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"

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Yesterday, I pointed
out
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
people:

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
component!

 

***

 

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
FlexJoint.

***

 

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
happen.

 

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.