BP's Gulf Oil Well Is Leaking Again: "It’s A Dead Ringer For The [BP] Oil, As Good A Match As I’ve Seen" ... "I Think The Primar

George Washington's picture


Leaking Oil Is a "Dead Ringer" For Oil From BP's Gulf Well

The Press-Register reports today:

Scientific analysis has confirmed that oil bubbling up above BP’s sealed Deepwater Horizon well in recent days is a chemical match for the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil that spewed into the Gulf last summer.


The Press-Register collected samples of the oil  about a mile from the well site on Tuesday and provided them to Ed Overton and Scott Miles, chemists with Louisiana State University.


The pair did much of the chemical work used by federal officials to fingerprint the BP oil, known as MC252.


“After examining the data, I think it’s a dead ringer for the MC252 oil, as good a match as I’ve seen,” Overton wrote in an email to the newspaper. “My guess is that it is probably coming from the broken riser pipe or sunken platform. ... However, it should be confirmed, just to make sure there is no leak from the plugged well.”

MC252 is short for Macondo block 252, which is the official designation for the location of last year's BP Gulf oil spill.

Overton is a LSU professor and oil spill expert, who has been a lead NOAA consultant for decades, and who analyzing Macondo oil samples last year for the federal government.

Here is video the Press-Register shot a couple of days ago:

And see this and this.

The Leak Is Associated With BP's Well

The Press-Register reported yesterday:

Oil is once again fouling the Gulf of Mexico around the Deepwater Horizon well, which was capped a little over a year ago. [Deepwater Horizon is the name of the oil drilling rig drilling at BP's Macondo well, the one which exploded and sank last year.]


Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of small, circular patches of oily sheen dotted the surface within a mile of the wellhead. With just a bare sheen present over about a quarter-mile, the scene was a far cry from the massive slick that covered the Gulf last summer.




Floating in a boat near the well site, Press-Register reporters watched blobs of oil rise to the surface and bloom into iridescent yellow patches. Those patches quickly

expanded into rainbow sheens 4 to 5 feet across.


Each expanding bloom released a pronounced and pungent petroleum smell.




“I think the primary source with high probability is associated with the Macondo well,” said Robert Bea, an internationally prominent petroleum engineer and professor emeritus at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. Bea responded to Press-Register questions via email after examining photographs taken by the newspaper.


“Perhaps connections that developed between the well annulus (outside the casing), the reservoir sands about 17,000 feet below the seafloor, and the natural seep fault features” could provide a pathway for oil to move from deep underground to the seafloor, Bea said.

“Looks suspicious. The point of surfacing about 1 mile from the well is about the point that the oil should show up, given the seafloor at 5,000 feet ... natural circulation currents would cause the drift,” Bea said.

We May Never Be Able To Fully Stop the BP Leak

Washington's Blog interviewed Dr. Bea a year ago, and the oil expert noted that we may never be able to fully stop BP's oil leak:

Few people in the world know more about oil drilling disasters than Dr. Robert Bea.


Bea teaches engineering at the University of California Berkeley, and has 55 years of experience in engineering and management of design, construction, maintenance, operation, and decommissioning of engineered systems including offshore platforms, pipelines and floating facilities. Bea has worked for many years in governmental and quasi-governmental roles, and has been a high-level governmental adviser concerning disasters. He worked for 16 years as a top mechanical engineer and manager for Shell Oil, and has worked with Bechtel and the Army Corps of Engineers. One of the world's top experts in offshore drilling problems, Bea is a member of the Deepwater Horizon Study Group, and has been interviewed by news media around the world concerning the BP oil disaster.




WB: Is it possible that this fractured, subsea salt geology will make it difficult to permanently kill the oil leak using relief wells?


Bea: Yes, it could. The Santa Barbara channel seeps are still leaking, decades after the oil well was supposedly capped. This well could keep leaking for years.


Scripps mapped out seafloor seeps in the area of the well prior to the blowout. Some of the natural seeps penetrate 10,000 to 15,000 feet beneath the seafloor. The oil will follow lines of weakness in the geology. The leak can travel several horizontal miles from the location of the leak.


[In other words, the geology beneath the seafloor is so fractured, with soft and unstable salt formations, that we may never be able to fully kill the well even with relief wells. Instead, the loss of containment of the oil reservoir caused by the drilling accident could cause oil to leak out through seeps for years to come. See this and this for further background].




WB: I have heard that BP is underestimating the size of the oil reservoir (and see this). Is it possible that the reservoir is bigger than BP is estimating, and so - if not completely killed - the leak could therefore go on for longer than most assume?


Bea: That's plausible.


WB: The chief electronics technician on the Deepwater Horizon said that the Macondo well was originally drilled in another location, but that "going faster caused the bottom of the well to split open, swallowing tools", and that BP abandoned that well. You've spoken to that technician and looked into the incident, and concluded that “they damn near blew up the rig.” [See this and this].


Do you know where that abandoned well location is, and do you know if that well is still leaking?


Bea: The abandoned well is very close to the current well location. BP had to file reports showing the location of the abandoned well and the new well [with the Minerals Management Service], so the location of the abandoned well is known.

We don't know if the abandoned well is leaking.


WB: Matthew Simmons talked about a second leaking well. There are rumors on the Internet that the original well is still leaking. Do you have any information that can either disprove or confirm that allegation?


Bea: There are two uncorroborated reports. One is that there is a leak 400 feet West of the present well's surface location. There is another report that there is a leak several miles to the West.


[Bea does not know whether either report is true at this time, because BP is not sharing information with the government, let alone the public.]

Indeed, in June of 2010, BP officials admitted to damage beneath the seafloor, and numerous scientists have speculated that the blowout and subsequent clumsy attempts by BP to plug the well could have created new seeps, and made pre-existing natural seeps bigger.

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chinawholesaler's picture

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Colorado14er's picture

I remember how I was not surprised at all when the Gulf spill happened, as BP had numerous spills here in Alaska in the years leading up to the big Gulf spill.  The reason?  Simple (and utter negligent) lack of maintenance of the pipelines carrying the oil to the big Alaska pipeline.  They repeatedly lied about that, too. 

BP had been the laughingstock here long before the gulf oil spill and no one (except our inept legislators, of course) trusted them at all.

So the MSM and BP say that there is not a new leak... gee, I wonder who I believe. 

Shell Game's picture

Great reporting, GW.  Seems the MSM is sensitive to the 'bad news exhaustion' of their sheep audience.  Can't have tiresome old stories eat away at the ongoing 'economic healing' (nice one, BB).  Milk and cookies to the masses!

fyrebird's picture

The well will have to seal itself naturally, or else run out of oil to ooze under pressure.

We can probably assume this thing will be leaking oil into the GoM for a hundred years.

csmith's picture

Ah, yea:


  BP BP: US Coastguard confirmed earlier that Macondo 252 well head not leaking (38.27 +0.80)
Click here for news release. (Coast Guard report out ~15 min ago)
Read more: http://www.briefing.com/platinum/InDepth/InPlay.htm#ixzz1W9WklhEq

Dr. Acula's picture

And the only solution: drain it fast.

If justice worked in this country, BP would be incentivized to build additional wells for this purpose.

Ruffcut's picture

Good job, GW.

I think the spill pails to fukushima rads, all over the planet.

I am getting to enjoy preoiled gulf shrimp anyway.

JW n FL's picture

GW.. look for sedans and helicopters.. you are FANTASTIC!!!

Tunga's picture

Not one well. No not two wells. Yea three wells were drilled at that site. Each one more catastrophic than the last. Is the salt dome theory based on the mud logs that BP had destroyed? 

The first video returned from the ocean bottom showed a pipe bent at 90 degrees to the sea-floor spewing crude. No sign of the 900 thousand pound blowoff preventer anywhere. Just a single bent pipe sticking out of the ground.

Then a week later we see pictures from a different well also spewing.

The 252 site was leaking oil months before the rig exploded and sank. BP prevented the oil from reaching the surface by injecting Corexit into the flow right above the break. The bottom of the GOM is covered with oil. This is why no Hurricanes have made landfall in the Gulf since before the catastrophe. Oil from these leaks and another one just like it off the Southeastern seaboard will prevent "Irene" from making landfall on the east coast. Not that DC won't get flooded but the storm will dissipate before it gets that far north. 

Shineola's picture

It's very easy to wreck a cement job. A little bit of the right kind of contamination and the mixture never solidifies.  At that point, it does not matter if it was sabotage or sloppiness, a high pressure well bore under a mile of salt water is never going to get fixed. 

Makes that easy oil in Lybia all the more attractive.  

Tunga's picture

"A little bit of the right kind of contamination " - Shineola

HA!  Did you mean seawater? Because you know like seawater and Concrete are so compatible. Not.

vast-dom's picture

You are insane and/or a moron. That storm would pass over miles of stretches of bodies of pure oil no problem.

Tunga's picture

Thanks  vast-dom. Tunga was beginning to wonder.

Tunga's picture

Look for Irene to fall apart just after it passes over the gulf stream. 


FlyPaper's picture

I don't get how this link supports your hypothesis that surface or sub-surface oil impacts hurricane direction or formation.   It shows the temperature of the gulf stream; which the weather guys know; and it may well indicate a drop in storm strength due to cooler waters - but HI/LO pressure over the continent will impact storm direction.



Tunga's picture

"If I can make it here I can make it anywhere." - Keys - New York


Count the number of Climate models that use deep ocean currents in their calc's. Ya. Umm humm. What does not exist is not counted eh?


rsnoble's picture

I hope the hurricane stirs up a big mess of shit that BP sunk and covers wall street and the whitehouse with it.  

palmereldritch's picture

And this continual leak at Macondo has absolutely nothing to do with recent fault line activity....

Negro Primero's picture

Sorry for George,,, but this BP story it's just another -and recycled- BS Conspiracy Theory...




oops..10 junks!  go on hahaha...'cause as they say... "Irony It's Not Just For Smart People Anymore" 

pendejos, ha!

toxic8's picture

maybe something about the way you wrote it, the sarcasm didn't catch immediately.. unjunked you & I did actually read the site, and bookmarked it.



Negro Primero's picture


...11 now

one more pendejo, thanks!

SilverDosed's picture

Obvious paid shill is obvious. Say that to anyone who lives here on the coast and witnessed the insanity, corruption, cover-up, and devestation and you wont just get your ass kicked, you'll probably find your ass wrapped in chains and tossed in the gulf. If you're not a paid shill, then you are either an incredibly stupid, or incredibly evil person. Either way you can go die in a fire.

Negro Primero's picture

..and i just could tell you to go an fuck yourself....but i'll give u a chance: did you read the article? ...really?...got the irony?..sure? uhmm...(same for the other 19 or so pendejos.. hahaha!)

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Never underestimate the power of the kneejerk.

New American Revolution's picture

Somebody explain to me why they can't drill a new well from miles away if necessary to avoid the salt dome and come at the reservoir horizontally to drain it of oil and reduce the pressure on the fractured dome.    I'm not going to say that it will be cheap, but if BP wants to play they gotta pay or get the fuck out of the oil business.  I'd put them right on the hook for this one and not demand $20 billion while giving them a $20 billion tax credit like ol' stepin fetchit.

Urban Roman's picture

That soft crumbly rock already has enough holes drilled in it.

[edit] The idea of putting the formation into production is what they will probably do. Recall that there were 2 relief wells drilled, and one of them was plugged and abandoned when the other finished. The blown out well was pumped full of drilling mud and concrete. (apparently the now-leaking oil is going through cracks outside the casing) ... They can reopen the second relief well as a production well, though I wouldn't hold much hope of it immediately stopping the leaks.

gasmiinder's picture

It is possible to drill a new well and drain the reservoir (don't need to be miles away).  In fact it is the only solution at this point.  Draining the reservoir would remove the energy that drives the oil to the surface.  You don't even have to have BP do it - oil companies would line up if given the right to drain the reservoir.

It would however require old hopenchange to have his henchmen allow or encourage it.  Which would mean giving up such a wonderful source of political capital..............................and given the current approach to permitting would require a couple of years to get the process moving.

And just to combine information into one soon to be massively junked comment - the amount of oil shown here is not terribly damaging to the environment (the GOM naturally receives and naturally removes large amounts of oil from seeps).  It is a big worry that the flowrate may increase.

Confused's picture

You'd also have to get the oil out faster than is probably possible.

Whats the wells estimated life? How fast can you get it out (with in reason to prevent further damage) and where to put it all?

I'm all for a solution. But none of these assholes care.

boiltherich's picture

That is the problem isn't it?  You would need probably 4 or 5 wells pumping at capacity for years to make the first dent in the pressure Macondo is under.  This "solution" is akin to trying to pierce the Yellowstone magma chamber to try to prevent a super eruption, it can't be done.  What might work, and I stress might, would be a dome over the seep points that capture seeped oil and pump it to shore for disposal.  It need not be rigid, it could be made of fiberglass panels inside Kevlar "pillowcases" sewn together, but it would have to be pretty large. 

But the level of oil showing up now is not really worth any major intervention, the real risk is that the pressurized oil could find it's way out in a real gusher that makes even the well blowout look small, in fact that is an actual eventuality, given enough time it will force it's way out in ever larger amounts till the pressure is equalized.  They still are totally mystified as to the fate of all that oil that escaped earlier, and I am afraid the forces of evil are using that disappearing act to say that oil spills are not a big deal, the environment has it's own ways of dealing with them. 

I don't know about the life of Macondo, only that the oil was discharged at much higher pressure than they were expecting.  Even though that is our oil, the people that is, it is a government lease, the facts of the reserves are pretty much a corporate secret.  I am pretty sure though that it would not have been drilled, or would have been done a lot differently, had they known just what pressure they would be confronting.  One thing is crystal clear though, our gulf deposits are far larger than anybody ever thought they were, and they will create the technology to economically and safely retrieve oil at that depth, then we will find out how much is down there, it could be as great as any deposit on the planet. 

By the way, I checked Google news for Macondo and as of an hour ago BP and the government say that video feeds show it is not leaking, but I have tried for days to find the feeds from the ROV cameras that used to put a live feed on the net during the blowout, it appeared they had removed them, but according to the news the ROVs are still down there and functional, just not showing the public what is happening on the seafloor.  I wonder if they show live feeds from the wellhead and say "see it is not leaking," that we will believe them that the oil is not Macondo.  The seep can be miles from the well and they better be looking into capture methods because it will eventually blow. 

gasmiinder's picture

You would need probably 4 or 5 wells pumping at capacity for years to make the first dent in the pressure Macondo is under

Do you have any information to support such a notion?  These wells would flow rather than require pumping and they would put a 'dent' in the pressure very quickly.  Average reserve life in most Gulf reservoirs is 5 years.  That's to pull them down significantly.

I don't know about the life of Macondo, only that the oil was discharged at much higher pressure than they were expecting

What makes you think the pressure was unexpected?  I can assure you they knew what the reservoir pressure.  The blowout occurred because BP was unbelievably negligent not because there was any lack of knowledge about the pressures.

Even though that is our oil, the people that is, it is a government lease, the facts of the reserves are pretty much a corporate secret

Well no - the logs are public information due to the data release to Congress.  Anyone who owns the 3D seismic over the lease (many companies) can take the released data and make a very good estimate of the original reserves.  Since we don't know how much was released there will be uncertainty in the remaining producible reserves but not very much.  It's pretty clear from the discussions at the time of the discovery that 50-100 million barrels was what they believed could be in the reservoir.


Tunga's picture

"the logs are public information" - gasmiinder

Really? You mean the 3D models mapped out by HAARP and the Norwegians back in the late '80's? Or do you mean the mud logs provided to BP based on the actual drillings on the scene?

Either way you're full of shit. Show us the Models made by the whole earth tomography survey. Ya. NO fucking way pal. Not happening unless you show up with a couple trillion payoff bucks. 

And the actual mudlogs that show the first well went down to 30 thousand feet?

Or perhaps the seismic records for the day they detonated a micro nuke in the so called "bottom kill" event that cost the Coast Guard Admiral his job and reputation?

Ya. Get the fuck out. A few facts gasmiinder, maybe you should get some.  

gasmiinder's picture

Lay off the chemicals dude..........................

TaxSlave's picture

Just keep drilling and keep pumping.  They will eventually come to this conclusion.  Unfortunately, that would have undesirable effects on plans for middle eastern wars and the impoverishment of the U.S.  So maybe they'll decide the leak is preferable to the despoliation of their grand plans.

Cult of Criminality's picture

Is this one of those planted stories ?

BP,Washington and Cnbc said its fine ,its capped no worries,Those names you can trust ! Its all about your bar-b-que grill and You and your animals flaccid flatulence.

If I used those three for market direction > short on truth, long on lies.

 Cheers and good day

Thanks for the update George.

Drag Racer's picture

no, you can not trust any of those names. They are all proven to lie.

Our Gov. always uses the reasoning that if you have nothing to hide then why worry about the snooping into our private lives. Then by that reasoning I want to know why there is a media blackout of the ongoings in the gulf????????

Drag Racer's picture

Thank you for the work but watch yourself GW.

The Mysterious Deaths of Nine Gulf Oil Spill Whistleblowers


SwingForce's picture

Dr. Morrissey, shot 4/6/2010 isn't that BEFORE the well blew out?

BetTheHouse's picture

Uh ... just a totally wild guess here, but I'm pretty sure the powers that be are not too too worried about GW.  In fact, given that he provides them cover by claiming EVERY SINGLE THING THAT EVER HAPPENS is a conspiracy, they probably love him, to the extent they think at all about people posting wild eyed nonsense from the safety of their parents' basement.  But again, that's just a crazy guess. Could be that his name regularly comes up in the President's national security briefings. 

Bob's picture

What a trip.  Then there are all the implausible charges against people with child porn inexplicably--they say--"found" on their computers.  Child internet porn charges carry "strict liability"--if it's on your computer, you're guilty per se.  No defense, end of story. 

This could all, however implausible, be coincidence.  And it could be DHS/FBI jobs:


BTW, this would indicate, imo, that there is no question whether or not ZH and its readers are under "continuing investigation." 

Shell Game's picture

The new face of warfare for trouble-makers to the State?  OpSec, people..

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Hook Line and Sphincter