Relief Wells Delayed ... New Tests Show "Gap" in Oil "Well Column" Causing Loss of Pressure ... Does the Government Have ANY IDEA What It's Doing?

George Washington's picture



An oil and gas industry veteran with 30 years experience who goes by the alias Fishgrease gave a pretty good recap of BP and the government's record of failure in capping the oil well:

1. BP does a superhuman job of creating conditions favorable to loss of
control of what is very possibly the largest well in the history ot the
Gulf of Mexico. Result: Blowout. FAIL


2.  For more than a day, BP insists there is no leakage. Result: Wrong. FAIL


3.  BP admits that well is leaking. Says leak is 1000 BOPD. Result: Wrong. FAIL


4.  NOAA, USCG and independent groups say the leak sure looks more like
5000 BOPD. BP says... DEAL! It's 5000 BOPD! How silly of us! Result:
Wrong. FAIL


Round about here, BP
succumbs to pressure from ... Congress and other groups and begins to
release video feeds of that is happening under a mile of Gulf water, at
the damaged well.


5.  BP builds a huge metal barn to lower over one of the leaks. Result: G@*!@^$ thing clogs with hydrate ice within seconds. FAIL


6. BP installs Insertion Tube Technology. Result: Captures a very small and day-by-day-smaller portion of the leak. FAIL


7. BP tries Diamond Wire Saw Technology to cut the damaged riser off the
top of the BOP, leaving a clean even surface to seat a cap. Result:
Wire gets stuck. FAIL


8. BP
tries Crunchy... a huge hydraulic Jaws-of-Death to snip the riser.
Result: Jagged, bent, uneven surface upon which nothing will seal. FAIL


9. BP lowers cap #4. Steam Punk fans rejoice! Result: This cap is capturing only a minor fraction of the leak. FAIL


10.  BP is ordered to increase containment capacity by the USCG. Says it
will. Doesn't. Starts piping a portion of the leak to the Q4000 where
it is all burned, unmeasured. Result: They're capturing or burning an
estimated 50% of the leak, when they were ordered to catch it ALL. FAIL


11. BP is again ordered to increase capture capacity via sternly-worded
letter. Finally installs another processing boat. Result: Still not
getting much more than 50% of the leak. Makes excuse that there's not
enough room in the fucking Gulf of Mexico to park another boat. FAIL


12.  BP installs "Capping Stack Technology" in order to more effectively
capture leak. Result: Vented riser immediately freezes off. This is the
beginning of the end of capture. FAIL


13.  BP comes up with "Integrity Test Technology" which completely shuts in
the well to test its integrity. Result: Works... immediately starts
leaking... but does stop the leak. BP keeps moving goal line for
integrity downward from 9000 psi to 8000 psi to 7500 psi to whatever
the hell pressure they're seeing that day....


14. ... Well remains shut in. Leaks are nominal but increasing....


15.  BP comes up with "Static Kill Technology" says it can kill well...


about here, BP quits releasing data. Video feeds start blacking out
and "Rogue ROVs" appear... we can't see the feeds of those. They're
assigned to monitor the BOP leaks and anything else BP doesn't want us
to see.


16.  "Magic Cement Technology!" BP
convinces Government to put the question of total capture and
measurement out of the question. All work on containment stops cold. BP
pushes a shitload of mud and cement into well. Result: Even though
there's no way on God's Green Earth that they could know where the
cement goes, they say they successfully cemented the casing... just the
casing... not the annulus. News Media interprets this as a complete
plugging of the well and questions whether the relief wells are even


But the well is still
leaking, now out of a very energetic leak on the bottom flange seal on
the FelxJoint. There is still pressure on the BOP because you can't
have leaks without pressure. Plugged wells don't LEAK!


17.  BP says they're going to get some pressure readings off the BOP after
venting to see if they can establish flow up the annulus... or
something. No one can figure out what the hell they're talking about
here and they don't elaborate beyond Thad Allen blubbering a bunch of
stuff NO ONE understands....
They freeze off their chokes atop the Capping Stack by flowing
hydrocarbons through them with a very large pressure drop. ALL feeds
showing anything that is going on are blacked out. After promising to
release data, BP and Thad Allen.... don't....

Bob Cavnar continues the timeline, bringing us up to date:

keep getting curiouser and curiouser with the Well that Won't Die. In
his presser this morning, Adm Allen announced that they are still
trying to decide what to do about the relief well, the weak components
on the old BOP, and how they're going to approach the relief well,
which is still just sitting there, a tantilizing 3 1/2 feet from the
blowout wellbore. Dithering seems a strong word, but one I'll
now use. You'll recall that right after BP started the surprise "well
integrity test" back in July, they announced the surprise "static
kill", characterizing it as low pressure, low risk, and an effort to
"stabilize" the well. They pumped that procedure on August 3rd, and,
declaring the well "static", then pumped 500 barrels of cement
announcing that the entire job went right down the casing and out into
the formation. That was 11 days ago.

<paragraph break ... sorry, technical difficulties>Since, BP and Adm Allen raised the ominous possibility
that there was something mysterious going on in the annulus, the space
between the production casing and the intermediate casing. Adm Allen
has gone on and on about 1,000 barrels of oil in the annulus, "near
ambient" pressure testing, rising pressure, falling pressure, holding
pressure, and bleeding pressure, to the bewilderment of everyone,
including me. Kent Wells, the star of the BP "Technical" McBriefing's,
where no technical data is provided, and only few questions are taken
(notice I didn't say answered), has been AWOL since his last appearance 6
days ago. The purpose of the "new ambient" pressure test is still
unclear, but, after being hounded for over a week by the DailyKos Gulf Watchers,
the Admiral compelled BP to release the BOP pressure readings, but BP
left out basic information like starting point, whether the well is
shut in at the surface or seafloor, the fluid in the riser, etc, so the
data is pretty much useless, like most other information that's been
<paragraph break>Today, the Admiral admitted that
there were three components in the the BOP stack that is of concern; we
know which ones those are, since we've been talking about them for over a month.
The weak components are the flex joint, right on top of the old stack,
the riser adapter, and what they call the transition spool are all
rated below the other components in the stack, between 5,000 psi to
6,000 psi maximum working pressure. In each of these procedures that
BP has undertaken, the top kill, the well integrity test, the
injectivity tests, and static kill, the pressures that BP announced
actually exceeded the rated pressures of at least one of those
components. After performing all of these machinations, they are now
suddenly concerned about pressure on the BOP, and are actually talking
about changing out the entire stack before completing the bottom kill.
<paragraph break>All of this delay and dithering is
confusing, at best. Pulling the stack at this point is even more
concerning, especially with drill pipe and God know what all inside,
including the casing hanger. Had they followed the original plan of
set the capping stack, hooking up the risers that were supposed to be
completed in mid-July, and producing the well to the surface while they
were killing it from below, all of this new discussion would be moot.
This static kill, where they really have no idea where the cement and mud went, has only complicated matters, created more uncertainty, and absolutely more delay.

In addition, Admiral Allen said today that new tests show “gap” in “well column” causing loss of pressure:

Does the government have any idea what it's doing? Does BP?