What Are the Results of the Oil Well Integrity Test?

George Washington's picture


Pressure Stopping Short of Target ... Does that Mean the Well Integrity
Test Is Failing?

If you don't know what the results of BP's oil well integrity test
are, you're not alone.

As I pointed

BP suspended the "top kill"
operation for 16 hours -
because, according to numerous experts, it was creating more damage to the well bore - without
even telling the media, local officials or the public
that it
had delayed the effort until long afterwards.

BP also admitted
- many days after it stopped
the top kill attempt - (1) that BP had to stop because mud was leaking
out below the seafloor, and (2) that capping the well from the top
could blow out the whole well.

Similarly, it took more than 5
for BP to publicly announce the delay of the "well integrity
test" after the decision to delay was made.

So BP doesn't have a
great track record of promptly informing us of what is happening.

so little information is being released, even oil industry experts like
Rob Cavner are resorting to watching the underwater video cams to try
to figure out what's happening.

And Cavner says that BP and the
government are making things up on the fly, so it is a very fluid
situation, and that long periods of silence mean that something is

It’s clearly been on the fly. There’s a
lot more discussion behind the scenes obviously with the government
and bp team than what they’re disclosing to the public. What I’ve
learned in this whole experience, if you get a long on period of
silence, something’s going on. I think that’s a lot of what happened

YouTube Video

Cavner says that it looks like BP is doing a thorough job of monitoring
visual and sonar images for leaks.

For example, the Geco Topaz
is conducting seismic surveys over a range of many miles. Indeed, the Topaz has sailed perhaps 50
miles in and around the site of the oil gusher. See this
and this (the Topaz is
the ship indicated in light blue).

So What Do We Know?

Even independent oil industry experts are guessing at this point because
BP is keeping everything close to the vest (and that some allege
that the government is not publicly disclosing what it knows).

And the stakes are high.  As president Obama said this morning,
there is a risk that - if the well is incorrectly capped - numerous
leaks could spring from the seafloor:

at around 30 seconds.)

So the question is what we do
at this point?

Putting aside Matt Simmons' (Simmons was an energy adviser to
President George W. Bush and was a prominent investment banker to the
oil industry.  NOTE TO ZH READERS: IF YOU CAN FIND ANY CONFIRMATION OF SIMMONS' CLAIMS, I'LL EDIT THIS SENTENCE) claims that there is a conspiracy to cover up a larger
leak miles from the cap - for which there's been no independent
to date - here's everything that we know at this

  • Well pressure is currently a
    little above 6,700
    , far short of the 8,000 psi which would prove that the well
    integrity is more or less intact.
  • If the well
    pressure keeps rising, and stabilizes at 8,000 psi or higher, then the
    well is fairly stable, and the below-seafloor
    to the well is not significantly impacting well strength. 
    It would not be unexpected for the pressure to start lower and then to
    rise, so at least another 24 hours is needed to get the final result.  
    BP says "The pressure has been a very steady build as predicted by
    engineering anlysis we did. "  BP also says that the seismic, sonar and
    visual inspections so far indicate "no negative
  • If well pressures rise
    and then suddenly drop, then
    the well integrity test itself has caused a new leak.
  • If
    well pressure stabilizes far below 8,000, then there are major leaks.
    Oil industry professionals posting at the Oil Drum hypothesize:

    What this could indicate is that there is a
    possibility of crossflow
    at the bottom of the well. What this
    means that the oil and gas that are flowing out of the reservoir into
    the bottom of the well, are, under the pressure in the well, now flowing
    into a higher reservoir of rock, now that they can't get out of the
    well. Depending on where that re-injection flow is, this may, or may
    not, suggest that the casing has lost integrity. This is a topic that
    has been covered in the comments at The Oil Drum, where fdoleza
    - "a petroleum engineering consultant retired from a major
    multi-national oil company" - has noted:

    ... I believe the flow will be coming out
    of the bottom sand and going into the upper sand. It would not be a
    leak, but it would tell them why their pressure data ain't a classical
    surface buildup. And I sure hope they're modeling temperatures and so
    on, because this is a very interesting case. They don't have downhole
    gauges, so they'll have to take the way the oil cools down as it sits to
    get a better idea of the way things are moving down below.

    If there are questions whether there is still flow in the formation
    or from the original formation into surrounding rock, then it is
    possible that the relief well (RW) is close enough to the original well
    (WW) that putting a set of very sensitive microphones down the RW might
    allow some triangulation to estimate where such a flow might be
    occurring. It might make it easier that the well hasn’t been finally
    cased yet. But the test has 2 days to run, and will be evaluated every 6
    hours. With time some of these questions may be answered as the test
    continues. (If there is no flow anywhere, after a while all the
    readings should become quite stable).

Updates as they develop ...

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DarkAgeAhead's picture

Of course the government is not disclosing all or most of what it knows.  It never does.  It's more the level of deception and air of corporate feudalism that seems stunningly just to be assumed in how the goverment conducts itself these days.

My first post here was deleted...not an illustrius start.  I'll repost the thought - as an Oil Drum anonymous contributor speculated (or maybe more accurately, conjectured?!, as he seemed dead on), this leak of oil from the Carboniferous finding its way to the our current geologic time, not concidentially called the Anthropocene, is a force of nature.  We are against fundamental laws of Life here.  Either we (being Humanity through the distorted perversion that BP is) win with the relief wells, or as one put it, Nature and its "remorseless crunching of big numbers" does.  If Nature, then billions of gallons of oil basically obliterating first the sea bed, then the ecosystem/biome, then our health, both economic and biological.

For the conjecture, see -- http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/06/worst-already-true-BP-well-no...

Regardless with the toxifying air, intergenerational biocultural economic losses, Man v Nature never ends well for Man.



Rider's picture

Video stream is offline meanwhile BP prepares the set in hollywood to mock a contained leak.

I can not wait oil to rain so I can refill the tank for free.

CPL's picture

Staring Charlie Sheen and Alicia Silverstone.

gasmiinder's picture

BS - that article says nothing except "this reporter has no idea what's going on but he does have a deadline"

Diogenes's picture

So they finally cap the well that was the cause of the biggest environmental catastrophe of the century and the effect on BP's stock is.... nothing.

Price sideways to slightly down all day, finishing $1.42 lower than the open.


The stock is up $12 in the last 2 weeks though.


Strom's picture

Buy the rumor, sell the news?

myshadow's picture

Matt Simmons mentioned the methane could be a greater calamity.
Do acoustic tests detect methane, and the quantity/volume?

On Hardball Ann  Thompson is now floating the meme about the 'cracks in the sea floor'.  There was a 'search' today and they couldn't find any cracks.  Secondly is the 'depletion' scenerio.

There is a concern about the pressure holding at 6700 psi where they were expecting a hold at 7500.

When you crack an egg you can't put it in a cast and let it heal.

I wouldn't be surprised that they, the gov't and bp, knew about them for quite a spell.  I find it hard to believe the military and NASA doesn't have the hardware to do some detecting.

I think they are wishin and a hopin' that the relief wells will relieve the pressure in time to avoid a calamity

RichardENixon's picture

That's actually Washington's ghost, he has taken to wandering around the White House muttering, shaking his head, and peering out of windows during media events.

nmewn's picture


dot_bust's picture

The results are meaningless because it was never an oil leak. It was an undersea volcano, as is pictured in the following video footage of a similar undersea volcano:


The phony oil leak has been a grand distraction. Keep the sheeple busy with a fake catastrophe while you continue to steal from them.


George Washington's picture

Doesnt look anything like that ... but cool video ...

Jim_Rockford's picture

"is a prominent investment banker to the oil industry"

- I think you need to change "is" to "was" in the above sentence.

George Washington's picture

Doesn't do investment banking since he left Simmons & Company? If so, I'll change it.

Jim_Rockford's picture

I don't know what he does ... if he has any clients or anything.  Seems to have a lot of free time on his hands.  Just sayin.  Not sure if there is such thing as a one man investment bank.

George Washington's picture

Okay, I'm leaving the way it is for now.  If someone can prove he's out of the investment banking biz, I'll edit ...

Augustus's picture

He was the founder of Simmons and Co.  He retired but remained listed on the firm's letterhead as Chairman Emeritus, or something such as that.  After he announced the leak was seven miles away and that the wellhead being shown was a fake leak, the firm took even that title away.  Simmons announced his short position, several days later the firm Simmons & Co issued a buy recommendation and announced that he had no association with the firm in ANY capacity.

Jim_Rockford's picture

Dammit Wang, that number was supposed to be top secret!!

George Washington's picture

Thanks, that's the funniest thing I've heard all day!

George Washington's picture

Thanks, added Obama's comments to the main post...

Jim_Rockford's picture

Earthquake in Washington DC, a parking lot collapse in New Jersey.... coincidence?  Then you have the Geco Topaz looking frantically for that missing section of drill pipe they said was stuck in the BOP ....

Oh did anyone see this?  Karl Denninger a stock market expert who lives in Florida  h/t Gasmiinder

George Washington's picture

Wait, so as a defender of the oil industry who worked on the Valdez cleanup, you're trying to pretend that a new blowout in the well didn't suck in so much material that it formed a black hole which pulled a couple hundred points off of the Dow today?


</poor attempt at humor>


Jim_Rockford's picture

Attempt accepted.  Hey did you read that Tx. Monthly article?  I spoke to the author of that article recently.  He is now approaching 70 and lives in Galveston.  He's a very interesting guy.  I could put you in touch ....  might get a scoop.  Last time I spoke with him (about 2 weeks ago) he was headed to the Gulf Coast of LA.  He's a lib, but from what I can tell he's not looney.

Augustus's picture

Interesting that you ran into the guy.  Is there a version of the miracle water that you recommend?  And,  is it a one time deal of does it have to be reapplied after some period?

Jim_Rockford's picture

I'm traveling right now. Will try to post more in 24 hrs. Medina soil activator. Callahans nursery Dallas, Tx was the last place I bought any. When I hauled barrels of the stuff down to Mega Borg, it was a mix from Alpha Environmental in Austin. They have since been sold/acquired by a company in Boston.

WaterWings's picture

All the sick people in the Gulf Zone are looney if they take the official word as truth and wait for a .gov solution. Their health will continue to deteriorate and likely have severe long-term effects. We have yet to see - but I would get the hell out of there!

But all anyone needs to do is come down here. To Barataria, Lafitte, and numerous other small fishing communities in the marshland of southeast Louisiana. Your eyes will burn. You will smell the oil and sheen. Your chest will tighten and your heartbeat will be felt in your head after just a few hours, tops. BP and the government cannot hide this. And it is worsening by tens of thousands of barrels of Louisiana sweet crude and untold thousands of gallons of dispersant every day.


The denials from BP, the Obama administration, the Coast Guard, and other governmental organizations like NOAA are what enrage Tracy more than anything else. In fact, BP is having response workers in Mississippi and Alabama go through metal detectors so they can't even take their cell phones out with them when they go and do their response work.


"We're living here and see this everyday. You can't tell us we don't have the BP cough that we've never had before. It makes us feel like the government thinks we are stupid little toddlers and that concerns me. They are constantly telling us not to be afraid and that is what scares the hell out of me. We shouldn't have to trade our estuary and our kid's lives to protect someone else's investment. We shouldn't have to trade ourselves."


I breach the question of what she and her husband Mike Roberts are going to do. Mike has been shrimping and crabbing here for more than 35 years. His anguish is written all over his face. They know as well as anyone how incredibly toxified their home is now. "How can anyone just leave their home and never come back again," she asks me back. "My grandson cries if he has to leave the bayou. He's been trawling since he was in diapers. This summer he's 12 and was supposed to be learning more navigation skills. Now he can't, so he's like a little lost soul."


Tracy has been working with eco-activists and fisherfolk in all five Gulf states. She says the BP catastrophe has transcended all usual barriers that usually keep people at odds with one another. "This transcends all other issues because everyone must breath this air. We are all connected by this water. And now we're all connected by BP's oil. We all know what's going on. What planet do they live on in Washington D.C.? Not this one. They need to come here and breath this shit everyday and swim in this soup and tell us it's just fine. All the kids around here have rashes, asthma problems, ear infections and the majority of our fishermen are out there working in this stuff 24/7 because it's now the only job in town and they're all getting sick."


The day before, in Chalmette, Louisiana, I spoke with Dr. Riki Ott. Dr. Ott is a marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor who has been monitoring BP's actions and how they are affecting what we know about the damage the oil disaster is causing and threats posed to those working in the polluted zone.


"This is a hazardous waste cleanup," she told me as we sat in the city hall chambers where she was soon to hold a public forum, "BP needs to be evacuating the Gulf coast and paying for that, in addition to costs for relocating people and compensating them for what they've lost."


It is that serious. My eyes still burn and my chest is tight, long after we exited the toxic soup of air and water that is south of New Orleans. Toxic chemicals from dispersed oil and the dispersant itself now permeate all the air, leaves, water and wildlife of the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida and Texas. You are breathing this same air as you read this.



George Washington's picture

Sorry, I've been to busy to do anything but skim first 2 pages ... sea water, poop and yeast? Is that his formula? (No snark intended ... it might be the winning formula)

buzlightening's picture

Crap on! Crap off!  The crapper!!  What is going on, here? Watching the live feed of the BP, and suddenly, I got this. Probably just dus. 


George Washington's picture

The ROVS kick up alot of dust ... they then sit for a minute to let it settle down, and then see if anything is leaking ...

PhD's picture


 Either for the leak, BP, America or the world.


Should we flip a dice?

CPL's picture

How about a coin.


Heads they win, tails you lose.  It's the shape of things now.

Augustus's picture

What he is suggesting is that the major pay zone at the very bottom is putting oil into a sand a few feet above it.  The whole last 1,000 ft section below the last liner is a possible place for the oil to go, except that the logs show a sand zone with some perm slightly above the pay.  In any event, it is about 12,000 ft below the mudline with many sealing layers above it.

Greyzone's picture

Excuse me but you don't know that the upper layers are sealing or not. In fact, discussions here in Houston have suggested otherwise with oil company geologists (not with BP) stating that several of those layers are highly permeable. The situation appears stable but the pressure is not yet at the expected levels. And a leak into an upper layer may or may not be a problem. But just automatically casually dismissing it as you just did raises questions about your objectivity in this situation.

Augustus's picture

OK, I'll excuse you.

There is certainly in the geologic column that is sealing this oil at the pay zone depth.  If it was not originally sealed, it would not have been there.  Then the next question is, if there is a shallower sandy zpne with perm and above the pay, is there oil going into it.  And if there is, why sould it come out?  these rock layers have had 150 - 175 million years to consolidate and there are certainly many shale sections going up the hole.  It is also probable that BP drilled through several small oil and gas sands on the way to the target TD for this one.  Those would have had some type of cap.  In any case, some cross flow or communication at the bottom is not a big deal but could be a little bit of an additional complication for the kill pill.

IF oil does flow into a shallow sand zone, meaning at 10,000 ft or lower, it will follow that sand and spread out.  When the drive from the blowout is stopped, that oil will stay there as there is nothing pushing it any longer.  People confuse the idea of a leak into another formation with the idea of Simmons that there is a leak from the blowout 7 miles away.

Broken_Trades's picture

^^^^^  Agreed.


You have seen the logs?  Do you know where I can look at an offset?  Do you know which company ran logs or LWD for BP on this well?






gasmiinder's picture

Links to the logs have been posted here repeatedly.  Those logs did not show the entire section only the last run below the 95/8 shoe.  Obviously there are significant seals above the reservoir, it exists after all.  The block immediately to the south had gas production from a shallow sand that would now be depleted.  A previous employer of mine owned (25% of) this block as protection acreage while producing that block.  However I do not know whether they believed it extended as far as this well.  So there is at least a possibility of a shallow depleted sand THAT WOULD BE BEHIND THE DRILL LINERS.

I would argue with the suggestion above that the main pay zone is experiencing cross flow into the 20' sand just above it.  My reasoning would be related to the annotations on the log posted.  Based on that presentation they drilled into the 20' sand with heavy mud and began to experience minor losses.  They cut their mud weight and drilled ahead, then cut the mud some more.  About the middle of the thicker package they had "major circulation losses" suggesting to me that the pressure in the lower sand was originally lower than in the sand above.  YES I know that's a lot of assumption from a little bit of data but it's what we've got.  This was an odd reservoir pressure situation to begin with  -  there was a major pressure regression in the reservoir.  Its a puzzle that I wish I had the chance to examine in more detail - maybe in a few years there'll be an SPE & AAPG paper..........

I also believe people are making a lot more of these "pressure readings" than necessary.  The real info is in the buildups and we don't know what those look like - I'm happiest to hear the relief well is back to drilling.  Things are looking up.

Augustus's picture

I also believe people are making a lot more of these "pressure readings" than necessary.  The real info is in the buildups and we don't know what those look like - I'm happiest to hear the relief well is back to drilling.  Things are looking up.


I agree with that about 100%.  Some of this stuff is just a science experiment to prove that they can collect the data.  After they get it, so wht?  Drill the  darned relief well as soon as possible and get the blowout killed.   Every day or hour that the relief well sits there with an open hole is another hour of risk of hole problems with that well.  There are reasons that drilling has to stop and they are unavoidable.  Logging and setting pipe or bit changes come immediately come to mind.  After those reasons I want to keep drilling and circulating and making chips move up the hole hole before something in the formation changes and I end up stuck.  It will be really great if Admiral Allen has to actually explain what the jars are doing on an hourly basis for a couple of days.  At least move on to the next casing point and run it before shutting down drilling again.

Some sort of cross flow at the bottom of the hole will not stop the kill pill.  I suspect that the special lost circulation material and mud additives of Wright will take care of the problem. 

Broken_Trades's picture



These are Schlumberger LWD logs if anyone was wondering.

Very very interesting that they dropped the mud weight from 14 to 12.5 over the reservoir.  Is the first sand at 18070-18100 the sand that they are speculating is taking some of the production? Or is there another sand behind the 9 5/8 casing?


George Washington's picture

Augustus, I did not take fdoleza's comments as hypothesizing that the sand zone flows would ever make it to the seafloor.