Three Further Points of Interest on Obama’s Katrina

These links were collected by Heroyalwhyness and sent earlier today. She read the post about the horrific on-going damage from the destruction of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and set about collecting links to people who are obviously expert in these matters.

I present her collection below, without modification except in one area, and that is the length of some of the snips. It is my preference to put in enough to have a reader want to pursue it further at the original site – i.e, fair use. Thus, in some places, like Mark Levin’s transcribed conversation with one of the survivors from the oil rig disaster, I left only the first part of the transcription and removed the rest. However, the link can be followed to pick up the story.

This work by Heroyalwhyness is an outstanding example of the distributed information available on the internet. Where she has highlighted areas with color, I have just left them as they are since color highlights don’t translate to Blooger as far as I know. However, a careful perusal of her work provides a wealth of information.

We’re grateful she was willing to pass this on.

Not sure if these three items are of interest on the GoV thread at “Obama’s Katrina”

1. From GatewayPundit… M. Silver

May 3rd, 2010

I was on a major oil company’s Oil Spill Response Team in the early 90’s. Gouget is correct that burning is the preferred method. Its nasty from a public health and safety perspective (smoke and risk of facility and third party impact) BUT burning is the best for the environment especially in the semi-closed environment of the Gulf.

Disperants in the Gulf isn’t a good idea because the water circulates like a toilet bowl. Disperants in open ocean is great because you can rely on “the solution to pollution is dilution”.

Obama’s SWAT comment was immensely stupid. He should have been calling on all the operators in the Gulf to share their supplies with BP, even at the risk of being under equipped. OIL COMPANIES DO WANT TO HELP EACH OTHER IN SPILL RESPONSE. There are many mutual aid agreements between companies and each company knows they will pay the price for a bad response by a competitor. With fear of Obama’s swat teams, the operators will be sitting on their recovery equipment hoping to pass Obama’s inspection.

Personally, I would have requested permission from the Coast Guard to burn. I’d hire a bunch of helicopters and have them drop road flares. Then I set up a bunch of skimmers and recovery boats outside the burn zone to pick up what didn’t burn.

No way on Disperants though. Seafood is a big industry in the Gulf and disperants have toxic components that can get in the food chain. Plus, disperants probably won’t work in the relatively placid seas in the Gulf. You need lots of wave motion to make it work (think washing machine).

2. BP does not own, operate, nor did it design or build the Deepsea Horizon. BP is leasing the rig Deepsea Horizon from Transocean. BP was *not* the owner nor the operator of the Horizon. A total of 126 workers were aboard. Seventy-nine were Transocean workers, six were BP employees and 41 were contracted. The Transocean crew was responsible for “driving” the rig while the BP E&P guys had the map to the destination.

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Obama administration cancels offshore SAFETY awards; BP a finalist…

A survivor of this rig explosion mentions the safety record of this rig [highlighted in transcript below] on Mark Levin’s show (snagged from Flopping Aces)
– – – – – – – –
Listen to Mark Levin’s exclusive interview with a survivor

Rough transcript:

Levin: James, Dallas Texas, WBAP, go right ahead sir.

James: Just wanted to clear up a few things as a petroleum engineer.

Everything you said was correct. I was actually on the rig when it

exploded and was at work. We had

Levin: Slow down. Whoa, whoa, whoa, all right, slow down.

all right, so you were working on this rig when it exploded.

James: Yes Sir.

Levin: OK Go ahead.

James: We had set the bottom cement plug for the inner casing string which was the production liner [toward the well? -unclear]. And had set what’s called a fuel assembly which in the top of the well. At that point the BOP stack, that he was talking about, a blowout preventer was tested. I don’t know the results of that test, however, it must have passed because at that point they elected to displace the riser, the marine riser from the vessel to the sea floor. They displaced all of the mud out of the riser preparing to unlatch from the well two days later. So they displace it with sea water. When they concluded the test for the BOP stack and the inner liner, concluded everything was good.

Levin: Let me slow you, slow you down. So they do all these tests to make

sure that the infrastructure can handle what’s about to happen, right?

James: Right. They were testing the negative pressure and the positive pressure

of the well, the casing, and the actual marine riser.

Levin: OK. I’m with you, go ahead.

James: So after the conclusion of the test, they simply opened the BOP stack

Levin: And the test, the best as you know was sufficient?

James:: It should have been. Yes, sir. Or they would have never opened it back up.

Levin: OK. Next step. Go ahead.

James: Next step, they opened the [anular – unclear], the upper part of the BOP


Levin: Which has as its purpose, what…hold on…which.. why do you do that?

James: So that you can gain access back to the well bore.

Levin: OK

James: When you close the stack, that’s basically a humongous hydraulic valve that is

closing off everything from below and above. It’s like a gate valve at the, on the sea floor.

Levin: OK

James: That’s a very simplistic way of explaining a BOP, a very complicated piece of equipment.

Levin: OK Basically, it’s like a plug. But go ahead.

James: Correct. Once they open that plug to go ahead and start cementing the top of the well, the well bore, we would cement the top and then basically we would pull off that another rig would slide over and do the rest do the rest of the completion for the work. When they opened the well is when the gas, the well kicked, and we took a humongous gas bubble kick right through the well bore. It literally pushed the sea water all the way to the crown of the rig which was about 240 feet in the air.

Levin: Let’s see, so gas got into it and blew the top off of it. Now don’t hang up. I want to continue with you because I want to ask you some questions related to this, ok? Including has this sort of thing happened before? And why you think it may have happened…OK?

Levin: Alright, we’re back to James, that’s not his real name. Dallas WBAP, I’m not going to give the working title of what you did there either, James, but I wanted to finish, So, the gentleman was right about the point that obviously some gas got into the, I’ll call it the funnel, ok?

James: Correct, and that’s not uncommon, Mark. Anytime you’re drilling an oil well, there’s a constant battle between what the mud plate, the drilling fluid that we use to maintain pressure on the well bore itself. There’s a balance where if the well is pushing one way and you’re pushing mud the other way. So there’s a delicate balance that has to be maintained at all times to keep the gas from coming back in, what we call kicks. You know, we always get gas back in the mud, um, but the goal of the whole situation is to try to control the kick, you know, not allow the pressure differential between the vessel and the well bore.

Levin: Well, in this case, obviously, too much gas got in.

James: Correct. And this well had not had a bad history of producing lots of gas. It was touch and go, you know, a few times. But it’s just generally not that uncommon. You are almost always going to get gas back from a well. We have systems that deal with the gas.

Levin: So, what may have happened here?

James: Well the, probably the sheer volume and pressure of gas that hit all at once was more than the safety and controls we had in place could handle.

Levin: Is that like a mistake on somebody’s part? Or that just Mother Nature every now and then kicks up? What?

James: Mother Nature every now and then kicks up. The pressure we’re dealing with out there, drilling deeper and deeper. Deeper water, deeper volume of the depth itself. You’re dealing with 30-40,000 pounds per square inch range. Serious pressures.

Levin: By the way, we just, not to offend you, we just verified you are who you say you are, which I’m sure you already knew that. Uh, I would like to hold you over to the next hour because I want to ask you a few more questions about this as well as what happened exactly after the explosion, during the explosion. Can you wait with us?

James: Sure. I don’t know how much of that I can share, but I’ll do my best.

Levin: Alright. I don’t want to get you in trouble so to the extent you can fine, to the extent you can’t, we’ll understand.




Levin: We’re talking to a caller under an assumed name. He was on the rig when it blew up and we’ve been talking about how it happened. And now James, I want to take you to a point when it happened. What exactly happened? You are standing where?…

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3. Flopping Aces has a thread which explains options currently under consideration



UPDATE: Informative article coming (inadvertently) from lib/prog forum commenter ch3cooh on…. Skipping the political, self-servicing crap elsewhere on the threads, the below is an alternative “solution” currently being explored – a BOP (blowout protector) atop another BOP – and posted from an article appearing on… (NOTE: Upstream is a specialized Oil/Gas industry publication)

Yo… oil guy from Alberta? You still out there? Is this feasible as a “cure”?

Supermajor may use second BOP to stem oil leak

BP said it is expanding efforts to cap the Macondo well that is gushing an estimated 5000 barrels of oil per day into the US Gulf of Mexico, including a plan to stack an additional blowout preventer (BOP) on the bore.

Upstream staff 03 May 2010 00:54 GMT

The company is also investigating installing a valve on the end of the ruptured drill pipe to shut off oil leaking from there.

In addition, the UK supermajor has mobilised a third drilling vessel, the Transocean semi-submersible rig Development Driller II, to spud a second relief well.

“Every time we think we’re almost at the end of our options, our engineers keep coming up with new alternatives,” BP communications boss John Curry told Upstreamonline.

“We’re not going to quit, that’s for sure. We want to get that well stopped and we want to clear that mess up. We’ll be judged on how we do that.”

The new efforts, which were unveiled during a press conference late yesterday at BP’s response headquarters in Houston, are in addition to existing techniques to stem the flow of oil such as trying to shut the well with the existing BOP and spudding a relief well with the Development Driller III, which is on location.

‘BOP on top’?

BP is looking at installing a new BOP on top of the existing well, which could then be used to shut the well, BP executive Bob Fryar said.

Fryar normally heads BP offshore exploration operations in Angola.

Sometime in the next three days, BP will try to install a metre to gauge the pressure on the lower marine riser package (LMRP), which sits on top of the existing BOP, to see if it might be possible to install a new BOP on top.

If pressures are not too high, Fryar said crews could shear off the broken riser and LMRP unit and then “stab” or stack a second BOP unit on top of the original BOP.

The new BOP is already on board the Transocean drillship Discoverer Enterprise, which is believed to be on location.

However, if it does not work it could cause the flow from the well to increase by eliminating the back pressure created by the crimped riser.

Even if the pressure is too high to install a second BOP, the information may help BP make better estimates on the amount of oil coming from the well.

Fryar stood by BP’s assertion that the best estimate for the flow is 5000 barrels per day, but said he also reiterated that the figure had a wide margin of error.

Continuing efforts

Meanwhile, BP will continue trying to close the well with the BOP that is in place now.

It has been one of the main focuses of BP’s efforts since the initial blowout and will remain so, no matter how unlikely it is to work, Fryar said, because it offers the quickest way to stem the flow.

Charlie Holt, who heads BP drilling and completions operations in the US Gulf, said BP has repaired some leaks in the hydraulic systems of the BOPs.

Since then, BP has been able to trigger all of the six rams that should shear the drill string and casing and close the well, but they did not stem the flow.

Holt said some of the rubber portions of the blowout protector may have been eroded by sand in the flowback and may not be able to shut the well anymore.

If the second BOP can be added to the well, it may be possible to circulate fluid through that to kill the well, but BP continues with plans to drill a pair of relief wells.

This information goes on to explain the Relief rig ‘race’, The Cofferdam, and The Dispersant injection plan.

Go to Flopping Aces to continue reading.

And thank you again to Heroyalwhyness for this collection. I hope it has transmogrified correctly into Blooger. When a post comes in with attached links, it’s always possible that they don’t get re-attached at the point of publishing. If there are specific links that need to be redirected, let me know.

By the way, we’re already getting theories that this was a terrorist attack. Government denial wouldn’t convince me of anything, but it will be interesting to see what the credible sources have to say about the subject as the story develops.

6 thoughts on “Three Further Points of Interest on Obama’s Katrina

  1. BP completes first of three containment domes , described as 4-story, 70-ton structures to be lowered into place over the three leaks to catch the escaping oil and allow it to be pumped to the surface.. .crews hoped to install all three domes by the weekend.

    All told, some 52 miles of booms have been deployed to try to corral the spill or to fend it off from vulnerable shorelines.

    Much more at the link

  2. Correct, MEscape. Transocean has a varied history of mergers and morphing. From the Feb 2001 issue of CFO, a financial rag:

    That has also been the scenario for Transocean Sedco Forex Inc., an offshore and deepwater oil drilling and services firm. First, Transocean ASA, a Norwegian company that reincorporated in the Cayman Islands, merged with Sonat Offshore Drilling Inc., a U.S. drilling firm, in 1996. Then, in 1999, Transocean merged with Sedco Forex Holdings Ltd., an oil- drilling unit of Schlumberger Ltd., which is itself domiciled in the Netherlands Antilles but is run from New York and Houston. The combined company reincorporated in the Caymans, but still has principal offices in Houston. In announcing the move, CEO J. Michael Talbert said the company was hoping to shave 10 to 20 percentage points off its 1998 tax rate of 29.5 percent over the long term. And now Transocean is acquiring another U.S.-based firm, R&B Falcon Inc., in another tax-free merger.

    Since then, they also acquired Santa Fe Global (the summer of 2007).

    They moved their domicile from the Caymans to Switzerland back in Dec 2008. They weren’t alone in the exodus. S&P dropped Transocean (RIG) from their roster. Transocean cited declining interest in their offshore biz.

    BP is responsible as a GC would be on a project. Transocean owns and operated the rig, and used Halliburton for the cementing. Is the contractor liable for their subs’ operational or design errors? Yes. Was it their design? Their responsibility to install a third failsafe system on someone else’s rig that even the MMS doesn’t require? Not unless you think it’s your responsibility to put a new, updated airbag in your lease vehicle.

    As the investigation is still preliminary, there’s some oil industry experts focusing on the cementing seal being flawed, or perhaps errors with the mud displacement. They also note that the extra remote sensor, based on it’s design, was unlikely to alter the outcome. The BOP did send the signal that it went into operation, tho not with the desired results.

    All in all, lots of favorite villians for the admin to demonize. Transocean’s safety record is above average for that industry, and only 4% of oil spills originate from offshore rigs.

    The big perpetrator? Shipping and maritime accidents. About the worst thing this admin could do is shut down offshore operations, leaving us in the position to import the 25% of oil we would no longer be getting from the Gulf.

    And how would that oil get to us? By tankers, of course.. which just increases the spill risk.

  3. MataHarley said:

    BP is responsible as a GC would be on a project. …….Not unless you think it’s your responsibility to put a new, updated airbag in your lease vehicle.

    I do not know the US or International Law on Off Shore Oil Drilling but this must be contractual issue. If you were driving a leased Toyota that the accelerator got stuck and you ran into an industrial Oil Tank that ended up leaking into the Great Lakes are you responsible to the United States and Canada for the clean up? Let me add You were not drinking or being reckless in your actions.

    Usual Suspects

    Lions and Tigers and Bears OH MY
    Halliburton-Evil Oil Company -BP..probably others as well are in this “BlackWater” mess…we need a Senate Subcommittee

  4. MEscape, if your Toyota accelerator was found to be the cause of the accident, they would share in the liability. If the accident was solely the result of your negligence as the driver of that car, Toyota would be off the hook.

    A more apt analogy would be you, being chauffered by me, in your Toyota with a confirmed stuck accelerator. Because you hired me, you bear some responsibility. Toyota also bears responsibility for a flawed product. If you instructed me to drive into that oil tank, you may bear even more responsibility.

    However my driving record (with another accident) will not be applied against your driver’s license. (ie you can’t hold BP’s land safety record against Transocean’s offshore record)

    Transocean, (and possibly Halliburton), will share in the fiscal liability of this because Transocean was “driving” the rig while BP held the map to the destination.

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