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Earth Software Science

Modeling Software Showed BP Cement As Unstable 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the many-points-of-failure dept.
DMandPenfold writes "Advanced modeling software analyzed the cementing conditions for BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well as unstable, days before the blast that killed 11 oil rig workers and let millions of barrels of oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. Halliburton, the company that carried out the cement job, used its own modeling software called OptiCem, to support arguments that more stability was needed for the piping and cement. ... An OptiCem test on 15 April, five days before the blast, stipulated that from Halliburton’s point of view, 21 ‘centralizers’ needed to be added to the well bore. The centralizers are used to provide space around the oil pipe casing within the well, as cement is poured around it, and are a vital part of safe drilling. BP initially adhered to the OptiCem software test and ordered 15 extra centralizers. But when technicians on the rig received the extra centralizers they mistakenly decided the new centralizers were the incorrect type. At this point BP proceeded with the drilling anyway, with the six centralizers, deciding another known technique of injecting cement in other places would work."
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Modeling Software Showed BP Cement As Unstable

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  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:37AM (#34206368) Homepage

    For what, you ask? Negligent homicide. Because somebody decided to drill in a situation they knew to be unsafe, putting the lives of everyone on the rig, including those with no choice in the matter, at risk for the sake of profits. A few criminal prosecutions would change that culture quickly, otherwise it's just a cost of doing business.

  • by The Dodger (10689) on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:48AM (#34206466) Homepage

    ..BP didn't do the cementing. Halliburton did. So, if Halliburton's model showed that more centralizers were required but they decided to go ahead with the cementing anyway, seems to me that they were negligent.

    It's like a builder telling the developer "We should use beams and girders in this wall to make it stronger" and the developer saying "Hmmm. We haven't got any steel beams to hand. Can you use reinforced concrete instead and maybe make the wall thicker?". If the builder says "Yeah, sure!" and goes ahead, he can't blame the developer if the wall later collapses.

    I sense desperate attempts at ass-covering on Halliburton's part. Probably worried about all their lucrative no-competition Pentagon contracts.

  • by The Dodger (10689) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:07AM (#34206646) Homepage

    > So what? BP has massive amounts of money...

    Actually, that's not as true as you think. They have a lot of assets but they don't have a lot of money. In fact, back in June, there was a serious risk that BP would find itself in financial trouble because it's short-term liquidity sources (i.e. the money markets) had dried up as lenders became increasingly concerned with the lunatic rhetoric being spouted by Obama and his cronies. The markets began to suspect that the administration might actually be stupid enough to try to effectively "kill" BP as a company, so they stopped lending to them. Without funding, BP could have collapsed. That's why Obama's statement after his meeting with Tony Hayward and the other BP senior management team, was so supportive of BP. In that meeting, he was basically told, in no uncertain terms, that he was being a fucking moron and that he should wind his fucking neck in before he did something so incredibly stupid that it would push one of the world's biggest companies into an artificially-induced insolvency, resulting in millions of investors (a lot of them American) losing a lot of money, thousands of employees (again, a lot of them American) losing their jobs and the entire bill for the clean-up, restoration of the environment and compensation for those affected falling on the American taxpayers.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:33AM (#34206892) Homepage

    Here's what I actually suspect: BP and Halliburton were both responsible to some degree. Because of that, the companies will insist on separate trials if it ever gets to court, and the defense in each of the two trials will be "the other guy did it". That way, neither of them has to actually take responsibility for their actions.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday November 12, 2010 @12:48PM (#34207842) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, I can't figure it out. People on the street shoot each other over liquor store robberies for a $100, but when your livelihood is affected to the tune of tens of thousands, people sit in their sofas watching American Idol.

    Never mind some fisherman picking off BP execs, I'm shocked no one has been picking off mortgage brokers, bankers, and other high-ups that handed us the Great Depression, that will essentially, last for the remainer of our lives (all indicators point to things getting worse, not better, unless you're already in the top 1%).

    Even more amsuing is that that south is filled with gun-nuts, you'd think that at least one of them would get riled up enough to do something. Amazing that they'll shoot at each other about a scratch on the pickup truck, but when it comes down to REAL things, they act like they have no power.

    Maybe there's something to those chemtrails after all, as the populace is handing the country over to a few elite, with no fight whatsoever. John Carpenter's "They Live" is starting to look like a documentary. Where's the Hoffman lenses when you need them?

  • by MarcQuadra (129430) on Friday November 12, 2010 @12:55PM (#34207934)

    I bought-in like mad when the stock started going below $40/share. I made a bunch of loot, and I'm just a regular working Joe. There's a reason stocks are 'public', it means anyone can buy them.

    It drives me mad when people say that investing is something for 'people with lots of power and money', It's not rocket-science, and anyone can do it. Investing has netted me about $15K of spending cash in the last two years, all on a middle-class salary.

    Anyone with half a brain knows that institutional investors were dumping BP stock because their clients were angry at them and it was driving the stock down; the fiscal fundamentals would put the shares back over $40 once things stabilized. I'm still holding, though. I suspect a lot of the $20B put aside won't get used and BP will resume dividends again soon. Once that happens, there's no reason the stock won't bump up another 30%.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Friday November 12, 2010 @02:51PM (#34209390) Journal
    Maybe, but who gets charged if the wheel falls off and kills somebody? At some point the makers of shoddy equipment need to be called to task.
  • by Shotgun (30919) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:04PM (#34209544)

    Even worse is that when "that dirty fisherman" does cap Tony, the next C-level will put up higher walls and add security and then feel smug in dumping in the backyards of the "dirty proles", because they are stupid and violent.

    These guys don't fear death. They've got plenty of security to handle us. What they fear is poverty and the resulting public humiliation.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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