You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #421. ROV #420 is here.
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Yesterday and last night, the DD2 pulled the BOP from the Macondo wellhead after (presumably) plugging it with cement. The BOP was taken to the surface.
Details are in yesterday's Special Report, along with peraspera's terrific videos of all critical moments.
BP's probation for its 212,000-gallon spill on Alaska's North Slope in 2007 is due to run out in three weeks. Unless, that is, federal attorneys decide that the F-ratings on BP's 148 discrete "hot spots" -- areas in which the pipe may be worn paper thin -- suggest that perhaps BP has not fulfilled the number one criterion for earning release from said probation.
BP, having plead guilty to a misdemeanor (misdemeanor?!) under the Clean Water Act, is on probation -- and yet, even without meeting the terms agreed upon, the probationary period will expire on November 29th without federal intervention.
In the plea agreement, BP said that the spill was due to its own negligence, paid a $20 million criminal penalty and agreed to a three-year probation.
A federal judge signed the plea agreement on Nov. 29, 2007. The probation is scheduled to end on Nov. 29 this year.
When BP's oil transit line -- which was not "F-ranked" -- spilled 212,000 gallons of oil onto the snow in 2006, the North Slope's largest spill, it was found to have seeped through a corroded hole less than half an inch wide.
According to the BP data, some pipelines have many locations worn thin enough to warrant the rating. One waste line for produced water has 42 locations at risk of wearing through.
When such a location is identified, it is given the "F" ranking, the most severe rating in the company's routine maintenance program and an indication that more than 80 percent of the thickness of the pipe in question has corroded.
The terms set forth for relief from probation are:
• The company had to make significant progress in replacing its North Slope oil transit lines, which had become aged and corroded.
• BP had to make significant progress on creating and running an integrity management plan for its North Slope infrastructure.
• The company had to make significant progress on a better system for detecting oil spills.
So BP has, to date, replaced 15 of those 148 areas of corrosion. Surely that's enough, isn't it?
Meanwhile, "One of the Obama administration’s most aggressive officials on global warming regulations is stepping down from her post at the Environmental Protection Agency."
Lisa Heinzerling, the head of EPA’s policy office, will return to her position as a Georgetown University law professor at the end of the year, said EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan.
Within EPA, Heinzerling is one of the more dogmatic proponents of regulating greenhouse gases to the maximum extent possible under the Clean Air Act.
Heinzerling gained fame in the environmental community for her role in helping to win a landmark 2007 U.S. Supreme Court case that gave EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. At EPA, she’s played a leading role in crafting the agency’s controversial climate policies as Jackson’s senior climate policy attorney and then as the associate administrator of EPA’s Office of Policy.
"The EPA is under a court order that says greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under their jurisdiction, and I think one of the things that’s very important to me is not to have us ignore the science," Obama said.
An editorial in The Ledger brings up BP CEO Bob Dudley's announcement that BP "will not be quitting America." That, they say, is cold comfort for Floridians.
He indicated that deepwater exploration is important to the global economy and that only a few companies - BP being one of them - are big enough to do it.
The unsaid implication was that BP is too big to fail.
BP's Dudley seems bent on charting a new public relations course, implying that fears about the spill - estimated at more than 200 million gallons - were overblown and that the company was victimized by a rush to judgment.
That's pretty hard to swallow.
Drilling near the state's vital shores is banned and should remain so. But even far out in the gulf, no oil company - no matter how large or powerful - should be allowed to put Florida's future at risk.
And, what with their hubris hanging out and all, BP moves in on China, ready to further pollute their already embattled environment.
British oil giant BP is set to sign a major exploration deal with China's biggest offshore oil and gas producer when Prime Minister David Cameron visits Beijing next week, a report on Saturday said.
BP is seeking to rebuild its international reputation after the disastrous oil spill from a well it operated in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company said this month the spill will cost it 40 billion dollars (28.5 billion euros), after ramping up its estimate by almost a quarter.
BP may think themselves big, but there are bigger fish around, looking to swallow them up. Great, whopping huge fish like Exxon Mobil.
This is not the first time such a rumor has been floated. In July, DailyFinance reported on similar speculations. The Sunday Times of London then reported that Exxon Mobil had approached regulators in Washington for approval to buy BP. According to the Daily Mail at the time, "the U.S. government has told Exxon that it will not stand in its way if it chooses to attempt a takeover."
While BP has been selling assets in an attempt to raise up to $30 billion by the end of 2011 and pay for the ever mounting cleanup costs and compensation for victims of the disaster, the chances of Exxon making an offer for BP are probably just as remote today as they were four months ago.
Which is too bad, considering Exxon Mobil's outstanding safety record including, for example only 1 OSHA fine this year, compared to BP's 760.
The ecosystem's taking a mighty hard hit:
It ain't easy being an Atlantic bluefin tuna — the tastiest, priciest and perhaps unluckiest tuna of them all. A good specimen can bring $100,000, so it's hunted relentlessly by Atlantic fishing fleets. More damage is done in the Gulf of Mexico, where longline fishermen inadvertently pillage tuna stock while seeking other species.
It's anybody's guess how this year's tuna spawn was affected by all that oil, mixed with nearly 200,000 gallons of toxic dispersant, but now a government agency has announced its intent to take away the guesswork. In direct response to pressure from environmental groups.
The National Marine Fisheries will conduct a year-long study to determine whether the tuna should be protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Then this disturbing report:
A brown substance is killing coral organisms in colonies located 4,600 feet deep about seven miles southwest of the failed BP Macondo oil well, according to scientists who returned Thursday from a three-week cruise studying coral reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
The finding is the first case in which researchers have found evidence that living organisms in the deepwater area near the well site might have been killed by oil from the spill.
"Ninety percent of 40 large corals were heavily affected and showed dead and dying parts and discoloration," according to a news release reporting the findings by Fisher and other scientists issued jointly by NOAA and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which co-sponsored the research. "Another site 400 meters away had a colony of stony coral similarly affected and partially covered with a similar brown substance."
The substance also will be tested to determine if it is oil, and if so, whether it is consistent with the oil released from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, said the release.
Because of the oil spill, however, the information gathered during the cruise also will be use as part of the federal government's Natural Resource Damage Assessment research program aimed at determining the spill's effects on public resources.
On Nov. 2, 2010, the Fish and Wildlife Service reported a milestone that few news agencies blared: over 6,000 birds had been "collected" dead in the months succeeding the blowout.
In Louisiana, the number of birds collected dead is 3,407, and this is just the number found--countless more victims were casualities along the shore or soaked with crud in the midst of their nesting grounds in the marshes and throughout the Gulf.
Further, over 600 sea turtles have been collected dead and 100 mammals, most certainly dolphins.
The National Oil Spill Commission will hold a two-day hearing on preliminary findings regarding BP’s Macondo well blowout. The primary focus of the hearing will be on the causes of the rig explosion.
The hearings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST on C-Span.
If Iron Horse won't load in VLC or Quicktime with the above link try this one.
The Development Driller 3 moved off from Relief Well #1's wellhead area at about 1:00 AM a week couple of weeks ago Saturday. She joined the Discoverer Enterprise, who's been stationary for the past month or so, approximately six miles northwest of the Development Driller 2. The Discoverer Enterprise is a dredger, and has been accompanied for some time by anti-pollution vessels, generally the Virginia Responder and the Mississippi Responder. The move by DD3 has not been reported in any news we've seen, but it's the first she's moved off the Macondo site since arriving to drill the relief wells with her sister ship, DD2.
In the meantime, the West Sirius (photos and descriptions and here and here), a semi-submersible driller, has replaced the DD3 beside DD2. Cargo ships, skimmers, and various other ships have been seen coming and going from the area of both Development Drillers on a regular basis.
The West Sirius left the well site yesterday, Nov. 2, and the DD2 is on the well site.
That's a lot of action for the waters around a well that was supposed to be plugged and abandoned a long time ago.
==Multiple stream feeds (hard on browser/bandwidth)==
BP videos All the available directly feeds from BP.
Bobo's lightweight ROV Multi-feed: is the only additional up to date multiple feed site.
See this thread for more info on using video feeds and on linking to video feeds.
Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:
Gulf Watchers Special Report - BOP is Off; P&A coming up? - Yasuragi
Gulf Watchers Friday - Another Spill is Certain - BP Catastrophe AUV #420 - Lorinda Pike
Gulf Watchers Wednesday - BP & MMS deception about toxic plumes - BP Catastrophe AUV #419 - peraspera
Gulf Watchers Monday - More on Dispersants - BP Catastrophe AUV #418 - shanesnana
Gulf Watchers Sunday - NOAA, FDA Lower Standards So Gulf Seafood Will Pass - BP Catastrophe AUV #417 - Yasuragi
Gulf Watchers Friday: GOTV-All Politics is Local: Kamala Harris/CA-AG: BP Catastrophe AUV#416 - ArthurPoet
Gulf Watchers Wednesday - EPA Whistleblower Crucifies BP on Safety - BP Catastrophe AUV #415 - peraspera
Gulf Watchers Monday Edition - Reparations, Repair, Responsibility - BP Catastrophe AUV #414 - shanesnana