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I'm not holding my breath on this one.
June 3, 2010 11:03 AM   Subscribe

The pipe spewing oil into the gulf has been cut as part of the next plan to cap the leak. BP had planned to use a diamond edged saw, but it got stuck while cutting through the pipe, and they had to use shears instead. However, the shears "resulted in a jagged cut, meaning that the containment cap will fit less snugly." posted by insectosaurus (255 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
So they have successfully increased the volume of the leak and decreased the ability to seal the cap. About par for BP to date.
posted by mygoditsbob at 11:05 AM on June 3, 2010 [15 favorites]


Jesus Christ stick some god damn Big League Chew in the gap and be done with it.
posted by spicynuts at 11:06 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


And my heart continues to sink.
posted by item at 11:07 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is starting to sound like a Vonnegut novel.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:07 AM on June 3, 2010 [27 favorites]


Oh, who cares? It's not like the containment cap was ever going to work anyway, thanks to some ridiculous reason to be discovered next week sometime when they try to install it.

In this case, they already tried this once before, it was apparently never going to completely cut off the leak to begin with, and now they've just created another reason for it not to work.

Hell, I'm already on to wondering why whatever they try after this isn't going to work.
posted by Naberius at 11:09 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Are we going to have a daily BP post? There's at least 10 open threads on this subject.

I saw the news this morning too.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:12 AM on June 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


This has a disturbing resemblance to the kind of "fixing" my parents do, which involves remedies like duct taping the remote control back together.

Next up: a giant clothes pin, wadding up a bunch of dishtowels and stuffing them in there, letting it all run out and using newspapers to soak it up.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:13 AM on June 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


At this point it may be faster to build a new oil rig on top of it.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


This has a disturbing resemblance to the kind of "fixing" my parents do, which involves remedies like duct taping the remote control back together.

...Only imagine your parents have no choice but to use submersible robots to apply the duct tape because the remote has fallen a mile below the surface of the ocean, where even manned submarines can't go.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


At this point it may be faster to build a new oil rig on top of it.

I think that's the plan for August.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


...letting it all run out and using newspapers to soak it up.

In the bullpen: we get a whole lotta cat litter, see. Tons of it. And a funnel...
posted by jquinby at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2010


Sounds like an entry for this website.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


...Only imagine your parents have no choice but to use submersible robots

No robots, just a bunch of wire hangers tied together.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well, not sure if this thread will survive since there's already all the other ones, but just in case, this seems like as good a place as any to put this:

BBC is offering ordinary citizens a chance to propose their solutions here.

(Suggestions will presumably be passed along to BP, which has already been soliciting suggestions from the public for sometime now.)
posted by saulgoodman at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2010


At this point it may be faster to build a new oil rig on top of it.

I think that's the plan for August.




Not kidding, by the way.

posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait wait wait wait. We're doing this under a mile of water? Why don't we just drain the Gulf? That would be so much easier. Jeez, do I gotta do everything around here?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:22 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Still having trouble visualizing the scale of this mess? Overlay the spill onto your hometown (via utne).
posted by jquinby at 11:25 AM on June 3, 2010 [26 favorites]


Another bad decision. . .
posted by Danf at 11:28 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess this is why they don't do "open heart surgery at 5000 feet." The patient keeps dying.
posted by skewedoracle at 11:28 AM on June 3, 2010


Looking at the live feed, they've been deburring the cut most of today. With any luck, the cap *will* fit on snugly, as it appears as though the cut was a lot cleaner than they were expecting (with the exception of one small piece on the side that they're trying to saw off)
posted by schmod at 11:29 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


These days I basically picture a colossal Inspector Clouseau trying to plug the well behind his back as millions and millions of Chief Inspector Dreyfuses narrowly avoid massive coronaries.
posted by furiousthought at 11:30 AM on June 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


Wow, jquinby. Thanks for that.
posted by jrossi4r at 11:32 AM on June 3, 2010


I just watched America's National Parks on PBS and remember how the Everglades almost weren't protected until one of the decision makers saw all of the beautiful birds and said "yes there is a reason".

And now it's gone to shit.

When are we going to learn?
posted by stormpooper at 11:33 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


The BP disaster is the single biggest most awesomely sized absolute clusterfuck of a total nightmare that ever there was.
Oil belongs far below the surface of the earth. It's 2010! Why on earth are we still using it? You can even make plastic out of bloody plant fibers ffs.
Grrrrrrrrrrr
spastic monkey retards
and no I don't drive a car thanks very much
posted by Monkeymoo at 11:37 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]




duct tape? hot glue?
posted by sexyrobot at 11:41 AM on June 3, 2010


and no I don't drive a car thanks very much

Yay! The moral high ground!
posted by cjorgensen at 11:41 AM on June 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


Crude oil is good for the skin! Good for the peeling off and cancerizing of it I mean.
posted by Mister_A at 11:42 AM on June 3, 2010


Also, does this oil make it easier or harder to swim? Can't we invent an organism that eats oil and reproduces uncontrollably? What could go wrong? Can we nuke BP HQ? Will that help?
posted by Mister_A at 11:43 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, it's the 3 stooges running that company, isn't it?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:44 AM on June 3, 2010


...with the exception of one small piece on the side that they're trying to saw off

I keep wanting to reach out and knock that piece off with a hammer.
posted by jquinby at 11:45 AM on June 3, 2010


Meanwhile 4,000+ other wells sit in the gulf, all built to the same "safety" requirements as this one. Any bets as to when the next one will go?
posted by sotonohito at 11:49 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Have they tried kicking it? Sometimes that works.
posted by Evangeline at 11:50 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


What I don't get is this.. it would be very easy to plug if when making the well, they would make a small chamber first, then have a rubber plug stored at the side of the chamber, then if it needs to be plugged, the rubber just moves to the center and the pressure of oil will push it in the pipe and plug it. Of course now it's too late to do that. I also don't understand why the BOP is so complicated and has to cut the pipe. Why don't they work like faucet, where a bolt moves from the side and blocks the flow?
posted by rainy at 11:50 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


stormpooper (eponysterical, a bit), we'll learn as soon as oil costs more to get to market than it can be sold for, and probably not a moment before.

On preview - sotonhito, this well wasn't quite finished, which contributed a lot to its failure (an oversimplification, sure, but basically true.) Those other wells have casing cemented properly in place, whereas this one has the annuli filled or being filled with seawater, which caused a lot of the problem. (Full disclosure: as I mentioned somewhere else, I work in the business.)
posted by Nabubrush at 11:52 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


rainy, in case you aren't being sarcastic - the faucet isn't at thousands of pounds of pressure. Rubber stoppers don't do to well in that situation.
posted by Nabubrush at 11:54 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


BBC is offering ordinary citizens a chance to propose their solutions here.

They know how to instill confidence. And a passing belief in the existence of evil.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2010


and no I don't drive a car thanks very much

I do, but it is powered by my own sense of self-satisfaction.
posted by clearly at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


When are we going to learn?

When we stop giving money to people in return for products made from oil and other things that involve significant risk to obtain and process. Which is to say, never.

and no I don't drive a car thanks very much

Do you eat food?
posted by davejay at 11:57 AM on June 3, 2010 [16 favorites]




When are we going to learn?
...
Oil belongs far below the surface of the earth.


Here, here!

Check out my new, completely unproven but scary as hell crackpot conjecture about how this kind of oil drilling might conceivably be even more dangerous than we already know: oil is a pretty good natural mechanical lubricant, right? And large amounts of it can be found beneath the sea floor, where the vitally important geologic processes of seafloor spreading and subduction take place. So let's suppose for the sake of this wild ass conjecture that oil actually plays a crucial role in those processes, acting as a thin layer of natural lubricant that allows the earth's system of plates to move more smoothly through some as yet undiscovered mechanism in the geologic processes of plate tectonics.

So what would happen, assuming all this fantastical stuff, if we extracted all of this crucial natural lubricant that reduces the friction in the motions of land plates? More earthquakes or volcanic eruptions as pressure builds but can't properly be sublimated through sea-floor spreading and subduction? The death of the earth's active geologic systems?

Not being a geologist (or any kind of trained scientist) I am of course mostly talking out of my ass here. I have no idea if this crackpot paranoid idea of mine even really makes sense (I'd be relieved to know it doesn't hold up to real scientific scrutiny). But it seems to me there are still so many things we don't fully understand about earth's geologic processes, we ought to be a little more circumspect and humble before doing crap like this on such large scales, dammit.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Plan A - PRETEND IT'S OK Plan B - SLURPIE STRAW Plan C - ROCKS AND MUD Plan D - BIG SAW Plan E - GIANT SCISSORS Plan F - VIEWERS' CHOICE Plan G - DOLPHINS WITH MARBLES Plan H - BAT SIGNAL Plan I -
posted by longsleeves at 12:05 PM on June 3, 2010 [20 favorites]


I keep picturing one company waiting in the wings, their executives bidding their time until a degree of desperation has been reached where no price is too much to pay to stop this godawful flow. And then the Kotex corporation rolls out the biggest fuckin tampon you've ever seen.
posted by digsrus at 12:06 PM on June 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


Nabubrush: so, let's say a 2m diameter x 5m long (or 10m) hard rubber stopper would be cut by this pressure? How about rubber strengthened by ceramics or composites?
posted by rainy at 12:10 PM on June 3, 2010


Basically this thing is going to continue to dump a significant quantity of oil until the relief wells are drilled, and if they manage to do that by August I'll eat my hat.
posted by atrazine at 12:11 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Homunculus's links just about destroyed me. Is there anything anyone can do? There's not, is there? It's not money. It's not volunteers. There's nothing to do but watch it happen and make jokes and try not to click those links.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:14 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


and no I don't drive a car thanks very much

Do you ever like to travel overseas?
posted by modernnomad at 12:14 PM on June 3, 2010




I don't suppose we could ever have a non-smug, non-reactionary discussion of how our lifestyles contribute to this mess as a society.

I mean, I could say "I do X and Y but not Z but I'm working on it." I'd either get called out as a hypocrite for Z or as a self-satisfied prick for suggesting that you, too, could do X or Y if I could do it...
posted by Skwirl at 12:17 PM on June 3, 2010 [17 favorites]


What is Bobby Jindal to do? At the end of the day, fishing (now fucked for a a decade or so) and oil are the major economic activities going on in Louisiana.

Really his dilemma is just a micro version of that facing all of us. We know that we probably shouldn't drill for deepwater oil considering the difficulty of dealing with catastrophic events like this, but so much of our oil comes from deepwater (and much more will in the future) that we have no choice. As oil prices continue to rise, we'll be pushed more and more into doing things that we know are bad ideas.
posted by atrazine at 12:22 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't suppose we could ever have a non-smug, non-reactionary discussion of how our lifestyles contribute to this mess as a society.

I just think that the technology most likely to help us is not new batteries, or wind, or nuclear, but the technology of collective decision making.
posted by atrazine at 12:23 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have no idea if this crackpot paranoid idea of mine even really makes sense (I'd be relieved to know it doesn't hold up to real scientific scrutiny).

Rest assured, it doesn't. The plates aren't sliding around on some solid thing that requires lubrication, they're sliding around on plastic rock.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:27 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


rainy, integrity management of casing and surface and sub-surface safety equipment is something that's pretty close to what I do. There are a number of challenges I can see off the top of my head with what you propose. Firstly, I'm not really sure how you'd go about building the holding chamber for the plug. Any time you get away from a cylindrical shape (meaning the tubing and casing) you compromise your structural integrity to a great degree. Secondly, I'm not sure what you would use for the plug. The plugs I've seen that use rubber as part of their sealing surface are normally hydraulically actuated, so they'd have to be conveyed on line from the surface, which brings with it attendant difficulties. Add on the fact that the wellhead is under 5000 feet of water, and things get progressively harder.

The unfortunate truth about this all is that they did have a "plug" of sorts (their BOPs), and it failed. The plug you propose could also fail, presumably, and then we'd be back in the same boat. However, this type of completion is fairly new in the industry, so I would guess there might be people thinking about some variation of your idea.
posted by Nabubrush at 12:30 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


atrazine, it's an interesting parallel to the Exxon Valdez, given that Alaska's economy is largely oil-based with tourism and fishing contributing a lot of the rest.
posted by Nabubrush at 12:32 PM on June 3, 2010


Can't we invent an organism that eats oil and reproduces uncontrollably?

I think those are humans.
posted by benzenedream at 12:41 PM on June 3, 2010 [45 favorites]


Rest assured, it doesn't.

Phew! That's a relief. There's one less random fear to keep me up at night. /not really

Still, my actual point is just that the potential unintended consequences of removing so much oil from the earth don't seem well enough understood for my comfort. And as a species, we seem to have a terrible habit of making irreversible decisions and then just waiting to see what happens, instead of figuring out what we're doing before we act.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:42 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]




Are we going to have a daily BP post? There's at least 10 open threads on this subject.

The last one was four days ago, it's a pretty big deal. You can go to MeTa if you want to but we did, as mods, ask each other this question and we felt this was okay.
posted by jessamyn at 12:48 PM on June 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


If they do get their newest contraption on the well and siphon some of it off, they should have a minimum to the estimate of how much oil is flowing out of the well, right? They will share that information with us, right?

This is starting to sound like a Vonnegut novel.

Hi ho.
posted by chemoboy at 12:55 PM on June 3, 2010


I must be starting to get "crusty-old" because more and more I realize our world is run with a mixture of greed, incompetence, idiocy, and SISSY-BRITCHES! All those years of convincing my youthful angry teen-self that it wasn't so just wasted as I watch every year pass finding more evidence I was right to be so angry.

I feel guilty for ignoring my fear of bringing children into this world - I now fear for my potential grandchildren. They're going to HATE our modern generations for poisoning the well.

I'm so beyond disgusted with this whole event that I need new words made up for the depths of my horror at what is happening to the only home we've got - Earth. That this spill brought to my attention other ongoing oil-related ecological disasters I am both grateful and enraged. And ashamed, because I'm part of the problem as a member of oil-greedy United States. My lack of car doesn't exclude me. :(
posted by _paegan_ at 12:56 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]



When it comes to drilling projects such as this, I'm not the biggest fan - but, the oil is there and one way or another, we're going to get it and use it. So, you know spills like this are to be expected.

Or at least, I expected it. And I'm an idiot working a cushy desk job in the midwest somewhere. I mean, there is lots that has to go right, and if they don't you get a big mess and a lot of wasted oil. The stakes are pretty high. When stakes are high, you take precautions.

So, it sort of boggles my mind that they didn't drill a relief well in tandem with the original. Sure it's expensive. But a failure like this is expensiver. Like I said, though, I'm an idiot.

If I had failed in my job so thoroughly as the leadership of BP, I'd never work in my field again. But then I'm not a well connected rich white guy that the republican leadership is just in love with.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:57 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't suppose we could ever have a non-smug, non-reactionary discussion of how our lifestyles contribute to this mess as a society.

My problem with that argument is that it frames a massive, systematic problem as one that can be solved by individual lifestyle choices. Remember the hole in the ozone layer? Ozone depletion wasn't stopped by telling everyone to "use less hair spray," the only way to reverse it was to pass laws to ban CFCs. The civil rights movement didn't work by telling racist white people to "be nicer to minorities," it was about making tough policy changes and bringing in the national guard to make sure they were enforced.

Our problems with oil and environmental impacts aren't going to be solved by everyone "being a little greener." It can only be solved by real, systematic changes in policy that can actually be used to force everyone to make the changes that need to be made. Honestly, people should feel like they can't change their lifestyle in a way that would prevent huge environment destroying oil spills and catastrophic climate change, because random individual people are not going to be able to stop those things, and pretending that they can is just a distraction.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:58 PM on June 3, 2010 [35 favorites]


Where's Virgil "Bud" Brigman when we need him?
posted by sharkitect at 1:01 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is starting to sound like a Vonnegut novel.

Be patient, folks. BP is working on Ice-9 as we speak. They are the only ones with the expertise and people to make this happen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:02 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Be patient, folks. BP is working on Ice-9 as we speak.

I'm so excited. I'm frozen to my seat.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:04 PM on June 3, 2010


Oh we went past Vonnegut like days ago, we're going into Pynchon at this rate.
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


and on that note, I want all future graphics of the spill site to be replaced with the words DOOM! in screaming letters.
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nabubrush: the chamber would be cylindrical in shape, basically a widening of the pipe. The advantage over the BOP is that BOP is huge and complex, 3 stories high (iirc), it already failed in '79 in a similar circumstance because it has to cut the pipe. Where as the "plug" would just have to be pushed slightly to the center and then the flow of oil would push it to plug the pipe, it would probably be enough to just detach it from the wall. You'd still have to send the signal from above to the detachment mechanism, but there's no way around that with any system. The plug being so simple, it would not be expensive to have 2 or 3 of them. I realize engineers must have thought of that before, so I must be wrong somewhere.
posted by rainy at 1:06 PM on June 3, 2010


Oh we went past Vonnegut like days ago, we're going into Pynchon at this rate.

BP parapsychologists are still trying to figure out whether the oil spills are somehow caused by Slothrop's orgasms or, as the Pavlovians would have it, it's merely an instance of precognitive stimulus-response.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:08 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Are we going to have a daily BP post? There's at least 10 open threads on this subject.

I saw the news this morning too.


I don't own a T.V., and rarely go to news sites. I like the updates here.
posted by Malice at 1:10 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


burnmp3s: Both come from the same source: if there's 55% of population who feel strongly about this, they will make changes in personal life and vote to make legislative changes as well. If most people don't feel strongly / don't care, they'll do neither.
posted by rainy at 1:15 PM on June 3, 2010


The BP disaster is the single biggest most awesomely sized absolute clusterfuck of a total nightmare that ever there was.
Oil belongs far below the surface of the earth. It's 2010! Why on earth are we still using it? You can even make plastic out of bloody plant fibers ffs.
Grrrrrrrrrrr
spastic monkey retards
and no I don't drive a car thanks very much


I faved because I agree that we shouldn't be using oil anymore. However, taking the moral high ground by saying you don't drive a car is a little pointless. You wear clothes, right? I presume they weren't locally made. I also presume your food, spices, dishes, furniture, dog food, etc., aren't all 100% local. These things require oil to deliver for your comfort and convenience. I wish there were a viable alternative that we could afford.
posted by Malice at 1:15 PM on June 3, 2010




So, it sort of boggles my mind that they didn't drill a relief well in tandem with the original. Sure it's expensive. But a failure like this is expensiver. Like I said, though, I'm an idiot.

Basically, then you've got two wells where this could happen. There's not much difference between an exploration well and a relief well.

There was a lot of talk about Canadian Arctic drilling regulations a few days ago, but the requirement there is that they show an ability to drill a relief well the same season (before the sea freezes over) so that you don't have a well spewing oil all through the winter before you can even start your relief well.
posted by atrazine at 1:18 PM on June 3, 2010


Nabubrush Well, that's something I suppose. Still, I strongly suspect that safety measures on completed rigs are less than ideal. Safety == money not spent on executives after all.
posted by sotonohito at 1:20 PM on June 3, 2010


Meanwhile 4,000+ other wells sit in the gulf, all built to the same "safety" requirements as this one. Any bets as to when the next one will go?
It's important to understand that this is a brand new well. I don't think there's too much risk with a well that's been operating for a while. But new wells do have this risk.
What I don't get is this.. it would be very easy to plug if when making the well, they would make a small chamber first, then have a rubber plug stored at the side of the chamber, then if it needs to be plugged, the rubber just moves to the center and the pressure of oil will push it in the pipe and plug it.
They have something like that. They're called blowout preventers. As we all know, they have one on this well. Apparently the batteries in the (undersea) control panel were dead. Fun times. The BOP uses metal instead of rubber, though. They call the part the actually stops oil pincers. As in the transocean guy said "that's what the pincers are for" when BP demanded they swap mud with seawater ahead of schedule before this thing blew.
Now Louisiana governor and Republican hack Bobby Jindal, who was so vocal early on in criticizing the administration for not taking drastic enough steps in the early days after the spill, is calling for President Obama to cancel the recently announced six month moratorium on further deep sea drilling off the coast of Louisiana.
The government, and everyone else, really has only one way to prevent blowouts. And that's to prevent drilling in the first place.
Really his dilemma is just a micro version of that facing all of us. We know that we probably shouldn't drill for deepwater oil considering the difficulty of dealing with catastrophic events like this, but so much of our oil comes from deepwater (and much more will in the future) that we have no choice. As oil prices continue to rise, we'll be pushed more and more into doing things that we know are bad ideas.
I don't know maybe a little fucking self control? Seriously, we have alternatives to oil, alternatives that would be cheaper if the government seriously invested in them. But because our government is infested with oil company lobbyists, it doesn't happen.
posted by delmoi at 1:25 PM on June 3, 2010


I'd love to know how many viable plans BP et-al have rejected because they'd permanently seal the well ruining any possibility of making money off of this. Then I'd like to know how many days passed between them deciding to not use one of them and the day that they finally get this shut off.

Then I'd like to calculate how many subsequent barrels of oil were released because of this financial decision.

Then... because I'm feeling particularly vindictive, I'd like to take an equal number of barrels, and use them to drown everyone involved.
posted by quin at 1:26 PM on June 3, 2010




delmoi: on the BOP, here's a quote from my post above:
The advantage over the BOP is that BOP is huge and complex, 3 stories high (iirc), it already failed in '79 in a similar circumstance because it has to cut the pipe. Where as the "plug" would just have to be pushed slightly to the center and then the flow of oil would push it to plug the pipe, it would probably be enough to just detach it from the wall. You'd still have to send the signal from above to the detachment mechanism, but there's no way around that with any system. The plug being so simple, it would not be expensive to have 2 or 3 of them. I realize engineers must have thought of that before, so I must be wrong somewhere.

I don't think they're agreed yet that the dead battery is the root cause. It seems like for something like that they'd have a couple backup batteries, no? Again, with the plug the battery would be much smaller because it only has to detach the plug, and maybe push it just a bit. 99% of work would be done by oil pressure itself.
posted by rainy at 1:33 PM on June 3, 2010


Sure. We have coal at the cost of the occasional miner and the debridement of West Virginia. We have nuclear at the cost of the occasional radioactive "incident". Hydroelectric at the cost of river ecosystems. Those may be trade-offs that we are comfortable making, but they aren't free of risk either.

Wind and solar could be used much more, but that would require either a massive build of pumped storage hydro or a revolution in battery design as well as a total re-engineering of the distribution grid (long distance grids actually carry only relatively small loads at the moment, it's mostly load balancing, the majority of power is generated within 100 km or so of where it's used).

All these things are possible, but even if we put all our efforts into them right now we are at the very least a decade from a real shift. This of course is all the more reason to start now (see also: Napoleon and tree planting) but it doesn't change the fact that there will be deep water drilling in the future.
posted by atrazine at 1:34 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd love to know how many viable plans BP et-al have rejected because they'd permanently seal the well ruining any possibility of making money off of this. Then I'd like to know how many days passed between them deciding to not use one of them and the day that they finally get this shut off.

Zero. This well was a total loss from day one.
posted by atrazine at 1:36 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd love to know how many viable plans BP et-al have rejected because they'd permanently seal the well ruining any possibility of making money off of this.
Top Kill would have permanently sealed the well. So would the "Junk Shot" The relief well would permanently seal the well too. And this was just a 'discovery' well, to fully develop the oil field would (I think) take many wells.
The advantage over the BOP is that BOP is huge and complex, 3 stories high (iirc), it already failed in '79 in a similar circumstance because it has to cut the pipe. Where as the "plug" would just have to be pushed slightly to the center and then the flow of oil would push it to plug the pipe
Yes, the BOP is complicated, because it exists in the real world. If your thing was going to exist in the real world, it would also be complicated. The bop "simply" cuts the flow of oil using metal pincers. your thing "Simply" puts a rubber stopper in place. But in practice you would have to have some mechanism to push the rubber in place. How would it work? Why would it be less failable then the mechanism in the BOP that moves the pincers? The only real difference is the use of rubber instead of metal, which is probably a bad idea.
posted by delmoi at 1:46 PM on June 3, 2010


We know that we probably shouldn't drill for deepwater oil considering the difficulty of dealing with catastrophic events like this, but so much of our oil comes from deepwater (and much more will in the future) that we have no choice. As oil prices continue to rise, we'll be pushed more and more into doing things that we know are bad ideas.

Of course we have a choice. Why should rising oil prices simply push us towards getting oil from riskier and riskier locations as opposed to pushing us away from oil altogether? If anything, this is the perfect time to finally get a serious push towards energy sources that are not oil. If we manage to do that to replace even a portion of the oil we use, that would be a good start. I don't care if the process takes ten years - that certainly does not mean we shouldn't bother seriously getting started on it right now.

Aside from spills and accidents, oil is wasted every day just by manufacturing crap nobody wants and nobody would miss if it were gone, driving when a good public transportation option is available, etc. Think of how much garbage is sold in stores that will end up in the trash, how much food is thrown out by restaurants and grocery stores because everyone always has to have available way more than everyone needs. Would our country be that much worse a place if millions of tasteless, out of season tomatoes stopped being shipped across the country all year?

Rising oil prices means we should find sensible ways to use less oil, not that we need to find more of it to make it cheaper, so that even more people continue to rely on it and the prospect of change becomes even more daunting.

People have this tendency to get so overwhelmed by the big picture that making the most minute, simple changes seem pointless. But if millions of people started making these little changes, that would start adding up quickly.
posted by wondermouse at 1:51 PM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


delmoi: it's not simple to cut a pipe while at the same time not letting oil to seep or leak out. This caused a problem in 1979 because the drill head was in the pipe when it was being cut. Actually, that means that the plug would not work as well - it needs the pipe to be clear obviously. That might be the reason (or one of) why it's not used. However, if the drill is out, the construction of the plug is much simpler, as I mentioned before, the pipe needs to be cut with significant force and then flow of oil and pressure needs to be blocked. With the plug, it's not cut and pressure actually does the work for you because it pushes the plug in the pipe. It only would need to be detached from the side of chamber. In fact it could even have a backup, purely mechanical system for detachment if the battery does not work.

Since it would not work when drill is in the pipe, maybe it could use as a backup fix for cases when drill is already out? Was it out in this accident?
posted by rainy at 2:02 PM on June 3, 2010


We know that we probably shouldn't drill for deepwater oil considering the difficulty of dealing with catastrophic events like this.

"It's difficult" is a lazy excuse, and a bad one. This accident was entirely preventable. Deepwater drilling doesn't have to be inherently dangerous. From most accounts, the well currently gushing all over the gulf wasn't particularly deep or risky. However, BP ignored numerous safety procedures, didn't replace faulty equipment, and had no contingencies planned for an unmitigated failure of the blowout preventer.

We need to take industrial safety seriously as a country at every level. If numerous and repeated violations are found at a factory, oil platform, coal mine, etc., the government needs to have the power to shut down these businesses permanently.
posted by schmod at 2:05 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


At this point, I'm all for the Russian approach of dropping a nuclear bomb into an adjacent well and shutting this thing down HARD.
posted by GuyZero at 2:11 PM on June 3, 2010


we're going into Pynchon at this rate.

Delillo.

:(
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:15 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, BP ignored numerous safety procedures, didn't replace faulty equipment, and had no contingencies planned for an unmitigated failure of the blowout preventer.

Strange behavior, isn't it, for a company described as the sole party capable of fixing this mess. Robert Reich is right: put BP into receivership. Open up the leak data to our best and brightest to analyze, without lies, intimidation, cover-ups and payola getting in the way (though we're probably well past the point of being able to do anything now, but clean-up work).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:20 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


At this point, I'm all for the Russian approach of dropping a nuclear bomb into an adjacent well and shutting this thing down HARD.

When I'm cleaning oil off of beaches and washing seabirds, I prefer that the oil not be radioactive, thanks.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 2:27 PM on June 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


delmoi: it's not simple to cut a pipe while at the same time not letting oil to seep or leak out. This caused a problem in 1979 because the drill head was in the pipe when it was being cut. Actually, that means that the plug would not work as well - it needs the pipe to be clear obviously. That might be the reason (or one of) why it's not used. However, if the drill is out, the construction of the plug is much simpler
I don't think these things are designed to leak no oil, just not very much. Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is that what you've described is not any different, in practice, from what a BOP is supposed to do. The reason they have to cut the pipe is because the BOP failed. If your thing failed then they would have to cut the pipe too (assuming junk shot, top kill, etc didn't work) There's no reason to think what you've described would work any better then a BOP.
When I'm cleaning oil off of beaches and washing seabirds, I prefer that the oil not be radioactive, thanks.
It wouldn't make it much more toxic then it already is. And anyway, it wouldn't make the oil that had already leaked radio active.
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on June 3, 2010


I really wish the spillcams had running commentary. Right now the one in the lower right has some kind of rubbery donut thing in its claws and I wish I knew what was going on.
posted by desjardins at 2:40 PM on June 3, 2010


oh I see. it's a gasket they're trying to put around the pipe. not very successfully yet. that thing is clumsy.
posted by desjardins at 2:41 PM on June 3, 2010


Still having trouble visualizing the scale of this mess? Overlay the spill onto your hometown

Wasilla, Alaska. Drill, baby! Drill!
posted by kirkaracha at 2:41 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


And then the Kotex corporation rolls out the biggest fuckin tampon you've ever seen.

I know you're being facetious, but...why not? Let's say you have a material that absorbs oil and expands significantly. So you make a giant plug that consists of thick metal circular plates separated by layers of this material. Then you put the whole thing into a shell that's narrower than the pipe, presumably wrapped by a material that dissolves in water over the course of 24 hours, but until then is water/oil-proof (presumably with the soluble shell around strips of the water/oil-proof material, so that as the shell dissolves the strips spread and start letting oil get in.)

Then, you lower this heavy thing down over the pipe, and use your little magic robot to shove the narrower-than-the-plume plug into the pipe and hold it there (under the assumption that, if they can hold the soon-to-be-applied cap there, they can hold the plug there.)

Now, keep it there until the shell dissolves and the strips come off, so that oil starts getting into the core material layers. As they expand, the diameter of the plug grows, with the metal plates providing rigidity. Presumably we know the diameter of the pipe, and can calculate how big to make the layers and what the circumference of the plug should be to ensure it can (at least temporarily) stick inside the pipe without bursting the pipe.

If things went well, even temporarily, the flow's reduction/elimination would make capping it much easier. And if it doesn't work, the plug may come shooting out at high speed. But at least we'd get to see video of it.
posted by davejay at 2:49 PM on June 3, 2010


All these things are possible, but even if we put all our efforts into them right now we are at the very least a decade from a real shift.

That's what they said ten years ago.

That's what they said twenty years ago.

That's what they said thirty years ago.



If they're still saying it ten years from now, then humanity will have indisputably reached Peak Stupid.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:51 PM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


The nuclear "option" wouldn't work in this situation anyway. Too much mud, not enough rock.

In other news, I'm as pissed as anybody about BP's complete disregard for safety on this well, but these comments about how they apparently aren't doing what they can to stop the spill? Utter stupidity. It is 100% in their best interest to get this thing plugged as soon as possible. They have nothing to gain from dallying, unless they really did mean the "Beyond Petroleum" thing they were pushing some years back. (they didn't)

Sarah Palin's hurf durf twitter comment made me pretty mad, too. It's as if she doesn't believe that oil can be spilled on land? The top kill probably didn't fail because the well was at the bottom of the sea. If this thing was on land, we'd probably just have Kuwait 1991 again, only harder to deal with because the pressures involved would be higher.
posted by wierdo at 2:55 PM on June 3, 2010


But then we get more footage for "Fires of Kuwait II" with Russian tanks that have MiG engines bolted to the top trying to blow out oil well fires.
posted by GuyZero at 3:02 PM on June 3, 2010


This has a disturbing resemblance to the kind of "fixing" my parents do, which involves remedies like duct taping the remote control back together.

You can think of this like your parents digging an underground bunker and hitting a water main, and trying to fix it with duct tape ... because nobody else in the whole town knows how to do it any better.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:04 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sarah Palin's hurf durf twitter comment made me pretty mad, too. It's as if she doesn't believe that oil can be spilled on land?

Well, she advocated plenty for offshore drilling during the campaign.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:05 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


So what would happen, assuming all this fantastical stuff, if we extracted all of this crucial natural lubricant that reduces the friction in the motions of land plates? More earthquakes or volcanic eruptions as pressure builds but can't properly be sublimated through sea-floor spreading and subduction? The death of the earth's active geologic systems?

We could just replace it with the gel that forms at the bottom of a canned ham. Nobody needs that stuff.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:08 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Look, they're not far from Florida....

Maybe they've given enough engineers and technicians a shot at the job...

A good mohel isn't going to do any worse, is what I'm saying here.

Tony Hayward would have to go to see the mohel of course. To make sure he’s meticulous and efficient so he doesn't have to waste any more money. “So what did you do with all the leftover bits from your candles, throw them out?” he’d say.
The mohel would say “No, we gather all of them up and send them out to get them recast and today we got new candles.”
Hayward would ask about all the extra bits of sheet metal and whether they waste that by throwing it out.
The mohel would tell him that they sent the bits to a scrap metal company that represses the metal.
“They sent it back to us today and we have new metal sheets to use.”
So he’d get irritated and ask if they recycle everything like the foreskins from the circumcisions.
“Funny you should ask,” the mohel would say. “We sent them to British Petroleum.”
“You sent them to BP?” he’d say. “My company? What happened when you did that?”
“Today they sent us you.”

posted by Smedleyman at 3:10 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Remember the old saw about how if you knew what was in sausages you wouldn't eat 'em? Well, many people who didn't know are now finding out how the oil industry makes their stock so attractive to shareholders. Redundant safety systems and preventative relief wells and such cost a lot of money. Consumers want cheap oil. When everything is going smoothly shareholders and consumers can ignore the potential for disaster, because they're making money or being able to afford gasoline, etc. We all have varying degrees of culpability in this mess.

BP looked at the potential and decided that their exposure was balanced by however much money they had tied up in safety systems. All corporations do this. The comments that BP isn't doing all it can to fix this issue are a bit wrongheaded, though, as this is the biggest public-relations disaster they've ever had, and it's hitting them in the pocketbook, which is the only way you can get a corporation's attention.
posted by Nabubrush at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2010



If anyone remembers the Ixtoc well blowout in the gulf....it was 1979 and one of the things they tried to stop the leak was .. ready? The Sombrero. And it failed to stop the leak in just 200' of water. Just like the Top Hat failed 31 years later in 5,000 feet of water. So our first effort was pretty much a replica of what failed years ago in shallower water.
posted by notreally at 3:18 PM on June 3, 2010




If things went well, even temporarily, the flow's reduction/elimination would make capping it much easier. And if it doesn't work, the plug may come shooting out at high speed. But at least we'd get to see video of it.

See, this is the kind of thinking I like. The oil cam is getting a little boring.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:25 PM on June 3, 2010


By the way, I know it's been mentioned repeatedly, but it's still worth pointing out that these types of leaks are common and not even addressed off the coast of Africa and other areas with lax or no environmental laws. So, we should be concerned, but imagine this happening in your backyard and nobody doing anything about it, or really showing much interest at all. That's how things are in the Niger Delta.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:31 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hate to go all tinfoil here, but how lucky for Goldman Sachs that it sold 44% of its stake (some 4.7 million shares) in BP prior to the oil spill (figures here and more info here).
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:41 PM on June 3, 2010


As they expand, the diameter of the plug grows...

Until it's just ever so much smaller than the pipe, and it comes rocketing out taking the little magic robot along with it, is my guess for how that plays out.
posted by Rat Spatula at 3:43 PM on June 3, 2010


It is 100% in their best interest to get this thing plugged as soon as possible. They have nothing to gain from dallying

You’d think so, but here we are. The only reason they’re getting it done is because there’s enough power and money in the U.S. government and the gulf region to make it cost prohibitive to ignore it.
Without the pressure brought to bear, they would ignore it. As BP specifically, and oil companies generally, have.

BP likes dumping stuff (chromium, strontium, benzeprine, mercury, ammonia) in my Lake Michigan drinking water. So I take it kinda personally.

What irritates me, and apparently most people, isn't the screw up of the spill itself, the people killed, the disregard for safety at the well (although that's probably enough alone) - it's the lying to public representatives after the fact, the absolute lack of preparation for a possible disaster and the obvious and continuous pattern of safety and environmental violations and putting pressure on government in order to maximize profits regardless of just plain common sense.

I mean - it's all our necks.
There's some kind of money that exempts one from drinking water? Or eating tainted seafood?
Clearly they believe their best interest is making a buck.
And that's the nature of that particular machine. I don't think Joe Petroleum Engineer goes out in the field looking to poison fisheries. Quite the contrary. But he's part of a big machine where a few people make big decisions that serve a bottom line for stockholders that doesn't value clean water. Because it's a kind of machine. Sure, a company is full of people. But the way it's set up, it's blind - willfully - to a target other than making money.
So their best interest is, in that sense, schizophrenic.
Plenty of people doing their damnedest to fix this. And many of them altruistically I'm sure. And even where that fails, there's professionalism and sure, the bad PR and stock downgrade and all the other pressures folks would respond to and try to get the job done.

But they've been restrained far in advance. Undercut by the needs of the bottom line and the mechanisms set up well beforehand to, reflexively, protect it.
They've been dallying for 20 years.
Like a guy having a heart attack saying "No, wait, I'll exercise more!" yeah, well, obviously you don't want to die, but 20 years of doughnuts don't get wiped out overnight.

But like any caring doctor, we should have set him up with a nutritionist already. We're the ones that have to be responsible. It's our system.
I mean damn, caring about this shit and getting politically involved is trite, but Armando Galarraga getting robbed, yeah, that's for f'ing real.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:55 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


See, this is the kind of thinking I like. The oil cam is getting a little boring.

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT6186857

It won't actually help with the leaking oil problem but it might make months of watching unsuccessful attempts to stop it just a little more tolerable.
posted by prak at 4:01 PM on June 3, 2010


I was wondering about the timing of this. How much blame should go to the Obama administration rather then the Bush administration.
"the department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) [gave] BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a 'categorical exclusion' from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009."
That was last year. A couple months into the Obama administration. How much blame should get get for approving this drilling and exempting them from an environmental plan? I think the answer should be some.
posted by delmoi at 4:07 PM on June 3, 2010


The big picture has some shots an AP photographer just took.

Caught in the Oil.
posted by mikw at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


rainy, the other issue to keep in mind is that as the pipe diameter grows the burst and collapse rating falls drastically. Once you make room for your tubing, your "plug pocket", your production casing, and your surface casing, you wouldn't be able to safely operate your well because your burst rating might be 10 psi or so (yes, I realize they can't safely operate _this_ well). Also, a large void at surface would make it very difficult if not impossible to perform interventions on the well after completion.
posted by Nabubrush at 4:16 PM on June 3, 2010


I wish there were a viable alternative that we could afford.

Doing without as much is often affordable. I'm at 92.6% of the 2009 U.S. Poverty Level yet my material wealth of goods is quite considerable, showing my global income rank of being in the top 13.3% according to How Rich Are You? I'm sure the oil used to produce and transport my wealth is still significant. However, my American poverty has forced me to learn to re-use, reduce, and recycle as often as possible and bike for personal transportation. I'm aware it's hardly a drop of change for the environment - it's due to financial limitations. Our country's economic troubles are leading to others learning more about doing without, but spoiled Americans are also stubborn - we feel we somehow deserve to reap (and damage) the wealth of our planet. Plus, we have to ruin it before someone else does! What few seem to know or believe is that we CANNOT afford to refuse to develop environmentally safer energy technologies. And get over that it may be expensive; so's being poisoned by your environment.
posted by _paegan_ at 4:25 PM on June 3, 2010


@delmoi: I meant cutting of pipe that BOP performs when activated, not the later cutting with the saw they did recently, of course.

@Nabubrush: I was thinking the chamber would have to be proportionally thicker-walled, possibly braced.. it doesn't have to be that much wider so it'd seem making it strong enough is not insurmountable. Anyway, I think the main point may be that they want a single mechanism that will stop oil whether drill is in the pipe or not.
posted by rainy at 4:36 PM on June 3, 2010


I just came in here to share the photos mikw posted. Heartbreaking
posted by runningwithscissors at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I meant cutting of pipe that BOP performs when activated

What? What makes you think it works that way? It's just a large valve. It can close and be reopened.
posted by delmoi at 4:53 PM on June 3, 2010


this diagram of an old BOP looks a lot like what you're talking about. A big cog that gets pushed into place by a screw. I have no idea why you think what you're proposing is novel. It's the same way a BOP works. The only difference, as I said, is the use of rubber instead of metal and you want yours underground, while the BOP is made of metal and on top of the wellhead.
posted by delmoi at 4:55 PM on June 3, 2010




YO DAWG I HERD YOU LIKE TO FUCK UP SO WE PUT A FUCK UP IN YO FUCK UP SO YOU CAN FUCK UP WHILE U FUCK UP.
posted by tommasz at 5:35 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hate to go all tinfoil here, but how lucky for Goldman Sachs that it sold 44% of its stake (some 4.7 million shares) in BP prior to the oil spill (figures here and more info here).

I don't even understand what you're trying to be tinfoil about. Are you implying that you think GS can see the future? Or that they sabotaged the oil well? What?
posted by Justinian at 5:53 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps someone at Goldman was tipped off to the internal BP reports describing the ongoing problems with the Deepwater Horizon's well. That kind of insider information would be very hard to interpret, but possibly useful.
posted by anthill at 6:06 PM on June 3, 2010


I think if it was evident that the well was going to explode to such an extent that Goldman would sell its stocks, BP may not have had people standing around on the rig to get exploded.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:16 PM on June 3, 2010


"Hate to go all tinfoil here, but how lucky for Goldman Sachs that it sold 44% of its stake (some 4.7 million shares) in BP prior to the oil spill (figures here and more info here).

I don't even understand what you're trying to be tinfoil about. Are you implying that you think GS can see the future? Or that they sabotaged the oil well? What?"


Their guys are far, far better than our guys. And I have access to just about everything. It would not surprise me at all if they were getting daily access to MMS records for multiple semis and vessels. They have never missed yet. In fact, at one point in 2008 they traded more oil on paper than existed in proven reserves worldwide.

Seriously. This is not tinfoil hat territory at all.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:23 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


So Goldman Sachs is Wolferam Hart, am I understanding this?


It does clear up an awful lot of things.
posted by The Whelk at 6:27 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's compound but not necessarily complex. Given what we know now about BP's MMS exceptions (which I didn't even know about), GS could have, essentially, run an actuarial table on their deep/ultra deepwater ops or the potential sovereign risk in the Niger delta and pulled the plug, no pun intended.

When matters come down to a question of access to information, never underestimate an oil majors access. Seriously.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:37 PM on June 3, 2010


So Wells Fargo, who hugely increased their stake in BP on the same day that GS sold a bunch is just a smokescreen?
posted by Justinian at 6:40 PM on June 3, 2010


(um, that last rhetorical flourish should have been about GS's access...I'll just sit in the corner for a moment....)
posted by digitalprimate at 6:40 PM on June 3, 2010


It looks like they're putting the thing on top of the other thing right now. The thing that's going to fail to stop the leak in a new and different way than the last couple of things.
posted by Justinian at 6:48 PM on June 3, 2010


The thing is now on the other thing, but oil is still squirting around.
posted by Justinian at 6:57 PM on June 3, 2010



The Oil Drum.com is a forum where, among other things, concerned industry insiders, read drilling engineers and etc., are discussing the ongoing catastrophe. The content ranges from discussion and debate on alternative fixes to real-time analysis of BP video feeds.

The site is down for maintenance now, probably because its getting more traffic than it was designed to handle, so I can’t provide a direct link to it. But Reddit has set up a dedicated webpage.
posted by Huplescat at 7:25 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but it looks like the link to the Oildrum discussion on the ongoing bullshit has been deleted.
posted by Huplescat at 7:36 PM on June 3, 2010


My bad... look for BP Oil Spill Analysis: The Riser is Cut, Seating the LMRP, and our Engineers/Geologists Open Thread
posted by Huplescat at 7:43 PM on June 3, 2010


Smedleyman wrote: "You’d think so, but here we are. The only reason they’re getting it done is because there’s enough power and money in the U.S. government and the gulf region to make it cost prohibitive to ignore it. Without the pressure brought to bear, they would ignore it. As BP specifically, and oil companies generally, have."

Sure, over in Africa where there is no cost to them for dumping on the commons, they have absolutely no incentive to stop a spill, aside maybe from the relatively minor cost, in comparison to the cost of cleanup, of the oil they end up losing.

In the West, where they can get sued and have to pay for every dime of the cost of cleanup, it behooves them to stop spilling as soon as possible. That's one of the nice things about having a developed legal system and environmental regulations.
posted by wierdo at 8:06 PM on June 3, 2010


I'm not sure what this is supposed to look like but I'm guessing a ton of oil billowing up and ignoring the cap thing completely is NOT it. This is my surprised face.
posted by Justinian at 8:19 PM on June 3, 2010


You can see the Skandi Neptune (ROV 1) applying dispersant to the plume. That's the white stuff it's spraying into the black oil.

Video feed: http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:45685.asx?bkup=49182

...or use the all in one at http://mxl.fi/bpfeeds2.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 8:23 PM on June 3, 2010


@delmoi: Here's a quote from huffpo article, but I've seen this information in other places too:

There are two different kinds of valves: ram and annular. A ram valve uses a number of pistons or rams that close around the drill pipe (called a "drill string" in the trade), shear through the pipe, and then seal the well hole.

If I understand right, the pipe is cut through by the rams?
Continued quote:

The annular design, created in 1946 by a man named Knox, uses a hemisphere of rubber reinforced by steel ribs for the same purpose.
posted by rainy at 8:26 PM on June 3, 2010


There are BOP's that can seal around the drill string, and there are BOP's that cut through it. You can even stack them, if you want. For a many-thousand-psi isolation, remotely operated, the BOP is the simplest way to get the job done. In the real world, "simplest" often means "most likely to actually work."

And they do work and have worked. For some reason this one didn't. That doesn't mean the concept is bad.
posted by ctmf at 8:42 PM on June 3, 2010


That HuffPo blurb was a bad cut/paste from Blowout Preventer, probably.
posted by ctmf at 8:46 PM on June 3, 2010


I'm not sure what this is supposed to look like but I'm guessing a ton of oil billowing up and ignoring the cap thing completely is NOT it.

The oil is supposed to vent through the valves on the top of the cap until the recovery tube fills. I don't know how long that will take, but it seems premature to call this a failure. Yet.

Anyway, this is an animation of how bp hopes it will work.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 8:49 PM on June 3, 2010


That animation of the expected outcome is great. Love that they have all of these pretty diagrams to go with the plans, complete with sparkling blue water.

But it does make it appear that the current image on the video feed is an expected outcome. Sure hope so, and that it's not another epic fail.
posted by DMan at 9:06 PM on June 3, 2010


Computer model shows oil reaching the east coast.

Sounds like it is based on dye that has been injected into the water around to the gusher. (I can't bring myself to call it a "spill.")
posted by marxchivist at 9:14 PM on June 3, 2010


Ok, this is pretty funny. Sad that it's probably exactly the opposite of reality:
Still, in an interview, Gibbs said Obama doesn’t see the need for a theatrical display of concern.

“If the president thought getting mad and yelling would plug the hole, he’d do it on top of the White House,” he said. “He understands we’ll all be judged by our response and our recovery efforts, not on whether he’s been a good method actor.”
-- Bloomberg
posted by wierdo at 9:36 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]



“If the president thought getting mad and yelling would plug the hole, he’d do it on top of the White House,”


Don't give Bobby Jindal any more ideas.
posted by DMan at 9:56 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


“If the president thought getting mad and yelling would plug the hole, he’d do it on top of the White House,” he said. “He understands we’ll all be judged by our response and our recovery efforts, not on whether he’s been a good method actor.”

That seems just bizarre to me -- how could he possibly think it is better to not act excited and upset by such an incredibly large disaster? It's great that he's rational and coolheaded, I guess -- but just like he is constitutionally reluctant to kick ass, he seems incredibly reluctant to respond on a scale commensurate with the problem.
posted by Forktine at 10:22 PM on June 3, 2010


(Also, why did the BP live video work yesterday on my Mac, but today it crashes Firefox every time, and shows up blank on Safari?)
posted by Forktine at 10:45 PM on June 3, 2010


For you disaster junkies out there: This appears to be an amalgamation of 12 different feeds from various ROVs all on one page. Watch the Gulf of Mexico be destroyed from a dozen different angles at the same time!
posted by Justinian at 1:19 AM on June 4, 2010




So why don't they just drop a very big rock on it and call it good?

You'd have to cut off all the blowout preventer stuff so you've just got a whole in the ground, and instead of a rock you'd probably want something that's malleable at 15.5 GPa so it'll kinda go splat and form a better seal. But it's as simple a plan as you're going to get. And the complex stuff sure isn't working.
posted by Zalzidrax at 2:37 AM on June 4, 2010


So why don't they just drop a very big rock on it and call it good?

Unfortunately then the casing would probably burst, and the oil + gas would come bubbling out of the mud for several hundred metres around.
posted by atrazine at 6:14 AM on June 4, 2010


that computer model is nuts.

but it's based on dye at 20m under the surface; most of the oil seems to be at 800m / 2400ft or deeper. I imagine that changes the trajectory of the water somehow, but i'm not sure how.
posted by eustatic at 7:00 AM on June 4, 2010


Oh my fucking God, man, those Big Picture photos seriously make me want to slit my wrists.
posted by The Straightener at 7:15 AM on June 4, 2010


wierdo: "Ok, this is pretty funny. Sad that it's probably exactly the opposite of reality:
Still, in an interview, Gibbs said Obama doesn’t see the need for a theatrical display of concern.

“If the president thought getting mad and yelling would plug the hole, he’d do it on top of the White House,” he said. “He understands we’ll all be judged by our response and our recovery efforts, not on whether he’s been a good method actor.”
-- Bloomberg
"

No, no, Robert Gibbs, instead they send us a fuckin' comedian with a special brand of defensive snark to try to defuse our very legitimate rage. Fuckin' bloody hell you shit.
posted by symbioid at 7:49 AM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keep it up, Gibbs. At this rate, your boss is going to be on the lecture circuit in two years, rather than four. I'm starting to think he belongs there.
posted by Optamystic at 8:58 AM on June 4, 2010


I understand people's frustration and anger. And I say that as someone who's family has been living on Florida's Gulf coast in Franklin, Gulf and Bay counties since the mid 1800's, and who has personally lived in the area for over 30 years.

But as tempting as it is to pile on the president and his bumbling communication's office, it's important to keep foremost in the public eye the responsibility of BP and its partners in running the Deepwater Horizon, as well as attacking the powerful political machinery of the oil industry and its lobbyists.

In Florida, prior to this catastrophe, our legislature was this close to opening up offshore drilling in areas in the Gulf as close as three miles off shore.

This problem didn't begin with the president and he can't singlehandedly end it, even if he were capable of doing the things people keep dreaming up and labeling as obvious after the fact, heaping all the blame on him and his (allegedly) sluggish response to the crisis. Few of us realized the regulatory environment had grown this completely dysfunctional. That's no excuse, but there it is. And current law is very clear in dictating the terms of the current response effort: The law puts BP in charge of cleanup operations as the rig operator (this is why BP was required to submit what we now know were its ludicrously inadequate response plans). That's not to suggest the president can't and shouldn't be criticized. There's nothing wrong with pointing to specific failures and offering the benefit of hindsight.

But the really important message that needs to drive the discussion, IMO, is that this kind of drilling (deep-sea drilling) is inherently more difficult and dangerous in the event of systemic failure than other forms of drilling. We are reaching the stage where our dependence on fossil fuels is forcing us to take desperate measures to secure more of them. The harmful consequences of even relatively small-scale failures can be catastrophic.

We need to rally behind the current criminal and civil investigations. Regardless of how we feel the president's initial response went, that's the important thing to focus on now. We have to keep applying pressure for BP and its partners to be held accountable under the law. To the extent BP caused this disaster through cost-cutting, negligence, and deception, they should be brought to justice for it.

There's a better chance of that happening if the public rallies behind the pending criminal and civil investigations into the causes of the spill and the failures in the response efforts.

Also, let's work to sweep out the politicians who most owe their allegiances to the oil industry (no offense guys, I know you're not all bad; but you're overrepresented). And let's roll back the massive tax breaks the oil industry gets every year and use those funds to invest in clean and renewable energy alternatives. We should have a specific plan with specific targets that will get us largely off of fossil fuels within ten years.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:18 AM on June 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


We need to rally behind the current criminal and civil investigations.

if the public rallies behind the pending criminal and civil investigations


This is all kind of vague, isn't it? By "rally" you mean what exactly?

Right now the WH is attempting damage control, and the investigations seem like a bit of theater aimed to deflect criticism. I'm not saying the investigations are necessarily a bad idea, or that nothing good will come from them, but the timing indicates they are being driven by political PR as much as anything else.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 12:02 PM on June 4, 2010


It looks to me like the new little thing is on top of the big thing but that oil is still spewing out at more or less the same rate. Either the pipe wasn't cut cleanly enough to make this work or the whole idea is crap. Dunno which.
posted by Justinian at 12:15 PM on June 4, 2010


Right now the WH is attempting damage control, and the investigations seem like a bit of theater aimed to deflect criticism. I'm not saying the investigations are necessarily a bad idea, or that nothing good will come from them, but the timing indicates they are being driven by political PR as much as anything else.

What should the WH be doing?
posted by dirigibleman at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2010


Justinian, not only has that been covered above, but news reports this morning were pretty clear that the vents on it had not been closed yet.

I actually fully expect that once the vents are closed the thing will rocket off of the well and somehow find a way to reach critical mass in the atmosphere, both raining radioactive oil all over the east coast and creating a small black hole that will begin sucking new orleans into the sky... but let's at least let them finish the plan before we call it a failure.
posted by flaterik at 12:46 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is all kind of vague, isn't it? By "rally" you mean what exactly?

Be as vocal and visible in supporting the investigations and the proposed changes in energy policy as possible at every opportunity--and be loudest about that--so that a clear public consensus in favor of criminal and civil investigations and new energy policies with teeth emerges and becomes visible enough that not even the Washington establishment or the media can ignore it.

Criticizing the White House might be fair, but be realistic: making that the center of this story is not going to accomplish anything other than making criminal charges for BP and its partners less likely while making it more likely that those who want to continue the kinds of unsustainable energy policies that led to this disaster get more political traction.

but the timing indicates they are being driven by political PR as much as anything else.

Not really. The timing as much indicates they are being driven by the changing situation. It wouldn't have been possible to launch a criminal probe much sooner than this anyway. Reports I've seen indicate that the administration initially began reviewing the case for a possible criminal investigation at least a couple of weeks before the public announcement. Most of us weren't even seriously calling for criminal prosecutions then.

When people started demanding a criminal probe more loudly, they got one. If people keep demanding that the investigations be taken as far as they need to go to hold the responsible parties in BP and its partners accountable under the law, it stands a much better chance of happening.

Politicians pay close attention to what they hear people grumbling about most. That doesn't mean they'll necessary act in accordance with people's wishes, but it definitely factors into what actions they take, what political strategies they adopt--politically motivated or not, it doesn't ultimately matter as long as the right steps get taken. Politicians make decisions for political reasons by definition. Did we really just realize that? I'd argue that's exactly what they are supposed to do: be responsive to changes in public opinion. Do you think Bush or anyone on the other side of the aisle would have considered even for a moment launching a criminal investigation into the actions of one of the world's largest oil companies?

Criticizing the administration more loudly than voicing support for these other efforts--the rollback of oil industry tax breaks and new clean energy investments, the official criminal and civil investigations into corporate wrongdoing in the case of the Deepwater Horizon disaster--isn't going to make the media or Washington establishments focus more on holding BP accountable and going in new directions in terms of national energy policy. It's going to put all the attention on the floundering support for the administration, which can only have a couple of immediate political effects:

1) Ensuring that the current investigations are toothless and go nowhere (because those efforts will be dismissed as pointless political theater and/or government overreach in the press and in the Washington political establishment,); and

2) ensuring no real progress is made anytime soon on moving towards a more rational energy policy.

The president isn't and shouldn't be above criticism, but directing all or even most of our energies at attacking the administration now, especially when the next presidential elections are still a couple of years away, achieves nothing (though it might satisfy a certain urge toward righteous indignation) and diverts away public energies and political support that would be better directed at reforming energy policy and holding BP to account in accordance with the law.

That's my take on it, and if you disagree, that's your perogative. But looking at this from a purely calculating, outcome oriented political perspective: I can hardly imagine handing BP and all the more enthusiastic fossil fuel industry boosters a bigger victory than letting this tragedy somehow come to be perceived more as President Obama's failure than a failure of the oil industry and a natural result of decades of deliberate energy industry deregulation. Maybe this tragedy will ultimately be remembered that way, as the president's failure. But I can't imagine an outcome more certain to set back the causes of sustainable energy policy and corporate accountability in the short term than that, so I'm damn sure not going to go along with it.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:08 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]






I see that Gibbs was in fact wrong. People do care whether or not the President acts appropriately angry. I think he's in a catch 22 here. Either he becomes the angry black man people a large swath of the country is viscerally scared of or he's the cool, detached problem solver that isn't sufficiently emotive.

IMO, this criticism of Obama is second in stupidity only to BP's decisions that led to this disaster in the first place. Sometimes I think that people really do want to go back to the entirety of government believing it shouldn't exist, even though we've seen first hand in recent years (and more vividly in recent months) exactly what installing the sort of people that hold that attitude gets us.

In three threads about this disaster, I still have yet to get an answer by HP LaserJet and friends as to what concrete actions the President could be doing that would make them happy.
posted by wierdo at 3:08 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ugh!
posted by agregoli at 3:26 PM on June 4, 2010


I, too, am angry that Obama didn't parachute down in a speedsuit and yell at the oil.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:45 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]




It’s hard to take in the breathtaking irony of the right holding Obama responsible for the oil well disaster. You’ve been accusing him of being a socialist: clearly a word whose meaning you don’t understand. Socialism is the state ownership of the means of production. If Obama were a socialist and pursuing socialist policies, the state would own the well. He’s not a socialist. The state does not own the well. BP owns the well. That is what you want. This is what you got. This is what you say you like. Until it doesn’t work for you. Then you want the government you hate and hobble to “fix it.” Infants.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:11 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can't we invent an organism that eats oil and reproduces uncontrollably? What could go wrong?

Well, there's a SF novel called "Ill Wind" by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason from 1996 that kicks things off with an oil tanker spill in San Francisco Bay. A microbe was used to eat the oil that was deliberately sabotaged to reproduce uncontrollably. It became airborne, attacked plastics, lubricants, and other oil-based or derived materials, and ended up getting transmitted around the world by infecting fuel tanks. Modern civilization as we know it ground to a halt.

The book was so-so, but the idea was mildly entertaining.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:59 PM on June 4, 2010




.
posted by angrycat at 10:14 AM on June 5, 2010


To some* Christian fundamentalists, every single thing that they didn't expect heralds the apocalypse.


* Other Christian fundamentalists try not to be seen with them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:50 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


On reflection, I'm amazed by the difference between this clip of a man apologizing for a blown call in baseball and the response of anyone involved in the BP disaster.

If this is how you apologize for fucking up someone's 'perfect game', if this is the guilt and grief you feel, how the fuck can BP executives not be crippled by shame? How can they eat dinner and dress themselves and put gas in their cars?

I hate 'shame' and I hate it when people bring it up as a method of social control, it's always by the vilest of people, and I suppose I hate it so much because it's never used on those who most richly deserve experiencing it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:26 AM on June 5, 2010


Hate to go all tinfoil here, but how lucky for Goldman Sachs that it sold 44% of its stake (some 4.7 million shares) in BP prior to the oil spill (figures here and more info here).

Morally, there's very little worth defending at GS or BP, but I was a BP stockholder until shortly after the spill, and I considered selling several times in the months leading up to the catastrophe. It was above $60 for a while, which seemed overbought, meaning the market should price it towards the fundamental value in the future, not on speculation, so the price would likely drop Oil prices (among other commodities) were also overbought. If you were paying attention, it looked like the market as a whole was topping, and oil producers were among the highest flying of all the sectors in the bull run. It makes sense that you sell those first. Again, not trying to defend GS here, but I nearly did the same thing, and I have no inside information, obviously.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:21 PM on June 5, 2010


Just remember, the amount that BP has paid for the cleanup so far is equal to the fine you'd get for sharing 600 songs. Of course that isn't the end of it, BP's trial hasn't even started yet, but still I think it shows the inherent insanity of our system. Anyone want to take bets on whether or not BP's actual fine is greater than $500 million? I'm betting no.
posted by sotonohito at 2:51 PM on June 5, 2010


I think it's a safe bet the fine will be considerably higher than $500million. Not enough to hurt BP in the long term since they make so much money, but significantly more than $500million.
posted by Justinian at 3:37 PM on June 5, 2010




I, too, am angry that Obama didn't parachute down in a speedsuit and yell at the oil.

we don't need him to be a superhero. we need him to pick up the phone and get the job done. busing in cleanup workers for a photo op is not getting the job done.

i don't blame him for the spill. i fault him for his response. the least he could do is make clear who is in charge. is it thad allen? bp?

Obama Knew the Spill Was Hopeless

"What has not been previously disclosed: The president was not only briefed on the real-time events of the spill, but also on just how bad it would be—and how hard it would be to plug the hole."

Coast Guard Logs Reveal Early Spill Estimate of 8,000 Barrels a Day

Coast Guard officials grasped the potential threat of a catastrophic spill within hours of the explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, estimating that 8,000 barrels a day of crude oil could possibly gush out of the well in the event of a complete blowout, according to Coast Guard logs.

Over the first three days of the crisis — long before the public heard of a leak — the minimum estimate for a total well blowout ballooned eight-fold and the president was warned by his top aides that a major spill larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez might be coming, according to the documents and interviews.
posted by kimyo at 4:33 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's a safe bet the fine will be considerably higher than $500million.

If history is any indicator, whatever fine does get levied will be appealed until it's a tiny fraction of it's original value. Like, say $5 Billion down to $500 million.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:44 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


In three threads about this disaster, I still have yet to get an answer by HP LaserJet and friends as to what concrete actions the President could be doing that would make them happy.

1) remove bp's management (leave the engineers)
2) allow the press full access
3) publish all rov/site data
4) stop with the corexit
5) represent the citizens of the u.s., and not a british corporation.
posted by kimyo at 6:17 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Universal Analogy
posted by homunculus at 11:01 PM on June 5, 2010


'BP Mole Spills The Secrets Of BP's Cleanup Ops'.

Here's an interview with the author of that piece: Mac McClelland on GritTV: BP Blocking Workers from Wearing Respirators

And a clip from PBS's latest episode of Need to Know: The oil reaches Grand Isle

(McClelland is also the author of the article on Burma's Karen refugees which I posted recently. She certainly gets around.)
posted by homunculus at 10:28 AM on June 6, 2010










from an abcnews interview this weekend:

ALLEN: "I put out a written directive and I can provide it for the
record that says the media will have uninhibited access anywhere we're
doing operations
, except for two things, if it's a security or safety
problem. That is my policy. I'm the national incident commander."

that reads to me like the press will be given access to areas only where/when the coast guard/bp is present.
posted by kimyo at 11:41 AM on June 7, 2010




kimyo: How exactly would BP or the Coast Guard block media access to sites where they aren't even operating? I'm not sure I follow you. I don't think, just on the face of it, that this statement can be ruled out as just an Orwellian trick for imposing greater restrictions on media access while touting greater access, if that's the suggestion.

More worrisome to me, however, is how terms like "security" and "safety" are defined as a practical matter. Whose security is being protected and from whom? And wherever there are large amounts of contaminant present, aren't there always legitimate questions about the personal safety of people visiting the affected areas? When aren't there potential safety problems involved with hanging out around a contamination site?

It'd be nice to get some clarification on just what the standards are/will be for defining safety problems. Also, who makes the call on the ground? BP personnel? Coast guard personnel? The Coast Guard's command? If every individual case in which onsite personnel invoke safety concerns has to go up the chain of command before it can be resolved, in practical terms, access could end up being delayed to the point where there really isn't any access in practice.

They should just declare an unambiguous "Enter at your own risk" policy. Let everyone in the media know in no uncertain terms that if they want to access any particular clean-up site or possibly contaminated area, potential health and safety risks notwithstanding, they can do so freely, but only if they personally assume all liabilities for accidental injury or harm to themselves.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:24 PM on June 7, 2010


How exactly would BP or the Coast Guard block media access to sites where they aren't even operating?

zip ahead to 2:30 in the clip homunculus posted above. you'll see mcclelland and a pbs producer denied access to a public beach by a local sheriff.

that's how. they are referred to the bp operations center, where they are told to wait 2 days to get clearance.
posted by kimyo at 2:36 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


BP Well Bore And Casing Integrity May Be Blown, Says Florida’s Sen. Nelson

"Oil and gas are leaking from the seabed surrounding the BP Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told Andrea Mitchell today on MSNBC.....This is potentially huge and devastating news.

If Nelson is correct in that assertion...... it means the well casing and well bore are compromised and the gig is up on containment......In fact, I have confirmed with Senator Nelson’s office that they are fully aware of the breaking news and significance of what the Senator said to Andrea Mitchell. "

rov tv might as well have been shot in a bathtub. like the cleanup crew behind obama, it was all for show.
posted by kimyo at 3:54 PM on June 7, 2010


kimyo, do we have any other sources on that seabed point? I have nothing against Nelson, but he's not a scientist, so......
(and would really like to know if he's right about that)
posted by angrycat at 4:36 PM on June 7, 2010


Discussion around Nelson's comment at The Oil Drum starts here.
posted by jquinby at 5:34 PM on June 7, 2010




So is there really a second rig spilling oil into the Gulf? The Ocean Saratoga?
posted by Justinian at 6:13 PM on June 7, 2010


So is there really a second rig spilling oil into the Gulf? The Ocean Saratoga?

the ocean saratoga leak is not what bill nelson is referring to. the leak there is relatively tiny compared to the deepwater/macondo.

the first msm report of this story was here: wsj: 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."

no other msm confirms as of yet. funny how the bp apologistas at the oil drum are still clinging to their silly rov reality tv fantasy. 'i can't imagine' is not really a response to news of this gravity.
posted by kimyo at 6:34 PM on June 7, 2010


"Pregnant woman and children should not be anywhere near this"

"Imagine that you are a woman living on or near the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps, you are pregnant or hope to be soon. And, perhaps, your partner is one of the fishermen who has been helping to clean up from the BP oil disaster. He comes home at night coughing and barely able to breath and his skin is irritated from contact with the oil."
posted by kimyo at 1:38 AM on June 8, 2010


the first msm report of this story was here: wsj: 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."


From what I gathered reading the comments over at the Oil Drum site, it seems to me these are two different claims, not the same story. On the one hand BP technicians have pointed to a ruptured disk as a possible cause of the top-kill failure; on the other, it's been suggested by Bill Nelson that oil is leaking from the sea bed and that the integrity of the well case under the sea bed has been compromised. At least, that's how I'm reading this comment:
Well, this is exactly what I have been worried about, ever since they claimed a rupture disk or other loss of pressure downwell was responsible for the failure of the top kill, especially since it seems unlikely that a rupture disk alone could cause that much loss of pressure. But, I am not an expert on this.
Anybody got a clear explanation of any of this? Would the scenario Nelson is describing mean that even the relief wells won't necessarily do the trick? Is the whole damn oil field going to end up in the Gulf or what?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:47 AM on June 8, 2010


that's how. they are referred to the bp operations center, where they are told to wait 2 days to get clearance.

Well, the problem is this: How are you going to force every small town sheriff in the world not to exercise discretion in allowing access to contaminated areas? Obviously, local officials have to have some degree of independent authority over sites under their jurisdiction, even if that amounts to nothing more than having the power to run inquiries up the chain of authority before granting access. I'm trying to imagine what a legal and practical way to force local officials to give up all their discretionary authority over local spill sites might look like, and I'm not sure I can see how you achieve the kind of instant always available press access we might think is ideal. Even if there are orders from higher up, local officials always have a certain degree of latitude in how they carry out their duties, and frankly, in many cases, it's at the local level that you find some of the most egregious examples of the tendency to try to cover up the extent of a problem, for purely locally-interested reasons (like not wanting to scare away tourists).

Still, it does seem clearer and clearer to me that BP has been operating with a clear self-interested agenda in its approach to disclosing information; that should be an area that gets closely scrutinized as part of the current criminal investigations. And BP should be penalized for it. They seem to keep intentionally giving incomplete and overly optimistic information to authorities and then undermining it in separate public statements of their own, as discussed in one particular case here.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:10 AM on June 8, 2010




homunculus - thanks for the all the links. And, also, for coming in from the cold.
posted by jquinby at 10:21 AM on June 8, 2010


That's actually not me. That Homunculus has a capital H in his name, whereas mine has a lowercase h. Totally different.
posted by homunculus at 11:01 AM on June 8, 2010




who will be our walter cronkite? rachel maddow, that's who.

oh so brief maddow interview of dr. joye re: the plumes, focusing on methane concentrations (100-10,000 times normal) and how the 'aging' of plumes caused by increased microbial activity results in oxygen levels low enough to 'stress' marine life.
posted by kimyo at 1:27 PM on June 8, 2010


From what I gathered reading the comments over at the Oil Drum site, it seems to me these are two different claims, not the same story.
the comment you provided does not address the connection between a casing breach and nelson's statement that oil and gas are leaking from the seabed.

in fact, the moderator of that thread kept asking posters to provide scientific arguments against such a connection. i saw none. i did see lots of personal attacks against simmons and nelson. no rational argument against oil and gas escaping through a casing breach.

in addition, i saw this (from a poster called 'toolpush'):
As for the casing being shot out of the hole, we have seen the cut riser with the drill pipe inside the 9 7/8 casing inside the riser. So yes, the casing has been shot out of the hole. That is why nothing has worked on the BOP!

if toolpush is correct, the 9 7/8" casing he's referring to must have come up from the very bottom of the well (in this diagram you'll find it begins at 15,000' below the seabed, extending down to 18,000', tapering down to 7" near to bottom)

for reference, the width of the casing at the top (under the bop, at the seabed) is 36".
posted by kimyo at 2:05 PM on June 8, 2010


more from ProPublica: BP Refuses to Provide Oil Samples to Scientists Investigating Underwater Plumes

the comment you provided does not address the connection between a casing breach and nelson's statement that oil and gas are leaking from the seabed.

in fact, the moderator of that thread kept asking posters to provide scientific arguments against such a connection. i saw none. i did see lots of personal attacks against simmons and nelson.


I won't claim to understand the engineering issues well enough to comment intelligently on them. It just seemed to me that the claim from Nelson about sea floor leakage and the claim about the ruptured disk you cited here don't really connect to one another. I didn't mean to comment on the issue of a casing leak, but on the reported issue concerning a possible broken disk you mentioned. I don't think "broken disc" necessarily equals "leaky casing," was my point (but I don't know either way--I'm just asking).

And the personal attacks you refer to against Simmons on the Oil Drum site seem to stem mostly from the fact that many posters there think what Simmons' is suggesting, if they understand it correctly, makes no sense in terms of what's physically possible, and unless these Oil Drum accounts of Simmons' claims are misrepresenting them in some crucial way, I don't personally see how they make sense either. Specifically: see the Oil Drum comments here, here, here and here.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:20 PM on June 8, 2010


I don't think "broken disc" necessarily equals "leaky casing,"

They said much of the drilling mud may also have escaped from the well into the rock formation outside the wellbore.
posted by kimyo at 2:28 PM on June 8, 2010


It just seemed to me that the claim from Nelson about sea floor leakage and the claim about the ruptured disk you cited here don't really connect to one another.

please post the text of any oildrum or other comment which supports this conclusion.
posted by kimyo at 2:36 PM on June 8, 2010


Random news:
BP attempts damage control, buys search phrases on Google and Yahoo (via) ... except I'm not getting those sort of results, even in Google AdWords. So the story may be a sham, or mostly hype.

University of Pittsburgh engineering professor has developed a technique for separating oil from water via a cotton filter coated in a chemical polymer that blocks oil while allowing water to pass through. The researcher reports that the filter was successfully tested off the coast of Louisiana and shown to simultaneously clean water and preserve the oil. Gao's filter hinges on a polymer that is both hydrophilic-it bonds with the hydrogen molecules in water-and oleophobic, meaning that it repels oil. When the polymer is applied to an ordinary cotton filter, it allows water to pass through but not oil, as tested in a laboratory setting with oil and water samples from the Gulf of Mexico spill. (via)
posted by filthy light thief at 3:29 PM on June 8, 2010


Ugh, turns out there's Another oil leak in the gulf right now, and more dispersant is being dumped. Apparently it's been leaking since April 30th but the only reason we know about it is due to other people monitoring the Deepwater Horizon.

filthy light thief: It sounds like they're just doing keyword advertising, which people do all the time. I get a BP ad when I search for "oil spill" in Chrome. Do you have adblock installed? I do and so google keyword ads get filtered too.
posted by delmoi at 4:28 PM on June 8, 2010


That sounds so lovely. I keep thinking of skimming the grease off of cold chicken soup, that sort of thing. As awesome as it sounds to think that we can hook up a bunch of boats with this fantastic material between them and fix this, I think the truth is that like Hiroshima and Chernobyl there is no real way to fix it and we all just have to watch it happen.

I think the scale of the disaster is beyond what we can really grasp. Like can't we just use paper towels? Can't we blow liquid nitrogen on it and freeze it and chop it off into solids and crate it off somewhere?

But I want it to be true.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:30 PM on June 8, 2010




the plumes are double plus ungood.

it just dawned on me - fish swimming through one of those plumes are going to die of oxygen deprivation, they won't last long enough to be poisoned.

plankton too.

it's like a fire in an apartment building, it's not the flames that get you, it's the smoke inhalation. it just takes 5 minutes.
posted by kimyo at 6:30 PM on June 8, 2010


lease post the text of any oildrum or other comment which supports this conclusion.


It wasn't meant as a conclusion so much as a question. I apologize if I was confusing the issues. In the specific comment I was responding to, kimyo, I took the relevant part of the article and quoted passage to be the assertion about the ruptured disk. On review, I see now that the article (though not the quoted piece) also mentions the possibility that "much of the drilling mud may also have escaped from the well into the rock formation outside the wellbore."

Honestly, I don't understand what most of this stuff means. I'm a programmer, not a drilling engineer. This terminology is hard to parse at first glance. All I meant to say in my response was that I didn't see how the specific statement about a possible ruptured disc was equivalent to the Nelson claim about leakage from the sea floor. Am I gathering correctly that it's the part of the article about the drilling mud escaping from the well into the rock formation outside the wellbore that you were honing in on in that original comment?

Either way, this is just looking worse and worse for the Gulf. And it's damn depressing from where I sit.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:57 PM on June 8, 2010


kimyo wrote: "it just dawned on me - fish swimming through one of those plumes are going to die of oxygen deprivation, they won't last long enough to be poisoned."

No. The reports about these plumes specifically state that oxygen in these plumes is not depleted to levels deadly to sea life.
posted by wierdo at 7:18 PM on June 8, 2010


No. The reports about these plumes specifically state that oxygen in these plumes is not depleted to levels deadly to sea life

i fervently hope you're right. got a link/source on that?

the maddow / joye piece i posted above has dr. joye stating that her team has test results showing oxygen at 3 mg/liter. she goes on to say that 2mg is the range where aquatic life starts to die.

"JOYE: That's precisely correct. And things will survive in the low oxygen water, but any higher organism that requires oxygen won't be able to survive in that water"
posted by kimyo at 7:27 PM on June 8, 2010


Joye said she did not think the extra microbial activity would be significant enough to create additional dead zones in the gulf, because microbes need nutrients that do not exist in high enough concentrations at depth. But she cautions that the environmental implications are unknown.
-- New Scientist
Lubchenco said that oil was found in "very low concentrations" in the range of less than 0.5 parts per million. NOAA tested samples from three collection sites, confirming the presence of subsea oil 40 nautical miles northeast of the well. She said samples from a site 42 nautical miles northeast were inconclusive and that samples from a site 142 miles southeast "were not consistent with the oil spill."
-- NYT
posted by wierdo at 8:07 PM on June 8, 2010


It just seemed to me that the claim from Nelson about sea floor leakage and the claim about the ruptured disk you cited here don't really connect to one another.

the most likely result of a casing breach is oil and gas escaping from the seabed, especially given that the first 1,500' has been described as 'pudding-like mud'.

if the 'kill' mud can escape the casing, so too can oil and gas.

:wierdo - i hadn't see that new scientist article, thanks. hopefully she will clarify her position.
this quote from the times article does imply the possibility of dead zones.

"Bacteria are breaking down the oil's hydrocarbons in a massive, microorganism feeding frenzy that has sent oxygen levels plunging close to what is considered "dead zone" conditions, at which most marine life are smothered for a lack of dissolved oxygen.

Such low-oxygen conditions were noticed farther from the spill site, although Joye said she did not think the process would immediately produce a dead zone, since low nutrient concentrations in the water would limit the rate of the bacterial consumption."

at .5 parts per million, the plume dr joye examined would contain 44,692 barrels of oil. (here's the spreadsheet i used to calc that)
posted by kimyo at 8:41 PM on June 8, 2010




Lindsey Graham effectively kills climate legislation

If you pay attention to political blogs, it was obvious that he was going to do that anyway. He was threatening to kill it because the democrats were moving forward on Immigration reform. Basically trying to hold the whole earth hostage to keep Mexicans from getting amnesty. Now he's doing it because he wants more offshore drilling which, you know, makes sense...
posted by delmoi at 3:20 AM on June 9, 2010


Weirdly, in a new story only Al Jazeera English is running, it's being reported that the administration has given BP a 72-hour deadline to come up with a better plan for containing the spill. Not sure why only Al Jazeera is picking this up. Usually they get these kinds of stories later than the US press does. Could be the US press decided not to run it for some reason.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:44 AM on June 9, 2010






"There's yet to be anyone who has found any significant quantities below the surface. Whether that's just below the surface, or at deep levels," Suttles told ABC's Elizabeth Vargas.

"We're hearing scientists say there are huge plumes below the surface. Are you denying that still?" Vargas asked.

"Well, what I can tell you is, no one yet has found any concentrations that measured below the parts -- or higher than parts per million. So I think it may be depending on how you're defining this. But what I can tell you -- and I looked at this data -- is that we have not found any significant concentration of oil below the surface," replied Suttles.

at 0.5 ppm, just 2 of the plumes measured so far (22mi x 6mi x 1000' and 15mi x 5mi x 300') constitute 154,000 barrels or 6.4 million gallons of oil.
posted by kimyo at 3:02 PM on June 9, 2010


Amount != concentration

Not that the word games are made any better by the player's factual accuracy, given that the point is obviously to obfuscate.
posted by wierdo at 3:06 PM on June 9, 2010


"Estm: 64k - 110k bbls/Day." The equivalent of up to three Exxon Valdez spills gushing into the Gulf of Mexico every week.

Damningly, the whiteboard also documents the disconnect between what the government suspected to be the magnitude of the disaster and the far lower estimates it was feeding to the public. Written below the federal estimate are the words, "300,000 gal/day reported on CNN." Appearing on the network that same day on a video feed from the Gulf, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry insisted that the government had no figure. "We do not have an estimate of the amount of crude emanating from the wellhead," she said."

(brought to you from the future - "This article originally appeared in RS 1107 from June 24, 2010." ??? - and with a smoking whiteboard)
posted by kimyo at 3:48 PM on June 9, 2010



Amount != concentration

Not that the word games are made any better by the player's factual accuracy, given that the point is obviously to obfuscate.


I think that I've read all of kimyo's posts on the oil threads, and don't get the impression that he's obfuscatory, at least not at all deliberately.

I'd say that BP's playing some word games here. Do they not have a fucking clue that that their PR makes them look like the sorriest group of weasely weasels about?

Okay say: Yes there are oil plumes. But at x/ppm the research shows that wildlife is cool with it (if that is indeed the case. i have no idea).

As opposed to: No! There are no oil plumes! Well, okay, but only if you define oil plumes in a really weird way.

'Cause that another instance of stuff that reeks to high heaven of bullshit, even it the factual information is legit.
posted by angrycat at 4:00 PM on June 9, 2010


Stocks fall on fears the Gulf oil spill will put BP into bankruptcy

"The stock market had another late-day slide, this time because of fears that the Gulf oil spill will send BP into bankruptcy court.

Investors got a "sell" signal from a news report that quoted an analyst as saying BP could be forced to seek bankruptcy protection in about a month because of the oil spill."
posted by kimyo at 4:13 PM on June 9, 2010


pacifica radio interview with Kindra Arnesson 5/24/10 (interview starts at 21:15)

"that's when we realized it was big bull redfish, the big long ones, thousands and thousands of them on top of the water with their mouths open, some of them laying sideways, swimming around in circles, belly up, still flapping and a lot of them literally had their mouths open on top of the water trying to get air. they were running into our boat, hitting the side of the boat.,....

it's going to kill everything in the gulf. it's going to murder every single living thing in the gulf.

i'm afraid that this place will be uninhabitable by human beings and i really say that with great force because people need to realize if we don't get a handle on this,,,,."
posted by kimyo at 4:53 PM on June 9, 2010




Sorry if my terseness made it unclear that I'm saying Suttles, while possibly or even probably factually correct in saying that there are "no concentrations higher than parts per million," is obfuscating the fact that there are millions of gallons of oil in these plumes. Putting it the way he did hides the volume behind the low level of concentration.

I wasn't remarking on kimyo's point so much as saying that Suttles' statement was factually correct, even though it is also misleading.

Sort of the opposite how Kindra Arnesson is factually incorrect in saying that every single living thing in the Gulf will die (the slick(s) simply don't cover that much area), although the sentiment is closer to reality than not, as a lot of wildlife will indeed die.
posted by wierdo at 6:57 PM on June 9, 2010


it's been 30 days, btw, since fishgrease's 'dkos booming school diary'. (previously)

today's flyover by nola photographer g. andrew boyd makes it quite clear that admiral thad allen has absolutely no intention of deploying (and maintaining) proper booming.

"the stuff we saw today, i don't know of anything that would live through that" (dive video shot over the last few weeks)
posted by kimyo at 1:18 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


kimyo: "today's flyover by nola photographer g. andrew boyd makes it quite clear that admiral thad allen has absolutely no intention of deploying (and maintaining) proper booming. "

Did you not learn anything from that video?

It's "Fucking Proper Fucking Booming" Jeesh - get it straight

(and I'm still nauseated by this shit. I can only imagine how horrible the locals who have to deal with the fallout feel)...
posted by symbioid at 10:10 AM on June 10, 2010




(and I'm still nauseated by this shit. I can only imagine how horrible the locals who have to deal with the fallout feel)...

Most everyone I know here in close proximity to Florida's Gulf Coast feels completely devastated and anxious about what this monstrous hole in the gulf will ultimately mean for our economy and our way of life.

Yesterday or the day before, my wife told me they're bringing in booming to put in the water off of our favorite nearby beach on St. George Island, what I would argue is one of the most beautiful and relatively unspoiled beaches we've got. This is a beach I've visited regularly since I was a kid, and now here it is, possibly soon to be one of the many natural resources affected by this tragedy.

The booming off St. George island is at this point only precautionary, according to the reports. But it's still deeply unsettling having to live with so much uncertainty about the future of the region. Living around here, you get a palpable feeling that everyone's a little on-edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can't even imagine how it is for people living in Louisiana, after everything else the state has gone through recently, and with its tragic economic dependence on the unholy trinity of oil, fishing, and tourism--industries whose interests are now in so many ways coming into direct conflict with one another.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:46 AM on June 10, 2010


Sorry if my terseness made it unclear

Sorry for misreading you, weirdo.
posted by angrycat at 12:19 PM on June 10, 2010


saulgoodman the real question is are they doing the fucking booming fucking right, or are they fucking it up like they keep doing elsewhere?
posted by sotonohito at 12:21 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


What do you think? I haven't seen a single picture of fucking booming done fucking right yet and it has been almost two months.
posted by Justinian at 12:44 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman the real question is are they doing the fucking booming fucking right, or are they fucking it up like they keep doing elsewhere?

That's true. We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully, it won't matter, and we won't need the booming off the coast of St. George Island at all. Hopefully.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:36 PM on June 10, 2010


the booming / berming is just more theatre. none of that will be effective in hurricane-force winds. none of that will matter if the vast majority of marine life is dead.

hoping for no hurricanes this summer is one thing. planning on it is not responsible or realistic.

Relief Well Workers Drinking Tainted Water

"In exclusive interviews gCaptain has learned that critical deliveries of fresh water have been delayed to oil rigs drilling relief wells in the Gulf Of Mexico. As a result the rigs have been ordered to use their watermakers despite the high levels of of chemical dispersants being injected at the wellhead directly below them.

The rig’s watermakers take salt water from under the rig’s hulls and, by a process of reverse osmosis or evaporation, remove the salt. This water is then sent to potable water tanks and distributed to water fountains, showers and galley sinks throughout the vessels. “The entire rig crew is washing, drinking and eating Corexit”, said a rig worker that wishes to remain anonymous."
posted by kimyo at 3:44 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


bp is self-insured. no corporation, or government on earth has enough cash to pay for this disaster.

all this talk about obama's foot on the necks of british pensioners is just more madefortv footage, bp cannot pay.

Local county property appraisers are continuing to press for a special session to consider a measure that would give tax relief to property owners impacted by value decreases caused by the oil spill.
The proposal being pitched by Jones and Brown would put in place a way to hold BP accountable for lost property tax revenues to local governments.
posted by kimyo at 4:43 PM on June 10, 2010


kimyo wrote: "bp is self-insured. no corporation, or government on earth has enough cash to pay for this disaster. "

Sure, they don't have the cash on hand, but we are talking about one of the great money generating machines here. Give it time, they'll earn enough to pay for it all.

I read a NYT article earlier about how utterly unfair it is that there's a desire to keep BP from paying out $15 billion in dividends. It had a quote from some retiree who, as a lot of retirees do, use dividends as a significant source of income. She, in effect, stated she was being punished for something she didn't do and was completely innocent in the whole thing.

Apparently, she forgot what stock is. You know, ownership in the company? Said company fucked up in a way that means their profit instead has to go towards paying to clean up their mess. Stockholders aren't the victims in all this. They may not be direct perpetrators, but they're pretty damn close. After all, they are the ones receiving the benefit of BP's corner cutting.
posted by wierdo at 6:39 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


they'll earn enough to pay for it all.
i've seen the gulf coast portion of the u.s. economy estimated at $2 trillion / year.

bp's profits in 2008 were $25 billion, in ought nine, $14 billion.

a 10% hit to the gulf coast economy is $200 billion.

then add in cleanup, kill wells, property value compensation.

repeat once every year for ???? what accountant would call bp viable? especially as they are likely to be found criminally negligent (which increases their exposure).
posted by kimyo at 9:58 PM on June 10, 2010


these guys have the right tools to find seabed leakage (finally!):
">One of the teams of scientists -- led by Richard Camilli of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution -- is new to the government's estimating group. McNutt said that team is using acoustic technology to measure the flow rate.

BP, Forrest Gump, Mr. Bean and the White House
"That should put you right in line with what will be playing out now. BP's bankruptcy looks like a foregone conclusion. That is, unless the US and UK governments step in, and do so broadly and very loudly. With both money and legal changes. The former, because BP faces far more in lawsuits and damage claims than it has in liquidity (its shares are now worth less than its assets, always an alarming sign). The latter, well, for more or less the same reason.

One party you don’t want to be when BP's bankruptcy lands square squash on the table is a Louisiana fisherman or a Florida tourist operator. British pensioners first! Sure, Obama has declared that BP is liable for all damages yada yada, but there’s a long list as we speak of Gulf Coast residents who can’t hardly squeeze a penny out of the company even now, and that’s before any serious litigation has started."
posted by kimyo at 2:36 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


BP can't simply "declare bankruptcy". They have to present a bankruptcy plan to a judge. Who must approve it. That's a significant hurdle in a case like this... at least for BP America. I have no idea what happens with BP itself.
posted by Justinian at 5:54 PM on June 11, 2010


They have to present a bankruptcy plan to a judge
i don't see how that affects their ability to pay for the damage they've done. it's beyond impossible, even if the leak stopped of its own accord tonight.

State Treasurer John Kennedy is urging Louisiana officials to prepare for the possibility oil giant BP could file for bankruptcy because of the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"I know BP's said they won't go into bankruptcy. I hope they're telling the truth. They weren't truthful about the extent of the spill," Kennedy said in an interview Friday. He added, "We need to be ready, and I don't think we are."
posted by kimyo at 11:44 PM on June 11, 2010


Because you seem to be putting forward the idea that they could use bankruptcy to avoid paying money that they do have. They can't. Well, as I said I don't know exactly how BP being a British company affects that side of things, but certainly BP America can't.

Whether the damage caused is greater than the value of BP is another question entirely, but whether or not BP can or will declare bankruptcy has no bearing on that issue.
posted by Justinian at 11:51 PM on June 11, 2010






jquinby: "Hayward has been demoted in a shakeup at BP."

This quote pisses me off, and it shows they *still* don't get it...
"It is clear Tony has made remarks that have upset people," Svanberg tells Sky News. "This has now turned into a reputation matter, financial and political and that is why you will now see more of me."
This isn't about "reputation" you goddamned assholes. This is about the fucking OIL that is spewing in the Gulf and toxifying the environment. This is about the destruction of the local economies. This is about news that shows your company has continually violated rules, much more than many other oil companies (other nasty, evil companies like Shell, even)...
You are the lowest of the low. But you still refuse to understand the issue. This isn't about "remarks that upset people" (you seem to be doing just fine yourself, on that front, Herr Doktor -- we little people appreciate your snide pretension of concern for us. No, really!)... Stop trying to do shitty PR and maybe just admit you fucked up. That's the best goddamned PR you can do. 20 billion fund is jack shit. And we all know you'll just waste peoples times by forcing them to prove they should have access to it, and decades later, will still not have paid out what you should have just like Exxon/Mobil.

And why are we all like "well we HAVE to make sure BP survives so they can pay out to people"? I am so sick of this mentality. And it's clear that Obama and his so called leadership merely kowtows to corporate America. One minute it's talk tough on TV the next it's letting BP get away with a nice PR move like "setting up a fund for the victims"... The fund is good, yes, but let's see some goddamned teeth. I don't want assurances and a friendly handshake behind closed doors... I want enforcement, I want shakeup of the whole damn system. I want massive reinvestment putting people to work to move towards less oil usage. If we can't do it now, as John Stewart said, just like we couldn't do it after a giant fucking waste of a war... and in fact, can't have done it for almost 40 years, all the way back to promises by Nixon to be independent of "foreign oil" by 1980.

We're fucked, and Corporate America owns us.
posted by symbioid at 11:17 AM on June 18, 2010


symbioid wrote: "And why are we all like "well we HAVE to make sure BP survives so they can pay out to people"? I am so sick of this mentality."

So if BP goes under, where exactly do you think the money to clean up the spill will come from?
posted by wierdo at 3:03 PM on June 18, 2010


Yeah, in fairness to BP with you get all outraged at how they can earn 5 bajillion dollars of profit a quarter, they retain very little of that money and most of it goes to dividends. Pull their annual reports sometime if you want to see where it all goes. Anyway, BP doesn't have a gigantic pile of money somewhere just sitting around.
posted by GuyZero at 3:06 PM on June 18, 2010


Yeah, in fairness to BP with you get all outraged at how they can earn 5 bajillion dollars of profit a quarter, they retain very little of that money and most of it goes to dividends.

Other issues to consider vis à vis the company's financial situation:
"BP will raise $10 billion this year selling assets, [Chief Financial Officer Byron] Grote said in his call with investors, concentrating on oil and gas fields that aren’t central to the company’s business."*
Their assets (current/liquid and fixed) are still and will continue to be substantial.
"On top of the roughly $2.6-billion a quarter it should save in dividend payments, the company has said it would generate over $30-billion from operations this year. It also has massive credit lines.

That should also give the company the support it needs to hold out for a good price for its assets despite the pressure to sell them."
However, the immediate impact: As BP Staggers, Pension Funds Skid.
posted by ericb at 3:43 PM on June 18, 2010




BP chief attends yacht race.

Not so great timing, man.
posted by jquinby at 5:56 PM on June 19, 2010


Sorry, can't resist one more: The 10 worst BP gaffes in Gulf oil spill.
posted by jquinby at 7:17 PM on June 20, 2010


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