BP Spill Reminder #16 - Day 92 - Amidst All the Confusion One Fact: BP Lied

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Before I deliver on the headline of this post, watch this video and think again if playing on the beach - let alone swimming - on the US south coast is a good idea for families.
The biggest man-made environmental disaster in history will have reverberations for years to come. Here is another toxicologist warning about the long term health hazards from the oil spill:



BP meanwhile catches black eyes all around for lying to the public as Alex Higgins blog runs an eye-opening timeline of BP's shifting changes in it's PR efforts.
Here's an excerpt:
Shortly after the Government’s discovery of the methane and oil leaks was leaked to the media Thad Allen sent a sharply worded letter to BP confirming the statements of the anonymous government official.
"Given the current observations from the test, including the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head, monitoring of the seabed is of paramount importance during the test period…
As a continued condition of the test, you are required to provide as a top priority access and coordination for the monitoring systems, which include seismic and sonar surface ships and subsea ROV and acoustic systems.
When seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than four hours.
I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed."
The letter from Thad Allen revealed that the multiple statements BP has given to the media over the last few days claiming that there where no signs oil leaking (pdf) from the sea floor were all outright lies.
The Spin Does Not End Here
Attention on the lower as hoped pressure readings in the capped Deepwater Horizon well have pushed BP to move the goal post. Starting out with 9,000 psi as a positive result that the well has no structural damage, BP has moved this "good integrity" number to 6,000 psi in the last 48 hours, reports Washington's blog, citing many more sources and videos.
The blog summed up, citing other sources:
Kent Wells moved the goalpost during his Friday, July 16 briefing, saying,
"We also said that if the pressure go above 8,000 pounds and really the number is 7,500 pounds, it would really say to us that we do have integrity under, essentially, any scenario."
Very smooth. In one sweeping statement, that the press let him get away with, Wells moved the target pressure down as much as 1,500 psi from the 9,000 psi to 7,500, much closer to the 6,700 psi they were holding, which is actually at the lower end of the ambiguity range we talked about on Friday. Wells did it again yesterday, moving the "good integrity" range number down to 6,000 psi to 7,500 psi, saying,
"But at this point there is no evidence that we have no integrity and that's very good and the fact that the pressure is continuing to rise is giving us more and more confidence that as we go through this process."
So, over the last 3 days, BP has walked the "integrity" goalpost down from as high as 9,000 psi to 6,000 psi, or at least the 6,700 psi, which happens to be where they are, give or take 100 psi. You know Adm Allen didn't just make up the 8,000 to 9,000, being a sea captain and knowing little to nothing about oil and gas.Somebody gave him those numbers. BP moved to goalpost and the timeline, and the press let them get away with it. Again.
So the stage is set. It sure looks like to me that BP is refusing to disclose critical data and playing chicken with the government while holding our Gulf of Mexico as hostage. They have every motivation to not produce the well, for all the reasons we've discussed before, most importantly, being able to measure the flow; and the ROV feed of oil roaring back into the Gulf is the gun to the head. The government should compel BP to release all the data from this test.

Again, this well, this lease, this oil and gas belong to the United States. This well is in federal waters, and we are all owners here. As owners of this resource, we have a right to see all the information available. BP should immediately release all of the pressure buildup data, temperature data, acoustic data, and seismic data. They should also release their build up models including the Horner plot forecasts that Wells discussed yesterday. Only then can we make a judgment that BP is managing this in the best interest of the United States, not just their own. We need no more reason for this demand than the massive scale of this catastrophe.
As everyday there is more bad news. Find a good write-up here by blogger Alex Higgins.
Before any of this comes as a surprise to you I recommend to read my earlier BP Spill Reminders.

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