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Yo, Boomers.

In yesterday's diary, I renamed the LMRP Cap process that BP is now trying, Money Shot. Apart from any technical fitness of that name, I meant for BP to basically give all their money to people along the Gulf Coast, without those folks having to resort to litigation. Just give it to them. Just hand it to them. All BP's money from all their U.S.A. production. Now. Money Shot.

I had some complaints that the technical aspects of Money Shot I discussed were,

  1. Stream of Thought... too difficult to understand.
  1. Covering simple things that the Unified Command BP LMRP teams have obviously thought of and accounted for... therefore showing arrogance on my part.
  1. Generally poorly written, a weak attempt at humor, as was that entire diary and all my other diaries.

All these complaints are valid. All of them are accurate. My Bad.

So leap the heap with me, Boomers, and I'll try to do this better. I'll also discuss some recent rumors regarding the demise of the LMRP, before it's even tried once.

I just had a productive little conversation with Jed Lewison in his wonderful Front Page Diary. The specific thread is HERE. Jed might not have been struck by how productive that back-and-forth was, but for me, it helped gell some things I've been thinking about. Thank you, Jed.

In replying to Jed's question regarding my guess of the probability the LMRP will succeed or fail, I wrote,

The fog of real information we outside tech guys are getting is featureless. You'll find that actual quantitative estimates on probabilities from us are largely political. Mine is.

I know BP culture. I know it very well. The specific concerns I've discussed that could cause failure have undoubtably been raised within the teams working on the LMRP. But the final decisions are being made by a drilling exec who has, at best, a superstitious understanding of the process they're designing. A drilling exec now making what are entirely production decisions.

It's their culture that's the problem and my most accurate approximation has always been that it is a very fault-prone culture. That's not tech. That's politics.

The LMRP can work well enough after several interations and modifications, but I have to admit that anyone else's guess as to whether it will work are as good as mine.

It might even work perfectly right off the bat.

No. That's bullshit. It won't do that.

That's a better description of the way I make predictions than anything I've diaried, so I figured I'd yank it from that comment thread and recycle it here. Jed helped me gell my thoughts. I've no idea if Jed is generally good at helping people gell their thoughts, but in least that instance he was. My fucking thoughts are so fucking gelled right now I'm having to un-gell them a bit to type them.

Rumors That The LMRP Cap Project Has Already Failed And That It Is Being Abandoned And How That Relates To My Conversation With Jed Lewison.

The giant yellow Gumby-looking power-shear has evidently released it's grip on the riser without snipping it. This has prompted speculation that they're giving up on the LMRP. I doubt that. I think they may have hit a few snags, that's all. But it makes me think. Jed and I were discussing the 20% number being floated regarding the estimated increase in leak flow once they make the final cut on the riser. That is a very very imprecise estimate. BP thinks the largest pressure drop (restriction or choke-point governing leak volume) is downhole. If that's true then removing the kinked riser, or the entire BOP for that matter, will not appreciably increase the flow rate of the leak. That all comes down to a technical term, "critical flow", which I'll not go into. But what if BP is reconsidering all of that? What if BP came up with larger estimates of how much the kink in the riser is controlling the flow, therefore perhaps realizing the chance of a much larger increase in leak flow once they make the final cut?

What would they do?

Would they abandon the idea?

No. At this point, collecting as much oil as possible until the Kill Bores are done is the only fucking game in town. What they may be doing is reconsidering their design. Could they be stalling a little while they do that? Yes, but boldly claiming they're stalling would be baseless and useless. Speculating about why they might stall and delay is, however, an interesting inquiry. One thing we know with absolute certainty is that everything with BP is PR. Everything is political. Decisions are being made with as much consideration of political and public-relations impact, as they are with regard to how they're going to actually collect a little oil for the next three months. BP needs an incremental win. Badly. They need to win a battle.

Kossack BenSS linked me to a picture of the LMRP Cap in it's final stage of construction. I stole that picture. Here it is:

Image © BP p.l.c. (The use of this image is not prejudicial to BP, who I'm certain are absolutely lovely people who just want their life back)

Besides being rather crude-looking and missing some of the features many of us Armchair-Tech-Generals think it needs, it was designed for a lower flow rate than they may now expect. Might BP be dreading another immediate failure? If they stab that thing, knowing it would be obvious that most of the oil is gushing from underneath it into the waters of the Gulf, that would be a bad public-relations move. Not. A. Win.

Might they be delaying and stalling preparations while they redesign and maybe even fabricate an immediately-available back-up device?

You Betcha!

Are they?

Who knows?

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Originally posted to Fishgrease on Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 02:16 PM PDT.

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