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As Predicted, BP Tries to Pretend New Leak is a "Natural Seep"

George Washington's picture




 

Washington’s
Blog

 

Listening to the news this morning as I drove to work, I
heard that BP is saying that the seep discovered near the blownout well
might be a natural seep .

Reuters notes:

A
BP spokesman said the seepage was detected by its engineers but it was
unclear whether the source was the blown-out well, adding that seepage
was a natural phenomenon in the Gulf.

Indeed, a
breaking news headline across the web reads:

"BP spokesman says seepage nearly 2 miles from its
ruptured Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico is natural and is unrelated
to the oil leak."

As I pointed
out
on June 24th (and again yesterday):

The
Washington Post made a very important
point
yesterday:

Bruce Bullock, director of the
Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, said
additional leaks are a possible source of deep-sea plumes of oil
detected by research vessels. But this part of the gulf is pocked with
natural seeps, he noted. Conceivably
the drilling of the well, and/or the subsequent blowout, could have
affected the seeps, he said.

 

"Once you started disturbing the underground geology, you may have made
one of those seeps even worse," he said.

Remember
that geologists have said that if the well casing is substantially
breached, the oil and methane gas will find a way through fractures in
the surrounding geology and make it into the ocean. For example, the
Houston Chronicle notes:

If the well casing burst it could send oil and gas
streaming through the strata to appear elsewhere on the sea floor ....

Obviously,
if there are natural oil or gas seeps nearby, there are already
pre-existing channels up to the seafloor ... so that may very well be
the path of least resistance for the subterranean oil to flow up to the
seafloor.

 

Therefore, if there were a substantial breach in the
well bore, nearby natural oil and gas seeps could very well increase in
volume.

 

Because BP would like to minimize
leak estimates to minimize the damages it has to pay under the Clean
Water Act
, BP would undoubtedly try to pretend that the nearby
natural seeps always had the same volume. In other words, the owner of
the oil drilling prospect where the spill is occuring - BP - may be the
only party to have mapped out the nearby seeps ....

 

So don't be
surprised if - when formerly tiny seeps become gushers - BP tries to
pretend that they were always that large.

Indeed - given BP's track
record of prevarication - don't be shocked if BP pretends that brand new
gushers are ancient, natural seeps.

Today, recently-retired Shell CEO John Hofmeister told MSNBC:

There are many people, including in the White House,
including The Department of Energy, who doubt the integrity of the well
casing [and] who believe that the well casing could well be ruptured or
damaged in some respect and that could cause leaks way down in the
well where oil could be… working its way out of the casing into the
space between the wellbore and the casing itself.

 

That oil could
be moving up the geology of the earth… and could be emerging somewhere
as… the seepage ... the possible seepage.

YouTube Video

Thad Allen said today that there are anomalies on the seafloor within
100-200 meters of the blown out well. And oil expert Bob Cavner told
MSNBC today:

You know, these seeps that the admiral talked about
within 100 meters of the well concern me some… The ones close really concern me.

And there is a possibility, if you look at the well diagram which is
complicated and I won’t get into it. There is a path for oil
and gas to get out into the sub strata
. And I’m concerned about
that.

A 20-year petroleum
geologist - with 13 years spent in offshore exploration in the Gulf of
Mexico - "gasmiinder" noted
yesterday:

A 20-year petroleum geologist - with 13 years spent in
offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico - "gasmiinder" noted
yesterday:

 

Mapping of
natural methane seeps is required as part of the process of obtaining a
drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico. This is required because the
"methane seep communities" are considered environmental "havens" as it
were - you have to demonstrate you're not disturbing the critters. [My comment: There are ecosystems which can thrive
around small natural seeps.  But huge gushers like the BP blow out can
kill everything in sight, especially given the large
amounts of methane
which have spewed from BP's well]. 
The process does not measure the rate of seepage but you would have
some guess based on the areal extent of the communities. This report
is filed with the MMS and should be available. I'm surprised and
enterprising reporter hasn't requested a copy from the MMS. (Of course
enterprising reporter might be an oxymoron in the modern era)

 

I
attended a scientific talk about 20 years ago where the study results
estimated about 1 million barrels of oil a year seep into the Gulf from
natural seeps. Of course that is spread over a huge area on an entire
year.

In response to the above post,
blogger CD [CD - let me know if you want me to change how I describe you] notes
that page 16 of BP's Initial
Exploration Plan
for the well states:

There is
no evidence for the existence of high-density chemosynthetic
communities within 1,500 ft of the proposed well location.

Gasmiinder
responds:

The
statement regarding the chemosynthetic communities requires a seafloor
survey - that's what I'm referring too where there will be a report
available having mapped them (the partners will have copies of that
report as well).

Gasmiinder adds:

Here is a copy from the webpage of a company that consults on
the interpretation of the hazard surveys.  It should give at least a
feel for the level of information that is believed to be present in the
data (meaning this is what they claim to be able to accomplish with the
datasets):

• Assess seafloor conditions and stratigraphy, and geologic processes
to evaluate well site locations

• Identify shallow gas and shallow water flow potential [my note:
they are referring to shallow layers that could be hazards to drill
through)

Interpret and map geologic constraints, such as
faults, gas vents, seafloor depressions and mounds,
and any other geologic phenomena that are detectable with seismic data

Identify potential chemosynthetic communities,
archaeological sites, and man-made infrastructure and debris

• Assess mooring spread, anchor locations, and foundation zones

• Produce supporting maps to show water depth, topography, shallow

structure, and seafloor and shallow geologic
conditions and features
in an area that may have an impact on
drilling

• Prepare final reports needed for permit application to governmental
and insurance bodies

So BP (and its partners
in the well, Anadarko and Mitsui) would have maps of all of the nearby
seeps which were there before well
blew out.

In addition, there are logs of where BP's underwater
submersibles (ROVs) have traveled since they arrived at the scene.
Tracking the logs would show whether any ROVs had visited the current
seep before today. If so - and my hunch is that they have - then the
corresponding footage would show how big those seeps were previously.

Indeed,
enterprising citizen journalists who have recorded and stored the
footage from BP's underwater cams could compare the compass readings
from the current
feeds showing seepage
to previous similar compass readings, and
find the footage themselves.

NASA has also demonstrated that natural seeps show up in satellite
images when photographed in sunglint.
However, I am not sure whether the seep near the blown out well
is big enough - or of the right chemical composition - to see from
satellite images. 

 

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Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:38 | 477530 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Why would BP tell the truth, they have nothing to gain from it whereas with an army of lawyers mining deception and deceit, they will gain...

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:00 | 477437 tamboo
tamboo's picture

"Simmons, former energy adviser to the second President Bush, explained that according to his reading of the data from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, capping of the so-called riser and the subsequent announcement by U.S. President Obama was "the biggest con job we've ever seen."

http://thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=13070

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 17:04 | 477589 The Rock
The Rock's picture

Thanks for the link.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:43 | 477396 DosZap
DosZap's picture

"Conceivably the drilling of the well, and/or the subsequent blowout, could have affected the seeps, he said.  

"Once you started disturbing the underground geology, you may have made one of those seeps even worse," he said. "

 

 

Well, even if this were (100% true), what the hades could be done about horizontal seepages?.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:19 | 477338 tempo
tempo's picture

Great posts.  It would be irresponsible not to be concerned and assume there is no danger.  By the very actions/words of Mr. Allen, the Govt is quite concerned about the stability of the well and the subsea area.   The low pressure reading, continued tests and now gas bubbles.  Yes Agustus there is nothing to see, move on.   IMHO, there will start producing again because of the risk.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:25 | 477352 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

IMHO, there will start producing again because of the risk.

I only hope it is data driven and not driven by non-sensical statements by "experts" such as I quoted above.  Those statements are meaningless on their face as one can easily substitute "may not" for "may" or "could not" for "could" and the validity of the statements would be unchanged.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:44 | 477399 CD
CD's picture

In the spirit of being non-denominational in examining the statements of various parties, this does not sound (on the surface) very scientifically-backed:

A White House spokesman says BP's ruptured oil well is leaking at the top, along with seepage about two miles away. Robert Gibbs also says officials are monitoring bubbles that can be seen on an underwater camera. Leaks could mean the cap on the well has to be opened to prevent oil and gas from escaping elsewhere.

The seepage from the stack was visible and seen by several readers here and on TOD since last night. If there is no new data, why the jumping to conclusions? If there is, why not justify the statement. 

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:22 | 477346 Augustus
Augustus's picture

What was it that Admiral Allen called the things that he wanted checked out and identified?

Wasn't it something like undetected anomalous anomalies?  Sounds as Henny Penny is running the show?

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:19 | 477334 Augustus
Augustus's picture

This is a link to an article in the O&G Journal which looked at the Davy Jones well drilled by MMR.  It has nothing to do with the Macondo well in any particular direct way.  However, since it was drilled to about 28,000 ft and had BHP of of 25,000 psi., it should kill the nonsense that Macondo is the deepest well ever or has the highest pressure ever found.

http://www.ogj.com/index/article-display.articles.oil-gas-journal.volume-108.Issue-16.technology.special-report__offshore.davy-jones_discovery.QP129867.dcmp=rss.page=1.html

The article has some nice generalized GoM crossections and does a pretty good job of explaining how the companies can make inferences about reserves with little definitive information.  MMR drilled a well and found something, possibly very important.  Everyone wants to know - How Big Is It.  They take what they know, not a great deal really, and try to provide some educated guesses with lots of qualifications.   They have been waiting a while for the necessary equipment to get some flow testing done.  High pressures and high temps are complicated to deal with.  The point is that, IF the first estimates are not correct, it is not because the lied about it.  It really can help a lot of the people here with providing some perspective on how reservoirs are evaluated.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:33 | 477366 bingaling
bingaling's picture

So what you are saying is even the experts can only hypothesize what the hell is going on even with all of the information in front of them ?

Reporter to PHD working at site questions : Is it the worst case scenario where the reservoir will just have to bleed out entirely or is it only 6000 barrel per day spill ?

PHD answer: Looking at all of the information we just don't know . What I can tell you though is that this is an oil spill and oil spills have a tendency to leak oil and that mean there is oil in the GOM . This also occurs naturally you know and did you know that Paris Hilton was caught with a bag of weed in France yesterday ? Shouldn't you be covering that hot item and stop asking ME a PH'd questions to which you wouldn't understand the answer ?

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:07 | 477448 Augustus
Augustus's picture

I thought you were starting to gain some traction there, bing.  That is until you took the Fleshbot detour.  I'm pretty certain that Fleshbot gets more internet traffic than the O&G Journal in the first place.  Why would anyone need to know how oil wells are made?

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:40 | 477392 gasmiinder
gasmiinder's picture

That's funny........

But you do need to understand that the petroleum exploration business is a business of uncertainty and assessing/managing that uncertainty.  It's the world we live in.  The way we handle it is sort of aligned with your comment above.  We attempt to determine what the possible ranges are - what's the best and worst case scenario, can we collect data to narrow that range, when the range is as narrow as we think we can get it then we try to statistically capture the uncertainty distribution and describe it with a measure of central tendency and variation.  But people in the media are utterly unable to understand that.

So when BP answers a question regarding a very high variance distribution with a single number (ie the mean) then instantly a horde of people are running around the internet screaming "it could have been this" or "worst case is that" "those bastard lying sons-a-bitches at BP are at it again"

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:04 | 477310 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

And another thing:

Conceivably the drilling of the well, and/or the subsequent blowout, could have affected the seeps, he said.

 

"Once you started disturbing the underground geology, you may have made one of those seeps even worse," he said.

 

If the well casing burst it could send oil and gas streaming through the strata to appear elsewhere on the sea floor ....

Notice all of the conditional statements.  These statements are absolutely worthless without any type of probability analysis, and doubtful to get any from most of GW's devoted readers.

 

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:35 | 477498 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Thanks Jim, for the dose of good cheer.  It is nice to know there is someone that thinks independently residing in one of the mobile estate communities of SoCal.  Your trail blazing has kept the belief alive that there is the potential vindication of being proved right by ourselves by proving others so wrong.  Even for those like myself who reside in the extra bedroom while blogging.  Today the mobile estates, tomorrow the much maligned basement dwellers and soon all of humanity will savor the sweet taste of self assured rightness !! 

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:22 | 477342 bingaling
bingaling's picture

Well it is obvious from BP's behavior we aren't going to get that analysis either. So condititonal and hypothesizing as to what may be the case if BP was forthcoming with information in the first place none of this would be necessary  . 6000 barrels a day was BP's original estimate what a load of shit .

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:29 | 477362 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

I'm not suggesting that you should get the analysis either.  Not from BP, HuffPo, GodlikeProductions, et al.  What I am suggesting is that George Washington should develop some critical thinking skills before he makes a career doing the <cntlC> <cntrlV> and thinking that he has found pay dirt.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:55 | 477424 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Jim_Rockford

Have you been in contact with GW? Has he, or anyone else, confirmed your "expert" status. Has anyone confirmed anyones experts status when they post here?

You may work for BP, BIGOV, or any private agency paid to muddy the waters on issues like these.

This is the age of Disinformation and Manipulation of public mood.

You can feel as outraged as you want, but the fact still remains that people get paid to manipulated public opinion. And when a whole slew of self styled experts appear on forums discussing serious threats one has to wonder just what percentage are operatives.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:21 | 477471 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Actually Jim_Rockford is NOT an expert in this industry. His own words on 7-18-2010 tell us this. To be fair, I've never seen him claim he was an oil/gas/drilling expert. 

 

 

by Jim_Rockford
on Sun, 07/18/2010 - 11:45
#476028

 

I don't have any experience with projects such as these.  I am only extrapolating from my experience with IT projects and the developement cycle.  When there is a lot at stake, a minute project can require a ton of design, documentation, testing, coordination, and heavy prayer that it doesn't blow up during implementation.

I suspect that BP had an action plan in place and was committed to following it.  In the meantime, some techies were probably in the break room and came up with a boxternal solution such as "why don't we design and fabricate our own mini-BOP, break the flange, and bolt it on top of the flex joint?"  From there maybe the idea evolved and eventually got buy-in from the very top.

 

I have seen solutions occur this way.  The cavalry is charging over the hill while in the rear a few guys are hooking up wires and batteries and saying "Let's call this a "LASER" gun". <Dr. Evil grin>

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:22 | 477486 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

Cog Dis - and who I am and who I work for and what experience I claim is relevant how in regards to the substance of my posts above?

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:36 | 477524 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Fool. I was defending you. Can't you tell?

You were asked by Gully Foyle (Have you been in contact with GW? Has he, or anyone else, confirmed your "expert" status. Has anyone confirmed anyones experts status when they post here?) if anyone has confirmed your "expert" status. I said you weren't an expert, that by your own words you were not an expert nor (To Be Fair) have I ever seen you claim you were an expert.

I quote myself. "Actually Jim_Rockford is NOT an expert in this industry. His own words on 7-18-2010 tell us this. To be fair, I've never seen him claim he was an oil/gas/drilling expert." 

Climb down your high horse Jim baby. You can't walk into the back yard shed (ZH) swing a baseball bat at a bunch of hornets nests and not expect to be attacked. You seem to get off on it though so what ever floats your boat. But try calming down a little.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 19:09 | 477770 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

Fool?  Like I really need defending? The fact that Gully wants to attack who I am instead of the logic and substance of my argument speaks for itself.

As I told him: who I am is irrelevant.  People generally attack the person when they are incapable of attacking the person's thoughts or words.  WHY DON'T YOU GET THAT?

What you did was not in defense of anything other than the ad hominem style of argument.  On behalf of all Zero Hedgers, I thank you.

PS:  You can't walk into the back yard shed (ZH) swing a baseball bat at a bunch of hornets nests and not expect to be attacked.

I never asked for a hall monitor.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 19:50 | 477828 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You are truly a monumental emotional cripple. Or a professional troll. Or both.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 20:36 | 477889 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

Sticking with the ad-hominem I see.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:13 | 477467 gasmiinder
gasmiinder's picture

Where do I get my check Jim........dammit you're holding out on me!

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:13 | 477460 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

Gully - who I work for is irrelevant in regards to the substance of my posts.  I have never claimed to be and expert in anything.

You may work for BP, BIGOV, or any private agency paid to muddy the waters on issues like these.

They're also paid to set science and critical thinking back 1000 years, apparently.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:11 | 477459 Augustus
Augustus's picture

And when a whole slew of self styled experts appear on forums discussing serious threats one has to wonder just what percentage are operatives.

 

That certainly identifies Matt Simmons.  Who else do you have in mind?  Maybe Chris Landau?  GodLikeProductions?  Before it is News?  Wayne Marsden? 

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:16 | 477332 gasmiinder
gasmiinder's picture

Jim - you are correct about that.  It is also all very unlikely in my opinion.  If the wellbore is leaking it will likely be in the vicinity of the wellhead not a great distance away and I do not believe it would affect previously existing seeps much.  All that said I do think they will have the data to be able to look for evidence of pre-existing seeps.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:03 | 477309 Augustus
Augustus's picture

As Predicted, Geo Wash is attempting to create another scare story without evidence of any kind. 

Well pressures are evidently stable, with some slight continuing rise as would be expected.  Any forecast of what the shut in pressure would be was not much better than an educated guess.  The fact that the high forecast was not achieved is not reason to conclude that there is a leak.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:22 | 477343 George Washington
George Washington's picture

Yes, you're right ... oh wait...

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:42 | 477395 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

Shilling for the MSM again I see.  Nice CNN video and transcript.

But some distance — and I still haven’t heard what that distance is — away from that, they actually can see some methane escaping at the surface and is essentially bubbling through the strata.

And in that case it’s possible that some of the sands below the surface have been charged with oil and gas…

The gas will leak out first, and then later on the oil will start to leak out.

Wow, that's a smoking gun. 

All I can say (Jim_Rockford speaking) is it may be true that this well has a problem, on the other hand I can also say it may be true that this well does not have a problem.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 14:58 | 477293 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

Okay, I am sure some dumbass will junk me and acuse me of being a BP shill, but I must shill for our language and for semantics (something that Cognitive Dissonance ostensibly recognizes as important, when it's convenient).  To wit:

As Predicted, BP Tries to Pretend New Leak is a "Natural Seep"

Where in this blog posting does it confirm that "BP tries to pretend"? 

I certainly do not see a quote.  This post is nothing but a drive-by cut and paste bullshit .... mainly because it does not contain ANY substance that affirms the sensational title.

Now I am also accused of being a MSM shill all the time, but who is regurgitating unsourced MSM news in this instance?  It is not me.

Junk away you bastards ... don't make a mess of it. <Breaker Morant reference>

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:13 | 477468 HedgingInfinite...
HedgingInfiniteRiskIsNotPossible's picture

Breaker Morant is one of my favorite movies.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:05 | 477314 George Washington
George Washington's picture

Jim, I heard it on the radio news.  I haven't spent time looking on the Web. If anyone sees it on the web, please let me know.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:14 | 477328 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

Come on George, you wrote the title .... now go find the source quote.  Don't be lazy.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:27 | 477359 CD
CD's picture

The preponderance of what in your estimation is 'bullshit' is not preventing you from being here... ;-) If BP has a world-class PR juggernaut meticulously custom-designing every syllable uttered by its reps, why are you so upset at a subjective opinion on their presentation of facts? 

"A BP spokesman said the seepage was detected by its engineers but it was unclear whether the source was the blown-out well, adding that seepage was a natural phenomenon in the Gulf."

While this does not explicitly and incontrovertibly STATE that BP denies having anything to do with any potential 'seeps', it does kind of imply it, no? GW perhaps should have prefaced the title with 'I Think' or 'It Appears to Me That'

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:37 | 477386 George Washington
George Washington's picture

Thanks, CD ...

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:35 | 477374 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

The BP statement appears to me to be a statement of indisputible fact:

  1. Seepage has been detected.
  2. The source is not known at this time.
  3. There are natural seeps in the GOM.

The fact that Geo Wash and some others might be disapointed that BP is not going to commit ritual seppuku, is not sufficient to make something from nothing.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:44 | 477536 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Sounds pretty definitive to me.

HOUSTON, Tex. (WTAQ) - BP says its broken oil well has nothing to do with the oil seeping from the bed of the Gulf of Mexico about two miles away.  A BP spokesman says scientists have concluded the seep is a natural occurrence.  BP and government officials have been keeping a very careful and cautious eye on the capped well, looking for evidence that might indicate the well might not be able to handle the pressure and develop a leak somewhere else.

http://www.wtaq.com/news/articles/2010/jul/19/bp-oil-seep-not-linked-bro...

 

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:55 | 477425 CD
CD's picture

Semantically, you are entirely correct. Also please estimate the percentage (2 decimal points, please) of the viewing/reading/listening audience that will parse the sentence structure of the statement to the degree that you just did. Also please provide a rough (deciles is fine) guess as to whether the statement - worded as it was - was intended by its speaker/author to imply that BP was NOT responsible for the seeps. Following the logic you lay out in posts below -- if it is acceptable to state that there is no evidence that BP's well is connected to the seep, why is it unacceptable to suggest that there is equally no evidence that BP is NOT, and in fact may, under certain circumstances, be responsible for the alleged seep.

All this being said, the topic may well be overblown. Either the seepage is significant (and growing) or it's not. We can't see or measure it from here, the data from the parties involved is not forthcoming. BP will not (and should not) commit seppuku. Look on the bright side - we are being educated not only in communications tactics, but are also gaining a heretofore unheard of amount of knowledge about deepwater mineral exploration... 

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:09 | 477455 Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

 Also please provide a rough (deciles is fine) guess as to whether the statement - worded as it was - was intended by its speaker/author to imply that BP was NOT responsible for the seeps.

Unlike many other posters and ZH Contributors, I have no mind reading skills.  I can only state the obvious:  BP is looking down the barrel of a multitude of lawsuits and I have no doubt they will use every opportunity to limit the scope of their liability.  DUH!  Do you think AAPL is morally superior to BP in the way they handled their antennae attenuation issues with the iPhone4?  So far, I see little difference in their defensive posture.

I agree about the learning component and am trying to learn as well as contribute.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:46 | 477543 CD
CD's picture

" So far, I see little difference in their defensive posture."

BINGO! There really isn't one -- if anything, BP has exponentially higher stakes to be defensive about, thus its focus on limiting liability should be that much sharper. 

It's the way the world works. My takeaway is that perhaps we should not be content with this state of affairs. Perhaps it is possible to work towards more transparency, more accountability, less spin. Always the hopeless optimist am I... The reason why perhaps in this case it's a touchier subject is that this 'issue' affects a bit more than the self-image and convenience of a well-to-do minority of society.

 

 

 

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 14:51 | 477286 buzlightening
buzlightening's picture

Break out the body bags & corpse handling gloves!!

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 14:50 | 477283 gasmiinder
gasmiinder's picture

GW - here is a copy from the webpage of a company that consults on the interpretation of the hazard surveys.  It should give at least a feel for the level of information that is believed to be present in the data (meaning this is what they claim to be able to accomplish with the datasets):

 

 

• Assess seafloor conditions and stratigraphy, and geologic processes to evaluate well site locations

• Identify shallow gas and shallow water flow potential [my note: they are referring to shallow layers that could be hazards to drill through)

Interpret and map geologic constraints, such as faults, gas vents, seafloor depressions and mounds, and any other geologic phenomena that are detectable with seismic data

Identify potential chemosynthetic communities, archaeological sites, and man-made infrastructure and debris


• Assess mooring spread, anchor locations, and foundation zones

• Produce supporting maps to show water depth, topography, shallow structure, and seafloor and shallow geologic conditions and features in an area that may have an impact on drilling

• Prepare final reports needed for permit application to governmental and insurance bodies

 

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 14:59 | 477302 Augustus
Augustus's picture

I thought the whole "geohazard" thing was in regard to trying to identify a shallow overpressured sand that could cause a shallow depth blowout.  I would not expect that identifying a slight natural methane seep at 5,000 ft in the GoM would be very high on the list of importance.  The whole area is several hundred feet of loose, soft mud with bugs working in it to create some methane.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 15:07 | 477317 gasmiinder
gasmiinder's picture

All the bullet points above will be covered in the report.  It's absolutely correct that inside the company (especially in the drilling department.....) the key thing of interest will be shallow gas/water flows.  That can be a big issue in the initial spud portions of the well.  But they will have detailed maps of the seafloor, high frequency seismic profiles that map well down into the sediments, channels, faults, seafloor mounds or depressions - all that will be clearly defined and discussed.  I would not adamantly claim they mapped every seep (remember this one is supposedly oil) but there will be a lot of pre-drill data with the potential to have seen evidence of it.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 14:42 | 477271 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Indeed, enterprising citizen journalists who have recorded and stored the footage from BP's underwater cams could compare...

That damn technology stuff sure does undermine efforts at proper presentation & management of information flows.  One more shining example of asymmetrical information indeed pricing markets to perfection while influencing all participants equally. I am sure a "low-intensity warfare" warrior could say quite a bit on perceptions generated and actions contemplated and executed on an asymmetrical battlefield.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 14:41 | 477269 Robslob
Robslob's picture

How about BP just trying to "buy time" so it can sell its assets...that may be the "strategery" of this once great company?

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 16:29 | 477503 RichardP
RichardP's picture

I think they are proceeding on schedule with the relief wells - which have been consistently presented as the solution to this problem.  Conventional wisdom says that mid-August is still the target date for completing the relief wells.

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 14:35 | 477258 gasmiinder
gasmiinder's picture

GW - well 'former' is not accurate, 'current' would be accurate.  And "long-time" makes me sound so OLD..........(to be specific I am a 20 year petroleum geologist and about 13 of those were offshore Gulf of Mexico exploration)

I would point out that my comments may have led to some confusion.  The chemosynthetic communities in question are associated with METHANE seeps, they are discussing an oil seep and they are not NECESSARILY the same - although they are related.  But the reports in question (known as geohazard surveys) will have mapped the chemosynthetic communities and will have mapped the shallow sediments over the entire block.  I'm getting outside my area of expertise on the question of how obvious an oil seep would be, I would THINK there would be evidence of the existence of natural oil seeps which at a MINIMUM would involve disturbance in the shallow sediments, however I cannot tell you with certainty that is correct.  (I'm not trying to waffle - I just think from an integrity standpoint I should be clear where I'm speaking from the science/data vs speculating based on my experience.  This is the latter)

 

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