BP disaster started in February?

posted at 12:30 pm on June 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Until this week, the general impression of the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf has been that the explosion took everyone by surprise, and that neither BP nor a dysfunctional MMS had any idea that the well had reached a critical stage.  Two days ago, however, Bloomberg reported that both BP and MMS were well aware of the high risk of a blowout at that particular well.  BP and its subcontractor Transocean had in fact been fighting against a blowout for over two months, and MMS was well aware of the situation:

BP Plc was struggling to seal cracks in its Macondo well as far back as February, more than two months before an explosion killed 11 and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

It took 10 days to plug the first cracks, according to reports BP filed with the Minerals Management Service that were later delivered to congressional investigators. Cracks in the surrounding rock continued to complicate the drilling operation during the ensuing weeks. Left unsealed, they can allow explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft. …

On Feb. 13, BP told the minerals service it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, drilling documents obtained by Bloomberg show. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fissures played a role in the disaster. …

BP used three different substances to plug the holes before succeeding, the documents show.

“Most of the time you do a squeeze and then let it dry and you’re done,” said John Wang, an assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania. “It dries within a few hours.”

Repeated squeeze attempts are unusual and may indicate rig workers are using the wrong kind of cement, Wang said.

By March, according to these documents, the natural gas surges had gotten so bad that BP warned MMS that it had difficulty controlling them.  On March 10th, BP e-mailed the MMS drilling director for New Orleans that they were in the midst of a “well control situation,” a result which led a Berkeley engineer to tell Bloomberg that “they [BP] damn near blew up the rig.”  That was just a day under six weeks before the rig actually blew up in the Gulf.

This revelation shows that the disaster was far from unforeseen.  In fact, it appears that it had already come close to a catastrophic blowout just six weeks before eleven people died in the subsequent explosion.  BP didn’t exactly keep it a secret, either.  They informed MMS of the problem, which apparently did nothing to intervene in a situation serious enough that a similar situation caused Exxon to shut down its well in 2006.

This may not change anything in terms of addressing the disaster in the short run, but it’s certainly good context to keep in mind when assessing the long-term consequences of this catastrophe and the potential solutions to prevent a repeat of it.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Obama didn’t know about this until he read it on a blog or something.

JammieWearingFool on June 19, 2010 at 12:32 PM

The BP disaster started on Jan 21, 2000.

Right?

Inanemergencydial on June 19, 2010 at 12:33 PM

The blow out may have started in Feb 2010… But the real disaster started here

RalphyBoy on June 19, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Obama promised the oceans would recede and the planet would heal.

Instead, we get oceans filled with oil and methane gas, dying wildlife and dying industry.

Hope and change. Hope and change.

Disturb the Universe on June 19, 2010 at 12:37 PM

BP didn’t exactly keep it a secret, either. They informed MMS of the problem, which apparently did nothing to intervene in a situation serious enough that a similar situation caused Exxon to shut down its well in 2006.

All Bush’s fault, of course.

Del Dolemonte on June 19, 2010 at 12:37 PM

I think that Wang is absolutely wrong with the dry in a few hours idea.

The well was known to drilling through two smaller zones of gas sands. It is not like you drill through only layers of rock then finally strike the pay zone. Many wells are drilled through small non-commerical zones where gas an oil are located.

You make not of a well drilled by Exxon in 2006, but no reference to it, what field, which body or water (or if it is onshore) so why bother.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 12:38 PM

If heads roll at BP (and they should), heads had damn well better roll in DC as well. If Hayward or other BP folks are named personally in some lawsuits, then Obama and various administration folks damn well better be named personally as well.

Hayward personally has a much liability/responsibility as Obama does, and for the same reason – not because they personally did something wrong, but they are the head of the organization that clearly f-ed up.

Midas on June 19, 2010 at 12:38 PM

They informed MMS of the problem, which apparently did nothing to intervene in a situation serious enough that a similar situation caused Exxon to shut down its well in 2006.

Follow the money. Investigate. Investigate. Investigate.

petefrt on June 19, 2010 at 12:41 PM

I think that Wang is absolutely wrong with the dry in a few hours idea.

The well was known to drilling through two smaller zones of gas sands. It is not like you drill through only layers of rock then finally strike the pay zone. Many wells are drilled through small non-commerical zones where gas an oil are located.

You make not of a well drilled by Exxon in 2006, but no reference to it, what field, which body or water (or if it is onshore) so why bother.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 12:38 PM

https://www.aapg.org/explorer/2008/05may/blackbeard.cfm

the_nile on June 19, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Midas on June 19, 2010 at 12:38 PM

I would start with David Axelrod, Obama adviser, who apparently thinks this is all politics as usual.

Dr Evil on June 19, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Follow the money. Investigate. Investigate. Investigate.

petefrt on June 19, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Then, prosecute and impeach accordingly.

Disturb the Universe on June 19, 2010 at 12:44 PM

This may not change anything in terms of addressing the disaster in the short run, but it’s certainly good context to keep in mind when assessing the long-term consequences of this catastrophe and the potential solutions to prevent a repeat of it.

It also reinforces the fact that the administratrion had plenty of forewarning to have skimmers, boom material, manpower, an action plan, etc standing by to neutralize pollution to a large degree. This information needs to be distributed far and wide. Scooter wants to point fingers? O.K.

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Back in February, in a prelude to the BP well rupture and explosion, my colon ruptured and exploded nearly killing me.

The response to my emergency however differs from the administration in that it was quick, responsive, exact and effective.

Five months after my own ‘blowout’ I am just about healed and recovered (after a second surgery).

President Obama, his administration and the governments response over that same time period has been less effective than spitballing the side of a barn.

Had they been in charge of my situation, I would be dead. Fortunately, with Obamacare, they will soon be in charge of others emergencies.

catmman on June 19, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Follow the money. Investigate. Investigate. Investigate.

The blogs will have to do it–the MSM won’t. I would say a few people at MMS should be charged with manslaughter.

PattyJ on June 19, 2010 at 12:46 PM

It also reinforces the fact that the administratrion had plenty of forewarning to have skimmers, boom material, manpower, an action plan, etc standing by to neutralize pollution to a large degree.
a capella on June 19, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Good point. Indeed it does.

petefrt on June 19, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Gosh, it’s almost like Obama was the biggest recipient of BP money evah.

kingsjester on June 19, 2010 at 12:48 PM

This is a pretty damning indictment of the government and, secondarily, of BP.

With all of the evidence accumulating that they had lost control of that rig, the MMS should have immediately issued an order (assuming they had that authority) ceasing operations until BP/Transocean got things in hand.

The questions is whether MMS was corrupt or inefficient or just wanted to pass the problem onto BP. I.e., “Let them handle things, they know what to do.”

SteveMG on June 19, 2010 at 12:48 PM

It also reinforces the fact that the administratrion had plenty of forewarning to have skimmers, boom material, manpower, an action plan, etc standing by to neutralize pollution to a large degree. This information needs to be distributed far and wide. Scooter wants to point fingers? O.K.

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Teh Won might not have known because with all the trips, vacations and golf outings, he simply did not have the time.

As much as I hate to say this, I think that Obama’s folks felt he “needed” his own 9/11 to boost his polls. But this whole thing went terribly wrong and I hope that in the end he will be booted out of office. He knew, or should have known what the MMS was doing. And I ask again: Where the heck is Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA?

Key West Reader on June 19, 2010 at 12:49 PM

We probably shouldn’t be drilling at those depths due to the presence of frozen methane under high pressure.

OxyCon on June 19, 2010 at 12:51 PM

The questions is whether MMS was corrupt or inefficient or just wanted to pass the problem onto BP. I.e., “Let them handle things, they know what to do.”

SteveMG on June 19, 2010 at 12:48 PM

The eternal question of the Obama administration: Is it corruption or is it incompetence?

Disturb the Universe on June 19, 2010 at 12:52 PM

We probably shouldn’t be drilling at those depths due to the presence of frozen methane under high pressure.

OxyCon on June 19, 2010 at 12:51 PM

It’s more like brain surgery , those who cant do it right shouldn’t.

the_nile on June 19, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Where the heck is Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA?

Key West Reader on June 19, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Worrying about CO2 and pimping green jobs.

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Lost returns and squeeze treatments are not that uncommon in any drilling wells. BP likely performed industry-standard procedures to remediate the situation back in February.

The decision by BP to run a single casing string vs. a more robust liner has been a recent point of interest. But even with the single casing string, the well should not have blown if proper diagnostics and safeguards were implemented to correct for deficiencies in the casing string and related cement job.

The key issue is what they chose to do in the immediate days before the accident — when they knew they had a well integrity issue based on pressure tests of the casing and cement job integrity — when they knew that the cement plug (if actually placed where intended) was not sealing the well — when they knew that hydrocarbons were likely entering the well at the time they were removing the primary pressure barrier, that is the heavy weight mud column in the riser. There were multiple opportunities to stop change course. They could have performed a remedial cement job on the well (a universal course of action for all responsible operators). One big issue is that BP intended to reuse this exploration well as a producing well — very uncommon in deep water but not unheard of. If BP decided to cement up the well, it would have likely been ‘junked’ at a major write-off to BP. It’s in these last days that bad decisions were made by the BP rig-based drilling supervisors and shore-based management — and BP exposed themselves to gross negligence as a result.

Bottom line — stuff that happened in February is only anecdotal but not really relevant to what caused the eventual blow-out, explosion, fire, sinking and spill.

16MPG on June 19, 2010 at 12:57 PM

This is a bunch of b.s. as exhibited by an independent which has actually stated that Exxon lacked the “guts”…

http://www.mcmoran.com/pdf/2010/moffett_best_discovery_reprint.pdf

And for the record the difficulty was not because of the water depth. Quite spinning the facts. But then again most bloggers still don’t know that there is a difference between a production platform and a drilling rig. They call ALL of the oil rigs, such ignorance.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 12:57 PM

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 12:44 PM

They already had an action plan. Conveniently written for them years ago. Unfortunately Sir Paul was incorrect in his claim that we now have a precedent who knows what a library is. He obviously does not.

jdkchem on June 19, 2010 at 12:59 PM

OxyCon – I have no problem with drilling at those depths as long as we have a reasonable handle on the risks involved and the firms engaged in the drilling are following the right practices. The verdict is still out on BP and the company’s track record is not the best.

Key West Reader – not that this is Jackson’s responsibility, but no doubt she was busily trying to get all the appropriate lies in place to put carbon regulation in the hands of the EPA.

JEM on June 19, 2010 at 12:59 PM

NCP The plan has been in place since 1968. Much like the idiots who voted for him it obviously did not exist because the won did not create it.

jdkchem on June 19, 2010 at 1:01 PM

MMS oversees drilling. Fed government oversees MMS. BP plans and conducts drilling operations and is overseen by both entities and we are questioning only BP execs in Congress??? Where are the inspectors? Where are those who signed off on this rig up until Feb…Mar…April….May??? where are they

ted c on June 19, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Obama didn’t know about this until he read it on a blog or something.

JammieWearingFool on June 19, 2010 at 12:32 PM

..he still doesn’t have a clue.

The War Planner on June 19, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Key West,
Lisa only knows working in public policy, nothing more. So she is nothing more than someone from New Orleans with a college education who went to work as an activist inside of government.

What does anyone expect her to do she is clueless about the real world but an expert on her (and Zero’s) ideology.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Never let a potential crisis go to waste…

phreshone on June 19, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Same thing about Liz Birnbaum who was nothing more than an activist attorney who I was warning everyone (including my legislators) about over a year ago. All she knew was government heading up just another RFK jr crony outfit known as American Rivers filing lawsuits against companies which clueless jurist, judges and contributors buy into.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Actually, regarding the reporting on HotAir, it is obvious the bloggers have little clue except from what they read from clueless news outlets.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Bottom line — stuff that happened in February is only anecdotal but not really relevant to what caused the eventual blow-out, explosion, fire, sinking and spill.

16MPG on June 19, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Only in the sense of the blowuout itself. A prudent administration, with that information in hand, would have prepared for the worst case scenario, since by the Oil Pollutilon Act, it is responsible. The Feb. info is a damning indictment of big government’s poor communication, if it was that, and operational inefficiencies.

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 1:10 PM

F^ck this. Let’s nuke the damn well shut. At this point the Gulf is screwed anyway.

fiatboomer on June 19, 2010 at 1:13 PM

JammieWearingFool: There is much truth hidden in your nugget of wit. The blowout, the 60-day delays in real crisis management, and the growing economic/environmental disaster are above the celebrity’s pay grade. He is too busy collecting praise from his fanzines.

I like Kudlow’s take on who all is dirty in this deal: http://article.nationalreview.com/436759/the-gulf-spill-everyones-dirty-now/larry-kudlow

Mark Steyn aims his rapier wit at the situation and the uselessness of ObaMao today, too.

onlineanalyst on June 19, 2010 at 1:14 PM

In the grand scheme of things a few must die for Obama to ” make it better for everyone ”
Money , Unions , corruption it all points back to Rahm and the gangsters at 1600 .
Dont be naive Obama made a tough decision
On one hand they could have skimmers and plans for the blow out in place
The other hand ? Ramp up plans to exploit the crisis and push Cap and tax with a lame duck session
Which do you think happened ?
The relatives of the dead should have an army of lawyers and sue LOTS of DC corruptacrats

ELMO Q on June 19, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Had they been in charge of my situation, I would be dead. Fortunately, with Obamacare, they will soon be in charge of others emergencies.

catmman on June 19, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Oh, come on, how bad could it be with ObamaCare? I mean, it’s not like a government-run healthcare system would transplant lungs from a 30-year smoker into someone, or anything like that. Right?

iurockhead on June 19, 2010 at 1:16 PM

fiatboomer on June 19, 2010 at 1:13 PM

In order to nuke it shut you need to drill a hole down into strata next to the well and explode the nuke there. The pressure wave then pinches the bore shut. Setting the nuke off on top of the hole is a waste of time and a nuke.

chemman on June 19, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Actually, regarding the reporting on HotAir, it is obvious the bloggers have little clue except from what they read from clueless news outlets.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Not quite sure what your problem is, but your arrogance is getting under my hide a bit. One doesn’t have to be petroleum engineer to understand the main issue involved here. You sound a bit like folks who claim we shouldn’t have an opinion about U.S. military matters if we haven’t served or shouldn’t have an opinion on Obamacare unless we are a involved in health care.

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Actually, regarding the reporting on HotAir, it is obvious the bloggers have little clue except from what they read from clueless news outlets.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Well, keep us informed then. I, for one, find your contributions based on insider knowledge quite valuable and share them with others.

onlineanalyst on June 19, 2010 at 1:24 PM

BP took short cuts because the liability limitations made it more profitable to take high risks. The government was put in a regulatory role because they do not have that profit motivation. The problem is the regulators have no incentives at all, and so spend their time pursuing various green schemes to increase their popularity and campaign contributions.

pedestrian on June 19, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Great to see BP CEO Tony Hayward is taking lessons from Obama on how to effectively handle the situation.

Obama faces a disaster or a major issue: he goes play golf.

Hayward is facing the issue in the Gulf: he goes to a yacht meet.

pilamaye on June 19, 2010 at 1:25 PM

In order to nuke it shut you need to drill a hole down into strata next to the well and explode the nuke there. The pressure wave then pinches the bore shut. Setting the nuke off on top of the hole is a waste of time and a nuke.

chemman on June 19, 2010 at 1:19 PM

So, time’s a-wastin’ then…

fiatboomer on June 19, 2010 at 1:25 PM

would this also explain a selloff of bp shares by goldman sachs and key bp execs in march……….

sybilll on June 19, 2010 at 1:27 PM

We probably shouldn’t be drilling at those depths due to the presence of frozen methane under high pressure.

OxyCon on June 19, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Uh, no. Methane hydrates, or clathrates (frozen methane and water), are a problem at the seafloor or just below it. They can cause big problems, but were not an issue here. In this case, they had an over-pressured zone at significant depth (where it is actually pretty hot) below the seafloor that was not properly contained by BP. This could have happened in shallow water, or on land for that matter. The water depth is the problem in trying to control the blowout, but it did not cause it.

iurockhead on June 19, 2010 at 1:28 PM

fiatboomer on June 19, 2010 at 1:25 PM

They are drilling two relief wells at this point. The idea is to intersect the current well below any trouble areas and seal it. If the can get this done it is a better option than nuking the well. The relief well(s) would allow them to exploit the deposit and some future date.

chemman on June 19, 2010 at 1:30 PM

So, imagine this; you’re getting pressure to do something you don’t want to do but your poll numbers are abysmal and you need some bone to throw at your critics. You know if you give the permission, it’ll be difficult to take back and it could hurt you with your base constituency.

Then you’re told that an ongoing operation of the type being promoted is having difficulties and could possibly go critical and result in, at a minimum, some flashy video and a reasonable excuse to take back your permission.

Knowing there’s a troubled situation, you give permission for MORE of these types of operations, counter to your and your party’s explicit denial of this permission for decades. You are seen, sceptically, as perhaps loosening up your partisanship and strict adherence to party ideology. (Growing into the job.)

As was possible, the troubled operation fails catastrophically. You were told it could/would be contained so you give them time to do this and don’t make a big thing out of the circumstances. However after 45 days, you’re forced to acknowledge that the situation is out of control (and always has been). Since you’re already in trouble, you implement your plan B and rescind your permission for other new operations AND a cessation of ALL operations currently ongoing with no problems.

Now your energy agenda can be twisted and warped to be a reasonable response to this disaster AND a number of states whose governors’ and party affiliation is against you have taken a huge financial and political hit they may never recover from while you and your party can stand around with smirks on your faces whispering; “we told you so”.

I’m not saying that the current occupant of the White House CAUSED this situation but I definitely believe he knew about it and is using it to political advantage and as political payback.

Mr. Obama is an enemy of the people of the United States and should be impeached.

jcw46 on June 19, 2010 at 1:31 PM

MMS was notified of a “well control situation” on Feb 10, according to the information passed to Congress for the hearings. It took three tries to bring it under control. Yes this was the first sign of trouble, MMS should have shut down the BP drilling until it was fully understood what was happening. Remember the well design approved by MMS was a risky single casing design, so the safety margin was already nonexistent.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard logs show the CG notified the White House the day after the Deepwater Horizon sunk, the spill potential was as high as 110,000 BARRELS a DAY according to the CG log books … The CG had sent a submersible down to the well to look at the flow rates.

This figure triggered the NOAA spill emergency team, and then they discovered the first line of defense the fire booms had not been bought. So burning the oil offshore was not an option. The video of that first meeting is on NOAA’s website.

So the only hope was the Dutch skimmers, and the Saudi tankers fitted with skimmer booms and oil water separation. Stuff developed after the Kuwait War and the disastrous oil spill that Saddam created. Both were turned down because of non-US crews and non-union workers.

So the governments own plan, which says the best thing to do in the event of an oil spill emergency is to contain the oil offshore, do not it get to the beaches and estuaries, well that plan was never really acted on now was it?

So in February the MMS knew of well drilling trouble, gas blowing up the drill pipe, it was enough to trigger a review. The well eventually caught fire from a similar gas eruption. On April 25(day 3) the White House knew the spill numbers, up to 110,000 barrels a day. But of course since everyone was there day one …

In June Oabam announces the new oiled pelican processor will supply fuel in the very near future. The pelicans were not amused.

Let’s just say this is the biggest cluster-you-know-what in the federal governments history. Probably stand until government rationed Obamacare takes the baton.

tarpon on June 19, 2010 at 1:31 PM

The heads of these agencies have been chosen for the most based on their ideology, not their expertise. Therein lies much of the problem with the government response. Recall that Zero’s Cabinet has the lowest percentage of people with private business experience since 1900, by far.

GnuBreed on June 19, 2010 at 1:31 PM

It seems to me the question that squarely front & center as a result of the Bloomberg piece, is what did Birnbaum know and when did she know it? And consequently as a political appointee who reports directly to the executive branch via Salazar who in turn reports directly to the President, when were they informed? 60ish days seems ample time for any issue to run up the chain of command and back, let alone something that portended the ramifications of a blowout 5000ft below the surface.

It seems incredibly hard to beleive that Birnbaum, a certifiable ecofreak, would be prone to playing down the danger that this could pose to the gulf eco-system. Did known off-shore fetishist Salazar quash the issue, or did he report a played down version to Oval? Or did he in fact present all the facts to someone in the White House who in turn, not understanding the gravity of the situation, saw a possible opportuniy (I’m looking at you Rhammy) a ‘mishap’ in the gulf might provide.

While admittedly, Birnbaum was litterally tilting at windmills for up to week after the blowout as reports have shown, but sincerely coming from the Mother Giai faction of the progressive nitwits, it bseems perposterous that she she would just blow this off. It was in actuality the perfect opportunity to raise her stature as an enviro-blowhard.

To me it increasingly appears that Birnbaum fulfilled the roll of patsy covering someone higher on the food chains intransience.

Archimedes on June 19, 2010 at 1:32 PM

A very interesting development.

It’s even more interesting that none of this information seemed of interest to those involved in the Congressional hearings.

Hmm.

USCitizen on June 19, 2010 at 1:33 PM

In retrospect, I had my own local angle on this. Kind of creepy now to think back:

There’s a fella I’ve known for about 5 years. Met his wife and him when they first came to America from England – urged him to stay in our town. Ex-SAS, fought in the Falklands, now working for BP.

Fast forward 4 years, I started running into him socially again last year – was glad he decided to stay. We had some good times.

So in mid-April, Some friends and I gather after work at the watering hole. His wife’s there, but not him. After awhile he pulls up fast in a hot-rod Lexus, just having driven 90 mph (for fun) from Thibodaux to Lafayette. He’s jazzed about the long stretches of unpatrolled elevated highway, and how you could never do that in England.

Anyway, he turns serious. He’s tired, pissed off, frustrated. Seems there’s some big problem that he has to sort out for BP with one of their rigs. Says the local guys (read, “TransOcean”) aren’t doing it right, whatever “it” is, and they have to be set straight. From what he says, he’s obviously in the middle of some massive screw-up. Putting in my worthless two cents, after a couple beers, I tell him I’m giving him my vote of confidence that he will set it right, knowing what a solid guy he is.

A week later, BOOM.

Haven’t seen him since, and his absence is conspicuous. Checked the fatalities list and he’s not on it.

Wondering where my bud is.

cane_loader on June 19, 2010 at 1:34 PM

If you want to understand this a little better, here’s a post that may help.

MMS really had nothing more to do with this than to understand it was happening. Everybody involved knew, I suspect, what they were doing, and what needed done.

Ragspierre on June 19, 2010 at 1:35 PM

I blame Obama for not fixing the problems at MMS that, umm, obviously did not exist before his administration.

YYZ on June 19, 2010 at 1:36 PM

The BP disaster started on Jan 21, 2000.

Right?

Inanemergencydial on June 19, 2010 at 12:33 PM

It’s Clinton’s fault???

notropis on June 19, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Will Waxman call Ken Salazar before his committee and grill him on his knowledge of all this?

How about some “yes or no” questions for Salazar.

SlaveDog on June 19, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Chorus Line (a capella),

Name ONE article about the technical aspects that is more than 10% fact!

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 1:43 PM

During the red flag phase were the folks over at MMS watching porn or playing golf?

We’ve got grown up hippies watching over our country and it’s resources. Couldn’t stand these vermin back in the day and hate them even more now that their in charge.

fogw on June 19, 2010 at 1:44 PM

BP was having a terrible time with this well and if the casing and BOP were the best they “may” have been able to control it. MMS failed the country. Clean up should have started right away because they,MMS, knew how much pressure was in the well and that a lot of oil was going to flow. BP living on the edge,MMS epic fail. The rest of the government has done no better from day 1.

tim c on June 19, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Actually, regarding the reporting on HotAir, it is obvious the bloggers have little clue except from what they read from clueless news outlets.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Bloomberg is a clueless news outlet?

missl on June 19, 2010 at 1:48 PM

How about some “yes or no” questions for Salazar.

SlaveDog on June 19, 2010 at 1:39 PM

+100.

We know darn well Waxman never answered a question with “yes or no”. It should be fun to watch the Republican controlled congress next year calling for investigations of Waxman and putting his feet to the fire.

“Yes or no Mr. Waxman, yes or no.”

fogw on June 19, 2010 at 1:48 PM

would this also explain a selloff of bp shares by goldman sachs and key bp execs in march……….

sybilll on June 19, 2010 at 1:27 PM

You’re right. Forgot all about that.

missl on June 19, 2010 at 1:50 PM

While admittedly, Birnbaum was litterally tilting at windmills for up to week after the blowout as reports have shown, but sincerely coming from the Mother Giai faction of the progressive nitwits, it bseems perposterous that she she would just blow this off. It was in actuality the perfect opportunity to raise her stature as an enviro-blowhard.

To me it increasingly appears that Birnbaum fulfilled the roll of patsy covering someone higher on the food chains intransience.

Archimedes on June 19, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Obama administration policy to to exploit a crisis, not solve it.

pedestrian on June 19, 2010 at 1:50 PM

I seem to recall that both Goldman Sachs and BP CEO Tony Hayward sold a bunch of BP stock during the 1st Quarter, seemingly, unaware of the then thought impending disaster.Why, Yes, Yes they did.

Let’s see if I’m grasping the noodle of the problem here. BP ineptly unleashes the worst ecological disasters ever in American and before any real government agency is informed of the problem, both the BP CEO and Obama buddies at Goldman Sachs just happen to sell their shares to some unwitting schmucks. (Oh … wait … those schmucks were the ‘little people’ who unknowingly have their savings in mutual funds, a portion of which is invested in BP. Bummer.)

Do I seem to understand what’s going on here?

This is pathetic. And the pols wonder why so many Americans have such low opinion of the president and Congress.

Clinton was called, “Slick Willy”, it seems appropriate that Obama now earns the nickname of “Oil Slick Wily”.

Sailfish on June 19, 2010 at 1:53 PM

So, Obama had a 6 week advanced notice and did not prepare a response to the potential disaster. Competence and responsibility at the highest level of government is top notch.

astonerii on June 19, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Anyone who as even a small contractor has had to deal with Federal Regs must know that over half of their regs (required to address know nothing legislators playing for activists) are there only for fluff and red tape.

The facts of the political side are these Birnbaum – Glowarmer, Salazar – Glowarmer, Jackson – Glowarmer, Zero – Glowarmer, and now Abbey – Wesley Mooch wannabe.

BP did not have a good well design, pure and simple. Ultra-deepwater drilling to deep well depths certainly have challenges which are more about producing them nowadays more than drilling. The analogy of Blackbeard to Macondo is only that is was an offshore well. Blackbeard was drilled in less than 500 feet of water with a jackup rig, the “Tarzan” owned by Rowan Drilling. It was abandoned rather deep due to formation problems that Exxon did not want to risk. BP drilling a well in the Tiber Field at 4,000 feet water depth to the world record well depth of 35,000 feet just a few months before it was moved to the Macondo Well which is in water a little deeper and the well half the depth. It matters little at what altitude one is at whether or not it is more dangerous to walk on quicksand or granite.

This is where people who don’t understand why some waivers are actully safer than regs and why many comparisons are even worse than apples and oranges.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM

So the only hope was the Dutch skimmers, and the Saudi tankers fitted with skimmer booms and oil water separation. Stuff developed after the Kuwait War and the disastrous oil spill that Saddam created. Both were turned down because of non-US crews and non-union workers.

tarpon on June 19, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Thanks for an excellent, informative post. Do you have a source for the above?

If this is true, it amounts to a crime against the American people.

I’ll added to it the case of the CG stopping a skimmer from working due to having too few life vests and this, from UK Telegraph:

Instead of adopting a constructive, statesmanlike approach, Barack Obama’s decision to launch a “boot on the throat” campaign, while adopting a thinly veiled Brit-bashing agenda, has generated significant bad blood in America’s closest ally. At the same time, the president has inexplicably rejected offers of help from the UK and an array of European countries, no doubt out of both pride and protectionism.

It’s clear this Administration does not want this problem solved and is not interested in mitigating the damage. This amounts to the highest crimes ever committed by a President upon on the people of the United States and the People don’t even know it (yet).

TheBigOldDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Let’s see if I’m grasping the noodle of the problem here. BP ineptly unleashes the worst ecological disasters ever in American and before any real government agency is informed of the problem, both the BP CEO and Obama buddies at Goldman Sachs just happen to sell their shares to some unwitting schmucks. (Oh … wait … those schmucks were the ‘little people’ who unknowingly have their savings in mutual funds, a portion of which is invested in BP. Bummer.)

People…!!! Get a grip! This was not a disaster until the day the blow-out occured, and there are very likely dozens of wells around the world right now that have the potential to go wild. THEY DON”T BECAUSE PEOPLE IN THE OIL INDUSTRY CONTROL THEM. This one got away…really badly.

Ragspierre on June 19, 2010 at 2:08 PM

This is where people who don’t understand why some waivers are actully safer than regs and why many comparisons are even worse than apples and oranges.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM

That’s why we here rely on people like you to take the time to educate us which is far more helpful than simply raging at our collective ignorance.

TheBigOldDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Boy Oh Boy — The Fireworks should be going good around the 4Th …….. Just gets better an better ..

wheels on June 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Whatever the problem, whatever the reason, whatever the excuse, WE are the ones who will get the bill.

Mojave Mark on June 19, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Bloomberg is a clueless news outlet?

missl on June 19, 2010 at 1:48 PM

When you’re an expert in a particular field, it’s easy to find major errors in the Corrupt Media Establishment’s reporting and it’s easy for it to make you angry – just look at all bad reporting we discuss here and how angry it makes most of us…that said, the true benefit of a place like HA are the readers who know the truth and can help educate us all rather than just venting.

TheBigOldDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Anyone else notice that MMS is an anagram for MSM?

Spooky…

J.E. Dyer on June 19, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Big surprise. BP had a disastrous safety record, but were loved by politicians because BP really stood for ‘Beyond Petroleum’ they were GREEN and ‘cared’ about the planet. Companies like Exxon & Chevron who are despised since they haven’t tried to cozy up to lefty politicians like BP did, they have excellent safety records and probably would have first made different casing/piping choices, and then would have shut down the well when things were heading so far off the rails.

lizzie beth on June 19, 2010 at 2:20 PM

People…!!! Get a grip! This was not a disaster until the day the blow-out occured, and there are very likely dozens of wells around the world right now that have the potential to go wild. THEY DON”T BECAUSE PEOPLE IN THE OIL INDUSTRY CONTROL THEM. This one got away…really badly.

Ragspierre on June 19, 2010 at 2:08 PM

That may be true but it is not really the focal point of the discussion here. The Obama administration and it’s agencies have claimed to have been on top of this since day one. Now we find out that day one, when red flags were first raised, was back in February. In all of the meetings and then during Obama’s Tuesday night speech, this fact was never mentioned.

Why?

All the fat cats saved themselves a boatload of money by selling stock based on inside information. That’s a crime.

Time for a special prosecutor.

fogw on June 19, 2010 at 2:22 PM

I think the President and the infantile loons who showed their asses in Congress should donate what they got from BP to the 20 billion escrow fund.

There is a method that a well can be imploded I should think that and having tenders with miles of boom standing by especially at a troubled well, would have been a lot cheaper in so many ways than what has and will happen.

Speakup on June 19, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Follow the money. Investigate. Investigate. Investigate.

petefrt on June 19, 2010 at 12:41 PM

You’re damn right. I have no doubts now, that the Obama admin was fully aware of this, long before 11 men lost their lives. It’s irresponsible, and all done for political reasons. Proof now, that the Obama admins are willing to destroy jobs, and the environment, to further their agenda, and line their coffers.

capejasmine on June 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM

People…!!! Get a grip! This was not a disaster until the day the blow-out occured, and there are very likely dozens of wells around the world right now that have the potential to go wild. THEY DON”T BECAUSE PEOPLE IN THE OIL INDUSTRY CONTROL THEM. This one got away…really badly.

Ragspierre on June 19, 2010 at 2:08 PM

I try to keep an open mind, but I’m wary. Very, very wary. It’s a little toooooooo convenient that this blow out comes, when cap, and trade is almost dead in the water. What better way to revive it, and try and gain support for it, than a catastrophe such as this?!?

All of this is just a little to coincidental for me.

capejasmine on June 19, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Great to see BP CEO Tony Hayward is taking lessons from Obama on how to effectively handle the situation.

Obama faces a disaster or a major issue: he goes play golf.

Hayward is facing the issue in the Gulf: he goes to a yacht meet.

pilamaye on June 19, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Wasn’t it Hayward whining that he wanted his life back?

Personally, I’d like to see him get life. And he can take The Joker with him.

SagebrushPuppet on June 19, 2010 at 2:42 PM

I try to keep an open mind, but I’m wary. Very, very wary. It’s a little toooooooo convenient that this blow out comes, when cap, and trade is almost dead in the water. What better way to revive it, and try and gain support for it, than a catastrophe such as this?!?

All of this is just a little to coincidental for me.

capejasmine on June 19, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Ah yes, and BP’s helped write the cap-and-trade language. There must be tons of dough to be made in forcing us to buy carbon credits.

SagebrushPuppet on June 19, 2010 at 2:45 PM

RED ALERT:

A local Louisiana source just tipped me off as to why the barges were stopped.

Yes, it was the life vests.

They were making sure that each barge had the special life vest with the TOTUS attachment bracket – so that if 0bama visited and the barge sank, he could call for help

cane_loader on June 19, 2010 at 2:48 PM

I try to keep an open mind, but I’m wary. Very, very wary. It’s a little toooooooo convenient that this blow out comes, when cap, and trade is almost dead in the water. What better way to revive it, and try and gain support for it, than a catastrophe such as this?!?

Not a fan of Obama, but any time a government conspiracy involves the deaths of eleven Americans and the short-term destruction of a major body of water, count me out.

YYZ on June 19, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Heads will roll in November

faraway on June 19, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Cracks and desperation.

Ed, Ed, Ed.

Tsk.

That would make for one helluva porn flick, no?

I know. Get your mind out of the gutter, hillbilly.

hillbillyjim on June 19, 2010 at 2:54 PM

If I were into conspiracies, I would wonder about those mine explosions also. But, hey, Cheney is retired, right?

faraway on June 19, 2010 at 2:55 PM

The bottom line on this disaster is that the oil industry and the government did not have a plan in place to handle this disaster. Both fvck’d-up. However, Obama has not done a thing except to assign total blame to the oil company.

SC.Charlie on June 19, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Damn it’s gotten hot here on the Gulf coast! Weeding and tilling up part of a vegetable garden to plant the late crop, and it’s salt tablets or drop the last week or so.

Those guys in the hazmat suits on the coast? Enough heat to cause nightmares.

cane_loader on June 19, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Anyone else notice that MMS is an anagram for MSM?

Spooky…

J.E. Dyer on June 19, 2010 at 2:19 PM

OOOooo.

I wonder if anybody cares that Blue Oyster Cult is an anagram of Cully Stout Beer. Besides a silly hillbilly who saw their laser light show in the late ’70s, I mean.

For your Saturday afternoon amusement: Linkey.

hillbillyjim on June 19, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Bottom line — stuff that happened in February is only anecdotal but not really relevant to what caused the eventual blow-out, explosion, fire, sinking and spill.

16MPG on June 19, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Bingo! Obviously, 16MPG is in the business.

Everyone in the industry who does this particular stuff knows what went wrong. BP has disclosed the relevent facts. Incredible stupidity (Gross Negligence?)on BPs part in the few days leading up to the accident.

percysunshine on June 19, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM

That’s better. Thank you for the technical info. Why don’t you concentrate on being a resource for us rather than ragging about our ignorance? I’m not that interested in the engineering aspect, but it is good background. I am interested in why and how the cleanup was so screwed up. That said, I do have a question.
Are these wells fed by much deeper deposits which replenish as the more superficial ones are drained? If so, does the replenishing material contain amounts of uranium and thorium whose decay half life could lead to more dangerous radioactive material being dumped out in the spill? Is the quantity of methane release an indicator of that, if it happens? I guess that was more than one question.

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Pedantic post alert!:

People from colder climes forget the mechanism that kills:

The body sweats to create coolant on the surface of the skin so that the wind and dry air can evaporate it, producing cooling. It’s a crude radiator system such as in the front of a car.

Humidity reduces the rate of evaporation, causing body temperature to fall more slowly because it’s not cooling as fast.

So the body sweats more try to improve cooling.

When it’s humid and hot enough, the tap gets turned to full open. Along with the profuse sweat come the essential electrolyte salts.

Two things happen: 1. The body dehydrates, messing up blood circulation and upsetting organ function. 2. The loss of salts eventually begins interrupting optimum electrical conductivity in the nerves that make your heart beat.

Lose enough water, the organs start shutting down. Lose enough salts, and the heart begins to misfire. If your heart spark nerve (my name for a bundle of nerves in the center of your heart) was weaker or intermittent already, then you can die. (Yes, you have nerves that act like an ignition module in a car, that produce a small electrical charge that makes your heart beat – what a weird concept!)

Together, hot and humid weather can kill you.

End of lecture, lol, I better take my own medicine

cane_loader on June 19, 2010 at 3:13 PM

What I’m seeing a lot of you writing is that BHO knew about this well being a beast (but not out of control) that BPs highest echelon knew it would blow out, that 11 guys were killed because…something…and stuff along those lines.

That is simple madness. As I noted before, there are dozens of wells world wide that are beasts at any given time. They normally are controlled quite nicely. Nobody buys or sells on that information. The guys that were killed were doing what SOMEBODY HAS to do when you run into these conditions. This was an aberration, period.

BHO did not know…why would he…that a particular well had a problem. I really don’t think he even had this on his radar until days after the blow-out, although the WH claims otherwise.

Ragspierre on June 19, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Wow. February? Well, has anyone in the GOP apologized to BP for getting the timeline wrong? TELL THE TRUTH! Come on Barton fans. You guys need to stay hyped up for the big darkhorse race to the WH in 2012.

austinnelly on June 19, 2010 at 3:13 PM

And when do the hearings on MMS begin?

d1carter on June 19, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Everyone in the industry who does this particular stuff knows what went wrong. BP has disclosed the relevent facts. Incredible stupidity (Gross Negligence?)on BPs part in the few days leading up to the accident. – percysunshine on June 19, 2010 at 3:06 PM

If BP’s used “incredible stupidity” leading up to this disaster, after the blow-out Obama and our federal government has only exacerbated it with their inaction.

SC.Charlie on June 19, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Those guys in the hazmat suits on the coast? Enough heat to cause nightmares.

cane_loader on June 19, 2010 at 3:01 PM

I wonder if there are purple tee-shirts underneath?

hillbillyjim on June 19, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Are these wells fed by much deeper deposits which replenish as the more superficial ones are drained? If so, does the replenishing material contain amounts of uranium and thorium whose decay half life could lead to more dangerous radioactive material being dumped out in the spill? Is the quantity of methane release an indicator of that, if it happens?

Individual production wells usually target a specific zone. When it is depleted (waters out) it is plugged. Sometimes, additional zones further up the well are completed (opened to the borehole)later. Produced water is basically sea water. It can have a uranium or thorium concentration to it picked up from moving through sands, but it is not much different than a drinking water well on land. Again, once a well starts producing water, it is plugged. Methane production is usuall associated gas (comes out of solution in the oil as the pressure drops comming up the hole).

percysunshine on June 19, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Those guys in the hazmat suits on the coast? Enough heat to cause nightmares.

cane_loader on June 19, 2010 at 3:01 PM

I wonder if there are purple tee-shirts underneath?

hillbillyjim on June 19, 2010 at 3:16 PM

“Unexpected” drop in unemployment?

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

;>)

hillbillyjim on June 19, 2010 at 3:19 PM

percysunshine on June 19, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Percy, in my experience, virtually all oil wells produce some fraction of oil, water (brine, highly concentrated), and gas in their early life. They are “gas-drive” wells, meaning the formation pressure drives the product to the surface. When that pressure drops, they are pumped wells.

The reason you will almost always find a “separator” on a producing well location is that it is required to pull the brine off the product of the well.

Ragspierre on June 19, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Comment pages: 1 2