Wednesday 5/26 “Top Kill Is A Go ” thread

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

edit update(See Thursday morning update at bottom of diary)

Rr. Admiral Landry granted approval for BP to begin plugging the well. (Wednesday am)

5/26/10  11:53 am CST


Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral Mary Landry, acting on the validation of government scientists and in consultation with the National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, has granted approval for BP to begin proceeding with their attempt to cap the well using the technique known as the “top kill.”

This expedited step provides the final authorization necessary to begin the procedure.

Per the Joint Information Center Unified Command,…   “TOP KILL” is a Go at the blown out BP Oil rig a mile under the Gulf of Mexico, and the oil company will attempt to block the well with drill mud pumped in thru new lines connected to the Blow Out Preventer on the well head, which run up to the ships above.

I will be updating this diary during the day as news progress.

I just turned off the television idiots who could not tell me whether or not this was happening.  If there is a delay, it is because BP feels like they are not ready or have hit a technical problem, but the Govt says “go.”  

As of yesterday, BP was still claiming that this well was only leaking 5000 barrels a day, a figure which is being disputed by many, who claim the actual amount can be up to 10 times that, or more. I think the discrepancy can be explained by the wankers at BP are not counting the copious amounts of methane gas that are spurting out of the well with the oil dissolved in it, and then rapidly expanding and freezing into frozen solid gas hydrates. Or course it is in their best legal and public relations defense to lowball the amounts as much as possible, but that number is ludicrous with the amount of oil visible all over the Gulf.

Oil Spill,Top Kill,Nature,Climate,Tragedy,BP Oil Spill 2010,Gulf of Mexico,Riser Insertion Tool

Thar She Blows, Maybe. Rube Goldberg  does Deepwater Horizon. The red is the path the drill mud is supposed to take.  The thing on the right with the yellow line on it is the newer relief well they are working on drilling to intercept the old well under the sea bed, which obviously isn’t along that far, yet. The spaghetti pipe on the left is the bent over riser with a bunch of  ROV robots suspended over it.

This is what the leak looks like at the Blow Out Preventer, from yesterday:

BP Oil Spill 2010,BP Oil Spill 2010,oilcam,oilcam,Climate,Climate,Nature,Nature,Tragedy,Tragedy,Gulf of Mexico,Gulf of Mexico,Oil Spill,Oil Spill,Gulf of Mexico Satellite Picture,Gulf of Mexico Satellite Picture

Leak at the riser pipe at the BOP, just above the wellhead, on the BP Deepwater Horizon well from Tues 5/25/2010  screenshot fr live feed per BP    

And here’s the leak at the end of the end of the riser pipe, nearly 5000 feet downline, which is bent around on the seafloor.  The oil collection device going to the surface ship, a 4″ wide “sippy tube,” is inserted at the end.

Sippy tube,sippy straw,Oil collection device,BP Oil Spill 2010,Climate,Nature,Tragedy,Gulf of Mexico,Oil Spill,Gulf of Mexico Satellite Picture

5/24/10 BP Oil Spill “collection pipe” sippy tube on day 34 of the leak, a 4″ black pipe stuck into a 21″ riser pipe (yellow) trying to suck up the black stuff (oil) and the grey stuff (methane gas precipitating as it hits the cold water).  

The Oil Leak sprawled out over the Gulf of Mexico and the Louisiana Delta, yesterday, for reference:

BP Oil Spill 2010,Climate,Nature,Tragedy,Gulf of Mexico,Oil Spill,Gulf of Mexico Satellite Picture

Tues, 5/25/10. NASA biomass color enhanced photo of Gulf of Mexico, BP Oil Spill.  The green is disappearing in the Mississippi River Delta wetlands as the vegetation dies from the oil coming in.  Clouds are blue in this. Oil is silver, black, and orangish.  

The ecosystem and wetlands of the Gulf of Mexico are dying in front of us as we speak and write.  We must continue to pressure the government to stop deep sea offshore drilling in the Gulf.


update 12:03 pm PDT
 BP has started the Top Kill Procedure and is warning that the appearance of the sea floor and the rate of the visible leaks “may be expected.”  The video feed will not be an indicator of overall progress.  The procedure is expected to take 12 to 48 hours.

A live webcam view of the sea floor may be seen here at here at  select the Live Oil leak icon to launch the viewer window,  this one has been working the most consistently for me using a non microsoft product


edit update Thurs 5/27/10 am 9am PDT  

Cautiously Optimistic News this morning !!!  Nothing has blown up overnight.  US Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Cmder, says there has been some success at at slowing the leak, per the government’s JIC twitter acct which directs to a short AP article.  Per the commentary on the Oil Drum blog, there was a news conference earlier where the LA times released an interpretation that the leak has been stopped, per the remarks at the news conference, the govt has quickly released a clarification, that the leak has been SLOWED DOWN.

Earlier version fr LA Times blog…

Reporting from Houma, La. – Engineers have stopped the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico from a gushing BP well, the federal government’s top oil-spill commander, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said Thursday morning.

The “top kill” effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, had pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, Allen said.  The pressure from the well was very low, he said, but persisting.  


“We’ll get this under control”

Later story…

Adm. Thad Allen:  “The absence of any news is good news.  It’s a wait and see game here right now, so far nothing unfavorable. ”

BP spokesperson Tom Mueller says the effort is continuing and won’t be able to say anything on it until later Thursday (today).

View of the top of the BOP this morning:

BP Oil Spill 2010,drill mud,BOP,Top Kill,Climate,Nature,Tragedy,Gulf of Mexico,Oil Spill,Gulf of Mexico Satellite Picture

Thursday 5/27/10 time 8:50 am webcam view of top of BOP, blow out protector, showing what it looks like after 22 hours of pumping drill mud inside in an effort to stabilize the pressure in the well. The leak plumes appear a little shorter and darker colored than yesterday   While looks can be deceiving, it obviously doesn’t look worse, and combined with reports from earlier that the pressure inside the BOP was “lower than expected” and “nothing unfavorable,”  is very encouraging.

More News From This Morning…

The Head of Minerals Management,  Elizabeth Birnbaum, has been fired. Birnbaum ran MMS since July 2009.

Yet More News, Govt Catches up to blogosphere, revises oil size leak upward closer to reality US Geological Survey Director Dr Marcia McNutt had two teams estimate how much oil is coming from the blown out Deepwater Horizon and took the average.  Surprise !  It’s still MUCH LARGER than any number that BP has been using since the blowout.  A half a million to a million gallons per day, 11,900 barrels to 23,800 barrels a day, or 2 to 4 times the amount that BP was still using yesterday, 5000 barrels/day, bigger by a factor of 10 to 20 than their initial, ridiculous number of only 1000 barrels a day.

To be able to calculate how to do the “top kill” they would have had to have had a better estimate, so BP has been obfuscating the true, potential impact size of the spill all along, having known how big the pipes are, and having at least some idea of how much pressure the oil/gas formation was capable of emitting when the rig was still intact.  


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  1. BP Oil Spill 2010,Top Kill,Climate,Nature,Tragedy,Gulf of Mexico,Oil Spill,Gulf of Mexico Satellite Picture

    screenshot  Wed.  5/26/10  Top Kill attempt to pump mud into BOP , noon PDT

    the caption says “monitor valves on BOP”  

    twitter feed from the govt here following the progress

    Oil Drum thread here


    so far approaching hour 3 there seems to be drill mud coming out of the top of the BOP  in addition to going down (the well bore) but somebody pointed out that the time stamps on the tapes are indicating some of the video may be a repeated loop.  Much confusion.  

  3. …I’ve been following on TOD also.

  4. …. hopefully that wasn’t a bad thing.

    The screen went blue then they’ve cut back to a view of the holes/ leaks in the bent over riser pipe at the top of the BOP, which is looking like a sulfer steam vent at Bumpass Hell Pass at Lassen National Park.  Lots of mud coming out.

    Hour 4.  

  5. can be interpreted in many ways.  As in killing off the people who live “on top” of the surface of the earth.

    Oh, and this will “fail” BTW.

  6. ….  are shading out differently from each hole, which may or may not be due to the camera and lighting angles.

    I have named the plumes.

    “Lemonaide, Coffee, TeaBaggy, and B- Poopsquirt ”

    There was a Press Conference with BP’s Suttles and Adm Landry at 7pm their time, which I have read the live blog on.  They did not take questions.  Excerpts are below


    partial transcript:

    Rr Admiral Landry:

    “while we are encouraged by some aspects of this procedure, we are cautious of expressing too much optimism.”


    BP’s Doug Suttles:

    “Up to 65 barrels per minute (of drill mud) being applied, 7000 barrels so far.

    Bend in riser, material continues to exit, this is not surprising. Finish job by pouring in cement at some point, should be completed in ~ 24 hours but maybe longer

    adapting and changing our methods to address spill on shore, opening new branches for people to organize from, 32 million in claims so far, support payments to the states

    probably another BOP on top of existing one if current operation doesn’t work, sparing no resources, doing everything we can to bring this to closure.

    Never want to take any actions that make situation worse- that determines the order in which we try to solve the problem, gathering pressure data before attempts and making sure that valves worked well.

    Too early to tell if we will be successful.

    over 17,000 ideas submitted to us, …. some of these ideas have been put to work

    Fed govt facilitated experts fr other countries to get here by helping w/ visas

    Ultimately to secure the well, we have to finish the relief well.

    If Top Kill doesn’t work, the LMRP cap will begin sometime at the beginning of next week.

    what people have been observing, is most likely mud coming out of the riser, but will need to be monitored over time, once readings look good, we’ll begin pumping concrete.

    junk shot still available to us, ready to be deployed if we need them.


    LCDR Jim Hoeft :  The projections I have heard, …. indicate many more weeks before completion of the relief well intersecting with the current well bore.


  7. …. is lower than yesterday, mud is still being pumped, oil/gas flow not completely shut off,  but Adm. Thad Allen is saying that progress is being made towards stabilizing the pressure of the well (once the pressure of the mud pumped in = pressure of the well’s gas/oil pushing out, they can monitor it to see if it holds, and then pump cement in to make a temporary cap until the relief wells get there and permanently seal it off.

    Twitter is “over capacity.”

    Physical situation of entire area is still not secure and a sure thing, so this is not a “Yay We Killed It” but definitely GOOD NEWS !!!

    THINK GOOD THOUGHTS that the integrity of the subsurface sea floor and the well casing or what is left of it, and the pipes/BOP holds long enough to get this accomplished.  

  8. …. first they had Mr Pincer Arm come over with an actual pipe wrench and bang on it, and now they have something actually stuck into the plume coming out of the BOP.

    I feel like I’m watching an episode of Star Trek where Scotty bangs on the Warp Core housing.  

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