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Transocean Investigation Results-Do You Agree With These Findings?


Several new files today to share (at least new to me) and I am adding them below. Several investigations into the Deepwater Horizon tragedy with many ideas and conclusions as to all the different causes of this tragedy. I am really amazed at what all was wrong with the BOPs in these findings! Scary stuff. To those of you following this discussion I am looking forward to your remarks as to if you agree with these conclusions (hard not to) and what do you feel about the new future changes in deepwater drilling that are sure to occur?

Deepwater Horizon Investigation

Boots And Coots Macondo Findings

Report Summary & Recommendations

Effects & New Regulations Are We Ready?

Here is an unrelated file also concerning another blowout

Montera Montana Blowout Findings

All of these files and more are available for download form our File Center

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Well Big Red disagrees with the report also...lol...

We just spent $5,000,o00 milling out a Halliburton Liner Crossover at 8000ft that was the incorrect I.D. ran in a Halliburton Liner Assy ran by two Halliburton Liner "Specialists"...so if we have a blowout on this well because of a hole in milled in the liner it has to be the Operators poor well design...

They could never be wrong...lol...Monday Morning Quarterbacks...
I just want to say that it is apparent that I was wrong in my discussion WHAT I THINK MAY HAVE HAPPENED ON THE HORIZON. I think anyone that writes something that points fingers should also take time to write and admit if they were wrong when the truer facts come to light. It was and still is difficult to believe that so many people over looked so many basic and "Key" indicators of a kick. It really is above explanation. The condition of the BOP and other safety equipment is also in great question. The only way this could have occurred quickly and without warning was what I based my previous conclusions which led to my discussion. I have done this business for many years and it was difficult for me to believe that between so many "professionals" that they could either not see or some how convince themselves that the data, drill pipe pressures, pressures recorded during a badly done negative test could be explained away and accepted. Since the hanger was found to be in place and it is now claimed by everyone that the shoe track (convertible float collar failed) and there were no cement inside of the shoe track does change the facts to "work with" as to exactly why the "blow out occurred" and no so much as to why the failure occurred.
On the other hand it brings up the question as to how can a kick coming from the bottom of an 18,000 foot well with a distance of +- 13,000 from bottom to the BOP not be detected and dealt with before having the kick in the riser and shortly afterward s becoming a full blown blowout and complete disaster. They should have never let their guard down on this well; including BP Company man, Transocean OIM, Toolpushers and Drillers. The call was apparently to pump to the boat during displacement instead of "bbls in" and "bbls out" count. It was a fatal mistake. Any equipment can fail such as float collars, shoes, and even casing under certain conditions. Cement jobs fail in many instances.
That is why you should always compare bbls in and bbls out any time your rig is on a well or latched up to a well. If this would have been done this disaster would have never happened. If it would have been caught at anytime from the first few bbls, (kicks should be caught on a floating vessel between 15 and 30 bbls) it could have been shut in. If it was caught at any amount of gain prior to having gas above the BOP the disaster could have been prevented. The well actually could have been bull headed since it was fully cased down to the production zone to put the kick back into the formation. The top plug which had landed in the float during the cement job should land again in the float collar once the formation fluids had been bullheaded back to the formation.
At this point with some good well control procedures the sea water could have been displaced and well could have once again been filled with heavy mud. The well would have been dead. They could have gone in and set a cement retainer or bridge plug and squeezed the shoe track and got a good cement job.
If the original negative test would have been performed correctly the failure would have occurred during the test with the rams closed. The reports all show that there was pressure on either the drill pipe side or the kill line side during these attempts to negative test. This is not a negative test if this occurs. The back pressure is actually transferred to the bottom and is reacting against the BHP and therefore the well is never actually brought to an under-balanced condition to the formation pressure. It is a shame that out of so many people in important and life saving positions did not understand this basic principle of negative testing and then missed all the signs of the influx from the bottom of an 18,000 foot well. It is for sure; what they should have learned in the Well Control courses was not fully understood. The Horizon was one of the worst disasters which has ever occurred to date in this drilling industry. Piper Alpha had more fatalities, but they were not in the drilling industry, they were a production platform and Well Control is not something that would have prevented the Piper Alpha disaster.
On any negative test with sea water you would have the annular or rams closed to prevent the mud in the marine riser from reacting downwards. Your drill pipe and kill line must be filled with sea water or base oil and it creates a u-tube back to atmosphere. There can be no pressure and no flow on either side. At this point you have achieved a negative test. If you are only preforming a negative test to the well head you do not even need drill pipe in the well. It could be done by closing the blind rams. Open the kill line and choke line fail safe valves. Pump down the choke line with either sea water or base oil the capacity of the choke line only taking returns up the kill line (or visa-versa). Close the fail-safe on the kill line or choke line which still has the mud in it. Bleed off any pressure which is on the line you pumped down. The pressure before bleeding off will simply be the difference in hydrostatic pressure between the fluid you pumped and the weight of the mud in the other line. If this lighter fluid does not allow any pressure build up and has no flow then a proper negative test has been performed.
If you read the Boots and Coots report the complete negative test was a wreck and none of it was preformed correctly. According to the report the annular was closed while the heavy spacer was still below the BOP. The pressure they thought were wrong were not so wrong, and then they bled the drill pipe pressure to correspond to the kill line pressure. During the bleed back they most likely took heavy spacer back up the drill pipe.
The Heavy spacer should have been completely above the BOP before this test was started. The rams or annular would have been closed, there would have been water in the kill line, there would have been water in the drill pipe and there would have been water in the annulus from the bottom of the drill pipe to the rams in the BOP. Everything would have been of one density in the u-tube. When the pumps were shut off and the kill line was opened there should have been no trapped pressure and every thing should have been (0) zero with no flow anywhere. This would have been a proper negative test. At the end of the negative test you could close the fail safe on the kill line, pressure up the drill string to about 1,400 psi to account for the difference between the mud in the riser and the sea water in the kill line (The pressure under the BOP is less then in the riser) at this point open the BOP and displace the marine riser pumping down the drill string and also the riser boost line. "MONITORING BBLS IN <> BBLS OUT." If that would have been done no one would have every written the first discussion on this web site or anywhere else.
The oldest GOLDEN RULE besides love thy neighbor as thyself is: LAND OR SEA if you are over a well monitor fluid gain or loss constantly 24/7. Cased or not cased it is still a well and you are still over the top of it. The only thing that has saved all the other rigs in the world is this GOLDEN RULE. And all that have not survived has fallen short of keeping this GOLDEN RULE in some shape fashion or form.
My sympathies to the injured and the families of the lost.
May God Bless
Why didn't they just displace thru the Choke Manifold with the BOP's closed? Then shut in for a pressure build up/flow check? Then if Ok displace the riser thru the booster line...

We do this all the time...no bbls in versus bbls out as we do not have the pit capacity to do this (the Horizon did)...but we do what we called a "Controlled Displacement" thru the Choke Manifold with the BOP's closed...measuring the returns from the well in the trip tank to insure we are getting back the same amount we are pumping in...then once displacement is complete...shut in for a 30 min build up after displacing to sea water...

Two things should have happened that didn't:

A mechanical barrier should have been set and then the well displaced with a "controlled displacement" thru the Choke Manifold (We use two open chokes)...then a 30 min shut in for build up as we have even had an EZSV "follow us" out of the hole after displacing to sea water on a high pressure well...we then had to displace back to mud and run an additional EZSV...
What you do is correct, the only reason I say bbls in<>bbls out is because on these big rigs it can be done opposed to pumping directly from the sea chest. Even having two pits to take returns is easy. Return to one pit, then switch to the next. While returning to the second pit, offload the first pit to the boat. (You still know exactly what you have got back from the well.) If you are trending pit gain (which you should be) your line trend should never vary if pump rate is held constant. The reason I like to monitor actual bbls in is because pump strokes alone do not guarantee a certain volume per stroke or account for a change in % of actual output. If you do it by pump strokes you just need to realize that your trend line (returns) could possibly decrease due to a valve problem etc. in the mud pump, but any increase in the trend would only be caused by influx.
Agree wholeheartedly Tex, bbls for bbls is the best/safest and most accurate way to do it and could have easily been done on the Horizon as they have 5000 or 6000 bbls capacity I am sure...
I always enjoy your posts Tex-sometimes I am a little late in getting around to them though. 1 thing thats gone unsaid is a comment that was made over and over here that was a pretty basic assumption derived from looking at the Halliburton Rig Chart.
DeeperCheaper was the first I recall to make the call- and that the float had to fail because the chart recorder showed casing pressure of over 5500 psi a moment before the blowout and power loss.
Some really brilliant minds tried to write this off to this or that and that the kick was up the backside of the production casing....but the final report states that the float equipment didnt hold for whatever reason and that the kick was inside the 7"x9 5/8"....hats off to DeeperCheaper...sometimes the simpliest explaination is the correct one.

Thanks, I will also say hats off to DeeperCheaper for discovery of the correct pathway. My ideas and my theories concerning this blow out was using an assumption. It was the wrong assumption and the reality of that puts the fear of God into me. My basic assumption that I worked off of was that this kick happened so suddenly and with great volume that no one paying attention could have prevented the great quantity of gas from entering the marine riser above the BOP. That simply was the wrong assumption.

This day in time( just as always )it has been and will always be the Driller's responsibility to identify and react to the signs of a kick. You can close in a dead well 1000 times without losing a rig or a life, but you just need to leave a live well open once and you can lose it all.

My assumption was based on protecting the experience and professionalism of a driller and tool-pusher which I had never met or worked with. It is simply an obligation to expect that someone operating a 1/2 billion dollar drilling rig with more then 100 people onboard would have this one basic (Need to Know without exception rule) down pat. To take the kick through the shoe and for it to end up above the BOP it was easy to calculate that someone would have to had totally missed a 1000 bbl kick. In the beginning I was just unwilling to believe that such a mistake could take place. At this point; I know that this is true and it is in fact the event that lead to this disaster. Now we must ask ourselves how could this occur and who really was to blame? Was it a lack of Well Control Training? I have been attending WC schools for decades. Now at this point in time it is a 5 day course ever two years. There are many people which enter into well control courses each year and many pass and very few actually fail. Some make 100s and others make 72. It does not really matter how good you are at killing a well, if the kick is not detected and the well is not shut in. I hear story after story and even have read them on this website where drillers are afraid to close in the well or never noticed it was flowing. Surely if people can obtain and learn only one basic thing in a well control course it MUST BE TO DETECT A PIT OR FLOW GAIN AND CLOSE IN THE WELL. Once that is done the rest can be handled by someone that actually does understand the rest of the procedures. If that person or persons can not be found on the rig then someone can be flown out to the rig that does understand. BUT THE WELL MUST BE CLOSED IN!

 It does not matter what position you hold on the rig, cook to company man you are out in the middle of the ocean with no place to run. You must sleep at some point and at that point you have totally placed your life and well-being into the people that are on duty.

 I will compare it to flying on an Airplane which I have done extensively in 35 years. You get on the plane and have a perfect nice and smooth take off, you recline and take a nap, later you get to know the stewardess during the flight and have a great conversation, but as you get closer to the destination you notice that she is getting nervous and her forehead starts to sweat. You ask her "what is wrong"  and she finally says well we have a new captain. She says rumor has it that he just barely passed his pilots test with a 72. You say well he seemed to do fine on take off, she starts to cry and says "but he failed the landing part all three times". So you also become a little nervous and start to sweat a little. Basically, what else can you do? A driller that knows how to kill a well, but does not know how to detect a kick so he can close in the well is like the Pilot that knows how to take off, but does not have a clue how to land.

This story goes much farther then what I have described so simply. There were others that allowed the pilot to take off and command this plane, and the stewardess  was not the only one aware of the pilots inability to land. Airlines also demand their money before you board, not after you disembark.

Many decisions were made above the drillers authority, such as back loading the boat during in the displacement process, which is why it was virtually impossible to monitor bbls out verses bbls pumped. The driller had a false expectation during this time and it seems that others which were directly involved during the displacement process were so confident that no one was even paying the most important thing "Attention" and therefore the ultimate price was paid shortly thereafter. Injuries, the loss of 11 men and the loss of 5th generation semi which until the Horizon explosion people really just never dreamed could  actually sink tot he bottom of the sea due to a well control situation. But there again it was not a well control situation, it was a well out of control situation which went on for almost 1 hour non detected by anyone on the rig.

Was it only the drillers fault, no it was not. The driller basically was put into a risky (deadly) situation as soon as the decision was made to displace and back-load to the boat at the same time. This decision was made and agreed upon by many people. People involved would have been BP rep on the rig site and approval from BP in town, OIM Transocean and approval by the Rig Manager. Once this decision was made it was basically like putting blindfolds on the driller. Therefore you might as well require your drillers to take their WC courses while wearing blindfolds. I will also say this to conclude, there has never been a guarantee concerning cement jobs to say they are without  the possibility of failure, contamination, losses etc. You can pretty well know bbl for bbls what goes down hole, but to know exactly where it goes and how well it bonds is nothing more then faith and great hopes.  You can calculate all you want to as to where the TOC will be and try to determine excess for wash out and the removal of wall cake etc, but to guarantee success is really just impossible. Yes it appears that Halliburton did skip some pre-job test which on paper showed that it was more likely to fail, but if the test would have showed a 95% chance of success it would have still had a 5% chance of failure and to me the odds of missing a 1000 bbls influx without detection which actually had been occurring for almost 1 hour only falls in the .01% range, but yet it did in fact take place. The true set up for failure the way I have seen it since the influx has been proved to enter through the shoe track is this. It was a shoe with out a shoe. Basically it was a double float collar built into the same float and the shoe was open. Therefore they did not really design an enclosed shoe track. Now you are going to ask yourself "what does this have to do with anything?" It has everything to do with why the shoe track failed. If you run a float shoe and a float with a 40 or 80 foot shoe track in-between then you have an  encapsulated shoe track. When the tail cement fills the shoe track and the top plug bumps the cement is basically trapped inside the shoe track between the closed valve on the float shoe and the closed valves on the float collar. The plug will not allow the hydrostatic pressure from the fluid column inside the casing to react downwards and the closed float shoe will not allow the well bore pressure to be felt upwards. The cement can not fall out of the shoe because the only force acting downward is the weight of the cement inside the shoe track itself below the bumped plug. Therefore the cement will not fall or be pushed out of the shoe. This cement is under pressure equal to BHP. But no fluid swap can take place between oil base muds, well fluids etc.  Now if you look at the design used on the Macondo well you will see where this is not the case. The shoe had no type of valves or floats although there were two incorporated in the convertible float. ( Which is believed that it did not convert correctly). Regardless as to the conversion of the float the shoe was actually open, 16 ppg cement +- was pumped into the shoe track, there was 14.3 PPG oil base mud in the rat hole below the casing shoe. Even if the convertible float did hold you have 16 ppg cement inside of the shoe track, 14.3 SBM below the shoe in a vertical hole with no spacers separating the two. A natural swap will occur between different fluid densities and it can actually occur quite rapidly just as you see occur in an oil lamp. The cement simply drifts downwards (due to density) and the SBM channels upwards eventually causing a complete fluid swap. The shoe track would then be full of SBM and the cement would have been totally contaminated at some depth below the actual shoe. Now the only thing preventing flow up the casing at this point is hydrostatic from the mud column. (Assuming the float did not convert) If you go back to the ill-fated negative test and the pressures observed and fluid gained I think it pretty well tells the story. They did actually see pressure during the negative test and ignored it and wrote it off to some phenomenon. They did also have an annular which allowed mud above the annular to enter the negative test area and went up the choke//kill lines to some height which even caused more confusion. The fact is they never performed a negative test with (Zero) pressures and no flow, therefore they never achieved a negative test that proved anything except that the well was live. Then they proceeded in displacing the only barrier that was preventing the disaster. Who is to blame? A multitude of people on and off the rig which includes more then one company. Who paid the ultimate price, the men that can not tell their story. Who has to live with it, the people that know they could have prevented it? Someday there will be deathbed confessions of those who know they should have been on the rig floor instead of attending a party. Who will pay for it in Money? BP and probably some others. When will things like this stop occurring, when drilling companies pay more attention to the proper ways of doing things instead of going with the flow and decisions made by the Oil Companies alone. When Drilling companies pay more attention to what is actually taking place and the dangers involved instead of how many stop cards and start cards they can produce. When OIMs and Rig Managers learn to say "NO" and are backed by area and regional managers, instead of saying this is their Well and after all they are Paying the bills. Now those answers may suffice for the living, but it is not a good argument for the dead. When drilling companies really say "Stop" we must pull the BOP and make repairs and when they realize that a BOP is not functional when it's redundancy is lost. It might still operate, but without redundancy it should be classified as "Non operational" and immediate plans to pull and perform repair should be of the greatest importance.

 We will be finished with the well in only one more week should not be a reason to delay repairs. After all the Macondo disaster actually occurred after most people seemed to think the Well was actually Finished.

I can only say this, no matter what position someone holds on a drilling rig OIM, Toolpusher, Driller etc. (especially offshore) you need to always pay attention. If you are getting set up for disaster by someone Else's decisions you should always know and realize your on limitations. You need to know when to say "NO" and no I will not be a part of that and "NO" that is not the correct way and "NO" if we do it that way I will not be able to monitor the well and that falls under my responsibility.  "NO" is a word that can in fact cost you your job, but "NO" can also save your life or someone Else's. Jobs come and go, life only comes once and some mistakes are eternal.

I have read a little on the new website http://theghostlygalleon.com. I appreciate what is being done there' It needs to be done and people need to get involved. If you want this industry to change from Stop cards to Stop Killing then you people are going to have to draw your own limits and learn to say "NO". If enough people in the "KNOW" learn to say "NO", then the BIG people will have to start listening to the small people, because basically BIG People Do Not Exist without small people and small people have always existed.

Not to be rude or disrespectful Tex...but damn were they so blind as to not watch the Flow Show? And not even set the alarms...I have caught MANY kicks with just the flow show...there's nothing magic about it...no one was paying attention to what was going on and wasn't reading the "signs" that were clearly looking them in the face...RED Flags everwhere...if the truth was known, really known, most of these men had only seen or controlled a well once maybe twice in their oilfield career...when you grab that Brake Handle you take on a lot of responsibility and there are too many that are on the Brake handle right now as I write this that are absolutely clueless about Well Control...sorry if that sounds abrasive, but it's a fact...


I voted against the Unions..you know why?, cause I want to work with a crew of guys that came to work, not to draw a paycheck...thats what most people do once they are in a Union is to hide behind a union...Unions are for lazy people that don't want to work...sorry I feel that way, but thats the way I truly feel...take responsibility by the horns and pay the hell attention to what we are doing on an oil rig...everytime you get on a Helicopter it could go down...everytime you get in a car/truck you could get killed...everytime you get in an airplane it could fall out of the sky...there's many ways to die offshore...what about the Helicopter that went down with 12 people on board and all died...no big write up or mention of Unions to get the Helicopter's safer?...What about all the guy's that have died while driving to/from offshore jobs? in car wrecks...


We have a choice when going to an oil rig...I can get in that airplane, car, helicopter and take off for offshore or  stay home and play it safe...it's our choice...I choose to take the risk...so if I die please don't start pointing fingers at other folks...I MADE THE CHOICE...but I'll be damned if I am going to let a well come in on me when it's MY watch and not shut it in, I do not sleep anytime there is a possibility of a Well Control issue...I have shut in several wells from the Company Office and also on the Rig Floor while working as a Company Rep...why would a Company Rep have to shut a flowing well in?...any idea's? I think you know the answer...people have questioned me over killing wells why I don't allow the Drilling Contractor to operate the Choke Panel...because thats MY job I am the Company Rep...there is two things I can legally touch on any rig I work on or I don't work for the Company...the Choke Panel and the BOP Panel....if they don't approve that then I walk...


The floats were washed out, they circulated how many hours before they cemented? Then when the floats wouldn't hold they estimated what they bled back trying to get them to hold and then pumped again to rebump the plug finally over displacing the shoe...it never had cement in it after all the see-sawing of the fluids to get the floats to hold...they had contaminated most of the cement in doing this...the rest is history...


My deepest respect to the families...I can only state what I see from the outside looking in and it is not always 100% correct...

To Bob: In my line of work. Which is workover rigs we use what we call a washington head which is bolted to the top of your bop and your work string is ran through a heavy duty rubber which contains pressure as well a fluid and allows you to work.


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