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ROV attempting to activate Deepwater Horizon Blowout Preventer

Posted on May 17, 2010 by bp complaints

New Deepwater Horizon images:

ROV attempting to activate Deepwater Horizon Blowout Preventer
Deepwater Horizon
Image by uscgd8

Deepwater Horizon
Image by uscgd8

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – MODIS/Terra Detail (with interpretation), May 1, 2010
Deepwater Horizon
Image by SkyTruth

0 to “ROV attempting to activate Deepwater Horizon Blowout Preventer”

  1. hoodyz_r_us says:

    My take away from the 60 minutes story, money, money, money.
    No regulation. Free business. No government oversight.
    Big corporate presidents sitting behind desks sending out the word to maximize profits and drill more more more faster faster faster.
    This is what happens when business is allowed to run wild.
    I thought the banking industry and wall street already taught us a lesson a few years ago, guess the lesson was never learned.
    Lessons not learned in blood are often forgotten.
    Instead of trying to regulate these companies with one hand tied around their balls due to lobby money, politicians need to pass something to crack down heavy on business and corporate greed. What other time bombs are sitting out in the gulf waiting to go off?

    As for the 70mil gal/day. I doubt this highly. While being a record, it is also probably a physical impossibility But what I would like to know is how much an entirely uncapped well would produce if it was left to sit.

  2. DIVERDAN2354 says:

    Kenbobb : Pudue guy said 70,000 barrels per day. One BP offcial categorically said "no way". Bet we know in a couple days.

  3. 220mph says:

    what a silly set of comments hoodyz … no regulation? no govt oversite? Businessesses allowed to run wild?

    How ridiculous …

    There are certainly plenty of reasons for concern and improvement in oversite and in emergency preparedness but your claims are simply not remotely supported by the facts

    Those facts are the industry on the whole – especially considering the hostile and difficult environment they work in – is extraordinarily safe overall

  4. 220mph says:

    several comments from industry insiders I know from about 2 weeks ago:

    First off, the public and the media continue to confuse drilling rigs and production platforms. There are ~3,500 production platforms in the GOM, some of them are steel towers standing on the seafloor and some are floating and anchored facilities in deepwater. The deepest non-floating platform is in slightly more than 1000′ of water.

    Even through the 2004-2005-2008 series of Ivan, Katrina, Rita, and Ike, little oil was spilled into the Gulf even with dozens of platforms destroyed and pipelines damaged. The safety systems in place in the drilling and production industry have been continually modernized and USUALLY work like a charm.

    There are less than 200 rigs working in the GOM today, jack-ups on the shelf and semi-submersibles and drillships in deepwater. There are more people qualified to pilot a modern fighter jet aircraft than there are working as a Driller on a deepwater drilling rig. It is specialized, dangerous work and demands attention to detail.

    The cause of the explosion is still unclear…11 men lost their lives in this accident and, unfortunately, they were the ones on the drill floor, in the shaker house, and at the BOP controls. The MMS is asking us (deepwater operating companies) what we will do differently? We’ve told them that until we understand what happened here, all we can do is follow safe operating practices.

    Piecing together a whole lot of second, third, and fourth-hand info, it appears as if the accident was the result of a shortcut or two, combined with blind bad fortune…a "perfect storm" (I have come to really hate that term).

    To experience a blowout like this, at this point in a well’s operations is almost unheard of.

    They had already set and cemented casing to total depth and were probably less than a couple days from moving off to the next prospect. BP is an operator who spends a whole lot of time and energy focusing on safety. IMO, however, people working for them often become immune to problems because they are overloaded with trivial and meaningless "safety" issues and lose focus on the big picture.

    The accident happened the day before most of the drilling crew and service company hands were due to go home. After 14 (or more) days offshore, too often workers minds are not on the job at hand. Historically, there is a graphable spike in incidents the day before crew change.

    The other "problem" I’ve observed with BP over the years is they are overly prone to paralysis through analysis…they will study things and pursue a single course of action doggedly before trying something else. They have been trying for over a week to use ROV’s (remotely-operated vehicles) to shut the blowout preventers. It’s not working.

    How about trying something else? The oil is leaking from three separate spots, why not use a saw on one of the ROV’s to cut off the damaged riser and try to get all the oil escaping from a single point? It would be much easier to attack and might even allow the well to bridge itself off. Why did it take over a week to get a relief well started. The first couple of weeks worth of activity would be the exact same as almost every well they’ve drilled and anyone in the industry would have helped provide BP with wellheads, casing, anything they need since this accident will devastate all of us collectively. Maybe involving the military, commanders who are used to making a snap decision and living with it, will help.

    BP and their partners in the Mississippi Canyon 252 lease, Anadarko Petroleum and Mitsui Oil Exploration, will foot the bill for the cleanup, estimated at over $6MM/day and rising. They had been containing things within some limits as the weather was cooperating. Today, and through the weekend, the winds and seas are going to get much worse and oil is undoubtedly going to impact the marshlands around the mouth of the Mississippi river. With some luck they will be able to keep it from the beaches in Alabama and NW Florida.

    There are wild rumors circulating the industry, that the explosion was an act of sabotage, that somehow environmental terrorists are responsible…trying to shut down drilling and especially expansion of areas open to offshore exploration. These are crap…but there is an underlying nugget of truth. Too many people want us to not explore and drill for oil and natural gas, don’t want us to import it from overseas, and don’t want to cut our use of fossil fuels, or pay the costs to develop and use alternative sources. This is an equation which cannot work. As long as we are beholden to the use of hydrocarbon-based fuels, we need to safely explore, drill, and produce oil and natural gas.

    For those who still don’t like the idea of drilling and producing offshore, I suggest you look at that list of the world’s worst oil spills.

    The majority do not involve drilling and production, tanker accidents like the Exxon Valdez spill the most oil by far, but you don’t hear the government talking about banning tanker traffic do you?

  5. budderflyman says:

    Well, I found the Purdue guy’s comments a bit puzzling, but wondered why a guy who has written a textbook on gas flow measurement could be so far off. And I stand corrected, he DID say 70,000 BARRELS a day, not 70 million gallons. I think I need to get some sleep.

    220mph, that is a very well written, very well thought out comment. Thanks.

  6. 220mph says:

    and ….

    …. there is usually a "dead-man’s switch" or similar setup in the control system for the BOP’s. The BOP stack in deepwater consists of multiple components. The easiest to actuate and the least effective against a blowout is the annnular or "Hydril". It is a huge rubber element that can be closed against the pipe by pressure.

    Next in the line are the pipe rams, capable of sealing metal on metal against the pipe. There are usually several sizes of pipe rams, to accomodate the various sizes of drill pipe you may have in the hole.

    The end of the line is the shear ram. It SHOULD be capable of shearing through any pipe in the hole and closing off any flow coming from the well. The shear ram is what would normally be actuate by a kill or deadmans switch.

    There are rumors to the effect that BP had required Transocean to lock-out the system so it could not be accidentally tripped during operations. I can’t imagine this is true…if it is, BP will be a bankrupt shell by the time the lawyers get through with them.

    IMO, what probably happened is that a string of pipe which could not be sheared by the shear rams was in the stack when the accident happened. It happens more often than you might think. Because of the huge weight of the long casing strings, you often have to run them in the hole on what is termed a landing string. This is normally a heavier, thicker walled pipe with very high tensile strength.

    Because BP had finished landing and cementing the casing they may well have still had the landing string in the hole when the accident happened. If this pipe is still caught in the stack, perhaps crimped and restricting the flow, who knows what opening the rams might do to the flow…

    Systems similar to what was described are used in production arrangements. SCSSV’s (subsurface control subsea safety valves) and other "Smart" valves can be part of the system. In drilling though, the pipe is rotating and although people have worked on wired pipe, it is not practical (yet). Communication though the drilling operation with downhole tools is done through a mud pulse telemetry which would not be quick enough in an emergency.

    The failure of the BOP stack to seal the well is a critical factor which must be answered. However, the underlying cause of the blowout is the most curious element of the accident.

    In normal operations, there would be an infintesimally small chance of this happening.

    BP had experienced losses of circulation in the weeks before the accident. This happens all the time, where the "mud" in the hole is too heavy, especially when you are pumping it, for the formations strength. It can usually be healed by lowering the weight of the mud, pumping less vigorously, or by pumping LCM (lost circulation material) to clog up the losses.

    With this loss zone very close to the bottom of the well it is increasing likely that they got a compromised cement job…in spite of what Halliburton is saying. It is true that the casing and cement were subjected to a positive test (pressured up on the closed in wellbore), but they MAY not have been negatively tested.

    We know that they had not yet set the surface plug, but that they were apparently preparing (or had begun) to displace the riser (the large diameter [22"] pipe connecting the rig to the BOP/wellhead to seawater. Replacing 14.0 ppg mud with 8.6 ppg seawater substantially lowers the hydrostatic load on the wellbore.

    This negative test MAY have caused the float equipment in the casing shoe to fail, and if the cement job was compromised…here comes the oil and gas.

    You mentioned the idea of staging more equipment and responders. This is part of the industry’s preparedness, and it has worked well prior to this event. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, mobilization of massive amounts of equipment and personnel enabled the industry to recover from devastation w/o significant impact to the environment.

    The equipment and techniques though are rooted in shallower water operations.

    A blowout of this magnitude, in this water depth, is pretty much unheard of. The deepwater rigs and crews are the cream of the crop. It is clear we need to be better prepared to fight this type of incident as more and more of the industry activity and production moves into deepwater.

    My personal opinion is that the government will now raise the bonding requirements and insurance requirements on companies wishing to be an operator offshore, especially in the deepwater. Not just anyone can go out, lease a rig and drill a well.

    The net effect will be to drive out some of the smaller, careful operators and leave only those with the deepest pockets…when it was one of them who caused this event.

    We, as an industry, can also likely say good-bye to the potential to drill in areas outside the established areas of the GOM. I hope I’m wrong on that, but it would not be a surprise.

  7. Petroleum Engineer1 says:

    Darcy’s law.

    Study this Hoodyz and the answer can be had.

    Darcy’s law is a simple proportional relationship between the instantaneous discharge rate through a porous medium, the viscosity of the fluid and the pressure drop over a given distance.

    The total discharge, Q (units of volume per time, e.g., ft³/s or m³/s) is equal to the product of the permeability (κ units of area, e.g. m²) of the medium, the cross-sectional area (A) to flow, and the pressure drop (Pb − Pa), all divided by the dynamic viscosity μ (in SI units e.g. kg/(m·s) or Pa·s), and the length L the pressure drop is taking place over.

    Assumptions on permeability, sand thickness, etc. Will have to be done. BP is privvy to this information since the open hole logs have already been taken and analyzed. They have reported that this well would produce 60,000 BPD so perhaps this is a decent number for AOF. AOF is the flowrate with the maxiumum pressure drop. Yet remember the riser isn’t capable of withstanding much burst pressure and so there is not much pressure drop to be gained there. It must be somewhere else and perhaps that is in the kink in the drill pipe. A junk shot wouldn’t effect the pressure drop there.

    If everyone understood this the great angst over the riser exploding wouldn’t still be going on.

    The riser can’t hold so little internal pressure as to be on the brink of exploding as the riser’s burst rating is so low, and at the same time unleash a far greater torrent of flow by bursting at this low pressure. A more understandable way of saying this might be, that the riser can’t be both capable of holding so little pressure and yet holding back so much, at the same time. Can’t have that both ways.

    It is surprising that this illogical argument has survived such seemingly diligent analysis in this group. The flowrate increase from the riser exploding is a function of the pressure the kink in the riser is now holding back. The riser and subsea equipment expert(s) in here all agree this burst pressure is critically low. Thus the flowrate increase from this riser bursting would also, yes, be low. And proportional to the total pressure drop from the sand to the most remote spill point away from the wellbore.

    All the subsea engineering experience in here is great, yet it isn’t enough to help with open flow potential issues such as the result of the riser exploding.

    This illogical notion that the riser exploding would unleashed the full flow potential of this well, hasn’t infested the thinking of those that know best. The only holdup for the junk shot and top kill will be the mechanical complications of getting connected to the choke and kill lines.

  8. hoodyz_r_us says:

    I know the answer is in Darcys law. But I just can’t provide the missing blanks like permeability and thickness. I don’t have the knowledge of wells to provide this, so my input would be useless. While petroleum engineers know the wells very well and the equations that go in tandem, I take a different approach of just looking at the fluid flow inside the pipes itself. While I am not an expert on fluid flow, I know enough fluid mechanics and I don’t foresee bursting riser.

    Just trying to grasp what you say. This is how I took it. The riser has a very low burst pressure meaning the wellhead pressure has to be pretty low right now otherwise it would have burst already. If we started cutting the riser apart, the flow wouldn’t increase much because the wellhead pressure is already very low?

  9. Horizon37 says:

    They have already done wireline formation evaluations on this well, BP has stated that this well is capable of producing 60,000bpd with a 3,000scf/bbl gas cut, the actual production will probably be much less because they will be producing through step down chokes to limit hydrate formation in the production systems.

    There are already too many superfluous regulations on the drilling industry, it is these very regulations that make a BOP stack alone so complex it boggles the mind. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. And the more complex you make something the more likely it is to fail.

    As far as profits? the oil companies have some of the lowest profit margins in the business world, between 2 and 4 percent. They make a lot of money because they sell a lot of oil, they also spend 100s of billions a year getting it. Their cost of doing business is the highest in the world., next to the idiots we have that run the country.

  10. Petroleum Engineer1 says:

    Just look at the pressure terms.

    Solve the equation in in terms of k and h, cross check this with the flowrates reported anywhere except 60 minutes, use your knowledge of fluid dynamics and the fact that the TD mud weight was 14? So the sand pore pressure is likely ?~13.5 ppg or as someone suggested higher due to the fact that this well isn’t exactly dead by anyone’s account.

    I’m extremely busy or else I would have already done this. This is more than I’ve done so far. Perhaps I can muster a better effort in the morning. Point is if BP hasn’t already done this iteration ad nauseum it would be a shock, yet…

    Horizon: agreed the oil companies have low profit margins. Not really sure those are bragging rights. I do defend vehemently oil companies against the demonization at the hands of outsiders. The worst one I heard couple of years ago is that they spend all the money buying back stock instead of drilling. Maybe now those people understand how complicated drilling is and why the oil companies take years to plan drilling programs. They need the extra cash. Easy for outsiders to say. Would they risk millions that if it doesn’t produce means their money is buried miles under dirt? I hate slanderous demonization from any group or people. Really rampant. Seems a carryover from the civil war days to me. North/South. Buy your cotton therefore buy our merchandise or else we’ll pass a tariff. Regional justice is almost as disgusting as partisan politics. Putrid stuff.

  11. AlEngineer says:


    You say that the kink in the riser is holding the flow back.

    I guess the kink is where the riser is folded back over on itself.
    Isn’t there also a kink in the drill pipe there?
    If the annulars are sealed, why wouldn’t it actually be the kink in the drill pipe instead of the riser, holding the bulk of the flow back?

  12. Petroleum Engineer1 says:

    AlEngineer: My point exactly.

    Also, Horizon: no argument there partially. Except the need for something more than blind rams. Also great is the enemy that seeks entry into our prized halls for plunder, yet there is an even greater enemy. This one is already inside. Yes, the enemy within, that left to it’s own devices, desires nothing more than to do everything it desires instead of the strong and right moral compass of desiring to do everything it ought to do.

    Government 101: protect from enemies outside the borders and the criminals within, and levee taxes to do both. With this being said I think we don’t need more government, just better government. Loop holes have crippled this great country.

    Leaders of the future will desire to do everything they ought to and nothing they shouldn’t instead of doing everything they want and nothing they don’t have to.

  13. hoodyz_r_us says:

    If BP had it’s choice, there would no rules at all. They spend millions lobbying Congress to get less oversight. Less oversight means less hurdles and obstacles to go around when drilling for more oil. It is in their best interest to see that they bring up as much oil as possible to increase revenue. If they can find a way to take a shortcut and do things quicker, it will increase revenue.

    The BOP damage was allowed to go unreported. Dead pods, leaks, ram modifications, the whole 9 yards.
    Mud was allowed to be displaced with seawater after the plugs were done. All this went unregulated by any current regulation, unless BP broke laws, in which case we need to step up enforcement. And the reason it was done is because revenue was #1 on the mind. These guys make money hand over fist and they want more.
    $11 billion in profit not enough? That is the most profit ever made by a company in a single quarter. Profit margin doesn’t mean anything when you are raking in $11 billion. Who cares if they make $111 billion and spend $100 billion producing it. They still made $11 billion either way.

    I find it concerning when a VP behind a desk, who might have been a driller at one point in his career, is blinded by the money and bonuses echoing from the top and starts issuing dangerous orders. These orders go against the best judgment of the drillers on the rig who are concerned about safety. All the driller can do is go along with the orders and hope for safety. And most of these orders don’t follow any regulation, the decisions are up to the company to make.

    What did they just show on 60 minutes. Transocean’s guy says mud, BP overpowers and says seawater to save time and money. Straight out of the mouth of a guy who was on the rig. And you’ve got to believe him because we know they did place seawater into the drill pipe eventually. Who ordered this doesn’t matter, all that matters is that it was done to save time and money. This order came directly from the top VP’s who are pressuring everyone underneath, make more money, make more money. These shortcuts might work once or twice, but eventually they will come back to haunt you somewhere.

  14. 220mph says:

    hoodyz … BP is on the hook for hundreds of millions in damages … NO COMPANY is going to take that risk intentionally and knowingly …

    The entire 60 minutes show appears to be based on one individuals comments … which they carefully craft using "experts" into what they portray as absolute fact

    They may or may not be in the wrong in the end … there is evidence they chose unconventional methods and made bad decisions … whether those caused the accident or not remains to be seen …

    And alst youir comments that profit margins are meaningless shows we can’t really take your comments on this in any way seriously … profit margins … return on capital etc – are extremely important … a company like BP or Exxon requires gigantic expenditures – in highly speculative investments …

    The dollar amount of their profits is meaningless …. they could have made 4 to 5% by simply investing that money in safe market investments … they did not … they chose extremely dangerous and speculative investment in trying to find, recover and provide the fossil fuels we depend on as a modern world

    Your life would be dramatically different – far worse – without the efforts and risk taking of companies like this

    And your diatribes ignore the OVERALL safety record … I believe earlier in this thread it was noted out of something leik 4000 wells there were just 14 signifcant failures … an 0.87% failure rate or soemthing like that if I recall

    Knee jerk responses like your – that ignore the data and the facts – the overall record and history – are why everything costs so much these days

    The legislators and regulators wil respond like the buffoons they too often are and slap massive restriction on drillers – also ignoring the overall safety record and in the end accomplish little meaningful; reform

    There SHOULD and WILL be a detailed review of the circumstances actions and decisions …. and out of that SOME new restrictions are proper … most important of tehse are emergency response plans and staged equipment for same … whcih should be an indutry wide commitment …

    There should NOT be knee jerk responses driven by other agendas – that ignore the facts and realities

    And last of all you should knwo full well that trusting CBS – especially 60 Minutes … or the main stream media on the whole – for any accurate or meaningful coverage … is the biggest error that can be made

    If you have CONSTRUCTIVE criticism fine, but please take your mindless industry bashing attacks someplace else ….

  15. Petroleum Engineer1 says:

    Hoodyz: Profit isn’t evil. Money is a gauge of services rendered. Serving others is good. Profit isn’t the problem. The media is always demonizing business and the oil companies. Lending money to help others is good. Producing oil to allow people to travel God’s great world is good. Yet both of these great industries are demonized. Just pass good regulations. Ones that everyone would agree to. This requires smart, knowledgeable regulators not skilled politicians pandering to the highest bidder.

    Misallocating funds is the problem. That is stealing or theft. That is a crime. If funds should be allocated to a safety issue and aren’t, that is evil. If the government doesn’t have a law or there exists a loop hole then it isn’t a crime. Yet it still isn’t right. Better government makes better laws. That make things that are wrong a crime. And they make things that are right legal. Laws that no one in the industry in their right mind would argue against. We all want to go home to our families and to the beach in safety and enjoyment.

  16. Horizon37 says:

    Let me explain this one more freaking time.

    There is 2,236psi hydrostatic pressure at the seabed from the 5,000ft of seawater, in order for the oil to even begin to flow a dribble out of the well, it has to exceed this pressure, that is plain physics and common sense.
    Without a high pressure in one area and a corresponding lower pressure opposite it there is no flow, unless by gravity.

    This well is flowing 5,000bpd estimated but its probably pretty close, within a 100bls per day plus or minus. and it is doing it through a pinched shut pipe and possibly a partially closed BOP, although I doubt the BOP is restricting very much, because if the pipe rams were only open a 1/2" inch it would be a larger flow area than a pinched shut riser and drill pipe that’s in it.
    Not even including the ‘U’-tube effect back pressure on the well of the up and downhill of the riser that’s floating 1,500ft off the seabed.

    The way I can tell this is that, even at it’s highest flow rate out of the riser it only occupies 18% of the space in the top of the riser and only jets out at a velocity that is sufficient to project it 20 or so inches from the end of the riser before it turns upwards, most of the time it’s way less than that. This is about what you would see with a 150gpm pump out of a 4" line in a swimming pool pumping dirty water so you could see it.

  17. Petroleum Engineer1 says:

    Of course there is flow and this is because of pressure differential. And if the riser explodes the 2236 psi hydrostatic pressure at the seabed from the 5,000 ft of seawater is still there. And of course the flow would increase. It is only the amount in question. I read your U tube explaination, yet the flaw in your logic is that it isn’t a U tube. A U tube requires a "closed" system. There is a hole downstream of the kink, or so they say, spilling a smaller amount of oil. This makes it an "open" system, and not a U tube.

    The only pressure lost would be the pressure built up below the kink. This pressure could not have already exceeded the burst pressure of this riser. Everyone here can plainly see you are an expert on risers, wellheads, rig equipment and an enviable amount of assorted other things and general knowledge, and you have stated on this thread that this burst pressure is 800 psi. I think it is higher. Perhaps 1400 psi (you tell me; guessing your either a toolpusher or a subsea engineer? either one, you have a high IQ, and I value your opinion on the riser, wellhead, rig equipment, etc. yet not everything). Either way, and no matter the accuracy of the actual burst resistance of this riser, it is compromised due to damage, as we all agree. And so is the amount of actual pressure the riser might be holding at this moment in time.

    So another attempt at explaining my point. If the riser bursts, the amount of added flow will only increase due to a pressure less that 1400 psi and probably much less due to its damaged condition. This isn’t going to quadruple, triple, nor double, the flowrate or else Darcy will roll over in his grave. No way around the logic.

    There are people that understand this riser exploding issue whether you know it or want them to. If you don’t now, consider yourself fortunate to know the things you do, and let it go. There are limits to your understanding.

    And remember even if we all hold our breath the seawater still weighs 2236 psi and it will still be pushing down on the oil, even if the riser blasts into an orbit. And this well will still be spilling for 90 days to drill a relief well or until the junk shot and top kill are pumped.

    All of us will soon find that most of the flow is coming from the drillpipe and the reason it isn’t flowing more than 5,000 BPD is that there is 3-1/2" drill pipe on the bottom 800′ or so of the drillstring and the top kill will stop this completely. In order for the flowrate to reach the potential of 60,000 BPD that BP reported is for the Delta P term to increase 12 times. If the reservoir pressure is 13.5 ppg at 17,800′ or 12,500 psi. If this well was mainly flowing up the casing (9-5/8") and not the drillpipe, any sensible person here would see clearly this 60,000 BPD flowrate would already be achieved and that riser would be standing straight up in the air 75′ above sea level or else completely blown away from the wellhead by the pressure of that amount of flow. The only way for 12,500 psi of reservoir pressure to be dissipated prior to the wellhead is if it is mainly flowing through the drillpipe. If the junk shot plugs the riser and it explodes thte main flowrate is thus not going to increase a substantial amount. The majority of the flowrate is actually, by logic, constricted downhole either at the source of the casing leak or through the drill pipe or both then. Because right now the Delta P term is reduce 1/12, or 5,000/60,000 if you believe all the reported numbers. What is the AOF Delta P 12,500 psi? Then the Pwf is now 11,000psi? And the riser can only hold 1400 psi, brand new? So make Delta P now 12,500 psi – 9600 psi or 2900 psi. So new flowrate 5,000 x 2900/1500 or just under double the flow if the riser is holding back 1400 psi. Oh, and subtract 75 psi for the increase in pressure if the riser explodes and now there is 1500′ of more seawater hydrostatic on top of the casing flow around the drillpipe. So, lets see, 5000 x 2825/1500 or 9416 BPD. Of Course this is max assuming the riser is now holding burst pressure in excess of its original rating yet despite its being squashed, kinked and subjected to eddy currents, and surging oil and gas flow. Thinking still this flow doesn’t come close to doubling if it explodes and if the blind, pipe, and two annulars are holding this flow below 1400 psi, while logic tells you the oil and gas would prefer to flow around, the drillpipe rather than through it since 3-1/2" is much smaller than the 9-5/8" x 3-1/2" and 6-5/8" annulus tells me there is much more pressure being held under the rams and annular than the kink in the riser and thus the majority of the bridging will be accomplish in the BOPE. Not calculations you want to brush off with a simple riser burst analysis or a U tube that doesn’t exist.

  18. hoodyz_r_us says:

    Last time I heard, money was the root of all evil. Who knows if that is true or not. Not the point here.

    But no denying that money is the key driving force in a corporation. If you aren’t profitable, you go out of business. You want to please your shareholders with large profits. Profit isn’t a problem, but companies thrive on making more and more to the point where they don’t know where to stop. They look for any way possible to save money and take shortcuts to increase the bottom line. If that means walking on the razors edge once in a while, so be it, money is more important, right…

    If you aren’t going to believe a guy who was on the rig, then who are you going to trust? Were you there? No, I didn’t think so. I’m going to trust what he says any day before what you say 220mph. Are you going to question if this guy actually worked for Transocean? Should we ask to see his paychecks to make sure he isn’t lying? If you are going to focus your attention on slandering this guys statement, I suggest you go elsewhere.

    Who cares about the failure rate? When you’re dealing with something of such magnitude, all it takes is 1 accident and you have major repercussions. Accidents aren’t tolerable.

    Imagine if we are talking about the failure rate of a nuclear missile sitting in a silo ready for launch. We have plenty of them waiting for launch within 15 minutes notice. All it takes is one accidental explosion and you wipe out a section of the US. Sure you can use your little failure rate analysis, oh look, only .0000001% failure rate. Hooray our failure rate is very low! Yeah, great statistics, but you’re missing a section of the country along with the population there. It may look like a good figure on paper to you, but unfortunately it doesn’t cut it. What are you going to tell the families? We’re sorry for your dead relatives, but our track record is really good and we didn’t expect this to happen.

    Same thing with nuclear power plants. There are plenty of them, and the failure rate is really low. But all it takes is 1 meltdown like Chernobyl and the scars are embedded in everyone’s mind.

    All it takes is one disaster and the government will swoop in and slam you with extra regulation. The lawyers will sue the companies involved until the end of time for environmental damage, loss of fishing business, and the deaths on the rig. Look at the valdez, happened in 89 and it is still talked about and debated in court today. A 21 year old incident that hasn’t disappeared. Who cares if the failure rate is really low, these rare accidents aren’t some small meaningless things, they stick with us for many many years.

    The failure rate could be 1 in a million, but the repercussions of the failure are very large.

    The spotlight is now shining bright on the whole drilling industry and they definitely aren’t enjoying the extra attention, but that is what happens when you have multi-million gallon oil spills. You’re not going to cover it up with a blanket and tell everybody to go on about their business and disregard the situation.

    Of course the response shouldn’t be knee jerk. But I guarantee you there WILL be a response.

  19. DelShady says:

    220mph, you said:

    "hmmm. reading that it sounds exactly like a lot of 60 Minutes hatchet jobs of the past … an account from a single individual with seemingly no corroboration (other than the manufacturered type by asking a third party if it sounds reaonable)"

    And you claim some of the comments are laughable…

    I just wanted to let you know, in case you are unaware, that you are part of the problem. Your scepticism appears to be not fact-based, but because of being biased.

    Biased judgement is unsound judgement, and cannot be trusted. It is worse than useless, it is actually harmful. It’s how things don’t get done that should get done.

    Keep an open mind, and keep yourself useful. If the industry doesn’t change the way it looks at risk, then it might find itself leaning against the wind.

    Right now, my thinking has shifted considerably. We know for a fact that the concept of domestic drilling for greater energy independence is bunk. It’s another myth.

    How do we know this?

    Because there is only one price of oil: spot price. It’s the same everywhere. It is why we never see an oil company selling their oil cheaper than a different company, and it’s why we never see a gas station selling American gas. It all goes on the market as one big pool.

    Seeing that’s the case, then it would be wise for us to buy oil on the open market, and shut down domestic production. We’ll still have oil when the rest runs out, and we won’t be destroying the environment from an industry that can’t manage risk properly.

    I’m not some tree hugger. I’m the guy next door getting rich using my brain, listening to the facts, and making smart choices.

  20. Petroleum Engineer1 says:

    Hoodyz, the quote you’re referring to is "’LOVE’ of money" Not ‘having’ money.

    Have all the money you can make with only smiles from me. Just don’t steal it or take mine or someone elses illegally.

    Now if the quote is right, and I’m not so sure, you’ll have to define LOVE. Good luck with that. Just do the right things. It makes doing the next right things easier. Serving others is the right thing. Logically serving those that need your service the most, both pay better and are thus better deeds. How can making money legally in this way be wrong? If you love it? hmmm?

    Just take it home and pay your mortgage and other bills. Take your wife to dinner. Give the kids a new book each week. Pay cash if your tempted to love it. Let someone else withstand the pressure to only hate the money.

    I don’t require my kids to love me, only respect me. I suppose the same has been said of money.

  21. hoodyz_r_us says:

    Well like i said, love of money has nothing to do here. I shouldn’t have even said anything about it because it will open a can of worms that is irrelevant to our talk.

    Money is a driving force for corporations. It determines life and death in business. If a company can find a way to collect more of it, they will. BP showed in this situation that they were interested in doing whatever was possible to speed up the cash flowing in. The ROP was a perfect example that guy gave. If the money isn’t flowing fast enough, they turn up the pressure on the drillers. The drillers are between a rock and hard place. They have to balance safety vs performance. Boss says speed it up, but their judgment says stay steady.

  22. Horizon37 says:

    Petroleum Engineer1

    The reason the flow is low is because it’s restricted just like turning down the faucet in your kitchen sink, there is still the same pressure behind the valve whether it’s at half flow or pinched down to a drip. And I explained earlier that I had based my burst pressure on the overall riser, the slip joints are rated at 500psi, depending on the thickness grade of steel the actual riser is made from it, can be as low as 1,047psi, I have since then found out what riser the Horizon had on her. All VETCO riser is made from X-80 steel, the upper sections are 21" x 18-3/4"ID, except for the last joint on top of the gimbal which is 21-1/4" x 18-3/4" ID this is a heavy wall joint to resist the bending moment incurred at the gimbal, and to resist abrasion by the rotating drill pipe when the gimbal is at an angle due to current bowing of the riser and the rig being off center of the well. the heavy wall is rated at 1,690psi new, this joint as shown by the pics is definitely not new and definitely not undamaged. The fact that it has not burst yet is because it’s already collapsed, and like a balloon you have to re-inflate it a little to get it to pop.

  23. Petroleum Engineer1 says:

    Okay. So a flattened balloon (our blessed riser) that would have popped at 1690 psi now pops at 2000 psi or 1000 psi? If there is a G-d, BP has surely iterated Darcy’s equation more than once, and come to the same conclusion I did that the flow would not quadruple, triple nor double. Now this number is important, because if we can weigh a bear, we can get it into a cage just as easy.

    You sleep talk more sense on riser capabilities than I could read off a master’s thesis, so you tell me how much pressure that crumpled riser is holding max behind that kink and I will do the Darcy’s Flow Equation, just in case BP forgot. Or got it wrong.

  24. jayperk says:

    " Possible slicks/sheen" area may already be heading into the Gulf Loop Current polar.ncep.noaa.gov/ofs/viewer.shtml?-gulfmex-cur-0-large…

  25. Wilson_Energy says:

    Gulf Loop Current –> Keys? Oh, no!

  26. L Racine says:

    I wish the NY Times would include this instead of the "interactive map". When is your next one comming out? UGRIB (wind speed and direction prediction, better than NOAA, use it for offshore sailing)http://www.grib.us/ predicts some brisk winds from the south for a bit, combine that with the current info from noaa and you get a feel for were this is heading. It would be nice if someone could put the data together.

    Great work, glad to have found you.

  27. David C. Foster says:

    Fantastic photo and we love to have it and any other photo that fits the scope of our group in: U.S. Politics and the World; Political Debate & Discussion Blog http://www.flickr.com/groups/worldpolitics/



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