The "Well Integrity Test" Is a Sham: "This Bet Is Against The Citizens Of The United States Of America Being Smart Enough To Figure Any Of This Out" → Washingtons Blog
The "Well Integrity Test" Is a Sham: "This Bet Is Against The Citizens Of The United States Of America Being Smart Enough To Figure Any Of This Out" - Washingtons Blog

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The "Well Integrity Test" Is a Sham: "This Bet Is Against The Citizens Of The United States Of America Being Smart Enough To Figure Any Of This Out"

Yesterday, I pointed out that two oil industry experts - Robert Cavnar and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister - said that the "well integrity test" should not be conducted because there is no benefit, and it could very well blow out the well.

Cavnar thinks that the well integrity tests are really an attempt by BP to underestimate the amount of oil gushing out - and so pay lower fines under the Clean Water Act (fines are calculated by the number of barrels leaking into the Gulf) - by waiting to "test" the flow until the flow has been reduced. In the real world, of course, BP could have tested the flow from day one.

Today, an oil and gas industry veteran with 30 years experience who goes by the alias Fishgrease says that the well integrity test is a PR stunt meant to fool the American people:

Yesterday, Our Government bought in to BP's lies and maneuvering. Yesterday, Our Government approved the Integrity Test. That test is now underway.


We later received information that the Oil States FlexJoint actually in place is a Model 5, and therefore has a MWP (maximum working pressure) of 5000 psi. So now, the pressures Our Government has signed off on applying, are at least 2,000 psi differential pressure over the rating of the component!


I've been battling comments that, surely, this component has a "safety allowance" well above its rating. Boomers, this is pure horseshit. When you're pressuring up against metal with hydrocarbons, the "maximum" in "maximum working pressure" fucking means MAXIMUM. Purposefully exceeding MWP is, in fact, criminally actionable. MWP is enforced in the Oil & Gas industry with perfect vigor. There is no tolerance for exceeding MWP. None. Never. Ever.

You. Don't. Fucking. Do. It.

BP is PLANNING on doing it! They would not and could not do it without the U.S. Government taking full responsibility, in the name of Thad Allen, for the consequences of over-pressuring the FlexJoint.


That's alarming enough, but there are many bad things that can happen when you're just sitting there circulating on bottom at 17,840... FOR DAYS. Now that they're having problems with the choke on the capping stack, it might easily be DAYS AND DAYS. You can lose circulation and get stuck. You can lose a mud pump for a matter of minutes and get stuck. You can lose the section of un-cased hole you just drilled (which is at a critical point for the intercept) and make directional control much more difficult getting it back. There are more, and worse things that could happen, but I won't mention them because the crew and equipment on that relief well are the absolute best, and none of those worse things will happen.

But why take these risks? For what? The first relief well is SO close (now stopped)! They have the ability to capture and measure ALL the oil! We already KNOW there is damage downhole! Why would the Government of the United States of America sign off on, and take responsibility for this foolishness?


I need to include here that I think this "test" is probably a good political and public relations bet for both the Obama administration and BP. It's really not a test at all and has no chance of actually testing anything about the well, except their ability to shut it in with no surface leaks. They want to shut in the well and get it off the nightly news. They want that so badly they're willing to risk anything for it. That's both BP and Our Government. They shut in the well and Thad Allen is a hero. They fail and he's no more of a moron than he has been for the last three months. If they succeed in shutting it in or not, any damage they've done in the "test" that makes the kill operation more difficult, or even impossible, will be a matter of opinion. This bet is against the citizens of the United States of America being smart enough to figure any of this out. It's not a bet on actual physical outcomes. It has nothing at all to do with what's the best plan for stopping this disaster.

Politics. Public Relations.

Indeed, the well integrity test is exactly like the stress test for the banks: a meaningless PR stunt devised by the industry itself with the blessing of government. See this and this.


  1. ahahah Obama... is that a name for a president?

  2. GW -- I'm a little confused by this post. Why would there be a headline of "Obama to BP: Don't Shut In Well"?

    Is the contention that both BP and Obama really want to ensure that the leak is stopped 100%, and are willing to gamble on this PR move to determine if they can or not? It seems like getting the relief well online ASAP and cutting the flow by 80-100% is the best possible PR out there for both Obama and BP, even in the 80% scenario.

    Perhaps you can spell it out for me a little more clearly -- why do you think they're going through this charade?

    (Keep up the great work!)

  3. What is most striking and noticeable is the absence of Science in this great oil disaster to solve a physics problem.

    In spite of the propaganda, the oil well is not that big of a physics problem in a practical sense, there are many viable Science solutions.

    My favorite science solution to stop the oil flow is Dr. Bloomfield’s method to back-fill the drill hole; simple but brilliant!

    Containing and removing the oil from the water before it reaches shore 48 miles away is also a simple Physics problem.

    Modern oil recovery foreign supertankers could have prevented the oil from spreading from the wellhead site with known Science that is available.

    Containment and removal of oil before it hits landfall has never been the objective of BP and the government; dispersants were used from day one!

    Corruption, propaganda, stalling for time, secrets, and lies is all we get!

    The M.O is the same- “Bank Stress Test” we ate; so why not buy “Well Stress Test”?

    With the New World Order (World Banksters and Big Oil) in the middle of their play for world domination; I can only conclude that the oil disaster is a planned ecological and economic genocide of the American People!

    All they need is more time!

  4. This article loses all credibility when you have to swear to get your point across.

  5. You mean the article at dailykos which was the link source of the person who actually said the statement. Did you just lose credibility Paul?

  6. The flange is an API 6A 5KSI rated flange. There is a substantial safety factor on one of these - they are vastly overdesigned. In general operating parameters, what Fishgrease says is correct, you want to keep pressure on the flange under what the rating states, but in situations like this, API can be overriden by a Professional Engineer.

    This is common practice in the oilfield as evidenced by several flange modification procedures (especially lockdown screw holes in tubing head flanges, Speedlock connections, etc). Furthermore, all of these flanges are pressure tested to 1.5x working pressure prior to shipment anyway, which is far in excess of the maximum differential pressure it will see. Personally, I have seen API 5K flanges in excess of 16KSI still hold pressure.

    In summary, questioning the rating of the flanges is a waste of time - a desperate attempt by people trying to generate extra airtime for themselves. People need to stop fearmongering about this event and begin looking at what needs to be done for cleanup.

  7. This question is for "Fishgrease"...Is it not important to find out what the well will pressure up to? Don't they need to know if the well will hold pressure?

  8. On July 27, BP will publicly announce their 2nd-quarter financial results. No doubt they'd like to have some good news to encourage investors. That could be a motivation for them to shutin the well, even though they have to suspend drilling the relief wells to accomplish this. I just hope Thad Allen wouldn't sign off on a high-risk procedure unless there was better justification, but the statements by Hoffmeister do give me some doubts.

    Of course, if the well holds, nobody will second-guess this decision.

  9. Haha, you think the politiscum don't know that BP is lying? You think they're innocent dupes? That's hilarious. :)


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