BP Oil Spill: Effects on us, and perhaps the future?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Curiosity Never Hurt, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member


    The official description, after those first few days when there was not sufficient information to determine a flow rate, came from the US Gov, not BP.

    BP, by May 4th, had stated to the Gov that the worst case flow rate was 60,000 barrels per day.

    As far as the response effort, though the number being told the public by the Govt (5,000 BPD) remained low until the Technical Flow Committee released its numbers in late May, the Unified Command though, from the very first days of the spill, were operating under the assumption that the well was leaking at the worst case rates.

    If you look at the NOAA oil trajectory maps, which were published daily, starting in very early May, they were very accurate. (see them at the Unified Command Web site)

    About the early estimates.
    They were done using techniques like this:

    The Bonn Agreement Oil Appearance Code (BAOAC) is a series of five categories or
    ‘Codes’ that describe the relationship between the appearances of oil on the sea surface
    to the thickness of the oil layer (Table 1).

    Appearance Layer Thickness (μm) Litres per km2
    1 Sheen (silvery/grey) 0.04 to 0.30.....40 – 300
    2 Rainbow 0.30 to 5.0...................... 300 – 5000
    3 Metallic 5.0 to 50.......................... 5000 – 50,000
    4 Discontinuous True Oil Colour 50 to 200 50,000 – 200,000
    5 Continuous True Oil Colour 200 to More than 200 200,000 - More than 200,000

    If you will note, the last set of numbers is the Liters per km2 of oil, Note that there is typically a magnitude of difference in the low vs high estimate of the amount of oil per sq km. It is this lack of a precision method for estimating, based on observations and trying to decide how much of a given area was which of these codes, that resulted in wide variation in the amount of oil on the surface.
    Only when HD video cameras and actual pressure tests and resolution of how much of the discharge was gas vs oil, could we come up with a good estimate of the flow rates.

    National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling

    Soon after the spill began, frontline Coast Guard personnel requested worst-case discharge information from the Minerals Management Service and BP, both of which reported a figure of 162,000 bbls/day (the worst-case estimate from BP‟s original drilling permit). A high-level official, however, told us that the Coast Guard did not believe the figure from the drilling plan was a credible worst-case estimate. On April 23, 2010, the Coast Guard and NOAA received an updated estimate of 64,000-110,000 bbls/day, which appeared in both an internal Coast Guard Situation Report and on a dry-erase board in the NOAA Seattle war room. By early May, BP had lowered its worst-case estimate to 60,000 bbls/day. BP officials disclosed a similar estimate to Congress on May 4, 2010, stating during a briefing that the “maximum estimated flow would be 60,000 barrels a day, with a mid-range estimate of 40,000 barrels a day . . . .”

    As a confidential NOAA report drafted on April 28, 2010, noted: “There is no official change in the volume being released but the [Coast Guard] is no longer stating that the release rate is 1,000 barrels a day. Instead they are saying that they are preparing for a worst-case release and bringing all assets to bear.” Responders stuck to this blueprint, stating that, while 1,000 or 5,000 bbls/day were the official best flow-rate estimates, the government was scaling the response to an unquantified worst-case scenario.

    The decision to withhold worst-case discharge figures may have been made above the operational level. It is the understanding of the Commission staff that the possibility of releasing the worst-case discharge figures was at least discussed at the Unified Command level. The Commission staff has also been advised that, in late April or early May 2010, NOAA wanted to make public some of its long-term, worst-case discharge models for the Deepwater Horizon spill, and requested approval to do so from the White House‟s Office of Management and Budget. Staff was told that the Office of Management and Budget denied NOAA‟s request.

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    All the info came from BP in the first place - no one else knew anything.

    BP resisted independent monitoring or data collection, and we don't know what BP knew and when it knew it. We lack the means to discover that info - it's been bottled up in committee by oil-friendly politicians.

    No one believed the information in the drilling plan was credible?

    How could that be? Isn't that the plan submitted by BP and certified by all the relevant government officials? The one based on all that research?
    How do you know?

    They seem to be generally mistrusted, as they do not deal with the plume problem and the dispersant problem based on actual research data - no such research having been done, apparently.

    We should find out some day, when we get around to it, exactly how BP made their estimates - how, for example, they came up with the quantity of dispersant they actually used, and why they used it.
    And gladly cooperated with by BP. Knock me over with a feather.

    Does the need for subpoenas begin to emerge from the flash and spiel, yet? Penny drop?
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Nope, At the beginning BP used the same data that everyone else had, this came from SURFACE analysis of the size and catagory of the spill (as shown) and the data was first gathered by NOAA planes flying over the spill and later by NASA satellites.

    Not according to Obama's committee, which is not known to be "oil friendly", and you haven't shown that this is true with any documentation either. During the very first days, BP was focused on using the ROVs to get the BOP to work by using manual override and, fixing a leaking hydraulic line etc, and so they couldn't spare the ROV they had to do video analysis of the leak (indeed it took more than a day for them to find the end leak at the end of the broken riser, which was 1,500 ft away from the BOP (where their focus was on), but when the second ROV arrived, they indeed made it's video available for Analysis, which is why by the 4th of May, BP had informed the Gov that their new worst case estimate was 60,000 barrels per day and their best guess was that it was leaking at about 40,000 barrels per day. The Gov chose not to release that data. Within a few weeks BP had multiple live ROV feeds from the well available to anyone who wanted it. Shortly there after they had HD feeds available. They published twice daily capture information on their web site as to barrels of oil recovered and cubic ft of gas flared so researchers knew the changing ratio of gas to oil. NOAA provided extensive satellite coverage of the spill and the currents. So, no there is no credible info to support your assertions that BP was hiding data.

    Because the Worst case estimate in the plan is made BEFORE the well is drilled. And like typical Worst Case estimates, it was higher than experienced.
    After the spill, they developed ACTUAL data on the spill rate because they had, well, better data.

    Because each day they showed the trajectory of where they thought the oil was going, and also the maps of where it went, and you could compare it to the actual maps, and they were in very good agreement.

    BP's site and the Gov site both have the spill maps and the Trajectory maps archived so if you want to, you can check yourself.

    We know.
    This is from the 28th of April and it shows the method (ASTM F2534, method for calculating volume of oil on water) and the assumptions they made doing those calculations.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    6 days later, based on a flow analysis of the actual leak (as opposed to the NOAA approved ASTM F2534 surface analysis method) BP would increase the estimate to best guess of 40,000 barrels per day.
    It's all in the report.
    Too bad you don't care to learn.

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They didn't use their superior information about the mechanical situation, geological situation, and drilling history of that and all their hundreds of other wells?

    The huge pile of proprietary information they so jealously guard is of no use to them in these situations?

    That is possible, of course. It is possible because of the central fact: we - meaning you, in particular - don't know what information BP had and was using. You are making assertions you cannot possibly be basing on evidence, unless you are in fact a fairly high level employee of BP or one of the centrally involved contractors. In that case, the rest of us have very good reason to simply disbelieve anything you say, and we are back to square one.

    Square one is: we need a serious investigation, in public, of this disaster.
    Get subpoenas, record public testimony independently verifiable under oath, and obtain the actual records of the event, and we won't have to deal with the world of missing info and "no evidence" and "best available evidence" and "based on interviews with - - - " and "cannot conclude - - intentionally - - " and so forth and so on.
    You missed the point:
    Later, better data (allegedly so, anyway - we don't really know) were not involved. According to your link, quoted by you, at the time the Coast Guard considered the drilling plan's numbers "not - - credible", they had no information other than their own judgment of the credibility of BP's plans for that well.

    The ones that (for example) promised to try not to kill walruses, and deploy containment booms with collection vessels adequate to handle any possible spill - equally fanciful items, as it turned out.
    You sure don't know from that pile of shit.

    Just to observe the obvious: The estimates there are absurdly - order of magnitude - low, a full week after the blowout. After all the fancy camera stuff had been deployed. And they certainly didn't place their huge order for dispersants, and start setting up their wellhead injection operation (a brand new trick, never tested or researched by anyone, whose motives and scale are unknown to us), based on those estimates.

    So what were their real estimates - the ones they were using for their own plans and preparations?

    I mean, get serious: There's nothing there about plumes, or any info BP had other than what was publicly available (coerced, btw - BP did not volunteer to make even the one or two of their camera feeds public until threatened), or anything about their actual methods and reasoning. Get subpoenas, put the contractors and on-scene people in the dock, put the top execs in the dock, put their consultants in the dock, find out what they actually knew about the spill and when they knew it.

    Until then, you are just blowing smoke.
  8. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    None of that can be used to determine the actual flow rate, since it was coming through a partially failed BOP and a bent/kinked riser. It was a unique situation. So while BP could use that kind of data to figure out approximate worst case, it was of no use to figure out actual flow rates.

    For that, during the first week, they used the standard approved method that was described to you, estimate the area covered by each type of oil (sheen, dull, dark) multiply that by the thickness factor to get a low and high estimate, increase that by how much you believe has evaporated (BP estimated that twice as much oil as they could see had evaporated (the X 2 line), then add to that the amount that you had recovered or chemically dispursed.

    Get that total and divide by time to equal the estimate of barrels per day.


    The initial estimates turned out to be low because from that depth and with such a high percent of gas (unknown in that first week) a lot of oil simply wasn't making it to the surface very quickly and so the normal visual method was underestimating the flow rate.

    By early May, BP's engineering staff had used other underwater visual and pressure related methods to come up with a higher and better estimate and shared that with the Gov by the 4th of May.

    Nope, you are reading that backwards, they didn't believe it was as BAD as BP had said it could be.

    Nope, We do know, that's the form they turned over to the Congressional committee and it follows the standard NOAA approved method of determining spill rate by visual surface observations.

    They gave them to the gov on the 4th of May.

    Get over it, the Commission has already written EXTENSIVELY on this subject and they did NOT find BP at fault.

    http://www.oilspillcommission.gov/s...Working Paper.Amount and Fate.For Release.pdf

    So that part of the investigation is OVER (remember this Commission will be completely done with their final reports by Jan 15th).

    As the Commission found, the gov agencies involved were acting, from the very first days of the spill, on flow estimates that were pretty near correct, and not the low estimates that the Gov was providing. And so while the Gov was keeping the higher rates from the public there does not appear to have been any negative consequenses to the clean up operation.

    Bitch all you want, but the Commission that you want to investigate the issue of spill rates trying to find some evidence that BP hid some data, lied or otherwise did something wrong, seems pretty satisfied that they did not.

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You now appear to be missing the point on purpose. I'll repeat the observation once more: the veteran and experienced Coast Guard immediately, right from the beginning, without visible evidence and for no established reason of fact, dismissed the numbers from BP's official filing plan as "not credible".
    You state this stuff you can't possibly know with such confidence, one would almost think you have access to info denied the rest of us.

    Even in attempting to deflect the issue, you miss: BP did not use that info to figure out the approximate worst case on their official document there (as you note they could) but rather covered ass with absurdly low estimates they could justify with data they may (should) very well have known to be all but useless.

    And meanwhile, they began to make arrangements for extraordinary measures far beyond what those public estimates would have required.

    You can't possibly know that. No one in public knows how they actually estimated what they actually thought the flow rate was.
    You are repeating BP's ass covering campaign as if it were some kind of verified testimony.

    Get a subpoena, get the records of all these estimates and so forth. Until then you have no idea what BP knew or when they knew it.
    According to your quoted report, their only evidence of BP's intentions and plans and actions and knowledge during critical and possibly criminal operations came from "interviews with Coast Guard personnel".
    They seem to be crying for help, in your quoted report. "Best available evidence" when they had no subpoena power, interviews with people not on the scene of major decisions and actions, findings of "no evidence {sufficient to} conclude - -- --intentionally - - " ; you actually happy with that kind of "finding"?

    You have so far not answered this: why do you think the request for subpoena power was bottled up in Committee by Republicans,

    and why do you oppose subpoena power for an independent investigation of a disaster involving so many government agencies and politically powerful corporations? Wouldn't an independent investigation with subpoena power be routine, in such circumstances?
  10. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Right, in that it was too high from what they were seeing, not that it was too LOW. Worst Case estimates are SUPPOSED to be high.

    Nope, I just dialed in each day to listen to the Kent Wells briefings and later to the Admiral's briefings and a WHOLE lot more was covered in those briefings than made it to the news outlets.

    Not at all.
    By the end of the first week BP knew that all attempts to use the subsea controls to get the BOP's Blind Shear Ram to manually shear the pipe and stop the flow had failed, and that they were looking at about 3 months before a relief well could stop the flow. They also knew that with multiple leaks coming from a broken riser and the amount of methane in the flow that hydrate formation would likely make any kind of coffer dam problematical. Since they had already estimated that the high side of the leak (from the visual method described previously) was upwards of 14,000 barrels per day (588,000 gallons), then 3 months would be over 50 Million gallons of oil, or roughly 5 times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill, so almost immediately they had good reason to want to try to disperse the oil, and so they asked permission from the EPA to do so.
    You might be angry at the EPA for allowing them to do so, but that was something the EPA was legally authorized to do.

    I can, because they presented it to the Congressional committee at the time and it uses the standard approved methodology so I have no reason to doubt it, and because their high estimate was quite a bit higher than the NOAA group had gotten using essentially the same tool. A week later they presented a higher number to the Government, based on undersee flow analysis and pressure data, and that isn't disputed either.

    It is, because the testimony didn't come from BP but from two different people in the Gov said that they got these numbers from BP and that they were posted on a white board at the command center at the time.

    From what I can tell it is not. They asked for unanimous consent to approve it and didn't get it, so based on standard procedure it went to the Judicial Committe, which is dominated by Democrats. The Democrats have not sent it back to the floor for a vote. From what I read, only ONE republican apparently voted against it during the call for unanimous consent, so you can't use Republicans plural, or indeed to cast this as a Republican vs Democrat issue. At this point though it doesn't much matter, even though you go on and on about it. It does not look like it will make it to the floor and the committee is about done with their investigation and will spend most of the rest of their time writing their final report for delivery on Jan 15th.

    Yes, and many independent investigations ARE going on, and the longest and biggest investigation is being done by the DOJ and they DO have subpoena power, and no one is going to tell the DOJ one thing and the other investigations something different and because so far, none of the other investigations have complained that their investigation is being hampered by lack of subpoena.

  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Why are you deflecting the argument, posting irrelevancies?

    Tha's no excuse for claiming to know what BP knew and when they knew it.

    Without subpoenaed testimony from the people on the scene, without the records and so forth, you don't.
    You do realize that your entire paragraph there does not respond in any way to the quoted observation preceding it, right? That you are just posting more personal and unsupported and incoherent speculation about what BP knew and when they knew it, what they did and why; that you (like the rest of us not provided with subpoena power) have no evidence, and are insistent on ignoring the circumstances apparent in the physical facts?

    And this flow volume/dispersant decision is just one detail, one apparent crime and collusion nexus amid the disaster - and the disaster merely one event in the larger context: we have the recent (at least) history of our government's dealings with BP, especially the last few years of drilling expansion into vulnerable areas, to get clear and straight in public. The setup of this disaster is as suspect, as full of dubious and odiferous circumstance, as the event.
  12. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member


    I believe I've shown repeatedly that I understand this event far far better than you do, and so since you have yet to show anything but unsupported allegations of wrong doing, I'll leave this thread as a monument to your lack of understanding.

    If you come up with something BESIDES more unsubstantiated allegations of wrong doing, let me know.


Share This Page