First, I'm honored to be included in this series. Second, after looking at the diaries in the Gulf Recovery series that have preceded mine, I've noticed they're all stupendously well done. What this series lacks is crappy diaries! I'm here to remedy that.
I fear that the word "Recovery" here might be taken to mean that the actual center-point of this crisis, the blown-out well, is completely sealed, no more worries, we got this sucker, look how fast the oil is dissapearing! Like friggen Magic! In Thad-Allen-Speak: there'll be no more hydrocarbons released into the environment because we can tell by our tests that the well has integrity and the annulus has a magic seal that allows magic cement to keep stagnate hydrocarbons down in the well.
Wait. Integrity? This well? BP?
Can we believe that? Let's look at the sequence of events up until now.
- BP does a superhuman job of creating conditions favorable to loss of control of what is very possibly the largest well in the history ot the Gulf of Mexico. Result: Blowout. FAIL
- For more than a day, BP insists there is no leakage. Result: Wrong. FAIL
- BP admits that well is leaking. Says leak is 1000 BOPD. Result: Wrong. FAIL
- NOAA, USCG and independent groups say the leak sure looks more like 5000 BOPD. BP says... DEAL! It's 5000 BOPD! How silly of us! Result: Wrong. FAIL
Round about here, BP succumbs to pressure from Kossacks, Congress and other groups and begins to release video feeds of that is happening under a mile of Gulf water, at the damaged well.
- BP builds a huge metal barn to lower over one of the leaks. Result: Goddam thing clogs with hydrate ice within seconds. FAIL
- BP installs Insertion Tube Technology. Result: Captures a very small and day-by-day-smaller portion of the leak. FAIL
- BP tries Diamond Wire Saw Technology to cut the damaged riser off the top of the BOP, leaving a clean even surface to seat a cap. Result: Wire gets stuck. FAIL
- BP tries Crunchy... a huge hydraulic Jaws-of-Death to snip the riser. Result: Jagged, bent, uneven surface upon which nothing will seal. FAIL
- BP lowers cap #4. Steam Punk fans rejoice! Result: This cap is capturing ony a minor fraction of the leak. FAIL
- BP is ordered to increase containment capacity by the USCG. Says it will. Doesn't. Starts piping a portion of the leak to the Q4000 where it is all burned, unmeasured. Result: They're capturing or burning an estimated 50% of the leak, when they were ordered to catch it ALL. FAIL
- BP is again ordered to increase capture capacity via sternly-worded letter. Finally installs another processing boat. Result: Still not getting much more than 50% of the leak. Makes excuse that there's not enough room in the fucking Gulf of Mexico to park another boat. FAIL
- BP installs "Capping Stack Technology" in order to more effectively capture leak. Result: Vented riser immediately freezes off. This is the beginning of the end of capture. FAIL
- BP comes up with "Integrity Test Technology" which completely shuts in the well to test its integrity. Result: Works... immediately starts leaking... but does stop the leak. BP keeps moving goal line for integrity downward from 9000 psi to 8000 psi to 7500 psi to whatever the hell pressure they're seeing that day. SUCCESS
- BP threatens Government with Drudge headline (OBAMA TO BP: DON'T SHUT IN WELL!) and forces Government to completely forget about ever capturing and measuring the entire leak. Result: Well remains shut in. Leaks are nominal but increasing. SUCCESS
- BP comes up with "Static Kill Technology" says it can kill well. BP threatens Government with Drudge headline (OBAMA TO BP: DON'T KILL WELL!) Performs procedure, changing name to "Injectivity Test" in case it fails. Result: New condition for a well. Static. Well is Static. Static Kill. Static well. SUCCESS
Along about here, BP quits releasing data. Video feeds start blacking out and "Rogue ROVs" appear... we can't see the feeds of those. They're assigned to monitor the BOP leaks and anything else BP doesn't want us to see.
- "Magic Cement Technology!" BP convinces Government to put the question of total capture and measurement out of the question. All work on containment stops cold. BP pushes a shitload of mud and cement into well. Result: Even though there's no way on God's Green Earth that they could know where the cement goes, they say they successfully cemented the casing... just the casing... not the annulus. News Media interpets this as a complete plugging of the well and questions whether the relief wells are even needed. SUCCESS
But the well is still leaking, now out of a very energetic leak on the bottom flange seal on the FelxJoint. There is still pressure on the BOP because you can't have leaks without pressure. Plugged wells don't LEAK!
- BP says they're going to get some pressure readings off the BOP after venting to see if they can establish flow up the annulus... or something. No one can figure out what the hell they're talking about here and they don't elaborate beyond Thad Allen blubbering a bunch of stuff NO ONE understands. SEE BOB CAVNAR -- TODAY Result: They freeze off their chokes atop the Capping Stack by flowing hydrocarbons through them with a very large pressure drop. ALL feeds showing anything that is going on are blacked out. After promising to release data, BP and Thad Allen.... don't. SUCCESS
FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL SUCCESS SUCCESS SUCCESS SUCCESS SUCCESS
Notice the trend here? They get out ahead of failure by simply calling it success. We wonder why they didn't think of this sooner! We wish WE could pull stunts like that in OUR jobs!
Listen: This well is not dead. It may have been for a short period of time, but it isn't now. This well is not plugged. The annulus, the part of the well that was probably flowing the larger portion of the leak, is still alive and very much un-plugged.
But hey. They HAVE had the well shut in since July 15th. This is very true. No one can argue with that, including me. Here's the thing: we cant stop WATCHING!!!!!!!! We can't stop demanding to know what is really going on. There is one leak on that conglomeration of BOP equipment (Cavnar says it looks like something out of The Road Warrior) that has enough volume that it could get away from them... become MUCH LARGER. This is not a dead well and there is something odd about BP and Our Government continually delaying and talking down the importance of the Relief Well.
All that said, it IS high time we start thinking about recovery.
Me? Next payday (next time one of my invoices is paid and my clients pay like clockwork) I'm going to donate $200 to whichever people are helping those poor goddamn pelicans. I mean fuck!
God Bless JekyllnHyde for sending me this updated schedule!