News Flash: As Storm Weakens Relief Well Drill Rig Returning To Gulf Oil Spill Site

A drill rig working on a relief well is returning to the site of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill after an oncoming storm system weakened, a BP spokesman told AFP Saturday.

Day 93 In The Gulf: UK’s Guardian Newspaper Spikes Story:”Gulf Oil Crisis – Fact From Ficton”

The following post was placed in “related articles” in a number of newspapers, including many of the top 50 international papers of the world. The posts were researched and written as my response to a perceived “dropping of the ball” by the main stream media … I remember when the basics; who, what, when, where, why and how – preceded getting two independent sources to verify the information before the media “went to press”. Today, those criteria have clearly been abandoned … just about anyone can make any type of claim or statement and the press will repeat it on air or in print. As it turns out many news organizations are now “colluding with” interested parties and assisting the parties in “shaping” the news …   

The post was made  because many of the papers continue, to this day, to repeat “speculation” and “fictions” as fact …. example, “the gulf well is 36,000 feet deep”, when, in fact, the well is 18,000 feet deep.

Exactly how difficult can it be to get this type of fact correct?

Just yesterday major American news organizations posted headlines proclaiming that “Congressional Hearings” were cancelled because  “witneses” who were “BP employees” had not appear before the committee. In another instance posted a headline that, and I’ll need to paraphrase, “BP Exec testifies to leak in a safety device”, above a video of the the “testimony”. Not one of the 4 employees who “failed to appear” worked for BP, they were all Transocean Employees. Transocean is the owner/operated of the drilling rig. The “BP Exec” on CNN’s “video” was, as announcer on the video clearly states, “an emplopyee of Transocean”. The gentleman was neither an “exec” nor was he an employee of BP. Later in the day testimony confirmed that the “witness” was not very well informed, the “safety device”, a BOP, had passed vigorus testing days after the alleged event that this “rig worker” reported on.

Did you know that of the 126 workers on the Deepwater Horizon Rig, only 7 were in the employ of BP.  

Since I started posting my “note”, only one paper,, one of London’s largest papers, has blocked and deleted the posting…

What political reason could there be for the Guardian to do this? 

I beleive the post treats BP very fairly …. pointing out the fact that the Obama Administration has controilled all aspects of the “well repair” for months.

The Guardian’s readers who accessed the post appeared to have “liked” the article … not a single negative or derogatory comment was received on this blog.   

The post the Guardian deleted folloows:

“Finished extensive research into what happened to the Deepwater Horizon and what has transpired since it sank on 04/22/2010.

No finger pointing. No demonization. A fresh look at things …

Well, there is one bit of finger pointing – the Obama Administration delayed the latest repair from May 2 until July 14, 2010 – a 71 day delay …

Gulf Oil Crisis – Facts from Fiction, Part 1 of 3

My posts are fully linked and sited.

They are also free ….”

The post was active for a few hours and hundreds of Guardian readers “linked” to the posts from each of several articles where the post was placed … then, without explanation … the post was deleted …  


21 Jul 2010, 9:03AM

This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

You can read and decide for yourself …

What reason for this censorship?

Day 91 In The Gulf: Feds let BP keep oil cap closed for another day

Feds let BP keep oil cap closed for another day

NEW ORLEANS – The federal government’s point man for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill says he’s authorized BP to keep the cap on its busted well for another 24 hours after the company pledged to closely monitor the seafloor for signs of a new leak.

In a statement issued Monday, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says a federal science team held a conference call with BP representatives Sunday night. He says the scientists got answers they wanted about how BP is monitoring the seabed in case any new leaks erupt from the capped well.

Allen had written BP the day before to say a seep had been detected a distance from the well and demanded BP step up monitoring of the seabed.

Allen says in his Monday statement he’ll only allow the cap to stay on if BP continues meeting its obligations to watch for signs that it could possibly worsen the situation.

Gulf Oil Crisis – Facts from Fiction, Part 1 of 3

Gulf Oil Crisis – Facts from Fiction, Part 1 of 3

The True Story of the Deepwater Horizon Tragedy 

The intent of this “post” is to provide as accurate an account of the facts leading up to the April 20th 2010 catastrophe in the Gulf as is possible at this time and to recount, accurately, the repair or recovery  activities between April 22, 2010 and today.

I’ve tried to identify and differentiate “speculation” from “rumor” and fact…

I hope this post refutes some widely accepted “myths” about the catastrophe and will direct a bright light on the frequently repeated, “politically” convenient, misrepresentations presented by the Obama Administration and our politicians in Washington.


The oil well in question is located in the Gulf of Mexico in what is referred to as the Mississippi Cannon Block 252. The well was referred to as the Macondo Prospect.

The well is located 40 plus miles off the coast of Louisiana under 4,993 feet of water.

A regional shallow hazards survey and study was carried out at the Macondo Reserve area by KC Offshore in 1998. High resolution, 2D seismic data along with 3D exploration seismic data of the MC 252 was collected by Fugro Geoservices in 2003. BP purchased the mineral rights to drill for oil in the Macondo Prospect at the Minerals Management Service‘s lease sale in March 2008. Mapping of the block was carried out by BP America in 2008 and 2009.

BP secured approval to drill the Macondo Prospect from MMS in March 2009. An exploration well was scheduled to be drilled in 2009.

The Macondo Prospect is estimated to hold 100,000,000 (100 million) barrels of oil. 

As there are 42 U.S. gallons to a barrel of oil, the preliminary estimates would indicate that the Macondo Prospect is expected to hold 4,400,000,000 (4.4 billion) gallons of oil.

The Macondo well has been projected to have “leaked” 92,000,000 (92 million) gallons of oil. This represents an average leak of nearly 1.5 million gallons of oil a day.

Based on the “average daily leak rate” it would take roughly 2900 days or 8 years, for all of the oil to move out of the Macondo Reserve and into the Gulf of Mexico. The well leak could go on for 8 years.      

Drilling Begins On The “Nightmare Well”

Sometime between October 7 and October 21, 2009 the Transocean Marianas semi-submersible rig commenced drilling the well. On November 29, 2009 operations were halted when the rig was damaged by Hurricane Ida. Transocean‘s Deepwater Horizon rig resumed the drilling operation in February 2010.

You’ve probably heard many of our politicians quote a BP memo that referred to the Macondo well as a “nightmare”. Yes, that term, “nightmare”, has been used to describe the well. The use of the term started after hurricane Ida damaged the first drilling rig. Strange, isn’t it, when you are given the information necessary to put things into an honest perspective? “That Macondo well has been a real nightmare, Hurricane Ida damaged the first rig…”  

Myth #1: The Macondo well is the deepest well ever drilled. The Macondo well represents an unusually deep drilling operation… this is a “Star Trek” well … “going where no man has gone before”.

This widely believed myth is false. For some inexplicable reason the Macondo well is frequently mistaken for the Tiber Reservoir, a 3 billion barrel oil reserve located and drilled in 2009. The reason people may get confused is because the Transocean Deepwater Horizon, the oil rig destroyed in this  catastrophe, successfully drilled the Tiber well.

The Tiber Reservoir is located in the Keathley Canyon block 102, approximately 250 miles south east of Houston, not 40 plus miles off the coast of Louisiana. The well is located in approximately 4,132 feet of water. The Tiber well was drilled to a total depth of approximately 35,000 feet.

The Macondo well, while certainly a “deepwater” exploration, is a “shallow well” in terms of “deepwater” exploration with a total depth of just over 18.000 feet. The Macondo well is roughly half the depth of the Tiber well. 

Myth # 2: The Deepwater Horizon was “recklessly” drilling in water deeper than it was designed for.

This widely believed myth is false. The successful drilling of the Tiber Well would provide proof of that, however, you can note the following:

The DEEPWATER HORIZON is a Reading & Bates Falcon RBS8D design semi-submersible drilling unit capable of operating in harsh environments and water depths up to 8,000 ft (upgradeable to 10,000 ft) using 18¾in 15,000 psi BOP and 21in OD marine riser. The rig measures 396 feet by 256 feet, 100 feet longer than a football field and almost twice as wide.

Deepwater Horizon BOP Control Panel

Rig Type: 5th Generation Deepwater / Design Reading & Bates Falcon RBS-8D
Builder Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard, Ulsan, South Korea / Year Built 2001

The Macondo well, as previously noted, was in 4,993 of water, slightly less than half of the Deepwater Horizon’s maximum working depth.

America’s Main Stream Media and many of our elected officials continue to mistake the Macondo well for the Tiber Reserve. How and why this continues to happen is beyond me. How can we, the American People, trust a Media or Government that can’t bother to get the basic facts correct?

This single error permits or leads to all sorts of additional “misstatements” or “falsehoods” being presented about this catastrophe.

The Final Days

In February 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon resumed work on the well, BP was the “operator” of the well and had a 65% ownership interest. BP’s partners in “ownership” include Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (25%) and Japan’s Mitsui & Co. Inc. (10%).

Four primary contractors—Transocean – the owner operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, Halliburton – the cement contractor , Cameron International Corp., one of the premiere  equipment manufacturers in the industry and Smith International Inc., the 60% partner in the M-I SWACO joint venture—provided personnel or equipment for drilling the Macondo well.

The Catastrophic Event

The following report required only a few corrections;

“Transocean’s semi-submersible drilling vessel Deepwater Horizon was finishing work on a wellbore that had found oil 18,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, in mile-deep water fifty miles off the Louisiana coast. Supervisors in the control cabin overlooking the drilling operations area were directing routine procedures to cement, plug and seal the borehole, replace heavy drilling fluids (mud) with seawater and extract the drill stem and bit through the riser (outer containment pipe) that connected the vessel to the blowout preventer (BOP) and the well on the seafloor.

Suddenly, a thump, shudder and hiss were followed by a towering eruption of seawater, drilling mud, cement, oil and natural gas. The BOP and backup systems had failed to work as designed, to control the massive amounts of unexpectedly high-pressure gas that were roaring up 18,000 feet of wellbore and riser. [The gas may not have been travelling all of 18,000 feet, it may have travelled a 1000 feet or less. The gas originated from 18,000 feet below, but it may have taken its time migrating up the well]

Gas enveloped the area and ignited, engulfing the Horizon in a 200-foot high inferno that instantly killed eleven workers. Surviving crewmen abandoned ship in covered lifeboats or jumped 80 feet to the water.

The supply boat Tidewater Damon Bankston rushed to the scene and helped crewmen get their burned and injured colleagues aboard. Shore-based Coast Guard helicopters tore through the night sky to brave the flames and take critically injured men to hospitals.

Thirty-six hours later, the Deepwater Horizon capsized and sank at 1030 AM local time (April 22) with the unburned portion of an estimated 700,000 gallons of #2 diesel fuel onboard. The 21-inch diameter riser twisted and buckled as the rig sank. The riser finally broke away from the rig deck as it sank and the two continued, independently, to the floor of the gulf.”

The BOP or “blow out protector” was only the “last line” of rig’s defense to fail in this catastrophe. The BOP is a significant part of the “safety process” intended to safeguard a rig from this type of catastrophe, however, at least one other “safety precaution” must have failed before the BOP failed to function or this incident would not have happened.

As the massive rig sank, the “riser” or “pipe” connecting the rig to the Gulf Floor was stressed and twisted like a pretzel, kinking as it twisted back and forth as the rig came to rest 1500 feet from the well and Lower Marine Riser Package on the Gulf Floor.

Myth # 3: The Deepwater Horizon Rig did not sink and land on top of the well and Lower Marine Riser Package at the bottom of the Gulf. The rig did not land on and collapse the LMRP, the rig did not drive the LMRP into the floor of the Gulf and the rig’s landing on the Gulf floor did not cause a massive fracture of the seabed in the Gulf.

Where did the Oil Leaks Come From?

At some point during the rigs descent to the Gulf floor, the “riser” or “pipes” separated or broke off from the bottom of the rig and proceeded to the Gulf floor separately. The “riser”, while “kinked” severely, still remained attached to the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP)and stretched across the floor of the Gulf and up into the Gulf waters for over 1500 feet , where the riser kinked again and then returned back down to the Gulf floor.

Oil leaked from the “top end” of the “riser” or “pipe”, the end originally attached to the drilling rig. Oil leaked from a second “ruptured kink” in the “riser” some distance between the “top end” of the riser and the “lower marine riser package”.  I’ll refer to this second “leak” as the “mid riser leak”. A third and final oil leak was found at a “ruptured kink” in the riser just feet above the LMRP.

What caused the disaster?

When Congress and President Obama ask this question they are really asking, “who can I blame this “catastrophe” on”, because I won’t accept any of the responsibility. I’m willing to accept any credit I can claim, but as to blame, who can I point my finger at.

How productive.

It will be sometime yet before we can determine how and why this incident occurred.

My purpose in posting this material is not to allocate blame between the various companies or to put any of the companies or corporations in a favorable light. I’m simply trying to present the facts.

I’m also trying to dispel the myths and to blame the politicians, blame the politicians for their shameless actions of demonizing industries and individuals to score political points, points that are not based on the truth or fact.

Last Known Activities On Deepwater Horizon

Multiple sources confirm that the “blow out” occurred while the rig workers were,” in the process of displacing the “drilling fluid” or “drilling mud” in the riser or “well bore” with seawater. Reports indicate that the rig crew were preparing to set a “surface plug” when the rig fell victim to a blowout.

Several accounts indicate that the Deepwater Horizon crew were finishing their work on the site and would have “moved off” the well site within 24 hours. This account is confirmed by the fact that the necessary paper work to “quit the well” had already been filed with the Mineral Management Service (MMS).

The Deepwater Horizon was a “drilling rig” and was preparing to leave the well site so that a “production rig” could replace it and begin the lengthy task of “oil production” on the site.

Cementing the Well

There are many commentators who speculate that this incident is due to a failure of the “cementing job” completed on this project.

To date that speculation has not been confirmed.

Halliburton, the cement contractor on this job, completed the final part of a 9 part cement job just 20 hours prior to the well “blowout”.  The last of the 9 “jobs” involved cementing the “final production casing string”, located between 17,168 feet and 18,330 feet below the surface of the gulf. A cement plug was placed at the foot of the wellbore, tests demonstrating the integrity of the production casing string were completed successfully prior to the well blow out.

Both Transocean and BP “signed off” on the cement job, indicating acceptance of the quality of the work.

Transocean and BP have agreed with Halliburton’s statement that, “At the time of the incident, well operations had not yet reached the point requiring the placement of the final cement plug which would enable the planned temporary abandonment of the well, consistent with normal oilfield practice.”

Myth # 4 – Cheap and substandard cement was used along with “grossly negligent” cementing practices.

I enjoy reading the professional blogs, whether they be “professional drilling” blogs or blogs for other industries. The “professionals” quickly identify the “trolls” in their midst’s. The attorney looking to structure their pleading, the journalist looking to formulate their nightly spin and the Congressional Staffers and Washington Researches, looking for that snappy sound bite that will allow their Congressperson, Senator or Washington bureaucrat to demonize and blame just about anyone else in their self serving attempt to avoid criticism.

The “cement” used in this project was a special light weight cement, infused with nitrogen. The cementing on the Macondo Well involved the use of a “Zone Seal Isolation Process”, an award winning process specially designed for “deep sea well” work. The engineered process is noted to, “help optimize the annular seal not only for a good bond log, but also for years of withstanding temperature and pressure changes in the wellbore.”  Added benefits claimed by the manufacturer include, “The field process is achieved by full automation of the blending, pumping and injection actions for greater control.  Additionally, the equipment (cement pumping unit, nitrogen unit and injection unit) is integrated, providing precision in shearing the slurry to create stable foam. “The nitrogen foamed cement is said to provide lower thermal conductivity with enhanced mechanical properties. A low thermal conductivity cement sheath allows for less or slower heat transfer/heat loss in the wellbore.

The use of specialized cement, produced and applied by an automated system, does not eliminate the possibility that an error occurred. What this type of process should do, however, is eliminate unsupported claims that the “cement process” was substandard, cheap or could be even remotely referred to as “corner cutting”.

There has been additional speculation that the “assembly seal” was not set or not properly set inside of the well.  At least three different accounts confirm that the “seal assembly” was installed without issue and “tested”.  This seal may have, in fact, failed or been improperly installed, however, by all accounts it was installed and properly tested.

The production liner seal assembly and locking ring are qualified to 15k. Provided it was set and tested displacing to sea water is not problematic. Subsea Multiplex (MUX) Electro-Hydraulic BOP Control System The Cameron MUX control system combines the reliability of the Cameron subsea hydraulic control …

 “Approximately 20 hours prior to the catastrophic loss of well control, Halliburton had completed the cementing of the ninth and final production casing string in accordance with the well program.
 Following the placement of 51 barrels of cement slurry, the casing seal assembly was set in the casing hanger. In accordance with accepted industry practice, as required by MMS and as directed by the well owner, a positive pressure test was then conducted to demonstrate the integrity of the production casing string. The results of the positive test were reviewed by the well owner and the decision was made to proceed with the well program.”

It was after the completion of this test that the “drilling contractor”, Transocean, moved on to “displace” the “drilling fluid” (mud) with seawater.

Some portion of the cementing process may have failed and contributed to this incident, however, the “cement logs” do not support any claim that “corners were cut’, that the “process” was implemented to “save money or time” or that “cheap or substandard cement” was  used. Those who have implied as much are simply wrong.

Transocean and BP both signed off on each and every of the 9 step cementing process completed by Halliburton. All documents indicate that the appropriate industry tests were performed and passed.

Myth # 5  BP recklessly cut corners by using only 8 “rings” within this well rather than using the “normal” 24 “rings”. This “recklessness” is just another example of BP’s horrendous safety record!

Where do I begin? These accusations, repeated over and over at the Congressional Hearings, are simply not truthful.

The well being constructed at the Macondo site was “specially designed” and the “design” was approved in advance by the MMS.

The well plan, as reflected in diagram above, was segmented into 9 sections, requiring 8 rings. This well was not designed for 24 rings, other wells maybe designed that way, but that does not make the other well designs superior to, or safer than, this one, as has been so wrongfully claimed.

Listening to the dishonest Congressional chatter at the hearings could make one wonder. Question: Why did you only use 8 rings and not 24 in this well”? Answer: You’d need to ask the well engineers, the professional who designed the well.  Allegation: You are evading, you are not answering our questions. Answer: No I’ m answering truthfully. I didn’t participate in the well design, but I can tell you this, it won a well design award. (At that point they hold you in contempt of Congress and bring on the next witness).

Had questioning been about an automobile rather than a deepwater rig, it may have sounded something like this; Question: This vehicle only has 4 spark plugs, not 8. Why did you cut corners, you cheap bastards, and not use 8 spark plugs? Answer: Well, you’ll need to ask the engineers that designed this auto why they made it a 4 cylinder auto not an 8 cylinder auto, I didn’t work on that design team. But I’d like to point out that the engine only has 4 “spark plug ports” and that is how the engine was designed you twit, and there is nothing inherently safer about 8 cylinder engines rather than 4 cylinder engines and it was this Congress that passed the CAFÉ standards mandating fuel efficiency levels. Where do you suggest we put the extra 4 spark plus, in the glove compartment? At which point you’d be found in contempt of Congress again, a condition I find myself in frequently. These days I have a great deal of contempt for Congress.

As to BP’s “horrendous” safety record, I just don’t know what to say. I find this particular part of the “demonization” of BP and all involved on the Horizon Rig to be the most scurrilous attack on the industry. BP was, after all, a “finalist” in the MMS Award program for Safety and Innovation, Deepwater Drilling, in 2009. Strangely, the MMS “revised” its Web site on 07/08/2010 to remove any mention of BP in this section, however, the site did not remove the sections noting BP’s awards for “Off Shore Leadership”  advancements in Medical Care on Deepwater Rigs, won by Harlan King and Virgil Russell or the award presented to Darryl Luoma, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., for outstanding leadership in the innovative and visionary approach to developing the use of extended-reach drilling technology for the Liberty Development Project.   

It is true that BP owns or operates a number of “refineries” with less than stellar safety records, however, this disaster did not occur at a refinery, it occurred on a deep sea rig. A deep sea rig with an exemplary safety record, a rig which was recognized by OSHA two years in a row for its outstanding safety record. A rig that had a total of 7 BP employees on board, 7 BP employees out of a total of 126 rig workers.

Exactly what was gained by demonizing the workers on this rig, the majority of whom were not BP employees. What was gained by demonizing the 7 BP employees on this rig, when the rig was one of the safest in the Gulf of Mexico? Did the demonization of this issue do anything to make future of oil exploration safer for the crews, their families or the public?

There have been unconfirmed reports, reports actually denied by BP, that there were 7 additional BP employees on the rig when the “bow out” occurred. The report indicates that the purpose of the visit was a ceremony to acknowledge the new “safety award”. This writer wonders if this rumor was started by surviving crew members, who were not BP employees, who resent the fact that their outstanding safety record has been so badly mischaracterized.….EMPLATE=DEFAULT

The demonization of BP’s safety record should have been expected from this Administration.  The Obama Administration has spent it entire time in the White House demonizing one group after another. The shouts condemning BP’s safety record were still echoing in the halls of Washington when the Administration turned to demonizing an entire drilling industry over this one event… demanding a “moratorium” that the Federal Courts have now rejected twice… not that this Administration has heeded the instructions of the Federal Courts on the issue …


The BOP (blow out protector) and the LMRP (lower marine riser package) were supplied by Cameron International Corporation.

BOP: 2 x Cameron Type TL 18¾in 15K double preventers; 1 x Cameron Type TL 18¾in 15K single preventer; 1 x Cameron DWHC 18¾in 15K wellhead connector
LMRP: 2 x Cameron DL 18¾in 10K annular; 1 x Cameron HC 18¾in 10K connector
Diverter Hydril 60 with 21¼in max bore size, 500 psi WP and 18in flowline and two outlets
Control System: Cameron Multiplex Control System [MUX]

Cameron International 2 Stack BOP / 15,000 PSI

Cameron enjoys such an extraordinary reputation in the industry that a Cameron BOP is being used as the “replacement” BOP on site at this very moment. Yes, the failed Cameron BOP was replaced with a new Cameron BOP. The two have now been “bolted together”.  The “well repair” which was completed on 07/14/2010, appears to be “holding”, oil is not flowing into the Gulf at present.

The Cameron Company is the Godfather of BOPs, having invented the BOP in the 1920’s, 90 years ago.

At this time we know that despite having redundant safety systems the BOP failed to close off the well. It has not been established that the failure was due a mechanical defect in the BOP. The BOP may have been overwhelmed by pressure significantly higher than it was engineered to withstand. This is a matter of pure speculation as none of the other equipment on the rig noted such a “surge” in well pressure. The BOP may have been “blocked” by material that ”migrated” into the BOP from other locations in the well pipe, be it well casing, parts of the assembly seal … or a host of other speculations. We may not know, definitively, what happened to the BOP until it is examined, either through direct visual examination or though imaging or ultrasound.

It is reported that the BOP worked properly just minutes before the blowout. There are three confirmed reports that the BOP was “opened” just before the blowout occurred.  That it, the BOP, was opened as part of a sequence of events to “displace” the drilling fluid (mud) with seawater.

The BOP had passed a complete “system check” and “evaluation” just 10 days before the incident.

Part 2 Here: Gulf Oil Crisis – Facts from Fiction, Part 2 of 3

Part 3 Here: Gulf Oil Crisis – Facts from Fiction, Part 3 of 3

Day 85 In The Gulf: The New Cap Is In Place – Testing Continues – Oil Still Flows Into The Gulf

Update 07/13/2010

The new cap on the well is secure and does not appear to be leaking, however, a new and smaller “BOP” has been attached to the new cap … the oil is flowing through the old “LMRP” or Lower Marine Riser Package … through the new cap … into the new BOP and out the top end of the new BOP into the gulf …. the Feds & BP are closing off vents in the new BOP and they will eventually attach a new riser or pipe to the top end of the “new “BOP” to take the oil to the surface …. at the moment … the oil continues to flow into the Gulf …. however, the new repair appears on track to stop the spill ……….

NPR’s 6 camera live feed ….

McAuley’s World Comments:

Why haven’t they placed a “riser” or “pipe” on the top end of the new BOP to take oil to the surface and one of the recovery ships?

I’m certain they can conduct pressure testing on the repair while they simultaneously capture the 1.4 million gallons of oil that is reported to be flowing into the Gulf every day … 

The picture to the left, taken in the early minutes of 07/13/2010 shows the new “BOP” and what appears to be a new riser attached to its top ….

Update: 07/14/2010 – see Day 86 In The Gulf

NEW ORLEANS – BP’s work on capping the Gulf of Mexico gusher was frozen Wednesday after the federal government raised concerns the operation could put damaging pressure on the busted well that could make the leak worse.

An administration official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks with BP, said the government was acting out of “abundance of caution” and didn’t want potentially dangerous pressure tests on a tighter containment cap that has been placed over the well to go ahead until BP answers questions about possible risks.

The delays were a stunning setback after the oil giant finally seemed to be on track following nearly three months of failed attempts to stop the spill, which has sullied beaches from Florida to Texas and decimated the multibillion dollar fishing industry.

The administration official said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, U.S. Geological Survey chief Marcia McNutt and other government scientists met with BP Tuesday in Houston and had a number of questions about the plan to test the integrity of the well. Chu and other officials want to ensure that putting downward pressure on the well will not cause further leaks, the official said.

“Our basic position was, if you can give us the answers we need … then go ahead,” the official said. Until then, “they can’t go forward.”

McAuley’s World Comments:

I can’t believe this. The “BEST AND BRIGHTEST” the Obama Administration has to offer didn’t understand, in advance of placing a “new cap” on the well, that putting a new cap and valve of the well and then closing the valve to shut off the oil would increase the pressure in the well?

Where do they find these people?

Do you have a garden hose? When the water is running through the hose have you ever shut the nozzle on the end of the hose? Does the water pressure in the hose go up? Gee, the same thing happens at every house in the Country.

I’ll bet that there isn’t a single water tower (or water reservoir) that has had a catastrophic failure anywhere in the Country because someone shut off a garden hose nozzle in their yard.  

The Government is not presently measuring the pressure in the well; the Government is measuring the pressure in the “oil reservoir” under the Gulf. This is akin to making you wait to fix a leak in your hose while the city measures the water pressure in your local water tower…

Meanwhile, 1.5 million gallons of oil spills into the Gulf each and everyday…


Day 85 In The Gulf: BP Prepares to Test New Cap Installed on Oil Leak

Update 07/13/2010

The new cap on the well is secure and does not appear to be leaking, however, a new and smaller “BOP” has been attached to the new cap … the oil is flowing through the old “LMRP” or Lower Marine Riser Package … through the new cap … into the new BOP and out the top end of the new BOP into the gulf …. the Feds & BP are closing off vents in the new BOP and they will eventually attach a new riser or pipe to the top end of the “new “BOP” to take the oil to the surface …. at the moment … the oil continues to flow into the Gulf …. however, the new repair appears on track to stop the spill ……….

NPR’s 6 camera live feed ….

BP Prepares to Test New Cap Installed on Oil Leak

After securing a new, tight-fitting cap on top of the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP prepared Tuesday to begin tests to see if it will hold and stop fresh oil from polluting the waters for the first time in nearly three months.

The oil giant expects to know within 48 hours if the new cap, which landed Monday after almost three days of painstaking, around-the-clock work a mile below the Gulf’s surface, can stanch the flow.

The cap’s installation was good news to weary Gulf Coast residents who have warily waited for BP to make good on its promise to clean up the mess. Still, they warned that even if the oil is stopped, the consequences are far from over.

Starting Tuesday, the cap will be tested and monitored to see if it can withstand pressure from the gushing oil and gas. The tests could last anywhere between six to 48 hours, according to National Incident Commander Thad Allen.

The cap will be tested by closing off three separate valves that fit together snugly, choking off the oil from entering the Gulf. BP expects no oil will be released into the ocean during the tests, but remained cautious about the success of the system.

BP will be watching pressure readings. High pressure is good, because it would mean the leak has been contained inside the wellhead machinery. But if readings are lower than expected, that could mean there is another leak elsewhere in the well.

Live Feed:

McAuley’s  World Comment’s

BP has now replaced the old “cap” – and has placed a new, smaller blow out preventer (BOP) on top of the new well cap which has been “bolted” down on the well.

The testing that is planned will determine whether there has been additional damage done to the well casing. If the pressure in the well increases it may mean that there is no further internal damage.

If there has been no further internal damage done and with a new BOP atop the well, a permanent fix has, in fact, been achieved …

A fix that was accomplished with 50 year old technology and techniques …

Why did it take 84 days to put a new cap on this well? Had this cap been placed on this well by day 10 of the crisis, there would be 79,000,000 (79 million) fewer gallons of oil to remove from the gulf waters.

…. how did this happen … what caused the fire …. if the BOP failed, why did it fail… why did the fire supression system fail (see: ) … why dig the Deepwater Horizon Rig sink ….

I’m not a conspiracy buff – but I’d still like to know that all the crewman on the Deepwater Horizon Rig had been checkd out …. We know that BP has close working ties with Libya and that Libya had been a sponsor of terrorism for years and is the current home of the Lockerbie bomber …. I have absolutely no doubt that BP would not intentionally let a terrorist like Major Nidal Malik Hassan on their drilling project – but then again – The U.S. Army apparently didin’t know what they were dealing with either ….

Day 82 In The Gulf: Will The Leak Be Capped By Monday 07/12/2010?

Update 07/13/2010

The new cap on the well is secure and does not appear to be leaking, however, a new and smaller “BOP” has been attached to the new cap … the oil is flowing through the old “LMRP” or Lower Marine Riser Package … through the new cap … into the new BOP and out the top end of the new BOP into the gulf …. the Feds & BP are closing off vents in the new BOP and they will eventually attach a new riser or pipe to the top end of the “new “BOP” to take the oil to the surface …. at the moment … the oil continues to flow into the Gulf …. however, the new repair appears on track to stop the spill ……….

NPR’s 6 camera live feed ….


NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, July 10, 2010 (AFP) – Underwater robots were preparing to replace a cap over the leaking Gulf of Mexico well that could see the devastating oil flow finally contained as early as Monday.

The more snuggly-fitting containment cap, which comes on the heels of repeated failures and setbacks for BP, would then siphon crude and gas up to a series of tankers on the surface, but the system is only a temporary solution, before relief wells are completed that could stop the flow completely.

Once the old cap is removed, oil will flow nearly unabated into the Gulf waters for some 48 hours, and the new system’s success is anything but guaranteed, however.

“This new sealing cap has not been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and there can be no assurance that the sealing cap will be successfully installed or installed within the anticipated timeframe,” BP warned in a statement.

The existing cap, which sucks up to 25,000 barrels (one million gallons) of oil a day, was installed over a month ago but it allowed some of the hydrocarbons (oil) to escape because it was placed over a jagged cut of the well pipe.

BP is also working to connect the Helix Producer containment ship to another portion of the blown-out well. The government’s point man on the spill, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, said the ship should be up and running by Sunday.

McAuley’s World Comments:Will the Gulf Spill Be Capped By Monday 07/12/2010? Why wasn’t the well capped like this In Week #1?  Why wasn’t his repair completed 70 days ago? The repair is being completed with 50 year old techniques and 50 year old technology. Can you image the Gulf today, had the well been capped 70 days ago and had the Obama Administration let the local Governors address the spill? Cap the well in the first 10 days and start skimming immediately? Limiting the oil flow to 10 days and starting an immediate effort to “berm, boom & skim”. Would the oyster beds be open today? Would the fisherman be back to work today? Would the restaurant owners be visiting the fish markets every morning? Would the tourists in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi even have noticed the spill? Would we even be considering a 6 month moratorium? Cap and what? What price is the Gulf paying for this mismanagement, this incompetence? This repair was suggested weeks ago …

UPDATE 07/10/2010

Damaged Riser Being Removed On 07/10/2010

NEW ORLEANS – Robotic submarines removed the cap from the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, beginning a period of at least two days when oil will flow freely into the sea.

It’s the first step in placing a tighter dome that is supposed to funnel more oil to collection ships on the surface a mile above. If all goes according to plan, the tandem of the tighter cap and the surface ships could keep all the oil from polluting the fragile Gulf as soon as Monday.

BP spokesman Mark Proegler said the old cap was removed at 12:37 p.m. CDT on Saturday.

Engineers now begin removing a bolted flange below the dome. The flange has to be taken off so another piece of equipment called a flange spool can go over the drill pipe, where the sealing cap will be connected.

BP was next attempting to remove the bolted top flange that only partially completed the seal with the cap that was moved Saturday.  If not, a specially designed tool will be used to pry apart the top and bottom flanges. Once it’s removed, a 12-foot-long piece of equipment called a flange transition spool will be lowered and bolted in its place. But before that can happen, BP has to bind together two sections of drill pipe that are in the gushing well head, which the transition spool will cover. After the flange transition spool is bolted in place, the new cap — called a capping stack or “Top Hat 10” — can be lowered. The equipment, weighing some 150,000 pounds, is designed to fully seal the leak and provide connections for new vessels on the surface to collect oil. The cap has valves that can restrict the flow of oil and shut it in, if it can withstand the enormous pressure.

On Friday, National Incident Commander Thad Allen had said the cap could be in place by Monday. That’s still possible, given the timeline BP submitted to the federal government, but officials say it could take up to a week of tests before it’s clear whether the new cap is working.

The cap now in use was installed June 4, but because it had to be fitted over a jagged cut in the well pipe, it allows some crude to escape. The new cap — dubbed “Top Hat Number 10” — follows 80 days of failures to contain or plug the leak.

The company is also working to hook up another containment ship called the Helix Producer to a different part of the leaking well. The ship, which will be capable of sucking up more than 1 million gallons a day when it is fully operating, should be working by Sunday, Allen said.

The plan had originally been to change the cap and hook up the Helix Producer separately, but the favorable weather convinced officials the time was right for both operations. They have a window of seven to 10 days.

UPDATE 2: 07/10/2010

Unbolting Flange On Lower Marine Riser Package 07/11/2010

The process begun Saturday has two major phases: removing equipment currently on top of the leak and installing new gear designed to fully contain the flow of oil.

BP began trying Saturday afternoon to remove the bolted top flange that only partially completed the seal with the old cap. Video images showed robotic arms working to unscrew its bolts. Wells said that could last into Monday depending on whether the flange can be pulled off from above, as BP hopes. If not, a specially designed tool will be used to pry apart the top and bottom flanges.

Once the top flange is removed, BP has to bind together two sections of drill pipe that are in the gushing well head. Then a 12-foot-long piece of equipment called a flange transition spool will be lowered and bolted over it.

View the video here:

Live feed:

Update 3: 07/11/2010 – Day 83

BP happy with new oil-leak effort, but no promises

NEW ORLEANS – Under promising with hopes of over delivering, BP said Sunday that it is making progress on what could prove its most effective effort yet to contain the Gulf oil leak, but cautioned that the verdict could be several days away.

A new cap being placed atop the gusher is intended to provide a tight seal and might eventually allow the oil giant to capture all crude leaking from the well for the first time since an April 20 oil-rig explosion set off the environmental crisis. But several prior failed attempts to stop the leak have made BP PLC careful to keep expectations grounded.

Robotic submarines finished removing a busted piece of pipe that was bolted around the leak around 3 a.m. Sunday. That paved the way for the installation of a pipe-like connector called a flange spool that will sit on top of the spewing well bore. The new cap would be mounted (bolted) on top of that connector and have flexible pipes leading up to surface ships. 

If the new cap is a complete success in stopping the leak, that will be a first.

The new cap, or “Top Hat 10,” weighs some 150,000 pounds. It is designed to fully seal the leak and provide connections for new vessels on the surface to collect oil. The cap has valves that can restrict the flow of oil and shut it in, if it can withstand the enormous pressure.

Update 4: 07/12/2010 – Day 84

NEW ORLEANS – BP expects to attach a new, tighter cap to its leaking well later in the day and then testing will be needed before it’s clear if the oil has stopped spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said in a Monday morning briefing the plan to replace a leaky old cap on the well remained on track to be done by the end of this week.

The new cap is designed to funnel oil to vessels on the surface [a production valve] as part of a containment system that could prevent crude from spilling for the first time since April 20.


Update 5: 07/12/2010 – Day 84

Update 07/12/2010 – 7:40 PM

NEW ORLEANS – Live underwater video showed a new cap was placed Monday onto the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, offering hope of containing the gusher for the first time since BP’s deepwater rig exploded in April.

BP officials did not immediately comment on the video images streamed online by the company.

The company has said the next step will be running tests to make sure there are no other leaks from the well. Tests and monitoring could last from six hours to two days, and oil will still leak into the Gulf during that time.

Adm Allen, the commander overseeing the spill response, said: “This could lead to the shutting off of the well.”

BP hopes partly to close the cap on Tuesday to test the well’s integrity.

“The measurements that will be taken during this test will provide valuable information about the condition of the well below the sea level and help determine whether or not it is possible to shut the well for a period of time,” Adm Allen said in a statement.

During testing, the system collecting the leaking oil will be shut down for six to 48 hours while pressure readings are taken to make sure there are no other leaks from the well.

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