Category: Investigation Inquires

1. Can they clarify with any potential issues with the well board, as of today’s teleconference~ they stated that they have “not made a final decision yet. Have they made a final determination as to what pressure the casing, downhole and BOP can confront?

2. Can they elaborate more on the “shelf life” of the materials out to sea, when they start to become “weathered”- will they provide another environmental hazard that we should take into consideration?

3. Incredibly important~ what are their protection methods of the marsh and coral beds since they cannot use harsh dispersant or else it would wipe out the fragile ecosystem.

4. When are they expecting the results from NOAA on the subsea hydrocarbon count? (If found, that would mean there are oil plumes under the surface that satellite is not picking up.) How are they going to determine that it is “merely” the oil being dispersed from the wellhead or something more serious, such as the dispersant weighing the water down and causing it to sink.

5. What type of drilling fluids are they using for the choke n’ kill lines of the top kill interaction? Has there been EPA testing on these fluids so that they do not cause a new environmental concerned if leaked?

6. Other than logistics and “comfortableness”, why will BP not look into other already approved EPA dispersants that are considerably less toxic. Coretix 9500 and 9527A have a toxicity level of anywhere between 1/10 and 1/100 of that of oil.

7. Further; in a teleconference a few days ago- they spoke super briefly on another dispersant being considered “Sea Wrap 4”. Can the elaborate on this method, the toxicity level and also if this is a considerable option or should be read in the manner of C-wrap or “crap” which many people feel BP are giving us. ;) <– okay, the question may be a little harsh; I just get a kick out of the misread. lol

8. On a serious note; can they elaborate more on the HOT TAP method for this could be disastrous to our Gulf if they do not find the blockage and/or dislodge the slight block that is already there.

9. In today’s teleconference, they talked about doing something of the hot tap nature but apply another blow out preventer; not just another valve. Can they elaborate and is the risk minimized if another BOP is simply placed over instead of having to severe the pipe completely?

10. How are they going about managing “burn out” of the employees? In what manner are they rotating and what are the qualifications are the job?

11. What is the logic of BP in selecting qualified volunteers who have completed either Module 3 or Module 4 training. How many employees have hired in each state and how many more employees are they intending to hire in each state as of this point.

12. What was their conclusion from the meeting late last week which discussed the 2010 hurricane season (on June 1st) and potential impacts (hurricanes- spreading the oil further inland or sinking it) and the heat (it gets over 100 deg here in Fla) and its ability to dilute the oil which would spread it faster than anticipated? What are their proactive measures?

13. How are they tracking the movement of the loop current and is there any way to safeguard the intersection of the loop current and the gulf stream?

14. How confident are they that they 2 relief wells being built (and supposedly operational by mid August) will relieve all pressure of the current well? Do they have any back up methods; to stay on the safe side?

15. How can you drill so deep in the Gulf yet not have any equipment/technology available to contain any spill or mishap that might happen at this depth?

16. What kind of green materials and technologies (such as oil-sorbets made from recycled materials) is BP using to best insure the clean up is environmentally conscious?

NOAA stated on 05.17.10~ that the oil plumes subsea were “grossly exaggerated; some are even false.”  NOAA is currently testing the water for hydrocarbons which would be related to the oil droplets subsea.  They have yet to give an estimated time of completion for the water testing. When can we expect to have that completed?

ALSO; I would like NOAA to confirm in what manner are testing the water samples for not only hydrocarbons but residue from the dispersant; as my fear is that Corexit 9500 & 9527A are causing the oil droplets to become heavy and sink; which is why they may be seeing less oil on the surface. However, satellite imagery can only detect so deep into the water.

ADDITIONALLY; In what ways are they tracking the loop current~ that is; the loop current does not move in purely one direction based off of one factor.  Further, how they are tracking the light oil sheen that has entered the loop current as of today on the surface AND subsea?

FURTHER; In what manner are they tracking the loop current and is there is any way that the connection between the loop current and the gulf stream can be separated.

FINALLY; In what manner are you preparing for hurricane season that starts June 1st? How are you planning on forecasting the oil spread in relation to any passing through hurricanes AND how many hurricanes (% of bad ones can we expect for the 2010 hurricane season?

As the 210,000 gallons of oil gush daily into the Gulf, the executive officials of BP, TransOcean and Halliburton are required to take their attention off the recovery efforts in the Gulf and fly up to Washington DC to focus on accepting blame for their lack of preventive measures.

In a hearing before a House Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee yesterday, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, stated that his committee’s investigation into the Gulf oil spill reveals that a a key safety device, the blowout preventer, had a leak in a crucial hydraulic system.

“This leak was found in the hydraulic system that provides emergency power to the shear rams, which are the devices that are supposed to cut the drill pipe and seal the well”, indicated Rep. Bart Stupak, D- Michigian.

“Supposed to” is the operative phrase.

Luckily, for investigators, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig keeps a daily activity log.  Even though this log was not fully recorded as it stops at 3:00pm, hours before the blast- there were pressure tests that were implemented, failed and retested.

According to the Rep. Waxman’s analysis of the daily activity log , Halliburton completed cementing the well at 12:35 a.m. on April 20 and after giving the cement time to set, a negative pressure test was conducted around 5:00 p.m.

During a negative pressure test, the fluid pressure inside the well is reduced and the well is observed to see whether any gas leaks into the well through the cement or casing.

According to James Dupree, the BP Senior Vice President for the Gulf of Mexico, the well did not pass this test. Mr. Dupree told Committee staff on Monday that the test result was “not satisfactory” and “inconclusive.” Significant pressure discrepancies were recorded.

As a result, another negative pressure test was conducted.  “During this test, 1,400 psi was observed on the drill pipe while 0 psi was observed on the kill and the choke lines.”

According to Mr. Dupree, this is also an unsatisfactory test result. The kill and choke lines run from the drill rig 5,000 feet to the blowout preventer at the sea floor. The drill pipe runs from the drill rig through the blowout preventer deep into the well.

In the test, the pressures measured at any point from the drill rig to the blowout preventer should be the same in all three lines. But what the test showed was that pressures in the drill pipe were significantly higher. Mr. Dupree explained that the results could signal that an influx of gas was causing pressure to mount inside the wellbore.

At this point in the investigation, comments started conflicting. Mr. Dupree told the Committee staff that he believed the well blew moments after the second pressure test. However, according to the BP counsel, additional pressure tests were taken and at 8:00pm, company officials determined that the additional results justified ending the test and proceeding with the well operations.

How ironic that these additional pressure tests were not recorded in the daily activity log.  Without proper documentation, it is safe to conclude that the only place where the third pressure test happened was that in the imagination of the BP counsel and that operations continued despite the obvious indications of a pressure build up.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.

On April 30, 2010~ I wrote a blog stating that Halliburton was being investigated due to their cementing process on the oil rig that exploded on April 20, 2010.  Many responses came in asking me why I drew the conclusion regarding Halliburton’s role in the oil spill.  Please read below for my standpoint on the Halliburton Connection, their scapegoat and how it ties into the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.

Many people seem to be confused on how exactly cement could be at fault for this explosion. Perhaps this explanation can shed the light on the process. Cement has two roles in oil exploration:  Sealing the pipe lining of the well from the bedrock around it, and to seal wells on the inside before abandoning them.

After an exploration well is drilled, cement slurry is pumped through a steel pipe or casing and out through a check valve at the bottom of the casing. It then travels up the outside of the pipe, sheathing the part of the pipe surrounded by the oil and gas zone. When the cement hardens, it is supposed to prevent oil or gas from leaking into adjacent zones along the pipe.

Based off of my experience as a Raytheon employee who worked in the Material Lab analyzing and mixing compounds, it is common knowledge that several compounds have to be mixed in a very precise matter for a very precise amount of time; or else the compound will not harden as designed and will not produce the intended results.  If the cement is flawed, it can crack or fail to set properly which would allow oil and gas (in particular methane gas) to leak through.

This gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite causing something as simple as static electricity to ignite the first explosion which then, in return, would set off multiple explosions as the heat combines with the abundance of gas that escaped from the ocean floor. In order to avoid an  explosion like the blowout on the oil rig on April 20, 2010~ a thorough cementing job is necessary to ensure that oil/gas does not enter the drilling pipe.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “a 2007 study by three U.S. Minerals Management Service officials found that cementing was a factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period. That was the single largest factor, ahead of equipment failure and pipe failure.”

It is important to take into consideration that Halliburton was responsible for cementing the rig  and casing string only 20 hours before the explosion.  As well as being responsible for setting up the rig back in 2001. Halliburton had 4 men on the oil rig and finished only 20 hours before the explosion. It was rumored that the exploratory well was ahead of schedule and that possible bonuses would be coming down the pike, if they could stay ahead of the game.  While assumed, I feel it is a safe assumption that people were hurrying- trying to make the pre-deadline so that they could finish ahead of schedule.

Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor who serves on a National Academy of Engineering panel on oil pipeline safety and worked for BP PLC as a risk assessment consultant during the 1990s,  indicates this as well. He believes that the workers set and then tested a cement seal at the bottom of the well. Then they reduced the pressure in the drill column and attempted to set a second seal below the sea floor.

Bea stated that he believes a chemical reaction caused by setting cement created heat and a gas bubble which destroyed the seal.

This is indicative to me that a lack of a mud safety barrier also had a part in the explosion (enter Halliburton’s scapegoat).  If the mud safety barrier was removed prematurely before a final cement plug was place in the well, this could weaken the emergency measures to control a powerful blowout caused by pressurized natural gas.

If the final cement plug wasn’t in place yet, and Halliburton stated that the top plug was not installed, removing the mud would be at odds with “good oil-field practice” outlined in 2003 by the federal Minerals Management Service. The MMS report, prepared by WEST Engineering Services, warns against single-point failures — counting on one mode of protection — by saying that “mud weight is the first round of defense against a kick, followed up by the blowout preventer”. Removing the mud left the blowout preventer as the only failsafe.  Unfortunately, that failsafe was not safe from failure.

While Halliburton may point back to the removal of mud, it is important to realize that even if all of the mud had still been present and helped push back against the gas burping up toward the rig, the mud barrier  might not have held it back indefinitely. Methane and other gas are natural to the sea floor, they are expected. That is why the underlying at fault issue MUST circle back to how the gas entered the drilling pipes and how the cement was not set properly. For if it was,  the gas would not have escaped and the explosion would not have happened.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.