NOTE: Watchstanders at the U.S. Coast Guard District Eight command
center here received a report at approximately 10 p.m. CDT - Tuesday (4/20/10) of an explosion and fire aboard the
Deepwater Horizon, approximately 42 miles Southeast of Venice, La.
Click Image To Enlarge
TIMELINE & LOCATION - TUESDAY: 20 APRIL 2010
11:00 AM - (TransOceans's chief mechanic testifies to a "skirmish"
between a top BP official & TransOcean's officials): Workers for
the half dozen contractors working on Deep Horizon gather for a
meeting. A "skirmish breaks out" between a top BP official & top
TransOceans officials. BP wanted to remove the drilling mud &
replace it with lighter seawater...saying the pinchers on the blowout
preventer would shut the weLl off in case of an emergency. BP got its
way in the argument.
Note: 3:00 PM - VoiceDataRecorder Info and Log Books missing
form this point on
5:00 PM (a little after) - A "negative pressure test" is done to
test for well integrity & determine if any gas was seeping in. The
test was supervised by BP well-site leader (whose expertise was in land
drilling but was on the rig to learn about deep water drilling)
SHOWED: Gas WAS found to be leaking... a very large abnormality was
found. The source of the leak was thought to be through either: (1)
the seal at the top or (2) possibly through a collapsed pipe.
SITUATION: An explosive mixture of gas & oil was pushing its way
out of the Ocean Floor. On top of that was: heavy drilling mud &
a blowout preventer near the sea floor. Leaking Hydraulics
exacerbated the situation.
Note: 7:00 PM - Rig workers in the gulf reported
hearing an explosion on Deep Horizon; they knew it was Deep Horizon
& knew it meant Deep Horizon was in trouble.
8:00 PM - BP decided all was well enough to proceed and ordered the
TransOcean workers to replace the mud with seawater...Why? Less
Drilling Mud means less pollution in the surrounding seawater; but; it
also means less weight on top of excess methane gas trying to push
through to the surface.
9:45 PM - The seawater and what drilling mud was
left heads up the pipe. Mud shot from the derrick and BP's Mr. Vidrine
was called. TransOcean workers went to the well to do what damage
control they could. (They were too late. Gas had come out of the well
and contacted an ignition source....EXPLOSION occurred.)
Note: tweet (10 miles away from rig) says event happened at 9:45 PM
But: Official News Reports are saying the following:
9:47 PM - workers all over the rig heard a sudden hiss of methane
9:49 PM - (within 2 minutes of the sudden hiss of methane gas)
pressure in the well pipe spikes dramatically .. methane gas pours
through & hits the rig; power fails throughout Deep Horizon.
9:50 PM - Rig's assistant driller (Stephen Curtis) calls the
senior toolpusher to say that methane was surging into the well and
workers were on the verge of losing control.
"Seconds later" - The Methane Gas ignites (possibly from the revving
engine) and sections of Deepwater Horizon are blown away, parts of rig
are set on fire and oil begins gushing into the Gulf.
An onlooker to Deep Horizon events starts a blog at 10:34 PM CDT:
"We are 10 miles away, but
we are stuck on an anchor and ccan not assist. This happened @ 2145. Ten
minutes after the mayday, they abandoned ship and the flames were at
least 200' tall. It's still raging and it's 0130 in the morning now. I
called Transocean when it happened and they were not aware, but the
Coast Guard just called them, I updated them. So, I gave them my
assessment. Several vessels are conducting search patterns at this time.
The head count on the rig was reported to be 129, but there has not
been a hard count on the radio. We are going to the location within the
10. Deepwater Horizon sank on 22 April 2010; the Coast Guard was notified at 10:21 AM
11. Governor Bobby Jindal declared a "state of emergency" on April 29th, 2010.
LOCATION - LOCATION -
There are at least 6 different sets of coordinates give
for Deep Horizon:
Location  : Lat:
28º N 44' 17.36" / Long: 88º W 21' 57.4"
Location  Lat: 28º N 43' 35.14" /
Long: 88º W 21' 01.08"
Location  Lat: 28º N
44' 12" / Long: 88º W 23' 14"
Location  LAT: 28º N 44' 24" / Long: 88º W 23' 24"
Location  Lat: 28º N 42' / Long: 88º W 24'
 (RSOE) : 23 April 2010 Lat: 28º N 47' 56" / Long: 88º W 40' 34"
Click Image To Enlarge Map: One
Click Image To Enlarge: Map Two
Location: First 2 locales given are from the maps above... for the Incident involving:
MC - 252:
Location  : 24 April 2010 Lat: 28º N 44' 17.36" / Long: 88º W 21' 57.4"
Location  : 25 April 2010 Lat: 28º N
43' 35.14" / Long: 88º W 21' 01.08"
Location  : Wikipedia/NOAA Lat: 28º N
44' 12" / Long: 88º W 23' 14"
Location  : Lat: 28º N 44' 24" / Long: 88º W 23'
Location  NOAA Lat: 28º N 42' / Long: 88º W 24'
Location  (RSOE) : 23 April 2010 Lat: 28º N 47' 56" / Long: 88º W 40' 34"
Deep Horizon Locale?
Note: Both of the above maps and the locales to the left are from BP's own maps.
BP does not appear to be too sure just where Deep Horizon actually is or "was".
 - In the minutes after a cascade of gas explosions crippled the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, confusion reigned on the drilling platform. Flames were spreading rapidly, power was out, and terrified workers were leaping into the dark, oil-coated sea. Capt. Curt Kuchta, the vessel's commander, huddled on the bridge with about 10 other managers and crew members.
 - Andrea Fleytas, a 23-year-old worker who helped operate the rig's sophisticated navigation machinery, suddenly noticed a glaring oversight: No one had issued a distress signal to the outside world, she recalls in an interview. Ms. Fleytas grabbed the radio and began calling over a signal monitored by the Coast Guard and other vessels.
 - "Mayday, Mayday. This is Deepwater Horizon. We have an uncontrollable fire."
NOTE: When Capt. Kuchta realized what Andrea had done; she says he reprimanded her:According to Andrea: Captain Kuchta said: "I didn't give you authority to do that." he said. She responded: "I'm sorry."
A Little More Detail RE: Earlier Chain of Events on April 20th, 2010:
11:00 AM CDT - A disagreement broke out on the rig on April 20 over the procedures to be followed. At 11 a.m., workers for the half-dozen contractors working on the rig gathered for a meeting. Douglas Brown, Transocean's chief mechanic on the rig, testified Wednesday at a hearing in Louisiana that a top BP official had a "skirmish" with top Transocean officials.
The Transocean workers, including offshore installation manager Jimmy Wayne Harrell, disagreed with a decision by BP's top manager about how to remove drilling mud and replace it with lighter seawater. Mr. Brown said he heard Mr. Harrell say, "I guess that is what we have those pinchers for," referring to a part of the blowout preventer that would shut off the well in case of an emergency.
BP won the argument, said Mr. Brown, who is a plaintiff in a suit against BP and Transocean. Mr. Harrell declined Journal requests for comment.
A little after 5 p.m., to check the well's integrity and whether gas was seeping in, rig workers did what is called a "negative pressure test." It was supervised by a BP well-site leader, Robert Kaluza. His experience was largely in land drilling, and he told investigators he was on the rig to "learn about deep water," according to Coast Guard notes of an interview with him. BP declined to comment on his experience.
A lawyer for Mr. Kaluza said he "did no wrong on the Deepwater Horizon."
The test initially strayed from the procedure spelled out in BP's permit, approved by the MMS, according to the Coast Guard interview with Mr. Kaluza. When the first test results indicated something might be leaking, workers repeated the test, this time following the permitted procedure. The second time, pressure rose sharply, with witnesses saying that the well "continued to flow and spurted," according to notes gathered by BP's investigators that were reviewed by the Journal. BP denies violating its MMS permit.
Well-control experts say it's clear gas was leaking into the well, most likely through the seal at the top but possibly through the bottom or even through a collapsed pipe.
Earlier this month, BP lawyers told Congress the test results were "inconclusive" or "not satisfactory." On Tuesday, according to the Congressmen's memo, BP said it saw signs of "a very large abnormality."
Just two things then stood between the rig and an explosive mixture of gas and oil. One was the heavy drilling mud. The other was the blowout preventer near the sea floor. But the BOP had various problems, among them some leaking hydraulics.
By 8 p.m., BP was satisfied with the test and had enough confidence to proceed. It was this that may have been "a fundamental mistake," a BP official told congressional staffers Tuesday, according to the memo from two members of Congress.
Following BP's instruction, Transocean workers turned to replacing the mud with seawater, according to Coast Guard interviews with Mr. Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, the top BP official on the rig. Removing the mud keeps it from polluting the sea but also means there's less weight to hold down any gas.
About 9:45, the seawater and remaining mud began to head back up the pipe. Witnesses say they saw mud shooting out of the derrick like water from a firehose. A worker on the rig floor made a frantic call to BP's Mr. Vidrine, who had gone to his office, according to his interview with the Coast Guard. Transocean workers raced to tame the well. Nothing worked. This was no ordinary gas kick. It was far more ferocious.
Workers rushed to hit the emergency button to activate the blowout preventer's clamps and detach the rig from the well, according to witness accounts. They were too late. Gas flowing out found an ignition source, and an explosion rocked the rig.
Reporting from Wall Street Journal:
In the minutes before the Deepwater Horizon exploded, almost no one on board realized that serious trouble was brewing, other than a few men on the drilling floor—the uppermost of three levels on the massive structure. The sea was as still as glass. A cool wind blew faintly from the north. Capt. Kuchta was hosting two BP executives on board for a ceremony honoring the rig for seven years without a serious accident.
Nearly 20 men, many of them close friends, were operating the drilling apparatus, which already had bored through more than 13,000 feet of rock about 5,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico. No alarms had sounded that day signaling gas on the platform.
At about 9:47 p.m., workers all over the rig heard a sudden hiss of methane gas. Methane is often present in the ground in and near reservoirs of crude oil, and managing the threat is a regular part of drilling.
Within two minutes, pressure caused by gas in the well pipe had spiked dramatically, drilling records indicate. A torrent of methane gas struck the rig. Power failed throughout the vessel. "Everything started jumping up and down and rocking us," said Kevin Senegal, 45, a tank cleaner, in an interview.
Out on the water, 40 feet away, a 260-foot supply ship called the Damon B. Bankston was tethered to the rig by a hose. That ship's captain said in an interview that he saw drilling "mud," which is used as a counterweight to gas in the well, flying out of the drilling derrick like a "volcano." He radioed the bridge of the Deepwater Horizon. He was told there was "trouble with the well" and the Bankston should move 150 meters back. Then the channel went silent.
Micah Sandell, a 40-year-old with a wife and three children, watched with alarm from the rig's gantry crane, a massive device that moved across the main deck on a track. He radioed his crew to move away from the derrick.
Down on the deck, Heber Morales, 33, a former Marine from Texas, turned to the worker beside him. "Oh, man. That's not good," he said. The two moved away from the derrick.
Up in the crane, Mr. Sandell saw another worker on the deck, assistant driller Donald Clark, a 48-year-old former soybean farmer from Newellton, La., bolt for a set of stairs leading for the area where workers were fighting to control the well.
Ms. Fleytas, one of only three female workers in the 126-member crew, was on the bridge monitoring the rig's exact location and stability. Briefly, all the equipment went black, then a backup battery kicked on. She and her coworkers checked their monitors, which indicated no engines or thrusters were operational. Multiple gas alarms were sounding. One of the six huge engines that kept the floating platform stable was revving wildly.
No methane had been detected on the Deepwater Horizon before the massive gas jolt. So no "Level 1" gas emergency—according to Transocean safety regulations, when "dangerous" levels of gas are detected in the well—had been declared, according to crew members. That meant the crew had gotten no general alert to prepare for trouble and no order to shut down anything that might ignite the gas.
The rig's regulations state that in the event of such an emergency, the two top managers—on April 20 they were BP's senior person on the rig, Donald Vidrine, and Transocean's installation manager, Mr. Harrell—were to go to the drilling floor and evaluate the situation jointly. But once the gas hit, neither was able to get to the area.
When the pressure in the well spiked suddenly, the drilling crew had limited options and little time to act. Jason Anderson, a 35-year-old "toolpusher" who was supervising the crew on the oil platform's drilling floor, tried to divert gas away from the rig by closing the "bag," a thick membrane that surrounds a key part of the drill mechanism. That didn't work.
Four emergency calls were made from the rig floor to senior crew members in the moments before the blast, according to a BP document reviewed by the Journal. One went to Mr. Vidrine, according to notes about a statement he gave the Coast Guard that were reviewed by the Journal. The rig worker, who isn't identified in the notes, told him the drilling crew was "getting mud back," a sign that gas was flooding into the well. At that point, Mr. Vidrine rushed for the drilling floor, but already "mud was everywhere," he told the Coast Guard. At about 9:47 p.m., workers all over the rig heard a sudden hiss of methane gas. Methane is often present in the ground in and near reservoirs of crude oil, and managing the threat is a regular part of drilling.
Within two minutes, pressure caused by gas in the well pipe had spiked dramatically, drilling records indicate. A torrent of methane gas struck the rig. Power failed throughout the vessel. "Everything started jumping up and down and rocking us," said Kevin Senegal, 45, a tank cleaner, in an interview.
At about 9:50 p.m., Stephen Curtis, the 40-year-old assistant driller working with Mr. Anderson, called the rig's senior toolpusher, Randy Ezell, who was in his sleeping quarters, according to a statement given by Mr. Ezell to the Coast Guard. Mr. Curtis said that methane was surging into the well and workers were on the verge of losing control.
Two rig workers who later discussed the matter with Mr. Ezell said he was told that Mr. Anderson was going to trigger the blowout preventer, a 450-ton device designed to slice the drill pipe at the ocean floor and seal the well in less than a minute. If triggered in time, it might have been enough to prevent the explosions, or at least limit the scale of the disaster, say some drilling experts. Mr. Ezell prepared to go to the drilling floor, according to his statement.
Seconds later, the methane ignited, possibly triggered by the revving engine. That set off an explosion that blew away critical sections of the Deepwater Horizon, sheared off at least one engine, set large parts of the rig on fire and allowed oil to begin spewing into the sea.
Mr. Curtis, an ex-military man who enjoyed turkey hunting, and Mr. Anderson, a father of two who was planning to leave the Deepwater Horizon for good at the end of his 21-day rotation, almost certainly were killed instantly, according to other workers. So was veteran driller Dewey Revette, 48, from State Line, Miss. Six men working nearby also died. They included 22-year-old Shane Roshto and Karl Kleppinger, Jr., 38, from Natchez, Miss., and Mr. Clark, the assistant driller who had rushed to the stairs to help out.
Dale Burkeen, a 37-year-old Mississippian who operated the rig's tall starboard crane, had been trying to get out of harm's way when the blast hit. It blew him off a catwalk, other workers say, and he fell more than 50 feet to the deck, where he died.
A series of detonations followed. The motor room was wrecked. Steel doors were blown off their hinges. The wheel on one door flew off and struck a worker. Crew members were hurled across rooms, leaving many with broken bones, gashes and serious burns.
When he heard the first explosion, toolpusher Wyman Wheeler, who was scheduled to go home the next day, was in his bunk. He got up to investigate. The second blast blew the door off his quarters, breaking his shoulder and right leg in five places, according to family members. Other workers scooped him up and carried him toward the lifeboat deck on a stretcher.
The explosions knocked gantry-crane operator Mr. Sandell out of his seat and across the cab. As he fled down a spiral staircase to the deck, another explosion sent him into the air. He fell more than 10 feet, then got up to run. "Around me all over the deck, I couldn't see nothing but fire," he said in an interview. "There was no smoke, only flames." He ran for the lifeboat deck.
From the bridge, Chief Mate David Young ran outside to investigate and to suit up for firefighting. After he encountered only one other crew member in gear, he returned to the bridge. Crew members say no significant firefighting efforts were undertaken. "We had no fire pumps. There was nothing to do but abandon ship," said Capt. Kuchta, in testimony at a Coast Guard inquiry on Thursday.
As workers poured out of their quarters, many found their routes to open decks blocked. Ceiling tiles and insulation were blown everywhere. In some areas, fire-suppression systems were discharging carbon dioxide. Stairways were gone.
According to many workers, most crew members didn't get clear direction from the bridge about what to do for several minutes. Finally, the public-address system began to blare: "Fire. Fire. Fire. Fire on the rig floor. This is not a drill."
Many crew members couldn't reach their designated assembly areas. Scores scrambled instead toward the only two accessible lifeboats, which hung by cables 75 feet above the water on one side of the rig. Each enclosed and motorized boat could hold about 75 passengers.
"The scene was very chaotic," said worker Carlos Ramos in an interview. "People were in a state of panic." Flames were shooting out of the well hole to a height of 250 feet or more. Debris was falling. One crane boom on the rig melted from the heat and folded over.
Injured workers were scattered around the deck. Others were yelling that the rig was going to blow up. "There was no chain of command. Nobody in charge," Mr. Ramos said.
"People were just coming out of nowhere and just trying to get on the lifeboats," said Darin Rupinski, one of the operators of the rig's positioning system, in an interview. "One guy was actually hanging off the railing…. People were saying that we needed to get out of there."
At one point, a Transocean executive was standing partly in the lifeboat, helping injured workers off the rig and telling Mr. Rupinski not to lower the boat yet. Rig workers piling in were shouting for him to get the boat down. "There had to be at least 50 people in the boat, yelling, screaming at you to lower the boat," Mr. Rupinski recalled. "And you have a person outside saying, 'We have to wait.'"
Terrified workers began jumping directly into the sea—a 75-foot leap into the darkness. Mr. Rupinski radioed the bridge that workers were going overboard.
A Transocean spokesman said the company hasn't yet been able to determine exactly what happened in the lifeboat loading area.
Capt. Kuchta and about 10 other executives and crew members, including Ms. Fleytas, were gathered on the bridge, which was not yet threatened by fire. When word reached the bridge that workers were jumping, Ms. Fleytas's supervisor issued a "man overboard" call.
The Bankston, now positioned hundreds of feet from the burning rig, picked up the call. Officers on that vessel had seen what appeared to be shiny objects—the reflective life vests on rig workers—tumbling from the platform into the water. The Bankston put a small boat into the water and began a rescue operation.
Messrs. Vidrine and Harrell, the two highest ranking executives, appeared on the bridge. Mr. Vidrine later told the Coast Guard that a panel on the bridge showed that the drilling crew, all of whom were dead by then, had already closed the "bag," the thick rubber membrane around a section of the well.
But the emergency disconnect, which would sever the drilling pipe and shut down the well, had not been successfully triggered. Some crew members on the bridge said the disconnect needed to be hit, and a higher-ranking manager said to do so, according to an account given to the Coast Guard. Then another crew member said the cutoff couldn't be hit without permission from Mr. Harrell, who then gave the OK. At 9:56 p.m., the button finally was pushed, with no apparent effect, according to an internal BP document.
Mr. Young, the chief mate who had left the bridge to survey the fire, told Capt. Kuchta that the fire was "uncontrollable," and that everyone needed to abandon the rig immediately, according to two workers on the bridge. Under Transocean safety regulations, the decision to evacuate was to be made by Capt. Kuchta and Mr. Harrell.
Capt. Kuchta didn't immediately issue the order, even though at least one lifeboat had already pushed away, according to several people on the bridge. At the Coast Guard hearing Thursday, several crew members said they weren't certain who issued the abandon ship order or whether one was ever given. Capt. Kuchta didn't return calls seeking comment, but in his testimony said it was obvious to all by that time that the crew should evacuate.
Alarmed at the situation, Ms. Fleytas recalled in the interview, she turned on the public-address system and said: "We are abandoning the rig."
Capt. Kuchta told everyone who remained on the bridge to head for the lifeboats, according one person who was there.
One boat was long gone. When they reached the boarding area, the second was motoring away, according to several witnesses. Ten people were left on the rig, including Mr. Wheeler, the injured toolpusher, who was lying on a gurney.
The deck pulsed with heat. The air was thick with smoke, and the surface of the water beneath the rig—covered with oil and gas—was burning. Crew members attached a 25-foot life raft to a winch, swung it over a railing and inflated it. Mr. Wheeler was lifted in and several others climbed in with him. As the raft began descending, Ms. Fleytas jumped in. The remaining people on the rig, including Capt. Kuchta, leapt into the Gulf.
Douglas H. Brown, Transocean's chief mechanic on the Deepwater Horizon rig, said key representatives from both companies had a "skirmish" during an 11 a.m. meeting on April 20. Less than 11 hours later, the well had a blowout, an uncontrolled release of oil and gas, killing 11 workers.
Mr. Brown said Transocean's crew leaders—including the rig operator's top manager, Jimmy W. Harrell—strongly objected to a decision by BP's top representative, or "company man," over how to start removing heavy drilling fluid and replacing it with lighter seawater from a riser pipe connected to the well head. Such pipes act as conduits between the rig and the wellhead at the ocean floor, and carry drilling fluid in and out of the well.
Removing heavy drilling fluid prior to temporarily sealing up a well and abandoning it is normal, but questions have emerged about whether the crew started the process without taking other precautionary measures against gas rising into the pipe.
It wasn't clear what Mr. Harrell objected to specifically about BP's instructions, but the rig's primary driller, Dewey Revette, and tool pusher, Miles Randall Ezell, both of Transocean, also disagreed with BP, Mr. Brown said. However, BP was in charge of the operation and the BP representative prevailed, Mr. Brown said. "The company man was basically saying, 'This is how it's gonna be,' " said Mr. Brown, who didn't recall the name of the BP representative in question.
Mr. Brown said he didn't normally pay close attention to drilling discussions during the 11 a.m. meetings, which detailed all events on the rig that day. But he said he recalled the dispute, and the cynical reaction of Mr. Harrell as he walked away afterward, in light of the April 20 accident.
Mr. Harrell "pretty much grumbled in his manner, 'I guess that is what we have those pinchers for,' " Mr. Brown testified. He said it was a reference to the shear rams on the drilling operation's blowout preventer, which are supposed to sever the main pipe in case of a disaster.
The blowout preventer failed to stop gas from rising to the surface, causing the explosion, BP has said.
Mr. Harrell hasn't testified and declined repeated requests for comment. Donald Vidrine, listed on Transocean's documents as BP's "company man" on April 20, couldn't be reached. Mr. Revette was among the 11 workers who were killed.
Rigworkers out in the Gulf that day saw things and heard things
["Rig Network" Scuttlebut] Update - 04-30-2010
April 20th, The Gulf of Mexico: Early that Tuesday morning, word was getting around that "something was wrong" at Deep Horizon. The "rig worker network" in the Gulf of Mexico knew "something was up" and Deep Horizon was "trying to fix it".
Then, at 7:00 PM CDT there was an explosion on Deep Horizon. It was heard clearlyby workers in the Gulf. They knew it was Deep Horizon and that Deep Horizon was in trouble.
Only later did the larger explosion occur at very close to 10:00 PM.
So all day long, workers in the Gulf knew that Deep Horizon was having serious problems. Whatever happened, it happened early and had been going on all day on Tuesday, the 20th of April. Then at 7:00 PM, the first explosion occurred... 3 hoursbefore the last explosion that evacuated Deep Horizon.
Note: The Times-Picayune later reported this event.
["Rig Network" Scuttlebut] [Update 05-15-2010]
TransOcean Executives at Hearings on Tuesday (May 11) said that the VDR (Voice Data Recorder) and the Log Books for the times of 3:00 PM - 10 PM (CDT) were .... MISSING!
Both Log Books and VDR are required to be included during any and all evacuations. In other words..... you grab them and THEN grab yourself.
The VDR should have been carried around to any emergency so that all info could be recorded. So it should have been in the hand (literally) of whoever was the responsible party.
That BOTH the log book data AND the VDR for that time frame is missing is more than SUSPECT .... it is more like: "is this the smoking gun" that points to who is responsible?
The scuttlebut around the rigs say that due to the promise of a BONUS if the work to end the driling and prepare for extraction was finished by a certain deadline; led to shortcutting safety precautions resulting in the loss of their bonus and an even greater loss to those making their living around the Gulf Coast.
TransOcean and BP and Halliburton were the "Players". The workers whose responsibility it was to do the work took their orders.... and carried out those orders from TransOcean on the Rig. Somebody knows where those logbook entries and the VDR are. But according to BP: Nobody knows where that "Somebody" is.
BUT: The real trouble must have started at 3:00 PM CDT. on April 20th, 2010.
"Scuttlebut" says: "pressures were (may have been) allowed to exceed the recommended limits. When shutting down the rig would have been required; they just kept going in order to save time and make their bonuses. BUT: Who were this set of "THEY"? Was this Halliburton workers getting ready to set the cement ... TransOcean workers.... or BP?
OIL SPILL UPDATES
26 June 2010 BP's current plans center around their 2 Relief Wells:
Relief Well One: Started on May 2nd & at 16,000 feet as of June 21st
Relief Well Two: Started on May 16th & at 10,000 feet as of June 21st
BP's original well was some 18,300 feet at the time of the explosion.
The plan involves the 2 relief wells (at roughly 1/2 mile on either side of Deepwater Horizon) being drilled at an angle of 23 degrees (close to the tilt of the Earth) to "tap into" the 71/2 inch wide broken pipe and fill it with cement & mud.... all done thru robotics and closed circuit camera.
At present, the broken well pipe is spewing between 30,000 to 60,000 gallons a day into the Gulf. This from a well that contains approximately ONE TRILLION gallons of Oil. (46 Billion barrels of oil at 42 gallons per Barrel).
If the first relief well doesn't do the job then they will try from the 2nd relief well to fill the broken pipe. If that doesn't work?
Oh, Well .....
As much as 1 million times the normal level of methane gas has been found in some regions near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler, just back from a 10-day research expedition near the BP Plc (BP.L) oil spill in the gulf, says methane gas levels in some areas are "astonishingly high." In some areas, a crew of 12 scientists found concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal.
Methane occurs naturally in sea water and dissolves in seawater; but high concentrations can encourage the growth of microbes that gobble up oxygen needed by marine life. Kessler said oxygen depletions have not reached a critical level yet, but the oil is still spilling into the Gulf, now at a rate of as much as 60,000 barrels a day, according to U.S. government estimates.
Click To Enlarge: "The Saw"
The Saw ... got Stuck in the Pipe ...
Try & Try Again ...
BP'S LATEST ...
PLAN "B" (actually plan "G")
(Update: 31 May 2010)
Click Image To Enlarge: Should be ready by "August"
The Top kill method Fails over the Memorial Day Weekend
27 May 2010
Began 26 May 2010 at 1:00 PM CDT (according to statement from BP) (Click Image To Enlarge)
Report from Houma, La.: 26 May 2010 — procedure began at 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time, according to BP. Engineers had worked through the night to gauge pressure and run other diagnostic tests associated with the billowing oil. In a sign of the critical importance of the effort, Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- a Nobel-winning physicist -- personally joined the diagnostic team in Houston.
Engineers have stopped 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, had pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, Allen said. The pressure from the well was very low, he said, but persisting.
Once engineers had reduced the well pressure to zero, they were to begin pumping cement into the hole to entomb the well. To help in that effort, he said, engineers also were pumping some debris into the blowout preventer at the top of the well.
Click Image To Enlarge: Loop Current in Gulf of Mexico
Update: 22 May 2010 - What's a "Loop Current"?
Click To Enlarge: Deep Horizon & Loop Current
Click Image To Enlarge: 1943 Map of Loop Current
During the first weeks following the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico, oil drifting from the site of the incident usually headed west and northwest to the Mississippi River Delta. But in the third week of May, currents drew some of the oil southeast. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the southward spread increased the chance that the oil would become mixed up with the Loop Current, which might carry the oil toward Florida and the Keys.
The Loop Current pushes up into the Gulf from the Caribbean Sea. The current’s tropical warmth makes it stand out from the surrounding cooler waters of the Gulf of Mexico in this image. The current loses its northward momentum about mid-way through the gulf, and bends back on itself to flow south. It joins warm waters flowing eastward between Florida and Cuba, which then merge with the Gulf Stream Current on its journey up the East Coast.
At a May 18 press conference, NOAA reported that “satellite imagery on May 17 indicates that the main bulk of the oil is dozens of miles away from the Loop Current, but that a tendril of light oil has been transported down close to the Loop Current. NOAA is conducting aerial observations today to determine with certainty whether oil has actually entered the Loop Current…. The proximity of the southeast tendril of oil to the Loop Current indicates that oil is increasingly likely to become entrained.”
The ABOVE image shows the location of the leaking well and the approximate location of the southern arm of the oil slick on May 17 (based on natural-color MODIS imagery). Oil was very close to the Loop Current, whose warm waters appear in yellow near the bottom of the image. However, there is also an eddy of cooler water (purple) circulating counterclockwise at the top of the Loop Current. According to NOAA, “Some amount of any oil drawn into the Loop Current would likely remain in the eddy, heading to the northeast, and some would enter the main Loop Current, where it might eventually head to the Florida Strait.”
Updated, May 20: In a web posting, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration confirmed that "a small portion of the oil slick has reached the Loop Current in the form of light to very light sheens.”
The "Loop Current"
Part of the Gulf Stream, the Loop Current is a warm ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico that flows northward between Cuba and the Yucatán peninsula, moves north into the Gulf of Mexico, loops west and south before exiting to the east through the Florida Straits.
A related feature is an area of warm water called an "Eddy" or "Loop Current ring" that separates from the Loop Current, somewhat randomly. These rings then drift to the west at speeds of about 5 cm/s (0.18 km/h or 0.11 mph) and bump into the coast of Texas or Mexico.
(Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)
 - AT TIME OF SPILL :
The current begins in the gap between Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Each second, millions of gallons of warm water shoot from the Caribbean Sea through the gap and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Underwater features called shelves, along with the Earth's rotation, help turn the current east toward the Florida peninsula.
 - AS EDDY FORMS:
Normally, if nothing alters the loop current flow, the oil, which has drifted down into the current, would be pulled south along the current's edge and eventually find its way to the Florida Keys and on into the Gulf Stream.
But, as it periodically does, an eddy has formed to the southeast of the loop current and pushes into it.
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
 - CURRENTLY (21 May 2010):
The eddy, known as the Tortuga Eddy, moves farther west, and usually will begin to pinch off the top of the loop current.
As the top of the loop current separates, much of the oil entrained within will move with it to the west.
 - EVENTUALLY:
As the top moves west, the bottom reroutes itself, going more directly from the Yucatan through the Florida Straits.
The Tortuga's Eddy will eventually disappear, allowing the loop current once again to travel north into the central gulf.
Concerning the Oil Spill Itself; at the leak & beyond (click image to enlarge)
Click Image To Enlarge
Is This Where It "All Went Wrong"? (click image to enlarge)
The AP sought to find out how many times government safety inspectors visited the Deepwater Horizon, and what they found. In response, MMS officials offered a changing series of numbers. The MMS has had long-standing issues with its data management.
At first, officials said 83 inspections had been performed since the rig arrived in the Gulf 104 months ago, in September 2001. While being questioned about the once-per-month claim, the officials subsequently revised the total up to 88 inspections. The number of more recent inspections also changed — from 26 to 48 in the 64 months since January 2005.
No explanation was given for the upward revisions. AP granted the officials anonymity because without that condition, communications staff at the Interior Department, which oversees MMS, would not have let them talk.
Based on the last set of numbers provided, the Deepwater Horizon was inspected 40 times during its first 40 months in the Gulf — in line with agency policy for offshore drilling rigs.
Inspections Citations and "The Permissions"
I N S P E C T I O N S ?
Even using the more favorable numbers for the most recent 64 months, 25 percent of monthly inspections were not performed. The first set of data supplied to AP represented a 59 percent shortfall in the number of inspections.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by AP, the agency has released copies of only three inspection reports — those conducted in January, February and April. According to the documents, inspectors spent two hours or less each time they visited the massive rig. Some information appeared to be "whited out," without explanation.
Since the explosion, the agency has reiterated several times the inspection once-per-month assertion, which appeared on its website at least as early as 1999.
In an e-mail to AP, an Interior Department official emphasized with italics that the MMS inspects rigs "at least once a month" when drilling is under way. Monthly inspections of offshore drilling rigs are an agency policy, though not required by regulation, said David Dykes, chief of the agency's office of safety management for the Gulf region.
Last week, at a joint Coast Guard-MMS investigatory hearing in Kenner, La., MMS official Jason Mathews asked Michael Saucier, MMS's regional supervisor for field operations in the Gulf, "And how often do we perform drilling inspections in the Gulf of Mexico?" "We perform them at a minimum once a month, but we can do more if need be," Saucier said.
The job falls to the 55 inspectors in the Gulf who are supposed to visit the 90 drilling rigs once per month and the approximately 3,500 oil production platforms once per year.
The Deepwater Horizon's inspection frequency numbers struck Kenneth Arnold, a veteran offshore drilling consultant and engineer. "I'd certainly question it," he said. "I'd ask, 'Why aren't you doing it?'"
When the AP did ask, MMS and Interior would not answer directly. Instead providing a set of conditions when a rig would not typically be inspected — including during bad weather, when it is jumping among short-term jobs, when a rig is preparing to drill or is done drilling but hasn't left for another site.
C I T A T I O N S ?
Transocean Ltd., which owned the Deepwater Horizon and leased it to BP PLC, would not provide a detailed accounting of the rig's activity history. According to RigData, a Texas firm that monitors offshore activity in the Gulf, the Deepwater Horizon was working approximately 2,896 days of the 3,131 days since it started its first well — about 93 percent of the time. That number represents the total number of days between when the Deepwater Horizon broke the sea floor during a drilling operation to when it was released to another site.
A summary of the inspection history that the MMS officials provided AP said the Deepwater Horizon received six "incidents of noncompliance" — the agency's term for citations.
The most serious occurred July 16, 2002, when the rig was shut down because required pressure tests had not been conducted on parts of the rig's blowout preventer — the device that was supposed to stop oil from gushing out if drilling operations experienced problems. That citation was "major," said Arnold, who characterized the overall safety record related by MMS as strong.
A citation on Sept. 19, 2002, also involved the blowout preventer. The inspector issued a warning because "problems or irregularities observed during the testing of BOP system and actions taken to remedy such problems or irregularities are not recorded in the driller's report or referenced documents." During his Senate testimony last week, Transocean CEO Steven Newman said the blowout preventer was modified in 2005.
According to MMS officials, the four other citations were:
Two on May 16, 2002, for not conducting well control drills as required and not performing "all operations in a safe and workmanlike manner."
One on Aug. 6, 2003, for discharging pollutants into the Gulf.
One on March 20, 2007, which prompted inspectors to shut down some machinery because of improper electrical grounding.
Late last week, several days after providing the detailed accounting, Interior officials told AP that in fact there had been only five citations, that one had been rescinded. The officials said they could not immediately say which of the six had been rescinded.
The agency's problems with providing information extends to the data on display on its website. For example, the accounting of accident and incident reports is incomplete, making it very difficult to perform a thorough data analysis of the agency's performance and preventing a full accurate tracking of safety records of the rigs.
Data problems date back at least a decade. According to John Shultz, who as a graduate student in the late 1990s studied MMS' inspection program in depth for his dissertation, the agency's data infrastructure was severely limited.
"The thing I regret most is that, to my knowledge, MMS has not fixed the data management problem they have," said Shultz, who now works in the Department of Energy's nuclear program. "If you have the data you need, the analysis becomes fairly straightforward. Without the data, you're simply stuck with conjectures."
Whatever the correct citation total — five or six — the Deepwater Horizon's record was exemplary, according to MMS officials, who said the rig was never on inspectors' informal "watch list" for problem rigs. In fact, last year MMS awarded the rig an award for its safety history.
Associated Press Writers Michael Kunzelman in New Orleans and Garance Burke in Fresno, Calif., contributed to this report
The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig.
The Minerals Management Service, or M.M.S., also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists.
Those scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed.
The MMS, since January 2009, has approved at least: three huge lease sales, 103 seismic blasting projects and 346 drilling plans.
Agency records also show that permission for those projects and plans was granted without getting the permits required under federal law
Aside from allowing BP and other companies to drill in the gulf without getting the required permits from NOAA, the minerals agency has also given BP and other drilling companies in the gulf blanket exemptions from having to provide environmental impact statements.
Other agencies besides NOAA have begun criticizing the minerals agency. At a public hearing in Louisiana this week, a joint panel of Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service officials investigating the explosion grilled MMS officials for allowing the offshore drilling industry to be essentially “self-certified,” as Capt. Hung Nguyen of the Coast Guard, a co-chairman of the investigation, put it.
In addition to the minerals agency and the Coast Guard, the Deepwater Horizon was overseen by the Marshall Islands, the “flag of convenience” under which it was registered. No one from the Marshall Islands ever inspected the rig. The non-governmental organizations that did ... were paid by the rig’s operator, in this case Transocean.
[Campbell Robertson contributed reporting from New Orleans, and Andy Lehren from New York.]
Update: 14 May 2010
The BlowOut Preventer .... Even the Manual Switch wouldn't work
Click Image To Enlarge: Deepwater Horizon Blowout Preventer (file photo taken on April 25th)
Click To Enlarge: Deepwater Horizon as a robotic arm tries to activate the BOP (blow-out preventer) & stop the oil flow (actual photo of the attempt on April 22nd with time stamp (CDT))
A BUBBLE OF METHANE IS TO BLAME? [Update: 05-08-2010]
Methane Bubbles are no joke. They sit like time bombs under the ocean floor and have figured in many theories concerning everything from past cataclysms to disappearing ships at sea. They are a known phenomenon. However: Drilling for Oil would have had to take this into consideration to some degree. No one would want to drill into Methane Bubbles ... they are highly explosive. BUT; here is what Fox News is reporting:
Methane Gas Bubble Triggered Deadly Oil Rig Explosion
As the bubble rose up the drill column from the high-pressure environs of the deep to the less pressurized shallows, it intensified and grew, breaking through various safety barriers.
ON THE GULF OF MEXICO -- The deadly blowout of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before exploding, according to interviews with rig workers conducted during BP's internal investigation.
While the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, the sequence of events described in the interviews provides the most detailed account of the April 20 blast that killed 11 workers and touched off the underwater gusher that has poured more than 3 million gallons of crude into the Gulf.
Portions of the interviews, two written and one taped, were described in detail to an Associated Press reporter by Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor who serves on a National Academy of Engineering panel on oil pipeline safety and worked for BP PLC as a risk assessment consultant during the 1990s. He received them from industry friends seeking his expert opinion.
According To The Transcripts:
Seven BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record, according to the transcripts. Meanwhile, far below, the rig was being converted from an exploration well to a production well.
Workers set and then tested a cement seal at the bottom of the well. Then they reduced the pressure in the drill column and attempted to set a second seal below the sea floor. A chemical reaction caused by the setting cement created heat and a gas bubble which destroyed the seal.
Deep beneath the seafloor, methane is in a slushy, crystalline form. Deep sea oil drillers often encounter pockets of methane crystals as they dig into the earth.
As the bubble rose up the drill column from the high-pressure environs of the deep to the less pressurized shallows, it intensified and grew, breaking through various safety barriers, the interviews said.
"A small bubble becomes a really big bubble," Bea said. "So the expanding bubble becomes like a cannon shooting the gas into your face."
Up on the rig, the first thing workers noticed was the sea water in the drill column suddenly shooting back at them, rocketing 240 feet in the air. Then, gas surfaced. Then oil.
NOTE:"What we had learned when I worked as a drill rig laborer was swoosh, boom, run," Bea said. "The swoosh is the gas, boom is the explosion and run is what you better be doing."
The gas flooded into an adjoining room with exposed ignition sources, he said."That's where the first explosion happened," said Bea, who worked for Shell Oil in the 1960s during the last big northern Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout. "The mud room was next to the quarters where the party was. Then there was a series of explosions that subsequently ignited the oil that was coming from below."
According to one interview transcript, a gas cloud covered the rig, causing giant engines on the drill floor to run too fast and explode. The engines blew off the rig and set "everything on fire," the account said. Another explosion below blew more equipment overboard.
The BP executives were injured but survived, according to one account.
Nine rig crew on the rig floor and two engineers died. "The furniture
and walls trapped some and broke some bones but they managed to get in
the life boats with assistance from others," said the transcript.
BP spokesman John Curry would not comment Friday night on whether methane gas or the series of events described in the internal documents caused the accident. "Clearly, what happened on the Deepwater Horizon was a tragic accident," said Curry, who is based at an oil spill command center in Robert, Louisiana. "We anticipate all the facts will come out in a full investigation."
The reports made Bea, the 73-year-old industry veteran, cry. "It sure as hell is painful," he said. "Tears of frustration and anger."
On Friday, a BP-chartered vessel lowered a 100-ton concrete-and-steel vault onto the ruptured well, an important step in a delicate and unprecedented attempt to stop most of the gushing crude fouling the sea.
"We are essentially taking a four-story building and lowering it 5,000 feet and setting it on the head of a pin," BP spokesman Bill Salvin told The Associated Press.
Underwater robots guided the 40-foot-tall box into place in a slow-moving drama. Now that the contraption is on the seafloor, workers will need at least 12 hours to let it settle and make sure it's stable before the robots can hook up a pipe and hose that will funnel the oil up to a tanker. "It appears to be going exactly as we hoped," Salvin said on Friday afternoon, shortly after the four-story device hit the seafloor. "Still lots of challenges ahead, but this is very good progress." By Sunday, the box the size of a house could be capturing up to 85 percent of the oil.
The task became increasingly urgent as toxic oil crept deeper into the bays and marshes of the Mississippi Delta. A sheen of oil began arriving on land last week, and crews have been laying booms, spraying chemical dispersants and setting fire to the slick to try to keep it from coming ashore. But now the thicker, stickier goo -- arrayed in vivid, brick-colored ribbons -- is drawing ever closer to Louisiana's coastal communities.
There are still untold risks and unknowns with the containment box: The approach has never been tried at such depths, where the water pressure is enough to crush a submarine, and any wrong move could damage the leaking pipe and make the problem worse. The seafloor is pitch black and the water murky, though lights on the robots illuminate the area where they are working. If the box works, another one will be dropped onto a second, smaller leak at the bottom of the Gulf.
At the same time, crews are drilling sideways into the well in hopes of plugging it up with mud and concrete, and they are working on other ways to cap it.
Investigators looking into the cause of the explosion have been focusing on the so-called blowout preventer. Federal regulators told The Associated Press Friday that they are going to examine whether these last-resort cutoff valves on offshore oil wells are reliable.
About the Blowout Preventer & the Deadman Switch
Blowouts are infrequent, because well holes are blocked by piping and pumped-in materials like synthetic mud, cement and even sea water. The pipes are plugged with cement, so fluid and gas can't typically push up inside the pipes. Instead, a typical blowout surges up a channel around the piping. The narrow space between the well walls and the piping is usually filled with cement, so there is no pathway for a blowout. But if the cement or broken piping leaves enough space, a surge can rise to the surface.
There, at the wellhead of exploratory wells, sits the massive steel contraption known as a blowout preventer. It can snuff a blowout by squeezing rubber seals tightly around the pipes with up to 1 million pounds of force. If the seals fail, the blowout preventer deploys a last line of defense: a set of rams that can slice right through the pipes and cap the blowout. (Note: Rubber seals ore the so-called "pincers")
Deepwater Horizon was also equipped with an automated backup system called a Deadman. It should have activated the blowout preventer even if workers could not. Based on the interviews with rig workers, none of those safeguards worked.
Click Image to Enlarge: Oil leaking From Pipe
Click Image To Enlarge: Deep Horizon Drilling Platform & Rig
Click Image To Enlarge: General Map
 - Watchstanders at the U.S. Coast Guard District Eight command center here received a report at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday of an explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon, approximately 42 miles Southeast of Venice, La.
 - One worker said he was awakened by alarms and scrambled to get on a lifeboat.
"I've been working offshore 25 years and I've never seen anything like this before," said the man who, (like others at the hotel) declined to give his name.
 - Stanley Murray of Monterey, La., was reunited with his son, Chad, an electrician aboard the rig, who had ended his shift just before the explosion. "If he had been there five minutes later, he would have been burned up."
 - The crew had drilled the well to its final depth, more than 18,000 feet (5,500 meters), and was cementing the steel casing at the time of the explosion. They had very little time to evacuate.
 - This blast could turn out to be among the nation's deadliest offshore drilling accidents.
NEW ORLEANS — Rescuers searched waters off Louisiana's coast Wednesday (Apr. 21st) after an explosion and fire on an offshore drilling platform left seven workers badly hurt and 11 missing.
Most of the 126 people were believed to have escaped safely after the explosion on the rig Deepwater Horizon at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry said. The rig, about 52 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, was listing about 10 degrees and still burning Wednesday morning.
Seven workers were reported critically injured, Coast Guard Lt. Sue Kerver said. Two were taken to a trauma center in Mobile, Ala., where there is a burn unit, but the nature of their injuries was unclear, she said. At least two were taken to a suburban New Orleans hospital.
Many workers who escaped the rig were being brought to land on a workboat while authorities searched the Gulf of Mexico for any signs of lifeboats.
The rig was drilling but was not in production, according to Greg Panagos, spokesman for its owner, Transocean Ltd., in Houston. The rig was under contract to BP PLC. BP spokesman Darren Beaudo said all BP personnel were safe but he didn't know how many BP workers had been on the rig.
The Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service will work together to investigate possible causes of the accident. Coast Guard environmental teams were on standby in Morgan City, La., to assess any environmental damage once the fire was out.
Deepwater Horizon is 396 feet long and 256 feet wide. The semi-submersible rig was built in 2001 by Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard in South Korea. The site is known as the Macondo prospect, in 5,000 feet of water.
The rig is designed to operate in water depths up to 8,000 feet and has a maximum drill depth of about 5.5 miles. It can accommodate a crew of up to 130.
A semi-submersible rig is floated to a drilling site. It has pontoons and a column that submerge when flooded with seawater. The rig doesn't touch the sea floor, but sits low with a large portion of the structure under water. It is moored by several large anchors.
UPDATE - #1
A deepwater oil platform that burned for more than a day after a massive explosion sank into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, creating the potential for a major spill as it underscored the slim chances that the 11 workers still missing survived.
The sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, which burned violently until the gulf itself extinguished the fire, could unleash more than 300,000 of gallons (1,135,600 liters) of crude a day into the water. The environmental hazards would be greatest if the spill were to reach the Louisiana coast, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) away.
Crews searched by air and water for the missing workers, hoping they had managed to reach a lifeboat, but one relative said family members have been told it's unlikely any of the missing survived Tuesday night's blast. More than 100 workers escaped the explosion and fire; four were critically injured.
A fleet of supply vessels had shot water into the rig to try to control the fire enough to keep it afloat and keep crude oil and diesel fuel out of the water. Officials had previously said the environmental damage appeared minimal, but new challenges have arisen now that the platform has sunk.
The well could be spilling up to 336,000 gallons (1,271,860 liters) of crude oil a day, Coast Guard Petty Officer Katherine McNamara said. She said she didn't know whether the crude oil was spilling into the gulf. The rig also carried 700,000 gallons (2,649,700 liters) of diesel fuel, but that would likely evaporate if the fire didn't consume it.
Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said crews saw a 1-mile-by-5-mile (1.5 kilometer-by-8 kilometer) sheen of what appeared to be a crude oil mix on the surface of the water. She said there wasn't any evidence crude oil was coming out after the rig sank, but officials also aren't sure what's going on underwater. They have dispatched a vessel to check.
The oil will do much less damage at sea than it would if it hits the shore, said Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network. "If it gets landward, it could be a disaster in the making," Sarthou said.
Doug Helton, incident operations coordinator for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's office of response and restoration, said the spill is not expected to come onshore in next three to four days. "But if the winds were to change, it could come ashore more rapidly," he said.
At the worst-case figure of 336,000 gallons a day, it would take more than a month for the amount of crude oil spilled to equal the 11 million gallons (42 million liters) spilled from the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound.
The well will need to be capped off underwater. Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashley Butler said crews were prepared for the platform to sink and had the equipment at the site to limit the environmental damage.
Oil giant BP, which contracted the rig, said it has mobilized four aircraft that can spread chemicals to break up the oil and 32 vessels, including a big storage barge, that can suck more than 171,000 barrels of oil a day from the surface.
Crews searching for the missing workers, meanwhile, have covered the 1,940-square-mile (5,025-square-kilometer) search area by air 12 times and by boat five times. The boats searched all night.
→ Adrian Rose, vice president of rig owner Transocean Ltd., said Thursday some surviving workers said in company interviews that their missing colleagues may not have been able to evacuate in time. He said he was unable to confirm whether that was the case. Those who escaped did so mainly by getting on lifeboats that were lowered into the gulf, Rose said. Weekly emergency drills seemed to help, he said, adding that he heard of workers looking after each other as they fled the devastating blast. "There was very little panic," Rose said.
Family members of one missing worker, Shane Roshto, filed a lawsuit in New Orleans on Thursday accusing Transocean of negligence. The suit said Roshto was thrown overboard by the explosion and is feared dead, though it did not indicate how family members knew what happened. The suit also names BP. Transocean did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the suit and BP declined to discuss it.
The U.S. Minerals Management Service, which regulates oil rigs, conducted three routine inspections of the Deepwater Horizon this year — in February, March and on April 1 — and found no violations, agency spokeswoman Eileen Angelico said.
The rig was doing exploratory drilling about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana when the explosion and fire occurred, sending a column of boiling black smoke hundreds of feet over the gulf.The explosion appeared to be a blowout, in which natural gas or oil forces its way up a well pipe and smashes the equipment. But precisely what went wrong was under investigation.
Transocean Ltd. spokesman Guy Cantwell said 111 workers who made it off the Deepwater Horizon safely after Tuesday night's blast were ashore Thursday, and four others were still on a boat that operates an underwater robot. A robot will eventually be used to stop the flow of oil or gas to the rig, cutting off the fire. He said officials have not decided when that will happen.
Seventeen workers brought to shore Wednesday suffered burns, broken legs and smoke inhalation. Four were critically injured.
A slow trek across the water brought most of the uninjured survivors to Port Fourchon, where they were checked by doctors before being brought to a hotel in suburban New Orleans to reunite with their relatives.
The U.S. Minerals Management Service, which regulates oil rigs, conducted three routine inspections of the Deepwater Horizon this year — in February, March and on April 1 — and found no violations, agency spokeswoman Eileen Angelico said.
Satellite Views & Fishery Closing Map
On May 24, 2010, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and
Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this
false-color, high-resolution view of the very tip of the Mississippi
River Delta. Ribbons and patches of oil that have leaked from the
Deepwater Horizon well offshore are silver against the light blue color
of the adjacent water. Vegetation is red.
In the sunglint region of a satellite image—where the mirror-like
reflection of the Sun gets blurred into a wide, bright strip—any
differences in the texture of the water surface are enhanced. Oil
smoothes the water, making it a better “mirror.” Oil-covered waters are
very bright in this image, but, depending on the viewing conditions
(time of day, satellite viewing angle, slick location), oil-covered
water may look darker rather than brighter.
The relative brightness of the oil from place to place is not
necessarily an indication of the amount of oil. Any oil located near the
precise spot where the Sun’s reflection would appear if the surface of
the Gulf were perfectly smooth and calm is going to look very bright in
In addition, not all of bright areas are definitely manmade oil.
Detecting a manmade oil slick in coastal areas can be even more
complicated than detecting it in the open ocean. When oil slicks are
visible in satellite images, it is because they have changed how the
water reflects light, either by making the Sun’s reflection brighter or
by dampening the scattering of sunlight, which makes the oily area
darker. In coastal areas, however, similar changes in reflectivity can
occur from differences in salinity (fresh versus salt water) and from
naturally produced oils from plants.
The cause of the dark patch
of water in the upper left quadrant of the image is unknown. It may
indicate the use of chemical dispersants, skimmers, or booms, or it may
be the result of natural differences in turbidity, salinity, or organic
matter in the coastal waters.
NASA Earth Observatory image
created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of
NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption
by Rebecca Lindsey.
Click Image To Enlarge: Where the Mississippi Meets the Gulf of Mexico
Click Image To Enlarge (regular color for comparison)
Click To Enlarge: Fishery Closings - 25 May 2010
BP Oil Spill: 24 May 2010: Click To Enlarge
Latest Oil Slick Sat View (Click To Enlarge)
Click Image To Enlarge: Oil Contnues to Flow: 10 May 2010
Click Image to Enlarge: Oil Slick off Louisiana Coast as of May 1st
Click Image To Enlarge "Rearing Horse" shaped Oil Slick
Click Image To Enlarge: Oil Spill: 29 April 2010
Click Image To Enlarge: Close-Up
Click Image To Enlarge: Oil Rig Explosion
First: Below are the World Lunation Charts that were posted on AstralNewz for the New Moon Lunation Week containing the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion
In the Radix Chart: Deepwater Horizon would be at 01º Capricorn 39' (geodetic longitude) which would place it next to Pluto in the 6th House which rules "The Workplace", Public Health, Military & Emergency Personnel, Necessities, & the MarketPlace.
What happens at Sea would be ruled by the 9th house... the Deepwater Horizon is in essence a "vessel" on the sea.
The 8th house rules death and contains Neptune (which also is a ruler of the Sea) conjunct Chiron which is a mundane ruler of indicating tragedy or injury or harm.
The ruler of the 8th house is Uranus ... also in the 8th house of death & endings.
On the Lunar Compass Dial for that Lunation Week:
Mars/ASC (arguments, accidents or strife) = 32º 05' = Midheaven (workers in a joint task with others)
Vulcanus/Poseidon (mighty unusual energy event or: "A mighty unseen energy or gas") = 32º 08' = Midheaven
Deepwater Horizon (using location #2) = 88º 21' = Uranus (Disruption) = Pluto/Hades: "A situation goes suddenly from bad to worse" = Uranus/Pluto (03' orb): "Explosions".
A Sea Change & Aftermath: The days following death. A Transition: A Big Change Ensues.. An Old way is no more and a New way begins.
Large News Coverage Event ... Scenes of Horror .. Rescue of trapped people.
To Fall in the Sea...A Rescue At Sea.
A Crucial Decision or Vote is decided.
Node/Zeus = Mars: "A Group of Workers" or: "A working grid or network" or: "Voting Activity".
Aries/Admetos = ASC (Death on this earth): " The World at at standstill at a given locale".
Hades/Zeus = ASC: "Damage by Fire or Nature at a given locale".
The Lunation = Mars/Zeus & Saturn/Kronos: " Fire, Shooting Flames, Firearms, A mighty building or structure at risk".
NOTE: The Lunation is semi-octile Venus: So Lunation = Venus. Venus rules Commodities, Peace & Prospertiy . Venus also rules "Nature".
Lunation-Venus Midpoint Uranus = Aries:
Lunation -"Nature" (peace, prosperity, commodites ... oil is a commodity)
Uranus (Disruption or Innovation)
= Aries "The World At Large"
Given that: The Lunation also = Mars/Zeus & Saturn/Kronos: "Fire, Shooting Flames, Firearms, A mighty building or structure at risk"... the pattern of Deep Horizon as a mighty structure at risk ... shooting flames .... Disruption, Commodites, Nature, peace & prosperity,and: the World at Large; does describe the events that did occur that lunation week.
Then there is: Uranus - Hades / Apollon (widespread accidents, damages / or murder) = Zeus: "Mass misery & large destruction"... "aimed & directed".
Mars/Cupido = Zeus & Aries/Vulcanus also = Zeus: "A work crew or community or group" and "A Great Fire, Great Eruption or.... A Great Explosion".
Then we come to: Aries/Zeus: = Node/Mercury (exact): "Node + Mercury - Zeus = 44º 58'= Aries: "World-wide; News, Talks, Debate, & Negotiations / commerce/commercial thoroughfares & transactions".
FORMULAS FOR OIL WELLS & DRILLING
OIL RIG: Sun + Admetos = Mars + Admetos = Jupiter + Saturn
DRILLING FOR OIL: Sun + Admetos = Mercury + Mars
OIL WELL: Uranus + Zeus - Neptune = Aries
A PRODUCING OR PRODUCTIVE OIL WELL OR SOURCE: Neptune + Zeus = Jupiter