Government Stops Oil Well Integrity Test, Relief Well Drilling Temporarily Stopped, Chaos Reins → Washingtons Blog
Government Stops Oil Well Integrity Test, Relief Well Drilling Temporarily Stopped, Chaos Reins - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Government Stops Oil Well Integrity Test, Relief Well Drilling Temporarily Stopped, Chaos Reins

Yesterday, I explained what is happening with the efforts to stop the oil gusher.

I have some important updates.

Initially, it turns out that it was the government which ordered the delay in the well integrity test. As Bloomberg points out:

BP Plc delayed testing on its latest effort to stop the largest U.S. oil spill in history after the Obama administration ordered further study of the plan to seal a well that’s been spewing crude into the ocean since April.


The delay came after Energy Secretary steven Chu and a team of experts said more analysis was needed, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said in a statement last night.

Rather than a one-day delay, as was being reported yesterday, AP notes that this is an "if-when" situation:

"Our basic position was, if you can give us the answers we need ... then go ahead," the [anonymous government] official said. Until then, "they can't go forward."

The official stressed that the government was acting out of "an abundance of caution" and still hopes the temporary cap can be placed on the well.

Indeed, even BP hasn't been sounding all that confident about a well integrity test. From another AP story:

"Everybody hope and pray that we are seeing high pressures here," said senior BP vice president Kent Wells.


The integrity test, however, was not without danger and Wells admitted that pressure caused by closing the valves too quickly on the cap could send oil shooting up from a new leak on the sea floor.

"The worst-case scenario is that it could actually broach back to the sea floor," Wells said.

But perhaps most importantly, work on the relief wells has been halted pending the completion of the well integrity test. As CNN notes :

Work on two relief wells — seen as the ultimate solution to the oil disaster — was suspended.

Wells said work on the first relief well, expected to be completed in August, was delayed while officials prepare for the integrity test out of an abundance of caution. It is possible, though unlikely, that shutting in the well as part of the integrity test could cause the back side of the relief well to be blown out, Wells said.

“It’s a good precaution to take at this time,” he said. However, the delay will set the relief well progress back by one to two days.

Bloomberg quotes the frustration of an oil industry expert:

“There are too many cooks in the kitchen,” said David Pursell, an analyst at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. in Houston and a former petroleum engineer who conducted pressure tests. “Everybody in this process has said the single and best chance of stopping this flow is the relief well, and now they’ve held up the relief well while they’re figuring out protocol.”

MSNBC correctly notes that this raises a lot of questions:

If BP and the government had been forthcoming about the oil spill, we wouldn't have to guess about what's going on, and we wouldn't worry that something bad is happening behind the scenes.

But BP and the government have done everything in their power to cover up the facts. BP has tried to cover up its blunders by lowballing spill estimates, keeping reporters out of areas hardest hit by the oil (and see this, this, this and this) and threatening to arrest them if they try to take pictures (and see this), hiding dead birds and other sealife, and using dispersants to hide the amount of spilled oil (the dispersants are only worsening the damage caused by the spill).

The government is aiding and abetting the cover-up. See this and this.

So we may only know what is going on right now long after the fact, when a whistleblower spills the beans.


  1. Dear GW,

    Given the presence of the "mysterious" second pipe that presumably precluded the BOP shears from closing, I suspect that the casing downhole is compromised. If this is correct, no amount of capping will help as the oil is now flowing through the formation in a number of places. If this supposition is correct, then the pressure readings would remain low.

    I suspect that we may be looking at a new permanent feature on the floor of the "golfo de petroleo" that will cease only when the reservoir pressure equilibrates with than of the sea floor.

    The next question is how the 500 degree F oil/methane mixture affects the frozen methane hydrates.

    One thing is sure, the truth will never come from the BP/MMS oil mafia.

    Keep up the Good Work,

    Kt (an old mechanical engineer)

  2. Dear GW,

    Looks like I'm not alone in my concerns:



  3. Guess what? This is how the corporate elite oligarchy ruling party does things. They control the governments that follow their rules.

  4. This is not a spill! It's a blowout! It's an open ended equation as oppossed to a finite solution. I "spill" a glass of water. I blowout countless millions of barrels of oil. Please note the difference. A spill sounds benign. It's not!

  5. "And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and that had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed."
    Revelation 8:8-9

    None of this can be chalked up to accident. The geological properties of the area, and the nature of the deep oil system, were well known to the experts. The Gulf is one of the oldest and most studied drilling areas in the world.

    A former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton says that the only thing which can rescue Barack Obama’s increasingly tenuous grip on power as his approval figures continue to plunge is a terror attack on the scale of Oklahoma City or 9/11, another startling reminder that such events only ever serve to benefit those in authority.

    Buried in a Financial Times article about Obama’s “growing credibility crisis” and fears on behalf of Democrats that they could lose not only the White House but also the Senate to Republicans, Robert Shapiro makes it clear that Obama is relying on an October surprise in the form of a terror attack to rescue his presidency.

    “The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership,” said Shapiro, adding, “He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.”

    The ELE will be triggered ...

    BP’s new capping of this well, and if successful, would stem very little of the oil and methane gas escaping into the Gulf and appears designed as a “gimmick” to fool the American public and keep their attention diverted from the actual location of this spill which is coming from the fractured seafloor itself, and as we had previously reported on in our June 10th report “Scientists Warn Gulf Of Mexico Sea Floor Fractured “Beyond Repair”.

    To BP’s truer plan to stop this catastrophe through the use of a ‘Super Weapon’ we can read as reported by the Salem News Service, and which, in part, says:

    “In a desperate attempt to stop a huge area of the Gulf ocean floor from possibly rupturing due to subterranean methane gas (leading to a calamity no human has ever seen) BP has ripped a page from science fiction books.

    The giant oil company is now quietly preparing to test a small nuclear device in a frenzied rush against time to quell a cascading catastrophe. If successful they will have the capability to detonate a controlled fusion generated pulse.

    While the world watches BP's attempt to contain the oil gusher at the former Deepwater Horizon site, company officials have given the green light on an astounding plan to use what is known as a nuclear EPFCG charge if all else fails.”

  6. The Fed and BP are the ones who need to take an integrity test.

  7. It seems to me that we have not been told the truth from the begining. I try to keep my 87 year old, ret. Sailor Dad, up to date, but he is beginning to believe that I am trying to amuse him with a 'old oilfield story, from when I worked out there in the early '80's'.
    I'm starting to believe that this nation is coming apart at the screws and nobody knows where the screw-driver is kept for events, the likes of which we are living in.
    Now we just talk about the weather and he still looks at me like I'm the 'weirdo'.
    This is too serious, and he has done his part, so I'll watch things fall apart and tell him that it might rain.


→ Thank you for contributing to the conversation by commenting. We try to read all of the comments (but don't always have the time).

→ If you write a long comment, please use paragraph breaks. Otherwise, no one will read it. Many people still won't read it, so shorter is usually better (but it's your choice).

→ The following types of comments will be deleted if we happen to see them:

-- Comments that criticize any class of people as a whole, especially when based on an attribute they don't have control over

-- Comments that explicitly call for violence

→ Because we do not read all of the comments, I am not responsible for any unlawful or distasteful comments.