Home > Uncategorized > How BP Wasted A Month From Bottom Killing The Gulf Blowout

How BP Wasted A Month From Bottom Killing The Gulf Blowout

If you have been following the engineering screw-ups as I have in BP’s efforts to seal the oil blowout permanently, the latest development this Friday the 13th is … is … one gigantic “HUH?”

Incident commander retired Adm. Thad Allen announced the BP team will proceed to permanently kill the top capped blowout with the first relief well just feet away about 18,000 below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico waters.

That was the plan almost from Day One, about a week after the April 20 blowout and explosion that killed 11 crew on the exploratory drilling platform Deepwater Horizons.

So why the hell have they been screwing around with a “static top kill” snuffing the well with drilling mud and cement at the well head since July 15?

All that did was delay the relief well drilling and could have damaged the integrity of the well’s casing and assorted other piping.

On Thursday, Allen had said it was possible that the “bottom kill” would not be necessary.

Pressure tests the last 24 hours proved otherwise. There’s a leak some where.

On Friday, Allen said:

“Everybody’s in agreement we need to move ahead with the relief well; the question is how to do that.”
“I’d like to give you a definitive answer,” he added, “but it’s a work in progress.”

BP had thought the mud and cement pumped in from above the leak may have essentially killed the well. But the relief well will allow engineers to pump in mud and cement from below in a “bottom kill” attempt to permanently seal the well.

I’m sorry. I don’t know if Allen is taking marching orders from BP or his boss, the president of the United States who wants the damn thing plugged permanently because it is politically killing him.

The well has polluted the Gulf waters with a conservative estimate of 400,000 barrels of crude and gas with the government making an unsubstantiated claim 75% has been evaporated or recovered. BP reports it has spent $6.1 billion recovering oil and paying claims to fishermen and businesses.

At this point not only BP but the government  has lost credibility. Sometime around the end of May I stumbled across The Daily Hurricane, a blog site edited by former oil executive Bob Cavnar.

This guy’s ability to explain what’s going on with the engineering aspects of the blowout  has aided reporters and Gulf residents to understand and receive a clearer idea of what’s going on 5,000 feet below the ocean surface than anything Allen or the BP hacks have offered.

Each step the capping efforts take, Cavner has been correct in his assessment of what it might and might not mean. His success rate isn’t perfect but it is a helluva lot higher than what those mouthpieces involved in the process have promised.

In his latest post filed early Friday, Cavner vented his frustration for the television feeds being cut off and the obfuscation of pressure tests:

They’re not down for maintenance when you can see them off in the distance on other ROV feeds staring intently at something that looks strangely like the wellhead.  The Admiral also said that the static kill pressure readings were disclosed on the Unified Command site several days ago.  Several people I know have searched both the new site and the old, and no pressure data disclosure exists anywhere we can find.

Clearly there are things going on behind the scenes that BP and the government doesn’t want us to see. They have successfully gotten the well off of the front page and television, just as they intended.

For a more detailed analysis on how BP and Adm. Allen have screwed up in the past month, read Kavner’s earlier post dated Aug. 12. It makes you wonder what does BP know that we don’t that led them to the wasted time with the top kill that the bottom kill couldn’t do better.

I detest conspiracy theories and in BP’s case I am not ashamed to express  just one. The subterfuge of the top kill efforts is a means to prevent an accurate appraisal of how much crude gushed into Gulf waters.  Could it be the time and expense factoring in massive tax write-offs was cheaper than paying the flurry of fines based on court findings of pollution actually released?

But who cares? Out of sight. Out of mind. Right. Tell that to the Louisiana shoreline residents where tar balls continue to plague their livelihood. Talk to the fishes. And listen carefully. You might hear a seabird chirp or a seagull caw.

(Photo credits: Thad Allen, AP; Robert Cavnar, World Energy Source).

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