Rumor Schlumberger Exits Deep Horizon Hours Before Blowout

Posted: May 14th, 2010 by: h2

This may or may not be the story ROCKMAN referred to (read down a bit for the quotes I included towards the end of the posting) in the current oildrum Deep Horizon blowout thread.

AlanfromBigEasy on May 14, 2010 – 3:06pm Permalink | Subthread | Comments top

Story circulating in New Orleans

With appropriate caveats:

BP contracted Schlumberger (SLB) to run the Cement Bond Log (CBL) test that was the final test on the plug that was skipped. The people testifying have been very coy about mentioning this, and you’ll see why.

SLB is an extremely highly regarded (and incredibly expensive) service company. They place a high standard on safety and train their workers to shut down unsafe operations.

SLB gets out to the Deepwater Horizon to run the CBL, and they find the well still
kicking heavily, which it should not be that late in the operation. SLB orders the
“company man” (BP’s man on the scene that runs the operation) to dump kill fluid down the well and shut-in the well. The company man refuses. SLB in the very next sentence asks for a helo to take all SLB personel back to shore. The company man says there are no more helo’s scheduled for the rest of the week (translation: you’re here to do a job, now do it). SLB gets on the horn to shore, calls SLB’s corporate HQ, and gets a helo flown out there at SLB’s expense and takes all SLB personel to shore.

6 hours later, the platform explodes.

Pick your jaw up off the floor now. No CBL was run after the pressure tests because the
contractor high-tailed it out of there. If this story is true, the company man (who
survived) should go to jail for 11 counts of negligent homicide.

AlanfromBigEasy on May 14, 2010 – 8:01pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | [Parent subthread ] Comments top

This story did come from within the industry. I agreed to keep the source(s) confidential.


This is almost exactly what ROCKMAN was hinting out, and he further noted these guys won’t say this in public now for fear of legal reprisals, but they certainly will say it under oath.

If true, things are going to be very very bad for BP, since that makes this event not only avoidable, but deliberately done almost, at least the decision to not stop, if this report is true, was deliberate.

Keep in mind that BP was celebrating the completion with high ups at the day the blowout happened, which would give credence to the idea of the BP supervisor not wanting to stop the well just when the top brass were on the rig. Human all too human indeed…

ROCKMAN has been hinting that the causes here were human error all along, but he since his sources I assume are company insiders, he can’t say more. But this might be the explanation…

ROCKMAN on May 14, 2010 – 8:49pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | [Parent subthread ] Comments top

The “ordered the company” is the one part that doesn’t fit at all. No matter the disagreement a subcontractor will never order a coman to do anything. He might refuse an order or he might tell the coman to go screw himself. I seen and done both. But never gave one an order. Perhaps it was a misinterpretation. Perhaps the SLB gave the coman an ultimatum. That I’ve seen first hand a number of times.

But soon we’ll be able to judge the validity of this story. Now that the MSM has the smell of blood we should be seeing SLB in the spot light very soon. They’ll have to respond in some form. Any form of confirmation will be solid gold proof IMHO. An absolute and clear denial would offer the same. SLB would never cover-up such an event. NEVER for a variety of reasons. A “no comment” will be subject to interpretation but could make me assume some level of truth to the story

As I responded to another TODer I consider the story 100% true or an absolute lie. No room for anything in between IMHO.

[[Update]]Part of this story has now been confirmed, that is, Schlumberger was on the Rig but was sent back 11 hours before it blew.

However, this is still early in the information phase, and as nola notes:

BP spokesmen did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the decision to send Schlumberger home without conducting a cement bond log or on the cementing schematic Probert gave the Senate committee. And Halliburton didn’t respond to questions about the accuracy of Probert’s diagram.

Since the original story was probably either partly untrue, totally true, or partly true, we’ll have to wait a bit more to get the actual details.

One thing however worth noting, ROCKMAN when discussing a rumor he’d heard but would not himself reveal, stated that it was unlikely you’d hear the truth until the actual parties were under oath, in court, for what should hopefully be somewhat obvious reasons.

So keep a watch on this one, but really, the 60 minutes expose on BP safety, or rather lack of safety, practices, is in a sense all you really need. This Schlumberger story, while interesting, is just a side-note, though I admit to wondering about it, it has a ring of truth to my ears, and I think the guy who leaked it was told it by an insider, with much better information than this new story of May 19. We shall see.

Overall it’s not looking very good for BP legally though. Hopefully the top kill will work this Sunday, this blowout is too severe to engage in any type of schadenfreude, this is a significant part of the planet’s ecosystem under attack by our insatiable desire for more consumption, more people, more driving, at any price… sad really to watch as a world sucks itself dry in a desperate attempt to achieve… what exactly?

86 Responses to “Rumor Schlumberger Exits Deep Horizon Hours Before Blowout”

  1. eddytheeagle says:

    Yes, it’s a terrible shame seeing the nationalistic side of this disaster. We need to focus on stoping the spill and cleaning up the mess (I think BP is doing all it can on both counts).
    When that is achieved we can look for the cause.
    Both mud engineers killed in the blowout? while displacing with sea water??
    The BOP total failure?
    Many questions to be answered.
    h-1 thanks for keeping on the right heading.

  2. john S says:

    Let’s pray for the departed 11 crew and there families,i believe justice will prevail !!!! if it’s a case of negligence,the person or persons involved should be treated like a common criminal,we need to know who these people are they may end up on your installation / rig
    think about that SCARY!!!!

  3. john S says:

    Let’s not forget people “quote what one area manager said to me it’s called business”
    shareholders/ managers on bonus schemes / cutting corners saving money for top management,yet the workers on the rig suffer no parts,unsafe equipment,conditions and yet we are expected to keep everything running,and not complain a right gong show!!!!
    you know what iam talking about….

  4. Brace yourself says:

    I have worked in the UK sector for many years, Piper Alpha demonstrated many areas rerquiring improvements, I would brace yourselves in the U.S. sector for much of the same, yes we can never say something will bnever again happen here, but I firmly believe the severity will be reduced
    I have a freind who works in the U.S. training personnel for the Gulf, he said that the first days on the job and the first offshore guy he encoutered actually said ” don’t bring your North Sea S*#T here ” There lies the root of the problem.
    Too gung Ho, U.S. government can’t come out of this smelling of Roses either, regulatory agencies will crawl over the industry going forward, no more cosy relations with Oil Companies.
    BP will be ultimately held responsible as operators always are, Transocean and the US Government must also stand up to their responsibilities.
    Don’t for one minute think the problem is with BP alone, don’t you think all the other Oil companies have been very quiet through all this, ” There but for the grace of God go I ”
    Thoughts go out to the victims and Families.

  5. Reddy says:

    Thanks to every one here for your good discussions.
    Keeping the reasons for the blowout aside, my concern from that minute was to fix the leaking well. I am a offshore pipeline engineer with 13yrs experience. I have sent 6 concepts to BP hotline to consider and implement. I do not know who approved the LMRP design to do it? As I understand the LMRP concept has more risks and possibility of worsening the leak.
    As I involved personally with ROV’s working in the similar water depths, fixing leak might have been handled in much better way and much sooner than what it is taking.
    There is no lack of technology its rather a innovative engineering concept that solves the leak problem. FYI here are the concepts I proposed:
    1) Cut 21″ casing and 6″ pipes together and fit 24″ adjustable clamp with a valve and pup piece, close the valve once it is fitted well
    2) Right on leak fit a adjustable clamp with a thick liner
    3) Downhole insertion tube
    4) Use of subsea separation unit
    5) Similar to 40′ hight and single outlet containment dome used; did BP think about using rectangular or circular dome (orifice) placed in plan dimension (say 12 ft length x 4 ft width/diameter x 4 ft height; ~34.2 bbls capacity) with multiple outlets to assist with either chemical injection or oil withdrawal.  Also thoughts of having 2 or more chambers with perforations or cavities between chambers
    6) Apply pipeline hot tapping technique to divert/stop flow.
    Many Thanks.

  6. Chris B says:

    My thanks to billthedrill. Your apology and support was much appreciated, people do strange things when they are angry….
    I started my offshore work in North Sea in the summer of the Piper Alpha disaster, the Cullen Inquiry led the way to changes throughout the Oil Industry as I know it and the Lessons Learned have helped to form my guiding principals through the rest of my working life.
    I sincerely hope that when the leak is contained andt the US Governement hold their inquiry that the full findings will be submitted ” without prejudice” There will be grief for companies who have to retrain and rethink their methods, but none of that grief will measure up to that of the families who lost their loved ones, and the people who survived but who will live with it for ever.

  7. h-1 says:

    New information coming out all the time. Just posted this one, The rig’s on fire! I told you this was gonna happen!, that’s a signed statement by one of the rescue ship’s sailors, confirmed by another sailor, about Harrell’s phone call to parties unknown as of now right after the rig burst into flames.

    Harrell was screaming, “Are you f#cking happy? Are you f#cking happy? The rig’s on fire! I told you this was gonna happen.”

    Food for thought, no?

  8. Diogenese II says:

    I worked in the oil and drilling industry in Alberta back in the 70’s and 80’s so I only have an idea of what is really going on and I have a good idea when I see or hear or read BS.

    But I don’t understand some of the jargon and acronyms used in the posts on this page.

    I find what is being reported on the media here in Canada is plain stupid and mind numbing to those who have some knowledge of such things.

    I don’t get or subscribe to CNN, so I don’t know what they are reporting.

    I seen the CBS 60 minutes program a couple of weeks ago, and that was very telling and the best that I heard so far. But it looks like it has been taken down off their website as I could not find it the other day when I went to look. Probably were told to take it down by BP lawyers and 60 minutes was canceled this last Sunday.

    They started showing the clock ticking and then went to show a movie.

    I wondered why?

    But it is so easy to see that BP is giving out lies and BS to the media.

    I have been looking for some intelligent information on this problem.

    I was glad to come across this forum.

    I would like to know how much pressure is in this hole?

    What size was the casing?

    By knowing this it is easy to calculate the amount of oil flowing out.
    Or at least get a very good educated guess.

    How deep is the well?

    Where is the rig laying in relation to the well?

    I imagine there is drill pipe inside the crumpled casing.

    So how can they run anything into the hole, even if they cut it.

    All this topkill and junk shot stuff is just nonsense as far as I can tell.

    What kind of formation is between the ocean floor and the oil?

    I seen one video that seems to show the oil flowing up through the ocean floor.

    That simply means that the oil is coming up out around the casing probably from the bottom unless the casing is bust somewhere.

    How much pressure is used in pumping mud and cement down these holes?

    Surely someone knows the answers to these questions on this forum.

    I am quite sure BP had this well tested by this time and knows exactly how much pressure there is in the well and how much it is producing or and could potentially produce and how much oil is in the formation.

    And I am sure there are many well experienced experts on this forum who have a very good idea of how much pressure there is in the well and all the answers to the rest of the questions.

    Please educate us.

    Then as far as what BP has been doing since the explosion has also been amatuerish.

    Right from pumping sea water on the fire with gun boats does not seem to be the most intelligent thing to do and load the platform with water and sink it.

    And all the flow stopping methods they have used till now have been ridiculous ideas. Even I had my doubts if they would work as I mentioned above.

    Why wasn’t there more intelligent ideas used? Where are the brains?

    It looked like amateurs were handing the mess.


    How about some discussion on other clean up options.

    I just seen this video using bacteria:

    Based on the information given, it appears to make sense and work, since it has been proven before, why are they not using it?

    Surely you experts know a lot about this and other options to deal with the oil.

    I would like to see detailed discussion, comments and input on clean up methods.

    Then there is this video:

    I know that there is quite a bit of plain nonsense on it but the video seems to show oil flowing out of the ocean floor.

    Please comment on the points that you experienced guys know may have some validity and ignore the obvious conspiracy nonsense and other stupidity.

    I thank you in advance and look forward to your comments and answers.

    Diogenese II

    Diogenese was a Greek philosopher back in the old days who was alleged to go around from house to house in his community peeking in the houses with a lantern looking for a sane man.

    It would be a good idea to find a lot more sanity and honesty being told about this mess.

  9. h-2 says:

    Diogenes, I’ve moved my response to this BP gulf oil spill summary because this is not really topically related the original Schlumberger/BP topic. But the questions themselves are good.

  10. mad dog says:

    heard at bp headquarters about 1 week after accident

  11. h-1 says:

    mad dog, heard what? Are you referring to the schlumberger story or to the story just linked to about the eye witness account of Harrell saying he told the person the rig was going to blow?

  12. Trout 579 says:

    Wow, there are a lot ideas floating around out there. It is all speculation right now. I use to work for Schlumberger in Canada and USA for 8yrs as a well cementer. I have successfully completed thousands of casing cement jobs. There are many different senarios that can happen before and after cementing the production string or liner to create a potential blowout. I have also worked for BP Canada. They are one of the better companies to work for in Canada. They in my opinion and experience have and do put safety 1st on all the many number of jobs that I had completed for them over my 8yrs of service. Trust me, they are going to have their BEST COman on this well, conducting the day-day operations. I keep hearing that this well was the 1st to be drilled at such a depth of water. So do you really think BP is going to cut corners? Anyone ever work on a wildcat drill? I have, well here in Canada and the steps and safety precautions that an oil company has to go through and take are enormous, everything is under the microscope. But the pay offs are many fold the costs. So maybe chaulk this one up to mechanical failure, underestimating the pore pressure of the pay zone whatever it may be. I highly doubt human error on this one. Lets get our focus on the NOW! While we still have a chance.

  13. h-1 says:

    I have read that BP USA is the problem, apparently the other BP units are better run. If you read all the comments you’ll find a wide range of what I trust is actual personal direct experience, which shows an equally wide range of views of how these companies are run.

    If you’re asking me, yes, of course I think BP is going to cut corners, and so do quite a few other people. The well was late, they had BP brass on the rig, and they wanted to move it to the next location. Very few people I’m following at this point think this was mechanical failure alone, including some GOM drilling types who seem to know what they are talking about. Tony Hayward listed not 1, but 7 distinct failures that occurred on this blowout. I’m sorry, but if you have that many problems, coupled with ongoing large numbers of safety violations, I’d say, yes, in fact, this was almost certainly the result of unsafe practices. 7 failures points to an overall pattern of unsafe operations, not just one glitch or mechanical failure.

    And let’s not forget the political / economic relationships between the Bush era MMS and the drilling industry, that allowed many major regulations to not be enforced or enacted. You know, the ones that Norway and Brazil deepwater insist on…

    One thing is for sure, you’re going to see radically higher safety standards. Keep in mind, despite your words, BP assured the MMS here that there was basically no chance of such a deep water blowout. Apparently they were mistaken in their assumption. Also don’t ignore the evidence that is now starting to rise, I quoted one recent bit a few comments down, I think that one is quite interesting. So yes, in fact, I do think that macho attitudes and sloppy cost cutting could easily exist in a company like BP, they have afterall been directly convicted of precisely that problem, and Tony Hayward was in fact brought in to try to reign in that safety attitude in 2007. So yes, I do think that BP is not what you think it is, at least it isn’t in these parts of the world. But several people have pointed out that BP USA is maybe suffering from some type of US type attitude that maybe other BP units don’t suffer from, which would sync your experience with other views here.

    By the way, if you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe the dad of one of the dead guys on the Deepwater Horizon:

    The highest-ranking crew member to perish aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig warned his family that BP Plc was pressuring him to sacrifice safety for the sake of time and money, his father said.

    Jason Anderson, one of 11 rig workers presumed dead after an April 20 explosion and fire sank the Deepwater Horizon and triggered the worst oil spill in U.S. history, told relatives in February and March that BP was urging him to accelerate work on the Macondo well off the Louisiana coast, said his father, Billy Anderson.

    On previous wells drilled with the same rig, Jason Anderson, a 35-year-old employee of vessel owner Transocean Ltd., had been able to convince BP representatives to eschew shortcuts that he believed would compromise safety, his father said. But in the eight weeks preceding the disaster, BP stepped up the pressure and overruled safety objections, Billy Anderson, 66, said.
    BP Pressured Rig Worker to Hurry Before Disaster, Father Says

    Clearly, you can’t discuss with the guy who is dead, but I guess you could talk to his dad, but I imagine he’s probably not in the mood to talk too much at this point.

    I’m not sure where you heard this was the first to be drilled at 5k feet, that’s not right, in fact I think the deepwater horizon had just finished a much deeper well prior to this one. At least in deeper water. Latest drill ships can go to 10k feet of water and 40k feet down, so no, that is just wrong report you read somewhere.

    I do believe though I’m not certain that this is however the first deepwater well to blowout at 5k feet ocean depths, that might be what you’re thinking about.

  14. Diogenese II says:

    Thanks for your reply to my questions.

    Yes, you are correct that I did not look else where.

    This forum was the first I came across and did not know where else to look at the time.

    Since then I have viewed Oil drum and a couple other sites and learned a lot.

    Maybe this is not really important, but just out of curiousity I would like to know where the rig is in relation to the well?

    That information I did not come across.

    I heard one comment that the rig is on top of the well, but I don’t think it is, otherwise there would be no way to access the well to work on it. If not thank God that it is not. Unless everything we see and hear is not true.

    And what kind of rock is generally beneath the ocean floor sediment and the oil in the gulf or more accurately the area?

    And I could not find any discussion on alternative clean up techniques where I was,

    Of which the bacteria method seems to be best.

    Is there anyone on this post or others who worked on the incident where the bacteria was proven as referred to described in the video link:

    On a side  note:
    I would also like to say that your ( referring to h-2 and h-1 as well ) sensible candidness (intellectual and perceptual honesty/ integrity) and clarity of thought/ professionalism and objective writing is a breath of fresh air and much appreciated amidst so much that is not.

    So many people need to learn to not say anything unless it is intelligent, factual, scrutinized/ evaluated and they can prove it or back it up with verifiable facts.

    In other words they need to develop an honest and critical thought and speaking process.

    Mental fabrications, propaganda, myths, misinformation, beliefs, opinions, hearsay and gossip are not part of that function.

    Are you guys the moderators of this list?

    I would like to add a few words that someone sent me a few years ago:

    “We can have capitalism or a planet to live on but not both.”

  15. h-1 says:

    I moved the response to Diogenes II to its own posting, Thoughts and Summaries of the BP Spill, it’s too far off topic for this thread.

    If you have comments or questions not particularly related to the original question here, BP / Schlumberger, please use one of the response threads I just created for Diogenes questions. This comment thread I want to reserve only for people who have views or inputs that might clarify the situation around this topic.

    But thanks for the kind words, it’s not easy trying to maintain those standards you mention. I am certain I will fail now and then, but it’s a good target anyway.

  16. h-1 says:

    I’d missed this May 31 anonymous (probably insider) report on what happened, read it and decide for yourselves if you feel this adds anything meaningful to the question.

  17. Bob says:

    This was halliburtons fault I tell you, they did the same thing in the Timor Sea off Australia only 12 months earlier.
    BP’s decision to not hire SLB to do the whole cementing process, which they are experts at.
    And use the cheaper Halliburton, is what caused this one as well.
    This is the same reason Chevron had the blowout in the Timor Sea, SLB is the only know expert never to have a problem in deep water well cementing, yet they cost a hell of a lot of money.
    Cut costs don’t hire the best guys for the job, and you get this chaos.

  18. rattman691 says:

    In my opinion, most people writing comments here do not have a clue about oil wells, much less drilling and completing one. The log that was run or not run, which ever is true, has nothing to do with the well blowing out. The biggest fault lies with our goverment (MMS) giving BP the approval to replace the backup set of Shear Rams with just another set of pipe rams. I doubt both sets of rams would have failed at the same time. The BOP stack normally as a backup set of rams and annular, just in case one fails.

  19. h-1 says:

    ratttman, you have to do a better than this comment. Demonstrate that most of the drilling guys who took the time to post don’t know what they are talking about, and demonstrate it by proving that you do. I was going to delete your comment, but I’ll give you a chance to show that you’re not just typing some words and hitting enter.

    My current best understanding is that the primary actual cause of this blowout was the failure to continuously and actively monitor the mud returns.

    Trying to blame the MMS for this, while correct in a certain sense that Bush/Cheney did in fact follow the insane ideology that industry should/could regulate itself, so what better place to put industry people than the MMS, and also correct that the Obama group didn’t act quickly enough to unravel the corruption in the MMS, enabled/generated by the Bush / Cheney ideologues, anyway, trying to then blame the ‘government’ for what almost all serious oil industry guys I am reading agree was very very bad drilling practice on this well by BP, well, you know, that sounds like a typical right wing refusal to assign and take responsibility for actions, I’m sorry to say..

    There’s a reason the MMS is being redone to avoid such conflicts of interests, now. That is, the entire structure of industry self regulation promoted by the right wing in the USA is being undone before it destroys the rest of this country. Not undone enough, not undone fast enough, but definitely being corrected to some degree.

    So give it another try, but this time try to demonstrate that A: you actually know what you’re talking about, ideally because you do drilling for a living and haven’t followed various blogs who are trying to reassign blame as a form of damage control for your primary information, and B: show explicitly based on the understanding you should have from A: where the posters, and which posters, are wrong or have no clue about what they are talking about.

  20. john says:

    A: all procedures have to be pre-approved by MMS before work can proceed. so that means the Government is partly to blame. B. The people that died are responsible for well control at all times so that means transocean is to blame . the BOP that failed is also owned and operated by transocean employees only again transocean is to blame. The sad fact is and that is why rattman tells you that most people on here posting do not have a clue what happened , but those of us who drill wells for a living do know and understand what happened. the rest of you can just keep guessing and fabricating crap

  21. john says:

    By the way I pushed tools on rigs for 15 yrs. and was drilling superintendent for 5 drillings rigs in the water for 5 yrs. and now run my own business drilling wells for the last 5 yrs. and no company man ever made me do something i did not want to do. and if any of your drilling guy’s care to debate this blowout and cause anytime just let me know. that is any one but the socialist Diogenese II

  22. john says:

    “My current best understanding is that the primary actual cause of this blowout was the failure to continuously and actively monitor the mud returns”

    This statement isTRUEin a sense and is the only statement that is in your whole discussion board. the rest is just gibberish, although not the actual cause it is the warning sign that trouble is coming. the cause even i would need more info on the steps that took place proceeding the mud flowing.

  23. h-1 says:

    Technically on point A you are correct, but you are absolutely ignoring the massive corruption generated by the Bush/Cheney whitehouse that basically neutered the MMS. Since, as you may or may not be aware, the USA has been undergoing a massive economic crisis since about 2008, the result of deregulation of the financial sector, it’s possible, if you extend yourself out of your core competence levels into areas you may be less comfortable in, anyway, it’s just possible that the MMS reform didn’t get a high enough priority in the new administration’s to-do list. But given that the MMS had from what I understand basically evolved into an industry run self-regulatory body, almost totally corrupt in nature, saying the MMS didn’t do x or y is basically the same as saying that the industry, when given the chance to self-regulate, failed to do so. In other words, the industry needs to examine itself, and realize that it is, like all other industries, totally unable to engage in serious self regulation. This doesn’t mean individual companies don’t do great self regulation, they can and do, but the overall industry cannot do this, because anyone at any time can do exactly what BP did should they decide to cut a few corners because the well is late and over budget.

    Speaking for myself, the main guys I’m listening to all also are drilling for a living, now, the guys over at and gCaptain and a few other places. So you’ll have to step in line and talk it over with them. You’re the only one, by the way, who states this in the way you do, just so you know.

    Now whether the other posters here have a clue or not, I’ll leave that up to posterity and the hearings to say.

    But all clearly thought out views are always welcome.

  24. h-1 says:

    Re diogenes II, merely because someone uses the word ‘capitalism’, that is, the current economic system we live under, doesn’t mean they are a socialist. I have no idea what his politics are. Can we also exclude neo-conservatives from any discussion, to keep it balanced? Given that many prominent old school conservatives, such as Barry Goldwater before he died, think the Bush type neo-cons are technical political fascists, that would seem reasonable, no? So we can just have the centrists in the discussion. Although what passes for Centrism here in the USA would be considered right wing in most of the rest of the world.

    Personally I tend to give someone credit for correctly identifying our economic system in a discussion, you know, it’s like saying, that’s a well bore when you’re examining a well bore. I also give them credit for seeing possible shortcomings in it, ie, a process known as thinking for oneself.

    Re the company man, you’ll have to argue that with other drilling guys, who have been told this, and who in fact say the exact opposite. So clearly there is a wide range of experience possible in the oil services industry, like anywhere else in life. In fact, one of the most explicit statements I came across was specifically that one problem with the initial rumor report was that they had never seen anyone tell the company man to do anything, ie, their word was final. This is certainly the feeling I’m getting from the ongoing investigation, where apparently even Haffle (I think that’s his name) yelled at some higher up in BP from the rescue ship via satellite phone, saying, are you fucking happy? I told you it was unsafe… and Halliburton also warned against unsafe conditions from what I gather.

    Now, clearly here, what you have to identify, since we are in fact discussing the specific actions of a specific company, is if you have worked for BP yourself, in the GOM, BP USA that is. You’ll note in this single discussion thread there are several people who say they have done this. If you have not done this, then it’s unclear to me where your experience re working for BP has come from. But also, as we all know, companies can and do change their internal cultures, and the pressures on any one job, costs, budgets, overruns, might change any situation, unless the company has ultra strict rules internally, like supposedly Exxon does now… after the Exxon Valdez of course.

  25. h-1 says:

    Re the specific information on the well: The information is out now, has all the paper work in pdf form. That information is being analyzed daily over at in the daily discussion threads. Check out today’s Deepwater Oil Spill – the BP CEO and Congress – and Open Thread: comments for a sample. Also take the time to read the summary of the initial findings re cause of the blowout, but if you don’t have the time, it was sloppy drilling practices. Today’s thread also features a real live retired lawyer (retiredL) who specialized in oil field law, which adds a delightful flavor of actual reality in terms of what is actually going in inside of BP right now.

    There’s about 10 active drilling guys there, just so you don’t embarrass yourself, the main ones are ROCKMAN, aliilaali, Heading Out (I believe he’s active, though he may be teaching now, not sure), toolpush, shelburn, R2-3D, plus a bunch of retired drilling guys, whose nicknames usually indicate that, so you can bat around some experiences if you like, I think you might learn something to be honest. (MichaelWSmith is a BP pr shill, he’s on all the main blogs now trying to do damage control.) There’s a huge range of styles out there from what I can see, but there is a general agreement that BP really really screwed up here, and there’s also a general view that the blame lies with BP primarily, and a screwed up regulatory system secondarily. But see my notes on just why that system got screwed up. Remember, you cannot have both deregulation, dismantling and corruption of regulatory bodies, and strong regulation, it’s one or the other, but if you vote for parties that promise to remove it, restrict, denature, it, then don’t be surprised when the sh#t hits the fan years later, and for God’s sake have the decency to take some of the personal responsibility for the results of your votes, if that’s not too much to ask… or is taking personal responsibility just something that applies to other people, never oneself, especially when it comes to the results of supporting a certain type of ideology?

    By the way, most of the useless comments in this discussion thread were removed, I left only the ones I thought raised interesting questions in some way or other, and I left all the ones that seemed to indicate that the person posting it had direct personal experience. You might find it useful to ask yourself if your personal direct experience covers all possible types of personal direct experience in the drilling sector, ie, you’ve worked for every single company, dealt with every company man, worked on every job, with every services company, every year, over time. If the answer to this question is no, which I assume it must be, then I’d have to ask you where your dead certainty that everyone else is wrong comes from?

  26. h-1 says:

    i want to give just one example of why what one person knows reflects only their own company/direct local experience, not a general rule, and I assume such an example should be all that anyone who is reasonably intelligent needs to demonstrate this point.

    ozamerican on June 18, 2010 – 10:51am Permalink | Subthread | Comments top

    My question is bigger, about process:

    What role does the CEO have in risk management?

    I will say that I work for a former Halliburton subsidiary, and there’s NOTHING we do that doesn’t go up the chain of command and get signed off on at the highest level.

    I can’t BELIEVE that BP didn’t have a similar risk management system in place, and that ultimately, Mr Hayward didn’t sign off, too, or one at least of his very close delegates.

    RISK management is EVERYthing to companies like this. Anyone who’s been there will know how front and central this is.
    PassingThrough on June 18, 2010 – 11:09am Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

    A CEO will head up the process that sets the Risk Management rules for the company. Procedures will be developed and written up, perhaps a proprietary software system, a Permit System, a Safe System of Work, will be bought in. You often find a unique safety culture has been developed in a major corporation, Zero Tolerance, No Excuses, Golden Rules, that sort of thing. The CEO often signs it off.

    But on a day-to-day basis, the signing off of the actual permit-to-work will go to a fairly low level manager. Very few processes or procedures will get anywhere near the attention of the CEO in a large corporation (imo).
    [-] ozamerican on June 18, 2010 – 11:40am Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

    I disagree. In the (former hallburton subsidiary) company I work for, I often had to get (even small) contracts signed off on by the person reporting to the equivalent of the person directly reporting to Tony Hayward. No “fairly low level manager.” I don’t know where you work, but I know what it’s like where I work and my email address is still begins with “HALHOUSTON”.
    [-] ozamerican on June 18, 2010 – 11:44am Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

    Sorry, not my email address, but my intranet login begins with HALHOUSTON.

    No big deal but I know how the sign-offs work.
    PassingThrough on June 18, 2010 – 1:32pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

    ozamerican, sorry, I should have said my comments are based on my experience here in the UK. It may be different where you work. I work in literally hundreds of different places (I carry out safety inspections and audit maintenance work).

    Note that what the first poster ‘knew’ only reflected what existed in his company, while what another poster ‘knew’ only reflected what was the case in the UK. Now, both guys have learned that there are differences in this and an absence of absolutes. Now can we move along and try to resume a civil intelligent conversation minus the pointless chest thumping and ‘everyone but me is wrong’ type babble?

  27. h-1 says:

    David Hoyle’s comment deleted because it was completely incoherent. If people want to post on various random conspiracies, find another blog to do it on please. Especially conspiracies totally unrelated to the topic of this posting. Remember, just because you can type a random sequence of letters/words, doesn’t mean you should do it. And if you already did it, remember, you don’t need to hit the submit button either.

  28. Diogenese II says:

    To anyone who may know:
    Is there any truth to the story that a bubble is forming around the blow out well for 20 miles by tens of feet? As well as other issues? This was discussed on Coast to Coast AM.

    Listen to it here:

  29. h-1 says:

    There are no oil leaking fissures around the drill site, nor is there a gas bubble, unless one appeared in the last few hours. Most of those rumors are caused by people who don’t know how to interpret the ROV video footage far too many people are spending far too many hours per day watching. Here’s a comment re that problem on today’s discussion from a guy who has worked with ROVs for 20 plus years, he’s explained this repeatedly, but he’s being patient enough to explain it again.

    shelburn on June 20, 2010 – 7:37pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

    I agree it is quite possible that there is a leak into another “rock” formation (an underground blowout) but to be in a rock formation it must be well below the mud layer, which I believe extends well below 1,000 feet.

    I still am confident that no oil is leaking out of the mud near the wellhead as it would be obvious on the ROV videos.

    I have also seen some of the videos many are claiming are oil leaks from the bottom. I have spend over 20 years reviewing ROV videos and I have seen nothing here that looks like an oil leak. Most is turbidity kicked up by the ROV’s thrusters and a few show what appears to be small threads of mud as if a drill pipe (from the sinking rig) or something below the surface had been disturbed. Oil and gas will move upwards through the water column with much higher velocity than the mud shown in these videos; as an example see the oil coming out from under the cap.

    And that’s the leak / fissure rumor. Matt Simmons is not helping matters by his constant bizarre announcements that things that aren’t physically possible are happening. Same for the mysterious ‘plume’ of solid oil Simmons keeps talking about, which direct references to the research ship’s data he refers to fails to disclose. Ie, they are talking about faint cloud like structures of tiny oil particles, which come and go, like literal underwater clouds. What has gone wrong in Simmons’ mind is something I think a lot of people right about now would like to know. No interviewer has had the knowledge or intelligence to push him when he repeats these false assertions, but it needs to happen.

    This situation is bad enough as it is, without people making stuff up. Really, it is bad enough. High estimates for daily spill rates are 60k barrels, low, 35, of which as of today, they are capturing 21k. I mean, this is a really really bad situation.

    One guy, who I should have noted and referenced, said that while he can’t tell details, due to NDA at his work, they are using some type of newer complex technology methods that makes intercepting the well bore with the relief wells very likely on the first basic attempt. Something about the way he said it made me believe him, primarily because it sounds like he works for the firm that makes it.

    Re the link you posted, pointing out that the Mainstream Media is missing or misrepresenting things is like saying the sun will rise tomorrow. Making any further conclusions about anything real from what the MSM does or doesn’t say is fairly pointless, from Fox to MSNBC, their business is selling ads, that’s what they do, it’s why they exist. Well, ok, Fox also is there to promote a right-wing pro-corporate spin agenda, but that also happens to dovetail nicely with selling ads. No ad sales, no tv news, no newspapers. That’s why I prefer business or specialist media / web sources, properly filtered to get rid of the worst and sloppiest. has been surprisingly good, by the way.

  30. Diogenese II says:

    h1 : I mentioned this a bit before but I want to expand and emphasize. I want to say that I find the quality of your intellect admirable. You have very high intellectual integrity. Also perceptual integrity. That means seeing accurately and with good discernment. A sound mind.

    You have a very good ability to identify and sort out fact from loose thinking and loose talk.

    You have a well above average quality of mind. Your expression in words is accurate.

    You would be refreshing to sit down and have an intelligent talk with.

    This is so in direct contrast to all the stupid talk that goes on on every subject of every day by 99.99999% of the people.

    I hope people learn what intellectual integrity means when they read your words.

    You set a good example.

    The lack of intellectual integrity is the major problem in the world today.

    Integrity: The condition or quality of being unimpaired or sound.

    This reminds me of the words I read many years ago:

    In vain we build a world if at first we don’t build the man with a noble character.

    I could not resist posting this. And I do not apologize for being off topic.

    As the lack of integrity is at the root cause of the gulf mess. And the lack of integrity is hindering the stopping the leak and cleaning up the mess. This goes for almost every other problem in the world also.

  31. Nathan says:

    fwiw, a very good friend of mine works for halliburton (and has for many many years), and one of his best friend was on that team schlumberger sent out, he was told first hand weeks ago about what happened, he was most annoyed about it, hence him ranting to me at the time (weeks ago now) – I didn’t think anything of it and thought it was common knowledge, but seeing this mentioned again online and so sparsely makes me realise it isn’t.

    So there you have it I heard about this weeks ago, a few days after the event, all the way over here in scotland and told as fact from a very good friend who works in the oil business – stories match a 100% so as far as I’m concerned I take it as fact (did anyways).

    Also worth noting, that as far as I’m aware schlumberger have loads of data about the hours leading up to the event from their logs – ie they have most of the facts.


  32. h-1 says:

    Nathan, I’ll tell you one thing I’m seeing, there’s a lot of work going on in attempts at spin control about this situation.

    Personally I rank these personal first hand reports of something someone said who was directly involved with the companies involved in the region involved far higher than blanket condemnations from someone who never declares actually why we should pay attention to them.

    While this isn’t of course a first hand report, I do consider a firsthand report coming from a friend then rereported as essentially firsthand, such as your example, since this is not a court of law, more just an attempt to actually figure out what really happened. Courts of law, of course, are merely there to assign legal responsibility, within a legal structure, and as such often have little to nothing to do with reality or truth.

    However, thanks for your feedback, it’s part of a puzzle that is certainly interesting to watch develop, and fits with what a few other posters who also directly knew people involved had said. Then reread the thread here and ask yourself just why some people are able to state so categorically that certain statements are false, without even having been there or having worked for the companies in question. I call it spin control, increasingly common on the internet, ie., people get paid to do it, or have actually internalized the corporate cultures so much that they do it for free.

  33. h-1 says:

    Diogenese II, I would say that greed and hubris and arrogance were the root causes of the BP gulf mess. That covers the corporate culture as well as the attitude of the on-platform crew that refused to follow standard safety measures due to the frequently mentioned Gulf cowboy drilling culture.

    Not all drillers are arrogant in this way, ROCKMAN who has been posting in a lot for example does not allow any shortcuts or cowboy methods to be used on the rigs he is responsible for. So it’s more of an IQ/greed test, some pass and some fail.

    In Norwegian drilling for example, such practices are simply not tolerated, since they are basically stupid business practices, as well as potentially toxic and lethal to both human life and the environment.

    As for the example I set, unfortunately I’m not very consistent at setting such tones, that comes and goes, but my background should, allegedly, make it more consistent than it actually is, sad to say. But thanks for the kind words anyway.

    There’s a few things worth keeping in mind that unfortunately we moderns aren’t keeping in mind: Heraclites noted that there is intelligence only in what surrounds humans, not in them. I’m not totally clear on the actual meaning of the Greek term that is translated by ‘intelligence’, but I’m fairly certain it’s something more wide ranging than our word.

    Second is Lao Tzu’s observation that humans are unable to use knowledge non-destructively, for the same reason as noted above, what we think we know is never adequate to the actual world and reality that surrounds us. BP is simply a microcosmic example of this problem. But by no means should it be considered as unique, sad to say.

    The entire notion of drilling oil to create and maintain a massively unsustainable system and population and consumption pattern is one of the strongest proofs I’ve ever seen regarding the above two observations. Same for coal and uranium.

    So in general, while this tiny example found in the BP blowout is fascinating on a technical and environmental level, it’s really just a reminder that what we are trying to do, with increasing desperation as we grasp at increasingly volatile energy sources, is simply not a viable forward path.

  34. Diogenese II says:

    hi, I acknowledge your reply.

    On uranium, I recommend every one to read the book: Atomic Suicide by Walter Russel

    What radioactivity is?
    How it kills?
    What to do about it?
    What everyone should know about radioactivity?

    The problems with nuclear fuel are many times bigger and insidious than the BP disaster. Order the book and read it to find out what modern science has misunderstood about how the use of uranium will kill the planet. According to Russel it is the cause of global warming. He predicted global warming 50 years before it happened and warned the scientists, but no one listened.

    Available at www.

    Back to the real reason that I am posting here now is to ask the people who may have some knowledge or understanding of why BP appears to be installing a Christmas tree or some version of a BOP, on the well head and why they then want to try and close the valves on the well? Since according to earlier discussions that no one is sure of the condition of the cementings and casings.

    To me this sounds ridiculous to attempt to try and put such pressure on the well or and formation.

    At least this is what the media reported today.

    Are they going to try and save the well and make it a producer?

  35. h-1 says:

    The christmas tree device raised the same questions on yesterday, why is it suddenly now safe to try to stop the well?

    No answers appeared that I saw but I didn’t have time to read the whole thread there on it.

    However, one thing is clear, in no case will the well be reused, it will be abandoned as a total loss in all cases, because the well bore is too damaged to ever be used for production purposes. The reservoir will be reused, but not that well bore.

    But it’s a real question why they’ve said for weeks now that they can’t put those pressures on the well-bore but now they can. Today’s BP’s Deepwater Oil Spill – the 3-ram stack thread explains the process fairly well. Part 1 of the thread has links to some Kent Wells videos from BP showing the methods and technologies used, in the comment section.

    I think the idea is to test the well for integrity, so they can shut it down in the case of a hurricane. Should know today if that works. Ie, they will add the device, attach the production pipes below the new rams, test them, close the rams, close the BOP valves used now, test pressures, if stable, ie, rising and not showing leaks, will then begin production from the new valves below the rams, basically just using the BOP as a pipe to the new device. I think that’s the idea anyway.

    However, given that the only empirical example of a blowout on this well is this same well, it’s relatively easy to see that there’s a lot of trial and error going on, along with political damage control and liability controls, so I’d say some conflicting statements reflect that reality.

    Re nuke stuff, as someone involved in the anti nuclear movement told me decades ago, ignore the babble, focus on present disposal of nuclear waste products. If disposal is complete and safe, then nuclear energy is not so bad. It’s definitely better than coal power, which is the dominant source of global electrical production, and, with petroleum based transport, CO2 production. Remember, nuclear waste is not just spent uranium rods, it’s basically everything that came into contact with the radioactive core, and the surrounding plant itself, which generally doesn’t last more than about 50 years.

    The proper disposal of ALL waste products has never been reality as far as I know, anywhere on the planet, although recently Monbiot posted a newish method of disposal that apparently is viable, but VERY expensive. It has not I believe been used yet. It involves creating I think copper containment vessels, coated in some type of concrete, then embedding those further in some type of mineral compound, deep in some type of cavern or mine. Apparently that method, if used, does in fact seal the stuff for the multiple 10s of thousands of years required.

    All methods that are not currently being used should be considered fantasies, especially fusion. AKA techno-utopianism, on an intellectually equal level to the belief that angels will come down from heaven to clean up all our pollution once God decides that enough is enough, it’s time to start caring for the environment and our ecosystem again. In other words, never.

    By the way, the Norwegian government, which tends to be relatively more rational, ie, they don’t allow corporate lobbying to determine public policy as much as the US does, studied thorium as a possible source for nukes and found it to be a non viable option. Thorium is frequently referred to by nuke nuts as a real alternative, but must be considered as yet another fantasy method until proven viable on a large scale. And no, I don’t want to hear any nuke nuts responding here, sorry.

    Nuke nuts are a class of techno-utopians that basically believe that all current power can be provided by nukes, and that no major alterations of a non-sustainable life-style need to be made in the present, or the future, except for switching to nuclear energy. Basically they watched too many Star Trek episodes. For a reference point, USA produces something like 3-5 million pounds of uranium yearly, but consumes around 50 million. And global production of that ore are hitting lower and lower quality ores to produce enough to supply greater and greater demand. This doesn’t even look at the problem of toxically radioactive tailings, another thing the nuke nuts tend to totally ignore, since anything is preferable than actually stopping the environmental destruction of our ecosystem. People who believe we can replace more than 90% of our current energy consumption using finite uranium supplies, with no actually existing alternatives, are basically occupying a simplistic faith based religious position, minus the actual essence of religion, which makes it even more absurd.

    Conservation is the low hanging fruit, and any position that tries to get around that is a pipe dream, a fantasy, and delusional. Carter knew this in the 70s, as did pretty much everyone else who used reason to examine the question. Everything else is a stop gap measure, though some, very few, countries can have hopes of producing enough electricity to get by, Iceland with geo-thermal, Norway with Hydro. There’s not a lot of other countries on that list though, and that’s about 5 million people out of approaching 7 billion.

    Once you ignore corporate / industrial society generated lies about global warming and return to reality, the fact is that global warming was understood and observed (observed, mind you, not predicted) by a Swedish researcher about 100 years ago. Industrial coal production/consumption had already been underway by that time for over 100 years in Europe. The affects of CO2 were also understood that long ago. The only reason there’s been any pretense that this is not the case is because of the massive dependence on hydrocarbon based energy of our industrial society. IE, people refuse to think outside the box that contains them, no matter how much evidence reason presents us. In essence, life without raw material exploitation and non sustainable consumption methods is genuinely unthinkable if we assume our current way of life is viable. That’s growth based economic systems, populations, etc.

    I’ll take a look at that book, but the notion that radioactive uranium use causes global warming strikes me as odd to say the least, though I assume there are more valid points in such a book, it’s certain that industry has really squelched a lot of issues with using radioactivity in this way re safety and fundamental principles.

  36. Diogenese II says:

    Now that they have this cap on the well, and have it shut for a few days….

    And BP says if they are required to attach the pipes to the well, they have to remove the cap to do so and it will take three days of free flow……

    This sounds so ridiculous.

    I am wondering why BP were not made to attach a cap that had a couple of side Tees, valves and elbows on it so that a riser could be easily attached and a a simple valve opened to flow oil?