Monday, May 31, 2010

Cutting the riser (liveblog)

(Once again, for those interested much fuller explanation of what's happening is in the most recent comments here.)

Thurs 7:39am: See new post.

10:30pm: Yes they are...dispersing like mad. The camera has been showing "Dispersant Ops," busy gas-looking nozzles with shut-off levers, gas, etc. Remember that Corexit 9500 is a known carcinogen, banned in the UK for surface use. But not only that. It has never been tested at 5,000 feet underwater, and it kills the microbes that consume the oil (see recent comments at TOD for research links). The only thing it doesn't damage is BP's pocketbook (they own the company that makes it, which is why they never followed the direct order by the EPA to find less toxic substitutes). It isn't just "soap" and ice cream. It doesn't disappear the oil, but only breaks it into tiny drops that are consumable by organisms (if there are still any left, not dead), and then becomes exponentially more toxic as it moves up the food chain. Update: or maybe not? Who the fuck knows.

8:09pm: As we continue to wait...I must say I've learned an awful lot in the last few days from The Oil Drum, despite the odd balance between BP/oil industry apologists and conspiracy ignoramuses (I've been accused of saying things that peg me as the latter, never confused for the former). But also being a longtime carpenter, I feel much affinity for the tone as well as substance of this comment (excerpted):

This blog at The Oil Drum is by far the most informative source I’ve found about the current BP Gulf blow out. It is filled with concerned people with a wide range of different expertise....I’ve learned a lot about deep well drilling, far more than I knew before starting. The post on Mud Drills was mind boggling. I wish that some of you could feed your wealth of information to the general media which has very little sophistication on this highly specialized topic. The Media often repeats the same simple information over and over.

Presently the live feed from shows virtually nothing and has been this way for at least the last 45 minutes (now 4PM west coast). Why BP doesn’t show something more informative from one of the half a dozen ROVs that must be down there is annoying. When BP originally was pressured to make a video feed available to the public it showed a bank of screens with maybe 8-12 screens and even had audio into the control room. Now they only show one screen with no audio, and almost never switch ROVs. They could do more.

As a long time carpenter who has dealt with saw blades usually cutting wood but often cutting pipe I was dismayed to see them set up their clever diamond wire band saw to start the cut on the side of the bend. Many here have already pointed out that to minimize or even avoid jamming a blade you always cut so the force of the drop piece you are cutting is away from the blade, in this instance at the back of the bend of the riser.

2:43pm: Some video and screencaps of pulling off the band saw (after 12 hours of zero progress, only a visibly worse spill rate). Appear to be hauling broken cutter, or parts of cutter to the surface (no back-up? Any builder could have (and did) predict this thing pinching when the pipe moved and getting stuck (they're trying to cut through two different walls of pipe, btw). At this point it all looks like another disastrous failure of a day, to me. Imagine it will take some time to clean up and regroup. Comments express frustration that ROV's are not performing like CNC routers, keep dropping things, wondering if saw may have been frozen, better ways to attach the new LMRP without sawing, etc. at TOD (just as surely followed by "hey, let's give the experts at BP the benefit of the doubt"-type comments) (While you're waiting for that site to load, see around the 6:40 mark for the only "progress" in twelve hours, below):

Below is some dramatic video footage taken just prior to the above, then screencaps:

1:40pm: Cutting again? Finally yanked the stuck saw cord loose, dramatically. Plume seems to have substantially worsened, darkened:

12:35pm: Still stuck, bad. For roughly 12 hours now, the band saw has been stuck...kind of embarrassing/infuriating. Not sure about the lighter plume, top left...are they spraying more dispersants down there? ABC's cam has been all over the place, lately.

11:15am: Just a reminder of two things: the first image is BP's yet-again revised "plan" (for which they are giving themselves another week, but those following live can expect to know much sooner). The second image remains the only real plan with any chance of stopping, or most likely even significantly reducing the flow (which is expected to increase by 20% or more once they get the saw unstuck and complete the cut begun last night). The second relief well has been halted from time to time to make resources available for BP's theatrics with robots, a process marred by repeated setbacks (documented below and all over the internets the last 24 hours) and as yet remaining unsuccessful (with some of the most risky and unprecedented steps still lying ahead of us):

Wed 11am ET: The diamond-cutter band saw has been stuck/not functioning since around 12 midnight, and is still not cutting yet. A bad-ass looking saw, but apparently not bad-ass enough:

They are trying to maneuver the bent riser with the Shear (not working), pulling the straps on the riser, etc. We see the riser assembly again just now:

11:33pm: Diamond-cutter saw engulfed in oil as it cuts, with view of plume mountain in a rare illumination by ROV:

11:00pm: Stopped for a minute, then restarted. We've lost the 2nd CNN feed/distant view.


10:33pm: CNN cam:

10:20pm: Second cut proceeding at a very deliberate pace, appears to have pierced the riser. Not sure what to expect, but probably a great deal of oil (as the pressure should be greater, without the kink)...this will be our first (likely blacked-out) view of the full force of the flow from beneath the ocean...

8:53pm: CNN's angle looks bad:

BOP actually doesn't look so bad, from this angle...(relatively):

8:33pm: Looks like the craw finally got it (video here), pipe is severed and hanging by the harness. Tremendous pressure at the BOP. Now for that second cut...and the cap (yeah fucking right)! So they've succeeded in making the spill lots worse...let's see the solution to making it only as bad as it was ten minutes ago, perhaps negligibly better. Cross your fingers, seriously.

8:15pm: Well after it looked like they were failing again, the craw has succeeded in causing some damage. Pressure at the BOP still seems about the same...perhaps slightly less, or redirected...

7:41pm: I'm tired of this circus.

6:55pm: Pipe is naked. Here comes the craw...again:

6:30-6:39pm: Smokin' we in the woodworking/building industry say:

4:34pm ET: So they're back at it, apparently. Double-teaming cuts on the choke and kill lines (not filled with oil)...second time's the charm, that's it fellas...(weather's rolling in). CNN currently has split multi-cams of the day's theatrics...No word on those relief wells or whether BP's CEO is still denying the existence of underwater plumes or not.

Red-jacketed BP guy tethers(?) the ROV, resurfaced inside a ship, looks like:

2:15pm ET: Apparently BP has given up on the shear at the top of the BOP, as well. ROV ascending. Check off another day of complete failure. Remember, people are just getting sick from food poisoning.

2:03pm ET: ABC has different footage, of what appears to be the blown top of the BOP. Just a huge volcano, no separate plumes...update, now they've changed the view again. The BOP plume always looks worse from above. Still bleeding profusely, and not successfully severed.

Is it just me, or does both the blow-out and the riser leak look about equally bad now (and for some time)...this after how many weeks of claiming one was "much smaller" than the other...

1:03pm ET: Suppose also they might be in part posing the feed for CNN's news coverage now...don't expect to learn anything that you didn't know last Friday.

12:32-12:53pmET: The folks in the chat room are worshiping The Craw, as it squeezes...Or, like Chuck Norris, waits...For all we know they are making the other cut on top of the BOP now, and just not showing us the carnage...

12:17pm ET: And we're back. Hard to tell where all the oil's coming from, but there seems to an awful lot of it. Some video. The craw is still attached...AND SQUEEZING:

12:07pm ET: Cnn's feed is back...No, now they're both censored, looks like giant plume and other ROV lights visible way down below:

Was briefly showing top of BOP (where there is supposed to be another cut)...unclear if that was live or looped:

12:01pm ET: They're not showing us shit, just the feed from ROV watching other two ROVs inspecting the BOP.

11:41am ET: Now that the original choke and kill lines are now apparently satisfactorily cut...just waiting for the craw (with all eyes simultaneously on the BOP, which doesn't look good...oil coming from beneath?)

Another bit of levity from chat (#theoildrum):
[11:39] Who is directing this movie? Is he sleeping on the job? Someone please pick up the board and shout, "Action!"
[11:39] Very confsing, since the action is cut
[11:39] this is the longest video i have seen
[11:39] == The_Deacon [~cf463e3a@gateway/web/freenode/x-twaoiunugshqblmj] has left #theoildrum []
[11:39] if the flight attendant's had been so careful to check around, no one would get stuck in a plane
[11:39] Ha. The video from the other side is probably lit up like a Hollywood movie set. We are getting the dark side.
[11:39] some 10+ hours straight
[11:39] == RoyGBivv [~4bc51e32@gateway/web/freenode/x-thjdsvzgqayafyrc] has joined #theoildrum
[11:39] Lerch: yeah, it is pretty close to where they noted it on their press release picture...
[11:40] I am surprised they didn't rig the CRAW with a light and a camera..
[11:40] What is BP hiding?
[11:40] somebody call BP and tell them we're bored
[11:40] no need to hurry; BP's buying time for the relief wells.

11:10am ET:

10:54am ET: Looks likes a good'nuff cut...apparently not. Check out the other ROV (whose feed is censored) in the background.

10:35am ET: This would seem like a delicate juncture...don't cut too much. Still ostensibly cleaning up the little lines so the craw can shear the main one (?) Looks like just a carbide steel finish blade...the kind on my table saw.

They cut CNN's feed some time ago.

Support the campaign to lobby for more relief wells (should have happened weeks ago).

Now the blade is making progress...

10:21am ET: Almost thru...

10:06am ET: My video upload of dropped saw should be processed momentarily, followed by video of recovered playing with various saw blades (all this reminds me of what I *should* be doing).

9:50amET: Operator drops the saw. Stock market plunges:
[09:52] saw stuck
[09:52] Yakkety Sax
[09:52] it was 15%
[09:52] == Guest3783 [~pjstarifa@] has joined #theoildrum
[09:52] joe: wow
[09:52] Kisses much sweeter than wine...
[09:52] gotta keep it straight
[09:52] == Barrel [~d953decc@gateway/web/freenode/x-ticjyirnbnclqyvg] has quit [Quit: Page closed]
[09:52] but low
[09:52] buy*
[09:52] Was down 15.5 earlier
[09:52] eve of destruction
[09:52] the drillers are getting crushed too
[09:53] Smoke on the water?
[09:53] Hayward is toast.
[09:53] measure once, cut 14 times
[09:53] == jg [] has quit []
[09:53] == beepee_ [~62fa9963@gateway/web/freenode/x-hsyhbnltisjsdyfc] has joined #theoildrum
[09:53] there is a lot of uncertainty about how the government will crack down on the oilfield
[09:53] transocean down 6 right now
[09:53] what's the point of cutting these? if the craw is just going to snip straight through.....
[09:53] == robderr [] has joined #theoildrum
[09:53] hate to think what the market will do if this fails
[09:53] BP should sell for zero, imagine if the shareholders are held partially responsible, who would want that
[09:53] == andy2010 [~7a6b67b0@gateway/web/freenode/x-pknzrartkmpqmner] has joined #theoildrum
[09:53] == Dunvegan [~4c66c493@gateway/web/freenode/x-tocfkhkqckuueyxo] has joined #theoildrum
[09:53] he's going to buff to pipe.
[09:53] The market is being slow, thier only just now reacting to the news from last Friday that the top kill failed.
[09:53] they're always losing grip on that saw
[09:53] == tribat [~41055062@gateway/web/freenode/x-lcjcedyqrngfckwy] has joined #theoildrum
[09:53] == Orez [~c6080418@gateway/web/freenode/x-tjulsgjladttgjdt] has joined #theoildrum
[09:53] hey there's the saw rack again
[09:53] NOOOOO
[09:53] oops
[09:53] Saw fell D:< [09:53] dropped
[09:53] there goes the saw
[09:54] told you
[09:54] saw is not a lever
[09:54] @#$%!
[09:54] oh no
[09:54] Did I miss the giant CRAW action??
[09:54] ah damn it
[09:54] oops
[09:54] NOT a lever
[09:54] wtf were they doing?
[09:54] genius
[09:54] at least that's what the kids are calling it these days.
[09:54] this happens everyttime
[09:54] BP Exec: Goddammit, forget the saw. Just crimp it
[09:54] sawdrop?
[09:54] == oldmanmike [~4aeb8b68@gateway/web/freenode/x-wtcopbfrfmjntcwj] has quit [Quit: Page closed]
[09:54] he was wedging it in there to get a better grip
[09:54] == Barrel [~d953d4c0@gateway/web/freenode/x-kpjahorcmdfvubsd] has joined #theoildrum
[09:54] it was falling off already
[09:54] dropped the saw again
[09:54] looks like we're gonna need another Timmy!
[09:54] didn't get it in there very good
[09:54] surely saw was on tether...
[09:54] saw gone. :-(
[09:54] Yes, tethered
[09:54] heh this guys like "I fail at life"
[09:54] I believe he was trying to straighten out the blade - or wedge it in so he could reset his grip on the handle.
[09:54] they mus tbe able to pull it up by its lines
[09:54] rats
[09:54] thats crazy bp is trading at 2003 levels
[09:54] Didn't anyone ever teach you to treat your toold better than that, a saw is not a crowbar!
[09:54] they have little helper bots down there to fetch, right?
[09:54] ... think maybe they're cutting a section of the small pipe to give the craw more room?
[09:54] he's hanging his metal head in shame
[09:54] no watch the stockmarket
[09:54] its back
[09:54] now
[09:54] i bet we see them get frustrated and say fuck it--- craw that thing...
[09:54] yeah, there it is
[09:55] your saw fell post hit before i saw it on the my BP feed- wtf
[09:55] So...What now? CRAW too small to fit around riser??
[09:55] got it with the other hand
[09:55] == seph_ [~4baf9034@gateway/web/freenode/x-enkmcgnqhufdvaxd] has joined #theoildrum
[09:55] smoke: maybe you were right on the buy
[09:55] haha helper rov :)
[09:55] Good thing there is more than one ROV there. :)
[09:55] yeah, saw's back!
[09:55] Oh, this should help Hayward; BP just hired Dick Cheney's press secretary to handle PR.
[09:55] how is the market reacting to the saw drop
[09:55] no i think the cuts are to help manipulate the crimp
[09:55] nurse rov
[09:55] smoke: bp is at 2003 levels right now
[09:55] == flocca-m [~rooms@] has joined #theoildrum
[09:55] == evnow [~62edcc1e@gateway/web/freenode/x-rgqcozkohogjofgs] has joined #theoildrum
[09:55] make its job easier
[09:55] == Jpeg [~c2a9eb42@gateway/web/freenode/x-ctfsusibgokwtsot] has joined #theoildrum
[09:55] the saw blade is prob stainless 2 diamond teeth worth more than my house
[09:55] isn't it connected to a ROV or so in case it falls of so it's not in the mud?
[09:55] the crazy thing is that 2003 was SEVEN YEARS AGO!
[09:55] yes the helper bots are called fluffers
[09:55] == dd2_ [~475ea85a@gateway/web/freenode/x-eufmxrcopqyfsgjq] has joined #theoildrum
[09:55] those are some wicked saw teeth
[09:55] Saw back.
[09:55] the CRAW doesn't look too small but heck more room is hardly ever bad
[09:55] would be funny if they loose a million in stock every time he drops the saw
[09:55] CRAW not wide enough for all the pipes
[09:55] smoke: lol i know
[09:56] oceaneering is even down almost 6%
[09:56] == ablebaker99 [] has left #theoildrum []
[09:56] lol @ all the arms
[09:56] Vapor, although this is techporn, I don't believe there is a need for fluffers. ;)
[09:56] markets have already concluded that BP will not be operating in the US after this
[09:56] == Barrel [~d953d4c0@gateway/web/freenode/x-kpjahorcmdfvubsd] has quit [Client Quit]
[09:56] == jg [] has joined #theoildrum
[09:56] good one vapor :)
[09:56] lol
[09:56] how the hell dpes pceaneeing go down?
[09:56] market is down generally due to china not doing as well as people had hoped.
[09:56] == Parthenon [] has joined #theoildrum
[09:56] JoeBeets: "BP just hired Dick Cheney's press secretary to handle PR." Is he the guy who suggested "go fuck yourself"? 'cause he's aweome!

9:48am ET: Ok, they're showing us again...giant shears/diamond saw in action:

9:41am ET: Video clips from 9am-9:30am, during which time BP takes our eyes away from what is happening...people are furious (naturally). Will keep watching...

9:38am ET: Video clips uploading to you-tube...At least two other ROV's are watching the action, and this is the view that BP gives the public:

9:21am ET Now their blocking us from seeing what is happening...

Closest thing to a running commentary, once again, is here (enter your free register Oil Drum "nickname" and then #theoildrum in the boxes). The actual cutting may take around two minutes. The pipe is expected to bend at the cut, and release a shitload of oil (obviously)...from the moment the riser is cut, the amount of oil being spilled will increase dramatically (from the already third worse spill in history, at 70,000-100,000 barrels/day), so the next sequence of events is fairly crucial.

Update 8:50am ET (Tuesday): There is clearly another ROV helping guide the craw, visible in this capture, but we're not getting to see that feed (perhaps never have been).

Update: My that's a big pair of shears. Things may be about to get quite ugly.

See links in the comments, and here's another more or less recent vid. Top screencaps are from around 8:30am ET, LMRP image is from earlier (BP's feed appears to be looping, but CNN's is here).

From here: presumably the next momentous thing that needs to happen (if it hasn't already). All kinds of risks involved, one would imagine. Updated post is below; I may continue to update this one (mostly for myself, if no-one minds). They are currently maneuvering the piece that goes on the cut riser. We may be about to get a look at the riser...but probably more likely just the (leaking) package.