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Thread: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

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    Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    From Truthout.org's newsletter today:
    The sources and documents featured in a Truthout report by Jason Leopold demonstrate the very real possibility of a new, bigger disaster at a BP drill site. Experts say that a rupture at the Deepwater Atlantis drill site could be potentially 30 times as catastrophic as the ongoing Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Our report spread around the Internet and made it to the news desks of one of the most influential news programs on television, "60 Minutes."

    "60 Minutes" picked it up yesterday and made it a centerpiece of their show. Whistleblower Ken Abott can be seen talking about this issue about seven minutes into the "60 Minutes" video here.

    This week Congress continues its investigation, but Capitol Hill has not heard from the man "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley met: Mike Williams, one of the last crewmembers to escape the inferno.

    He says the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon had been building for weeks in a series of mishaps.
    Text from the video link:
    Williams says there was trouble from the start - getting to the oil was taking too long. Williams said they were told it would take 21 days; according to him, it actually took six weeks. With the schedule slipping, Williams says a BP manager ordered a faster pace.

    "And he requested to the driller, 'Hey, let's bump it up. Let's bump it up.' And what he was talking about there is he's bumping up the rate of penetration. How fast the drill bit is going down," Williams said.

    Williams says going faster caused the bottom of the well to split open, swallowing tools and that drilling fluid called "mud." "We actually got stuck. And we got stuck so bad we had to send tools down into the drill pipe and sever the pipe," Williams explained. That well was abandoned and Deepwater Horizon had to drill a new route to the oil. It cost BP more than two weeks and millions of dollars.


    when drilling resumed, Williams says there was an accident on the rig that has not been reported before. He says, four weeks before the explosion, the rig's most vital piece of safety equipment was damaged.

    Down near the seabed is the blowout preventer, or BOP. It's used to seal the well shut in order to test the pressure and integrity of the well, and, in case of a blowout, it's the crew's only hope. A key component is a rubber gasket at the top called an "annular," which can close tightly around the drill pipe.

    Williams says, during a test, they closed the gasket. But while it was shut tight, a crewman on deck accidentally nudged a joystick, applying hundreds of thousands of pounds of force, and moving 15 feet of drill pipe through the closed blowout preventer. Later, a man monitoring drilling fluid rising to the top made a troubling find.

    "He discovered chunks of rubber in the drilling fluid. He thought it was important enough to gather this double handful of chunks of rubber and bring them into the driller shack. I recall asking the supervisor if this was out of the ordinary. And he says, 'Oh, it's no big deal.' And I thought, 'How can it be not a big deal? There's chunks of our seal is now missing,'" Williams told Pelley.

    And, Williams says, he knew about another problem with the blowout preventer.

    The BOP is operated from the surface by wires connected to two control pods; one is a back-up. Williams says one pod lost some of its function weeks before.

    Transocean tells us the BOP was tested by remote control after these incidents and passed. But nearly a mile below, there was no way to know how much damage there was or whether the pod was unreliable.

    In the hours before the disaster, Deepwater Horizon's work was nearly done. All that was left was to seal the well closed. The oil would be pumped out by another rig later. Williams says, that during a safety meeting, the manager for the rig owner, Transocean, was explaining how they were going to close the well when the manager from BP interrupted.

    "I had the BP company man sitting directly beside me. And he literally perked up and said 'Well my process is different. And I think we're gonna do it this way.' And they kind of lined out how he thought it should go that day. So there was short of a chest-bumping kind of deal. The communication seemed to break down as to who was ultimately in charge," Williams said.

    On the day of the accident, several BP managers were on the Deepwater Horizon for a ceremony to congratulate the crew for seven years without an injury.
    Williams says that, on the bridge, he watched them try to activate emergency systems. "The BOP that was supposed to protect us and keep us from the blowout obviously had failed. And now, the emergency disconnect to get us away from this fuel source has failed. We have no communications to the BOP," he explained.
    The spill has cost BP about $500 million so far. But consider, in just the first three months this year, BP made profits of $6 billion.

    There are plenty of accusations to go around that BP pressed for speed, Halliburton's cement plugs failed, and Transocean damaged the blowout preventer.
    Through all the red flags, they pressed ahead. It was, after all, the Deepwater Horizon, the world record holder, celebrated as among the safest in the fleet.

    "Men lost their lives," survivor Mike Williams told Pelley. "I don't know how else to say it. All the things that they told us could never happen happened."
    Deepwater Horizon's Blowout, Part 1 - 60 Minutes - CBS News

    If this is all true, Halliburton's cement plugs may have failed because of BP's decision to not fill the tube with mud. If this is all true I think BP will be on the hook for a lot more than that $75 million cap if this is determined to be negligence.
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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by ADK_Forever View Post
    From Truthout.org's newsletter today:


    Text from the video link:







    Deepwater Horizon's Blowout, Part 1 - 60 Minutes - CBS News

    If this is all true, Halliburton's cement plugs may have failed because of BP's decision to not fill the tube with mud. If this is all true I think BP will be on the hook for a lot more than that $75 million cap if this is determined to be negligence.

    Amazing. If this proves true, BP should be forced to suspend operations and not be allowed to drill offshore until all the rigs they operate pass safety tests and they get their house in order as to a response to worst case scenarios like this.
    I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.
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    Danica Roem - The nation's first openly transgender person elected to serve in a U.S. state legislature.

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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina View Post
    Amazing. If this proves true, BP should be forced to suspend operations and not be allowed to drill offshore until all the rigs they operate pass safety tests and they get their house in order as to a response to worst case scenarios like this.
    This will go a long way to fining BP, winning lawsuits against them and forcing tougher, more restrictive safety regs on them.

    It's amazing to see right wingers defend them.
    Thank You Barack Obama for Restoring Honor To The Presidency.
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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    The 60 Minutes piece was great, very informative.

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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    Yeah, IF this is all true...and that there are no other truths being omitted. But blaming Big Oil is the MO around here, isn't it?
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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by ADK_Forever View Post
    This will go a long way to fining BP, winning lawsuits against them and forcing tougher, more restrictive safety regs on them.

    It's amazing to see right wingers defend them.
    In light of the fact there is still litigation of the Exxon Valdez spill, I hope you're right. I think the cap on damages should be lifted altogether. Whatever the cost of making it right, it's theirs to bear when they make bad decisions based on cost cutting rather than safety.

    One would think the possibility of blowing up the world's most advanced rig would be cause enough to prevent such greedy actions. Making them pay through the nose, provided the report is borne out, just might prevent the next idiot oil company from making the same stupid choices.

    Yes, I'm flabbergasted to see anyone attempt to defend BP and their cohorts.
    I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.
    This is the important stuff. We canít get lost in discrimination. We canít get lost in B.S. We canít get lost tearing each other down. I want to make a point here that no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, how you identify, and yeah, how you run, that if you have good public policy ideas, if you are well qualified for office, bring those ideas to the table, because this is your America, too. This is our commonwealth of Virginia, too.
    Danica Roem - The nation's first openly transgender person elected to serve in a U.S. state legislature.

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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    Yeah, IF this is all true...and that there are no other truths being omitted. But blaming Big Oil is the MO around here, isn't it?
    If an oil company isn't responsible for an oil spill, who is?
    I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.
    This is the important stuff. We canít get lost in discrimination. We canít get lost in B.S. We canít get lost tearing each other down. I want to make a point here that no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, how you identify, and yeah, how you run, that if you have good public policy ideas, if you are well qualified for office, bring those ideas to the table, because this is your America, too. This is our commonwealth of Virginia, too.
    Danica Roem - The nation's first openly transgender person elected to serve in a U.S. state legislature.

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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    Yeah, IF this is all true...and that there are no other truths being omitted. But blaming Big Oil is the MO around here, isn't it?
    It's easy to blame them with all the evidence building up against them.

    Why is it your MO to defend "Big Oil" no matter what the evidence is against them?

    Do you think this guy is making all this up?
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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    I saw the 60 Minutes report and it was shocking to say the least. Based-on the interview with the employee that barely managed to survive, things had been going wrong for some time. Why? Because of poor BP management who mostly cared about the bottom line. Tsk tsk.
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    Re: Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    Let the finger pointing begin.

    Here's Transocean pointing their finger at Halliburton...
    Costly, time-consuming test of cement linings in Deepwater Horizon rig was omitted, spokesman says

    BP hired a top oilfield service company to test the strength of cement linings on the Deepwater Horizon's well, but sent the firm's workers home 11 hours before the rig exploded April 20 without performing a final check that a top cementing company executive called "the only test that can really determine the actual effectiveness" of the well's seal.

    A spokesman for the testing firm, Schlumberger, said BP had a Schlumberger team and equipment for sending acoustic testing lines down the well "on standby" from April 18 to April 20. But BP never asked the Schlumberger crew to perform the acoustic test and sent its members back to Louisiana on a regularly scheduled helicopter flight at 11 a.m., Schlumberger spokesman Stephen T. Harris said.

    At a few minutes before 10 p.m., a belch of natural gas shot out of the well, up a riser pipe to the rig above, igniting massive explosions, killing 11 crewmembers and sending millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf. The rig's owner, Transocean, blames failed cement seals, installed by Halliburton, for the disastrous blowout.
    And Halliburton points to BP...
    But while politicians and media have focused on the finger-pointing by BP, Transocean and Halliburton executives in congressional hearings over the past 10 days, Halliburton's representative at those hearings, Tim Probert, has quietly provided some clues about what might have gone wrong.

    First, he went into detail in two committee hearings May 11 about the tests that were done to check his company's cement job -- called positive and negative pressure tests -- and a third test that BP never asked for. That test is called a "cement bond log," which records data collected from wires run down the well to measure sounds that indicate whether there are any weaknesses or spaces in the cement.

    Probert told a Senate committee last week that the cement bond log is "the only test that can really determine the actual effectiveness of the bond between the cement sheets, the formation and the casing itself."
    Halliburton points to MMS...
    According to Probert, government regulators at the Minerals Management Service don't require a well owner like BP to order a cement bond log unless it feels uncertain about any of the earlier tests. It's not clear what the results of the positive and negative pressure tests were.
    Halliburton points back to BP, and the design of the rig...
    Probert also presented Congress with a schematic of BP's cementing plan, which he repeatedly said his firm followed to a T. Although he never mentioned it in his written or verbal testimony, the drawing Probert attached to his prepared testimony May 11 shows what drilling experts say is a key design flaw that could easily have allowed a blast of natural gas to shoot to the surface undetected and destroy the rig before the crew of 126 knew what hit them.
    "It looks pretty on paper, but you can't accomplish that successfully and have a good cement job," said Tom McFarland, a cementing consultant from Marrero who has decades of experience cementing oil wells. "The chance of getting a good cement job on that is nil."

    McFarland said the diagram indicates the space was completely open to the reservoir of oil the Deepwater Horizon had just tapped, and he is convinced that is why the well blew.

    No O-ring seal depicted

    McCormack, the University of Texas professor, isn't so sure that the blowout went through the annulus, rather than breaching the center of the well and blowing out the top. But either way, he was baffled by the diagram Halliburton gave to Congress. He was so surprised by the lack of an O-ring seal that he wondered if it was an error.

    "There's a free path all the way to the top of the well bore. Normally you wouldn't do that," he said. "If the well was completed as designed, I think that would be an issue the way it's shown there."

    McFarland said a cement bond log is costly and takes time, but it would have told the crew right away whether the annulus was exposed to hydrocarbons. He and McCormack said that if the log showed problems, the crew would have done what's called a "perf and squeeze," perforating the weak spots in the liner and squeezing more cement in to defend the well against the gas pressure of the earth formation around it.
    Costly, time-consuming test of cement linings in Deepwater Horizon rig was omitted, spokesman says | NOLA.com

    I wonder, was this finger pointing planned or is the honeymoon between these guys over?
    Thank You Barack Obama for Restoring Honor To The Presidency.
    President Obama will rank as one of our greatest presidents!

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