…numerous industry experts have warned that there is no upside to temporarily capping the well as part of the well integrity test, and that it might actually cause the well to blow out.
Admiral Thad Allen previously said that the test will be considered a success if pressure in the well stays at 8,000 psi or higher for 48 hours. So we won’t know for a couple of days whether the test has succeeded.
As AP correctly notes:
Now begins a waiting period to see if the cap can hold the oil without blowing a new leak in the well. Engineers will monitor pressure readings incrementally for up to 48 hours before reopening the cap while they decide what to do.
Interestingly, as CNN’s Situation Room noted a couple of minutes ago, the cap might soon be re-opened, and closed again only during hurricanes:
Admiral Thad Allen releasing a statement to us just a short while ago…
He cautions “This isn’t over”…
Very interesting here. He talks about the cap as a temporary measure to be used for hurricanes…
“It remains likely that we will return to the containment process… until the relief well is completed”
So it looks like the plan is to go back to releasing the oil and letting it pump up to the surface.
(hat tip FloridaOilSpillLaw).
So is the well integrity test a meaningless PR stunt, which is delaying completion of the relief wells, and failing to bring us any closer to permanently killing the oil gusher?
Tag: deep horizon
Jul 16 2010
Jun 08 2010
07 June 2010 – Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he would be launching a criminal investigation into the activities of BP that led to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But can we trust an AG who worked at one of the biggest corporate defense firms in the world? Mike Papantonio appears on The Randi Rhodes Show to take on BP, as well as explain the basics of his class action suit against BP.
Jun 03 2010
Well known CUNY Physics Professor Michio Kaku appeared on NBC’s Today Show with some disturbing comments.
After six methods for stopping the [Deepwater Horizon] leak failed, BP is now trying a seventh method: “cut and cap.”
If this seventh attempt fails, the next option will be to wait on one of two relief wells to intercept and block the original well. This is considered the best hope for permanently stopping the flow, but those wells won’t be in place until August at the soonest. Some predict that it could take until Christmas.
But Kaku thinks that even those predictions could be too optimistic.
“You would have to win the lottery to get on the first try an exact, an exact meeting at the bottom of the well in order to pump cement to shut it off,” Kaku told NBC’s Matt Lauer Wednesday.
If the attempt fails, the drill will be reversed, the hole will be filled with cement and they will try again.
“You have to do this over and over again until you get it just right,” Kaku said. “It takes many tries. So August is optimistic.”
“So this could be spewing oil for months. Could it last for a year?” asked Lauer.
“It could last for years, plural. Okay? If everything fails and all these different kinds of relief wells don’t work, it could be spewing stuff into the Gulf until we have dead zones, entire dead zones in the Gulf. For years,” Kaku said.
This video is from NBC’s Today Show, broadcast June 2, 2010.
May 30 2010
Energy expert: Nuking oil leak ‘only thing we can do’
Daniel Tencer, RawStory, Saturday, May 29th, 2010 — 7:18 pm
As the latest effort to plug the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico meets with failure, the idea of nuking the immediate area to seal the oil underground is gaining steam among some energy experts and researchers.
One prominent energy expert known for predicting the oil price spike of 2008 says sending a small nuclear bomb down the leaking well is “probably the only thing we can do” to stop the leak.
Matt Simmons, founder of energy investment bank Simmons & Company, also says that there is evidence of a second oil leak about five to seven miles from the initial leak that BP has focused on fixing. That second leak, he says, is so large that the initial one is “minor” in comparison.
Simmons spoke to Bloomberg News on Friday, before BP announced that its latest effort to plug the leak, known as the “top kill” method, had failed.
“A week ago Sunday the first research vessel … was commissioned by NOAA to scour the area,” he said. They found “a gigantic plume” growing about five to seven miles from the site of the original leak, Simmons said.
Simmons said the US government should immediately take the effort to plug the leak out of the hands of BP and put the military in charge.
“Probably the only thing we can do is create a weapons system and send it down 18,000 feet and detonate it, hopefully encasing the oil,” he said.
Asked by a Bloomberg reporter about the risks involved in setting off a nuclear bomb off the coast of Louisiana, Simmons argued that a nuclear explosion deep inside a well bore would have little effect on surrounding areas.
“If you’re 18,000 feet under the sea bed, it basically wont do anything [on the surface],” he said.
Joe Wiesenthal at Business Insider says the idea of using nukes will be getting a lot of attention now that the “top kill” procedure has failed.
Next, the so-called “nuclear option” is about to get a lot of attention. In this case, of course, nuclear option is not a euphemism. It’s the real idea that the best way to kill this thing is to stick a small nuke in there and bury the well under rubble. … By the middle of the coming week, it will be all over cable news, as pundits press The White House hard on whether it’s being considered and why not.
video broadcast on Bloomberg News, Friday May 28, 2010.
May 29 2010
Author and activist Naomi Klein has been visiting Louisiana, and conducted a short on camera interview with Al Jazeera about her impressions of the disaster response to BP’s oil leak catastrophe…
Senator Dick Durbin once described Capitol Hill as being owned by the banks. He said the banks ‘own this place’ describing why it was so hard to get financial reform through in Washington, and all I can say from having spent the week here in Louisiana is that it really feels like the oil and gas industry owns this place.
I think we’re dealing with two factors here. One is an election strategy for the Obama Administration, they want to keep some distance, they don’t want to own the disaster fully, they want to still have somebody to point fingers to. But then there’s also just this major attitude in this administration from day one really, to trust industry.
And so, even when the industry creates the disaster – I’m sorry to make these analogies with the financial sector, but we saw it with the banks as well – they melted down the economy but then we still heard from the Obama Administration as well as the Bush Administration starting with them but carried through from the Obama Administration, ‘we’re not going to tell the banks how to do their jobs, they’re the experts, we’re going to stand back’.
And now they’re doing the same thing with the response to the greatest, what looks like the greatest environmental catastrophe, or what could very well prove to be he greatest environmental catastrophe this country has ever seen. And I think people are very confused by this because this is clearly a national emergency, so why is it that BP is in charge of the whole operation?
May 28 2010
It now appears that BP while attempting to plug the gusher with their so called “top kill” operation, has moved to trying to blame the Deepwater Horizon platform explosion and the BP oil gusher in the Gulf on it’s employees who were on the platform at the time of the explosion.
In this short clip from CBS Wednesday, beginning at the 1:26 minute mark, you hear CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassman say that…
BP officials have told congressional investigators that right before the rig exploded, workers on it ignored strong warning signs – equipment readings that something was terribly wrong, including contaminated cement and leaking gas, signs that the rig could blow – and two hours later, it did.
Nice try, BP. Directly contradicting BP’s spin was BP’s Chief Electronics Technician Mike Williams who was on the rig at the time of the explosion.
You might remember Williams. He was the technician who appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes a couple of weeks ago, in an interview by 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley, and described the events leading up to the explosion…
May 20 2010
Mention the name of the corporation BP to Scott West and two words immediately come to mind: Beyond Prosecution.
West was the special agent in charge with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) criminal division who had been probing alleged crimes committed by BP and the company’s senior officials in connection with a March 2006 pipeline rupture at the company’s Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaska’s North Slope that spilled 267,000 gallons of crude oil across two acres of frozen tundra – the second largest spill in Alaska’s history – which went undetected for nearly a week.
West was confident that the thousands of hours he invested into the criminal probe would result in felony charges against the company and the senior executives who received advanced warnings from dozens of employees at the Prudhoe Bay facility that unless immediate steps were taken to repair the severely corroded pipeline, a disaster on par with that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill was only a matter of time.
In fact, West, who spent more than two decades at the EPA’s criminal division, was also told the pipeline was going to rupture – about six months before it happened.
In a wide-ranging interview with Truthout, West described how the Justice Department (DOJ) abruptly shut down his investigation into BP in August 2007 and gave the company a “slap on the wrist” for what he says were serious environmental crimes that should have sent some BP executives to jail.
He first aired his frustrations after he retired from the agency in 2008. But he said his story is ripe for retelling because the same questions about BP’s record are now being raised again after a catastrophic explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and ruptured an oil well 5,000 feet below the surface that has been spewing upwards of 200,000 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf waters for a month.
May 19 2010
Video compiled from data produced by The College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, Ocean Circulation Group http://ocgweb.marine.usf.edu/
OCG/CMS/USF maintains a coordinated program of coastal ocean observing and modeling for the West Florida Continental Shelf (WFS).
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill trajectory ensemble forecast from four different numerical models – Modeling includes a West Florida Shelf version of ROMS nested in the Navy’s operational HYCOM. We are also diagnosing model output from the Navy’s HYCOM, from NCSU’s SABGOM ROMS, and also from the NOAA RTOFS.
(about 1 minute 8 seconds)
May 04 2010
There have been many predictions that the oil leak from British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon catastophic oil well blowout will enter the Gulf Stream since the well is at the end of one branch of the stream.
There hasn’t been much talk so far about what happens if it does get into the Gulf Stream.
Here’s a visual of where it can go from there…
Click image to view full size
May 04 2010
According to Cassandra LaRussa writing on May 01, 2009 at CommonDreams.org British Petroleum (BP), like most of the oil industry, enjoys enormous lobbying strength and very close ties to the lawmakers who are responsible for regulating oil industry practices as a federal investigation looms over them in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon debacle in the Gulf of Mexico.
Cassandra pointed out in her article that:
During the 2008 election cycle, individuals and political action committees associated with BP — a Center for Responsive Politics’ “heavy hitter” — contributed half a million dollars to federal candidates. About 40 percent of these donations went to Democrats. The top recipient of BP-related donations during the 2008 cycle was President Barack Obama himself, who collected $71,000.
And make no mistake, a debacle it is, and one that makes all other industrial ‘accidents’ in history pale by comparison.
As Political Spin Examiner Maryann Tobin noted back on March 31 after President Obama announced his plans to lift the longtime ban on offshore drilling:
The shores off America’s coast had been safe from oil drilling – until now. President Obama has announced plans to allow oil companies to drill in areas that were previously protected.
The newly opened oil fields will span from Delaware to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska.
“In a reversal of a long-standing ban on most offshore drilling, President Barack Obama is allowing oil drilling off Virginia’s shorelines and considering it for a large chunk of the Atlantic seaboard,” according to the AP.
Environmental group, The Sierra Club, believes that more drilling will not stop US dependence on foreign oil. According to a statement to MSNBC, offshore drilling will only serve to end another boundary of protection for the environment.
The beneficiaries of offshore drilling will be the oil companies. Exxon Mobile and Chevron posted more than $50 million in profits last year. After President Obama’s announcement this morning, oil stocks began to rise.
Lifting the ban on offshore drilling will erase a prohibition that has been in place for more than 20 years.
Apr 30 2010
New Orleans residents are understandably annoyed over their city being enveloped by the smell of fuel. Mandie Landry, an attorney who works in the city’s Central Business District, told Yahoo! News that “it smells like it’d smell if a bus was in front of you blowing out exhaust fumes right in your face.”
Another local resident, Tulane University employee Laura Mogg, told us that she caught wind of the “terrible” and “gag-inducing” smell from her office building on the school’s sprawling uptown campus. “I smelled it the second I opened the door,” she said. “Really, it’s that strong.”
How many weeks/months will people in Louisiana and other states be forced to breathe these poisonous fumes as wave upon wave of toxic sludge hits their shores?
What kinds short and long term health problems can these millions of people expect as a result?
We have yet to even remotely grasp the ecological, human and economic damage this disaster will cause. Indeed, the more I read the more I fear that when the final butcher’s bill is taken, Deepwater Horizon could very well rival Chernobyl on the all time list of man-made disasters.
And the most horrible part of all? Nobody can do a damn thing to stop it.