Monday, June 14, 2010

Daily Digest June 14, 2010



Jeers: to more bad news.

We are the perfect spot

A new partnership is needed

'Fox News North' and the assertive new conservatism

Time to hear from Karzai's former security official

Srebrenica massacre: Guilty of genocide

Walking a fine line

An opportunity squandered

The new puritans
Cultivating cynicism

Eager, enthusiastic and inexperienced
Iran's women won't back down

PTSD studies should focus on soldiers 'immune' to it as well as those afflicted

Bans shroud courts in secrecy

Harris hatred still evident -- and unfounded

Bigger not better when it comes to summit security

PM's aid plan in perspective

Miracle deal on the Hill

Ottawa fails to lead on isotopes

Substitute dialogue for force

RCMP: Keep the barns from burning

The G8 is inviting trouble

Beware the fox in the Arctic henhouse

Canada's immigrant integration challenge

More health care isn't always better care

What Ignatieff can learn from King

Create a movement

Voters deserve a real say

Read more:
The National Post is now on Facebook. Join our fan community today.

Disabled deserve preferred credit

A nasty case of HST jitters

Sometimes it's hard to remember that we're at war

Carrousel's return

Shameless cash grab on the backs of taxpayers

Canada on the hunt for trade

Obama refocusing failed war on drugs

Grit indignation on F-35 contract bit disingenuous

Exploiting a crisis

Courts losing sight of public interest


Karzai takes campaign to Taliban base

Pakistan's ISI collaborates with Taliban, report says

Afghanistan's glorious future

Inquiry hears of aborted plan to monitor Afghan detainees

Documents: Soldiers raised alarms over poor oversight for Afghan detainees

Afghan insurgency will dissolve: commander

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Arar appeal

RCMP investigation could reveal U.S., Syrian torture tactics: Arar

U.S. surge bumps Canada command in Kandahar

RCMP goes global with Maher Arar torture probe

Massive mineral discovery in Afghanistan could alter the war

Farmers sue tobacco firms for $150M

Tories put climate change on G8 agenda

G8 'outreach' invitees share Harper's foreign-policy priorities

Canadian tabbed for proposed flotilla probe                                         Canadian flotilla survivors send letter to PM

Gaza flotilla attack: activist releases new footage

Israel sets up inquiry into deadly Gaza ship raid

Flemish separatists have 'historic' victory in Belgium's general election

Court rejects U.S. Steel's Charter challenge
Company argued that Ottawa had no right to seek fines under the Investment Canada Act

We've been taken for suckers

Expenses still secret despite premier's pledge

Hudak blasts HST rebate cheques for Ontario inmates

B.C. anti-HST petition meets legal benchmark

HST kills Campbell dead

Ontario Liberal MPPs selling the HST

Liberal ads attack 'Waste Summit'

Video/audio: The Liberal Party's new ad campaign

Flaherty 'modestly confident' ministers can agree on approach to revamp CPP

MPs break log-jam over Afghan docs

Video: NDP deputy leader faces backlash over Israel comments

New RCMP watchdog to have more bite

Boost to CPP benefits alive after key meeting

Feds dangle $10K cost-cutting carrot

Groups fear losing funding; shun forum

Tories under fire for delaying Afghan detainee deal

Tories accused of breaking promise for open bidding on fighter jets

Opening up Canada's digital economy strategy

Families await action by federal government

Arctic ocean ice melts at record speed

Hard work key to success, but corruption helps too

Splitting the summit is where it all went wrong

Parliament's dog days loom with no work done

Parliament stumbling to a close with virtually nothing accomplished

Are the Black Bloc set to invade the G20?

Tory insiders and behind-scenes lobbying pave path to new 'Fox North' launch

Thumbs up for Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe

Triomphe des séparatistes

L'environnement sera finalement au programme

Documents sur les détenus afghans
Espoir d'une entente imminente

Plaintes contre la GRC
Un nouvel organisme civil de surveillance

La Cour suprême n'entendra pas Maher Arar  (60) »

Régime de retraite
Consultations pour une réforme

Financement: des groupes communautaires évitent de parler

 Les changements climatiques ajoutés à l'ordre du jour du G8


Subject: Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Disaster

From three perspectives

A concise, comprehensive consideration of actions taken by BP

Suggested action from a Forensic Acuitant

A collection of articles from the Global Research E-Newsletter

Subject: Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Disaster
From: John Anderson

Hello Joe:

This is a very long post which I have been working on for the last several days.  I hope you and your readers will forgive me, but I also hope that at least some of what follows might be seen to be helpful.

I believe that the reporting on the oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has been completely sensational and totally unhelpful.

It has also, I believe, failed to focus on the key issue, namely what happened to cause the disaster in the first place.

But I also have to agree that this is not the time to dwell on what went wrong; we can get to that issue -- and we must get to that issue -- once the well is capped and we are making progress on the cleanup.

But BP, and by extension the entire industry, has to be aware, and no doubt is aware, that a day of reckoning is coming.  The rules are going to change.  In the past we could risk a spill because the consequences were, by some measure at least, acceptable in order to satisfy the consumer's -- our -- insatiable demand for oil.  Now, I believe the risk-benefit equation has changed fundamentally -- and forever.

In the meantime, the media concentrates on lurid pictures of globes of oil washing up on the beaches and fishermen moaning about being out of work.  Only occasionally does some reporter report on the equipment and people that have been deployed to help clean up the mess.

And only occasionally does some reporter note that a very large part of the economy of Louisiana and Mississippi depends on the oil industry, and that this industry is now seriously threatened.

In the meantime, the media and the politicians, both federal and state, are falling over themselves to see who can pile the most crap onto British Petroleum.  All of these politicians have resources that they could deploy to try to protect their beaches.  So instead of howling at BP in front of television cameras, maybe they should be telling their voters what they are actually DOING to help clean up the mess.

And the media and the politicians howl at BP about "not doing enough fast enough" to cap the well.  They have also mused about pushing BP aside and "taking charge of the problem themselves".  But this doesn't last very long (a) because BP would love to have the politicians move in and "take over", knowing that they would have absolutely no idea how to solve the problem, and (b) the politicians know, in the cold light of day, that only BP, no doubt with the assistance of all of the other oil companies working in the Gulf of Mexico, has the resources to actually deal with the problem.

The one guy in this fiasco that has so far retained a shred of credibility is U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allan.  He is, as far as I can tell, the only U.S. government official that has tried to stick to the facts in his public pronouncements.  And he is, when all is said and done, the commander on the ground.

But let us focus for a moment on what has been done so far, and why it is taking so long for BP to actually cap the well.  In many respects the following is speculation, but it is informed speculation based on decades of engineering experience, and a similar number of decades of comparing technical facts on the ground with the media's reporting on those same facts.  But if one of your readers can shed more authoritative light on what is happening, I would be happy to stand aside.

The first principle in responding to any disaster of this nature is: DO NO HARM!  In this case, the oil well has blown out; the blowout preventer has failed; the disaster has occurred.  The situation is by any measure unstable.  So -- don't disturb anything except as a last resort because you could easily make the situation worse.

So the first step was to try to simply put a big cap over everything, the "top hat".  But first you have to build the cap, and that took time -- too much time according to the media.

So then the cap was deployed.  But in the process of trying to channel the flow of oil into the cap, the gas dissolved in the oil, which has previously just escaped freely, reacted with the seawater to form ice-like crystals that blocked the vent.

We have to remember that all of this is happening 1500 metres below the surface where the pressures are enormous.  Further, the oil and gas escaping into the water are hot and this helps the natural gas to react with the sea water.

Hence the first attempt did not work.  And the media and the politicians dumped all over BP for taking "too much time" and then "failing".

The second thing to try was to stick a pipe into the leak and try to suck up the escaping oil.  I don't recall hearing specific details about why this did not work, but my guess is that it is extremely difficult to get enough suction 1500 metres down to accomplish anything.  You would have to pull an almost perfect vacuum, and there are volatiles in the oil that vaporise under reduced pressure and prevent this.  Hence no vacuum, no suction, and no oil recovered.

So far, we have not disturbed anything; our "do no harm" principle is intact.  But with the failure of the first two approaches, we have to be more aggressive.

The next thing tried was "top kill", basically sticking a pipe into the leak and trying to force drilling mud into the leak with volume and pressure sufficient to overcome the pressure that is forcing the oil out.  Clearly this did work either.  My guess is that the pressure of the escaping oil and gas was simply too great.

The "junk shot" was a variation on this, in essence trying to force enough "junk" into the leak to obstruct the flow.  Again, the pressure of the escaping oil and gas was simply too great.

But BP was lambasted for taking a very long time to try the top kill procedure.  Very few of the media twigged to the thought that, before you try something like this, you have to have the required wherewithal on site.  And BP had to stockpile millions of gallons of drilling mud and other materials before making the attempt.  This can't be accomplished overnight -- or at the snap of a politician's fingers, notwithstanding the media's suggestions to the contrary.

So far, we have not actually disturbed anything on the wellhead.  We have not taken the risk of disturbing an unknown and potentially unstable situation.  But, since "top kill" did not work, now we have to start taking serious risks.

The next thing to try was deployment of a "lower marine riser package", or LMRP.  But for this to work the well head on the sea floor had to be cleaned up by cutting away the damaged piping.  But cutting the top off the riser entailed the risk of making the leak MUCH worse because it would almost certainly remove some of the obstructions limiting the amount of oil escaping from the well.

So this was not a step to be taken lightly.  In effect, it was a high-stakes bet that it would be possible to deploy the LMRP over the wellhead and that the LMRP would work as advertised.

So BP managed to cut away the damaged piping on the wellhead -- on the second attempt, because the first attempt to cut the pipe using a diamond saw failed.  The second attempt used, I understand, shears, which meant that the cut was not as clean as BP would have liked.

And then BP deployed the LMRP.  As far as I can tell, this was something like the "top hat", but considerably smaller and designed to fit tightly over the wellhead.  But it seems that the LMRP was fitted with very large vents, so that after deployment the oil and gas were still able to escape freely.  This was deliberate; again the idea was to disturb the situation as little as possible.  Only after the LMRP was in place and BP was sure that the situation was stable did BP start closing the vents and start forcing oil up through the riser pipe to the surface.

But closing the vents had to be done very slowly and carefully.  As long as oil was coming out freely, seawater was not going in, and it was seawater reacting with the gas dissolved in the oil that caused the "top hat" to fail.  Closing off the vents too much, or too quickly, ran the risk of a catastrophic failure.

And, in addition, in order to further reduce the risk of gas-seawater crystals forming again, I heard reference to piping methanol into the cap to dissolve any crystals that might form.  Another complication that took time to prepare.

And, so far, the LMRP seems to working.  BP seems to be collecting increasing amounts of oil on the surface.  It is possible that BP has taken further technical steps to increase the amount of oil collected but, if so, the media has been very quiet thereon.  I guess lurid headlines attach only to failure, not to success.

And now, in the last few days, the media -- and the politicians -- are again dumping on BP, this time because of their success!  It seems that BP is capturing so much oil that they do not have the capacity on the surface to receive it and process it!  And the media -- and the politicians -- are also dumping on BP because it seems that a whole lot more oil is escaping than ANYONE expected, and BP was simply not prepared for this.

And, at last report, the politicians have given BP a deadline to come up with a "new plan" to deal with the vastly increased amounts of oil escaping and being captured.  To my knowledge, BP has not responded publicly, but given that the politicians have so far been totally unhelpful, I expect that privately BP has responded very forcefully -- probably using epithets that are vivid, to the point -- and unprintable!

Joe, I am going to stop there.  This post is already much too long, but I hope your readers will get something out of it.  And if some of your readers are better informed than myself on the technical matters, then I would be happy to defer to them.

And -- oh, yes! -- there are the lawyers running around signing up plaintiffs for class-action damage lawsuits -- no doubt in return for 20%, 30% or 40% of any eventual financial settlement.  Oh yes!  Joe, if I were a betting man, I would wager serious money that the only people who are going to "win" in the end will be -- the lawyers!

One final thought.  Joe, don't anyone think that I am an apologist for BP or any other big oil company.  As I said at the beginning, this blow-out should not have occurred and a serious day of reckoning is coming.  But the focus at this point should be on cleaning up the mess, and then learning the lessons from what happened.  But let us also not forget that until such disasters occur we are quite happy to reap the benefits of BP's willingness to invest billions and billions of dollars to satisfy our insatiable thirst for oil -- and to ignore the risks.

Best Regards, John A.

Subject: Gulf of Mex Spill/ BPOil Solved - Buy & Flip
From: Robert Ede

Please examine this 7 step process to solve & cash-finance the Mexican-Gulf deepwater drilling spill within the next 10 days.
-apparently BP shares are down tremendously -  ~$40billion in total (June12 news reports)
-clean-up costs at least $20 billion +++
-huge costs will be recovered ONLY by huge lawsuits that will be 'well-defended' with huge fees on both sides, spread over a loooooooong time and the outcome of any such suit is just as unknown as clean up costs
-USA will have to pay-first (with borrowed money) and hope to recover damages in the future
So, instead:
1) Day 1 Have US Pres/Att Gen/somebody BIG talk super-litigiously on TV about "BP's shirked responsibilities"
or have them talk about "expropriating/freezing US-based assets" until "liability & $$ settlement arranged"
2) Day 2-3 This rhetoric drives down the share price of BP even further due to uncertainty over costs, liability, future lawsuits etc etc irrespective of the value of BP's assets and revenue apart from this one well. - Never mind the value of this deposit once the spill is contained.
3) Day 4-5 Have the USA buy at least 51% of the BP shares (the more the better) at drastically reduced prices.
4) Day 6 Announce the USA will absorb all costs and all responsibility for this well's spill and retain ownership of the underwater oil deposit as a separate sovereign assets
5) Day 7 Start re-selling the shares the USA just bought (sans the formidible and unknown Mex Gulf well & liability)
6) Day 9 Put $40-60 Billion cash in the bank
7) Day 10 Hire every USA unemployed worker &/or under-employed worker who has a tent/trailer/etc for temporary, fair-weather accomodation and every under-deployed Gulf-capable boat/ship for the 6 months to clean up the mess.
Use the cash generated by the 5 day hold of BP shares to fund the whole thing - starting next week!
NB 0.5% Royalties can be fwd to my personal account at the bank on the corner.

Robert Ede,
Founder - Community Sythesizers of the Greater Toronto Canton of Ontario (imag.)
Past President - Forensic Acuitants of Ont (r)
Thornhill ON

                                    Post a Comment
From: Global Research E-Newsletter <>
Subject: Gulf Oil Slick: Selected Articles

Gulf Oil Slick
Selected Articles

URL of this article:

Global Research, June 14, 2010

  Gulf Oil Spill "Could Go on Years and Years" ...
- by F. William Engdahl - 2010-06-11
The Obama Administration and BP are not working not to stop the world's worst oil disaster, but to hide the true extent of the actual ecological catastrophe.
The Gulf Spill Continues: Is Obama Powerless Against BP?
- by Shamus Cooke - 2010-06-09
After BP successfully placed a cap to divert some of the spewing oil into tankers, thousands of gallons continue to flow daily into the gulf.
BP : The Unfinished Tale of Imperialism
- by Frederic F. Clairmont - 2010-05-13
It is well to remember the sordid historical role of BP and its earlier incarnation as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.
The Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster
- by Wayne Madsen - 2010-05-09

BP Official Admits to Damage Beneath the Sea Floor: Dim Prospects for Stopping the Leak
Video Evidence
- by Washington's Blog - 2010-06-13

Why Did The U.S. Refuse International Help on The Gulf Oil Spill?
- by Dian L. Chu - 2010-06-10

Why BP Refuses To Stop Using Chemical Dispersants
- by Elizabeth Allen - 2010-05-31

Why Isn't BP Under Criminal Investigation?
- by Jason Leopold - 2010-05-29

Smart Pig: BP's OTHER Spill this Week
BP's Alaska Operation
- by Greg Palast - 2010-05-29

Prominent Oil Industry Insider: "There's Another Leak, Much Bigger, 5 to 6 Miles Away"
- by Washington's Blog - 2010-05-28

Big Oil, Big Money and Offshore Drilling
The American Power Act - Fiddling while Rome burns
- by Michael Collins - 2010-05-25

Masking the Extent of the Disaster: The Worst of the Gulf Oil Spill has not been Revealed
- by Brian Merchant - 2010-05-25

The Bush Adminstration's Department of Justice Sheltered BP Executives From Criminal Probe
- by Bill Lindner - 2010-05-23

"Oily Obama": Lack of Political Leadership in Response to BP Oil Invasion
- by Joel S. Hirschhorn - 2010-05-23

A New Oil Rush Endangers the Gulf of Mexico and the Planet
- by Michael Klare - 2010-05-21

Obama is Boxed In From the Gulf to Afghanistan
- by James Gundun - 2010-05-21

Gulf Oil Disaster: A Transatlantic Pollution Catastrophe Looms
- by Finian Cunningham - 2010-05-21

Putting A Lid on the Truth: Underwater Oil Plumes. The Oil Spill is far worse than the Surface Slick would suggest.
- by Jim White - 2010-05-20

Looming Environmental Catastrophe: Gulf Oil Being Pulled Into Loop Current
- by Washington's Blog - 2010-05-19

BP's Oil Spill is Latest Crime in a History of Plunder
- by Mazda Majidi - 2010-05-16

"War on Terrorism" for Oil: Folly of the Imperial Oil Adventure. Tolling Bells for Humanity
- by Larry Chin - 2010-05-15

How Big Is the Oil Spill?
- 2010-05-13

Sex , Lies and Oil Spills
- by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - 2010-05-10

Obama Sheltered BP's Deepwater Horizon Rig from Regulatory Requirement
- by Tom Eley - 2010-05-06

Gulf Oil Spill: The Halliburton Connection
- by Margot Roosevelt, Jill Leovy - 2010-05-06

Please support Global Research
Global Research relies on the financial support of its readers.

Your endorsement is greatly appreciated

Subscribe to the Global Research e-newsletter