Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Halliburton: One Shoddy Piece of Work Among Many Revealed in Today's BP Study

This is a small piece of the investigation BP paid for and published today on the Deepwater Horizon disaster, pp. 57-60. (bold is mine) It speaks for itself.

Slurry Testing on Halliburton Products
The cement components were stocked on Deepwater Horizon. Halliburton shipped samples of those components to its laboratory in advance of the date on which the components were used for the Macondo well.  

Halliburton retained surplus samples from the testing program. However, the investigation team was unable to acquire and test these actual cement samples from the rig due to a court-ordered injunction on Halliburton to preserve this material. At the time this report was written, Halliburton had declined the investigation team’s requests for equivalent samples of the cement components used on the rig. The investigation team was, therefore, unable to conduct any lab testing using Halliburton products. The only sources for data derived from rig-sourced components are the lab test reports received from Halliburton. (Refer to Appendix J. Halliburton Lab Results - #73909/2.)

Evaluation of Halliburton Lab Test Results
The investigation team reviewed Halliburton laboratory test results dated April 12, 2010, and noted several discrepancies, as follows:

**Halliburton indicated in subsequent correspondence that this April 12, 2010, document reported results of slurry tests conducted on April 18, 2010.

**The report did not include testing for fluid loss, free water, foam/spacer/mud compatibility, static gel strength transition time, zero gel time or settlement. Testing for these parameters is commonly provided.

**Some of the data provided appeared to pre-date the April 18, 2010, slurry testing. 

At the time this report was written, the investigation team was unable to reconcile these discrepancies with Halliburton

After the accident, the investigation team contracted a third party cementing lab (CSI Technologies) to evaluate Halliburton’s lab reports and to conduct tests on representative cement products and additives. The purpose of this effort was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Halliburton cement slurry design....

Analysis—Cement Design
The investigation team identified that:

**The Halliburton lab tests on nitrified foam cement slurry had insufficient, non-representative nitrogen volume.

**The nitrified foam cement slurry tested and recommended by Halliburton had an abnormally low yield point.

**A defoamer additive was used in the nitrified foam cement slurry and could potentially destabilize a foamed slurry.

**The cement design did not include a fluid loss additive. It is established practice to control fluid loss in cement slurries that are placed across hydrocarbon zones.

**CSI Technologies could not generate stable nitrified foam slurry with a foam quality representative of, although not identical to, that used in the Macondo well.

Based on consideration of the properties and testing of the nitrified foam cement slurry used in the Macondo well, and on CSI Technologies’ lab results and analysis, the investigation team concluded that the nitrified foam cement slurry used in the Macondo
well probably experienced nitrogen breakout, nitrogen migration and incorrect cement density. This would explain the failure to achieve zonal isolation of hydrocarbons. Nitrogen breakout and migration would have also contaminated the shoe track cement and may have caused the shoe track cement barrier to fail.

Halliburton is a major player in the horizontal gas drilling business, and they are ruthlessly greedy. We don't want them in New York State. The damage they have already been a part to in Pennsylvania is horrific. They are dangerous and deceitful. 

We do not want them in our back yard tinkering with our water. Ever.

Never forget for even a moment the "Dick" Cheney connection.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't Drink the Water

Feds Warn Residents Near Wyoming Gas Drilling Sites 

Not To Drink Their Water

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica
The federal government is warning residents in a small Wyoming town with extensive natural gas development not to drink their water, and to use fans and ventilation when showering or washing clothes in order to avoid the risk of an explosion.

[The federal government is warning residents in a small Wyoming town with extensive natural gas development not to drink their water, and to use fans and ventilation when showering or washing clothes in order to avoid the risk of an explosion. (photo: Creative Commons/ Flickr user woodleywonderworks)]
The federal government is warning residents in a small Wyoming town with extensive natural gas development not to drink their water, and to use fans and ventilation when showering or washing clothes in order to avoid the risk of an explosion. (photo: Creative Commons/ Flickr user woodleywonderworks)
The announcement accompanied results from a second round of testing and analysis in the town of Pavillion by Superfund investigators for the Environmental Protection Agency. Researchers found benzene, metals, naphthalene, phenols and methane in wells and in groundwater. They also confirmed the presence of other compounds that they had tentatively identified last summer and that may be linked to drilling activities.

"Last week it became clear to us that the information that we had gathered" "was going to potentially result in a hazard -- result in a recommendation to some of you that you not continue to drink your water," Martin Hestmark, deputy assistant regional administrator for ecosystems protection and remediation with the EPA in Denver, told a crowd of about 100 gathered at a community center in Pavillion Tuesday night. "We understand the gravity of that."
Representatives of the EPA and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which made the health recommendation, said they had not determined the cause of the contamination and said it was too early to tell whether gas drilling was to blame. In addition to contaminants related to oil and gas, the agency detected pesticides in some wells, and significant levels of nitrates in one sample -- signs that agricultural pollution could be partly to blame. The EPA's final report on Pavillion's water is expected early next year.
ProPublica first drew attention to Pavillion's water in late 2008, and reported extensively on the EPA's ongoing investigation there last August.
EnCana, the oil and gas company that owns most of the wells near Pavillion, has agreed to contribute to the cost of supplying residents with drinking water, even though the company has not accepted responsibility for the contamination.
EnCana spokesman Doug Hock told ProPublica in an e-mail that the petroleum hydrocarbon compounds the EPA found "covers an extremely wide spectrum of chemicals, many of which aren't associated with oil and gas."
"ATSDR's suggestion to landowners was based upon high levels of inorganics -- sodium and sulfate that are naturally occurring in the area," he said.
EPA scientists began investigating Pavillion's water in 2008 after residents complained about foul smells, illness and discolored water, and after state agencies declined to investigate. Last August the EPA found contaminants in a quarter of samples taken during the first stage of its investigation, and the agency announced it would continue with another round of samples -- the set being disclosed now.
In the meeting Tuesday, the agency shared results from tests of 23 wells, 19 of which supply drinking water to residents. It found low levels of hydrocarbon compounds -- various substances that make up oil -- in 89 percent of the drinking water wells it tested. Methane gas was detected in seven of the wells and was determined to have come from the gas reservoir being tapped for energy. Eleven of the wells contained low levels of the compound 2-butoxyethanol phosphate -- a compound associated with drilling processes but that is also used as a fire retardant and a plasticizer.
The scientists also found extremely high levels of benzene, a carcinogen, and other compounds in groundwater samples taken near old drilling disposal pits. Some of the samples were taken less than 200 yards from drinking water sources and scientists expressed concerns that the contaminated water was connected to drinking water wells by an underground aquifer.
"The groundwater associated with some inactive oil and gas production pits" "is in fact highly contaminated," Ayn Schmit, a scientist with the EPA's ecosystems protection program, told residents. But she also cautioned that the EPA has not determined the cause of the contamination and is continuing its investigation.