Gulf Gusher

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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Gulf Gushers and Tropic Systems Edition

  • Posted on: 24 July 2010
  • By: Open Thread

 

In the Gulf of Mexico, spill response vessels leave the Macondo drilling area in advance of an approaching and potentially problematic Tropical Storm Bonnie:

Meanwhile, the former Deepwater Horizon chief electronics technician Michael Williams testified that an alarm system designed to automatically alert the crew and prevent combustible gases from reaching potential sources of ignition had been deliberately disabled:

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Williams told the panel that he understood that the rig had been operating with the gas alarm system in "inhibited" mode for a year to prevent false alarms from disturbing the crew.

Williams said that when he discovered that the alarm system was inhibited, he reported it to supervisors. He said they informed him that orders were to keep it that way.

If the safety system was disabled, it would not have been unusual. Records of federal enforcement actions reviewed by The Washington Post show that, in case after case, rig operators paid fines for allegedly bypassing safety systems that could impede routine operations.

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Apparently, other critical were also impaired on the rig.

All in all, it was a far cry from what we might envision as being "operationally safe & secure" and certainly not anywhere close "regulationally compliant."

What's news in your neck of the woods? This is an Open Thread.

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BP Pressure Tests To Continue Today

  • Posted on: 17 July 2010
  • By: GreyHawk

The efforts to fully cap the gusher continue with tests to ensure that the existing cap is holding, integrity is good and that there are no other leaks.

From CNN,

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Critical test to continue Saturday in fight to contain oil spill
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 17, 2010 3:18 a.m. EDT

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- BP will continue crucial testing Saturday to determine whether a new containment cap will keep stopping oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

On Friday, the containment cap left some, including President Barack Obama, cautiously optimistic after it seemed to stop the massive flow of oil.

BP officials were still analyzing tests on the containment cap Friday and were uncertain about whether there was a leak in the well.

Thad Allen, who's overseeing the government's response to the oil spill, said Friday that pressure was rising in the well. That was a sign that the well was holding and that the leak that had been spewing oil into the Gulf for nearly three months could be contained.

But pressure readings had not reached the optimal level.

[...more...]

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So far, so good.

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A Toxic Big Oil Market Storm?

  • Posted on: 17 June 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

I was watching Bloomberg's In The Loop with Betty Liu this morning and they were doing a piece on Big Oil and BP featuring a hedge manager's view of what is going on in that market that I found a bit interesting, the video isn't up yet but what piqued my interest had already been covered in Bloomberg Businessweek the other day:

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The Sovereign State of BP - Down for the Count?

  • Posted on: 16 June 2010
  • By: MichaelCollins

Michael Collins

British Petroleum has operated as though it were a sovereign state since its inception.  When they blew the well at their Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, it never occurred to them that they would have to take orders from anybody.  But that may change largely due to their inability to stop the flow of oil after nearly sixty days of gushing.

President Obama was clear in his speech last night.  If any entity is going down as a result of the catastrophe, it will be BP.  Today, Obama meets with BP's Chairman of the Board, Carl-Henric Svanberg, and the man he told the chairman to fire, Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward.

Two sovereign states will collide.  The outcome is a foregone conclusion.

Why Is Oil Spill Cleanup Technology So Outdated?

  • Posted on: 15 June 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

Doug Suttles of BP: Well, Tom, I'm not the best expert on the technology but I think events like this typically advance the technology by leaps and bounds....I think that probably part of the reason is there have been so few big spills. The events haven't driven the technology change that's out there. I think this event probably will.

Apparently it is because < shakes my head > they claim  they have not had enough oil spills to practice on:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Meanwhile and exhibiting its infinite wisdumb in disaster manipulations, BP has decided to hire the Vampire Squid, among others, to teach them how to navigate the Gulf Gusher fall out:

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Deepwater Chernobyl

  • Posted on: 10 June 2010
  • By: Unenergy

A while ago I watched a documentary on building the sarcophagus which encloses the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster site. I have unsuccessfully, tried to find that documentary as my recollection runs that the radioactivity released from the Chernobyl site was only able to be stopped by burying the reactor core in sand, concrete and an outer shell called a sarcophagus.

There seem to be parallels with the current Deepwater Horizon disaster in that we are witnessing once more that man is capable of unleashing uncontrollable forces in his pursuit of energy. Forces he had no contingency plan to deal with. Forces capable of devastating economies, destroying livelihoods and killing wildlife by contaminating the environment to such an extent that even people find they have to move away rather than suffer.

That the only way that we have to fix it once that bottle is uncorked, was to just bury it in concrete. In Russia the reactor core was covered in sand then concrete. In the Gulf of Mexico disaster, first mud was tried, but once the relief wells are drilled, it will be likewise be filled with concrete.

Based on this I went looking for supporting evidence to back up this initial premise, and am astounded by what I found.

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"I don't ever remember doing this" - Rig Survivor

  • Posted on: 8 June 2010
  • By: Unenergy

Rig survivors: BP ordered shortcut on day of blast

BP official wanted workers to replace heavy mud, used to keep the well's pressure down, with lighter seawater to help speed a process that was costing an estimated $750,000 a day and was already running five weeks late, rig survivors told CNN.

BP won the argument, said Doug Brown, the rig's chief mechanic. "He basically said, 'Well, this is how it's gonna be.' "

In the CNN interviews, the workers described a corporate culture of cutting staff and ignoring warning signs ahead of the blast. They said BP routinely cut corners and pushed ahead despite concerns about safety.

Remember 60 minutes had the interview with Mike Williams where he suspected this was the case.

Jed wrote about it here:

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400 million gallons = 40 Exxon Valdez

  • Posted on: 18 May 2010
  • By: Unenergy

Exxon Valdez spilled an estimated minimum 10.8 million US gallons (40.9 million litres, or 250,000 barrels) of crude oil.

Why BP Won't Measure the Oil Spill

Independent scientists analyzing the slick set the estimate at 25,000 barrels a day, and once BP released the underwater video, they calculated flow rates as high as 80,000 barrels a day.

From a comment in that thread :

at 80k barrels a day, this very well could become the most massive spill in history - EASILY. That's 3,360,000 gallons a day for 90-120 days (assuming the other wells they're drilling do what they think they will - which is another assumption they're making). That's 403,200,000 gallons, dwarfing the Persian gulf war spills in the early 1990s.

A couple of things with this estimate approaching almost half a Billion gallons of oil.

BP : Let's keep the Astrophysicists busy guessing how many jelly beans in the jar

  • Posted on: 16 May 2010
  • By: Unenergy

According to E-How - Many charity functions and parties offer a prize to the person who guesses the correct number of jelly beans in a jar.

Tips to guess how many jelly beans are :
1. Take a look at the jar size. This is important in making a guess.
2. Consider that each gallon jar can hold 930 jelly beans.
3. Pick the jar up (if you are allowed to) and count how many jelly beans there are in one row.

It seems that BP are about to offer America's finest scientists an opportunity to engage in a game of jelly bean guesstimates due to their unwillingness to measure the flow coming from the leaks at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Sound unbelievable? Follow after the fold and I'll explain what is going on here, which, in my personal and professional opinion, shouldn't be.