The "Well Integrity Test" Is a Sham: "This Bet Is Against The Citizens Of The United States Of America Being Smart Enough To Figure Any Of This Out"

George Washington's picture


Yesterday, I pointed
that two oil industry experts - Robert Cavner and former Shell
CEO John Hofmeister - said that the "well integrity test" should not be
conducted because there is no benefit, and it could very well blow out
the well.

Cavner thinks
that the well integrity tests are really an attempt by BP to
underestimate the amount of oil gushing out - and so pay lower fines
under the Clean Water Act (fines are calculated by the number
of barrels
leaking into the Gulf) - by waiting to "test" the flow
until the flow has been reduced.  In the real world, of course, BP could
have tested the flow from
day one

Today, an oil and gas industry veteran with 30 years
experience who goes by the alias Fishgrease says
that the well integrity test is a PR stunt meant to fool the American

Yesterday, Our Government bought in to BP's
lies and maneuvering. Yesterday, Our Government approved the Integrity
Test. That test is now underway.



We later
received information that the Oil States FlexJoint actually in place is
a Model 5, and therefore has a MWP (maximum working pressure) of 5000
psi. So now, the pressures Our Government has signed off on applying,
are at least 2,000 psi differential pressure over the rating of the




I've been battling comments that, surely, this component has a
"safety allowance" well above its rating. Boomers, this is pure
horseshit. When you're pressuring up against metal with hydrocarbons,
the "maximum" in "maximum working pressure" fucking means MAXIMUM.
Purposefully exceeding MWP is, in fact, criminally actionable. MWP is
enforced in the Oil & Gas industry with perfect vigor. There is no
tolerance for exceeding MWP. None. Never. Ever.


You. Don't.
Fucking. Do. It


BP is PLANNING on doing it! They would not and
could not do it without the U.S. Government taking full responsibility,
in the name of Thad Allen, for the consequences of over-pressuring the



That's alarming enough, but there are many
bad things that can happen when you're just sitting there circulating
on bottom at 17,840... FOR DAYS. Now that they're having problems with
the choke on the capping stack, it might easily be DAYS AND DAYS. You
can lose circulation and get stuck. You can lose a mud pump for a
matter of minutes and get stuck. You can lose the section of un-cased
hole you just drilled (which is at a critical point for the intercept)
and make directional control much more difficult getting it
back. There are more, and worse things that could happen, but I
won't mention them because the crew and equipment on that relief well
are the absolute best, and none of those worse things will


But why take these risks? For what? The first relief
well is SO close (now stopped)! They have the ability to capture and
measure ALL the oil! We already KNOW there is damage downhole! Why
would the Government of the United States of America sign off on, and
take responsibility for this foolishness?



I need to include here that I think this "test"
is probably a good political and public relations bet for both the
Obama administration and BP. It's really not a test at all and has no
chance of actually testing anything about the well, except their
ability to shut it in with no surface leaks. They want to shut in the
well and get it off the nightly news. They want that so badly they're
willing to risk anything for it. That's both BP and Our Government.
They shut in the well and Thad Allen is a hero. They fail and he's no
more of a moron than he has been for the last three months. If they
succeed in shutting it in or not, any damage they've done in the "test"
that makes the kill operation more difficult, or even impossible, will
be a matter of opinion. This bet is against the citizens of the United
States of America being smart enough to figure any of this out. It's
not a bet on actual physical outcomes. It has nothing at all to do with
what's the best plan for stopping this disaster.


Politics. Public Relations.

Indeed, the well integrity test is exactly like the stress test for the
banks: a meaningless PR stunt devised by the industry itself with the
blessing of government. See this
and this.

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Jim_Rockford's picture

AMEN BROTHER!! I nominate KD for a Pulitzer!

gasmiinder's picture


Couldn't have said it better myself - and that's from a trader residing on the Gulf Coast, not a "shill"

proLiberty's picture

I would suggest a quick visit to the discussion thread on the well will provide a more balanced commentary based on the current facts.  see:




mathdock's picture

I heard on CNBC (okay, razzes heard) from some smart engineers that they wanted to see a MINIMUM of 6000 psi on the well cap once everything was closed.  Anything less would be evidence of another leak elsewhere.  I was very impressed someone was willing to actually say that on air.  I've also read EVERY ONE of this forum's posts, and many were very helpful to me to sort out some of the stuff.  SO, part of the reason we have to wait is so that the oil can restore pressure equilibrium at the bore hole, see a number like 6000 psi or higher (up to 9000 psi, so they said) or else have proof of the side leak--Haynes asked the question yesterday, and of the two engineers present, one mentioned, after a noticeable pause,  the 6000 psi number and the "or else".  And the Aussie Blondie was listening.  She is Aussie, right?

Anyway, those numbers immediately allow anyone to compute flow rate over the last 86 days from THAT pipe or from an aggregate of holes, whatever.  Why 6000 psi?  The differential in pressure from sea floor to bore hole bottom (proportional to the distance) divided by 3 Pi^2 to get the PSI value.  Flow rate can be estimated from the velocity of the stream (center rate a couple times faster than the rate at the edges), a little calculus.  Hmmmmmm....Looks like a good recreational calculation.  I'll get back to this.

gasmiinder's picture

Good luck but the calculation of pressure differential from reservoir to seafloor does not require Pi in anyway shape or form.  Only depth (distance as you call it) and density of the fluid in the borehole (which will be uncertain but you can certainly bookend it).

As I still remember a college calculus teacher explaining - fluid pressures cannot possibly be a function of AREA, it is only depth.  If fluid pressures were related to area, even in the tiniest degree, then sticking your toe in the Pacific Ocean would crush it.......

You are also going to have a hard time getting the velocity of the stream when it was unconstrained.

However the incremental pressure shut-ins provide a great deal of data as will the pressure profile as it builds up.  I still believe they will kill with the relief wells but I do wonder if they have complete borehole integrity why they wouldn't just start loading the BOP with very heavy mud.

Jim_Rockford's picture

I like the way you think... and the way you correct me when I am wrong (I said "volume" in my post). 

gasmiinder's picture

Thanks - but I was replying to MathDock not you (I hadn't read your post yet - I'm overly linear that way.........)

Jim_Rockford's picture

Gee, you mean to imply that by knowing the actual static pressure at the well head and the volume of the bore, one can calculate the flow rate and thus the total volume of oil and gas that has escaped into the Gulf?  Heresy I say!!  Burn him!!  He's a WITCH!!!  We know damn well that BP capped this well for reasons:

a.) A publicity stunt.

b.) So that the world would never know how much oil and gas had escaped.

Nice try Mathdock.  Now go peddle your LIES somewhere else.

tahoebumsmith's picture

What happened to the live feed from the top of the new bop? Seems like now they just want to show us video of the rovs grabbing worthless wires and pretending to do something. They also stated that they would shut one valve at a time...One every 6 hours and take readings. I guess they decided to just twist the beatch down and hope for the best...NOT! This is the biggest cover-up since,ah, since,ah,ah,ah,ah the one yesterday on wall st. or the one the day before on employment numbers or the one the day before that on financial reform or the one the day before that on everything. Look, if they were this successful with this new temporary bop it only means one of two things. Either the pressure was so low because of a bigger leak somewhere else they could just shut it down or they have spent the last 83 days designing this new bop for harvest purposes and never intended to close the well off. Which ever the case it proves that they are just playing with the sheeple once again for their own gain. If the pressure was low enough to shut her down then my guess is the problem was always somewhere else and this live feed weve all been staring at has been nothing but their version of American idol. If that's the case they will have some explaining to do when oil keeps surfacing around the site. If the intention was always to harvest from this well and they allowed 83 days to pass and destroy the gulf with oil and toxic dispersants until they developed a new cap that could be worked then fuc% them! There will be heads rolling if the announcement comes they are going to harvest the well! Nuff said, now show me the flippin shot of the bop that i've been staring at for the last 60 days and prove it! mofos

gasmiinder's picture

Well it  MIGHT be that the ROV's are not there to provide for our viewing enjoyment.  They're quite expensive and are in fact there to construct the flowback setup and manage the test.

Gordon_Gekko's picture

Why would the Government of the United States of America sign off on, and take responsibility for this foolishness?

Because it is no longer "the Government of the United States of America", but a criminal mafia's paid PUPPETS and HENCHMEN. This government has lost its legitimacy.

Augustus's picture

What would you expect after turning it over to a tribal muslim Kenyan from Chicago?

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Commercial fishermen at Delta Marina in oil-stained Plaquemines Parish were subdued in their response. Some said there was still a long clean up ahead and others flatly refused to believe the leak was contained.

"I don't believe that. That's a lie. It's a (expletive) lie," said Stephon LaFrance, a 49-year-old oysterman whose been out of work for weeks. "I don't believe they stopped that leak. BP's trying to make their self look good."

I think I'm going to go ahead with Mr. LaFrance's take as being more credible than Kent Wells.

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Watched Viking Poseidon 1 for about 5 minutes.  Saw the sea floor splitting before my very eyes with oil coming up.  Then it moved away from that view.  Seriously, this is what we've been reduced to as a species.

Theta_Burn's picture

wow mission accomplished....(lets hope so anyway) just as 'days before this disaster' BP shares were sold off en mas, the price was climbing on nothing but calamity last couple days. wait till the open tomorrow a sure 10 bagger. irregardless of the 10's of billions in clean-up/shattered region costs

Merlin12's picture

BP now reporting that they have the well totally shut off. No drama, no forest of new leaks, no blown well casing, the world has ended with a whimper, not a bang. 

So, George, it's time to hang up your tinfoil hat and retire to wherever it that your species of shyster retires to.


gasmiinder's picture

AND YET - the flex joint seems to be holding!  So far at least we do NOT have a VOLCANO on the floor of the Gulf, and LOOK - the choke assembly leak didn't take "days & days" to fix, it took hours..............

GW - Cavner is a knee-jerk liberal, the guy bundled $140K for Obama.  He's also been on the "BP wants it to keep flowing" bandwagon for 3 months.  

Have a CLUE guys - there is NO FREAKING WAY that BP IS BETTER OFF with the well FLOWING.  To believe that anyone at BP thinks they are better off with the well flowing than with it capped you have to be utterly blinded by your desperate need to follow the lefty meme.  That group of engineers fighting this thing are NOT ALL BP EMPLOYEES.  Many are borrowed from other companies in an industry which is being ravaged by this thing.  Would you risk telling that group "oh never mind we'll just do stupid things so we can avoid some fines"?  It blows my mind that you people seem so willing to buy into "oh it's a bunch of morons who don't know nearly as much as we do on the outside", they're just EVIIIILLLL IDDIOTTS because even though they have all the equipment ratings, all the pressure data from the previous attempts, all the subsequent tests, the seismic profiles and access to any asset they need to do their analysis "we can see immediately that they are too stupid to see what our brilliant OPINION based analysis tells us".  "It's SO OBVIOUS to us that they are going to DESTROY the entire WELLBORE and leave us all hanging - why? because it is sooooo much more fun to assume the great satan is in our midst...................."


Augustus's picture

I'm not real sure about what is going on now.  Sure, they have the flow into the GoM stopped and that would be a great thing.  However, my understanding was that they would still produce through the choke line.  They would then slowly close that off and monitor the pressures as they continue to restrict the flow. 

Two factors involved that will be monitored.  first, the reservoir near the well bore is certainly depleted from the flow.  Over time that pressure will be restored as oil flows from farther away to the low pressure point of the depleted area.  That could be why they have announced that they want to monitor it for 48 hours to look at that build up.  The second factor, if I'm correct about there still being flow through the choke line, is that it will take a while for them to monitor and close the valve on the choke line.  Reducing the flow will cause the well pressure to increase by itself.  There will be a combination of the two factors that will lead to the final guess on the shut in pressure and what mud weight it may take to kill it.

Contrary to the many posts in this thread and the many previous ones, this well will not be used for producing this reservoir.  It is very important to have a good and clean well bore for production.  The bottom of this bore hole is certainly screwed up and enlarged.  When they get through with the kill pill and the cement job it will be further screwed up.  There will be no way to get production back from the bottom of this borehole when that is over.  And I suspect that there will be questions about the casing farther up the hole so that it would not look too good if they tried to sidetrack out of it at 10,000ft or so.

It may be possible to use RW 1 or RW 2 to make producers out of them.  I hope they can as the sale of the oil would help with the damage payments.

Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

Umm does t that bother you? "Hours" for this to work and it took them over 80 days to get to this point? Oh look, wave a wand and presto, all fixed.


While I don't buy oil volcanoes,  it is troubling that this is going so smoothly. Wonders why the frak it took them so long to get it done.


That being said, if it is fixed it is fixed.


I am glad for GW's work on this issue, but not sure it was ever a big huge deal as in oil volcano. Then again, I read the Oil Drum.

gasmiinder's picture

Cindy - review the article I'm replying to.

The ranting "engineer" claims they're ignoring pressure ratings, that fixing the choke assembly could take "days & days" that it's all being done for PR etc.  I know these reply threads end up making it difficult to tie back - my points are in relation to that.  It bothers me a hell of a lot that it took 80 days but I'm not so STUPID as to believe that they just 'weren't trying' as so many on this venue continue to pump.

So now it's suspicious that this went so smoothly.  For very many around here it was horribly suspicious that it took so long - why it's easy, off the shelf materials.  This took at least two days longer than anticipated due to bureaucrats and leaks but it went "smoothly".  The logic here is astounding.  If BP publishes an estimate labeled as an estimate but it turns out wrong  - THEY"RE LIARS.  If BP doesn't tell us things that are uncertain - THEY'RE HIDING THE FACTS ITS A CONSPIRACY.  If BP releases an internal discussion of absolute worst-case scenario if everything was gone the THEY LIED THIS IS HOW MUCH IT REALLY IS.....

I'm just trying to get people to THINK. 

tony bonn's picture

thanks for the truth-o-gram can be sure that anything gushing out of either hole of bp is lie from satan.....

boycott bp!!

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

WOOPY!!! They PLugged it!  They better not be lying to me or I will get very angry.

pragmatic hobo's picture

Looking at the option volume a lotta people (or few with very deep pocket) are expecting BP to top $40 by tomorrow ...

myshadow's picture

Matt Simmons was just on with Dylan Ratigan and he was calling the govt/bp on trhe fraud of this smoke and mirrors and again, sounding the alarm about the holes in the floor, and the possibility of a massive methane release. 

My only thought about the collusion is the fact the govt must be 'hoping' the relief wells will release the pressure that is energizing the volcano.


Augustus's picture

Matt Simmons has made wild and impossible claims since the beginning of this problem.  The fact that he has not learned anything yet shows that he knows very little about how a well is drilled and completed.

The fact that Dylan Ratigan has chosen to put Simmons on the air again and again speaks volumes about the journalistic integrity of Ratigan.   He has had lots of time to learn that Simmons is full of BS.  Ratigan may even know it for certain by now.  Putting those two on the air is not much better than dragging in some drooling druggie and have them testify that meth is good.

Salinger's picture

take a  look at RIG in the final hour of trading - straight up just like BP


big spike in volume on both

Waterfallsparkles's picture

Bp has been draging the entire United States Stock Market down.  All Metal stocks have taken a similar hit to BP and they are not leaking any oil.

Yes, risks but continued deterioration of the Stock Market may have a greater impact on the Country than the risks in capping the well.

TBT or not TBT's picture

No, that's Owebama dragging the stock market down.   Rational expectations and all that.

zerosum's picture

Closing the well means nothing in terms of the survival of the company. Damage is done. Extent of the damage becoming better known every day. 

JuicyTheAnimal's picture

That's what I'm saying.  ...Unless they won't be held accountable which to me seems politically impossilbe.  I swore I wouldn't trade this thing.  But now I'm thinking short it...but I think I'll wait until the releif wells are finished and see if the stock doesn't trade for 100 after that.  Really, I don't know how anyone can put a value on this company right now. 

RichardP's picture

Closing the well is not as important as controlling the well.  If they can control the well, they can continue to harvest the oil.  Income from that will offset the expense of the clean-up.

cyclemadman's picture

Looks like the flow has stopped.  The pressure reading I saw was 2900 psi. Let's pray it holds.

Thoreau's picture

Best look again, and a little closer. Hard to ascertain the severity, thanks to the funky, new video feed, but it's leaking from somewhere below.

snakehead's picture

FYI, the pressure gauges on the ROVs measure hydraulic pressure on the ROV's. Well pressure is being carried by transducers and has nothing to do with those gauges.

downrodeo's picture

I hope there aren't any ethical implications to owning BP stock.

ShankyS's picture

GW - I'd really appreciate an over the top brow beating of the supposed GS settlement with the SEC if it is so. this slap on the wrist shit for defrauding the world of trillions has got to stop.

Thanks for your hard work. Keep it up.

ShankyS's picture

It's a fake! Just like the man landing on the moon. they built a replica of the spill in a NASA pool and are now transmitting from there. the spill is still going full bore!!!


LOL - just kidding - had to throw in the conspiracy nut case. I hope htey get this shit fixed. Like NOW!

WeeWilly's picture

Shanky, I live in the NC mountains. Here we believe that wrestling is real and the moon landing was faked!

Jim_Rockford's picture

There is the issue of the second pipe "stuck in the BOP" as our Pulitzer prize winning host informed us of.  When they pulled off the old flange, the pipe was not there (they say they think it might have been ejected) and no one has seen it since.  Odd, that a such critical (and blogged about) piece of evidence would have disappeared without a trace, no?  One of my co-workers used to be a plumber and he took one look at it and said, "It has to be an inside job."  Discuss among yourselves. 

ShankyS's picture

How can you discount the timing of the fix? The markets are about to crash and then POOF! the well is fixed.

What about the 'other' leaks? Are they fixed as well or should we just forget about them?

I like the article from the FT on Barry needing a false lag event - was this it? I don't think so. It was one hell of a distraction but not the unifying event he needs. (Not that it would cause me to unify with or under him EVER. 

GS steals trillions and destroys nations and gets a slap on the wrist?

This place is sooooo fucked up.

Jim_Rockford's picture

I'm telling you, the missing pipe is the key to this whole deal.

madhedgefundtrader's picture

Congrats to those who bought BP three weeks ago at $29. Last trade: $38.50

Muir's picture


"Congrats to those who bought BP three weeks ago at $29. Last trade: $38.50"


Yeah, but you told me to average down from $46 and I am down to eating cat food.

Jim_Rockford's picture

I don't own any BP stock or options.  Just want to offer my condolences to those of you that shorted at $29.  I think there is a lot of you, based on your posts over the past few weeks and your willing suspension of logic and science.

RichardP's picture

Don't offer condolences just yet.  Wait until we see whether the pressure test is declared a success or failure.  I think we can be on hold up to 48 hours for that declaration.

Jim_Rockford's picture

So you mean it will be an all out blitz for the next 48 hours as the shorts try to convince as many people as possible that BP has drilled into the Earth's mantle and we will all be consumed in a cloud of red methane, etc?