Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baby rescued from bathwater

A judge has blocked the deepwater drilling ban, which even
though I'm not a fan of judges doing anything other than say
guilty or not guilty, is a good thing. The blanket ban was a bad
idea because waiting six months just kicks the ball down the field
for 6 months, there's not much technology wise that is going to change,
and just deciding to stop drilling in deepwater is bad for everyone
involved (except maybe the pelicans)

I think that bp is guilty of stupidity and their design and operating decisions
probably caused this disaster, so there's some quick fixes that can allow
drilling to continue on most rigs:

- dual shear rams required on every bop
- Before every well is spudded, a joint of drillpipe needs to be sheared. (Before latching onto the wellhead, stop running riser, run drillpipe in the hole and shear off a chunk. repeat each well using the largest diameter drillpipe onboard)
- once per year all bop's tested on the surface. first test must happen within 90 days.
- test closure of bop's using the ROV's (apparently when they tried to close the shear rams after the blowout using the rov's the piping leaked. It was never tested.
- remote acoustic control of bop's required by 2012
- review all well designs so that they conform with standard best practice (it sounds like a lot, but there's only50 rigs drilling in deepwater)
-cement bond logs required over every section with hydrocarbons or with direct annular path to surface. Or just make it every section. Current law requires logs over the entire wellbore, just add a cbl.
- answer is no for all exemptions that are for saving operating time, eg changing riser mud out when the well is still live, using a single casing string instead of a liner with a tieback, etc.

Even if some of these requirements stop drilling for a little while, the current deepwater ban means they want us to wait 6 months while they make this list, then begin compliance with a list that will be similar. Start now. If the well is dead, pull and inspect all bop components and do a full bop test, install redundant shear rams and test their ability to cut drillpipe. If the bop doesn't pass then that rig is banned until it passes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I see blue people

We finally watched avatar yesterday on DVD. There are probably
some watusi tribesmen herding cattle that haven't seen it, but other
than them we were probably the last people to see it. Since it wasn't
in 3D I was expecting a "meh" type response, but I liked it.

The story inhabits a similar universe as Aliens, and even with all the
plot holes that I was expecting from the chatter on the interwebs, JC
got me to buy in and think of the blue guys as the good guys. Hopefully
it will be shown in 3d at theaters again sometime when we're back in
the western hemisphere.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Sky TV wants me to pay more to watch the world cup games, my
all-inclusive calcio (football) package doesn't actually include any
games that I care about seeing. Oh well, I can still follow the game
on espn's gamecast, and since the US just tied england 1-1, I've got
a good feeling about this tournament.

The Saints won the superbowl and it was a cold enough winter to indicate
hell might have a heavy snow if not frozen over completely, so the next
miracle to occur will be when the USA wins the world cup. Yes we can!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Oily pelicans

Watching videos of oil soaked pelicans I'm staring to get annoyed
with the response from both BP and the government. I realize the federal
government can do little now except clench jaws and shake fists, but
they could have allowed more berms to be build to protect the wetlands,
brought more booms in, etc. But that is the response I expect from the feds,
too slow, ponderous etc, and anyone that bets their lives or livelyhoods on
the federal repsonse is a fool. (doesn't matter which gang is in charge)

The thing that is pissing me off today is an article on the oil drum, which
always has interesting articles and commentary and has been following this
disaster in real-time. BP apparently had an incident back in 2003 where
the riser parted and the only thing seperating the well they were drilling and
a massive spill was the Blow-Out Preventers worked. They apparently didn't
learn anything from that and design and build any additional machinery
in case of a similar incident and a massive spill. So they learned nothing from
a very near miss.

In the end it will be a series of failures that caused this accident, bad planning
bad luck and finally the single point of failure, those "pinchers" failed and there
was no backup plan. The result will be we'll end up with the obamafication of the
bp portion of the deepwater production portfolo to pay for this disaster, to the
detriment of both the offshore oil industry in the US, and 3 or 4 years down the
line when we really need that production to prevent $200 oil prices the production
won't be there because it's being shut down and delayed by stopping the permitting
process now.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Early article on the Black Swan

One of the books that has really affected my thinking over the past
few years is "The Black Swan" by Nassim Taleb. The Big Picture linked
to an article from 2002 before the Black Swan was written describing how
NNT made his money. Excellent article, required reading for people with
time machines that will go back to 1996.