Updated: Seep?! Govt To Order BP Well TURNED BACK ON After Test Ends

Outrageous.  Our U.S. Government is ordering them to resume oil bombing the Gulf.

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It’s only cute the first time. screenshot ROV Skandi cam and 2 ROVs checking out the new top of the seal cap and stack assembly that was installed over the old well BOP

BP’s Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well, which was successfully turned off last Thurs July 15 at 1:20 pm PDT after 86 days of uncontrolled gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, will be turned back on to start re gathering oil and gas, as soon as the pressure tests are done, according to today’s Bloomberg.com.

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Haven’t we seen enough of that at this point ?  This was the Gulf of Mexico the day the new cap was placed over the BOP, 7/12/10 before they started cranking it down slowly. photo NASA


BP had been considering whether the positive test results would allow it to keep the well sealed, stopping the flow of oil until the leak could be permanently plugged. Allen has said consistently that it was “likely” the government would choose to use BP’s new, tighter-fitting cap to resume capturing oil after the tests.

More Oil Spilling

While the company eventually plans to reach collection capacity of 80,000 barrels a day, more than the estimated size of the leak, reopening the well would lead to some oil escaping to the sea before the vessels are connected, Wells said yesterday.

“Thad Allen wants to do containment because they want to find out what the real flow rate was,” Don Van Nieuwenhuise, director of Petroleum Geoscience Programs at the University of Houston, said in an interview yesterday. “Unless they do something like that, they’ll almost never be able to prove what the true flow rate was.”

Pressure inside the well had risen to 6745 pounds per square inch by Saturday.  Originally BP said they wanted to see 7,500 psi to say that the well was safely intact, yesterday, they fudged that a little in a press briefing around 29 hours along and said at 6745 psi “there is no evidence that we don’t have well integrity.”   Bloomberg quotes BP’s Kent Wells as saying “we feel more comfortable we have integrity.”

The area around the well has been very closely monitored since the test started for seismic disruptions and seafloor disturbances, and sonar has been deployed on surface ships circling the wellhead seafloor area from above.

Once reopened, oil and gas would be sucked up by a new, untested riser cap that would be placed on top of the new ram stack assembly that was installed over the old BOP, and by the Q4000 sucking the oil out of the old choke/kill pipes routed through a special manifold, and the Helix Producer.  A new riser pipe tower with a connection on top that can be detached more quickly and easily has been built on the sea floor to do this.   The problem with using oil processing ships on the surface to flare off the natural gas that comes along with this oil,  is that they still must be disconnected and moved offsite during hurricanes.

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Here’s a screen shot grab I took on 7/12/10, from Skandi cam,  when the new sealing cap and stack assembly (left) were being lowered past the new floor riser pipe tower (center) on its journey down to the BOP.  I tried to sharpen it up a little but it was still pretty murky down there at that point.  But after watching the webcams for hours, it was exciting to see it finally go past something recognizable.  There are several ROVs all hovering around this in the background tracking the cap with their headlights.

But the ability to shut the well down completely again during the next tropical cyclone or hurricane instead of letting it spill unchecked into the Gulf of Mexico has not been discussed publicly.

So far we have dodged a weather bullet, in that the first hurricane to cross the Gulf this season, Alex, went across the southern Gulf from southeast to northwest and missed the Louisiana delta area entirely.  While the current forecast this morning from NOAA  http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo_a…   says a tropical storm is unlikely in the next 48 hours, as hurricane season progresses anything could happen.  And that means more oil spewing into the Gulf, as much as 80,000 barrels a day of oil,  even if the reconnect times would be faster this round-  if everything new works and goes to plan.

Breaking Sunday Afternoon Update 3:30 pm PDT

Looks like the Showdown at the Not Okay Corral is Beginning.

From the US Fed Govt earlier this afternoon

Statement from NIC Adm. Thad Allen on Well Integrity Test  7/18/10  11:37 CST

WASHINGTON – Per my conversation with BP Executive Bob Dudley as recently as 11 a.m. EST today, nothing has changed about the joint agreement announced yesterday between BP and the US government. The ongoing well integrity test will continue until 4 p.m. EST today, with the potential for additional extensions in 24-hour increments. As a condition of the extension, the US government has required significant new monitoring and periodic evaluation and approval by our science team.  

Work must continue to better understand the lower than expected pressure readings. This work centers on two plausible scenarios, depletion of oil from the reservoir and potential leakage caused by damage to the well bore or casing.  

While we are pleased that no oil is currently being released into the Gulf of Mexico and want to take all appropriate action to keep it that way, it is important that all decisions are driven by the science. Ultimately, we must ensure no irreversible damage is done which could cause uncontrolled leakage from numerous points on the sea floor.

Just a few minutes ago, from the AP and the Houston Chronicle: An anonymous Federal official says that there is “concern” about a seep and possible methane –  possible sign of a leak.

The official is familiar with the spill oversight but would not clarify what is seeping near the well. The official said BP is not complying with the government’s demand for more monitoring. BP spokesman Mark Salt declined to comment on the allegation, but said “we continue to work very closely with all government scientists on this.”

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen will make the final decisions on the next step. The official said Allen would issue a letter to BP shortly allowing testing to proceed in 24-hour increments, but also requiring more analysis of the seep and the possible observation of methane over the well.


Houston Chronicle says Allen would issue a letter to BP allowing testing in 24 hour increments, but requiring more analysis of the seep.  

“A BP official said the company hoped to leave the cap in place until crews can permanently kill the leak.    http://www.chron.com/disp/stor…

Looks like Adm. Allen will be telling them to turn the spigot back on soon.  We will see if BP blinks.

Oh, but, on the other hand, if it’s really seeping, deal with it, damnit.

Of course this would not be the first time an anonymous government source that wanted something floated a rumor to start a feeding frenzy.  


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  1. …. and there were fish and dolphins and birds swimming in or on it ?

    • Edger on July 18, 2010 at 18:39

    or until the pressure of the oil leaving the well is less than the pressure of the mile of ocean pressing down on it.

    There has been no video of the seafloor around the well from the ROV’s since they “capped” it thus forcing the oil out through the sides of a damaged well bore. You can guess why – they can’t siphon from leaking cracks in the seafloor or leaks oozing through the sand and sell it as gasoline to people who will continue to drive their cars till the earth is dead.

    There is also no motivation for BP ever to “plug” a producing well at the bottom – a well that is producing from what may be from one of the largest oil  reservoirs in the world.

    The relief wells are to collect oil for refining and selling, not to plug the gusher.

    If they can collect 80,000 barrels per day then it is spewing at least more than that – 100,000 barrels per day or more.

    The difference will leak into the gulf till it stops from natural forces, 30 to 60 years from now, by which time the Gulf of Mexico will be a dead and poison sea that also will poison the air over the gulf coast for at least that length of time.

    The oceans of the world will die. And humanity won’t last much longer than the oceans except in artificial environments.

    It was a nice planet. While it lasted.

  2. …. Feds say (anon) it might be seeping.

    BP says what ?

    Adm. Allen to issue sternly worded letter.

    This should be interesting.  

  3. thing is a ruse on the American people!

    The administration wants to crack down on BP?  While BP says another thing!  Maybe, it’s nothing more than a show by the government and BP, to make it a PR acceptance, while all the while, THEY have their plans and WE ain’t included and neither is mother nature’s gift — the dear ocean and its bounty!  

    Americans are duped and have been duped over and over again.

  4. have been flying at TOD ever since the “leak” announcement, first by anonymous source then confirmed in a letter from Adm. Thad to BP. One of the more rational comments is by Kalliergo and is

    here; it says:

    “Upset” would be, at least, premature, but concern seems appropriate.

    We have a wild well which has long been suspected of having loss of integrity, it has recently been effectively shut in and has not demonstrated the expected pressure at the wellhead. If it is flowing, somewhere, that flow might cause additional damage to the casing, or fractures in the reservoir rock or elsewhere, which just might make it harder to kill the well.

    Why wouldn’t you be concerned?

  5. BP oil spill,sealing cap,stack cap,stack ram,leak stopped,leak capped

    12:57 am pdt 7/19/10

    BP oil spill,sealing cap,stack ram

    12:59 am pdt 7/19/10

    from Oil Drum, quote fr Thad Allen to BP in the letter tonight

    “when seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than 4 hours.

    there is also rumor of a seafloor seep somewhere, natural or from this,  but I have no good pic yet and there’s too many floating around the web that I know are not verifiable

  6. allowing the failed ‘test’ to continue despite the seeps.

    Outrageous.  Our U.S. Government is ordering them to resume oil bombing the Gulf.

    I couldn’t make up some of the crap you post here.  

  7. The White House says the well is leaking at the top and a seep is 2 miles away. Here is the link: nothing here.

    Seep and Leak…

    Hide and Seek…

    Does anyone know, or care to say, the truth sbout what is really going on?

  8. chess game, that’s all. You know, saving the shareholders, saving the oil, saving face, promising damage payments, shedding a tear here and there for the environment, pulling rabbits out of a hat and waiting it out till it all goes away in the great news laundering cycle of calculated disinterest, disinformation and distraction.

    Remember, the business of America is business, and really, does anything else really matter here? Strange how we ended up in this cultural cul de sac with four flat tires and out of gas. Just another sad, pathetic story of folly and delusion.

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