ROV evidences confirming Worst Case Geological Scenario in BP’s Macondo Disaster- Part IIa of Root Causes.
- BK Lim
5 Oct 2010
When The Root Causes Of BP’s Oil Spill & The Imminent Threat Of More Oil Related Disasters (Part1) was first published on 8 July 2010, 71 days after the 20 April 2010 blowout, I had feared that the root causes were very much deeper than the flawed site decisions, poor field performance or the infringements and improprieties committed at site, that were being paraded in the post-disaster investigation. Part III of the root causes describes the human greed, unscrupulous profiteering and professional rot that had set into the oil industry; rendering our geohazards site surveys totally ineffective in preventing adamantly reckless exploration managers from drilling into such high risk locations as the Macondo wells.
Part II describes the geological reasons why the Macondo wells were destined to end up as a mega-disaster and why the “genie could not be popped back into the bottle”. The high drilling risks evident from the seafloor morphology alone, were so obvious BP’s geohazards specialists could not have possibly missed them; short of being willfully negligent. It was as if BP had intentionally set its own course on a one-way journey to destruction. The 3 well locations (Well A, Well B and S20BC) were located in the worst possible geohazardous conditions to drill into a huge high-pressured oil reservoir. A mega disaster was inevitable even if the best efforts by the drilling crew managed to overcome the myriad of problems posed by the nightmare wells from hell. Even the best field performance, safety standards, advanced drilling technology and well design would be no match for such a disastrously monstrosity BP had awakened from the deep.
In this Part IIa of the series, we begin by presenting ROV evidences that confirm our worst fears; the worst case geological scenario as illustrated by my qualitative geological model in Why Is BP’s Macondo Blowout So Disastrous & Beyond Patch Up first written on 25 July 2010.
Even though BP did their best to distort the truth and fudged up the ROV coordinates, the ROV video footages are still useful evidences, albeit qualitatively. As the geological framework of the giant jig-saw puzzle had already been proven and set right, the ROV evidences merely fill in the data gaps. Our forensic investigation of the BP’s oil disaster was thus not led astray by the fudged ROV coordinates or other distorted truths deliberately planted by BP.
The following analyses are not presented in any particular order of events as ROV video footages are still being analysed. The purpose is however, to illustrate snap shot interpretation of the seabed or events that collectively corroborate with the geological framework in building a true picture of the disaster. Readers are encouraged to reexamine the various ROV video clips on Youtube to judge for themselves the legitimacy of my analyses and reasoning (based on basic fundamental geology and physics).
It is basic human instinct to lie to cover one’s crime just as one would refuse to yield information that is self-incriminating. Does this answer why BP refused to release the early video footages of the disaster, especially the ones observing the BOP at the blown well from 21 April till after the second explosion at 10:22hrs 22 April 2010?
Figure 121-1 shows the famous snap shot of the robotic arm from the ROV attempting to shut down the inclined BOP at 01:08:54hrs on 22 April 2010. The water depth (4926 ±10 ft) was suspiciously short of Well A’s promulgated depth of 4992 (±10) ft by 66±10ft. The reported second explosion 5000ft underwater could not have been observed at sea surface. It could only be observed visually at depth via the ROV video feed. See Conclusive Evidence Well A Is Not The Well That Blew Up On 20 April – Part 3 Aomd.
This means the video footage of the second underwater explosion exists. It also means that the video footage of the second underwater explosion is highly incriminating to BP. Is withholding incriminating information not a crime by itself?
Why were the ROV coordinates taken off in that snap shot of that BOP on 22 April 2010? If no coordinates had been set for that ROV, how could the ROV operator maneuver the ROV to the well location 5000 ft below sea surface? Without coordinates it would be like driving in total darkness without headlights. How else could the BP’s company man inform the coastguard that the burning DWH had “moved approx 714 ft NE” from well A location? 714 ft is not an approximation that could have been estimated (to that degree of accuracy) from any of the vessels’ radar in the area. It had to be calculated from coordinates. Where else could the coordinates be obtained except from that ROV attempting to shut down the BOP?
There is no prize for guessing how many discrepancies (lies or inconsistencies) can be found in the few preceding paragraphs. If BP cannot be trusted to tell the truth even in this short time frame, 2 days after the disaster can BP be trusted in the months after, when BP’s survival hinges on the brink; pending the full magnitude of the disaster?
Yet prominent men of importance all around the world, heads of government and global corporations openly applauded BP for their “conscientious efforts” in finally killing well A for good on 19 Sept 2010? The defender of a Liar is also a Liar!
After considerable pressure from the media and government agencies, BP tonight finally released a brief video showing for the first time the gushing stream of oil and gas leaking from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico. The video released by BP shows oil spewing from a broken pipe 5,000 feet (1,500m) below the surface. The stream of crude oil is interspersed with lighter-coloured natural gas. The video was first posted on YouTube on Wednesday night by the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Centre, which said: “This video is from the larger of two existing leaks on the riser. This leak is located approximately 460 feet from the top of the blowout preventer and rests on the sea floor at a depth of about 5,000 feet.”
~~~~~~~~~end of quote ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The fact that BP had to be forced to release the first ROV video on 11 May 2010, 20 days after the disaster first struck, speaks for itself the dishonesty of “supposedly honourable men” like Tony Hayward and his exploration managers.
~~~~~~~Quote from BP Caught Lying While Deepwater Horizon Burns Part 5 Aomd
I have commented many times that the investigation into the disaster is the biggest joke of the century. In any financial disaster, the CEO and the ones most likely to be involved in the scandal would have been sacked or at least suspended pending investigation. In the BP’s oil spill disaster, not only were the companies under investigation placed in charge of recovering the evidence, the CEO and all those who had recklessly driven the exploratory well to a disastrous blow-out, are still in control and have more than 4½ months to shred every piece of incriminating evidence.
~~~~~~~~~end of quote ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The “oil leaks” must have been far more extensive, more complicated and uncontrollable than just 3 simple leaks on the twisted and fallen 5000ft riser itself as reported by BP. It is incredible how BP could even think that intelligent humans could even fall for this absurd lie. Yet incredibly, the government of the most powerful nation on earth did. One must not underestimate the persuasive power of money and vested business interests.
The release of this first video footage raised more questions than answers. If this leak (the larger of the two leaks on the fallen 5000ft long riser) is 460 ft from the BOP, then there could not be another leak on the riser further away from the BOP since the video clearly shows the “riser” (looks more like a severed casing of the well head) being severed at one end. More importantly, why would the “riser” that had fallen onto the seabed be buried at the bottom of a crater that seems to be at least 1 metre deep? Why would the “broken riser” assuming it was bent, twisted and sheared before breaking, still maintain a solid circular shape with sharp angular cuts at its open end? It is so inconsistent with the highly bent leaking riser at the top of the BOP? The fact that there is a slight visible bend on the “riser” suggests 2 important points:
a. the “riser” at S20BC leak point is not made of the same material as the “flattened and bent riser” still connected to the BOP.
b. the angular cut in the “riser” at S20BC leak point, had been made manually; not flattened and broken off by the impact of the fall through 5000ft of water column.
Since the oil appeared to be freely flowing out of the open rounded end of the severed “riser”, any leak closer to BOP would have been very insignificant to be worthy of mention. In The Art Of Mass Deception Part 1 Ballistic Analysis Of Dwh Riser Wreck and many other videos of this major leak at S20BC location, the “riser” is clearly severed on the southern end (see video, heading 117.1º with casing dipping sub-horizontally northwards). Thus the oil had to be flowing from the north to south. But Well A where the “BOP was supposed to have been standing intact after the second underwater explosion” is 714ft to the south of this leak crater (S20BC). How can oil and gas be flowing from the BOP at Well A 714 ft south, when there is no “riser” connection from Well A to this leak location at S20BC?
In any case, if the oil was flowing out of the “BOP at Well A through the riser 460ft away” (as claimed by BP) would it not be much simpler and more cost effective, to cut off the riser at the top of the BOP at Well A where the LRMP cap was to be placed on anyway? Either the world must be crazy to accept this huge BP’s lie or expediency simply knows no bounds.
In this video dated 23 May where the ROV was injecting dispersant into the oil gushing out of the “riser” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=590-3CAGpYU&feature=related) it is very clear the “casing with the gushing oil” is no “riser that has been covered with sediment”. It is a casing that had been bent over and manually cut. Now what casing strings would be rising out of the ground other than from BP’s blown-out well? The “sediment” in the vicinity of the crater is no natural clay sediment but a thick layer of heavy drilling mud. Natural clayey sediment forms a colloidal suspension on disturbance. That is why the water is always murky and never clear at mud flats and river mouths heavy with sediment. Heavy drilling mud however settles down quickly leaving the water clear as shown in the ROV video.
Natural light clayey sediment would have long been dispersed by the intense ROV activities around the crater. Only heavy drilling mud could have remained in-situ. One must again wonder why would BP dump hundreds if not thousands of barrel of expensive drilling mud just to cover a “sunken riser” so that the dispersant can be carried out more complicatedly?
Replacing a surficial clay layer with heavy drilling mud cannot be done overnight or over a few days. Imagine a lake with a few metres of soft clay layer. Dumping a few hundred barrels of heavy drilling mud into it would create a small mole hill within a wide depression instead of uniformly replacing the original clay layer. In order to have such a uniform replacement, the heavy drilling mud must be “leaking out at a higher pressure than the existing hydrostatic pressure” from beneath the surficial clay layer. Is this not another conclusive evidence that BP had been drilling in the vicinity of the “unreported illegal well” (S20BC) weeks before the blowout occurred on 20 April 2010?
Where did the reported massive drilling mud losses go to? Obviously, they must have found their way up to the seabed in the vicinity of the “unreported illegal well (S20BC)” during drilling. The presence of thick layers of drilling mud at the seafloor also confirmed our worst fears; that the fragile geological condition in the Macondo prospect is indeed broken.
Having established BP’s need to lie incessantly since day 1 of the disaster, we can now interpret the ROV video with a clearer logic, free from the totally obfuscating influence of The Oil Drum (TOD).
…. to be continued in part IIb of Root Causes.