the well failed a number of tests, but BP kept testing until getting a passing test, and then proceeded to close the well.

Rigs like the Deepwater Horizon keep a daily drilling report. Transocean has given us the report for April 20, the day of the explosion. It is an incomplete log because it ends at 3:00 p.m., about seven hours before the explosion. But it confirms that three positive pressure tests were conducted in the morning to early afternoon.

The next bullet says: “After 16.5 hours waiting on cement, a test was performed on the wellbore below the Blowout Preventer.” BP explained to us what this means. Halliburton completed cementing the well at 12:35 a.m. on April 20 and after giving the cement time to set, a negative pressure test was conducted around 5:00 p.m. This is an important test. During a negative pressure test, the fluid pressure inside the well is reduced and the well is observed to see whether any gas leaks into the well through the cement or casing.

According to James Dupree, the BP Senior Vice President for the Gulf of Mexico, the well did not pass this test. Mr. Dupree told Committee staff on Monday that the test result was “not satisfactory” and “inconclusive.” Significant pressure discrepancies were recorded.

As a result, another negative pressure test was conducted. This is described in the fourth bullet: “During this test, 1,400 psi was observed on the drill pipe while 0 psi was observed on the kill and the choke lines.”

According to Mr. Dupree, this is also an unsatisfactory test result. The kill and choke lines run from the drill rig 5,000 feet to the blowout preventer at the sea floor. The drill pipe runs from the drill rig through the blowout preventer deep into the well. In the test, the pressures measured at any point from the drill rig to the blowout preventer should be the same in all three lines. But what the test showed was that pressures in the drill pipe were significantly higher. Mr. Dupree explained that the results could signal that an influx of gas was causing pressure to mount inside the wellbore.

Another document provided by BP to the Committee is labeled “What Could Have Happened.” It was prepared by BP on April 26, ten days before the first document. According to BP, their understanding of the cause of the spill has evolved considerably since April 26, so this document should not be considered definitive. But it also describes the two negative pressure tests and the pressure discrepancies that were recorded.

What happened next is murky. Mr. Dupree told the Committee staff that he believed the well blew moments after the second pressure test. But lawyers for BP contacted the Committee yesterday and provided a different account. According to BP’s counsel, further investigation has revealed that additional pressure tests were taken, and at 8:00 p.m., company officials determined that the additional results justified ending the test and proceeding with well operations.

This confusion among BP officials appears to echo confusion on the rig. Information reviewed by the Committee describes an internal debate between Transocean and BP personnel about how to proceed. [my emphasis]

And Bart Stupak’s opening statement reveals that the Blowout Preventer had had some modifications that may have contributed to its failure.

In his testimony today, Lamar McKay, the President of BP America, says that blowout preventers are “intended to … be fail-safe.” But that didn’t happen. The blowout preventer used by the Deepwater Horizon rig failed to stop the flow of gas and oil, the rig exploded, and an enormous oil spill is now threatening the Gulf Coast.

We know that the blowout preventer, the BOP, did not properly engage. The BOP has multiple rams that are supposed to slam shut to pinch off any flow around the drill pipe and stop the flow of oil from the well. There are also shear rams in the BOP that are supposed to cut and seal the pipe to prevent oil and gas from flowing. The question we will ask is why did these rams fail?

Our investigation is at its early stages, but already we have uncovered at least four significant problems with the blowout preventer used on the Deepwater Horizon drill rig.

First, the blowout preventer apparently had a significant leak in a key hydraulic system. This leak was found in the hydraulic system that provides emergency power to the shear rams, which are the devices that are supposed to cut the drill pipe and seal the well.


Second, we learned that the blowout preventer had been modified in unexpected ways. One of these modifications was potentially significant. The blowout preventer has an underwater control panel. BP spent a day trying to use this control panel to activate a variable bore ram on the blowout preventer that is designed to seal tight around any pipe in the well. When they investigated why their attempts failed to activate the bore ram, they learned that the device had been modified. A useless test ram – not the variable bore ram – had been connected to the socket that was supposed to activate the variable bore ram. An entire day’s worth of precious time had been spent engaging rams that closed the wrong way.

BP told us the modifications on the BOP were extensive. After the accident, they asked Transocean for drawings of the blowout preventer. Because of the modifications, the drawings they received didn’t match the structure on the ocean floor. BP said they wasted many hours figuring this out.

Third, we learned that the blowout preventer is not powerful enough to cut through joints in the drill pipe. We found a Transocean document that I would like to put on the screen. It says: most blind shear rams are “designed to shear effectively only on the body of the drillpipe. Procedures for the use of BSR’s must therefore ensure that there is no tool joint opposite the ram prior to shearing.”


And fourth, we learned that the emergency controls on the blowout preventer may have failed. The blowout preventer has two emergency controls. One is called the emergency disconnect system or EDS. BP officials told us that that the EDS was activated on the drill rig before the rig was evacuated. But the Cameron official said they doubted the signals ever reached the blowout preventer on the seabed. Cameron officials believed the explosion on the rig destroyed the communications link to the blowout preventer before the emergency sequence could be completed.

In other words, the emergency controls may have failed because the explosion that caused the emergency also disabled communications to the blowout preventer. [my emphasis]

Needless to say, today’s hearing should be a lot more comprehensive than yesterday’s hearings.

107 replies
  1. PJEvans says:

    I keep hoping that, with each of these corporations blaming the others, the secretary of the Interior gets ticked enough to say something like ‘Clearly none of you is qualified to run a business, so your mineral exploration permits are cancelled, effective immediately. All of them. And we’re notifying the attorneys-general, all of them, that you’re out of the mineral-exploration business. You can do sales, but not exploration, drilling, or mining. Chinga sus madres, and have a nice day, ladies and gentlemen.’

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    If they get too close, the lawyers will stop it. I also notice that it’s only the executives on the stand. If you want to get an idea what really happened, you need to talk to the techs from all three companies.

    The CEO’s can squirm out of the technical questions, pleading ignorance or corporate structure. If you put a tech under oath, he’ll tell you exactly what he thinks happened. There are probably some angry techs out there, I note that a number of tests were ignored and a number of warnings went unheeded.

    I’d like to talk to the test tech who did the pressure tests that failed and see what he thinks of the decision to proceed. For starters.

    First, you get to what actually happened. THEN you haul the CEO’s to explain why they supported the corporate policies that created the environment so it could happen.

    Boxturtle (And they have to answer without admitting they did it to save money)

  3. bonjonno says:

    It seems like BP legal counsel makes a good case for for it being the BOP guys’ fault, but doesn’t even recognize that their people proceeded w/o solid safety test results. Dorks.

    • emptywheel says:

      The nice thing about this circular firing squad is that all the parties may well have gotten their shots off and true before being hit themselves, meaning they can all go down. I just hope MMS gets taken down in its current form as well.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          A mess split into two piles is still a mess. Arguably, it’s a double mess. He can split it into a bazillion little messes, but if he doesn’t deal with the problem of corporate influence on the little messes and on the confirmation process for the political appointees itself it will make no difference.

          Boxturtle (Hi, J.R.! I got a new office number, but you can still sends the checks to the same address)

          • fatster says:

            Agreed, and to repeat myself from days ago, I guess the feds don’t have the ability to y-rate employees (and apparently not the fortitude to initiate and carry-out the process of actually firing some. Hopefully these investigations will get so intense that some of those Cheney-bots will leave from the pressure.)

      • klynn says:

        In the back of my mind I have been wondering what was the external corp culture pressures driving unsafe decisions? It seems like there was some kind of push to make this happen in a certain time frame? Was there the hope to have some kind of success for Offshore PR to coincide with the Climate Bill? After all, there were higher ups on the rig “celebrating safety”…and probably the future. Great PR for offshore pitch to get the Bill through had there been success in their work instead of the worst spill in history.

        I am not sure I am buying the “safety” celebration. You do not endorse unsafe decisions when you have big whigs one board celebrating safety. That just makes no sense.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          It’s almost always schedule pressure. Where I worked, the quality vs schedule war was a constant undertone. Execs bonus were based on meeting the schedule and cost estimates, not on how many hours afterward the techs had to spend cleaning up the mess. Micro$loth operates on the “Get it close, get it out, get it right” system. And so on.

          Odds are, those execs were there to celebrate an on schedule, on cost completion. The pressure on the local team to make that go well would be intense.

          Boxturtle (I can work fast, cheap and well. But I can only do 2 of the 3 at once)

        • emptywheel says:

          I highly doubt it has anything to do with politics. It costs $1 million a day to run this rig. You gotta get it drilling to make that worthwhile.

  4. Leen says:

    Blackburn “looking for villians” who said anything about “villians”

    Why is it when accountability for serious mistakes comes up the Repubs start defining accountability as people looking for “villians, vengeance retribution”

    • DWBartoo says:

      Why do the Rethugs do this?

      Ah well, first they can get away with it.

      And second, it has always worked in the past.

      And third, what else have “they” got?

      The fourth question is: Why do the rest of us put up with it, it being a major and ongoing part of the bi-partisan kabuki?

      (So many questions, so few answers/s)


      • Leen says:

        “And third, what else have “they” got?”
        A public willing to keep their heads up where the sun does not shine. Based on the use of fear, hatred and lies. That is what they have. The ability to flip the script and a public willing to have the evidence pissed on.

        One thing we have
        Solid evidence that investigations into lies under oath about blowjobs is far more important to them than holding the Bush administration accountable for an intelligence snowjob.

  5. DWBartoo says:

    These opening statements are exemplary in their coverage of questions regarding the “failure” at the site, a failure, primarily of confusion, and unfortunately, it would appear, of hubris. However, there are other things which contributed to this disaster, including some for which Congress itself is responsible.

    This is a good beginning, but it is the nature of what we “end” with that is critical to beginning to embrace needful change in our basic “relationship” to our world.

    The larger question is whether Congress truly understands that undeniable truth, or whether there will be, when all is said and done, a swift and unrepentant return to “business … as usual”?


    • BoxTurtle says:

      Concrete curing is a chemical process, not a solar process. It actually proceeds faster under deep water than it does on land and it produces stronger concrete. The increased pressure speeds up the reaction.

      I do not know if 16.5 hours is long enough, but it probably is if the rest of the job is up to par.

      Search the seminal posts for anything by oilfieldguy if you want deep technical details.

      Boxturtle (Thanks, oilfieldguy!!!)

      • DWBartoo says:

        Thanks, BT, I assumed the added pressure would make a significant difference.

        But a wee dram of skepticism remains …


        • BoxTurtle says:

          Like I said, see the seminal posts by oilfieldguy. I learned a tremendous amount from those and it corrected some misconceptions I had.

          Boxturtle (MSM would do well to refer to them as well, though they likely won’t give proper credit)

          • DWBartoo says:

            Have you any idea as to the title of the Seminal article by oilfieldguy that you referred me to?

            “How to Cap a Well” is excellent (I’d read it earlier) but it makes no mention of cure time.

            Any further assistance you might render would be fabulously much appreciated, BT, as I’ve yet to find hard data regarding deep-water cure time, as most information concerns land-based use.


            • BoxTurtle says:

              I sure don’t. He had several articles up, along with intelligent comments on other threads, it could have been anywhere.

              Boxturtle (Sometimes I’m every bit as worthless as my reputation would lead you to believe)

      • tjbs says:

        I poured footings underwater and i don’t believe you can speed up the cure to under 24 hours and to speed up curing is there increased heat to release the methane trapped there?

        I’ve read the pressure is over 100’000 psi which would require a longer cure time. Waiting for a cure is like watching grass grow can’t make a buck that way.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          As I said, I dunno if that’s long enough. Your comments about heat are right on, though. Oilfieldguy goes into some detail about how that’s handled.

          Boxturtle (I admit I’m regurgitating what I read without fully understanding the science)

    • DWBartoo says:

      Yes, I have spent many years working with concrete, tjbs, and such a short “cure time” astounds me.

      Ah, the miracles, miracles, I tell you, of modern science, harnessed in the service of industry, why things that used to take forever are now instant.

      It is all most gratifying; I hate to wait, I want it NOW!


  6. Leen says:

    Chris Matthew hammered away on last nights Hardball about yesterdays hearing on the spill. He had Micheal Papantino (sp?) on last nights Hardball. And continued to hammer away on how Cheney’s secret energy deals had set the stage for this disaster. How Cheney personally profitted from some of the Halliburton deals and had set up negligent oversite of drilling.

    Can not link to Matthews interview with Papantino last night. It was substantive and worth watching

    • fatster says:

      Here you go. (The links were way back on the other side of “the Bright Side”.)



      Good info contained in these two videos. One of those rare occasions when Matthews gets right on it. Better said: he didn’t interrupt his guests so much so they could speak. And he had two good guests–Papantonio and Garamendi.

      • Leen says:

        thanks so much.

        The exchange between Ed and Landreiu last night on the spill is also worth the watch.

      • Leen says:

        He is getting better at not interrupting. He pounded on Cheney, profits, secret energy meetings, and the inside over (under) sight job

        stand by that Matthews hammered harder than most other MSM outlets before the invasion. He hammered Kristol , Frum, Hadley and others. Not hard enough but harder than anyone else

      • DWBartoo says:

        Thank you, fatster, for those links.

        Papatino conveniently forgets that the people did NOT “elect” George W. Bush in 2000, he was “selected” by SCOTUS.

        This is a significant omission and undercuts his implication that the people must “elect” better Presidents.

        Also, as a Democrat, he deliberately makes no mention of Obama’s responsibility and that of Congress, who should, clearly, have raised hell over Cheney’s secret, one-hundred-day oil meeting …


        • Leen says:

          Hope someone links to Ed from MSNBC’s interview with Landreiu last night about the spill. (I am unable to link) Revealing

  7. Leen says:

    Somehow Newman seems sincere. Even yesterday. Just sayin.

    On the Ed show last night. Ed got into it with Landrieu about how many rigs around this world go this deep. Quite the exchange. Landrieu was arrogant and snippy and seemed really defensive. Worth the watch

    • Leen says:

      But taxpayers were forced to bail the banksters out. Sounds like that is not going to happen with these fat cats.

  8. Leen says:

    Last week a guest on one of the MSNBC outlets said that BP was having people sign agreements that they would not sue BP later for lost wages etc if they were given clean up jobs. Have no idea if this is true.

      • Leen says:

        Ed and Matthews hammered away on this last night. Matthews and Papantino talked about how oversight was an inside job by ex Halliburton people. Inferred that those secret Cheney energy meetings are linked to the lack of serious oversight of some of these rigs

        • fatster says:

          I’m also hoping that those minutes of the secret meetings Dick had with those oil moguls will be brought into the refreshing light of day as a result of the pressures from the public, congress and from lawsuits such as those Papantonio is bringing. Yes!

          PS Papantonio and RFK Jr. host that radio talk show “Ring of Fire.”

          • Leen says:

            Papantonio (Kennedy was on the other night) is sure hammering hard. Ed and Chris giving him plenty of room to hammer. Keep bringing up those secret meetings, money made, inside over sight people set up to cut corners

  9. Leen says:

    Can you imagine if any of the bailed out banksters would have said anything close to what McKay just had to say. Serious mistakes were made, will investigate, take responsibility and move to improve.

    Did we hear the banksters say anything like this?

  10. Leen says:

    Did that one fellow just say that out of the 32 accidents 18 of the mistakes were found to be linked to poor cementing jobs?

  11. JTMinIA says:

    WRT to that Matthews piece, I disagree with the implication of “there’s no way to drill safely.” I know that I’m a hippie, so I’m automatically anti-American, but I actually believe that Americans could come up ways to drill that are close enough to safe. But they will only do this if the monetary incentives are there.

    This is why capping damages is so fricken evil.

    • bobschacht says:

      I disagree with the implication of “there’s no way to drill safely.”

      Me, too. However, the only way to drill safely is to make safety a higher priority, with more oversight by competent authorities, and with substantial severe penalties for failure, as well as making safety preparations a more significant part of the permit process. The era of self-policing has to end.

      Bob in AZ

  12. Leen says:

    Taking responsibility for the oil disaster
    During Congressional hearings on the Gulf Coast oil disaster, Haliburton, Transocean and British Petroleum refused to accept responsibility. Sen. Mary Landrieu debates with Ed Schultz.

    A real head butting on how many of these wells go down is it “18,000” feet

  13. Neil says:

    What was Barton up to? Was he positing that if the failsafes had worked they would have worked?

    • JTMinIA says:

      Barton was laying the groundwork for the argument: “we shouldn’t ban drilling; we only need to make sure the failsafes work.”

  14. Leen says:

    So if during this investigation there is any indication that oversight over these rigs was short changed and leads back to the secret Cheney energy meetings. Could our congress demand the records to those meetings?

    Would the acoustic trigger trump all over shut off vehicles?

    Ooh 2001 brought up

  15. Leen says:

    So who or what organization should have required that the acoustic trigger be required on all oil rigs?

    • fatster says:

      I would assume MMS if it operated as it should. Federal regulators–this is why we need ’em.

  16. fatster says:

    Methane hydrate is one essential ingredient in this crisis. Here’s an article that gets into that subject in more depth (no pun intended), and is quite readable by even those who are not earth scientists. LINK.

    qweryous, where are you?

    • qweryous says:

      For those interested in methane hydrates, I posted a comment LINK ( several places at fdl) which describes the behavior of the hydrates as they go from a solid to a gas, and some analysis of the hazards of the same. The caveat at the beginning of that comment still applies.

      This is a relevant methane hydrate link from that comment:

      US Department of Energy link: Methane Hydrate -The Gas Resource of the Future

      Here is another link from the USDOE:

      The National Methane Hydrates R&D Program:
      All About Hydrates – Necessary Conditions for Methane Hydrate Formation

      Which is sightly more technical but still not long. If the reader understands phase diagrams- much will be revealed- and further questions will arise- some partially answered by recent testimony.

      This excellent recent summary of an investigation into the events supplied by EW @53 above:

      “Here’s a superb Times Picayune article that lays out many of the problems that happened. It confirms a couple things we’ve been looking at at FDL generally: the mud to water switch, the methane crystals, and the lack of risk assessment.”

      Fatster @ 47 helpfully provided this link:

      Crystals, the Gulf of Mexico Blowout, and the new ‘Top Hat’ Dome

      IMHO if these links are read it will be illuminating, and educational.

      Time for the human factors analysis into this ‘accident’.

      • qweryous says:

        Methane hydrates comment -more

        Disclaimer- I’m not a qualified expert in any of the areas being discussed, and the following material is presented for discussion only.
        I am not expressing an opinion on whether methane hydrates contributed in any way to the chain of events causing the Gulf oil spill.

        I have been unable to follow much of the recent testimony and media coverage so I don’t know what, if anything, has been said on the topic of downhole (temperatures within the drilled well below the wellhead (surface of the sea in this case)) temperatures in this or similar wells.

        It seems that there are two possible sources of gas that could cause difficulties at this well. Gas contained with or separate from the oil deposits, and gas released from methane hydrates located in shallow sediments.

        The phase diagrams in previous links clearly show the effects of temperature on the methane hydrates that may be present in the sediments present where the well was drilled. At the depth of this well head, methane hydrate solid undergoes a phase change to methane gas at about 15 degrees Celsius.

        The phase diagram HERE figure 3 in particular -demonstrates that the temperature is lowest at the seafloor and then increases with depth.

        Here is a non technical article which describes deep sea drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.


        ” Moreover, the closer you get to Earth’s core, the higher the temperature of the rocks. At 20,000 feet below seabed, the oil is hot enough to boil an egg. At 30,000 feet, it can reach more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cook off into natural gas and carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, the water at the bottom of the deep sea is at near-freezing temperatures — between 32 and 34 degrees — creating a dangerous interaction: When the boiling-hot oil hits the freezing-cold water, it could solidify and block the flow, rupturing the pipes. The machinery on the seafloor, therefore, has to be well insulated. Engineers on the Cajun Express have been relying on a fairly primitive method — pumping the casing and substations with antifreeze — but much more sophisticated systems are in the works. “

        An abstract from the paper Regional overview of deep sedimentary thermal gradients of the geopressured zone of the Texas–Louisiana continental shelf
        By Seiichi Nagihara and Michael A. Smith. AAPG Bulletin; January 2008; v. 92; no. 1; p. 1-14 Had the following information:

        “Nearly 600 bottom-hole temperature data from the northern continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico, each corrected for drilling disturbance, yielded a regional map of geothermal gradient down to approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) sub–sea floor. Two geographic trends can be seen on the map. First, from east to west, the geothermal gradient changes from values between 0.025 and 0.03 K/m (0.014 and 0.016°F/ft) off the Alabama–Mississippi shore to lower values of 0.015–0.025 K/m (0.008–0.014°F/ft) off eastern Louisiana and to higher values of 0.03–0.06 K/m (0.016–0.033°F/ft) off western Louisiana through Texas. Second, thermal gradients tend to be lower toward the outer continental shelf (less than 0.02 K/m [0.0112°F/ft])”

        This Halliburton presentation has been previously linked
        Deep Water Cementing Consideration to Prevent Hydrates Destabilization . It illustrates that methane hydrates and well sealing were a concern (note the foamed slurry).

        Methane hydrates may be present in sediments up to a depth of several hundred meters according to according to the previously referenced All About Hydrates – Necessary Conditions for Methane Hydrate Formation and
        Methane Hydrate – The Gas Resource of the Future

        The influence of well bore temperatures high enough to cause the release of methane gas from the methane hydrates that are apparently present at the well site, coupled with the heat released from cementing operations, should be an area of inquiry.

        Note: it seems possible that due to high downhole temperatures; considerable heat might be released from the well, even in the absence of heat being released from cementing operations.

  17. klynn says:

    Odds are, those execs were there to celebrate an on schedule, on cost completion. The pressure on the local team to make that go well would be intense.

    I’ll buy that. Unfortunately, quality vs schedule should fall on the side of meeting regulatory standards, not profit /cost estimates.

    This should be a line of questioning. I still push the fact that it makes no sense, profit aside, to be on board celebrating safety and push unsafe practices. This is troubling.

    • klynn says:

      “and the lack of risk assessment.”

      which goes to the heart of my point at 50.

      This needs to be a line of questioning and investigation. As you wrote:

      You gotta get it drilling to make that worthwhile.

      They went for drilling over safety/risk. This needs to be the heart of the investigation. That profits were the pressure in the quality vs schedule the higher ups on board were pushing for with their presence.

      They will not want ANYONE to know this simple point.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        They will not want ANYONE to know this simple point.

        Which is why I say talk to the techs. Every time our leadership chose scheduled over quality and it subsequently exploded (Sometimes we got away with it), there were angry, sleepless techs. These techs knew exactly the process that had brought them to this point, because they’d fought it and lost. Techs tend to tell the truth bluntly, which is why lawyers try to keep them off the stands.

        Find them. Talk to them. Get them to testify.

        Boxturtle (And watch the corporate lawyers heads explode)

        • klynn says:

          I agree.

          However, I would also want to talk to the execs who were on board and ask some tough questions.

          • DWBartoo says:

            I would talk to the techs first, klynn.

            All that the execs may claim is total ignorance (deliberate and willful).


    • DWBartoo says:

      Thank you, EW.

      Quoting Robert Bea, “They (BP and MMS) failed to address what’s called ‘residual risk’, those things that planners don’t think will fail. And, in doing so, they underestimated the risk in ways very similar to the engineers who designed New Orleans’ levee system.”

      As an Civil Engineer of international repute, Gustav Florin, once told me, “The Army Corps of Engineers are above failure of any kind, but you will note that none choose to live on the flood plain below earth-filled dams which they have designed …”


  18. Leen says:

    these guys know they are going to be held responsible. The Wall street banksters knew they had our Reps by the cajones that taxpayers had all ready bailed their greedy asses out. Wall street/Goldman Sach’s had their inside heist man former Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson holding the gun to our Reps heads demanding “hand over the treasury keys now or it is only going to hurt more later”

    These guys know their companies are going to pay

  19. Leen says:

    For the first time I think Markey was being an ass. I think this group is far more humble than the Wall Street bankster. During Mckay’s opening statements he admitted to mistakes, some responsibility and change. Now I am not saying this guy is some saint. But Markey could have acknowledged McKay’s opening statements and then gone from there instead of claiming there is no humility on that panel.

    I think this groups attitude is markedly different from the Wall Street banksters

    And where have our Reps been making sure these rigs had the highest technology able to shut these rigs down if such an accident happenned?

  20. tjbs says:

    All the King’s horses and all the Kings men can’t put humpty dumpty together again. I guess these guys never considered that.

  21. Leen says:

    “increased stand by pressure”
    “significant red flag”

    Is this where the acoustic trigger would have been flipped on. Or should they have shut it down before then?

    • bobschacht says:

      Where I come from, VMS is an acronym for Virtual Memory System, a multi-user, multitasking, virtual memory operating system that runs on DEC’s VAX and Alpha lines of minicomputers and workstations. VMS was introduced in 1979 along with the first VAX minicomputer. Like the VAX itself, VMS has undergone many changes over the years.

      But that was years ago, and VMS may mean something different now.

      Bob in AZ

  22. fatster says:

    McKay, Newman and Probert appeared before the Senate hearing yesterday and the House one today. Who is the fourth guy testifying today? Thnx.

  23. JTMinIA says:

    My g*d. He just included 9/11 in a “perfect storm” argument. Condi Rice the oil-owned congress-critter.

  24. tjbs says:

    This jackass is talking about the great safety record was and how wonderful the ride on the Titanic was before they hit an iceburg. Dancing , great food and wine.

  25. Leen says:

    Rep Griffith from Alabama questions the need to look into the “why” of this disaster and then compares this disaster to the 9/11 disaster and how we could look into the indicators and how they may have not been paid attention to before 9/11. And how we could look at the possible causes forever. Something about “stars aligning”

    Rep DeGette from Colorado is also being a bit of an ass “yes or no”
    “yes or no” what an ass as if she is an expert on this issue. She is quite arrogant

  26. DWBartoo says:

    Bea reports that Haliburton was using a “new” kind of cement …

    I think some concrete “evidence” may be “curing” … time will tell.


  27. Leen says:

    Sutton asking some good questions and not as big of an ass as Rep Degette.
    ” how many deepwater wells in the Gulf”

  28. DWBartoo says:

    Bea says, “Because of the chemicals they’ve added, they think the cement will cure more rapidly.”


    • fatster says:

      ” , , , they think the cement will cure more rapidly.”

      Flying by the seat of their pants, it sounds like. No Plan B, so no testing and evaluation of alternatives.

  29. Leen says:

    Sutton “what does BP consider a legitimate claim”

    Can you imagine if the banksters had ever accepted any responsibility for bringing the U.S. economy to the brink? I think there is a totally different tone during these hearings than during the bankster hearings. And those thugs got away with the $$$$. Privatizing their profits and socilazing their losses.

    Not happennning here.

    When will our Reps get back to collecting from the banksters and regulating those fat cats? Auditing the Fed is a beginning.

    Our Reps are applying different standards to this industry than the banksters. Very clear

  30. DWBartoo says:

    Bea further says, “The chemicals they added for the curing process also create a lot of heat, which can thaw the methane hydrate into the gas that causes dangerous kicks.”

    “I call that ‘Uh oh’ again”, he adds.


    • tjbs says:

      You can add sodium to mortar in the winter to prevent freezing before it cures. But there is always a trade off for speed in this case effloresce or the white residue you see on brick face that looks like white chalk.

      • DWBartoo says:

        My experience confirms, there is ALWAYS a trade off, when altering cure times, but generally, the longer the cure time, the stronger the concrete.


        • DWBartoo says:

          When “convenience”, whatever its guise, is the determining factor, regarding cure time, failure becomes a greater possibility.

          Such failures as I encountered were a “pain”, but what we have before us, today (and probably a staggering number of tomorrows) is a disaster of proportion as yet beyond comprehension.


  31. Leen says:

    Rep Schakowsky clearly did not listen to their opening statements.

    Which group of Reps would be in charge of the over sight of regulations having to do with these rigs? Sounds like our Reps are unwilling to take any responsibility for not making sure that Federal regulations were being enforced.

    A bunch of blame to go around.

    Sorry but I think this group is far more serious and far more willing to accept responsibility for these serious mistakes. Think our Reps should acknowledge this and the different tone. Far different than the banksters

    • fatster says:

      Rep. Scalise, talking right now, seems to be onto the need to drag MMS out into daylight. Hopefully, he’ll follow through and get them in front of the public.

  32. DWBartoo says:

    “Bea said that the concluding paragraph from one of those observing the explosion summed up the depth of the failure.”

    ‘”In order for a disaster of this magnitude to happen, more than one thing has to go wrong, or fail. First, a shitty cement job. The wellhead packoff/ seal assembly (the equipment directly below the blowout preventer that connects the lower pipe casing to the preventer) while designed to hold the pressure, is just a backup. And finally, the ability to close the well with the BOP somehow went away.”‘


  33. JTMinIA says:

    Oversight, IMHO, isn’t the answer. Overseers can be bought and would probably be ex-Haliburtons, anyway. The answer is clear monetary dis-incentives for being unsafe. They only respond to money.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Money is the only “currency” which “they” understand.

      Its removal is the only pain they acknowledge …

      Take it away, JTMinIA!


      • JTMinIA says:

        The Scalian sword has only one edge. Corporations are people when it comes to their rights, such as buying elections. Corporations are not people when it comes to penalties for misbehavior, such as cutting corners and, thereby, killing things.

      • DWBartoo says:

        But tjbs, it is corporations who are liable not, individual executives.

        And you can’t lock a fictitious person up.

        You can’t embarrass them, as they feel no shame.

        The law REQUIRES executives to maximize profit.

        It is not merely the behaviors of corporations or even of the government which must be examined, but the “assumptions” of our legal system itself.


  34. Hmmm says:

    Leave it to me to ask the obvious way down here in EPU-land yet again, but:

    (1) If the BOP was modified into a non-operable configuration, then who modified it and when was it modified?

    (2) If there was a hydraulic leak in the BOP, then what could have caused that leak, and when could it have occurred?

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