"In response to Tony Hayward's June 4 op-ed "What BP Is Doing about the Gulf Gusher": It is time that the publicity spin that BP is putting on this disaster is put into perspective. What is alarming about the content of the article is not so much what it says, but what it does not say.
Mr. Haywood, chief executive officer of British Petroleum, asks, "How could this happen?" The answer has largely to do with BP's inability to follow its existing well-construction policies and those of the industry generally.
The BP testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on May 25 says it all, but perhaps that material needs to be explained. From looking at that evidence, this is what we know:
1) When cementing the production casing the cementing crew, which was being supervised by BP, had difficulty landing the top plug into the casing shoe. This was the first "red flag" because a satisfactory cement job to the production string is fundamental to the safe operation on a go forward basis. The fact that the cement job did not go as planned should have caused the testing operation that followed to be carefully scrutinized, it clearly was not.
2) As is normal practice, the integrity of the pressure tight seal was tested by pressuring up on the casing and observing the pressure response. If pressure bleeds off there is clearly a problem with the pressure integrity of the shoe, However, industry practice dictates that a positive test, that is no pressure drop, is not diagnostic, simply because the reservoir pressure is sufficient to retain the pressure being applied. A negative test is useful because it is diagnostic of a failed cement job. In this case the test was positive.
3) Again, as is normal industry practice a negative pressure test was run, with pressure released from inside the casing and the pressure response was measured. In this case evidence has been bought before the committee that there was a 1,400 psi pressure response. This response is highly diagnostic and is therefore the second "red flag" and at this point the BP supervisors should have concluded that they had what the industry calls a "wet shoe." That is that the cement job had failed to form a seal at the casing around the reservoir which we know contains high pressure oil and gas.
4) At this point a decision should have been made to do a remedial cement job; this is an expensive operation, but having seen a 1,400 psi response, there was no choice.
5) The BP engineers then proceeded with the balance of the operation to temporarily abandon the well. This meant replacing the 14-pound-per-gallon mud that was in the wellbore with 8.5-pound-per-gallon sea water. The denser mud had been, up until this time, the primary pressure control and was keeping the hydrocarbons in place despite the lack of an adequate cement job at the casing shoe.
Given the two red flags that had been thrown up previously, one would have expected that as a precaution a cement plug would have been placed somewhere in the wellbore as a secondary pressure seal before this primary pressure control system (heavy mud) was evacuated from the wellbore. But at the very least the mud replacement operation should have been heavily scrutinized. Clearly it was not.
6) Evidence provided at the hearing, including the pressure data transmitted from the rig for the last two hours before the explosion, is diagnostic. At 8:20 p.m. on the day of the explosion the pressure data suggest there was a constant flow of sea water being pumped into the drill pipe that was displacing the heavier mud system which was the primary pressure control for the well. The rate going in was 900 gallons per minute, but the flow data of mud coming out was steadily increasing from 900 gallons a minute at 8:20 p.m. to a rate of 1,200 gallons per minute at 8:34 p.m. During this 14-minute period one can conclude that hydrocarbons were flowing and pushing more fluid from the wellbore than was being pumped in.
This is what this data is supposed to monitor, but the well flow evidence would appear to have been ignored, because at this point the BP rig supervisors should have gone to a well kill operation and started to pump heavy mud back into the well bore to restore the primary control mechanism. Instead the mud continued to be evacuated.
7) At 9:08 there was another piece of evidence that is very clear cut. The sea water pump was shut down presumably to check the well stability. However, with the pump shut down a pressure increase was seen in the standpipe (SPP). This pressure response has to be associated with the reservoir flowing hydrocarbons and again at this point kill operations should have been initiated by the BP engineers.
8) From 9:08 p.m. to around 9:30, despite the sea-water pump either running at a constant volume or shut-in, the SPP continued to increase; again this is evidence that the well is producing hydrocarbons and should have caused a kill operation to be initiated.
9) At 9:30 p.m. the seawater pump was again shut-in to presumably observe what the well was doing, and again there is a notable increase in the standpipe pressure.
10) At 9:49 the SPP showed a very large increase and the explosion followed—this is obviously the point at which the gas and oil reached the drill floor and found an ignition source.
Mr. Hayward and BP have taken the position that this tragedy is all about a fail-safe blow-out preventer (BOP) failing, but in reality the BOP is really the backup system, and yes we expect that it will work. However, all of the industry practice and construction systems are aimed at ensuring that one never has to use that device. Thus the industry has for decades relied on a dense mud system to keep the hydrocarbons in the reservoir and everything that is done to maintain wellbore integrity is tested, and where a wellbore integrity test fails, remedial action is taken.
This well failed its casing integrity test and nothing was done. The data collected during a critical operation to monitor hydrocarbon inflow was ignored and nothing was done. This spill is about human failure and it is time BP put its hand up and admitted that.
Samson Oil and Gas
Have not seen this widely reported by MSM. Probably due to being somewhat technical and lacking the quickie sound-bite quality of stuff like just nuke the well.
Yeah I mean that was put out by Samson Oil and Gas which is a minor competitor to BP. Now first of all they've got the name of the company wrong again - it's not 'British Petroleum' but 'BP'. The next thing is that it's not in fact a response to what Hayward said. The author claims it's a response but then immediately contradicts himself by saying it's about "what he did not say". Hayward's article concerned the clean up, not causation, and he will have deliberately not commented on that because it's legally sensitive. If Samson Oil and Gas want to publish a response to BP instead of indulging in the now familiar anti-Hayward, anti-Brirish rhetoric they should have concentrated on the clean-up because that's all Hawyard was talking about.
Of course, the point missed was that BP violated their own rules, MMS regulations, standard safe practices of the industry in general and in the process have damaged the environment of the gulf needlessly. They have also damaged the economy of the region and its inhabitants including those in the oil industry who have not caused one of the worst oil spills on record.
There is nothing in the response that could possibly be construed as anti British or even anti Hayward. Rather than rhetoric, it is a detailed list of mistakes that led to the death of 11 workers and an oil spill of epic proportions.
All that's denied of course. The article doesn't start off with all that much credibility in the first place being written by a competitor so falling into all the usual traps that tend to indicate bias wasn't very smart.
Much as a lawyer is more able to dissect legal cases and arguments than a layperson, an experienced oilman is more able to dissect the evidence of the series of mistakes that led to this disaster.
Your attempt to discredit this response because Samson is a competitor is a bad joke. While it is true they are both in the oil business, Samson is in no way a competitor on the level of a BP. Even if they were, how can you refute the evidence presented on its own merit? BP did not follow their own rules, MMS regulations and accepted safe practices and procedures of the industry. This was not an accident. This was a series of preventable mistakes. Please argue that.
Chris, without even knowing what km has said, I know what km has said. He has dedicated much of his content in this forum to reminding anyone who will read his posts how we lot, meaning the U.S. can't do anything right, and how his lot, the U.K. always gets it right. So, when confronted by irrefutable fault attributed to an entity that just happens to be of British origin, he freaks; can't handle the reality; can't get past the nationalistic view of the issue.
No matter how many times countless people have said that this isn't about Britain or Brits and that no one blames The Crown — that this about FACTS not associated with any flag other than the corporation — he just can't/won't acknowledge the truth.
And he calls those of us that either challenge or ignore him "diehards". The irony is bigger than a barn! And just as full of horse droppings.
Excellent post and link, Chris. It's straight forward, precise and you're right, that's probably why it's not getting much press. It's not emotionally charged.
My dad worked the oil patch when we were little shavers, and flash forward ~ I worked for a multimedia outfit here in Houston that lived and breathed Schlumberger, so I've got a decent grip on the mechanics. Probably more so than, say, a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief. The gentleman that wrote this piece lays it out so that even a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief can understand the process and timeline involved.
May I also compliment your responses in this thread? I know I've been guilty of frayed edges in the past, due to the British Barrister and his rabbit chasing fact dodging bullshlt.
Keep on keeping your head, and thanks again for the link.
_________________________ I always deserve it. Really.
the point missed was that BP violated their own rules
No that's an allegation.
damaged the environment of the gulf needlessly. They have also damaged the economy of the region and its inhabitants including those in the oil industry who have not caused one of the worst oil spills on record.
Well, that's up to the courts.
There is nothing in the response that could possibly be construed as anti British
I might believe that when people get the name of the company right.
Rather than rhetoric, it is a detailed list of mistakes
No, alleged mistakes. Let me tell you what Samson Oil & Gas can do - shut their traps.
the death of 11 workers and an oil spill of epic proportions.
The Gulf fallout is relatively minor, actually... compared to the Niger Delta, for example.
Xplain's use of MacNews, AppleCentral and AppleExpo are not affiliated with Apple, Inc. MacTech is a registered trademark of Xplain Corporation. AppleCentral, MacNews, Xplain, "The journal of Apple technology", Apple Expo, Explain It, MacDev, MacDev-1, THINK Reference, NetProfessional, MacTech Central, MacTech Domains, MacForge, and the MacTutorMan are trademarks or service marks of Xplain Corp. Sprocket is a registered trademark of eSprocket Corp. Other trademarks and copyrights appearing in this printing or software remain the property of their respective holders.
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.