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May 01, 2010


Thank you for that perspective. I've suspected something along those lines (I'm thinking about all the boats/shipping that was torpedoed off shore during WWII).

You lying shill for the oil industry. When do you people ever take responsibility for your messes?

A link of your excellent article has been posted at http://wattsupwiththat.com and Alan Caruba's Warning Signs:

Don't let your work be influenced by people like David Mathews who rather live by their emotions than by hard facts.

The rig disaster was bad enough as it is and my respect and thoughts are with the crew members and their families who got lost and wounded!

Thanks for posting this information.

R., thanks very much!

David, Shill for the oil industry, perhaps. It does a whole lot of good in the world and feeds a whole lot of people and raises the standard of living for all humanity. Lying shill, however, seems a bit shrill and unreasonable. In fact, I can't figure out what your point is. Calling me a liar? About what? One can only guess what group you are shilling for, Shrill shill? "We People" take responsibility for ALL of our messes. You don't think BP is walking out of this scott free, do you? When do "You People" take responsibility for trying to set anti-human policy? The only ones that have avoided ALL responsibility for their actions are fringe environmentalists.

I just found this site through WattsUpWithThat.

Very nice article and really does a terrific job of putting things in perspective, awful as this spill is. Too bad some people can't see that.

Choke, as far as I can tell nobody really knows how much oil has been spilled or what the worst case is. I am starting to feel like this event will be an environmental 911 in terms of policy changes. One important thing you left out was the question of whether BP had a contingency plan. I think there are only two things we can say with certainty. One BP will face massive litigation. Another is that drilling in the GOM will never be the same from a regulatory standpoint. Also I am reading that attempts have been made to burn the slick, but apparently the efforts have failed. Maybe BP should pack their bags get out of the business. Doesn’t BP stand for Beyond Petroleum?

I think you are off by an order of magnitude on the worse case scenario for the oil spill. If I multiply 7 months to drill a relief well by 30 days per month by 5,000 barrels per day, I get 1,050,000, not 150,000. For your 150,000 figure, you would need to drill the relief well in 1 month. From what I know of deepwater drilling operations in the GOM, I don't think that is possible. A 1,050,000 figure would then impact the rest of your graphs.

I doubt if they will need a relief well to stop this, at least not one to reservoir depth. The good and bad thing is that it is cased SOMEWHERE... if not, these typically bridge into shallower formations, and relief is much faster. With casing, mechanical fixes can be done. However, perhaps you are right. If it lasts 7 months, and a relief well is the real scenario, it could be much larger. That is a pretty low probability, but perhaps should be looked at as "worst case", instead of my 30 day scenario.

I wouldn't waste time responding to Dave Matthews. He appears to an insipid troll and waste of dna or the most brilliant parody ever. He's a hateful religious fanatic/anti technology/wildlife photographing nut. Here's some of his handiwork:



I'm with Enfield. You know this dome thingy? The one they're fabricating right now? Their backup for the contingency that the BOP fails to close? A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD BUILD THE EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR THE BACKUP PLAN BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY NEED IT. A lot of regulators would have required that, too. Not U.S. regulators. Better ones.

BP reaps the profits but socializes the risk. Not that Chevron would do it any different. Because they can.

I read that this might be terrorism from Korea.

Choke, I think it is dirty pool for poster "dontworry" to post a link to a map showing the location of David Mathews’ house. The implication is clear, speak critically of the oil business and we will get you----who is the real nut case here? At least Mathews has the balls, or lack of brains, to use his real name. This is a spirited debate, not a KKK action plan dontworry.

Choke, I read the links that were supposed to prove Mathews is a nut case and I did not get that all. It is true he is a Church of Christ guy, and that is on the other side of the galaxy from my leanings, but his writings sound pretty straight up to me. Now I would not have used the language he did in criticizing you, but I think your charts and graphs put the BP spill in a historical context, and this disaster is still unfolding. Your piece was written like a scientific analysis of the situation, admonishing those that “don’t understand”, and it is filled with wild assumptions. We don’t know how bad this thing will be compared to anything at this point. I have some good smart ass stuff to say, but I will hold back…See I am getting better here in India.
You deserve a Mulligan every now and then, as you write some good stuff. Grab another ball, and wait a couple of weeks and it over the water this time.

Thanks, Enfield. My only "wild ass assumption" is that the well will be capped in 30 days. Even in the very best reservoirs it is impossible to maintain flow rates in excess of a couple of thousand barrels a day coming through sediments. One of the previous commenters said 7 months at the outside as a time for a relief well. OK, although I doubt seriously this will be flowing at a rate exceeding a few hundred barrels per day at that point. If it maintains constant flow, it will be the 11th biggest spill.

By the way, in the marshes and swamps prior to the 1940's, nearly every well was a blow-out. Oil was spilled in unrecorded volumes throughout Louisiana, wetlands and all. This was true throughout the oilpatch in general. Where is that devastation? How long did it last? We have a perfect historical laboratory to really figure out WHAT we mean by "devastation", but we don't. Why not? Because it is much more terrifying to present these events as one-off events with no precedent. Evil industry destroying nature in a way and scale never seen before. That is fundamentally untrue. Industry of all kinds is cleaner than it has ever been, and our environment is cleaner than it has been any time during the last 100 year.

I imagine there are dozens of products, that had they been on board, would have added some defenses. If I sold those, I would be chatting them up on message boards, and I would have my lobbyist angling to include them as mandated adds in the surely inevitable legislation that will follow.

Also, this was a Transocean rig working on a day rate. Why is BP being vilified? Although not a huge fan of major oil companies in general, I will say the quality of their technical staffs are second to none anywhere on Earth. Who do you think as a better chance of solving this now? BP, the Federal Government, or the Media? All this story does is highlight how the media sees its job... to terrify us about everything all the time. Terrify us in a "Fair and Balanced" way. I don't care what you call it, but journalism is still yellow. Never changed. The assumption we get truth from it is a ridiculous one. Whip us into a frenzy, then pass the rules they have already written to control and tax some more. Every day I come closer to believing in Micheal Crichton's Environmental/Media/Government complex having replaced the Military/Industrial complex.

Sounds like your basic facts about the spill are wrong. I am reading that the flow is 100,000 barrels per day or more from all the media. Given months of this before anything can be done...it is indeed an environmental disaster and looking at your pretty graphs...it appears that at the actual flow rates, it will be the worst in history.
Aside from the industry shills, the government hacks and the enviro wackos, most Americans recognize that we need oil, that drilling is necessary, and that it is better that WE do it where possible rather than sending our $$ overseas.
BUT...that does not mean the industry gets a pass to profit without being responsible for fail safe operation and worst case preparedness. You in the oil industry can count on our wrath in the months ahead and you have only your own short sighted approaches to blame for the price you will now pay.

Cam Sail, I don't know what to say. If this is REALLY an overhyped deal, will you change your mind? Or does this just validate a bias you already have? I would strongly suggest you do some research on oil company profits, ie how wildly they swing and how a typical major oil company pays more in taxes and tarrifs than it makes in profits. It is quite interesting, really. I am glad the "media" is in agreement of 100k barrels per day. If the casing is in place, that would make this the biggest discovery on open choke in a long time! Better than Saudi reservoirs...

Choke..How do you know what that well is producing? How do you know the exact amount of crude that seeps into the oceans? The jury is still out on this one. The development is a little different on the Gulf Coast than it was in 1940. It is not so important how much you spill as where you spill it. Where is casing set? Maybe they took a kick right under the shoe. I am working on some reservoirs that will flow 15000 BOPD for a long long time. Who knows what they drilled into? What if this crude hits Miami and gets all those super models on south beach all oiled up? And I said wild...not wild ass...And I still think it was low class for that chump to post a link to a map of Mathews' house. That is going too far in my book and threats dont work very well in this business.

Drilling successful relief well the first time is not a slam dunk either.

Heck man, if that thing is flowing 100,000 bpd, buy BP stock!

Could you please elaborate on your assertion that one could fit the environmental consequences of every spill in the history of the hydrocarbon era into one small forest fire, out of the 10,000 we have every year.


Here is a new information that claime the spill is 25000 BOPD. It is too early on to graph this thing in hisotrical terms. Graphing and charting to draw conclusions of the ultimate production at this point smacks of Tudor Pickering voodoo.


My bad...I meant to say 100000 GALLONS per day. Now it looks like a minimum of 210,000 gallons/day. Two months till Exxon Valdez proportions. But in a far more fragile and important place. The Ixtoc well was in 164 feet of water and took 10 months to seal. Is this gonna be easier or less time consuming to close?

Choke...what do oil company profits have to do with anything I have said? It is quite simply THEIR responsibility to pay for the damage they have caused. That is a capitalist notion...risk/reward ya know.
I am FOR offshore drilling. I will NOT be in the future if we cannot determine what caused this and how to prevent it going forward. The scale of this is beyond easy reassurances from government and industry and it is NOT sufficient that this only happens once a decade or so.

Cam Sail, thanks for the comments. I fully agree that the financial responsibility for clean up lie with Transocean and BP. I certainly don't think it appropriate to socialize the cost. My point is only that we are quick to add dimensions to disasters that probably don't exist. In any case, even though the US has a spectacular record, this is a regrettable incident and a disaster for those involved for sure. Especially the 11 men dead. However, compared to Greyling in Alaska and Piper Alpha, amazing amount of people survived, so I guess all those offshore safety courses I took actually made a difference.

Any thoughts on Ron Gouget's comments?

Am wondering if there was a pre-approved plan to start burning from the getgo, why wasn't it followed?

>>>> .....
Federal officials should have started burning oil off the surface of the Gulf last week, almost as soon as the spill happened, said Ron GOUGET, a former oil spill response coordinator for NOAA.

Had the spill happened during his tenure, he would have been one of the people figuring out how to control it.

GOUGET, who also managed Louisiana's oil response team for a time, said federal officials missed a narrow window of opportunity to gain control of the spill before it spread hundreds of miles across the Gulf and winds began blowing oil toward shore.

He also said the heavy use of dispersants -- to this point on the surface -- has likely knocked so much oil into the water column that portions of the Gulf may be nearing the point of becoming toxic to marine life.

Still, he said, the continued use of the chemicals may be required to prevent a greater disaster in the shallow coastal marshes.

"There was a threshold of about 35 parts per million for oil in the water. Above that, white shrimp larvae died in the laboratory. I don't know where the levels are now in the Gulf, but that is something (officials) will have to keep an eye on," GOUGET said.

GOUGET, now an environmental consultant with Windward Environmental in Seattle, was part of the group that created the 1994 plan designed to allow federal responders to begin burning oil as soon as a major spill occurred.

"They had pre-approval. The whole reason the plan was created was so we could pull the trigger right away," GOUGET said. "If you read the pre-approval plan, it speaks about Grand Isle, where the spill is. When the wind is blowing offshore, out of the north, you have preapproval to burn in that region. If the wind is coming onshore, like it is now, you can't burn at Grand Isle. They waited to do the test burn until the wind started coming onshore."

He said the NOAA officials working with the Coast Guard and BP at the command center in Louisiana know how to respond to spills and know that burning should have started as soon as possible after the initial release was detected. GOUGET said they may have been overruled.

"It may have been a political issue. The burn would make a big, big plume and lots of soot. Like Valdez, the decisions to get the resources mobilized may not have occurred until it was too late," GOUGET said.

"This whole thing has been a daily strip tease. At first they thought it was just the diesel, then they said the well wasn't leaking. It's unfortunate they didn't get the burning going right away. They could have gotten 90 percent of the oil before it spread."

GOUGET said portions of the oil will still burn, especially the stuff bubbling up from the broken well.

"I keep reading that burning will only get a small portion of the oil. Not true. This one is a continuing release," GOUGET said, with lots of "bright, fresh oil" that should burn fairly easily.

"The bottom line, the limiting factor on burning is can you get it to burn. If it gets too thin, like a sheen, it won't burn because you don't have a fuel," GOUGET said. "Generally, it's got to be thick enough, and it can't be too weathered. This stuff is weathering immediately coming out of the pipe, losing the volatiles that burn most easily. They've got to get to it right away."

GOUGET said officials could still make a big dent in the amount of oil that will hit seashores over the next several months by burning.

"If they set up multiple boat/fire boom sets and begin a 'bucket brigade' grabbing fresh oil, they can set up a production system to remove huge amounts," GOUGET said. "They've got to ramp up the burn program. It's one of the most important tools they have to limit the damage."


As long as we are dealing in hearsay, let me add some..a driller in India I office with received an email from a BP contact who said the rig to drill the relief well had been spotted, but was waiting on a permit...I know choke will love this one.. royal e,,,,

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