New Definitions for Success

Today BP has attached a LMRP Cap to the Riser, it sawed in half yesterday,  and in the process causing (according to them) a 20% increase in the flow — and the media has proclaimed this a qualified success, because they are now extracting 1000 barrels / day of oil water mix.

Now, the real amount of oil coming from the gusher is unknown, because BP and the US government have colluded to refuse to say. Despite the fact that it would be very easy for BP to stick a pressure gauge into it’s gusher, multiply by the pipe diameter, the possible maximum is an “unknown/unknown”.

So, the media has run with the figure of 12-20000 barrels a day as if this was the rate despite the fact that this is the governments estimated minimum value, not an upper/lower range!

Now Chad Allan (who might as well get himself a cheerleader outfit, with BP on the front, and a set of pom-poms, after announcing twice that top kill had worked oopsie) says not to get to happy about this success.  

Good advise.

So, taking the figure of 20,000 barrels per day x 20% we have 24,000 barrels per day – 1000 barrels of oil/water mix collected, and we now have: increased the leaks by 3000 barrels.  Of course if you use the figures of scientists not employed by BP or our government such as 60-100,000 barrels per day x 20% the loss from this action would be much greater.

So, I agree with Chad, best not to get to excited about this new success.  


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  1. better start putting up some of those bight yellow booms too.


  3. professionals who have been fairly forgiving till now at The Oil Drum are scathing:

    “who designed this devise”

    I had no idea until a few hours ago they were going from 21″ to 6″ pipe. What the heck are they thinking? Save some more money? Whoever is concocting these plans is a fool, I don’t care how many degrees they may have somehow acquired.

    I am pretty sure BP has good analysts who are capable of very quickly modeling proposed solutions and giving reasonable engineering answers as to their adequacy to the task at hand.

    I am also pretty sure they are not using them. The tell-tale signs are all over the place that these fixes were put together by someone who is in fact not familiar with the technical complexities of the problem.

    Your trust that the processes inside the BP organizatin has yielded a high-efficiency, high-competence group that is driving the technical side of the proposed solutions with adequate real-time analytic support is misplaced. Often, it will be a hastily put together group of those the top managers know personally, with everyting that it entails. Design processes during panic situations can also be hijacked by group-think, fear of losing one’s job and overbearing pressure by the management to do something stupid today, instead of something smart in a week.

    If BP technical analysis has concluded that the risk of actually bringing this oil to the surface using standard production methods is too risky for BP to try (and I conceed considerable risk exists), they should say so and step aside. A smaller organization (Wild Well Controls?), without the giant liability hanging over their heads (like BP has) should step in and take the high risk option.

    and so on…

  4. after increasing the flow by 20%.  

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