A blog dedicated to investigating events as they occur in Judea and Samaria, in Israel and in the world, and as they relate to global powers and/or to the Israeli government, public figures, etc. It is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind the headlines; and in so doing, it strives to do its part in saving Judea and Samaria, and by extension, Israel and the Jewish People, from utter destruction at the hands of its many external and internal enemies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

BP Oil catastrophe, PART IV: will BP and U.S. officials be willing to listen to advice, or will they deliberately continue doing everything wrong? Will they continue to lie and deceive the public? This is their test.

Thanks to Dr. L.

  • Scary!

 From Brasscheck, with the following comment:

This video was posted to YouTube on June 22, 2010.

The town River Ridge is up river from New Orleans and near the city's airport.

It rains nearly everyday in New Orleans during the summer months.

What the Bush-Cheney administration failed to do with the levee failures and the non-relief and rebuilding efforts, they accomplished by permitting BP to commence an insanely reckless drilling project

This was NOT a normal well.

It's in 5,000 feet of water and is reputed to be close to 30,000 into the earth.

In Russia, where such super deep wells were pioneered, they are only drilled on land and far from human habitations.

At least one prominent oil industry safety specialist warned in writing against the drilling of this well.

This permit was made possible by Dick Cheney's gutting of the federal Minerals Management Service and the Obama administration's very cosy relationship with the oil industry.

Not an "Act of God," not an accident, not an unlucky break.

This catastrophe, which will prove to be bigger than Chernobyl, is the natural outcome of corruption completely out of control.
One thing you can count on: The victims - and there will be millions of them - will receive no help and no compensation. 

  The next article thanks to Susana:
  • Why Aren’t BP and Elected Officials Listening to this High-Pressure Physicist? 

By Julia Gorin 
Dr. Michael Pravica is a physics professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and he has been appealing to elected officals and BP to hear his idea for what may be the best temporary solution to stop the gushing oil. His expertise is in high-pressure physics, which is what he got his Harvard Ph.D in. He studies hydrocarbons — constituents of oil — under extreme conditions. So far, only the local NBC affiliate has taken an interest and tried to get the word to BP. In a letter to interested parties, Dr. Pravica wrote:
From my point of view, we are not even close to solving this problem because BP doesn’t understand the basic physics of what’s going on in the world of very high pressures and/or still wants to save their wellhead. It’s very difficult when you know exactly where BP is going wrong but feel powerless to stop it.
In the first of two youtube videos, the UNLV professor demonstrates the unsuccessful methods that BP has tried so far, and shows why they don’t work. He also expresses his concerns that so far BP has been looking for a fix that preserves the blowout preventer and so all the solutions have prioritized that goal rather than the goal of stopping the flow as quickly as possible.
(Dr. Pravica explains that the wellhead, which is just the apparatus on top of the wellbore. It’s job is to seal the wellbore if there is a catastrophic leak. Thus, it’s like a check valve. The wellhead, on the other hand, couples with and seals the wellbore and surface rock. The main issue is that the BOP failed but the top of the wellbore (the wellhead) is probably damaged as well because the BOP was mechanically compromised when the Deepwater horizon fell into the gulf breaking the pipe below it that was connected to the top of the BOP.)
Dr. Pravica estimates that the oil pressure is at least 17,000 pounds per square inch, and says, “I don’t know of any traditional valves that can seal 17,000 psi.” At this point, he explains, the situation calls for a brute-force solution, which he demonstrates in the second video.
BP has all the more reason to try this approach, given that there’s no guarantee that the BOP and wellhead are still any good anyway. Additionally, he says, “we’re dealing with higher pressures than would normally be used in these kinds of fittings, because we’ve had a catastrophic failure of all the protection apparatus.”
His solution? Deform the pipe. The easiest way is through brute force such as taking a series of multi-ton concrete slabs that would crush the BOP, sealing the leak imperfectly. “You will deform all the material around this hole in the earth and you will form a seal,” he explains.
Because the BOP is four storeys tall and so there may be doubts about the possibility of crushing it (though explosives could take care of that), another possibility — one that would even maintain the integrity of the BOP, is this: Drop a slab of concrete equipped with a concrete stopper at the bottom — perhaps laden with a layer of soft, dense metal such as lead or copper — onto the pipe above the BOP. This “goes in and seals and deforms, squishing all the material. Then you put flat concrete slabs until you seal it. It wouldn’t be a perfect seal, but it would severely slow this down until a better solution can be found.
“You would be classically deforming this hole in the ground by crushing it — either crushing the BOP or blowing it out of the way or dropping slabs onto it until we can find a permanent solution.”
In his desperate attempt to bring attention to his idea, Dr. Pravica has made a youtube appeal stating:
I am asking that our political leaders set up a clearing house for ideas and information to be exchanged freely between scholars who might be interested in this problem. I am worried that BP has not been forthright and honest in all of the discussions and data that is released about the Gulf oil incident, and I feel it’s imperative at the moment that we share data so that we can jointly try to find solutions, because I think now this crisis is so disastrous that it’s beyond the scope of BP’s abilities to solve it. I ask my fellow Americans to encourage our elected officials to begin to take over this project and stop this disaster in the Gulf because life is truly hanging in the balance.
So far, Dr. Pravica has received a form letter from Harry Reid’s office and nothing from other local politicians he’s contacted. “It’s really sad,” he says, “when a high pressure physicist with a Ph.D. from Harvard is unable to convince our scientifcally-illiterate leaders on what’s really going on and how to resolve it.”
He also sent a letter to the Office of Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy, to a Dr. Guido DeHoratiis, Jr., summarizing his approach:
My recommendation is therefore to stop or slow the flow of oil as soon as possible to reduce hole erosion by dropping large and heavy concrete and/or dense metal slabs on the hole to crush the BOP and supporting apparatus and seal the hole. Simultaneously, we should keep drilling the relief wells to finally plug the hole with heavy mud/rock. We can slowly remove the slabs as we are doing this to equalize pressure. By initially resorting to the slabs as a temporary solution, we reduce or stop the leaking oil and stop the possibility of further eroding the wellbore in a region where we have little control.
In an as yet unpublished letter to the NY Times, Dr. Pravica was a little more indignant about BP’s and elected officials’ response to the crisis:
As a high pressure physicist who studies hydrocarbons under extreme conditions in the megabar regime (million atmosphere) and below, I am deeply disappointed by the totally clueless nature that our business and political leaders have demonstrated about the gulf oil catastrophe which is going to spell the ruin of our country and which also demonstrates the danger of scientific illiteracy amongst our leaders when we live in a world dominated by science. I am also disappointed that none of the high pressure scientists whom I know have been consulted on this crisis. In the world of extreme conditions, common methods to seal high pressure leaks just don’t work. We need people with expertise at extreme conditions to work on this problem.
As an example, I have been consistently frustrated by the lack of information about this crisis that merely delays a proper solution. As a physicist, I can only properly solve problems when supplied with as much information as possible. For example: what is the actual width of the pipe and its’ thickness? What is the composition of the pipe and its tensile strength (T301 Stainless steel? Iron? Molybdenum? Titanium?) What is the composition of the concrete used and its yield strength? Where are the schematics of the BOP? What is the velocity of the fluid flowing out of the pipe? Much of this data is, I suspect, company intellectual property and thus BP has been hesitant to release it. Thus, as expected, I have yet to find a professional website that gives real wellhead parameters (not guessed) and not just a unidirectional website/black hole for suggested solutions that end up being ignored. Thus, by depending on BP to “solve” this crisis, the full potential of innovative and ordinary Americans is quashed.
Given the length of time that has elapsed in this crisis, I think that scope of the problem is beyond BP’s ability to solve it. President Obama should declare a national emergency and allow Americans’ collective creative spirit and knowhow to help solve one of the worst environmental catastrophes ever in the US. He should also establish a government center that serves as a clearinghouse for ideas and data that can be shared with all Americans - not just BP-paid engineers.
Thus far, BP has been trying to preserve the BOP and wellhead. However, given the collapse of the enormous Deepwater Horizon, the BOP and wellhead were mechanically compromised which makes it highly likely that the mechanical valves and support infrastructure were damaged implying also that the hole underneath was damaged. With oil pressures greater than 20,000 psi gushing from the hole (far higher than pressures of 5,000 psi typically contained by gas cylinders), you just can’t fix the BOP and must instead try a “brute force” solution that seeks to permanently crush and seal the hole.
I recommend dropping large concrete slabs one after the other (hundreds of tons each). The first slab could have a malleable but dense metal such as lead affixed to the bottom to plastically deform along the contour of the seafloor. After sufficient numbers of slabs stacked upon each other, there would be enough pressure to crush the BOP/wellhead infrastructure and seal the hole just as applying pressure to a would helps stop bleeding.
We just can’t afford to wait for more failed solutions from BP. Time is truly of the essence. Please, President Obama, declare a national emergency to harness all of our nation’s incredible potential to solve this catastrophe once and for all.
In a related letter  to the Las Vegas Sun responding to a reprinted NY Times article, Dr. Pravic wrote:
…I do not understand why BP has been adding the dispersing chemicals to the Gulf of Mexico, which may actually make matters worse.
The essence here is that if we allow the lighter oil to rise to the surface, it is easier to collect/separate and/or burn away than when dispersed in the sea. Adding dispersants/detergents alters the biochemical balance in the Gulf by contaminating it with more chemicals (that may harm life) on top of the toxic oil and, worse yet, may starve the Gulf waters of oxygen as certain bacteria can apparently metabolize/degrade the oil but need oxygen to do so.
Can the bacteria do this successfully at all depths, as not all life can function properly, let alone exist, at 160 atmospheres of pressure and near freezing temperatures on the floor? Adding dispersants to surround oil droplets may also frustrate the ability of the oil to rise to the surface, making it very difficult to remove.
It seems to me the primary reason for using the dispersant is to reduce the visible and dramatic effect of this public relations nightmare for BP and not to truly clean this mess.
Is anyone listening?

  • Or will they listen to this other expert?

  • Or will they use this technology?

  • Or will they listen to these experts?
Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post · Jun. 26, 2010
Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.
The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. "Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour," Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.
To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn't capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the US. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana's marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.
The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company's expense. "If there's a country that's experienced with building dikes and managing water, it's the Netherlands," says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.
In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The US. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the US. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.
Why does neither the U.S. government nor US. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.
When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, "We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water--the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that." In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls "crazy."
The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer -- but only partly. Because the U.S. didn't want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.
A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out. With oil increasingly reaching the Gulf coast, the emergency construction of sand berns to minimize the damage is imperative. Again, the U.S. government priority is on U.S. jobs, with the Dutch asked to train American workers rather than to build the berns. According to Floris Van Hovell, a spokesman for the Dutch embassy in Washington, Dutch dredging ships could complete the berms in Louisiana twice as fast as the U.S. companies awarded the work. "Given the fact that there is so much oil on a daily basis coming in, you do not have that much time to protect the marshlands," he says, perplexed that the U.S. government could be so focussed on side issues with the entire Gulf Coast hanging in the balance
Then again, perhaps he should not be all that perplexed at the American tolerance for turning an accident into a catastrophe. When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker accident occurred off the coast of Alaska in 1989, a Dutch team with clean-up equipment flew in to Anchorage airport to offer their help. To their amazement, they were rebuffed and told to go home with their equipment. The Exxon Valdez became the biggest oil spill disaster in U.S. history--until the BP Gulf spill.
- Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and author of The Deniers.

  • And this newly available, damning internal BP document:

Internal BP Document Confirms Matt Simmons' Worst Case Prediction Of Spill Rate Of 100,000+ Barrels Per Day

Tyler Durden's picture

An internal BP document released by the chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Ed Markey, discloses what the vast majority already know - that a "worst case" gusher scenario could be as high as 100,000 barrels of oil per day. According to an exhibit discussing flow rate probabilities, BP says that "If BOP and wellhead are removed and if we have incorrectly modeled the restrictions – the rate could be as high as ~ 100,000 barrels per day up the casing or 55,000 barrels per day up the annulus (low probability worst cases)." This is getting very close to the estimate presented previously by Matt Simmons that the flow rate could be as high as 120,000 bpd. As Markey notes, "This number is in sharp contrast to BP’s initial claim that the leak was just 1,000 barrels a day. At the time this document was made available to Congress, BP claimed the leak was 5,000 barrels a day, and told Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the worst case scenario was be 60,000 barrels a day. This document tells a different story." It is stunning to discover that a major multi-national corporation could be so daring as to lie to shareholders, Congress and taxpayers. The next question that Congress may want to look into is why the Obama administration swallowed BP's lies hook line and collapsing GoM floor bed, without using an independent 3rd party verification, and what the liability to the firm would be if the official flow rate is revised to be twice higher than the current worse case scenario. We are confident that as more of the structural integrity of the seabed collapses, that even Simmons' estimate will prove to be conservative.
More from Ed Markey:
“Considering what is now known about BP’s problems with this well prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, including cementing issues, leaks in the blowout preventer and gas kicks, BP should have been more honest about the dangerous condition of the well bore,” said Markey, the chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

On Thursday, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen was asked in his daily briefing about the condition of the well bore.  He said there, “So what I would tell you is we don’t know exactly the condition of the well bore. And that’s one of the unknowns that we’re managing around in terms of risks.  And that’s the reason we didn’t go, didn’t go to excessive pressures on the top kill and decided that we’d deal with containment and then go for the final relief well.”

According to Admiral Allen: "I think that one thing that nobody knows is the condition of the well bore from below the blowout preventer down to the actual oil field itself.  And we don’t know, we don’t know if the well bore has been compromised or not."

What the BP document suggests that if the well bore is compromised or becomes compromised, we now know we could be looking at a flow rate 100 times BP's initial estimate.  Even if we can't know for certain the condition of the well bore, we should have known how much oil could flow from it--BP did.

“When the oil spill started, BP said it was only 1,000 barrels a day. Now we know it could end up being 100 times larger than that in a worst-case scenario,” said Markey. “This document raises very troubling questions about what BP knew and when they knew it. It is clear that, from the beginning, BP has not been straightforward with the government or the American people about the true size of this spill. Now the families living and working in the Gulf are suffering from their incompetence.”

“BP needs to tell us what it will do if the well bore is compromised and 100,000 barrels per day of oil spills into the ocean.
At this point, we need real contingency planning, not a plan with dead scientists and walruses,” said Markey.
Smoking gun BP exhibits:

  • COULD THIS BE FOR REAL? 2.5 million gallons per day???

More oil now gushing into Gulf after undersea robot bumps venting system on cap

On Wednesday June 23, 2010, 12:48 pm
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Coast Guard says BP has been forced to remove a cap that was containing some of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says an underwater robot bumped into the venting system. That sent gas rising through vent that carries warm water down to prevent ice-like crystals from forming in the cap.
Allen says the cap has been removed and crews are checking to see if crystals have formed before putting it back on. In the meantime, a different system is still burning oil on the surface.
Before the problem with the containment cap, it had collected about 700,000 gallons of oil in the previous 24 hours. Another 438,000 gallons was burned.
The current worst-case estimate of what's spewing into the Gulf is about 2.5 million gallons a day.

  • And here is a simulated model of what is likely to happen later this summer: the whole East Coast, folks!

  • Look here: they knew weeks ahead there was a problem, but brushed it under the rug:

  • Don't forget to also read my previous posts about the topic - in chronological order:

If even Dr. Len Horowitz blames the Vatican for th...
WHODUNIT? After what we just learned about the BP
Re: the BP oil catastrophe: very interesting paral...

BP Oil catastrophe, PART III: Florida Jews, Flor...

And the latest updates, BP Catastrophe PART V, VI, and VII, by searching for the label "BP"

  • And this facinating article about the world financial implications of a BP bankruptcy.

A Bankrupt BP - Worse For The Financial World Than Lehman Brothers?

Written by JSMineset    
Tuesday, 22 June 2010 18:29

The BP crisis in the Gulf of Mexico has rightfully been analysed (mostly) from the ecological perspective. People’s lives and livelihoods are in grave danger. But that focus has equally masked something very serious from a financial perspective, in my opinion, that could lead to an acceleration of the crisis brought about by the Lehman implosion.

People are seriously underestimating how much liquidity in the global financial world is dependent on a solvent BP. BP extends credit – through trading and finance. They extend the amounts, quality and duration of credit a bank could only dream of. The Gold community should think about the financial muscle behind a company with 100+ years of proven oil and gas reserves. Think about that in comparison with what a bank, with few tangible assets, (truly, not allegedly) possesses (no wonder they all started trading for a living!). Then think about what happens if BP goes under. This is no bank. With proven reserves and wells in the ground, equity in fields all over the planet, in terms of credit quality and credit provision – nothing can match an oil major. God only knows how many assets around the planet are dependent on credit and finance extended from BP. It is likely to dwarf any banking entity in multiples.

And at the heart of it all are those dreadful OTC derivatives again! Banks try and lean on major oil companies because they have exactly the kind of credit-worthiness that they themselves lack. In fact, major oil companies, conversely, spend large amounts of time both denying Banks credit and trying to get Bank risk off of their books in their trading operations. Oil companies have always mistrusted bank creditworthiness and have largely considered the banking industry a bad financial joke. Banks plead with oil companies to let them trade beyond one year in duration. Banks even used to do losing trades with oil companies simply to get them on their trading register… a foot in the door so that they could subsequently beg for an extension in credit size and duration.

For the banks, all trading was based on what the early derivatives giant, Bankers Trust, named their trading system: RAROC – or, Risk Adjusted Return on Credit. Trading is a function of credit bequeathed, mixed with the risk of the (trading) position. As trading and credit are intertwined, we might do well to remember what might happen to global liquidity and markets if BP suffers what many believe to be its deserved fate of bankruptcy. The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has already been and will be further undermined by BP’s distress. They are one of the only "hard asset" entities backing up this so-called exchange.

If BP does go bust (regardless of whether it is deserved), and even if it is just badly wounded and the US entity is allowed to fail, the long-term OTC derivatives in the oil, refined products and natural gas markets that get nullified could be catastrophic. These will kick-back into the banking system. BP is the primary player on the long-end of the energy curve. How exposed are Goldman sub J. Aron, Morgan Stanley and JPM? Probably hugely. Now credit has been cut to BP. Counter-parties will not accept their name beyond one year in duration. This is unheard of. A giant is on the ropes. If he falls, the very earth may shake as he hits the ground.

As we are beginning to see, the Western pension structure, financial trading and global credit are all inter-twined. BP is central to this, as a massive supplier of what many believe(d) to be AAA credit. So while we see banks roll over and die, and sovereign entities begin to falter… we now have a major oil company on the verge of going under. Another leg of the global economic "chair" is being viciously kicked out from under us. Ecological damage is not just an eco-event on its isolated own. It has been added to the list of man-made disasters jeopardizing the world economy. The price tag and resultant knock-on effects of a BP failure could easily be equal to that of a Lehman, if not more. It is surely, at the very least, Enron x10.

All the counter-party risk associated with the current BP situation means the term curve of the global oil trade has likely shut down. Here we have yet another credit-based event causing a lock-up in markets that will now impede trade and commerce. It looks like an exact replication of the 2008 credit market seizure could ensue all over again – and it could probably be a lot worse. The world is in a far more delicate state now.

Although never really discussed, the world is highly reliant on BPs provision of long-term credit to many core industries. Who makes good on all the outstanding paper that so many smaller oil, gas and electricity companies, airlines, shipping companies, local bus, railway and transportation networks that rely on BPs creditworthiness and performance for? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how this could all unwind. If BP has to be bailed-out, like a bank, the system will have to print even more unimaginable amounts of money.

The market, intellectually lazy and slow to realization, as it often is, probably has not woken up to it yet – but the BP crisis could unleash damage similar to the banking crisis. A BP failure through bankruptcy could make Lehman look small in comparison, and shake the financial house of cards we live in even more severely. If the implicit danger of the possibilities imbedded in such an event doesn’t make an individual now turn towards gold at full speed, it is likely that nothing will.

1 comment:

Nightghost said...

Methane levels high, more confirmation from others about a possible methane "bubble" underneath: