What is BP hiding now, and why is the Coast Guard and NOAA helping?

Move along...nothing to see here...

Oil sheen…

Lots of oil sheen and lots of testing of oil from those sheens…

And weeks later, the people of the Gulf Coast are no closer to determining just what the hell is happening down at the Macondo Well site, if anything…

And British Petroleum, the Coast Guard and the NOAA seem to be in no real hurry to find out either, and that’s a problem, a big problem. Just what in the past seventeen months do these three entities feel they have accomplished, feel they have done so well that the American public should extend them any sort of automatic credibility, especially if that credibility is to rely on their word alone?

I can’t think of anything.

The oil began to reappear in the middle of last August, and since then the public has been treated to denial after denial…from British Petroleum and the Coast Guard who originally said there was no oil to be found, until Bonny Schumaker, a pilot with Wings of Care, flew over and took film of the oil. Then the Coast Guard and BP said okay, there may be oil but it isn’t oil from the Macondo well, it’s from natural seeps, from a different reservoir. Then reporters from the Press Register took a boat out there, took some samples and had it tested…and found the oil is from the Macondo.

And the response now?

In a Sept. 15 email, NOAA’s Sherman suggested that samples collected by the newspaper might not actually be from BP’s well, which is designated MC252 and called the Macondo well, “Yes, the oil that you took was confirmed as MC252, but it does not necessarily mean it is in any way related to the (Deepwater Horizon) spill. Most of the oil throughout the region can be preliminarily identified as MC252 type,” the email read. Sherman went on to say that NOAA’s Scientific Support Coordinator had consulted with the LSU chemists and determined that the oil might not be from the BP well.

Overton said federal officials were wrong. He said he rechecked the newspaper’s oil samples using the more refined analysis recommended by BP’s scientists and federal officials, “They were suggesting I had jumped the gun when I said it matched (BP’s well),” Overton said last week. “They are incorrect. I have double-checked, and I am even more convinced after using the suggestions that BP made that this was the Macondo oil. I think it is 99.9 percent confirmed that it came from that reservoir, “It is a dead-ringer match . I was amazed that the ratios matched as good as they did.”

Overton said BP also provided him with samples from nearby oil sources, none of which matched the oil collected by the newspaper.

Oops.

British Petroleum said at the end of last week they have done inspections with an ROV and failed to find any leaks around the main or relief well and they are now suggesting it is simply residual oil being released from equipment on the sea floor. They say they are continuing to work with the Coast Guard and the NOAA to identify the exact flow rate, I mean, to identify new sheens and where they might be coming from.

And that’s the point. That’s no longer good enough. It’s widely accepted BP was bullshitting everybody last year with their flow rate estimates back when the Macondo well was still spewing oil and the Coast Guard? Well, who knows what the hell the Coast Guard was doing at the time.

Again…their word? Don’t waste my time, especially when they have a little something called a hydrocarbon sniffer:

“There are instruments that can be deployed to detect the hydrocarbons,” said Robert Bea, a petroleum engineer at the University of California and a member of the Deepwater Horizon Study Group, which includes more than 50 top scientists. “The oil companies use subsea-towed ’sniffers’ for this purpose.”

BP officials declined to answer whether the company would use a hydrocarbon sniffer, which can trace oil in the water column from the surface to the seafloor.

“This is crazy. I don’t understand why they are not doing that,” said Overton, who with his colleagues recently earned NOAA’s “Superior Accomplishment Award” for oil analysis done for the government during the oil spill.

Yes, crazy…

It is crazy that it’s been well over a month since the sheens started to appear, that petroleum engineers, the experts, are telling BP, the Coast Guard and the NOAA what needs to be done here, yet nobody is doing it while at the same time, British Petroleum has begun the process to begin drilling again in the Gulf of Mexico…or maybe it isn’t crazy at all, maybe this is the reason the sniffers aren’t being deployed. Maybe British Petroleum doesn’t want to know what’s going on down there and would rather just assume everything is fine, you know, kind of like when they decided to not bother running tests and just assume the original cementing job at the Deepwater Horizon was good, or when they just assumed they didn’t need the extra centralizers down in the well either…

Hell, they thought it’d be just fine then too and gosh, it sure was cheaper.

Enough already.

Read the articles:

LSU confirms oil from BP well; feds collect samples

Time to take oil sheen seriously (editorial)

Have a nice day.

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Feinberg ain’t no Santa Claus…

Ho-fucking-ho...

Ken Feinberg, British Petroleum employee and steward of the BP claims fund wrote himself a little editorial the other day in Bloomberg Businessweek titled: How to Give Away $5 Billion. The article came complete with an illustration of a man, presumably Ken, holding a money bag while outstretched, demanding hands come in from outside the border of the drawing and there, in a nutshell, is everything that’s wrong with the GCCF and Ken’s dismissive attitudes.

The people of the Gulf Coast are not looking for a hand out.

They are looking to be compensated for damages from the worst environmental disaster to ever hit this country.

In his rather self-congratulatory editorial, Ken writes the best way to give out $5 billion dollars is with “speed and fairness and consistency,” which not coincidentally are three of the biggest complaints about the claims process: questions about its fairness and consistency concealed behind an utter lack of transparency and the slow allocation of payments while people suffer untold financial hardships.

Really Ken…people aren’t clamoring for the GCCF to be audited because they are satisfied with the process, at ease with what you’ve done and are doing, many in fact are rather angry, which is why it’s no wonder you’ve learned to live with “the potshots and the criticism.” You’d have to be used to it by now. They’re coming and have come from the US Justice Department, politicians both local and federal, various attorneys general and claimants across four states.

Ken writes, “You try to err on the side of being generous without being Santa Claus. Anyone can give money away,” and that would be quite correct, anybody can. Anyone can also claim to be the second coming of Christ when they came down to the Gulf in June of last year making all kinds of promises about speed and fairness and generosity only to see these promises disintegrate into the reality that you were getting more than you bargained for. It was and is a big job, Ken and a difficult one, but when you set people up to fail with causality in health claims, when you make people wait for interim claims while completing the easier, less lucrative quick claims, when you force people to gamble with their future by signing legal waiver forms and when people become so fed up with your claims process they just want to take the money and run, not from a sense of satisfaction and being made whole, but from a sense of disgust with another corporation and their henchmen who screwed an entire region…Ken, you’re not Santa Claus, you’re not even a lowly elf, you’re a wealthy, self-satisfied Boston attorney whose making quite a tidy profit for himself in the claims business. 

Finally, Ken adds:

“These programs should be the exception rather than the rule. Bad things happen to good people every day, but I didn’t see a program after Katrina or Joplin. Policymakers need to be wary about doing an end run around the traditional way of resolving disputes in this country.”

What the hell does that even mean?

Here’s a thought, maybe the reason you didn’t see a claims process after Joplin and Katrina is 1. its pretty fucking hard to take a tornado to court and 2. Taking the Army Corps of Engineers to court for the failure of the levees has been near impossible and if going after Katrina itself, well, see #1 again, only replace tornado with hurricane. British Petroleum’s poor management and the resulting explosion of the Deepwater Horizon was not a natural disaster, it was man-made, and came as a result of time-saving and profit-seeking by an oil company that was already making money hand over fist.

Greed, Ken…simple greed…that’s why there is a claims process.

Rather than trying to publish your bullshit at Bloomberg where maybe you hoped people wouldn’t see it, why don’t you hold another town hall in the Gulf so you can tell the people to their face what a great job you’ve done.

Hell, you can even bring your security team, again.

Have a nice day.

Especially to Mark Moseley at The Lens for pointing out to yours truly Feinberg’s lovely gem of an article.

Riki Ott or Feinberg? I’m thinking Riki knows the health better…

The lawyer says:

It ain’t what you know, it’s what you can prove…

The toxicologist says:

Lawyers don’t know a whole hell of a lot about toxicology…

“Nicholas Forte has spent the last year with an array of health issues. Headaches. Migraines. Nausea. Breathing problems so severe they would land him in the hospital.

“We have no idea what it is,” the 22-year-old Battle Creek resident told Michigan Messenger. “Then it escalated to seizures.” And while the seizures landed him in the hospital — at one point stopping his heart and his breathing — doctors are at a loss to understand why. Tests indicate none of the expected patterns for epilepsy.

Finding out why the formerly healthy young man had suddenly fallen ill drove him and his family to listen to Riki Ott, an environmental toxicologist who has been tracking the health impacts of oil spills on human beings since her home was impacted by the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Ott was in Battle Creek Wednesday night at the invitation of local activists. And when Forte asked Ott about his symptoms, she nodded an affirmative.

“We see that in 16-year olds in the Gulf,” she said. And Forte was not the only person she may have given much-needed answers to. Nearly 50 people gathered to talk about headaches, nausea, burning eyes, memory loss and rashes. There were young and old, African-Americans and whites, rural residents and city dwellers, all with one thing in common — they live by the Kalamazoo River and were exposed to last year’s Enbridge Energy Partners Lakehead Pipeline 6B.”

 

Ken Feinberg says, “Jesus, you didn’t actually watch all that did you? No? Thank God…oh, and she hasn’t proved a thing. Just check the methodology.”

Have a nice day.

And still more about the (still not) leaking Macondo Well…

The truth is so...the truth, well, it can just be so...messy.

Ed. Note: Times Picayune now reporting investigators from both BP and the Coast Guard have gone out to the well site and found nothing. BP plans to send a ROV down to the seafloor tonight to determine if the well is leaking. Also, tests on the oil sheen spotted by Press-Register reporters has come back as a match to the oil that spilled last year. So, according to USCG and BP, no oil today, but the oil yesterday is a match to the Macondo…I feel better?

Reporters from the Alabama Press Register were out on the water near the Macondo Well site to investigate reports, floating around for over a week now, about new oil sheens on the Gulf’s surface:

“The Press-Register reporters located the area where the oil was rising to the surface by going to a point directly over the Macondo well and then moving in the direction of the prevailing surface current. The first blobs of oil seen on the surface were detected about a half-mile from the well. The frequency of the sightings increased gradually over the next half-mile.

In the Olympic swimming pool-sized area where the oil was rising most frequently, new sheens were erupting every few seconds on all sides of the 36-foot boat.

Marcus Kennedy, who piloted his fishing boat, the Kwazar, 115 miles from Dauphin Island to the well site, said he was stunned by the heavy petroleum scent in the air. A nearby data buoy recorded winds of less than 2 mph at the time”

Now, reports differ on where this oil is coming from:

BP, of course, denies this has anything to do with the Macondo Well.

Phillip Johnson, a professor at the University of Alabama feels the oil is most likely residual, just oil leaking from the 5000 feet of riser pipe left on the sea floor or oil that had been trapped in various debris from the sunk platform that’s now worked its way free.

Ed Overton, an oil chemist, feels more investigation is needed, to find out what is going on, “There is no way to say for sure whether the well is leaking, based on what is on the surface,” he said. “Of course it is suspicious.”

The Coast Guard has determined the leakage is from natural seeps and permitted pollution releases at other drilling sites, but did not elaborate how this was determined, and said no boats had been out near the well location.

Robert Bea, professor emeritus at UC-Berkeley, after looking at photographs of the sheen said, “I think the primary source with high probability is associated with the Macondo well…perhaps connections that developed between the well annulus (outside the casing), the reservoir sands about 17,000 feet below the seafloor, and the natural seep fault features” could provide a pathway for oil to move from deep underground to the seafloor, Bea said.

Lot of opinions, lot of oil, lots of possible narratives…

What’s needed is the truth.

Perhaps along with that GCCF audit, US Attorney General Eric Holder might find an independent investigator to get ahead of this story now, find out what, if anything is going on in the Gulf, throw a wrench in the spin cycle and beat that dryer to hell.  When the Deepwater Horizon went down 16 months ago, the information appeared immediately slanted to fit a damage control agenda, truth be damned…so much so the Justice Department is now investigating BP for faulty oil spill estimates.

Not that we are headed for a repeat, but it might be nice this time, to start any sort of response to these sheens from the basis of truth.

Where are the sheens coming from? Is it likely there will be more? Is it coming from the Macondo Well?

Is there something wrong with the seal, with the sea floor?

Hopefully not.

But I’d sure like to know…regardless of whatever anyone who might stand to lose public relations battles or profit thinks about it.

“Last week, in response to Internet postings by lawyers and environmental groups describing a leak, BP issued a blanket denial, stating, “None of this is true.””

A blanket denial from British Petroleum, with little to no explanation.

Even if they are right, a blanket denial is not good enough, not this time.

Read the article:

Deepwater trouble on the horizon: oil discovered floating near source of Gulf of Mexico spill (Photo gallery, video)

Have a nice day.

More about the (not) leaking Macondo Well…

is more than just what you can get the public to believe...

Ed Note: The USCG now taking a fresh look at pictures of the oil they previously denied was there.

Look, I’m not trying to play the role of conspiracy buff here, but if there is one thing any of us who follow the oil spill news knows, it is:

1. Truth takes a second place to narrative.

2. Order of response: deny everything, and if caught denying, then deny it again.

I think back to the arguments about flow rates, the toxicity of Corexit and whether it was still being used, about how much wildlife was being killed, the keeping of photographers and news people out of the spill zone, BP’s purchasing of scientists at universities, all the issues of transparency with the GCCF, the killing of cameras at the well head…etc…

It’s about the control of information, and with this control, the narrative can be manipulated in favor of BP, Feinberg, the government or whoever…whoever is paying the most to control said narrative.

So, keeping all that in mind, we come back to the question that Stuart Smith continues to investigate, what is going on at the Macondo Well? Is it leaking again? Is the sea floor rupturing?

Frankly, I sure as hell hope not, course my hopes are centered on the people and the environment of the region. I would imagine that BP really hopes not too, course…we know what their main concern is… Correct, the safety and welfare of adorable puppies and kittens worldwide, and especially in the Gulf. So, BP denies there is oil coming from the Macondo well site. BP denies they hired any boats to skim for oil. The Coast Guard (about as independent from BP as Feinberg) also denies the same things and so we can go back home now, get some rest, forget about it…

Yet, then we read:

BP’s Denial Upended: Gulf Flyover Surveillance Reveals Large Amount of Surface Oil at Deepwater Horizon Site

And then, the next day we read:

More Questions for BP: Why Is There a Massive Oil Production Vessel at the Deepwater Horizon Site?

And also:

Why hasn’t all the oil gone?

And one starts to wonder…

Are we fighting another narrative war, all over again?

Because BP and the Coast Guard denying any oil is leaking from the site of the Deepwater Horizon is a familiar one, it’s what they maintained days after the oil rig exploded and sank, days before the oil began to flow, days before their narrative was exposed as a facade.

Hopefully, that won’t be the case…again.

Have a nice day.

Hear the one about the sealed Macondo Well?

Bloody hell...

More oil in the Gulf of Mexico…

British Petroleum says it is investigating a new sheen of oil, but did not say where they have found said sheen. Nor did they say what is causing said sheen.

What they did say is it wasn’t found near “any existing BP operations,” oh, and they added “there is a lot of sheen in the Gulf of Mexico area” and that it didn’t necessarily come from a BP (Macondo) well.

But remember back in July, that sheen confirmed to have been most definitely found in the vicinity of the Macondo Well?

No?

Stuart Smith sure does:

“Oil from the Macondo Well site is fouling the Gulf anew – and BP is scrambling to contain both the crude and the PR nightmare that waits in the wings. Reliable sources tell us that BP has hired 40 boats from Venice to Grand Isle to lay boom around the Deepwater Horizon site – located just 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The fleet rushed to the scene late last week and worked through the weekend to contain what was becoming a massive slick at the site of the Macondo wellhead, which was officially “killed” back in September 2010.”

Smith goes onto quote a letter written by BK Lim, a prominent geohazards specialist for thirty years. This letter was sent to US Reps Fred Upton and John Shimkus:

“There is no question that the oil seepages, gas columns, fissures and blowout craters in the seafloor around the Macondo wellhead… have been the direct result of indiscriminate drilling, grouting, injection of dispersant and other undisclosed recover activities. As the rogue well had not been successfully cemented and plugged at the base of the well by the relief wells, unknown quantities of hydrocarbons are still leaking out from the reservoir at high pressure and are seeping through multiple fault lines to the seabed. It is not possible to cap this oil leakage.”

So, while British Petroleum is now being very careful to not say where the oil is, or where it may have come from, perhaps it’s the right time for someone to compel them to say exactly what the hell is going on…

Or are we going to have another war over flow-rate estimates, all over again?

Read the articles:

BP investigating new oil sheen in Gulf of Mexico

Oil Rising Again from Macondo Well: BP Hires Fleet of 40 Shrimp Boats to Lay Boom Around Old Deepwater Horizon Site

Is BP’s Macondo Well Site Still Leaking? Fresh Oil on the Gulf Raises Concerns and Haunting Memories

Have a nice day.

Ed Note…BP and a Coast Guard official now say “the sheen was found near two abandoned exploration well sites in the Green Canyon Block in the Gulf of Mexico. According to an online map by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Green Canyon Block – a large square-shaped area of water south of Louisiana – is south and west of the Mississippi Canyon Block where BP’s Macondo well blew up.”

So…let the debate continue: is it 500 barrels a day or 36,000?

Now, have a nice day.

Ed Note, Part 2…Daren Beaudo, BP’s latest spokesman says no oil is leaking from the Macondo well and he denies any vessels were hired to clean up anything, per the report by Stuart Smith…as far as the sheen, “We think it’s silt from a subsurface shallow water pool,” Beaudo said.

So…let the debate continue: is it 5000 barrels a day or 46,000?

Silt.

That certainly is an answer.

Now, now, have a nice day.