Last night I threw out a message, observing how it seemed every time we turned around either someone from British Petroleum or the Feds were changing the rules on this well cap. When all this began last week, when BP put the new containment riser onto the Macondo well and stopped the flow of oil from entering the gulf we were all told that the cap could stay put so long as the pressure inside the well reached the range of 8000-9000 pounds per square inch. That was the number. That was the test score that got the Macondo well a passing grade, and if scoring that well, cap stays on, oil is stopped, relief wells finish the job and everyone lives happily ever after so long as you don’t think too much about the hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil that have already entered the gulf, the dying wildlife, the poisoned people, the destruction of livelihoods, culture, the economy…etc.
But then the reading only hit 6700 psi.
No problem we were told, the pressure is rising, slowly…but it’s rising. It’s okay, go back to work, go watch television…we got this. Hey, isn’t football season starting soon? Don’t worry, we’re just going to observe the pressure readings for twenty four hours…and then later, the government says what they really meant was thirty-six hours…
And then something funny happened…
Turns out, that 8000-9000 psi reading was, well, it wasn’t really all that necessary. You see, BP scientists have concluded that so much oil has been depleted from the reservoir that the original projected goal indicating all was well, within the well was too high…really, we only need 7500 psi. If we get to 7500 psi, then we’re okay. The integrity of the well is just fine…go back to sleep, have a picnic… Hey, wow…things are really going to shit in Afghanistan, aren’t they? And how about your mortgages…in trouble?
And then something funny happened, again…
From Washington’s Blog:
BP’s Kent Wells did it again yesterday, moving the “good integrity” range number down to 6,000 psi from 7,500 psi, saying,“But at this point there is no evidence that we have no integrity and that’s very good and the fact that the pressure is continuing to rise is giving us more and more confidence as we go through this process.”
Over the last 3 days, BP has walked the “integrity” goalpost down from as high as 9,000 psi to 6,000 psi, or at least the 6,700 psi, which happens to be where they are, give or take 100 psi.
So okay, 6700 psi is what they’ve been shooting for all along and everything is really okay now. Don’t worry about it…but just as we were about to turn over to the latest rerun of Law and Order, we happen to flip past the news where we discover not everything is peaceful in the Gulf, not at all. Turns out BP and the Feds are arguing about the results from these tests, about what it is they mean. Will the government demand BP remove the cap? Are there leaks? The government demands another twenty-four hours of observation, then twelve more, then six…and BP is willing to oblige but not so willing to admit anything is wrong…meanwhile the American public begins to wonder about all these changes, all the time, changes. Could it be BP and the Feds are just reacting to the situation, going with the flow so to speak and adjusting to new data? Or it could be they are just trying to manipulate the…and then, on Sunday…
What? Where did that come from?
A government official reports they have found seepage in cracks in the ocean floor…three kilometers from the well, then two…then leaks coming from the well cap itself…Every scientist around the country had maintained this is what we were afraid of, this is the danger of this well cap. Even the government says this is a problem, but BP says this is not a problem, the press asks BP to clarify, is this a problem or not and BP says to go ask the government. Then the government changes course again and says the leaks are obviously unrelated to the well and BP is in total agreement, there are no leaks…wait, what?
But there are leaks, right? Will the well cap have to be removed?
From an article in the Times Picayune:
Bill Gale, a California engineer and industrial explosion expert who is a member of the Deepwater Horizon Study Group, said that BP probably wants the cap to remain in place since it eliminates the PR problem of oil billowing through the water on the ROV cameras, and stops oil that eventually will be tallied as the basis for fines. The government, it appears, is only granting continued use of the cap on a short-term basis while it waits to see if it can become more comfortable with the situation, Gale speculated.
It’s also possible, Gale said, that gas hydrate crystals could be plugging any holes in the underground portion of the well, and they could get dislodged as pressure builds. “The increase in pressure could be a total red herring,” Gale said. Meanwhile, Gale’s mentor, Berkeley engineering professor Bob Bea, has very little confidence in what’s been said publicly about the seeps. He’s troubled that we’re just now hearing about seeps three kilometers away, because a survey of the seabed conducted before BP drilled its well didn’t indicate anything like that. “There was nothing that indicated the presence of such a seep,” Bea said. “I wonder why we’re just now finding that out?”
The government changes their mind and says the cracks in the seafloor, the ones that are leaking methane, the cracks we were originally told would be a big problem because it would indicate the well has lost integrity and oil is moving into the seabed where it could rupture and release…yeah, those cracks apparently are no longer a problem. Of course, scientists not hired/bought by BP and not working for the government would seem to indicate otherwise: if the well has integrity, stopping the oil is like putting the cork back on a bottle of wine, but if the well is leaking, it would be like using that same cork to stop up a sieve.
Bob Bea is especially concerned about the bubbles at the base of the blowout preventer. He said that BP does not appear to have installed a casing hanger lock, opening the possibility that gas and liquids could make their way up through the casing to the seabed. “I wish we had more information overall,” Bea said.
No Bob, be reasonable here…BP has all the information, the government has all the information BP says they need…it’s okay…shhh…go back to sleep…
This continues to be ridiculous.
We all better wake up to what is happening here…BP and the government are not to be trusted.
They have given different answers at every turn. British Petroleum has put more effort into controlling the information and thus attempting to control the damage on this as they have in trying to clean this mess up, and the government is letting them do it, all the while telling us how Bp and the governments information can be trusted. Sorry, the lies and fact changes have been happening at such breakneck speed, this is becoming very difficult to do. After all, this is the same government that told us deregulating the bank industry, the cable company, and every other company they could think of would be good for competition, you know, free market and all. Yeah, but the banking system had their own catastraphuk, my cable rates keep going up and I can’t just switch to another provider.
And we only have one Gulf of Mexico too.
Seems that somebody is trying to fix the numbers to suit the situation…somebody is lying…perhaps that person is the Coast Guard’s Thad Allen when he says, “The small seepages, at least at this point, do not indicate that there is any threat to the well bore,” or maybe it is BP’s Kent Wells when he says, “We’re in a good position to not have a catastrophic event.”
In a good position? To not have a catastrophic event? Yeah…that is soothing.
Or maybe the ultimate liar is Tony Hayward, the CEO of British Petroleum when he said, “It is vitally important that research start immediately into the oil and dispersant’s impact, and that the findings are shared fully and openly.” Ask Bob Bea and all the other scientists who want to assist, want to understand, ask them how much information is being shared, being released so analysis and the healing of this rupture can begin…
But perhaps I should be more understanding…after all, when it comes to science I always did need to be graded on a curve to pass my exams and unfortunately, it would appear so does the Macando well.
Read this outstanding article for the full story on Washington’s Blog:
BP Moves the Goalpost for the Oil Well Integrity Test
And also read this equally informative article from the Times Picayune:
Gas Seeps Not Necessarily a Problem, Because Pressure in Oil Well Rising, Officials Say
And then don’t forget:
Have a nice day.