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Fucking boom, meet fucking rope.
May 23, 2010 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Oil spill booming 101. Good stuff starts around 1:55. NSFW for very, very, very naughty language.
posted by lazaruslong (157 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

 
Growing up in Alberta, where the BP almost blew up my home town, this does not suprise.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:11 AM on May 23, 2010


Fucking thank you.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:14 AM on May 23, 2010


Shit. Fucking tell us how it is!

That is some fucking righteous fucking smackdown.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:19 AM on May 23, 2010


Fucking boom, I know how it's supposed to work now.
posted by Babblesort at 11:19 AM on May 23, 2010


Great insight into a crucial but hidden sub-industry. Thanks.
posted by ropeladder at 11:20 AM on May 23, 2010


Very cool, thank you.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:25 AM on May 23, 2010


Damn. This is one of those things that make me wish I could travel back to 1984 and show Youtube to William Gibson. Mostly so I can avoid thinking about how fucked up the oil industry is.
posted by Drexen at 11:26 AM on May 23, 2010


Zero Punctuation reviews: BOOMING SCHOOL.
posted by Justinian at 11:33 AM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Without question this video needs to be fucking seen by more fucking people.
posted by nola at 11:36 AM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know we've had lots of posts about this fucking clusterfuck already but this is pretty fucking good.
posted by Authorized User at 11:42 AM on May 23, 2010


It comes from this Kos diary. (Part II)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:46 AM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nice work.

My only difficulty with the video are the voices. The voices aren't the best. The "fucking booming" writing is fantastic, but the message loses some impact when conveyed by a voice without a metric ton of steel and experience behind it.

That role needs someone whose voice rumbles and clanks. The sort of voice which might emerge from someone who has -- for most of their life -- gargled ball bearings and old cigars while engineering fallback options for vast machines upon the sea. The voice of a lesser god-engineer, if you will. That's how I imagine Mr. Fishgrease sounds, anyway.
posted by Kikkoman at 11:47 AM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


The narrator sounded like Rachel Maddow to me.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:54 AM on May 23, 2010


I'm pretty sure that the narrator's voice has been morphed so that it's unrecognizable. It had me wondering for a bit whether it was a man or a woman narrating, but I think it's a guy's voice that's been morphed.
posted by Vamier at 11:55 AM on May 23, 2010


BP is a bunch of shitasses, but this is still ultimately all of our fucking faults for creating the demand for so much fucking oil in the first fucking place.
posted by desjardins at 11:56 AM on May 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Kikkoman: “My only difficulty with the video are the voices. The voices aren't the best. The "fucking booming" writing is fantastic, but the message loses some impact when conveyed by a voice without a metric ton of steel and experience behind it. ¶ That role needs someone whose voice rumbles and clanks. The sort of voice which might emerge from someone who has -- for most of their life -- gargled ball bearings and old cigars while engineering fallback options for vast machines upon the sea. The voice of a lesser god-engineer, if you will. That's how I imagine Mr. Fishgrease sounds, anyway.”

I am not an expert, but that voice sounds to my ear distinctly like it's being disguised heavily. If you require a Hollywood image, you can just pretend, I guess; the voice of the person speaking might very well be exactly as you hope to imagine it in real life.

This is very, very good. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 11:56 AM on May 23, 2010


I believe the message here is: booming can be useful, but the booms currently being deployed in the Gulf are just cosmetic. Although, I think the message is being lost and marginalized in a sea of profanity. I'm trying to teach my children that profane words are not "bad" words, rather they are double-edged. They can really help punctuate a statement but can easily be overused, alienating your audience and making you sound like a fucking idiot.
posted by gruchall at 12:03 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Alternatively, language can be used to make an otherwise un-sexy and somewhat dense subject matter entertaining and funny, making it more accessible to a wider audience.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:04 PM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I found the cursing in the video to be excessive. And worse, the swearing sounded fake, like the person doing it was attempting to mimic the vulgar speech of the drilling hands or something. It took me out of the video.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 12:09 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


BP is a bunch of shitasses, but this is still ultimately all of our fucking faults for creating the demand for so much fucking oil in the first fucking place.

Respectfully, sir, I disagree.

On the video: Why the hell haven't BP's operations been put under military command yet?
posted by odinsdream at 12:09 PM on May 23, 2010


Technology, Critical Politics, & Earthy Language.
These are a few of my favourite things.
posted by ovvl at 12:10 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


BP's oil rig blew up yes, but don't forget the cap that failed was all Halliburton.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:16 PM on May 23, 2010


That was motherfucking depressing.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 12:31 PM on May 23, 2010


like the person doing it was attempting to mimic the vulgar speech of the drilling hands or something

I'm pretty fucking certain that was entirely the whole fucking point.

Nice video - thank you!
posted by jontyjago at 12:32 PM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


BP's oil rig blew up yes, but don't forget the cap that failed was all Halliburton.

Yeah, I just read about that earlier today. All I could think was, why are we still letting this company do anything? Halliburton may be the original oil-well-capping company, but it's certainly screwing up a whole lot of things of late.

But then, knowing that Halliburton was involved also makes me wonder: If a company like this, specializing in oil-well capping, couldn't cap this rig, who the hell at BP and Transocean did the risk assessment that allowed everyone to think they could?

I found the cursing in the video to be excessive. And worse, the swearing sounded fake

Agreed, but that doesn't make this any less interesting. The fact that there are established methods for booming that we haven't seen in use at all during this crisis is incredibly fascinating. I would love to know more about why this is the case.
posted by limeonaire at 12:33 PM on May 23, 2010


If you require a Hollywood image, you can just pretend, I guess; the voice of the person speaking might very well be exactly as you hope to imagine it in real life.

I was thinking about if this was similar to John Goodman's character's YouTube video in Treme (which of HBO's 900 videos on YouTube is not actually on YouTube -- here's his rant to the UK reporter) regarding the federal response to Katrina.

(Or maybe Goodman delivers the material as Walter Sobchak)
posted by birdherder at 12:33 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why the hell haven't BP's operations been put under military command yet?

As the knowledgeable sock puppet said in another thread, almost nobody in the military knows the first thing about drilling for oil or dealing with oil spills.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:34 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I look forward to the days when I can forward metafilter finds re: BP oilspill to friends for the humor value.

I guess we're like a gazillion years from that, aren't we? Fuck.

But I'll forward this video for the learning value.

The part that got me was her slam of Obama. Because I feel the same way. Obama needs to put down an iron fist like yesterday. That he hasn't, and that I think he won't -- well, I really haven't felt this broken-hearted in a while. I feel like going up to him crying, asking him to be the man I fell in love with.

Oh well.
posted by angrycat at 12:38 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


This just gets more and more depressing on all fronts. Maybe it was an "accident" to begin with, but at this point it's just a bunch of mutherfuckers shirking responsibility and not accepting the blame.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:04 PM on May 23, 2010


Nice. Very fucking nice.
I had no idea about how booming is supposed to work.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2010


like the person doing it was attempting to mimic the vulgar speech of the drilling hands or something

Uh, yeah. Were we watching the same video? Pretty sure that was the point.

Also the voice didn't sound altered to me, just a crapy on-camera mic and a slightly older woman speaking.

Anywho, neither of those things matter or got in the way of a pretty fucking informative video, thanks.
posted by fontophilic at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2010


The video was well done in giving us an apparently educated opinion on the topic of deploying oil booms, and why it isn't really happening the way it should. Style points for cursing, video production values, etc, are left up to the listener.

(rant mode starts)
The fact that the oil companies ( and by "oil companies" I mean any and all of the companies and chains of contractors and subcontractors responsible ) would provide boom training and sign-off that the employees completed it regardless of their actual proficiency in the task should come as no surprise to anyone: chances are that many of you work in a corporate environment and have had to take classes showing that you've read and understand your employee handbook, and you'll be held to account for knowing it, but no one really does.

So, we're going on a month now with an unknown but large amount of oil spewing into the gulf: we watch the media tell us jack-shit about it, with companies making little headway in every way except with the generation of excuses and failed attempts. We've got everyone under the sun professing apparently simple ways to stop the leak ( on a spectrum from "it's natural, it'll disperse on its own" and "soak it up with pet hair" to the employment of tactical nuclear devices ). We're all told to wring our hands at the impending ecological nightmare, and how scrappy, noble efforts are working around the clock to contain the leak.

When will this effort be turned from "containing the spill" to "stopping the flow"? Where is the adult supervision here?

(rant mode ends)
posted by HannoverFist at 1:18 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is goddamn excellent. Please please please, Daily Show, pick up on this.

The "fucking booming" writing is fantastic, but the message loses some impact when conveyed by a voice without a metric ton of steel and experience behind it. <br> That role needs someone whose voice rumbles and clanks.

I like the fact that they didn't engage in such fucking theater with the fucking video. Give the lines to the person who goddamn wrote them!
posted by JHarris at 1:20 PM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


US warns it may 'push BP aside' on Gulf oil clean-up

I'm not sure how much teeth is in Salazar's statement, but it would be nice if it were true. I'm sure that the government is doing a lot in the background but from a political theater standpoint it looks like the Obama admin is doing nothing about this.
posted by birdherder at 1:37 PM on May 23, 2010


like the person doing it was attempting to mimic the vulgar speech of the drilling hands or something

Uh, yeah. Were we watching the same video? Pretty sure that was the point.


It went on way longer than it should have then. I worked for a major railroad, I'm extremely familiar with people that use excessive profanity. Hell, I'm one of them. But people who curse a lot don't sound like this. People who start cursing to fit in because everyone else is cursing sound like this. And they sound even stupider than the people they're copying. I liked the content and all but found the delivery somewhat off-putting.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 1:38 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the government knows that there aren't enough booms to stop the oil, then why should the head of the Coast Guard be fired again? Because he should feel that having long lines of booms along the entire coast is worse than having one small section of coastline kept in pristine state, while the rest gets the full brunt?

We are in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation here. Hopefully the Republicans will get on board with the Democrats and decide that BP doesn't need its potential liabilities capped at something sickeningly, distressingly low.
posted by markkraft at 1:55 PM on May 23, 2010


(Seriously though... Fucking BP is fucking useless. They might as well call in fucking Christo to do the fucking booming.
posted by markkraft at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


At first I was like "Obama's Katrina... pfff", now I'm like :(
posted by vectr at 2:04 PM on May 23, 2010


We are in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation here. Hopefully the Republicans will get on board with the Democrats and decide that BP doesn't need its potential liabilities capped at something sickeningly, distressingly low.

Republicans get on board with Democrats? About as likely as the well capping itself. Republicans are gleeful over this and have already branded this "Obama's Katrina™". Fuck the damage, this is politics. Although I would hope that at least gulf state Republicans will overlook their allegiance to the party line and actually work on a solution that impacts their own voters, I'm not betting on it.

You're right though. There's nothing Obama can do on this to "win". If nationalizes the site, he's a dirty socialist just like they've been saying all along. If he does nothing he's an ineffectual leader. He should do what is right to stop/repair the damage (and mitigate the possibility of this happening again) but there's probably advisors looking at 2012 and looking for the best political solution.
posted by birdherder at 2:06 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guys, read the original diary I linked earlier if you have a problem with the voice. Use whatever voice you like, okay?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:09 PM on May 23, 2010


Fucking booming, how does that work?
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 2:11 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Appreciate the link, george. The author was unknown to me.

I'd be happier if fishgrease would step out from behind the curtain.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:15 PM on May 23, 2010


Fishgrease is KF.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:27 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The fucking got so tiresome I got off the ride.
posted by storybored at 2:33 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


2 of the worst fucking voices i ever fucking heard.
posted by kitchenrat at 2:45 PM on May 23, 2010


Thanks for this. One of my questions throughout this whole fiasco is how the oil could be not merely contained, but retrieved for later usage -- it's already pumped out of the ground, and it's not like oil's going to be available forever. Booming the oil so it's funneled to collection points along the shore makes far more sense than just letting it float in the seawater or gob up along the shore.

That said, I am wondering why BP is not actually doing something to collect what they not only invested to extract, but what is also causing them incredible worldwide embarrassment, let alone environmental damage and future (inevitable, surely) criminal charges. The only thing I can figure is it's cheaper for them to just try and cap the leak without regard to what is already wasted in the ocean. Katrina-level incompetence is bad enough, but this is negligence that borders on the unholy.

(BTW, if anyone wants to school me on the economics of oil spill retrieval versus losses due to waste, feel free. I tend to avoid these threads because, frankly, they're starting to get depressing.)

posted by spoobnooble at 2:52 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe the message here is: booming can be useful, but the booms currently being deployed in the Gulf are just cosmetic.

if only that message would penetrate, then cnn might stop showing footage of fucking improper fucking booming and actually report some fucking news. why do we need to go to al jazeera for proper fucking coverage of this clusterfucking nightmare?

i wish i were fucking married to that woman so i could say, 'fuck yeah, that's my fucking wife!'

obama chose the corporations. he's not on our side.
posted by kimyo at 2:55 PM on May 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, okay, I've been a big crankypants lately, but I can't help but think that complaining about the language is the most embarrassingly shallow possible response to this video. The language is an attention-getting device and it has worked wonderfully; hopefully it will get Fishgrease some calls from great big huge media outlets. Or maybe we're at the point where youtube buzz is almost as good as mass media buzz, who knows? In any case, this is the only video about (1) proper (2) booming technique that anyone in the world is talking about, and we're talking about it specifically because Fishgrease is swearing all over it.

That said: okay, I sorta trust Fishgrease, because I believe the whole "I've been at this for 30 years" claim at the start of the video, but is there any (other) material about how to deploy booms to manage oil spills up on the web? Cause this video did two things for me:
  1. It pushed my rage at the BP execs way, way farther into the red. Which I didn't think was possible, given that I was already at the point where I'd say in public that I'd make an exception to my stance against capital punishment in their case.
  2. But here's the other thing, it completely whetted my appetite for finding out stuff about how to properly deploy booms against oil spills, because this shit seems so fucking fascinating. Like, this is the problem with our species, right? We can produce sloppy, careless pieces of shit like the execs at BP,3 but we can also produce genius engineers who can sit down, think things through, and for reals solve problems.4
[1]: fucking
[2]: fucking
[3]: God DAMN humanity!
[4]: God DAMN, humans are awesome!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:26 PM on May 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Just noticed the author has done two more diaries on booming, you can see his user page at Kos here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:52 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Regarding my language, I really don't normally write or speak that roughly, unless I'm out in the patch actually working. I'm going to clean it up on DKos. That stuff was useful in my first booming diary as a means of helping us all express our outrage. Now, we're all just about shot-through with outrage, so I'll clean it up. I might forget every now and then, especially when talking about BP's management and our Coast Guard's Commandant. Please cut me some slack on that."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:53 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, fuck. So, we should skip the whole "disaster preparedness" in Canada's North, right? BP has it under control?

Uh-huh.

We are so fucked. We, on the whole, are not ready for civilization. It's ok that we are not. Really. What I hate are all the talking heads telling us different.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:24 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I will not be satisfied until President Obama has Air Force One take him and a big bag containing the severed heads of every ignorant motherfucker who ever chanted "Drill, Baby, Drill" out to the spill site, personally swims to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico with the big bag, and stuffs the severed heads into the pipe to plug the leak. And don't give me any shit about how hard it would be, it's only one mile down. I walk more than a mile to work every damn day. Both ways. Uphill both ways. And yeah it's underwater but a real President could hold his breath long enough to get it done.

At least, that's what most of the people calling in to WWL lately seem to feel.
posted by localroger at 6:15 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


so - a proper boom to deal with an oilspill goes in a wwww double layered shape and a shitty, won't stop the oil but looks good on tv boom goes ---------

So every time you see an oilspill story and those orange lines are going straight, then somethings wrong.


I get it.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:27 PM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


sgt serenity, you also need catch basins at the apexes of the V's because the boom cannot stop the oil, it can only guide it and the idea is to guide it into something that catches it.

OK, fucking catches it.
posted by localroger at 6:48 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The attack on Coast Guard Admiral Whatshisname made me think of the Coast Guard telling reporters not to video oil damage - upon threat of arrest - because it was "against BP rules".

That makes me think the speaker knows wtf s/he is talking about. I'd like to know more about Admiral Whatshisnames failure/misconduct/malfeasance (if indeeed there is any).

And hey, there is always nuclear power!
posted by Xoebe at 6:50 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]



Why the hell haven't BP's operations been put under military command yet?

As the knowledgeable sock puppet said in another thread, almost nobody in the military knows the first thing about drilling for oil or dealing with oil spills.


That, and the entire military is practically worn to the core halfway around the world guarding other oil wells.
posted by milarepa at 6:51 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Gulf Spill threatens the food supply (majority of seafood caught in the US comes from the Gulf) and also threatens the economy of multiple states (tourism and fishing destroyed, thus support services that depend on those industries also hurt). That's an existential threat to the national security of the USA. Yet, after a month, still, no meaningful response. Now we find out that even the booming is all wrong, so what we're seeing is mostly PR. I heard that the effort to stop the spill failed yet again. Where is our government?

If this isn't state failure, I don't know what is. I question the legitimacy of a government that can't at least bring transparency, if not completely bring the situation to heel.
posted by wuwei at 7:00 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every one of you who has said something like oh, the profanity is overbearing, or the voices are bad, or there should be a gravelly voice, and all the while avoiding talking about the gigantic ELEPHANT right there in the FUCKING VIDEO, you people are on my list.
posted by JHarris at 8:06 PM on May 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


> wuwei, the US doesn't actually address actual existential threats, just existential threat theater threats.
posted by Michael Roberts at 8:10 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


On preview: John, I'm trying to favorite you more than once, but it doesn't. Dammit.

Hey! That brings back such good memories of 2003! Dammit.
posted by Michael Roberts at 8:11 PM on May 23, 2010


Or actually 2001, on reflection. October or so, the month I basically lost.
posted by Michael Roberts at 8:12 PM on May 23, 2010


Why the hell haven't BP's operations been put under military command yet?

As the knowledgeable sock puppet said in another thread, almost nobody in the military knows the first thing about drilling for oil or dealing with oil spills.

That, and the entire military is practically worn to the core halfway around the world guarding other oil wells.



The article Birdherder's comment links to appears to agree:

Although it is within the government's power to push BP aside, our correspondent says BP is the only organisation with the knowledge to deal with a situation like this at such a depth.
posted by Rykey at 8:13 PM on May 23, 2010


And hey, there is always nuclear power!
Will Booming stop the oil from entering Nuclear plants?
this leak could actually end up shutting down coastal nuke plants.

our correspondent says BP is the only organisation with the knowledge to deal with a situation like this at such a depth.
what an audaciously, utterly bogus statement. the issue is that the government does not want to own this catastrophe because they know it's going to go on for months. they know that only the kill wells have even a remote chance of success. to claim that bp is the only company with this expertise is absolute bullshit.

the truth may well be that the government cannot find a company is willing to take this on. if so, then bp's management should be immediately removed. the bp engineers who stepped up and said 'that fucking contraption will never work' should be put in charge.
posted by kimyo at 8:45 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


What a fucking mess.
posted by sophist at 8:47 PM on May 23, 2010


hey, i tracked down that quote, one guess who it was?
The U.S. official leading the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill said Sunday that only BP had the expertise to plug the gaping hole in its deepwater well and that he trusted the oil company was doing its best.

The comments by Adm. Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard
posted by kimyo at 8:55 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


That was fucking good. More people should see it.
posted by rmmcclay at 9:46 PM on May 23, 2010


Although it is within the government's power to push BP aside, our correspondent says BP is the only organisation with the knowledge to deal with a situation like this at such a depth.

Did the correspondent see the video?
posted by JHarris at 10:12 PM on May 23, 2010


Here's a link to a post about the latest (failed) effort to stop the spill: link.
posted by wuwei at 10:45 PM on May 23, 2010


Before I mention this, allow me to state that I am not taking this whole thing lightly. Nevertheless, I could not help but notice that the opening narrator's voice sounds a lot like Mathowie having trouble recording the podcast.
posted by davejay at 12:16 AM on May 24, 2010


Relying on BP to do anything right is like relying on George Rekers to have a safe, clean Xtian vacation in Europe.

Wikipedia 101: "The March 2006 oil spill led the United States Department of Transportation to mandate that the transit lines be inspected for corrosion. As a result, BP announced on 6 August 2006 they had discovered severe corrosion, with losses of 70 to 81 percent in the 3/8-inch of the wall thickness of the pipe. ... BP said it was surprised to find such severe corrosion and that it had been 14 years since they had used a pipeline inspection gauge ("pig") to clean out its lines because the company believed the use of the pigging equipment might damage pipe integrity." (Bet they had a good fucking laugh over that!)

Und so weiter. The fucking incompetent DOT hadn't told these incompetent assholes to do it, so they didn't. THIS time, it's fucking BP telling the Coast Guard cunts what to do. And say.The guv is so weak and incompetent they have to ask BP to do it.

But hey we expected all this, didn't we. Cuz after the box cutters, and after the missing WMD, and after New Orleans, we had =finally realized= what we've been paying $500 billion a year for.

Right?
posted by Twang at 12:21 AM on May 24, 2010


This could be the end

http://www.reddit.com/r/environment/comments/c7ewf/the_bp_oil_leak_is_getting_worse_live_blogger/

The volcano is reported as erupted. Hearsay rumour panic, ymmv etc.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:33 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps a blitz mail out to the media of this particular footage and commentary might cause a bit of collective horror. Granted, most wouldn't air it because of the naughty words, or it's a bit scary, or the last episode of Lost has the nation buzzing, or...
What a shitty time to stop drinking.
Oh wait. clink
I'm better now.
posted by qinn at 12:58 AM on May 24, 2010


The volcano is reported as erupted. Hearsay rumour panic, ymmv etc.
i 'know' that guy, and have a decent level of trust for him. but this report is premature.

ap just posted a generic story about bad cement jobs, which might be the first msm crack on the schlumberger rumor.

if the cement job is bad, this leak will bleed until dry. the top kill cannot work if the cement job is bad. the kill wells have a much smaller chance of success.

great nola article with amazing diagram explaining how "The chance of getting a good cement job on that is nil."
posted by kimyo at 1:10 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mother Jones is reporting all the ugly.
posted by qinn at 1:50 AM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I can't help but think that complaining about the language is the most embarrassingly shallow possible response to this video.":

Thank you on so many fucking levels.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 4:13 AM on May 24, 2010


Jesus fucking christ. The GULF IS DYING and people are quibbling over whether saying fuck a lot is kosher.

We're doomed.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 8:39 AM on May 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


what an audaciously, utterly bogus statement. the issue is that the government does not want to own this catastrophe because they know it's going to go on for months. they know that only the kill wells have even a remote chance of success. to claim that bp is the only company with this expertise is absolute bullshit.

While it definitely stretches credibility to say that BP is the only company with the expertise, it is definitely true that the US government does not have the expertise on its own.

So let's think this through. Suppose later today or tomorrow the admin announces that the US government is seizing control of the rig and will be in charge of the response. That means, first of all, getting the BP organization out of the picture completely, which means getting their people out of the way. That could take a day or two, in which time, no serious progress at stemming the leaks is likely to be made (and bear in mind, there have been continued assurances from BP that this thing would be contained in just the next couple of days practically since the beginning).

Next it means rounding up new people--basically a massive screening and recruitment effort--to find other qualified industry experts willing and able to do the work, possibly for little or no compensation. These people would probably have to leave their families (if they have them) and put the rest of their lives on hold for the foreseeable future, so that puts some limits on who'll be willing to get involved. Meanwhile, the organization in charge of the operation--with sole responsibility for signing off on every subsequent decision involved in the response--will now be an organization that by its own admission, doesn't know what it's doing.

Either way, it could take as much as a week to bring all the right people together, assuming that when we talk about "taking it out of BP's hands" we mean throwing out all BP's people and starting from scratch.

Finally, the new members of the response team are going to need some ramp up time before they can really start being effective. Organizationally, they'll need to get all the ducks in a row so the operation isn't just a free-for-all. And even experienced experts who know all the ins and outs of deep sea drilling operations intimately can't be expected to know all the specifics of this particular operation, so that means they'll need time to ramp up and study the problem. So let's say that's another week of time mostly not spent directly on efforts related to containing the spill.

Of course, some of these things will be happening in parallel, so it's not like you have to find all the people you need before anyone starts ramping up, etc., but even so, if you've ever managed a project on any scale, let alone one this challenging, does your gut really tell you there's a real-world possibility of getting a new team in place that can begin effectively responding to this threat without spending at least two extra weeks basically just getting the new operation up and running at this point?

It's tempting to think it would be easy to just let the government take over--and in the end, that may actually be unavoidable, in which case, let's do it now--but going that route will almost certainly result in several days of work stoppage/significant slowdown in the actual on-the-ground work to curtail the spill.

Putting the government in charge of coordinating and managing these efforts is not a choice to make lightly. Because if it turns out the government really isn't up to the task (and why should it be? we've never been willing to pay the kind of tax dollars it would cost to keep an emergency oil spill response team on retainer), the harm done will be even more severe and the response further delayed.

That said, it's almost getting to the point where a week or so of time lost might not be all that significant in the scheme of things. This is tough, ugly stuff. Let's not pretend it would be as easy to assume control of the response as some of these comments make it seem, because if such a step does end up being unavoidable, it's not going to be a pretty process.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:49 AM on May 24, 2010


While it definitely stretches credibility to say that BP is the only company with the expertise, it is definitely true that the US government does not have the expertise on its own.
please stop foisting this bp straw man on us. there are more than 2 choices.

let's leave bp's engineers in place, and replace the management. the current management clearly cannot be trusted.

although their success is unlikely, we should be drilling additional kill wells. if one of the two now being drilled encounters a delay (pretty damn likely) we are left with only one shot to fix this.

remove bp's management now.
posted by kimyo at 10:54 AM on May 24, 2010


please stop foisting this bp straw man on us. there are more than 2 choices.

Not foisting any straw men, kimyo; I didn't say there were only two choices. I'm just pointing out that whetever choices we make now, it takes time to change the organizational structure of any major effort when it's in progress. There will be several days of actual boots on the ground time lost if the government assumes control, even assuming they get a lot of help from experienced industry hands and even if they retain a lot of BP's personnel. It just takes time to reorganize any major project, and you can't have an operation like this just being carried out without a coherent organization in place. I'm not saying they won't have to take control or that they shouldn't; just that it's going to be messy when/if it happens, and people need to understand that. Have you ever been on a project that's undergone major organizational changes in mid-stream? If you have, you must know what I'm saying is true.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:12 AM on May 24, 2010


That's a pretty interesting video. Actually it's a pretty interesting piece of writing, wedged into a terribly poor video presentation.

Starting off with two minutes of generic, boilerplate greenpeace lecture is a great way to ensure that nobody will see the interesting part who doesn't already agree with you. It's the internet. Get to the point right away; you don't need to lead with two minutes of filler for the audience to find its seats.

I can't tell if the weird distracting audio effect on the voices is trying to emulate the sound of anonymized speech, or if it's just badly recorded and overcompressed. Either way it sucks. The voice acting is maybe salvageable, despite a tendency to rush some of the line readings, but it desperately needs a re-record. (The shock-value cursing: okay, fine. Means you won't make the nightly news, but you'll spread faster in the meme pool. So make a second version without the cursing, something your local NBC can excerpt. Maybe leave the bitching about the media out of that version, while you're at it.)

The imagery is mostly decent. That's the best I can say about it. Too bad about the cheesy-looking text crawls.

I'm aware that I'm bitching about presentation when the content is what matters. But presentation fucking matters. I want more people to see this, to get the message it carries. So I want it to look like something people would actually want to watch.
posted by ook at 11:12 AM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It is pretty damn sad the press hasn't (as far as I know) said word one about this particular issue with BP's response. The video is right: it should be pretty fucking obvious to anyone that the booming in the Gulf has been carried out in the most half-assed, useless manner possible.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:36 AM on May 24, 2010


If you have, you must know what I'm saying is true.
i agree, but with one caveat. there are nasa quality engineers at bp chomping at the bit to do the right thing. those guys will tell us the truth and get the job done. they won't stop working for 3 days because their managers are gone, in fact, i bet they'll finally be able to get some real work done.

bp's management must be removed. they are making decisions to protect themselves and not the gulf coast.
posted by kimyo at 11:41 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


You seem to believe that there is a quick method to stop the oil which simply isn't being implemented because of cost or ass-covering. What is your basis for that? My understanding is that the only thing that has a serious chance of working are the relief wells, which were started very quickly after the accident. Everything being done before then is simply theater to be seen "doing something".

Secondly, BP is a British company headquartered in London. How do you propose the United States Government "remove" BP's management? Predator drones over Westminster?
posted by Justinian at 11:47 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Secondly, BP is a British company headquartered in London. How do you propose the United States Government "remove" BP's management? Predator drones over Westminster?

Place BP management under arrest for criminal negligence. Place holds on their property in the United States. Oblige our friends in the British government to facilitate sanctions and other punitive measures.

The State Department has carried out similar actions against unfriendly governments, terrorists and terrorist organizations in concert with allies around the world. Maybe it's time to flex some muscle in the corporate sphere.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:04 PM on May 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


How do you propose the United States Government "remove" BP's management?
if obama can order the assassination of an american citizen, if he can protect the torture-enablers, i imagine he can find a way to get bp's management off the job.

if he wanted to. instead, he's fine with the coast guard keeping reporters off of beaches

You seem to believe that there is a quick method to stop the oil
matt simmons said this well is likely to bleed until it is dry.

i don't believe that they will be able to stop the leak until august at the earliest. our plans to ensure the safety of gulf coast residents should include this worst case scenario. putting sand berms up is pointless if everything on the other side is going to end up dead anyway.

the reason i want bp's management off the job is so that we can finally get a thorough, fact-based assessment of this catastrophe. basing our plans on bad information is going to get a lot of people dead.
posted by kimyo at 12:23 PM on May 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: Maybe it's time to flex some muscle in the corporate sphere.

What I think you miss is that our brave politicians have no fear at all of sending other people to shoot other people and maybe get shot at, but politicians are very afraid of corporations.
posted by localroger at 12:26 PM on May 24, 2010


New permits and environmental waivers granted for Gulf drilling, despite moratorium
posted by angrycat at 12:42 PM on May 24, 2010


Feds are legally required to take control over oil spill clean up
posted by angrycat at 12:44 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


if obama can order the assassination of an american citizen, if he can protect the torture-enablers, i imagine he can find a way to get bp's management off the job.
...
Place BP management under arrest for criminal negligence. Place holds on their property in the United States. Oblige our friends in the British government to facilitate sanctions and other punitive measures.

I hope you guys realize this is completely unrealistic and are just venting your spleens.
posted by Justinian at 12:53 PM on May 24, 2010


I hope you guys realize this is completely unrealistic and are just venting your spleens.

I know my comment is somewhat unrealistic in the face of Obama's cozy relationship with criminal corporate actions (such as, for example, telecom companies) but I think that "accidents" like this keep happening because there is little incentive to avoid them, in the face of toothless regulatory oversight.

Indeed, on the flip side of your comment, in all likelihood there will practically no long-term civil or criminal penalties that recompense those affected.

A few payoffs to higher officials here, a few op-ed page advertisements in the New York Times that pat BP's management on the back for being responsive there, etc. It'll mostly blow over for the people at the top of the pyramid.

One can Hope for Change. But Obama's PR managers have been uncharacteristically quiet as the situation gets worse and worse. I think we all know who is really in charge of this operation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:00 PM on May 24, 2010


But now NY Times is reporting this is already as good as over and done! I'm so confused.
Expert is confident about sealing oil well: '...the well has to be told who’s boss: “I’m here, I’m touching you, I’m telling you you’re dead,” is how he describes it. “You just don’t know it yet.”'
See--we just need a strong male authority figure who knows how to talk to these uppity deep-sea oil wells. A sort of "Oil-Well Whisperer," like this guy! That'll get the job done.

Oh, and from the same article: "Relief wells are being drilled that would do the job in a few months, BP officials say."

So, in the most realistic scenario, we've got another couple of months, with what by some expert accounts is an Exxon-Valdez sized spill every three days to look forward to. What'll that make it, 20 to 30 Exxon Valdez size catastrophes in this single event? Deep water drilling is looking like a better and better idea all the time.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:01 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also: Sink calls for federal takeover of cleanup.

Now that some leaders in the affected Gulf states are actually requesting that the Federal government take a lead in the response, we'll see how things shake out.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:26 PM on May 24, 2010


The issue is what does "take a lead" mean? The government doesn't have the expertise or equipment to address the problem.
posted by Justinian at 1:27 PM on May 24, 2010


I'm with you Justinian, in that I don't know. Maybe the government should hire The Oil-Well Whisperer out from under BP? I'm personally skeptical anything is going to solve this other than letting the well bleed itself dry. Too bad we downsized and privatized the parts of Florida's DEP that might have been responsible for helping to respond in this kind of situation years ago. I guess when, year after year, you send elected officials to office demanding "smaller government," you'd better be willing to live with smaller government. But I'm sure the spill was somehow all the fault of bothersome government regulations anyway, so there you go.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:44 PM on May 24, 2010


Expert is confident about sealing oil well: '...the well has to be told who’s boss: “I’m here, I’m touching you, I’m telling you you’re dead,” is how he describes it. “You just don’t know it yet.”'

I just read this on my lunch hour. What a total fucking tool.
posted by docpops at 1:51 PM on May 24, 2010


Expert is confident about sealing oil well: '...the well has to be told who’s boss: “I’m here, I’m touching you, I’m telling you you’re dead,” is how he describes it. “You just don’t know it yet.”'

Check out that photo. That dude looks like something out of Evil Dark Side Villain MF Casting Central. He's the spitting image of Pruneface from Dick Tracy. He can barely move because all of his evil frown lines have him encased like a mummy.
posted by blucevalo at 1:51 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


According to the legeslation (OPA90, PDF) that's currently in place, as I understand it, they do only have two options. The Coast Guard (USCG) can leave BP as the responsible party in charge of the clean-up or they can make BP step aside. In that latter case, the USCG is then the organization responsible for cleanup. As far as I know, the USCG does not have any other choices under the current regulations.

Here's some speculation why USCG doesn't want to pull that trigger: BP would get to walk away. The USCG taking over the spill gives BP, and especially BP management, a get-out-of-jail free card. BP will be on the hook financially, but the USCG gets all the grief for actually fixing the problem. I think that would be an offer BP would take in an instant. Money they can get more of, reputation is much harder, and the long-term losses, in stock price, executives taking the sword and probably even business losses, are more severe.

No, if the US administration wants to hold BP accountable, keep them front and center on the spill. There are many regulatory powers, with stiff penalties, including criminal, at hand to force BP to do certain things. The EPA used one last week when they demanded that BP switch to a "less toxic" dispersant.

OPA 90 exists because congress felt that Exxon was not doing enough during the Valdez spill. The USCG does have some capacity, and good trained people, but they don't have as much as BP. Furthermore their oil spill programs, both operations and R&D, have suffered cuts due to the refocusing on counter-terror and border security. The USCG resources have also, in my opinion, suffered from the needs of other service branches.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 1:53 PM on May 24, 2010 [3 favorites]



Blazecock Pileon: Maybe it's time to flex some muscle in the corporate sphere.

What I think you miss is that our brave politicians have no fear at all of sending other people to shoot other people and maybe get shot at, but politicians are very afraid of corporations.
posted by localroger at 3:26 PM on May 2


Explain to me how you arrived at this conclusion. The army corps of engineers built the levees that failed in NOLA and FEMA screwed up the recovery effort. The defense budget is a trillion dollars and we are barely able to hold our own against guys in rags in Iraq and Afghanistan. We ended moon landings to pay for a truck that only went up as far as low earth orbit, more expensively. And 2 of the 5 shuttles exploded.

The federal government has for the last n decades regulated the housing, insurance, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and financial industries. Are you happy with the muscle they are flexing there?

The federal government does *nothing* correctly. It should stop trying to *do* things. What the government is good at, better than any other entity, is forcing people to do things. What the government should do is force BP to install solar panels (which BP makes and sells through HD) for free on the homes of people who live in the gulf coast (or somewhere of the government's choosing). The number of solar panels should be that which which generates the same amount of electricity as burning all the oil spilled in the gulf.

And that should be the rule: If you spill oil, in addition to the cleanup, you pay to reallocate to substitutes an amount of energy production equivalent to the oil spilled. That way, every oil spill buys down demand.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:56 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


The issue is what does "take a lead" mean? The government doesn't have the expertise or equipment to address the problem.

The government doesn't, but Kevin Costner does? Bullshit.

The government is not some monolith, they can hire people to take care of the problem. That is what you do if you need to do something you don't know how and don't have the time to learn, you pay someone who does. The word is that BP is hiring people as well, but at volunteer rates. At the very least the government can pay full rates. And they can rent equipment. From Kevin Costner if need be.

We put a man on the fucking moon, why are we so hopelessly defeatist now? We've been like this ever since the Great National Freakout ten years ago. Did those meanie terrorists fly a plane into your building-wilding, give you a big owie? I hate to say it, not for the least reason of which because it's a tiresome cliche, but it's the most succinct way: grow some goddamn balls America.

Finally, it can't be true that no one saw the possibility of this happening before. Why the hell wasn't either BP or the federal government prepared for the eventuality? Bush's incompetence is no excuse anymore.

And BP should foot the bill. The entire bill.
posted by JHarris at 2:02 PM on May 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


This isn't a unique occurrence, even in recent history.

August last year a similar blowout occurred. But that time it wasn't in such a visible place so not much was heard about it.

"The West Atlas oil rig in the Timor Sea, operated by the Thai-owned PTTEP Australasia, blew on August 21 and has leaked over 400,000 litres of oil, gas and condensate into the Timor Sea at a rate of reported variously as being from 300 to 1,200 barrels a day.

The Fairfax Press reports that Greens Senator Bob Brown believes those figures underestimate the true position – though no material was provided in support of his claim that:

The Greens believe anywhere from 10 to 20 million litres of oil has spilled into the ocean since the leak began on August 21.

Three attempts to plug the hole – by means of intercepting the pipe more than 2.5 kilometres below the sea bed – have been unsuccessful."

Link

According to wikipedia:

"The first four attempts to plug the oil leak by PTTEP failed, but the fifth attempt succeeded on November 3, 2009, when PTTEP pumped approximately 3,400 barrels of mud into a relief well to stop the leak."

Drastic attempts notwithstanding (5! relief well attempts before they tried the top kill method)... this will be plugged eventually and before it's 'bled dry'. (Fingers and toes fucking crossed)
posted by vectr at 2:08 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also... offshore drilling ISN'T VIABLE.
posted by vectr at 2:13 PM on May 24, 2010


No, if the US administration wants to hold BP accountable, keep them front and center on the spill.
lots of i-words come to mind here, inconceivable followed by ice cream and ire.

may i guess at your i-dentity? are you george orwell? is this is 1984?

first, this is not a spill. you keep using that word. i do not think it means what you think it means.

next, please, let's not pollute this discourse by talking about blame, in a national emergency we must put such matters aside.

let's talk about putting the best people, the most skilled, in charge. imagine if bp were applying for the position today, submitting a resume, saying, we're the guys who made this mess, so obviously, we're the guys who know how to fix it. i'd stamp that resume 'unqualified', myself.

they are not capable. how can you not see that?
posted by kimyo at 2:25 PM on May 24, 2010


LA residents take up spill clean up efforts
posted by angrycat at 2:28 PM on May 24, 2010


BBC oilspill photos
posted by angrycat at 2:31 PM on May 24, 2010


let's talk about putting the best people, the most skilled, in charge.

Ok, who?
posted by Justinian at 2:37 PM on May 24, 2010


"The first four attempts to plug the oil leak by PTTEP failed, but the fifth attempt succeeded on November 3, 2009, when PTTEP pumped approximately 3,400 barrels of mud into a relief well to stop the leak."

Drastic attempts notwithstanding (5! relief well attempts before they tried the top kill method)

just to clarify, the wiki article does not state that a 'top kill' was used. it was the 5th kill well which succeeded.

this is another example of why we should be drilling more than 2 wells. delays are common, hurricane season is approaching rapidly.
posted by kimyo at 2:37 PM on May 24, 2010


skytruth has 2 new images up

"This MODIS / Aqua image taken the next day, May 23, shows slick and sheen spread widely throughout the eastern Gulf, possibly covering as much as 18,670 square miles (48,356 km2)"
posted by kimyo at 2:54 PM on May 24, 2010


Thanks for the clarification re: 'top kill'

The speculation in the skytruth images seem rather spurious though.
posted by vectr at 3:00 PM on May 24, 2010


If you want more FURY, read this Mother Jones account of clean up efforts
posted by angrycat at 3:21 PM on May 24, 2010


"let's talk about putting the best people, the most skilled, in charge.
Ok, who?"

for the kill well effort: schlumberger
for the relocation effort: craigslist
for the communications: google
to manage it all and cut through the bullshit: jon stewart. al franken or dennis kucinich are close seconds.

we need someone in the know to tell us if the gulf is viable as things stand.
posted by kimyo at 3:25 PM on May 24, 2010


to manage it all and cut through the bullshit: jon stewart

I like Stewart too, but doesn't the man usually wear t-shirts over thermal tops when he's not on-air or hosting the oscars or whatever the fuck? I'd be a bit nervous having him take care of my cats.

Sorry, I think that was coming from my experience of dating too many funny, flaky men. Maybe he'd be awesome.
posted by angrycat at 3:39 PM on May 24, 2010


Pastabagel: The federal government does *nothing* correctly. It should stop trying to *do* things. What the government is good at, better than any other entity, is forcing people to do things.

Notwithstanding the fact that the first part of this statement is completely stupid (unless you think we didn't go to the Moon, don't have an interstate highway system, didn't make the first atomic bomb, or that our military isn't a federal project), it also completely misses the point of what I said:

Politicians are afraid of corporations. They are good at making other people do things but they demonstrably aren't good at making corporations do things. This is because if they send you off to shoot brown people and the brown people shoot back, they don't get hurt; but if they tell a corporation to do something it doesn't want to do it has lots and lots and lots of money to spend attempting to end their career. So politicians generally only tell corporations to do things when they're forced to by their constituents, which happens less and less often lately because corporations also have lots and lots and lots of money to spend convincing people that Sarah Palin is a genius, George Bush can tie his shoes without help, HFCS is good for you, offshore drilling is like harvesting candy, and that all taxes are theft.
posted by localroger at 3:54 PM on May 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Mother Jones is reporting all the ugly.

The company town. Christ, this is so depressing.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:13 PM on May 24, 2010


just to be clear, i don't mean that jon should go all 'aqua-douche costner' on us and grandstand up and down the gulf coast.

he and his team should do what they do best: present the news and do the tough interviews that cnn and fox avoid like the plague. imagine jon stewart with subpoena power.

matt simmons on dylan ratigan says 120,000bpd is likely, leak not pluggable (simmons interview starts 6 minutes in)
posted by kimyo at 7:01 PM on May 24, 2010


Nice link, Kimyo, thank you.

I am a little tired of hearing that BP's incentive is not to plug the leak but to minimize cost. There is now a camera where anyone with an internet connection can see how much oil is leaking into the gulf thanks to BP. This sort of disaster is obviously very bad for public relations, and in an industry that is increasingly becoming part of the public view that is a very bad thing. This leak is certainly BP's biggest cost at the moment and every second they allow it to continue is doom for the company.

If you think that BP does not want to solve this problem more than anyone you either are a hopeless cynic or you know a lot more than me.

I also am not entirely sure that complaints about the administrations response to this disaster are at all relevant. Honestly, what more could have been done? While we may have, supposedly, several schools on how to "fucking boom" oil we really have no idea at all what is going on at 5,000 feet below sea level. As scary as it sounds dropping a bomb on the problem was the most intelligent conclusion I have heard yet to date.

Also, the satirist in me would love to see a video with oil gushing into the environment with the benign scientist-actor voiceover they used for their NOVA ads.
posted by chemoboy at 2:33 AM on May 25, 2010


This leak is certainly BP's biggest cost at the moment and every second they allow it to continue is doom for the company.

You really think a gigantic corporation like BP is going to go under due to this? There is a BP service station less than two miles from where I write this, and I haven't noticed anyone boycotting them. The real public relations damage done to BP will be decades in the future, when the Gulf is an aquatic wasteland and schoolchildren see the devastation with a big ol' BP logo stamped on it.

If you think that BP does not want to solve this problem more than anyone you either are a hopeless cynic or you know a lot more than me.

I think it's bloody obvious that BP doesn't want to solve the problem more than environmentalists, folk living on the Louisiana coast, affected fishermen, or sea animals.
posted by JHarris at 3:45 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is a BP service station less than two miles from where I write this, and I haven't noticed anyone boycotting them.

Actually, there have been calls for boycotts from some quarters but, as NPR and everyone apparently even up to an including Greenpeace is compelled (by force of law or something) to point out (lest anyone get the fanciful idea that boycotts are ever a good idea), the oil companies are shielded from the direct effects of service station boycotts because most service stations are in fact independently owned (although NPR goes on to note that these stations still get their fuel from BP) so any one or two day boycotts wouldn't even put a dent in BP's profits, and anyway, people don't buy gas by the brand, they buy what's cheapest so a boycott would end up getting little support, and besides, there's also a slight risk that the boycotts would be too effective, doing to oil what Cezar Chavez did to the grape or something, so whatever the case, whether they work or not, boycotts don't work, are we clear?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:52 AM on May 25, 2010


If you think that BP does not want to solve this problem more than anyone you either are a hopeless cynic
the question is not 'does bp want to solve this problem?'
the question is 'can bp solve this problem?'

my cynicism, although quite healthy, doesn't enter the picture.
what matt simmons said is that bp cannot solve this problem.

bp's actions over the last month certainly support that conclusion. (ie: if the kill shot was such a good idea, why didn't they try it 4 weeks ago? why are they talking about a new containment dome effort today?)

You really think a gigantic corporation like BP is going to go under due to this?
yes. their lawyers win against the shrimpers and the oystermen. their lawyers will fall against corporations with bigger pockets seeking damages (other oil co's, for instance, have had to shut down production on neighboring wells due to the spill)

why will bp's lawyers lose? because bp was negligent.
posted by kimyo at 10:44 AM on May 25, 2010


their lawyers win against the shrimpers and the oystermen.

They will only ever owe the shrimpers and oystermen $75 million, total.

This situation is a textbook case for why tort "reform" is an abomination.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:25 PM on May 25, 2010


They will only ever owe the shrimpers and oystermen $75 million, total.

That might be less than certain at this point, according to this. The basic suggestion, at least, is that BP will be expected to pay the full cost of any damages voluntarily, and if they won't, further steps--up to and including fines and retroactively lifting the liability cap--will be taken to compel them to pay.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:43 PM on May 25, 2010


I'm sorry, how is this all of our faults? I take transit/bike when I can and an efficient motorcycle when I can't. I try to conserve energy whenever possible with CFLs, high-efficiency appliances, etc and I live in a high-density urban area. Short of moving to a third world nation or offing myself, exactly how is this as much my fault as someone who lives in the exurbs and owns three SUVs? If everyone in the US lived like me, we wouldn't have to drill ultra-deep wells.

Maybe, just maybe, all the problems that we have with our water supply stem from YOU, as a member of the human race, needing water to live. Ever think about what our unquenchable desire for water does? I hold you personally responsible for the depletion of the Ogallala aquifer, so there.
posted by speedgraphic at 1:55 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, how is this all of our faults?

You could be like Thoreau and not pay your taxes.

Yeah, I'm not doing that either.
posted by angrycat at 2:02 PM on May 25, 2010


Civil penalties mooted.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:27 PM on May 25, 2010


"If the top-kill procedure does fail, BP will move to a backup plan to adjust the riser and five-story-high blowout preventer, and then lower a containment dome to capture the leaking oil. The company could begin this procedure a few days after deciding the top kill wasn't successful, Wells said.

This dome will be designed to reduce the amount of seawater that mixes with natural gas to form natural-gas hydrates. A build-up of these ice-like crystals blocked an earlier attempt to use a containment dome."

welcome to groundhog day redux as bp prepares us for top kill fail. those of you running vlc can click here to view the rov livestream. click here to read about warnings ignored on 4/20 and cement job fail (<<<really important!!! totally unreported in the msm!!!).
posted by kimyo at 1:38 AM on May 26, 2010


BP's oil rig blew up yes, but don't forget the cap that failed was all Halliburton.

In contracting, safety starts from the top. BP's own lax "rules" allow the rules to slip even more the farther you go down the contract food chain. See also: TransOcean.
posted by Brittanie at 10:30 AM on May 26, 2010


Just announced: The live video feed is going to be continued throughout the top-kill attempt, which has been approved and will be starting shortly.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:15 AM on May 26, 2010


It looks like they're going for it now. At least there's something messing with the pipe that wasn't there before.
posted by Justinian at 11:16 AM on May 26, 2010


You can watch the live feed here, among other places online.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:18 AM on May 26, 2010


damn--anybody got a better link to the feed?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:32 AM on May 26, 2010


oh--ha. I'll try kimyos.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:34 AM on May 26, 2010


crap. no i won't (not running vlc).
posted by saulgoodman at 11:35 AM on May 26, 2010


This congressional feed seems to be a bit "live"-ier.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:51 AM on May 26, 2010


Fishing boats helping clear oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill from Breton Sound have been called back to dock after four workers reported health problems Wednesday afternoon, Unified Command in Houma announced.

Crew members on three boats reported nausea, dizziness, headaches and chest pains Wednesday about 3:30 p.m. Four workers were taken to West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero for treatment, one traveling by air, one by boat and two by ambulance. The other crewmembers refused treatment at the dock.

Nine fishermen are recovering from feeling sick while helping clean the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Plaquemines Parish officials say.

Parish spokesman Kurt Fromherz said the fishermen became sick after coming in contact with dispersant being used to break up the oil.

Some fishermen who have been hired by BP to clean up the gulf oil spill say they have become ill after working long hours near waters fouled with oil and dispersant

"They [BP officials] told us if we ran into oil, it wasn't supposed to bother us," Jackson said. "As far as gloves, no, we haven't been wearing any gloves."

BP spokesman Graham McEwen said Tuesday he was unaware of any health complaints among cleanup workers, noting that the company had taken hundreds of samples of so-called volatile organic carbons, such as benzene, and all the levels were well within federal safety standards.

oil spill may reach Bahamas by weekend

cousteau on cnn: 'even if it does settle at the bottom of the ocean it's going to kill everything'

in other news, bp redefines 'success': "Ultimately, what we need to see is that the well can't flow to surface," Suttles said. "That will be the way we know it's successful."

bonus oh my fucking god link (simmons and pozzi on ratigan claiming that we have not seen the primary leak)
posted by kimyo at 11:59 PM on May 26, 2010


There are initial reports coming out now that the top kill attempt worked.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:51 AM on May 27, 2010


Yeah, there are some indications that they believe they can seal the well with cement later today as pressure has dropped significantly.
posted by Justinian at 7:23 AM on May 27, 2010


No one has ever set a cement plug into a flowing well in the history of the oil business. But you can shove a packer down a producing casing string and stop or at least slow a flow considerably. But you can't shove a packer down this hole: can't get it through the BOP. And if you could there's drill pipe in the way.

Sorry to be such a downer but I thought BP might have come up with a clever idea they weren't talking about. So far I still haven't heard of it.

This is the problem I've had with the top kill from the start. I've been on rigs where we've pumped a successful kill pill. But the well was shut in. All we had to do was pump in at a pressure greater that the shut in pressure of the well. The pressured mud would push whatever was in the well downwards. But the BP well isn't shut in...it's flowing. How much force do you need to apply to a river to make it flow upstream? I know folks were holding out for the top kill to work so I didn't want to be too negative. But if they couldn't get a very tight seal on the BOP I couldn't envision how they could get the flow to stop let alone flow backwards down the casing.

New, Giant Sea Oil Plume Seen In Gulf: Plume Stretches 22 Miles Long; More Than 6 Miles Wide

BP blocks respirator use for the cleanup

that was then, this is then (maddow on operation sombrero)

president obama said this today "We’ve deployed over 3 million feet of total boom to stop the oil from coming on shore -– and today more than 100,000 feet of boom is being surged to Louisiana parishes that are facing the greatest risk from the oil."

ah, a proper fucking boom surge. they devote twice as much effort to dreaming up commando phrases like 'kill shot' than they do to dealing with the actual catastrophe at hand.

bonus link: that sure looks like oil emerging from the sea 5 miles west of the rig, yes? (arrows aren't mine, look 5 miles west of the spot mark 'leaking well'.)

what are gulf coast residents going to drink after their water supply gets contaminated with this toxic soup? it's already making the workers sick, putting some in hospital. shouldn't we have a plan in place to evacuate people (and their pets!)? hope for the best, but plan for the worst, yes?
posted by kimyo at 12:31 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just saw more pictures of perfectly straight single-line booms "protecting" the coast. Fucking booms.
posted by Justinian at 12:33 PM on May 28, 2010


The boom failure is, to me, the perfect, easy-to-explain example of BP's fuck-up-ery.

BP stocks rallied this week on the rumor that the topkill was working.
posted by angrycat at 12:41 PM on May 28, 2010


'the riser is a minor thing. the top kill doesn't matter' simmons on bloomberg. 'what they're doing is chasing a mouse, but behind them there's a tiger.' simmons on ratigan

we need someone we trust to tell us what the fuck is going on in the gulf of mexico.

we need a walter cronkite.

this person must value our trust above all else.

i nominate jon stewart to be our walter cronkite.
posted by kimyo at 4:00 PM on May 28, 2010


That Simmons guy seems seriously confused. He keeps talking about the stuff coming out of the riser, which hasn't been the focus of the leak stopping theatre for quite a while now. What we are seeing is the stuff coming out of BOP (or the riser very near it). That's what the top kill and junk shot are all about. His idea of stopping the leak includes drilling down 18.000 feet and blowing up a bomb. Which is kind of stupid because once we're drilled down there we can just pump some concrete which is a lot less risky. The relief wells will stop this gusher. It will almost certainly be too late for many of the ecosystems along the gulf coast especially with the booming and what-not not being done properly.
posted by Authorized User at 7:39 PM on May 28, 2010


Authorized User, to dumb it down for me a bit, when we stop seeing gunk coming out that means success and until then it's not working, right?
posted by angrycat at 8:17 PM on May 28, 2010


Indeed. And like BP said when they started the top kill effort, you can't really determine whether it has failed or succeeded based on just what is flowing out while they are doing it. It is my understanding that the top kill is very unlikely to work but one can always hope.
posted by Authorized User at 8:47 PM on May 28, 2010


(view me please------>>>>>) New Aerial Photos of Oil In LA Marsh (taken 5/27/2010)

That Simmons guy seems seriously confused.

simmons sounds a lot less confused if you allow for the possibility that bp and thad allen are lying to you.

the kill wells have a reduced chance of success because the casing has been breached, possibly in multiple locations. (distinctive chunks from the bottom plug were found in the mud a few hours before the explosion, and there is a design flaw allowing an unintended uninterrupted path from reservoir to seabed)

there might not be sufficient casing left intact to contain the mud and allow it to exert its downward force upon the gas and oil coming out of the reservoir.

t boone pickens 'the top kill is a long shot, i'll bet we'll be here talking about this 38 days from now'

BP Buses In 400 Workers During Obama's Visit

"Officials from Jefferson Parish claim BP bused 400 cleanup workers into Grand Isle on Friday in time for a visit from President Barack Obama.

The extra workers were brought in for Friday only, at a rate of $12 an hour, officials told WDSU. They were mostly from Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts didn’t buy into the cleanup effort.

"They must think we're all fools," he said."

Roberts said that since oil started coming ashore in Grand Isle last week, no more than a dozen workers hired by BP have been seen on the beaches in the area, until Friday when the president arrived.

"I've heard estimates of 300-500 people there today," Roberts said. "They were given T-shirts and pants and handed a shovel and taken to the beach."

BP said that despite no notice of the added forces beforehand, the workers were scheduled.

"We moved in considerably more people to fight the battle where the oil is," said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles.

BP's local contractor also said it was no stunt.

"So, just to be clear, there are allegations this was just a dog and pony show for the president. So you're saying this was nothing more than a sheer coincidence that the president shows up and all the workers come out in force on the same day?" asked WDSU I-Team reporter Travers Mackel.

"Yes, absolutely a sheer coincidence," said BP contractor Donald Nalty.

Roberts and people living on the island said Obama left and the work stopped.

BP: Cleanup of spill's worst may not take long

"BP’s top oil spill adviser said on Friday that if its damaged Macondo well is capped soon, the company will be able to clean up the most damaging parts of the massive oil spill on the water’s surface within weeks.

"What’s left, probably weeks, certainly by the end of summer," said David Fritz, who heads BP’s global oil spill response efforts. "It’s hard to predict."

Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup: Boom Hasn't Been As Effective As Hoped

oil covered ship in mobile bay

"Over the last three days a ship covered with thick, oily residue has been getting cleaned in Mobile Bay, just a couple of miles from downtown. Some local fishermen are mad, saying the black tar coming off the ship is poisoning the water.

"What good is oil boom doing at the pass when they're bringing it right to our back door and washing it off?" the shrimper said.

"The dead fish that were floating out here yesterday, the pelicans were feeding on these fish," he said.

"It's fully contained," Lyons said. "It's a proven process that's been used in many places for a number of years."

Lyons doesn't believe fish are dying due to the ships cleaning"
posted by kimyo at 9:25 PM on May 28, 2010


simmons sounds a lot less confused if you allow for the possibility that bp and thad allen are lying to you.


So what is he saying exactly? That the failure in casing has allowed for the oil to bore a new path through the seabed? I could not get the other video to work but in the Bloomberg video he just talks about the leak in the end of the riser. (the one which they tried the top hat and where from they were funneling oil to the surface, back when the leaks in the riser at the start of BOP were the lesser leak,


t boone pickens 'the top kill is a long shot, i'll bet we'll be here talking about this 38 days from now'

I would not take that bed. I'd say it's less of a longshot and more of not going to happen. Even so, it's the best shot we have until the relief wells are finished. My gut feeling says that the leak will not end until a relief well is finished.

"Yes, absolutely a sheer coincidence," said BP contractor Donald Nalty.

Bullshit.
posted by Authorized User at 10:05 PM on May 28, 2010


‘Everything we came to Grand Isle for is gone’

"Immediately, it's no more fishing, no more crabbing, no more swimming, no more walking on the beach," said Marie Michel, 55, who's been vacationing on Grand Isle since she was a child. "Everything we came to Grand Isle for is gone."

"Many families are putting up inflatable pools," he told worshipers to some laughter. "That's very good, very great to lift spirits. If we can't fish, we can't swim, we must make do."

"This disaster just got enormously worse."

"It's all lose, lose, lose here," said Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska marine scientist who's familiar with both the current Gulf oil spill and the Exxon Valdez disaster two decades ago.

"The failure of the top kill really magnified this disaster exponentially," he said. "I think there's a realistic probability that this enormous amount of oil will keep coming out for a couple months."

"A lot of this oil has yet to surface, and so it's formed these huge sub-surface plumes," he said.

Trust your senses

"May 30th, 18:00. One of the strangest things about these deepwater plumes we’ve been tracking is that we see a strong CDOM signal but there’s been no visible oil in the deepwater. That changed today: we saw oil in the deepwater.

Seeing oil in this quantity from plume filters is convincing evidence that the deep waters do in fact contain oil. The smell of petroleum is strong in waters from this layer. The other samples we’ve collected were from areas with much lower CDOM signals and thus more diluted oil. Even at those sites, we have seen small beads of oil on filters but nothing like the amounts we saw today."

BP CEO disputes claims of underwater oil plumes

VENICE, La. -- BP PLC CEO Tony Hayward on Sunday disputed claims by scientists that large undersea plumes have been set adrift by the Gulf oil spill and said the cleanup fight has narrowed to surface slicks rolling into Louisiana's coastal marshes.

During a tour of a company staging area for cleanup workers, Hayward said BP's sampling showed "no evidence" that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface. He didn't elaborate on how the testing was done.

"The oil is on the surface," Hayward said. "Oil has a specific gravity that's about half that of water. It wants to get to the surface because of the difference in specific gravity."
posted by kimyo at 3:24 AM on May 31, 2010


Tony Hayward is lying his ass off.

Also, this well won't be stopped until late September at the earliest. The "in August" goal is just as realistic as every other statement made by BP: complete and unadulterated horseshit designed to minimize their liability and keep the public from rending the company limb from limb.

In fact, I'll go so far as to say it will be October before they shut it down: BP is just that incompetent and untruthful.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:16 AM on May 31, 2010


Also, everyone should be monitoring The Oil Drum for realistic information.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 AM on May 31, 2010


Indeed. Even the official estimate says mid-august in the earliest. It does not take a lot of trouble to push it back to September or even October.
posted by Authorized User at 10:35 AM on May 31, 2010


BP CEO: Sickened Cleanup Workers Probably Have Food Poisoning

“I’m sure they were genuinely ill, but whether it was anything to do with dispersants and oil, whether it was food poisoning or some other reason for them being ill,” said Hayward.

“You know, food poisoning is clearly a big issue when you have a concentration of this number of people in temporary camps, temporary accommodation, it’s something we have to be very, very mindful of, continued Hayward"

you know, he might just have a point here. i've heard they have a problem with oyster and shrimp contamination......or, maybe it was just a batch of bad ice cream.
posted by kimyo at 3:19 PM on May 31, 2010


BP Cites Broken Disk in 'Top Kill' Failure

"BP PLC has concluded that its "top-kill" attempt last week to seal its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico may have failed due to a ruptured disk inside the well about 1,000 feet below the ocean floor.

The disk, part of the subsea safety infrastructure, may have ruptured during the surge of oil and gas up the well on April 20 that led to the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig,

The ruptured disk may have allowed much of the heavy drilling mud being injected into the well last week to escape into the rock formation outside of the wellbore, people familiar with BP's findings said. As a result, BP was not able to get sufficient pressure to keep the oil and gas at bay."

if the mud can leak out of the breach in the casing, so can oil and gas. bp chose to hide this information from us and instead gave us bp rov reality tv/puppet theatre. even if successful at plugging the bop, the top kill would just have resulted in oil being released at the breach below (it's soft mud for the first 1,500 - 2,000').

the significance of this revelation cannot be overstated. it means that the kill wells have a very reduced chance of success.
posted by kimyo at 3:25 PM on June 1, 2010


Kimyo, the kill wells are intended to intersect the blown well considerably below that depth. That's the whole point of them and why it takes so long to drill them.
posted by localroger at 3:40 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kimyo, the kill wells are intended to intersect the blown well considerably below that depth

today, bp admitted a casing breach at 1,000' below the surface. they did not say that this is the only casing breach.

there are many good reasons to suspect a breach at the bottom of the casing (top of the reservoir): pieces of the bottom plug surfaced in the mud a few hours before the explosion, no cement bond log for the last run, a significant design flaw, multiple 'weak structures' detailed in the well log (ie: likely spots for bad cement), the theory that explosive decompression would be focused at the bottom of the casing.

the mud requires a mostly intact casing to work effectively. if they happen to have bad luck and drill into a spot where the casing is fractured, they can pump as much mud as they like and it will have no effect.
posted by kimyo at 4:26 PM on June 1, 2010


What you propose, kimyo, hasn't been suggested on The Oil Drum. I'd give a whole lot more validity to your concerns if those expert folk were expressing much the same.

By the by, do you have any credentials to your name that are relevant to this topic? Or are you like me, a know-nothing engaged in hyperbolic imagination?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:47 PM on June 1, 2010


20 claims by BP, and how they really turned out.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 AM on June 2, 2010


five fresh fish: I'm pretty sure oil did not initially leak and the leak got bigger by time. In fact it has been hard to catch BP on an flat-out lie and also equally hard to get any real information out of them. I doubt that is coincidental.
posted by Authorized User at 9:33 AM on June 2, 2010


By the by, do you have any credentials to your name that are relevant to this topic?

i possess no industry creds, this is true. in my favor, i'm really quite good at solving puzzles.

this puzzle interests me in part because i've never seen a company batten down the hatches so well and so firmly as bp has. i've never seen a company take over the coast guard and use it as their own corporate megaphone. i've never seen a company commandeer local police officers across multiple states to keep reporters and photographers away from beaches and marshland. could you imagine gm saying 'we've established a no fly zone over detroit'?

What you propose, kimyo, hasn't been suggested on The Oil Drum.

the oil drum has been pbs'd, there's quite a few people coming out of the woodwork saying 'my ignorance is as good as your knowledge'. the quality posters there are: rockman, gail the actuary, prof goose, alan from big easy and roger_rethinker. you'll recognize the bp shills by their 'clap louder' attitude and their constant reminders that people are working 24 hours a day to fix this.

i say, they should have been working 24 hours a day before they started to drill a well they didn't know how to control.

in any case, re: my take on the kill wells, i must defer to rockman, who says that they have a 100% chance of success.

the following is my question and rockman's answer from the oil drum: (RW is relief well)

rockman - what are the chances of success, given 2 kill wells and a casing with multiple breaches? 4 kill wells? is there a simple, non intrusive way to find oil leaking from the seabed, say perhaps 5 miles west of the bop?

kimyo -- the chances of a success kill by the RW's is 100%. But that's not the problem: how long will it take? I've seen wells estimated to take 70 days to drill and by the time they were done actually took 280 days. That's a big reason why some could argue for more than 2 RW. The estimate for either well to reach the target is about 3 months. More RW's won't make any one hole drill faster. But what if it's August and both RW's are lost due to mechanical problems? Then you start from scratch and take another 3 months to drill the new well...if it doesn't have any problems. In the drilling world you always have problem. The only questions os how bad they'll be.

There only way to know if there's oil leaking out of the sea floor 5 miles away is to put eyes on it.
posted by kimyo at 10:55 PM on June 2, 2010


So you mean to tell me he wasn’t satisfied with running us out of business, he’s going to come in here and insult our cajun cooking?

"Come on. You’ve got four different crews on four different boats that get sick, and for some kind of way, all four of 'em, four cajun people that's known for their cooking, would serve bad food? No, it’s impossible. He’s just looking for excuse. If he was so worried about the cooking, why did he confiscate the people’s clothes that were brought to the hospital? Once they were put into hospital gowns, their clothes was taken by BP, is what I understand. So I don’t think you need people’s clothes to test for food poisoning. You’d only need people’s clothes to test for chemical poisoning. "

(a profoundly affecting amy goodman/democracy now interview with dean blanchard, owner of a grand isle, la shrimp company. of especial and curious note: why is the coast guard pr guy wearing a bp id badge? flyover with coast guard guy at the beginning of the vid, dean blanchard portion starts 4 minutes in.)
posted by kimyo at 12:06 AM on June 3, 2010


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