First Anniversary of the Killing of the Deepwater Horizon Macondo Well
August 4, 2011 marks the first anniversary of the completion of an operation that Washington Post blogger Joel Achenbach described in his book, A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea.
On August 3, the 106th day of the crisis, BP performed an "injection test", putting a fluid known as base oil into the well from the top. The pressure increased only slightly, then began to drop-just as the engineers had hoped. BP quickly followed with heavy drilling mud. The pressure continued to drop. At eleven o'clock that night, Macondo was choked with mud. On the night of August 4, BP followed the successful mud shot with a massive dose of cement.
Macondo now had a mile of cement in its gullet.
So where do we stand one year after the BP Macondo well died? Unemployment in the Gulf of Mexico has reached a point where an industry study indicates that increased drilling would add 230,000 jobs. Michael Bromwich of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has taken issue with that report, but there is still no word on when the BOEMRE and the Coast Guard will release their joint report on the blowout. The report was due last week, on July 27, 2011 and has been delayed with no projected completion date. On its website, the Joint Investigation Team said this:
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement/U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team is working diligently to complete its report of the investigation into the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. To ensure that all evidence is properly weighed and considered, the JIT is taking additional time to finalize the report. The team is in the final stages of completing its report and expects to release it in the near future.
JIT Spokesperson Eileen Angelico declined to provide any additional information on the timing of the completed report. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has taken to hiding behind the skirts of its most sympathetic member, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin doing a public service announcement offering mental health assistance to Gulf Coast residents. As proponents of identity politics, they seem to feel that using her as their public face will avert the need to deal with the facts. Clearly, Surgeon General Benjamin has quite a biography that fits the needs of identity politics. A black woman, from the Gulf Coast, dedicated to health care and wearing an admiral's uniform, she is useful for the purposes of being a human shield. But the primary reason people continue to suffer mental anguish is the fate of the "missing oil" from the BP spill. Resolving that issue is a key goal of the JIT investigation and any delay only prolongs the agony. The problem from the administration's point of view is that resolving the question entails making public the details of the physical investigation of the recovered blowout preventer from the Macondo well, which showed that the blind shear ram was in fact closed, contrary to the administration story line. The "missing oil" never leaked from the well in the first place! Don't treat the symptoms, cure the disease.
Given that the chief counsel to the president's commission on the oil spill agrees that the blowout occurred through the cement in the shoe track, it is unacceptable that no administration official has yet commented on what the commission's own researchers have discovered. Here's the link to the Halliburton experts on nitrified cement who state in their last paragraph "Typically, only 2 1/2 to 5 % of gas by volume is required downhole to produce enough compressibility to help prevent gas entry into the cement column." Per Halliburton's OptiCem program, Macondo was allegedly going to suffer "severe gas flow potential" at 19% gas by volume! Even a novice ought to be able to imagine what the consistency of the cement would be with about four times too much gas in the mixture!
So there is a host of technical detail that has yet to be addressed by the government and there are 230,000 workers looking for high paying jobs waiting for the government to do its job. If President Obama is still looking for an ass to kick, he ought to look at his own cabinet first!