Looking back, I think I should have not only dedicated this to the dolphin that washed up on shore that day, but to all the men who lost their lives in the blast on the rig. I rededicate Lost Sole #359 to: Jason Anderson, Aaron Dale Burkeen, Donald Clark, Stephen Curtis, Roy Wyatt Kemp, Karl Kleppinger, Gordon Jones (M-I SWACO), Blair Manuel (M-I SWACO), Dewey Revette, Shane Roshto and Adam Weise. May you all rest in peace.
Well it is hard to believe a year has flown by, and wow what a difference a year makes. I know many are still reeling from the impact that the Deepwater Horizon spill had, and may never fully recover, especially those who lost loved ones in the initial blast that started in motion a terrible series of events. The true environmental events may not even be known for some time.
The big problem is that hidden pockets of submerged oil, commonly known as “tar mats” are still being discovered. However it is misleading for them to be likened to a mat because a mat is normally associated with something thin and flexible. Whereas these “mats” are inches thick, sometimes feet thick, and in no way are flexible. They would be better referred to as underwater parking lots. Because that is precisely what the chunks feel like. I have chunsk from a contractor that worked with BP to do recon to find these hidden tar mats had given me from one just offshore of Perdido Key, FL. That tar mat existence has since been announced to the public and has been addressed.
Chunks from a very large tar mat located just offshore in Perdido Key.
Having said that, I have been enjoying the beach and fishing in these waters for the last few months without so much as seeing a speck of oil. Could be the dispersant did its job and sunk it to the bottom and sand is covering it. Or it could be that the waters are pretty much clear. I dont know, but I do know the beaches and waters in Pensacola have never looked prettier. And tourism is back in full force. We had a great spring break in terms of numbers of tourists. If you didn’t get out to the beach before 12, you were going to wait in a long line to possibly only turn around because parking lots were full.
I anticipate this summer will be much of the same. There is a lot of optimism in the air which is much nicer than the despair that was ever present a year ago. The doom and gloom of the looming disaster just off shore was enough to make even a strong soul anxious.
I know that I am now much better off than I was a year ago and I am eternally grateful as I felt the stress could have killed me back then. I also know many others are not in that same place and my heart goes out to them. I can only hope we have a calm hurricane season and everyone can get back on their feet here on the Gulf Coast.
Here is a timeline of the events leading up to the explosion that I find quite shocking…everyone should read these
April 1 – Halliburton employee Marvin Volek warns that BP’s use of cement “was against our best practices.”
April 6 – MMS issues permit to BP for the well with the notation, “Exercise caution while drilling due to indications of shallow gas and possible water flow.”
April 9 – BP drills last section with the wellbore 18,360 feet (5,600 m) below sea level but the last 1,192 feet (363 m) need casing. Halliburton recommends liner/tieback casing that will provide 4 redundant barriers to flow. BP chooses to do a single liner with fewer barriers that is faster to install and cheaper ($7 to $10 million).
April 9 – Halliburton agrees to buy Boots & Coots. (Reuters) – Halliburton (HAL.N) said on Friday it agreed to buy Boots & Coots WEL.A, a company that provides pressure control services for oil and gas wells, in a stock and cash deal worth about $240 million. The deal will be accretive in the first full year of operation, Halliburton said. The second largest oilfield services company will create a new product service line combining its existing coiled tubing and hydraulic workover operations with Boots & Coots’ intervention services and its pressure control business. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63907A20100410
April 14 – Brian Morel, a BP drilling engineer, emails a colleague “this has been a nightmare well which has everyone all over the place.”
April 15 – Morel informs Halliburton executive Jesse Gagliano that they plan to use 6 centralizers. Gagliano says they should use 21. Morel replies in an email, “it’s too late to get any more product on the rig, our only option is to rearrange placement of these centralizers.” Gagliano also recommends to circulate the drilling mud from the bottom of the well all the way up to the surface to remove air pockets and debris which can contaminate the cement, saying in an email, “at least circulate one bottoms up on the well before doing a cement job.” Despite this recommendation, BP cycles only 261 barrels (41.5 m3) of mud, a fraction of the total mud used in the well.
April 15 – MMS approves amended permit for BP to use a single liner with fewer barriers.
April 16 – Brett Cocales, BP’s Operations Drilling Engineer, emails Morel confirming the 6 centralizer approach.
April 17 – Deepwater Horizon completes its drilling and the well is being prepared to be cemented so that another rig will retrieve the oil. The blowout preventer is tested and found to be “functional.” Gagliano now reports that using only 6 centralizers “would likely produce channeling and a failure of the cement job.”
April 18 – Gagliano’s report says “well is considered to have a severe gas flow problem.” Schlumberger flies a crew to conduct a cement bond log to determine whether the cement has bonded to the casing and surrounding formations. It is required in rules.
April 19 – Halliburton completes cementing of the final production casing string.
April 20 –
7 am – BP cancels a recommended cement bond log test. Conducting the test would have taken 9-12 hours and $128,000. By canceling the cement test BP paid only $10,000. Crew leaves on 11:15 am flight. BP officials gather on the platform to celebrate seven years without an injury on the rig. The planned moving of the Deepwater Horizon to another location was 43 days past due and the delay had cost BP $21 million.[21}
9:45 p.m. CDT – Gas, oil and concrete from the Deepwater Horizon explode up the wellbore onto the deck and then catches fire. The explosion kills 11 platform workers and injures 17 others; another 98 people survive without serious physical injury.