BP opted against placing a final piece of equipment to hold the well's casing in place, called a lockdown sleeve, the lawmakers said. The device prevents the casing from floating above the head of the well and letting gases build up.
Both Transocean and Halliburton officials have told committee staff this was a key procedural mistake, the lawmakers said.- Advertisement -
If the casing is broken, as now seems higly likely, attempts to close the well at the top will fail. Leaks from breaks in the casing will just increase. For the same reason, it would not help to stop the well 10,000 feet below. That, it is hypothesized, is why BP is drilling the two wells, as ordered by the Obama administration, all the way down to the bottom of the well.
What we don't know is whether the casing problems were caused by Haliburton, if Haliburton did an incomplete job, not sealing large sections of the well. We now know that Halliburton accepted instructions from BP to use inadequate components-- centralizers-- to seal the well. That's just one factor that has bubbled up from BP's well of secrecy. When is it the contractor's responsibility, to say no when contracting company gives orders to do a job in an way that they both know is un-safe?- Advertisement -If the oil is leaking through breaks and openings in what we now know to be substandard, cheaper than recommended casing, which is only supposed to be very temporary, that oil could be oozing or gushing from the surface anywhere near the oil field.Are the robotic mini-subs searching for such leaks? Has secretive BP found any of these leaks and not reported them? If the oil is leaking through breaks in the casing then that undersea video of gushing oil coming out of the riser pipe atop the BOP, which the world has been focusing on may represent just a tiny portion of the oil that the BP well is leaking.- Advertisement -One geologist, Chris Landau, suggests that if the casing is broken, it will be that much more difficult to ever seal the well and the solution may be to drill MORE wells, to take the pressure off the out of control leaking well. Of course there are risks with every well drilled a mile or more deep. There are other companies besides Haliburton which do casing sealing. But are there enough mega-drilling ships like the sunken Deepwater Horizon? There are not many of these high end, $600 million plus rigs that take upwards of three years to build, and most are under contract with Oil companies from other nations. There may not be the drilling resources to drill those additional wells.Last night, my source inside BP sent me this note:BP said today that their revised plan would capture up to 53,000 bbl/day of oil by 7/1.Of course, these new higher numbers that BP now admits to only reflect the flow from the riser that they are showing. They do not include any oil leaking through the casings, coming to the sea-bed surface at other points 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf. It would be nice to know whether the coast guard, the Navy or even James Cameron have deployed resources to explore whether there are other leaks. So many questions. Not enough answers. Not enough questions from the Obama administration.
THAT means that they acknowledge that the leak is greater than 53K bbl/day. THAT means that they've measured the flow and have known, probably since day 1, the day to day flow rate.
BP, which said that further enhancements will increase the collection capacity to as high as 80,000 barrels a day by mid-July, submitted its latest plan after Watson, the federal government's second-in-command for the spill response, told the company Friday its previous plan didn't meet the bill and gave BP a 48-hour deadline to come up with a revised scheme.
THAT means that they think the leak is greater than 53K bbl/day, and maybe up to 80K bbl/day, which would be in line with what a lot of other people in the business are saying.
After all, I think it was in 2008 that they bragged about their new flow rate measuring ability (you can Google that).
My source inside BP also tells me that there is considerable likelihood that the gas explosion that led to the sinking of the Transocean's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig probably, like air in water pipes, probably shocked and damaged the well casing. In addition, as oil combined with mud rushes through the casing, with pockets of gas sending additional shocks to the casing system, it is likely that further erosion of the casing's structural integrity will occur. This could lead to a total breakdown of the connection of the casing to the BOP at the top, which would lead to an increas in oil flow from the 80-100,000 barrels per day most scientists estimate to 600,000 barrels a day. If the last ditch effort using the pair of deep alternate wells fails to stop the gusher, it is HIGHLY likely that this breakdown of the casing will eventually happen. That's why it's so important to drill additional wells to take pressure off the system, though even that idea is highly speculative.I've said it before. We are not at war. There should not be secrets. There should not be what seems to be collusion between the government and BP to suppress information, minimize flow estimates and prevent the media from covering this catastrophe. We are facing a disaster that exponentially surpasses anything the USA and perhaps humanity has ever faced. It will require that President Obama and both parties in congress rise to new levels of leadership, ones that transcend partisanism. That's a non-technological challenge that may be even more difficult than the technological ones we face.Pray that our leaders find the capacity to lead and meet challenges unlike even war presidents have faced. There have been movies about presidents failing to lead when facing apocalyptic challenges. This is the real thing. It may not destroy the world, but it could destroy the world as we know it.But this is not a job just for Obama or the congress. All of the people of the US and the world must take action, raise their voices and rise to this challenge.Tonight, Obama will be speaking from the Oval office. There's a test he must pass-- telling the people of the world the truth that there may not be a way to stop this well-- that it could gush for years. If he tries to peddle a narrative that we WILL plug this hole, he will not be telling the truth, will be attempting to sugar coat just how bad things are. We don't need that. We need truth. That is the ultimate test of his address t his evening.