BP Announces Failure of "Top Kill"

BP has announced "Top Kill" has failed to stop the oil leak:

BP is expected to announce that it will move on to its next option, known as LMRP. The procedure involves cutting off the failed, leaking riser at the top of the Lower Marine Riser Package on the blowout preventer to get a clean-cut surface on the pipe.

Then the company will install a cap with a sealing grommet that would be connected to a new riser from the Discoverer Enterprise drillship, with the hopes of capturing most of the oil and gas flowing from the well.

More here.

Update 4:00 pm MT : News conference is minutes away.

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    From the link: (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:02:13 PM EST
    "Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, after speaking at a high school graduation in Denver, echoed (seems an appropriate word choice to me)  what BP's Doug Sttles said (about the failure and the next Plan B). And, added, the relief well is the ultimate solution, but said something was needed to stop the spill until then (last reported to be tried in mid August).  Note the singular in 'the relief well'.  Hope this does not mean that the two relief wells that President Obama said we made BP drill when they only wanted to drill one, is no longer operable.   BP did call a halt to drilling the second relief well because they want the BOP from the relief drilling rig, and suspicions are that not getting another rig is, once again, cutting cost corners. In any event, even a temporarily interruption in drilling of the relief well is unconscionable.

    "Getting another rig" (none / 0) (#4)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 29, 2010 at 06:46:59 PM EST
    is not as simple as you think.  They take a long time to disconnect from whatever they're currently doing, and a long time to move in from somewhere else.  The ones they're using on the relief wells are undoubtedly by far the closest and easiest to disconnect and bring over.

    I think BP is now long beyond the point of trying to save money by short-cutting anything.

    If you're as frustrated as I am by the skimpy and inadequate information about what's going on that we're getting from the media (and BP and the government), I highly recommend a site called The Oil Drum, which is peopled heavily by current and former oil field folks with enough expertise to figure out at least part of what's going on from the info available and their own experience.

    In particular, the detailed explanation of exactly what a "junk shot" is and what it does (hint: it's not "junk") is worth looking at.


    Thanks, I have been following (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 29, 2010 at 07:16:48 PM EST
    the oil drum commentaries.  As you say, they are quite interesting.  With regard to the availability of rigs, it is, as is everything in this incident, complicated.  There is controversy about this, as to whether it is expediting the next Plan B or penny pinching (I would not be dismissive about this, BP culture will be hard to overcome even now).  What is much less controversial is that taking a drilling rig off line postpones what is likely to be the end game--some oil industry experts wanted a third relief well drilled in case the two were not effective, given the nature of the disaster and the need for another three months to drill if the first two failed.

    Fair point (none / 0) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 29, 2010 at 07:35:41 PM EST
    but I've become very wary of making judgments on the basis of the criminally incomplete info we have at hand.

    I still think, though, that it's a pretty defensible proposition that the rig on one of those two relief wells is by far the soonest available.  And if they can get this leak greatly reduced by using it, that seems to me a reasonable trade-off.  It's a judgment call with which we may disagree, not an obvious and flagrant error, is what I think.

    I'd like to see another relief well, too, but again, there may be technical reasons why it's not as practical an idea as we laypeople think it must be.

    IOW, I'd like to hear the counterarguments before I apply my own judgment.

    You're surely right about BP culture, but at this point the cost of "bringing in another rig" -- if one is even available at close range -- is peanuts compared to the expense they're facing every day this goes on.


    They wanted (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:20:03 AM EST
    the relief well's BOP to be available to place on top of the failed BOP.  Stacking BOPs is something that Norway and I think Brazil does too, but they usually start the drilling in that fashion so that if one BOP fails there is a backup in place.   They don't try to stack one on a spewing blownout one. I suppose they can try that if the LMRP fails.  The other relief well is being drilled in water just as deep and will take about three months, and nothing easy about that process either since the depth of this well broke the world's record.

    Plea To End Drilling Moratorium (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:06:27 PM EST
    (CNN) -- A Gulf Coast official is pleading with President Barack Obama to scrap the moratorium on new oil drilling and exploration as the investigation of the massive oil spill continues, saying the economic impact to her Louisiana parish would be too much to bear.

    Charlotte Randolph, president of LaFourche Parish, said she spoke to Obama in person during his visit to the oil-stricken region Friday.

    "I expressed to the president that we are dying because of the oil spill, but if he allows this suspension to happen it will kill us," she told reporters Saturday, noting that her parish has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

    "First I'm hearing from fisherman who are dying because of the oil spill," she said. "Now I'm hearing from the oil and gas industry and all of those associated services that they will be put out of business."


    It takes a village...

    So Let Me Get This Right, The Proper Response (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by john horse on Sat May 29, 2010 at 08:25:17 PM EST
    to one of the worse oil leaks ever is "business as usual".  Lets move on.  Hey, accidents happen.  Lets get back to "drill baby drill".

    Excuse me, but after all the lies that have been told by BP, why should we trust the oil and gas industry?  Haven't they done enough damage?  


    Another Facet (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:34:55 PM EST
    Just thought it interesting that some who living in the midst of the disaster, need the work, and for them it is business as usual.

    It takes a village to support all the different facets, and their children.

    There are those who are too busy working the oil fields to worry about any decline in quality of life issues. They worry that they face is to be out of work. Those are US citizens too..... just sayin..

    It would be really good for everyone if we got off oil.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:43:14 PM EST
    Agree. Agree with your entire comment.

    And it will take ongoing concentrated effort. Large ones and small. Like the "plant a row" that CaseyOr talked about. Oddly I think that many small efforts might actually be an answer to large corporate energy dominance. Micro efforts. Micro financing, small steps and lot of them. Its a model - might not work right away but it is a start and one everyone can do incrementally. OK I can hear the critics - yes its silly and the upheaval will be intense. But it would be anyway.


    You are right (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by The Addams Family on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:47:07 PM EST
    it would be good to get off oil.

    There's also this:

    Like thousands of other fishermen along Louisiana's befouled coast, Buddy Greco's son Aaron was itching to take his family's boat out to the marshes as yet untainted by the oil gushing from a BP well offshore.

    But the elder Mr. Greco insisted that Aaron, 19, accompany him instead last week to three days of BP training classes required for new jobs cleaning up the oil slicks.


    Looks like there will be plenty of new work in the Gulf region for a long time to come.


    Oy! (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:56:22 PM EST
    I Think Its Cynical and Disgusting (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by john horse on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:00:43 AM EST
    for an industry that causes hardworking men and women to lose their jobs through that industry's negligence to now be using those same now desperate unemployed men and women as an arguement for continued drilling.

    By the way, let me say a word about people in the seafood industry.  You say this isn't about "quality of life".  I beg to differ.  There is a story that the Florida Dept of Labor once tried to retrain Florida's seafood industry workers to work in other occupations.  The efforts were not very successful because for them seafood is more than a job.  Its a way of life.  I don't think you have a clue what is being lost.

    Regarding your comments about "it takes a village".  Here in Florida the quality of our environment is directly linked to many people's jobs.  For example, this oil leak has impacted Florida's rate of hotel cancellations and reservations.  Are Floridians included in your village?  Or do you think there is going to be enough jobs in the oil and gas industry for everybody who is unemployed after BP completely turns the Gulf into a lifeless oil ringed cesspool.

    Finally, the estuaries along the Gulf Coast are fragile.  For some species of birds, this isn't about quality of life.  This is about life itself.  Are they included in your village?

    Seems to me your village is more like a company (oil industry) town.


    Amen. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Dr Molly on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:59:38 AM EST
    Regarding the jobs argument, I always find it interesting that the right-wing and their corporate overlords are very very concerned about jobs whenever their businesses and profits are criticized or threatened. Otherwise, they couldn't give a sh!t about jobs.

    The industry (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Rojas on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:53:20 AM EST
    BP's safety violations far outstrip its fellow oil companies. According to the Center for Public Integrity, in the last three years, BP refineries in Ohio and Texas have accounted for 97 percent of the "egregious, willful" violations handed out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The violations are determined when an employer demonstrated either an "intentional disregard for the requirements of the [law], or showed plain indifference to employee safety and health."

    OSHA statistics show BP ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation.

    Sorry JohnHorse (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by squeaky on Sun May 30, 2010 at 11:25:59 AM EST
    You missed my point, which was about the sad irony of the plea by oil workers to end the moratorium. BP will have to pay Fisherman, travel guides, etc lost wages, destruction of business etc, yet those who were oil workers have no relief.

    I am in no way supporting or suggesting an end to the drilling moratorium. Personally I am happy if we never drill for oil again anywhere in the USA.

    I am pointing out that these people will need a village, because they will be out of work for a very long time. A village provides other support for those out of work, or in need of work. The quote was from Hillary Clinton's book.

    Yeah, they should have gotten another job, just like we should not use cars...  but they didn't and we are not going to change our ways.

    As The Addams Family pointed out, they will have lots of work cleaning up the spill.

    As for people like Lindsay Graham still, and the local politician, still arguing for drill baby drill, well I do not support the platform, but I do support them keeping up their mantra "drill baby drill" because come November it will sink them.


    Jobs that are lost from decreased drilling (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:38:10 PM EST
    can be recouped by an increase in jobs in the renewable energy sector -- if the administration would see fit to go that route.

    By all accounts, the transition has to happen yesterday. As we know, most easily extracted oil has already been depleted -- which is why we're now reverting to drilling in increasingly difficult, and dangerous, places.

    This story, Hubris: Techoil, Techweapons (TruthOut, May 28/10), likens the extreme hazards and recklessness of these new ventures to our little experiments with the A-bomb:

    There was a moment back in 1945 when physicists were preparing for the first test of an atomic weapon at Los Alamos. A few scientists predicted that there was a tiny chance that the bomb could actually light the atmosphere on fire and incinerate the planet. We went ahead regardless.

    Experts decided that incinerating the earth was worth the risk -- we weren't privy to that risk (however remote) -- the decision was made for us. Same goes for the BP cohort who took the risk of creating an unprecedented cataclysmic problem they have no proven means of solving.


    Welcome to the South (none / 0) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 31, 2010 at 06:29:58 AM EST
    No matter how dysfunctional NOT CHANGING is, that is what we are for.  My husband and I were discussing why the outcry took as long as it did.  It can be pretty difficult to champion the needs of some of these people down here.  How can we fight for them when many of them only want this fixed "for them" and then feck everyone else and they will then stand on the other side of every other environmental disaster I care about and scream at me that I'm a Moran and a flaming freak bleeding heart liberal?  The wildlife is completely innocent though and dying.  But the South will probably continue to willfully vote in insane Conservatives who will set us up again to experience this horror and this pain.

    So, now they can find a tanker. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Joan in VA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:18:30 PM EST
    Now that they want to put another hat on it with tubing to the surface so they can keep the oil. Could have used a tanker to vac it weeks ago.

    Yes, it appears BP could have vacuumed (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat May 29, 2010 at 10:56:12 PM EST
    the oil that's on the surface, from the get-go. They still can, if the National Guard came in and held guns to their heads.

    The larger problem is that BP has pumped a dispersant directly into the geyser at the bottom of the ocean. This is unprecedented. Dispersants are only meant for surface use. When used underwater, the dispersant combines with the oil and makes it too heavy to reach the surface. So, now we've got most of the oil trapped in these mammoth submerged oil plumes. To my understanding, nobody has ever seen anything like these plumes and nobody knows what to do with them.


    dont think this is OT (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by The Addams Family on Sat May 29, 2010 at 10:06:32 PM EST
    If it is will move to open thread

    With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there's no space in the press for British Petroleum's latest spill, just this week: over 100,000 gallons, at its Alaska pipeline operation. A hundred thousand used to be a lot. Still is.

    Few Americans know that BP owns the controlling stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline; but, unlike with the Deepwater Horizon, BP keeps its Limey name off the Big Pipe.

    There's another reason to keep their name off the Pipe: their management of the pipe stinks. It's corroded, it's undermanned and "basic maintenance" is a term BP never heard of.

    How does BP get away with it? The same way the Godfather got away with it: bad things happen to folks who blow the whistle. BP has a habit of hunting down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.


    Greg palast rocks steady! (none / 0) (#26)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat May 29, 2010 at 10:59:07 PM EST
    yeah (none / 0) (#31)
    by The Addams Family on Sun May 30, 2010 at 11:22:50 AM EST
    he is definitely one manic dude - i have seen him speak in person - but there is no reason to think he is not telling the truth

    particularly since he works for the British press (even tho he is American) and their libel laws are so insane - he has to have his facts straight or else

    In fact the Brits are the only news people who will hire him - US papers won't touch Palast

    btw thought you were leaving for good - guess you changed your mind - good


    'Looking forward, not backward'... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun May 30, 2010 at 02:41:04 PM EST
    sucking it up. The issues are more important than ego, etc. I appreciate your perspective immensely and I heart you for being personally supportive.

    well i guess (none / 0) (#36)
    by The Addams Family on Sun May 30, 2010 at 03:38:46 PM EST
    life burns out fast enough w/o burning it down in flame wars w/people we don't even know . . . lol

    What are the odds that Palast's (none / 0) (#37)
    by jondee on Sun May 30, 2010 at 03:47:10 PM EST
    U.S counterparts characterize him as being on a  narcissistic, disruptive, vanity mission; the same the way the Obamaites and Clintonistas start fulminating whenever Ralph Nader says anything?

    Meanwhile, we're up to our elbows in syndicated Malkins and Cal Thomases..


    Failure of Obama administration (4.00 / 4) (#35)
    by Andreas on Sun May 30, 2010 at 03:19:52 PM EST
    The Obama administration has decided to let BP organise and implement this failure. Obama is as responsible for the current disaster as BP.

    I hope this does not go OT (none / 0) (#3)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:25:57 PM EST
    One of the things I've been interested in with this is how information travels (like in an information cloud). Wonder if a layperson can see where information is being restricted. Information in an ongoing disaster can be life saving. Right now, if I'm not mistaken, all the undersea cams are owned by BP. They can choose which cams to publish and which ones they might want to keep private - or let us know how many cams they have even.

    Senators office (none / 0) (#7)
    by waldenpond on Sat May 29, 2010 at 07:56:16 PM EST
    There are 12 rovs down there.  One senator has multiple viewing screens in his office.  CNN shows multiple items.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#9)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 08:39:29 PM EST
    do you know if senators or CNN have ALL the cam links (do you know which senator?)? Do you know if independent scientists have been able to get permission to position a cam down there? Or maneuver the existing cams?

    Ed Markey has them on his Mac. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Joan in VA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:04:47 PM EST
    One screen with multi views.

    good (none / 0) (#14)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:22:41 PM EST

    "Now we know what we always knew--this spill is much larger than BP has claimed," said Rep. Markey, who chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee. "What's clear is that BP has had an interest in low-balling the size of their accident, since every barrel spilled increases how much they could be fined by the government."

    Yesterday Rep. Markey pressed this point with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, citing documents he obtained from BP that showed BP knew as early as a week after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that the spill could have been much higher than their initial estimate of 1,000 barrels. Secretary Salazar agreed with Rep. Markey that BP could have a financial interest in underestimating the size of the spill.

    MSNBC, BP live cam isn't showing main leak (none / 0) (#10)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat May 29, 2010 at 08:50:03 PM EST
    There is some speculation, from non-BP industry insiders, that the live spill-cam is showing us a relatively small leak, rather than a much larger leak, 5-6 miles away, that BP hasn't owned up to yet. LINK, MSNBC, May 26/10.

    It would be interesting if people here (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:16:37 PM EST
    would get their eyes and ears and thinking caps on the link Fox provided. I watched it first thing this morning (after a very nice party evening and so maybe should have fully recovered first) and then watched Simmons here.

    Is this guy credible?

    Truly I would NOT want to send a nuclear bomb down this well and explode it. I don't know, it would take a lot to convince me, and of course I don't matter in the decision making but I guess a lot of people would feel the same and that would matter.

    Also I found the interview confusing (the anchor was really really annoying, but it could just have been my state of mind). Does Simmons mean that the oil eruption site is at a different location than the wellhead?


    Credible? (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by waldenpond on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:42:48 PM EST
    I watched that guy on Ratigan live and he was incoherent.  He was mixing/distorting facts and making statements of pure speculation.  After reading Oil Drum's analysis of his statements (some respect the book the claimant had written) they say the chance there is another leak is .0001%

    Walden, do you have a link (none / 0) (#24)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat May 29, 2010 at 10:39:44 PM EST
    to the Oil Drum discussion of Simmon's claims that there is a second larger leak? BTW, it seems Monkeyfister has a number of links to live cams showing multiple views.

    Question: for those who've been watching the live feeds, are the multiple cameras all looking at the same thing from different vantage points. I don't watch the feeds, but I did see a sequence from one of the live cams, where an EEL defies the laws of physics and swims in, and around, the direct outflow from the riser pipe (I presume).

    See: Video of Eel Swimming Around Oil Geyser. Last night, I posted the following comment at Monkeyfister and Corrente:

    In the video, an EEL is swimming around, and through, the geyser coming directly out of the 21 inch riser pipe: how is that physically possible? Why doesn't the eel even waver -- it's able to remain stable in the midst of the immediate outflow. And it's not even a large eel relative to the size of the riser pipe. Shouldn't that eel shoot uncontrollably upward -- like to the moon? The lack of upward force on the eel is totally implausible, isn't it?

    In the MSNBC interview, Matt Simmons comments on the implausibly of that eel just cruising by. He's accompanied by Nick Pozzi, the engineer who oversaw the cleanup of an 800 million gallon spill in the Persian Gulf in 1993 -- the oil was sucked off the surface and into tankers -- which he also recommends for the BP Spill. When Simmons suggests bombing the well, Pozzi looks at him and says: "But wouldn't that blow EVERYTHING up?".


    Simmons is increasingly (none / 0) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 29, 2010 at 10:34:39 PM EST
    off the wall. He may be the crazy fool who sees what nobody else can, but I doubt it. He's now pushing to literally nuke the well.  Please.

    Jeralyn-If you come by here sometime- (none / 0) (#15)
    by Joan in VA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:24:06 PM EST
    Do you know why the time stamp on the comments is 1 hour behind but the time stamp is correct on the front page "recent comments"??

    BP appears to have a mindset (none / 0) (#34)
    by Edger on Sun May 30, 2010 at 03:08:12 PM EST
    geared only towards somehow tapping the leak.

    Personally I do not believe for a second that they have tried at all in good faith to plug it.

    Rather I get the feeling that they never intended to cap it, and that this whole "top kill" exercise was just for show while they let it continue to leak into the Gulf and worked some more on what I think they've always intended - try to find a way to tap the oil flow so they can sell it.

    As I said the other day, I think that it boils down to:

    BP will not be "shoved aside". The government will not take over the management of the disaster response. Neither BP nor any of its management will face any substantive sanctions or criminal charges for this. Nor will BP be "debarred" from government contracts by the EPA.

    For a very simple and obvious reason.

    The government has the largest military in the world to supply and operate, and the government has two military occupations in progress to run.

    BP has been one of the biggest suppliers of fuel to the Pentagon in recent years, with much of its oil going to U.S. military operations in the Mideast. (It sold $2.2 billion in oil to the Pentagon last year, making it No. 1 among all the oil companies in sales to the military, according to the latest figures from the Defense Energy Support Center.)

    The government is going to do everything they can possibly do to keep BP alive and healthy, to keep their largest supplier of fuel to the military operating profitably and supplying that fuel.

    Ken Salazar spouting his ""We will keep our boot on their neck until the job gets done" line to the media is PR to keep the peasants from burning down the castle, and is probably the only way he has of avoiding being made the scapegoat and saving himself.

    Sorry about the Gulf of Mexico, folks. It's being sacrificed for the (heave) greater good.

    Just like bailing out Wall Street was for "the greater good".