One month late, 5 days before blowout – part 4 AoMD
By BK Lim
(13 Sept 2010 email@example.com)
This article is dedicated to the 11 rig workers who died on the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) on 20 April 2010.
Many die-hard pro-BP supporters insisted that BP’s exploration management did no wrong and that the cause of the disaster was due to critical mistakes made at site at the last stage of an apparently smooth exploration well drilling. This cannot be further from the truth. If we willfully ignore the truth and not learn from this painful disaster, the stage is set for another mega disaster. This is one disaster that could have been averted.
Even from an outside perspective based on publicly available information, the previous articles on BP’s Art of Mass Deception (part 1 to part 3) had been able to show the many “bull-headed” management blunders pushing the exploration programme to the brink of disaster. Despite the many warnings from the two failed wells drilled over 3 months in 2009 and 2010, BP’s exploration managers still pressed ahead to drill a third well in an evidently geohazardous location. Every Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) policy requires major incidents to be investigated, before proceeding ahead. BP’s HSE policy is no different (see figure 118-1).
Twisted-Tale-Of-The-Missing-3rd-Well-That-Blew-Art-Of-Mass-Deception part-2 published on 25 Aug 2010.
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 hinging on the balance, BP had no choice but to cover-up and to 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.
BP had allocated only 3 to 4 weeks for drilling 18,000 ft. Thus spending a total of 3 months (> 3 times the expected duration) and abandoning 2 problematic wells cannot be considered to be smooth sailing by any stretch of imagination. Yet, instead of stopping to investigate and to reassess as required by HSE guidelines, BP’s management pressed ahead with an even more punishing pace at an unapproved and unreported location.
The hawks responsible for deciding the fate of this exploration disaster should be criminally prosecuted for pursuing this kind of exploration madness. It was after all only an exploratory well. The 20 April disaster (204) will no doubt prompt safety manuals in the industry to be rewritten to include reckless management blunders as the key factors in mega-disasters.
BP was already having trouble drilling 4023 ft in one month, due to shallow geohazardous conditions. Well B was on the brink of a disaster as BP pushed the exploration pace faster; by more than 3 times. Despite the warnings of these two near-misses, BP was still adamant in increasing the drilling rate further. At the third unreported well, BP pushed for 18,300 ft in one month (4.5 times faster). Unfortunately, it was a push too far and too deep. The well blew into a mega disaster. Does this insane push for productivity with total disregard for geohazards, safety and loss of human lives, not paint a picture of an aggressive, reckless bull-headed management bent on a suicide mission?
Even though the facts speak for themselves, there are still die-hard pro-BP supporters who continue to insist that there is no documented evidence to show that BP had acted with willful negligence. Why?
Unlike any financial disaster where the CEO and top managers would immediately be removed, Tony Hayward and his managers continue to control BP USA. Five months is definitely more than enough time to shred every piece of incriminating evidence. That is why BP’s shills are arguing so confidently that no documents exist to implicate BP’s management of any wrong doing. The recently released BP’s investigation report on the causes of the disaster expectedly ignored BP’s management blunders.
If the blame lies squarely on the site professionals, hours before the blowout and the sub-contractors, why is there a need for such an elaborate hoax in the recovery efforts? Why should there be such a tight blanket of secrecy at both the crime scene and in the release of vital data for the investigation? Why the extreme focus on the micro-errors when the macro management blunders that really mattered, are blatantly ignored? Why did BP advertising spending increased by an unprecedented 3 folds (totaling $93.4 million) immediately after the blowout? There is definitely “more than meets the eye”.
But there is no such thing as a perfect crime; only hidden crime. Despite the forensic analyses, pro-BP opponents still insisted on documentary proof of drilling at the third unreported location. Figure 118-3 is that documentary proof.
Not only does this document proved that BP spud at a new location, the “twisted” details contained in it also tell of a deceitful BP in a cozy relationship with MMS, the enforcer of the industry’s regulations. This unreported 3rd well (referred to as S20BC) was drilled at 714 ft NNW of the abandoned Well A from 16 March till 20 April 2010.
It was this well that reached the reservoir on or about 15 April and blew 5 days later. The world had been totally duped into watching BP’s magic show of capping the wrong well for more than 4½ months. What a world? Willfully ignorant (?) to the fact that BP was (and still is) deliberately mixing tons of Corexit with more than 50,000 barrels of crude oil in the gulf every day for the last 4½ months. Why is the world so blind to this genocide; the crime of massive destruction?
It is significant to note that Tony Hayward sold 1/3 of his total share holding (223,288 shares) on 17 March and then bought back insignificant amount (<83 shares) on 12 April, 10 May, 10 June and 12 July as if to cover his tracks of insider trading. That the pattern of “massive shares sold off and insignificant buy-back” was repeated by 3 other director share holders, cannot be mere coincidences. To connect the dots, the evidences cannot be investigated in isolation. The above is just a short summary to refresh the readers’ memories, in order to understand the discussions below. (Please read back previous articles on http://bklim.newsvine.com ).
Instantaneous Blind Approval (ATM facility)
The application date of the Revised Application for Bypass, Well Name 001, MC252, Lease G32306, is 15 April 2010, just 5 days before the fateful blowout on 20 April 2010. The approval date on the same day could only mean instantaneous and blind approval by MMS. MMS seemed to function more like a 711 convenient store rather than a regulatory body.
Willful Ignorance (?)
The Required Spud Date was 16 March 2010; one month before the application was sent in. If BP had access to Instantaneous and blind approval (ATM) facilities from MMS, why did they not apply for it before spudding at the new location (S20BC)?
Did BP “conveniently forget (willful ignorance again?)” to inform MMS before they moved to S20BC?
No, with a professional exploration setup, it is virtually impossible for such a slipshod. There are simply too many check points. It has to be intentional.
BP did not want to inform MMS not because they could not get the approval or had to wait (as I had suggested earlier to prove a point) but because BP was pretty certain they would have the same problems as in Well A and Well B. BP were already anticipating another location shift, in the event of another uncontrollable well situation. So even though they had the ATM facilities with MMS, there is a limit to the number of locations BP could shift before it becomes too obvious.
So why then did BP submit the application on 15 April, 5 days before the blowout on 20 April 2010?
If from 15 March to 15 April, confidence was at an all time low (reasons for the massive shares sell off) in reaching the target reservoir below 18,000 ft, the sudden realization that they had actually achieved it against all odds and the discovery of a huge payload, must have been euphoric. You can imagine everyone in the management letting their hair down after an intense 3 months ordeal. Suddenly, someone in the management must have realised that they had not registered the new location yet.
But why were the coordinates so screwed up?
If the strike well was going to be plugged and abandoned for future production, then the new coordinates of that “strike well head” must be recorded and made known. Numerous emails had to be sent to inform various departments at production level, the new coordinates of the strike well. But would the ones guilty of improprieties, want any official documentation of their misdeeds?
They obviously had a dilemma. It would be difficult to control the spread of the information and the document trail once the news of the strike is out. But if nothing was documented, later production crew (and contractors) might actually install production facilities on the wrong well (ie Well A) since both well heads would look the same on the seabed. If this “wrong strike well error” is not caught in time, it could mean wasted days of planning and designing (best scenario case) or worse, actual field time lost (costing millions) working on the wrong well.
So the well-tested practical solution is to give the strike well erroneous Lat & Long geographical coordinates totally inconsistent with the UTM coordinates. It is like introducing an obvious “genetic coding error” in the long string of data processing and storage spanning months across several independent sub-contractors. The error has to be so inconsistent and outright ridiculous that it could not possibly be missed out in the complex and hectic planning & design stages. Thus, instead of the normal Lambert transformation, NAD was used.
Anyone working on the location would have to give up trying to make any sense of it; seek out the right coordinates of the strike well from the “controlled source”. There could be other reasons as well but the screwy coordinates clearly confirmed why documentation details were willfully erroneous. It also proved that those in control of the Macondo exploration programmes were fully aware of the three wells (A, B and S20BC). Surely novices to such fraudulent practices would not have the insights to cover their tracks so well.