Art of Mass Deception–Part 2: The twisted tale of the missing 3rd well that blew.
By BK Lim
Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:45 AM EDT
1. Filling the critical truths in BP’s gapping official storyline and making sense of it all
On 10 March 2009 BP Exploration & Production Inc (BP) submitted an application to carry out exploration drilling on two wells (A and B) within the Macondo prospect; Lease OCS-G32306 Block – 252 Mississippi Canyon Area using a Semi-Submersible drilling rig (semi sub). The wells locations are:
Lat Long Easting (Lambert) Northing (Lambert)
Well A 28º 44’ 17.277” -88º 21’ 57.34” 1,202,803.88 10,431,617.00
Well B 28º 44’ 16.027” -88º 22’ 0.581” 1,202,514.00 10,431,494.00
TransOcean Marianas first drilled at Well A from 7 Oct till 9 Nov 2009. On 28th Oct 2009 Tony Hayward (CEO of BP) disposed 220,000 shares on the same day the Marianas reported some serious well problems which lasted till 31 Oct 2009. Ten (10) days later (on 9 Nov 2009) the well was officially abandoned due to damages sustained from Hurricane Ida. The total depth drilled was only 4,023ft (1,226m) below mud line (bml). On 17th Nov 2009, Byron E Grote another BP Director sold 150,000 of his BP share holding.
On 3rd Feb 2010 the Deepwater Horizon (owned and operated by TransOcean) was directed to drill Well A, by re-entering the previously abandoned well. BP has maintained that this was the only well drilled in February till the blowout on 20 April 2010. The well apparently took a total of 10.5 weeks to reach the targeted reservoir at 18,000 ft bml around 16 April; 6.5 weeks longer than expected. The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) caught fire in a blowout 4 days later (on 20 April 2010) which resulted in the worst ever mega-oil spill disaster experienced during peace time.
The mega disaster has not only killed millions of innocent wildlife and condemned thousands others to the ranks of the walking dead, it has also exposed the worst of human greed and reckless gambling of human lives and the environment by the irresponsible few who walked the corridors of power in the oil industry. This is the continuing untold story of the Art of Mass Deception (part 2) of the twisted tale of the missing third well that BP drilled and blew on 20 April 2010; killing 11 crews and injuring many of the 126 that were onboard DWH. It was a disaster that need not have happened, especially after numerous red flags and at least two near-misses.
The facts will show that the few who had been entrusted with the responsibility of managing BP’s exploration programmes, had been so reckless and had acted so selfishly for their own interests and ego, at the expense of the safety of the field personnel and the environment. It is no less than the crime of mass destruction. Since the accident till now, the efforts to stop the oil-gas gushes had been one lie after another; acts that were put up not to kill the wells but to deceive the world and to save their own skin.
On 17 Mar 2010, just a few days after the out of control well situation that nearly blew DWH, Tony Hayward led the pack by disposing off 223,228 shares (1/3 of his total holdings) just a month before the fateful DWH disaster on 20 April. Together with three other BP directors, a total of unprecedented 531,461 BP shares were disposed off in the period 17 – 30 March 2010. What triggered off the massive BP shares sell off which did not include shares disposed by other BP top executives and Goldman Sachs? See BP massive shares selloff. Did Tony Hayward know something ahead of others as he did on 28 Oct 2009 on the problems Well A had?
We were all led to believe that oil giants like BP had stringent safety policies and standards to prevent this sort of disaster. The congress hearings and investigations had so far shown BP to be seriously lacking in all aspects of any respectable level of standards. What you are about to read will blow your mind more than the actual DWH blowout itself.
2. Some Key Points from Part 1
In the “Art of Mass Deception – part 1”, we have already shown that Well A could not be the well that was drilled when the 20 April blowout occurred. We also showed that the 5,000 ft long riser string could not have fallen intact with the BOP still attached to Well A. If the riser was leaking oil-gas from Well A, the flow has to be from south to north to the leak point at S20BC. Yet all the video footage showed the gas-oil to be flowing from the north. BP cannot change this fact now. If the leaking pipe was already severed on the southern end at S20BC, how could the oil-gas still be flowing to S20BC in the north from Well A in the south ?
To those who still think that BP’s management had acted in good faith and responsibly, there is no need to waste your time by reading any further. To those knuckleheads at TOD who thought they had widely ridiculed and debunked my geohazards theories and diagrams, I am sorry to say the last laugh is on them. They had been the ones who swallowed “line and hook”, from BP without even a second thought on the reasonability of the lies presented to them.
Can they honestly call themselves experts in their own field of specialization be it drilling, reservoir engineering or petroleum geology (or whatever) if they can be so badly duped by BP? They can’t even see the forest for the trees. Yet they want to debunk a lowly shallow geohazards specialist from a third world country who could correctly predict “the well that never was” which blew up right in front of their faces. Readers please go to the TOD blogs and witness for yourself the intimate and lengthy details of supposedly intelligent discussions on how to kill the Zombie Well that refused to lay dead. Why? Because that Zombie Well (Well A) had never been drilled down to TD (target depth) or reservoir. No wonder it can never be killed. The depths of Well A and Well B had never exceeded 12,900 ft bml. Check BP’s drilling records.
Only “the well that never was” (S20BC) reached the reservoir and blew up. The reason there is still so much gas and oil in the gulf today despite BP’s denial, is because S20BC’s top hole was badly damaged by the second explosion 2 days later after the initial blowout that caused the fire on DWH. The initial blowout was caused by gas influx from the EGCP (extended gas charged pressure) that had built up within the GWSF (gas-saturated weak sub-formation) zone. See Why is BP’s Macondo blowout so disastrous & beyond-patch-up? The second explosion that blew off the BOP and broke the lower fifth of the riser, resulted from a sudden high pressure surge of gas and oil from the reservoir when the bottom cement plug finally kaput (breached) big time.
In the-mystery-of-the-april-20-blowout-revealed and in The-art-of-mass-deception-part-1., one can logically see that the riser string (5,000 ft long) could not have fallen intact with the BOP still standing on Well A, twisted and bent backwards at an acute angle standing (inverted V) 1500 ft above the seabed. Why did the Oil experts at TOD keep their intellectual silence at the blatant ruse being played out by BP in containing the 3 oil leaks on the seabed? Where are your moral obligations (so often quoted in your TOD blogs) to educate those outside the oil industry on the mass deception being perpetrated by BP?
Simple logic dictates that if the 3 leaks on the riser were due to oil-gas gushing out of the punctured holes, the riser closer to source could have been cut to reduce the 3 leaks into 1 controllable situation. It is amazing to us common folks with only common sense to see that BP could have easily fitted the LRMP within the first month if BP had wished to do so. The only reason 3 containment domes were necessary is because the leaks were coming from the ground and not from the leaking riser as BP had wanted us to believe. Tsk-Tsk! It is excusable for us non-oil experts without 30 years of expertise in the oil industry to be duped by BP. But TOD, the top blog on expert discussion on oil matters? That is inexcusable; unless of course your silence was bought. In which case, you have waived your rights to comment and insult others.
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Those three leaks that BP had reported initially and had sincerely wanted to contain using the 3 containment domes (until the hawks won over) were actually the three leaking wells drilled by BP. I don’t suppose you have the audacity to ask why? BP’s credibility and trustworthiness are already beyond redemption. If BP admitted to drilling 2 wells when they had claimed to be drilling only one, BP would be torn to pieces in the Congressional hearing. Now the whole world would be shocked that BP had been playing footsie with a third well that actually killed 11 and injuring others (?). Would that not be criminal? So why have you knuckleheads kept your silence at TOD? Are you not knowledgeable enough to voice up this obvious flaw for justice or does your silence speak volume of the bias towards the oil giant?
BP’s only sincere recovery effort in this whole fiasco, was the immediate response plan was to contain the gas-oil leaks at 3 seafloor locations using giant containment domes measuring 14 x 24 x 40 ft and weighing 125 tons. But by the time the first of the 3 domes was transported to site, that sincere effort had all melted away. The giant dome was parked on the seabed away from the spill area. On 8 May BP announced they had abandoned this containment approach due to the purported formation of methane hydrate crystals inside the dome. Efforts to place it over the main leak point were suspended at the weekend as a built-up of hydrates prevented a successful placement of the dome over the spill area. Excuse me, but how did the hydrates form inside the dome when it was not even placed over the gas leak yet? Isn’t this just a lame excuse?
It is criminally disgusting the way BP is allowed to carry on the charade and none of the Oilman expert at TOD (the so called vanguards of the oil industry) stood up to say a word. The thousands of Americans who spoke up against BP certainly have more guts than you guys at TOD.
BP would rather let the open well S20BC gush and poison the whole gulf with oil than admit its wrongdoings. BP would rather install the “busily travelling BOP” over well A and mesmerize the world’s attention to the gushing well while it sneakily poisons the gulf with Corexit to disperse the oil gushing out of S20BC, the well that never was. With Americans who would rather poison their own environment and condemn their own American citizens living in the gulf regions to the ranks of the walking dead, who needs Saddam Hussein as the enemy?
You should be ashamed of yourselves (Oilman experts at TOD) that a lowly shallow geohazards specialist from a third world country shows more concern about the gulf disaster and its impact on the lives of innocents. Despite all the evidence of fraud committed against the American people, you still unabashedly and blindly using your knowledge and expertise to drown out the voices of common logic and reasons against the atrocities committed by the selfish few.
How can the relief wells drilled down to 18000 ft bml, be the ultimate weapon to kill well A when well A was shallower than 13000 ft bml? Why must it take at least 3 months to drill each relief well when a normal well to 18000 ft bml took just 4 weeks to drill at S20BC (at an average rate of 580 ft per day)? See Mike William’s Interview with 60-minutes.
No, for all purposes and intent, the relief wells were drilled to kill the real rogue well drilled at S20BC, not Well A which many already suspected was the wrongly capped well. The proof is in the pudding. Just when the relief wells were tens of feet away from their target, BP’s top commanders are now dragging their feet on their “ultimate kill well” weapon. What happens? Were the relief wells just a diversion to buy time? In the hope the rogue “well that never was” (S20BC) would have depleted itself or at least died down substantially for the relief wells to work. It has been many months since any video footage of the oil-gas gush at S20BC was shown. Is the oil-gas gush still as strong as in day 1? What is the real story on the relief wells themselves? Was Relief D having as much trouble as Well A and Well B at the shallow GWSF zone? Was Relief Well C having as much trouble as S20BC at the lower part of the well? BP has to be more transparent to redeem itself.
Many who had correctly analysed BP’s illogical recovery efforts that appear to be stalling like a bumbling novice rather than the professional technological giant it is, knew and predicted BP’s relief wells were not what BP had made them out to be. They were all part of BP’s Art of Mass Deception. That was why Independent experts gave the Relief wells less than 30% chance of success in achieving their “bogus” objectives. Why were TOD’s experts touting BP’s official line that the Relief wells were the ultimate kill well weapons? That so many of our predictions had come true surely must vindicate our qualitative geological model shown in Why is BP’s Macondo blowout so disastrous & beyond-patch-up? So which of my predictions and geological models are comical, nonsensical or garbage as ridiculed by TOD oil experts in their blogs?
It is now clear whose professional reputation and credibility is at stake and on the brink of being totally annihilated.
Being Independent and giving valid professional opinions is definitely far more credible and professional than those TOD experts who had prostituted their high moral grounds and expert knowledge.
3. BP’s Seven Magical Attempts To Kill A Zombie Well that refused to lay dead.
If you think, you have been had with the above fairy tale version of “BP’s Seven Magical Attempts To Kill A Zombie Well”, then you are right. BP’s Art of Mass Deception is a Gulf Oil movie production brought to the world’s stage with millions of unsuspecting victims and this reality show is as real as it can get with millions of dead fishes and wildlife thrown in. BP would have proudly promulgated that “No person, animal or wildlife were harmed in anyway in the production of this movie” if not for 11 dead crew and the dedicated work of thousands highlighting the atrocities of BP’s Killing Fields of the Gulf. How the world got duped by BP’s Art of Mass Deception is another complete story by itself. It is almost unbelievable that one of the world’s largest exploration companies would indulge in such a charade. This following section will help you understand why.
Deception works well in isolation and modern advanced society is a perfect victim. The best technological minds would be too highly specialised and absorbed in their own field of work to notice the blatant deception being played out by the mass media. Like most animated movies, BP had the technological advantage to play the high tech game of “Hide and Virtual Reality” leaving outsiders lost and confused. Any piercing enquiries into the disaster would be blocked by the need to maintain technical and business confidentiality. BP’s army of bloggers is essential to out-blog and to drown out any threatening logical voice of opinion in the internet space, so that the public is kept bombarded with BP’s Bogus Press to keep the world numb to the realities of the disaster.
4. The Drilling Problems at Well-01 (aka Well A) in 2009
To understand why BP did what it had to do, we must go back to 2009. In the 2009 drilling campaign, the semi-sub rig (Marianas) drilled only 4023 ft in over one month from 7 Oct to 9 Nov. This means that the first well (Well-01 aka Well A) must have had a lot of problems in the GWSF zone since the expected duration to drill 18000 ft was only 3 to 4 weeks. Was Hurricane Ida a saving grace and a good excuse to hide BP’s huge embarrassment?
Surely the technological giant could have managed better than 4023 ft or 75% short of their target? In this high stake game of exploration, nothing is left to chance and achieving less than 25% is indeed a dismal record. Apparently the shallow drilling problems (within the first 4000 ft) were compounded by a NE-SW fault sub-cropping close to the seabed. Average drilling rate was less than 122ft per day.
Would a technological and market leader like BP admit defeat at the hands of Mother Nature? After spending probably more than 50 million USD, a public admission of failure would open a floodgate of enquiries on BP’s incompetence and ignorance, not to mention a big dent to BP’s ego and share value. Could BP publicly announce that it had spent more than 50 million USD and not even drilled beyond 4000 ft? If the shallow drilling problems had been so severe, why had BP not seen it coming? So either BP had not conducted a shallow geohazards survey or had totally ignored the shallow geohazards warnings? Either way BP was in the wrong. If BP had diligently followed the geohazards assessment, BP should have sued the geohazards contractor for the mistake. So why did BP take the tab silently?
It is as if BP had gone to Las Vegas and gambled away 50 million USD of their exploration partners’ and shareholders’ funds. Like all gamblers, with all commonsense knocked out of them, BP or rather the key prospect managers or directors needed to win back the money with one more throw of the dice. BP had to drill that damn hole at whatever cost even at the risk of lives. In this game of confidence, BP cannot afford to let any of the “cats out of the bag”. Chances are well-01 (the real Well A) would not have been properly sealed and abandoned in the rush to escape Hurricane Ida. That was why the drilling campaign in 2010 was destined to end as an utter failure. It had all the makings of a “mega disaster waiting to happen”; see my first article on Newsvine; The Root Causes of BP’s oil-spill back in 8 July 2010. The best drillers in the world could not have prevented the blowout on 20 April from happening.
5. Third Strike And You Are Out.
BP’s disastrous blowout at S20BC on 20 April came after 2 near-misses at Well A and Well B. Even for the most stubborn gamblers, these two near-misses should have warranted a thorough reassessment of the battle plan instead of an obsessed bulldozing drive to a certain head-on collision. All international safety policies require a thorough investigation and review of project operation plans before proceeding. I can quote no less than 20 major projects where such a Halt-Review-Reassess break of opportunity had averted disasters in the nick of time. I can also quote a few which had blatantly ignored accurately predicted geohazards that ended in disasters.
Was the need to cover individual mistakes of the past, selfish greed and pride, the fundamental cause of BP’s evidently very bad judgment and incessant drive to drill that damn Macondo well, come rain, hell or sunshine? See for yourself the evidence contained in the following timeline of key events leading to the disaster. No one until recently realised there was a third “well that never was (S20BC)” so “well B” was assumed to be the last well that blew on 20 April 2010.
Most Likely possibility #1 – to be confirmed with operation logs of vessels & DWH (but be aware of adulterated logs)
Date: Location: Observation (italics – remarks by BK Lim)
3 Feb10 Well 01 (Well A)
(Good possibility Well A was re-entered ignoring the earlier problems encountered by Marianas semi-sub in 7 Oct – 9 Nov 2009.)
3 – 13 Feb10 Well 01(Well A)
Extract from http://www.godlikeproductions.com
They attempted to plug Well #A. There were some extreme problems with it for 10 days, then it blew out the BOP and the well pipe on February 13. The BOP held back the pressure and saved Deepwater Horizon. At that point, the new purpose for moving Deepwater Horizon into Well #B position was to drill a relief well. …. Almost the entire crew did not continue on to the drilling at Well B.
The writing Shop – by John Schettler
Apparently the first well (A) was abandoned when a drilling tool became stuck in the well bore, and cracks emitting methane complicated operations in February of 2010. Bloomberg reported: “The company attempted a “cement squeeze,” which involves pumping cement to seal the fissures, according to a well activity report. Over the following week the company made repeated attempts to plug cracks that were draining expensive drilling fluid, known as “mud,” into the surrounding rocks.” BP reimbursed the maker of the tool for the cost and then moved to site B, the ill fated well that sunk the rig.
17 Feb10 Well 02 (Well B)
(Good Possibility DWH moved to Well B (300 ft west of Well A) without informing MMS.)
17 – 23 Feb10 Well 02 (Well B)
BP reported cracks in well casing and leaking of hydrocarbons into the surrounding rock formation. It took BP 3 attempts to fill the cracks with cement before the well control event was brought under control.
(probably the same thing happened with Well A in Nov 2009 as due to GWSF ).
02 -05 Mar10 Well 02 (Well B)
BP reported another well control event that took 3 days to bring under control
08 -14 Mar10 Well 02 (Well B)
BP reported a well control event that took 7 days to get under control. A series of BP internal emails released by Congress showed the surrounding rock formation actually collapsed on the drill. BP was then given special permission to cement the well at a shallower depth than normally required because the hole caved in on drilling equipment. Another BP email released by congress showed that unnamed MMS official at 11 p.m. on March 11 gave the special permission to insert the cement plug about 750 feet above the bottom of the hole.
(depth drilled on 10 March was 12,900 ft in 21 days average drilling rate of 614 ft per day)
16 Mar10 Well 03 (Well S20BC)
BP moved location first before submitting application 1 month later on 15 April 2010, 5 days before the blowout. New location was NAD 27 E 10431702.91 N 1202802.89 . Required Spud date was 16 March 2010.
(proof that BP moved location although coordinates were given in NAD 27 X-Y, probably in error)
04-07 Apr10 Well 03 (Well S20BC)
Well control event took 3 days to bring under control.
(same drilling problems as in well A and B, due to GWSF hazards in the first 4000 ft bml)
20 Apr10 Well 03 (Well S20BC)
Application for Permit to Modify – API 6901, Well 01, Rig – DWH, Status (blank), Permit Type “abandonment of Well Bore”, Permit Subtype “Temporary Abandonment”; Date commencing 4-18-10. DWH blew up at 10pm.
(it was easy to let guards down after finally reaching reservoir oblivious to the fact that trouble was brewing at the GWSF zone.)
20-22 Apr 10 Well 03(Well S20BC)
At 0400hrs 22 April ROV made 3rd attempt to shut-in well by cutting umbilical cord to activate BOP Ram. BP reported DWH had moved by approx 714 ft NE and was still connected by marine riser to BOP.
At 10:22hrs 22 April 2010 a second explosion caused DWH to sink after burning for 2 days taking with it a riser pipe which remained attached to the BOP.
(above extracted from Coast Guard operation log in communication with BP personnel during the rescue and search operation)
Possibility #2: BP could have drilled Well B first followed by a shift to re-enter Well A after problems at Well B developed. Irrespective of whether Well A or Well B was drilled first, the final third well location was S20BC which was consistent with the forensic analysis given in The-mystery-of-the-april-20-blowout-revealed as well as in The-art-of-mass-deception-part1.
Possibility #3: BP could have drilled Well B only and did not re-enter Well A. After 13 Feb blowout, BP sidetrack from the same seabed location at Well B (a worse option given that the problematic GWSF zone was within the first 4000 ft). On 16 March, Well B was finally uncontrollable and had to be abandoned. DWH then moved to S20BC which was the final 20 April blowout location.
Note on DWH location at the time of disaster:
How did BP personnel onboard the vessel, know so precisely that “DWH had moved” 714 ft? If the position was extrapolated from one of the Rescue Operation Vessel’s GPS, DWH’s offset position could not have been so precisely determined; maybe to the nearest 50ft. If that location had been determined from the ROV sent down to manually shut down the BOP, then that location must have been the seabed location of the well DWH was drilling. It was not the surface location of the burning DWH which was 120 ft south of the S20BC seabed location – see The-mystery-of-the-april-20-blowout-revealed. The CoastGuard log was only received on 23 Aug 2010 (sent by Jack Todd) 9 days after DWH CSI was published.
DWH never moved 714ft NE as reported by BP to the Coast Guard. BP had to come up with something to explain why the burning DWH was in that location. The sea was calm and DWH had no power to move. This further confirmed DWH was sitting on top of the S20BC location as correctly predicted by the seabed debris forensic analysis. BP had to move the fallen BOP and placed it on Well A in the aftermath of the blowout. This is one of the many reasons BP cannot release the video footage of the BOP immediately after the second explosion blew off the BOP and broke off the bottom fifth of the riser string as detailed in The-mystery-of-the-april-20-blowout-revealed and in The-art-of-mass-deception-part-1.
If BP’s exploration management had any safety consideration and common sense, they would not have directed TransOcean DWH to reenter well A which they already knew was a nightmarish hole. Even if BP had directed the drilling contractor out of sheer ignorance, the least they could have done was to highlight and caution Transocean’s drilling crew the expected problems, hazards and precautions based on their month long nightmare experience at well A from 7 Oct to 9 Nov 2009. If Transocean had accepted the assignment after all the safety cautions (as per required safety pre-drilling briefing) then Transocean had to accept some of the blame in drilling a hell hole.
In typical BP fashion, they “conveniently forgot” to inform MMS that BP was drilling from new surface locations at Well B and Well S20BC. It would not have mattered if there had been no disastrous blowout or fire onboard DWH that killed 11 crews. Things would have been quietly covered up as before. With billions in the cost of disaster recovery and litigation hinge on the balance, BP had no choice but to cover-up and hide the truths. In doing so, BP had willfully obstructed justice and violated many laws of the country in addition to those committed prior to the disaster.
Having drilled the wells without proper authorization, BP had to keep up the charade especially since the only escape joint liability clause in the joint-venture partnership with Anadarko & Mitsui, was “willful negligence by BP”. Many would question why BP did not abandon the wells despite the numerous red flags. Would a gambler refrain from throwing his last dice in the futile attempt to win back his lost fortune?
In the next installment of the “Art of Mass Deception” series, we will examine why the relief wells were never meant to bottom kill Well A or Well B which had never been drilled down to reservoir level. Only well S20BC reached the oil-gas reservoir at slightly over 18,000 ft bml. Was it a coincidence the 3 leaks on the seabed coincided with Well A, Well B and the “well that never was-S20BC”. S20BC is the largest and most difficult to control since it was the only one with the direct vertical conduit (well) to the reservoir. Oil from the reservoir flows to wells A and B through a myriad of pathways. In addition, all the three wells probably had continuous gas supply from the 176’ thick gas-charged, low-permeability siltstone in the Rob E-age target, reported in Texaco’s Rigel Well. There are several more leaks through the NE-SW fault line passing through both Well A and Well B locations. See figure 112.1.
BP’s “Seven Attempts to Kill A Zombie Well” were all part of the stage play in the attempt to buy time in the grand finale of “Now you see Now you don’t”. Stay tuned.
By BK Lim