indeed, just a week before the tragic explosion, the cozy crowd at mms approved 3 changes in bp's operation, federal records show
one bureacratic ok took all of four and a half minutes to be approved
this perhaps decisive deliberation came down seven minutes after the permit was requestedOne of the design decisions outlined in the revised permits, drilling experts say, may have left the well more vulnerable to the blowout that occurred April 20, killing 11 workers and leaving crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Last edited by The Prof; 06-04-10 at 08:05 PM.
They took man made equipment and placed it thousands of feet under water and thousands more feet below the ocean floor. It broke and failed to operate properly. Excuse me while I show you my surprised face...
Flurry of Changes to BP's Well - WSJ.comBy April 14, when BP filed the first of three permits that would later be amended, the London-based oil company had already faced many problems with the well, including losing costly drilling fluid and fighting back natural gas that tried to force its way into the well. The problems had caused BP to use eight pieces of steel pipe to seal the well, rather than the planned six pieces. The permit filed on April 14 dealt with the eighth and final section, which hadn't yet been installed in the well.
BP had hoped to get a 9 7/8-inch pipe—big enough to handle a lot of oil and gas—into the reservoir. But for the final section, the largest pipe they could fit was a 7-inch pipe. The company had to decide whether to use a single piece of pipe that reached all the way from the sea floor down to the oil reservoir, or use two pipes, one inside the other.
The two-pipe method was the safer option, according to many industry experts, because it would have provided an extra layer of protection against gas traveling up the outside of the well to the surface. Gene Beck, a longtime industry engineer and a professor at Texas A&M University, said the two-pipe method is "more or less the gold standard," especially for high-pressure wells such as the one BP was drilling.
But the one-pipe option was easier and faster, likely taking a week less time than the two-pipe method. BP was spending about $1 million per day to operate the Deepwater Horizon.
In an April report, a BP engineer concluded that the one-pipe option was the "best economic case" despite having "some risk" of leaving an open path for gas to travel up the outside of the well. The two-pipe option, the report said, would provide an extra barrier against gas but would only be used if "stability problems" or other issues arose with the well.
Word on the street--take it for what it's worth--down here in the oil patch, is that the cementing job was faulty. The Halliburton hands said the casing needed to be, "squeezed"(forcing cement at high pressure into the fissures within the existing cement), the company man decided not to squeeze, the packer didn't seal, the mud hands with MI Swaco had already taken out the 16# mud and pumped sea water into the well bore, which was heavy enough, the packer gave way allowing the gas to start upward and then, the BOP failed. It was a Greek tragedy, where everything went wrong, all at once.
Any other day, on any other rig, everything I just posted would be routine operations.
So, now we have the blame game:
1. BP's fault, for not squeezing the cement?
2. Halliburton's fault, because the cement job sucked ass?
3. MI Swaco's fault for pumping the heavy weight mud out of the wellbore?
4. Weatherford's fault because the packer didn't seal?
5. Cooper-Cameron's fault, because their BOP stack failed?
IMO, at the end of the day, the blame rests with Cooper-Cameron, regardless of how/why/who caused the well to blow out, because the BOP is the very last line of defense in a blowout. If nothing else works on a rig, anything from the derrick to the top drive to the stove in the galley, the BOP must work.
If the BOP would have just closed, there would have been a brief story about how an offshore rig burned and sank and a few greedy oilfield hands died and that would be it.
Oh and BTW, I'm still not totally convinced that this was an accident. If for no other reason, this much stuff don't go wrong, on one rig, at the same time. 40,000 wells drilled in the GOM, in the past 30 years without a hitch and suddenly everything that is supposed to prevent a blowout, doesn't work. Not to mention, the riser is damaged in such a way, that it's nearly impossible to cap the well. I bet the odds of that go into the millions.
With all that said, I believe that there is a helluva lot of this story that hasn't been told, yet.
bp, bop's, halliburton, swaco, cooper cameron...
"blame" for this tragedy must not necessarily be confined to one entity
either way, we know (thanks to the ny times, wapo and wsj) that the epa waived damage studies, the mms expedited permits and approved in mere minutes changes to bp's operations which potentially facilitated or exacerbated or enabled all that gas starting upward...
it is what it is, a mess of monumental measure
america will be "blaming" all kinds of companies and officials and individuals for this catastrophe as day number 47 becomes day number...
Again, I'm not ignoring the possibly--however improbable--of sabotage. Politically, the timing couldn't be more perfect. And, now, there's a gas well in Pennsylvania that has blown out. Awful lot of coincidence, if you ask me.
but i wouldn't call epa's exemptions and mms' expeditings "sabotage"
i think the president's characterization of the relationships as "cozy" is more apt
time will tell
Here's Elizabeth Birnbaum's resume:
She ain't exactly a short order cook, who has friends in high places. Not to mention, she's Obama's girl.officer and member of numerous boards and commissions, including the National Capital Section of the American Water Resources Association; Arlington County Environment and Energy Conservation Commission, and the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section of the District of Columbia Bar.
Birnbaum received her Juris Doctor from Harvard University in 1984 and her A.B. degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University in 1979. She was Editor in Chief of the Harvard Environmental Law Review, Volume 8.
Food for thought, I reckon.