Matt Simmons Revises Leak Estimate To 120,000 Barrels Per Day, Believes Oil Covers 40% Of Gulf Beneath The Surface

Tyler Durden's picture

Matt Simmons was on Bloomberg earlier, adding some additional perspective to his original appearance on the station, in which he initially endorsed the nuclear option as the only viable way to resolve the oil spill. Simmons refutes even the latest oil spill estimate of 45,000-60,000 barrels per day, and in quoting research by the Thomas Jefferson research vessel which was compiled late on Sunday, quantifies the leak at 120,000 bpd. What is scarier is that according to the Jefferson the oil lake underneath the surface of the water could be covering up to 40% of the entire Gulf of Mexico. Simmons also says that as the leak has no casing, a relief well will not work, and the only possible resolution is, as he said previously, to use a small nuclear explosion to convert the rock to glass. Simmons concludes that as punishment for BP's arrogance and stupidity the government "will take all their cash." Now if only our own administration could tell us the truth about what is really happening in the gulf...



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RichardP's picture

"Now if only our own administration could tell us the truth about what is really happening in the gulf..."


What responsibility do we have for fixing the problem?


Arkadaba's picture

+ 1 for your first sentence.

I am curious to see tonight's speech - will it be an "everything is ok - don't worry - be happy" or will we finally get some insight into what is happening down there (numbers, economic impact (big at least - may be huge), BP's obligations, etc.))

spanish inquisition's picture

Wonder if he will bring up the nuke option? Dollar wise, I am holding to my original estimate of $1T.

Arkadaba's picture

Listening and already - FAIL

Muir's picture

Finshed listening and TOTAL failure.

The 120,000 gallons was the lead story on CBS.


Oh, and CNBC Keith Oberman (huge supporter of the Prez) was saying the speech was a total failure.

incognito ergo sum's picture

Keith is on MSNBC.  Even the people who want the President to tell the whole truth don't realize that even BP may not have all the info.  So far, they have not had a clue.  Then today lightening hits an oil filled ship.


Cutting the pipe was predicted to increase flow, and it did.  Even the arm chair engineers are ahead of this bunch.

Rebel's picture

Either BP does not know what they are doing, or they know more than we know. Based on released information, many of their actions do not make sense. They make more sense if we speculate that things could be going on that we do not know about. If the casing/concrete has failed beneath the ocean floor, their actions make more sense. You would want to cut the riser, in order to relieve pressure down hole, even if the near term leak at the well head increases. Also, it would explain why the topkill failed, and it would explain why they have tried NOTHING that would shut flow OFF at the cut off riser. Everything they have done would be lowering pressure at the BOP and in the casing. This would make sense if you were worried primarily about a failed casing/concrete scenario below ocean floor. This is the nightmare scenario. The oil would leak out the damaged area, and slowly erode its way up through the ocean floor. Once it erodes a path to the ocean floor, you have the catastrophe of a direct path between the formation and the ocean. I don't know how you would stop such a leak. It would be enormous, and would be almost unstopable. In the last week, watching the ROV's I have seen lots of time spent looking at the ocean floor. At times I have seen images that look like seepage from the ocean floor.

Bottom line is I hope you are right, and the explanation is incompetency. The competency scenario I have just described is to terrible to even think about.

SamThomas's picture

I pray you are wrong.  Nightmare scenarios are only supposed to happen in the movies, not in our nice, comfortable, controlled, predictable, modern American lives.   Don't you remember we are able to fix everything, just like Tom Hanks in "Apollo 13"?

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

This is a different movie.  May I see your ticket please?

williambanzai7's picture

Just another routine black swan event....

ZerOhead's picture


The oil is already rising from fissures on the seabed... see previously posted video... it's riveting.

Here it is... last chance





Papasmurf's picture

That's pretty much what must be going on.  There's no point attempting to mitigate disaser in the wetlands at the moment, because it's going to be lots worse soon.  Otherwise their inaction is increasing their loss.

itchy166's picture

You are right Rebel, but there is one more thing to consider.  When you are drilling, servicing or producing a well, there is always a way to release pressure.  (one of the uses for the "kill-line" that was being used in the top-kill operation).  When in a blow-out situation, one can't just shut the well in without figuring the "maximum allowable casing pressure", or MACP.  If the casing/concrete isn't damaged right already, BP is likely scared that a complete shut-in would exceed the MACP, and CAUSE an ocean-floor leak.  This too would explain some of BP's actions.


On a side note, the MACP isn't just an off-the-shelf number for a certain type of casing.  The integrity of different formations are also taken into consideration.  From what I understand, the MACP is lower in deep and ultra-deep wells than in shallow or surface wells.



Oh regional Indian's picture

Rebel, pretty sure, by the look of things that we are in the "they know more than they are saying" zone.

All the kabuki of their made-for-TV "solutions" only made it more obvious that a massive cover-up was on. Now no-fly zones, harassed reporters, arrested citizens....

This IS the mother of all events that the tech-no-logical era has been breathlessly hoping to avoid. Tellingly, the BP rig "Atlantis" is standing, ominously close and supposedly chock-full of issues too.

We have the makings of an era busting mega-disaster here. The knew-clear option was purposefully injected into the media by Simmons weeks ago, so that even as an outlier, it entered the public mind-space, as did his outrageous spill volume numbers.
All of this, for those that know, smell of media manipulation. As the weeks have progressed, we are now closer to Simmon's number and now he's ratcheted it up another notch.

There was an interesting article on the oil drum

Saying that BP has accidentally tapped into a mother vein of abiotic oil, unpluggable.

Then Chevron spills in Salt Lake city.

It's all coming together in almost biblical overtones, and black oil, black gold (ironic handle) is at the heart of it.

Time to take the focus inward.
Outward is all a stage.


EscapeKey's picture

I'm sorry, the very second "abiotic" came up I discredited the entire article.

Turd Ferguson's picture

You got neither. The speech was an absolute fucking disaster.

The average American tuned in to hear what was happening and how we were going to fix it. Instead, Obama gives an impassioned speech for regulation and legislation.

His poll numbers are soon headed under 40%. He is completely worthless.

GNH's picture

Can't figure if he came off more ignorant, or arrogant.  I forget, how many escrow dollars from BP will restore clean water, lost species, ...?  

StychoKiller's picture

Hey, when all you've got is a hammer (Govt), everything looks like a nail!

Too bad incompetence is not an impeachable offense!

asiablues's picture

Yea right, I was told Barron's says Matt Simmon is short at least 8k shares of BP.  He is talking his book by throwing out some outrageous and unfounded number.  How would he know??  His background is bean counting, NOT in subsea engineering and I doubt he spent a day on an offshore rig (not as a "tourist".)  I'm not defending BP, BP will be punished, but people like Matt Simmons only make things worse.     

tonyw's picture

If there was as much oil already in the GOM as he has claimed it would be one of the largest oil fields in the world - clearly this is not true. To talk rubbish and try to push down shares where you have sold shorts just destroys the value of anything Simmons has to say.


DeeDeeTwo's picture

Simmons is actually very well connected.

Here is a great 5 minute Soviet documentary of the 1966 nuclear blast that sealed a gas blowout in Uzbekistan, baby. The blown well was burning for 3 years and was beginning to seriously poison the surrounding area... threatening the population. The blast sealed the well in 23 seconds.


RockyRacoon's picture

Works great -- on land -- with no hurricanes -- who knows how far away from a civilozed area -- and no way to disperse over an area the size of the Gulf.  Doing it that far down in a body of water would be a tricky operation.  Does mud/silt turn into a nice, neat glass dome?

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

What could possibly go wrong? (no need to answer)

DeeDeeTwo's picture

I'm no expert, Rocky baby... but after about 500 feet of loose material you have 10,000 feet of rock. That's why it takes 3-4 months to drill relief wells. You would probably detonate a nuke deep inside the rock. The problems I've read about include:

(1)  There are very likely no US nukes built to withstand the high pressures down there. The Soviets had months/years to build custom nukes (they've done this 5-6 times). Obama is so far behind the curve... oh well, maybe his close Russian "friends" will give him the right nuke... for the right price.

(2)  The bigger problem is that with the casing shot and deteriorating more every day... the oil may now be leaking from multiple locations miles apart in the seabed. See video above. This is the Armegeddon scenario. They would basically have to drill 100 wells and try to drain the oil field... which would take years, baby.

ColonelCooper's picture

Quit calling us "baby".  And by the way, is that coke on your mustache?  sniff sniff...  Baby.

MsCreant's picture

He really wants those BP shares cheap! (I am recalling the news that his company bought BP shares recently).

Is there such a thing as a "Dump Monkey?"

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

He has nothing to do any more with the company he founded. He has a strictly ceremonial position at the company. He was removed.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010 3:30 PM

"Accordingly, we wish to remind industry participants, as well as our clients and friends, that the views of Simmons & Company International are separate and distinct from many of those being currently expressed by our good friend, founder and former Chairman, Matthew R. Simmons."

London Dude Trader's picture

Yes, he founded Simmons & Co but he's no longer involved with them, He said today he's "embarrassed" by the company's upgrade of BP. He still thinks BP will go bust. 

pigpen's picture

London Dude, do you have a live link to his bloomberg interview from today?

I used to work with Matt and wondering if he has lost it.

He is a brilliant analytical mind and his research philosophy is show me data, numbers and proof. However, he tends to have an apocalyptic conclusion to his results.

Gordon Freeman's picture

Yes, we can all agree on that...

London Dude Trader's picture

Pigpen, it's the same TV interview posted above by Tyler. There was a commercial break at the end of this segment, after which Bloomberg's  Lori Roth asked Simmons about his earlier assessment of BP's future and why Simmons & Co had upgraded BP. That's when he said  he was "embarrassed" at the company's upgrade of BP, and he still thinks BP will go bust.  Unfortunately this bit is missing from the attached video.   

MsCreant's picture

Alright you, what is your ulterior motive for saying that? Huh? Huh?

Seriously, I am suspicious of everyone now. I have peeps who live on the coast. I am afraid of the unintended consequences of a nuke. I have also heard the right nuke for the job does NOT currently exist and would need time to be developed. There is no clean way out of this.

Don't mean to be a bitch, sweetness. Not at all. Just feel a lil crazy, like instead of coming together to solve this, all I see are folks with "angles" trying to "play it" and benefit somehow. This is the one little rock we were given. You know what a cutter is probably. We collectively have borderline personality disorder, we are in pain, we can't direct our anger properly, so we hurt ourselves. But all we have is our selves. And the planet. Why this is not apparent to everyone, why we all don't throw down and focus on the best outcome possible given the hand we are dealt, here, now, is beyond my ability to express.


Implicit simplicit's picture

I think the military will have to take it over, and a small custom nuke detonated, like he says. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

When someone is drowning you don't sit around and discuss the water temperture, and what size life preserver to use.

chumbawamba's picture

Yeah, but you don't normally use a nuclear weapon to rescue a drowning person either.

IF they do decide to go with a nuke I'd rather they take the time to think it out clearly and consider every and all ramifications before just going ahead with it.  It's not like these people are a braintrust.  I mean, after all, the ones who will presumably be responsible for nuking the ocean floor are the same numbnuts that got us into this apocalyptic nightmare in the first place.

First let's stop the leak, then let's have some heads roll, and I mean fucking literally.  I want a jewel-encrusted guillotine to be built that we will use to behead all the idiots that caused this mess, and I mean everyone: top down left right and diagonal.  Company officials, government officials, everyone.  Then we spend the rest of our lives cleaning up this fucking god awful mess.

I am Chumbawamba.

ZerOhead's picture

I swear Chummy... either you are becoming far more sensible as time goes by or I am becoming more extreme... I really don't know which it is!

We always keep the same people in charge who get us into these messes... but why stop at the Gulf disaster? Think Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and pay per view.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Stripped down to the essentials (mentally, spiritually -- whatever) our differences become less and less apparent and the similarities come into view.

Marla And Me's picture

Thank you for that.  Replace pro sports and go back to public executions as an entertainment form... really?  Chumba, I know you're spirited, but c'mon... 

Hephasteus's picture

Chumba chumba chumba. If they nuke they will nuke in the relief well channels. It will be 10,000 feet below the ground. Alot safer than underground nuke testing by far.

Oh and MsCreant. Worrying about unintended consequences of nuking it is not a good perspective. So few things can go wrong with nuking it versus them breating toxic fumes and getting rained on with cancerous compounds.

ZerOhead's picture

I am beginning to agree albeit it hesitantly... since the relief wells will in all likelihood not succeed in intercepting the damaged well above the reservoir sucessfully as planned. That is the 'expert' consensus BTW.

They may however chose to continue to drill through to the actual reservoir if the attempt fails puncturing the reservoir formation twice in the area of the initial well to intercept and decrease oil flow that otherwise would have entered into the damaged well. Perhaps then they can make another attempt to seal it by modified top kill or bottom kill.

If not... nuke is the only solution. It is too dangerous to let this unabated (but partially intercepted flow) to continue.

That decision will come around October I think.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Nope. Not before elections.

I agree that if the relief wells don't succeed they will begin to think along these lines. But not publicly until after the elections. Unless the poll numbers indicate the public would see it as a salvation.

spanish inquisition's picture

I am pretty confident that they were thinking nuke when they started the 2nd relief well. Not gonna take much to change the path. The issue is that the government is involved. If by some accounts, the strata is filling with oil because the single wall casing is wearing away and you add a nuke in the incorrect position to the equation.

I am going to theorize that along the edge where you have high heat and low compression of rock in an area of oil saturation. It could ignite, increase fracturing along the edge of the blast and make a bigger pathway or at least another one. In the Russian blast, you are igniting and compressing gas under relatively low pressure. Here you have liquid and rock under high pressure. Liquid will be expanding with force pushing out. Could take days to years to find out if it worked. Disclaimer: I am not an engineer.

ZerOhead's picture

And announced after the elections!

You are correct once again!

TBT or not TBT's picture

Actually, I am coresponsible.  I've been enjoying the life made possible by petroleum.  Huge fan.   Let the engineers figure out how to stop this sort of thing happening next time we drill for this sort of giant, deep, underwater deposit.    I mean, look at all that frikkin oil escaping.   That could provide us jet fule, diesel for tractors, gasoline, and countless petrochemicals.   It is awful seeing it go to waste.

jeb3's picture

If the well casing is indeed ruptured, which certainly seems the case, any top kill efforts will be completely useless. Even if they cap the "main leak," the resultant pressure and stress increases to other ruptures in the well casing will increase dramatically. Also, relief wells do not guarantee anything if, as stated, the well casing is indeed ruptured. (Although they will help)

I see the nuclear option as the current "final solution" to this catastrophe.  Of course their are many risks for the nuclear option as well. What happens if further damage is caused to the underlying sea bed and/or well structure, instead of the glass seal they're aiming for?  What's plan 'B' if the Nuke fails?...

It is a grim situation, and I believe heads will be rolling in due time.

fotokemist's picture

Next time you are filling your vehicle, think carefully about your proposal.

eccitante's picture

Remember, this is the USA...we lock people up for victimless crimes and let the real criminals go free.  I agree the extent of this crime on the part of both the government and BP call for executions, but they will just resign and go on to higher paying jobs....executions for those who deserve it may sometimes happen in places China, but remember this is the USA, we reward incompetence and real criminal activity with bailouts....