These are fucking exciting times, Boomers! If you've been watching the Fucking Deepwater Horizon Disaster Hearings on CSPAN, you've no doubt wondered why anybody put this collection of clowns in charge of a deepwater well. God Damned thing HAD to blow out! Good thing we have competent people in charge now.
Except, we, you know... ummmmmm... don't.
This weekend, coming off this week's complete and spectacular fucking failure of a fishing job on the Macondo well, they're going to pull the old BOP and replace it with a new one. Okay. Not a new one. One off the second relief well. The replacement BOP has the exact same make and model of rams (valves) (except valves that are supposed to be able to cut or smash pipe) that are on the old fucked up BOP and also the exact same make and model of rams that were on the Capping Stack that has done nothing but leak and malfunction.
Tellum, Brother Bob Cavnar!
Let me tell you about this recently-failed fishing job. In the Daily Kos Gulf Watchers Liveblog, we watched as they lowered this cool fucking camera into the BOP to map out the fish. On a fishing job, the "fish" is whaterever you're trying to snag and remove from the well -- in this case, various pieces of drillpipe. Way back when Christ was a fucking cowboy and I worked on a workover rig, we didn't have video cameras we could lower into the hole. We had blocks of soft lead we lowered down there on wireline or drillpipe and smashed against the fish, leaving an "impression" in the lead. These were called "impression blocks". We called them confusion blocks because that's mostly what they did.
They would sometimes tell you what you were fishing for... but very rarely how it was situated in the hole (with any accuracy). Still, I never saw a fishing job fail. Never. Why? Because you had to get it done or you couldn't proceed to the next step in working over or completing the well. But these fucking guys with their cool camera technology? After mapping the position of the various pieces of drillpipe in the BOP, in three dimensions, to an historic accuracy, they lowered an overshot tool and spun it beside said drillpipe for three hours and gave up. This is not just a failure. This is a blueprinted failure. This is very possibly, a scripted failure.
I never have enough pictures in my diaries and that's why my diaries are always crap. Here.
Anyone complaining that this picture lowers the standards of Daily Kos can go to hell. The way you folks have been treating each other, fellow Kossacks, in the comments sections of rec-listed diaries... and I'M lowering our standards with a Sarah Palin dick joke? Right.
So now they're going to change out the BOP. Why? Because they're worried about the upcoming (they still say -- not sure I still believe it) bottom kill with the relief well overpressuring certain weak links in the present BOP complex. They were not given this situation by God. The weak links in the stack between the legacy BOP and the Capping Stack were put there by this team. THEY created this weak link. At the time, the Capping Stack was just meant as a way to provide a full seal for full flow containment, and the pressures placed upon the weak links would not have exceeded their rating.
It was Energy Secretary Chu's decision to shut in the well with the capping stack that did that. Then, during Static Kill, they probably exceeded those rated pressures and actually damaged the seal at the base of the FlexJoint. I requested that peak pressure when I called in to one of Thad Allen's briefings (not a list of numbers... one fucking number!) and we have obviously not been provided it.
So their acting like that weak link is something over which they had no control is silly. They CREATED this problem. They had to go outside the bounds of accepted engineering practices to do it. Everything since then has been an effort to cover up Chu's mistake. That's WHY they're changing out BOPs. Is it a good idea? From Thad's briefing yesterday:
Thad Allen: I'll tell you what I'll do. The company that actually makes that casing hanger, there's actually – you can go on the Web and actually see a picture of it, and I'll see if we can't post that in the JIC for you. It's made by a company called Quick Pick in Houston. And actually, in advance of the decisions made to move ahead with this, the science team and a number of peer reviewers from the industry actually went over to the company that makes that casing hanger and actually got a brief by them and got a detailed explanation of how that assembly works and the seals that are associated with it.
Actually it's Dril-Quip, Thad. At least you didn't call it Quil-Drip.
Quick Pick, interestingly, is a method for picking Lotto numbers.
And this science team and the peer reviewers from the industry... they didn't know how a casing hanger works? That's fucking comforting. Is this the same bunch that muffed the easiest fishing job in history? A fishing job, by the way, where every technical parameter was known and mapped out with excruciating accuracy? This bunch approved a BOP changeout process that relies on a cement job that Kent Wells himself isn't certain about and said so this week?
That's good. That's excellent.
During the fishing operation, they dropped a joint of pipe 1000 feet and stuck it into the seafloor. They did not do this on purpose.
A MUCH more complex operation involving swinging and latching equipment that weighs 5000-times what that joint of drillpipe weighs... over an OPEN HOLE? No fucking problem.
Might it work? Sure! Do they need to do it? NO!
If they're worried about pressure relief on that piece-of-shit stack complex they plugged together, they had it a week ago. They installed a riser to the Discoverer Enterprise (drilling AND processing ship) so they could flush the BOP. With that riser in place and the rams on the Capping Stack WFO, they HAD the finest pressure relief there is. All they had to do at that point was tell the driller on the DD III to complete the goddamned relief well and plug the blow-out well! They're 40 feet of hole from doing that!
Industry opinion was split on whether shutting in the well on July 15th was a good idea. Guys like me and Bob Cavnar said it was too risky and gave BP an excuse not to capture and measure the full flow of oil and gas they'd been spilling into the Gulf for months. Others, more closely attuned to the Obama administration's predicament (a leaking well and mid-term elections coming soon) said hey, if you can shut the goddamned thing in... do it! But almost no one in the industry can now figure out why BP and Unified Command have delayed the relief well and bottom kill for so long. Almost no one in the industry thinks this whole BOP changeout plan is good or safe or even defensible. Truthfully, we're having a hell of a time understanding why they would do it.
There has been a small but constant flow of oil and gas ever since the cement job, weeks ago. Let me tell you God's truth. Wells with firm cement jobs DO NOT leak oil in any amount. There are now questions about upper-wellbore hydrates and even possible collapsed casing. They DON'T KNOW what is going on beneath that fucked up legacy BOP. They DON'T KNOW the condition of the bottom-most Cameron HC connector. No one does, and anyone who says different is full of shit. Opening this hole and leaving it open to change out BOPs at this point is the equivalent of your buddy yelling from the back yard that he has the hose kinked and it is okay for you to remove the nozzle... then you hear him giggling. And in that analogy, your buddy is like Karl Rove or somebody like that.
Problem: They're not respecting this well.
With all their Keystone Cops fuckups and failures, BP and Unified Command are saying, don't worry. We got this sucker under control. This is nothing. We'll be successful THIS TIME! Zero chance of anything bad happening. What could go wrong?
The News Media?
They're buying it. They always do. Every time.
Might work out, folks. One way or the other, pay attention. Because at the very least, this next week on the deep floor of the Gulf of Mexico going to be more interestinger than a motherfucker.
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