Skip to main content

Yesterday BP began an attempt at closing the well left open after the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion. They're employing a method called a "top kill." Basically, the goal was to force a high density fluid into the well until the weight of that fluid was enough to offset the pressure of the escaping gas and oil. A detailed description of the procedure (and the one of a kind hardware used in the attempt) is available at the Oil Drum.

The attempt was started around 2PM yesterday afternoon, and as of this morning the mud is still being pumped in. The good news is that there have been no obvious new leaks torn open by the high pressures used, and so far the system seems to be operating as designed. BP is saying that it may be a day or two before we know if the attempt has been successful, but things so far are (fingers crossed) going about as well as could be expected. On the other hand, Bobby Jindal is indicating that he was told the results would be clear much sooner. On the other hand, we are talking about Mr. the-feds-waste-money-preparing-for-unlikely-disasters Jindal, and so far it appears that his major motivation has been to insert his name into the news while making complaints that the government isn't acting fast enough.

One thing that might not be clear from watching the news: this isn't a matter of a dozen guys at BP and a PR team from the Obama administration. A "war room" full of industry experts from over 70 oil companies and drilling technology companies has been working on this problem night and day since the week of the explosion. If you count up the people from EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and Coast Guard assigned to this issue, the federal government has over 20,000 people involved. The response to this issue has been massive.

BP has done it's best (by failing to share video and using dispersants) to mask the size of the disaster, but both industry and government have responded to the problem on a scale appropriate the to massiveness of the issue. If if doesn't look like there's anything going on, it's just further evidence of the US news industry's inability to cover anything that isn't cut, dried, and packaged according to a well known script.

That said, the size of government and industry response should in no way be comforting. Even with that level of attention, the gusher is in its 36th day and the effects of the oil -- both financial and ecological -- are only beginning to be felt. The fact that government and industry are responding massively shows only that this kind of deep water drilling is far more dangerous and difficult than the oil industry ever admitted. Maybe even more dangerous than they knew.

This isn't a failure of response. It's a failure of imagination and preparation in planning for what might happen long before the tragedy aboard Deepwater Horizon.

And it's a very good reason to extend the ban on deep water drilling far beyond the six months President Obama will propose today.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:30 AM PDT.

Tags

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Coast Gaurd is saying that Top Kill worked (8+ / 0-)

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    See my diary on this.

  •  You could measure what Jindal knows (13+ / 0-)

    about the science and engineering with a thimble.

    Please help the people of Haiti

    by DWG on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:34:22 AM PDT

  •  Agree to completely disagree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pletzs, Tamifah

    "...but both industry and government have responded to the problem on a scale appropriate the to massiveness of the issue."

    •  then you need to lay out why (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citizen k, wader, Jibbly, Fogiv, kydoc

      and what should have been done differently after the accident which would have stopped the gusher and done a better job of containing it? Without this  your comment is nothing more than a knee jerk response.

      In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

      by jsfox on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:47:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  not helpful. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, Fogiv

      I'm sure the 20,000 experts working on the situation are breathlessly awaiting your instructions.

      Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

      by SottoVoce on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:00:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  An argument's not just contradiction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, Fogiv

      Mr Vibrating:     It can be.

      Man:   No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition.

      Mr Vibrating: No it isn't.

      Man: Yes it is. It isn't just contradiction.

      Mr Vibrating: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.

      Man: But it isn't just saying 'No it isn't'.

      Mr Vibrating: Yes it is.

      Man: No it isn't, Argument is an intellectual process ... contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

      Mr Vibrating: No it isn't.

      Man: Yes it is!

    •  I suppose the onus is on you to offer how (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kydoc

      this is a fact-based position, rather than the ideological one it appears to be.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:37:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Six month ban? They've had thirty-one years (14+ / 0-)

    since this happened in the gulf (Ixtoc 1979), and they haven't improved their disaster response techniques...though they are drilling in mile deep water instead of 200 feet.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:35:45 AM PDT

  •  Stop deep water drilling (6+ / 0-)

    ... right after we ban automobiles in the US.

    We are all smoking something if we think this hazard can be eliminated - by simply banning drilling.

    As Rei pointed out:  the world consumes 81 million barrels a day. There is way too much of this stuff being taken from point a to point b on any given day for this not to happen on a regular basis.

    •  Exactly. and it's being (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TDP

      transported in crappy tankers, and no one is monitoring their condition.

      And why do we need all this oil?  So we can drive our cars.  So who are the people who are responsible for the problems?  Pretty much everyone who went back to sleep after the 70's and ignored the importance of fuel efficiency, conservation, and alternate energy.

      Maybe what's driving the poutrage at Obama has something to do with guilt about our part in this disaster.

      I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

      by I love OCD on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:47:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pretty much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        I love OCD

        So much easier to say someone else "Fix it!!!" than having to admit to how much we use.

        For example, I sit here on a massive gaming rig, typing which comes up on a 26" LED screen, sitting under halogen lights.  I drive a Toyota Camry (wish I could afford a Hybrid) and I eat meat.

        The choices to reduce our energy use are there, we just need to nut up to the responsibility of making them happen.  For me, I will be moving to a smaller place, and hopefully find one which needs less air-conditioning than the one I am in.

        I will now need to take a complete look at my life, and see where I can make the changes.

        Oh no! Aliens! Bio-duplication! Nude conspiracies! Oh my god, Lyndon Larouche was right!

        by TDP on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:21:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oil still coming out? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tr4nqued, khowell, Tamifah, Churchill

    The stuff that's coming out still appears buoyant ("mud" is not). This is not over.

    •  This is my suspicion as well. (0+ / 0-)

      Mud should be sinking, but what is coming out is floating, suggesting that it is not mud but probably oil.

      Everything is permitted if it is directed toward stopping U.S. wars.

      by tr4nqued on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:42:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To expand a bit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader

      Compare this to a faucet with hot and cold water. The pressure in each pipe upstream is very high (~100psi). When you open just the hot water and set it to a trickle, the rate of flow is set by how small the restriction is in the stem of the hot water valve. Now keep opening the cold valve. You will have more and more flow, but the amount of flow at the hot valve remains roughly the same. You are not pushing cold water into the hot side, unless 1) you plug the faucet and 2) make sure the pressure at the plugged faucet  is higher than in the hot side pipe.

      Both oil and "mud" are flowing through mile-long pipes, and if there is a residual leak (such as at the valves of the BOP), the pressure loss due to flow is large. To see what I mean, try to plug the faucet with your finger -- if you succeed, you managed to counteract ~100psi.

      What we know now is that a full barge of "mud" already got expended (see the link in the first comment by Hesiod, http://www.dailykos.com/... I think all of it (cold water) is in the gulf. The stuff coming out of the BOP still contains light (buoyant) material (hot water), and the point to which the "mud" got is right at the BOP leak (faucet).

      I hope I am wrong.

  •  Oil Drum is has (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, Tamifah, jnhobbs

    a comparison video up.  There's some description there that's helpful.

    Deepwater Oil Spill: Comparison of Flows

    "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is." Vonnegut

    by khowell on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:37:06 AM PDT

  •  They are drilling a relief (12+ / 0-)

    well.  I was reading that in most parts of the world a relief well is supposed to be dug at the same time when a new well is dug.  I wonder why BP didn't have a second well.  I suppose our government doesn't require it.

  •  Precisely (10+ / 0-)

    This isn't a failure of response. It's a failure of imagination and preparation in planning for what might happen long before the tragedy aboard Deepwater Horizon.

    The one thing BP has probably done well is "trying to stop the oil."  They have done badly at three discrete other things:

    --failing to minimize the chance that a disaster would occur

    --failing to contemplate how to deal with a disaster, should it occur

    --failing to disclose the magnitude of the disaster

    Those are the things I'd focus on.  My personal view is that the second is the most important, though it's the least sexy.  When corporate shills say that "accidents happen" they're right, but we shouldn't let inherently dangerous things proceed unless we're satisfied (and I do mean "us" rather than them) that there are solid plans to deal with any eventuality.  

    This machine makes fascists feel bad. (Meteor Blades-approved version)

    by Rich in PA on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:37:41 AM PDT

  •  The Oil Drum is fantastic... (6+ / 0-)

    Jindal is an empty-headed asshole.

    Time to start pushing for the energy/climate bill.

    "How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?"

    by Cure7802 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:37:55 AM PDT

  •  LAT is reporting that the Top Kill is working! (6+ / 0-)
    http://www.latimes.com/...

    "Reporting from Houma, La.Engineers have succeeded in stopping the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico from a gushing BP well, the federal government's top oil spill commander, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said Thursday morning.

    The "top kill" effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, has pumped enough drilling fluid to block all oil and gas from the well, Allen said. The pressure from the well is very low, but persists, he said.

    Once engineers have reduced the well pressure to zero, they will begin to pump cement into the hole to entomb the well. To help that effort, he said, engineers are also pumping some debris into the blowout preventer at the top of the well."

    Jim Manley: "Republicans are making love to Wall Street, while the people on Main Street are getting screwed."

    by Drdemocrat on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:38:56 AM PDT

  •  Wasn't it nice of Carville (10+ / 0-)

    to crawl out of the bed he shares with Dick Cheneys biggest fan and leave the comfort of his huge comfortable home near DC and make believe he cares about the toothless in LA.

    "WE'RE DYING DOWN HERE" he screamed.If that were somehow true I can assure you James Carville would have  been back in DC  a long time ago.

    http://dumpjoe.com/

    by ctkeith on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:39:03 AM PDT

  •  Corporate media has devolved to the point (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, Fogiv, eXtina, FrankSpoke

    where they aren't capable of much more then repeating on what is spoon fed to them.

  •  RE: Mary Matalin in the news crying yesterday (6+ / 0-)

    I could not stomach her hypocrisy.

    The same as Jindal's. They Hate Big government, but complain when they THINK the government isn't doing enough.

    She is such a sanctimonious bitch, I switched channels every time I saw her her boohooing.

    We all want it to be fixed, but it was HER oilmen buddies that helped create this whole fiasco.

    "The Public Option = Peace of Mind for all Citizens."      -- R.L.

    by Canaryinthecoalmine on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:41:04 AM PDT

  •  Other countries have far stricter regulations (10+ / 0-)

    and far better enforcement of the regulations. It's no accident that this disaster happened here after years of Reagan-Bush-Cheney deregulation and gutting of regulatory oversight.

    And we have subsidized deep drilling encouraging companies to take huge, unwarranted risks. The subsidies must be removed.

    Deep drilling and Arctic drilling must be stopped.

    The proposed offshore Virginia drilling must be stopped to protect the Outer Banks and deepwater corals. We cannot repeat this disaster on the east coast.

    look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:41:08 AM PDT

  •  I will go with Einstein on this one (8+ / 0-)

    “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” Therefore, I do not believe off shore drilling has any place in our energy matrix.

    It is clear that a blow out such as this could become impossible to correct and what the hell would we do then? I shudder to think. Unless they can develop a fool proof, and I mean fool proof way to shut down a well permanently under duress then we have no business drilling the hole. The meager amounts of oil do not warrant the risk of entire sections of our oceans and coastlines.

    The Ongoing Drama of Palin's Place - for your latest in faux outrage and professional victomhood.

    by delmardougster on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:41:22 AM PDT

    •  had they followed accepted procedures.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, BoxNDox

      ..and simply halted the effort when the BOV became crippled (i.e.: battery status, secondary control unit exhibiting intermittent failure, annular seal material ejection), this entire disaster could, it appears, have been prevented. Of course, that assumes that checking BOV battery status is an item on their procedural checklist...

      If the ass-hats in charge would follow what the engineers design, it tends to all work. The countries that require additional safety enhancements for drill sites assume that people will fuck up, when given a chance.

      The US says, "Don't worry. We won't fuck up - this isn't Russia, you know? People who work in our country know what they're doing".

      Followed by, "Ooops."

  •  I saw Carville's lastest rant on the spill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, BoxNDox

    I think being married to that woman has finally tiped him over the edge into loony land.

    Also, just got a text saying that the coast guard says the leak has been stopped for now but too early to claim victory.

    http://protestarizona.com

    by GlowNZ on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:41:42 AM PDT

  •  We have turned so much responsibility for (7+ / 0-)

    public safety over to corporations that cannot be trusted to serve anyone’s interests but their own.

    We need to require safety measures and enforce them. If they do not comply pull their corporate charter.

    a cock crowed... welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.

    by DupageBlue on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:41:51 AM PDT

  •  Exactly. The size of the massive response isn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester

    something to crow about it. Rather it shows the enormity of the problem and the unpreparedness of dealing with it or anticipating it, and BP's rush to drill without proper preparation

  •  BP has done its best . . . (7+ / 0-)

    Facing more than 100 lawsuits after its Gulf of Mexico oil spill killed 11 workers and threatened four coastal states, oil giant BP is asking the courts to place every pre-trial issue in the hands of a single federal judge in Houston. ...

    That judge, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, has traveled the world giving lectures on ethics for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, a professional association and research group that works with BP and other oil companies. The organization pays his travel expenses. Hughes has also collected royalties from several energy companies, including ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy, from investments in mineral rights, his financial disclosure forms show.

    Hughes, appointed to the bench in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan, declined to comment for this report.

    [more]:
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/...

    The news: whether you like it or not. -- James Poniewozik

    by RhodaA on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:42:15 AM PDT

  •  Thank you... (6+ / 0-)

    One thing that might not be clear from watching the news: this isn't a matter of a dozen guys at BP and a PR team from the Obama administration. A "war room" full of industry experts from over 70 oil companies and drilling technology companies has been working on this problem night and day since the week of the explosion. If you count up the people from EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and Coast Guard assigned to this issue, the federal government has over 20,000 people involved. The response to this issue has been massive.

    BP has done it's best (by failing to share video and using dispersants) to mask the size of the disaster, but both industry and government have responded to the problem on a scale appropriate the to massiveness of the issue. If if doesn't look like there's anything going on, it's just further evidence of the US news industry's inability to cover anything that isn't cut, dried, and packaged according to a well known script.

    If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library? Lily Tomlin

    by msmacgyver on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:42:28 AM PDT

  •  Finally! (7+ / 0-)

    Thankyou. For further evidence of what is actually going on I suggest reading this email to Josh Marshall from someone who is working the spill from BP's Houston HQ.

    It's over at TPM but here's a salient piece -

    At BP's West Houston complex, there's a command center filled with personnel from around the industry working with BP engineers. Several drill ships are in place. Tons of workboats are on site. There are 5 or more ROVs roaming the wellhead monitoring and cleaning things up. They're already bumping into each other because they normally work solo while tied to a ship by a mile long umbilical cable. They don't need more ROVs down there adding to the traffic. All these efforts are reported heavily in the Houston Chronicle and nola.com, but doesn't seem to get much for national coverage. If you only monitor the national coverage, you'd think BP is going it alone while we all sit by, but the reality is this is an industry-wide effort because we all know what's at stake.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:43:10 AM PDT

  •  the US news industry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mwmwm

    sent a man underwater in a hazmat suit to review dispersant deep down in the water, found that there had been a defect in the concrete casing of the "black back" safety device, and that seawater had been used rather than mud while drilling. that reporting was packaged? quit talking shit about us - it's getting old. it's equally as pathetic as when right wingers scream, "the liberal media!"

    The public option will live on. Don't surrender.

    by owl06 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:43:12 AM PDT

  •  Great point regarding (0+ / 0-)

    the failure of imagination.

    When I see the unintended consequences rolling out like an avalanche, I can't help but think about the engineer-driven attitudes about geoengineering.

    Given that it has taken more than a month to engage a mile below sea level -- and that the dispersants may have created new dangers to more biosystems than just the oil itself -- it makes me even more suspicious about thinking that we can do something a mile up without consequences, imagining we can mitigate climate chaos with technical whiz-bangery.

    Things like spraying sulfur dioxide; building cloud ships to pump clouds endlessly; send sparklies into orbit; spreading iron across the ocean surface to stimulate algal blooms to capture carbon.....

    In the BP case, the problem was located in a single, locatable spot, and it's taken more than a month. It's likely to do outrageous damage to the fishing industry, the tourist industry, and the property values of the Gulf cost -- not to mention the millions of deaths of living creatures in the water and on the shore.

    And the death of the wetlands may expose the 25,000 miles of oil pipeline to hurricanes and rogue waves...

    Whoops! We didn't think we'd make any misteakes!

    We need to rethink ourselves. Just because we can do something technically doesn't mean that we should -- or that we can do it without dramatic unintended consequences.

    Humoring the horror of environmental collapse: ApocaDocs.com.
    4300+ stories and mal mots.

    by mwmwm on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:43:14 AM PDT

  •  What about the second leak? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RhodaA

    I know right now all attention is rightful being concentrated on the first leak, but there is a second leak that appears to be worse than they told us still.

    A BP Cover-up? (DC Bureau)

    According to NPR,  using a well established scientific method of video analysis to calculate the flow of the biggest of the three leaks, Dr. Steve Wereley determined that it could be 10 times the initial estimate. Wereley then analyzed a second leak, which he reported to Capitol Hill on Wednesday. He said that the second leak alone appeared to be bigger than BP’s estimate of 5,000 barrels a day. His total estimate for the two leaks comes to 100,000 barrels a day, and he has yet to analyze the third leak.

    The job of just stopping the leaks has not been finished. We have a long ways to go still.

    Four out five sock puppets agree

    by se portland on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:44:32 AM PDT

    •  This could/will stop the flow ahead of all leaks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      se portland, BoxNDox

      The blowout preventer is upstream of all of the leaks.  Also, I wouldn't put too much stock in the estimate of one scientist with access to limited information against the team of hundreds of scientists put together by government and industry.

  •  Thank you, Mark (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, bear83, eXtina, BoxNDox, damfino

    You speak to the very heart of this problem:

    The fact that government and industry are responding massively shows only that this kind of deep water drilling is far more dangerous and difficult than the oil industry ever admitted. Maybe even more dangerous than they knew.

    I keep pondering why no emergency procedures had ever been tested in deep water - was it because of cost or because they presumed their technology was foolproof?

    I've been watching the BP technical updates all along and trying to tell people how the crisis management center was filled with personnel from the other majors and tech companies.  Since they didn't see it on cable news, no one believed it.

    Sometimes it's better to individually address a problem rather than just criticize our politicians for failing to do so.

    by texasmom on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:45:49 AM PDT

  •  My Thought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, RhodaA

    and so far it appears that his major motivation has been to insert his name into the news while making complaints that the government isn't acting fast enough.

    Exactly!!

    In every report read or the cuts seen all I keep thinking is photo op, just like the rest {thinking hockey puck, beck,rush} no contribution nor policy idea's nor does he look like he's helping his state in organizing or using state resources, the people there seem to be taking all that on themselves with no leadership from him, just blab blab blab!

    "What is the difference between an al Qaida terrorist and a misguided American terrorist?" "The planes they fly!"

    by jimstaro on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:45:58 AM PDT

  •  16 min b/f blowout should have evaced the rig (0+ / 0-)

    but they didn't.  The level of the pressure was unstable the last 1 hour, but when they knew it was going to blow they hit the blind rams and didn't evacuate the rig, so 11 died.

    80 % of success is just showing up! Obama HAS to show up to the Gulf, and DO SOMETHING

    by Churchill on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:49:16 AM PDT

    •  I think the Schlumberger crew (5+ / 0-)

      believed the well was unstable several hours before that.  They left the platform around 11 hours before the blow-out, leaving all their logging tools behind, after refusing to run a cement bond log.  

      That is the testimony I want to hear.

      Sometimes it's better to individually address a problem rather than just criticize our politicians for failing to do so.

      by texasmom on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:55:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On a much less deadly note... (6+ / 0-)

      I was running an exploration drill one day, probing the boundaries of old mines. This was a portable rig, drilling down only a couple of thousand feet.

      But because the strata above these mines had collapsed, there were a lot of fractures and drilling mud was being lost so fast I couldn't keep up circulation. Without circulation, I couldn't clear the "chips" made from the bit grinding through rock out of the hole. As a result, the 2000' column of steel was "binding" against the walls of the hole and the hydraulic pressure it took to keep it turning was going up and up.

      Only about 50' short of the target depth, I stopped the down pressure, left the steel turning, and went to call the owner of the rig. I told them that we needed to pull out of the hole, cap it, move over and try again. But we'd been on that site already for longer than they planned, and they ordered me to keep going.

      10' later, the hydraulic hose blew. We ended up losing the hole, losing weeks of time, and leaving over 1000' of steel in the ground.

      You can guess what happened next -- they fired me.

  •  For the Future (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    One has to ask: If the U.S. government can afford to have all the hardware and expertise in place to deal with thousands of Soviet tanks as they roll across the German plain, if the U.S. government prepares that lavishly for that unlikely event, why the fuck can't it get its own submarines, robots and experts so that -- in the future -- it won't have to rely on BP to fix the leak?

    Talk about an entire political culture captured by an obsolete narrative.

    This is how empires fall.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:49:58 AM PDT

  •  Don't Lose the Lesson (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, BachFan, BoxNDox

    This isn't a failure of response. It's a failure of imagination and preparation in planning for what might happen long before the tragedy aboard Deepwater Horizon.

    Devilstower perfectly summed up what I've been thinking since Day 1 of this crisis.  Corporations can't do shit without having a solution for when it all hits the fan.  As a mom, my job was to imagine the worst possible thing that could (in)conceivably happen to my kids - and then prevent it from happening.  All in all, not a bad approach when the stakes are so high.  

    I grieve for the Louisiana coast and wonder when, if ever, it will be as it was.

    "Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really." -- Agnes Sligh Turnball

    by EyeStreetMom on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:50:19 AM PDT

  •  don't forget... (2+ / 0-)

    ... within minutes of news that Top Kill seems to be working, BP stock is up 5%.

    It's always the money, stupid.

  •  Ironic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, BachFan, BoxNDox, FrankSpoke

    As real sore spot for me:  the same yahoos that scream that government is the problem and government can't do anything right are now screaming for the government to get in there, push BP aside, and plug that gusher.  Like the government knows more than the oil industry about drilling.  What is painfully obvious is that even the oil industry, with all its engineers, scientists, etc. doesn't know how to handle this crisis.

    The media's coverage is woeful as usual.  As Devilstower points out here, there is a lot going on behind the scenes.  It's not just BP, dithering and obsfucating - many governmental entities, companies and experts are working on this.  I just hope that it's enough and that it works.

    "Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really." -- Agnes Sligh Turnball

    by EyeStreetMom on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:03:52 AM PDT

  •  pitch-perfect summation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, happymisanthropy, BoxNDox

    It's a failure of imagination and preparation in planning for what might happen long before the tragedy aboard Deepwater Horizon.

    ..which is nurtured by the US-led business climate of more profit at all costs. Hey it's just business as usual around here.. As cynic noted, reality demands that oil explo[r|it]ation/production continue. So..

    ..the penalty for this fiasco, created by BP not adhering to the most basic accepted capping off procedures after ignoring accumulating warning signs (provided the 60 Mins. segment/eyewitness and the emerging "pre-explosion" revelations prove accurate), should logically be of a magnitude to discourage similar behavior in the future -

    i.e.: wipe BP off the map.

    Pres. Obama - want to let the nation know who you really represent? Before all the experts go home, have them each give an estimate for the number of barrels leaked into the Gulf.. average them out.. and then hit BP with the maximum penalty, because it was caused by their negligence.. oh, and then ban BP from any new exploration in/around the US for 15 years.

    If only.

  •  thanks for the sober analysis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoxNDox

    20,000 people involved - where there this many involved in Katrina emergency handling...? eh Bobby?

    DailyKos: the "Free Ice Cream for Everybody" crowd!

    by louisev on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:20:33 AM PDT

  •  This is a very fair summary (0+ / 0-)

    This is quite possibly the most straightforward and accurate summary I've heard since this whole thing began.

    The only qualm I'd have is that it ought to be mentioned that BP and the Fed's 5,000 barrel/day estimate is what they're sticking to... I get "masking the size of the disaster" in terms of not releasing information that they have, but I don't think it's remotely clear that the third-party estimates of the spill magnitude are any better than those put forth by BP along with the Coast Guard et al.  If someone in the government credibly thought that the 5k/day number was off by an order of magnitude, the information would get out.

  •  I think it is a failure of response, as well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester

    BP clearly tried to cover up the extent of the problem, thereby delaying the massive intervention about which the diarist writes.  It appears that, even after the explosion, BP's primary motivation was financial - first taking a bunch of half measures that could have preserved their ability to use the well for production purposes, before finally succombing to the reality that the well had to be closed permanently.

  •  Thank you Mark. (0+ / 0-)

    Never doubted that the administration was doing everything and anything it could.

    I'm hopeful as well that the six month moratorium is only the beginning of some badly needed regulatory changes and real steps towards a Green economy.

    Stepping up to life eliminates the capacity for bullshit. - Robinswing

    by Onomastic on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:38:28 AM PDT

  •  20K+from day one working behind scenes... (0+ / 0-)

    ...needs to be stuffed up gov jindals butt to stop his pr blather attempts to make the oil spill Obama's [katrina].  This is why understed and low profile does not work in Obama's best interests.

    Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

    by kalihikane on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:45:45 AM PDT

  •  Intersting (0+ / 0-)

    One thing that might not be clear from watching the news: this isn't a matter of a dozen guys at BP and a PR team from the Obama administration. A "war room" full of industry experts from over 70 oil companies and drilling technology companies has been working on this problem night and day since the week of the explosion. If you count up the people from EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and Coast Guard assigned to this issue, the federal government has over 20,000 people involved. The response to this issue has been massive.

    Interesting that the media isn't reporting this.  Instead they're focusing on the bitching from Carville & Matlin.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:01:17 AM PDT

  •  good name, since everything on top getting killed (0+ / 0-)

    sigh

  •  But the did know the danger. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Sumner aka Devilstower

    the Ixtoc spill (in the 1970's) took nine months to get under control, and it dumped 10-30 thousand barrels into the gulf per day.

    They knew.

  •  Further Evidence (0+ / 0-)

    If if doesn't look like there's anything going on, it's just further evidence of the US news industry's inability to cover anything that isn't cut, dried, and packaged according to a well known script.

    Obama's government has the usual propaganda organs, starting with the Press Secretary's office, plus the new (and questionably ethical) orgs like "Obama for America". If this story wasn't cut, dried and packaged according to a well known (to the White House, anyway) script, that's the White House's fault.

    There is absolutely no reason why Obama couldn't have invited a few TV news spokesmodels like Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric to tour the response with Press Secretary Gibbs, without dividing the actual response's attention. Such a demonstration would have been leadership for the public, filling the vacuum of anxiety most Americans (and people around the world) have felt without such demos.

    Obama's public outreach has been his strongest asset, what got him the most votes. His failure to deliver it in this defining moment is inexplicable. But we do have some evidence to eventually piece together why that missing link didn't appear.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:37:52 AM PDT

  •  I'd just like to point out (0+ / 0-)

    that a "massive" government response is not necessarily an effective one.  In fact, size can be detrimental to prompt, effective action unless it is managed and coordinated very, very well.

    Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. - James Russell Lowell

    by Deep Harm on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:50:20 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site