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BP Spill: Horizon Response Team Are Either Clueless Or Rude Or Both



Clive  can be "difficult" sometimes. But he has a kind heart; I’ve known him for thirty years, he’s rich; I’m (relatively) poor. The reason he is rich is because he can figure out stuff underwater.


Example, recently a Japanese company had been trying to figure out how to repair corroding conductor pipes, for two years. When “all else had failed”, they decided to talk to Clive (well they didn’t decide actually, he barged into a meeting complaining about something or other (pobably about not getting paid on the second for his beloved lift-boat), and one thing led to another).


The had talked to all the big guys, McDermott, etc…Clive is like the last guy you ask, he’s basically an anarchist and his dream is to drive a cement mixer into the middle of a busy junction in London, and let rip. He talks about that all the time, one day; he’s going to do it.


Anyway, the best price they had was over $1 million a pop and no guarantees (and when you are live that matters), he figured a way to do it for $250,000 each, with a guarantee. That’s what he does, he lifted a 20,000 ton semi-sub once; he owns the only operational “Gator” underwater trenching machine  in the world (keeps it in seven 20ft containers in his yard). And whatever you do, don’t get him started on lift-boats.


So we were shooting the breeze one day, and of course we were talking about the BP “embarrassment”. He has a special scorn for BP and all their HSE “rubbish” which in his words is all about (expletive deleted (s)) free-loading on people who know how to do a job, and then they mess up on the big things.


So we figured, how about an air-lift?

That’s basically a pipe (we figured 36 inch casing pipe), that can drop from the surface (you don’t need a “Semi” you can use a DP-2), then you pump air in the open end at, in this case 2,000 psi or so; it expands, travels up the pipe expanding as it goes and SUCKS like crazy; in this case one m3 of at 5,000 ft would pull 150m3 out the end at the surface.


 The deeper you are, the better it works; put one of them next to that BOP and you would suck up any ROV within twenty meters…and all the oil. Put in a gas-separator then a separators, and you are collecting 60,000 barrels a day.


I’m not an expert, but Clive said he could make it work. Generally, if Clive says he can make something work, he can.


So we sent a proposal to BP, that was three weeks ago.


Yesterday we got this:


Dear Andrew Butter, 


Thank you for your submission to the Alternative Response Technology (NYSE:ART) process for the Deepwater Horizon MC252 incident. Your submission has been reviewed for its technical merits.


It has been determined that your idea falls into one of the following ART  categories: Already Considered/Planned, Not Feasible, or Not Possible, and therefore will not be advanced for further evaluation.  To date, we have received over 80,000 submissions with each submission receiving individual consideration and priority based on merit and need.


BP and Horizon Deepwater Unified Command appreciate your contribution and interest in responding to this incident.



Thank you very much,

Horizon Response Team


OK so they are real smart…they said that they didn’t know how to make it work.


Well yeah, that’s the point; do you think we would explain the whole idea? Like how you could mobilize and deploy something in 10 days?


But normally, when we deal with oil companies, even the really clueless ones, you get an engineer to talk to.

He comes up with all sorts of silly objections, and you play cat and mouse; they try and steal your ideas, and you try and get them to commit to pay before you lay it out in Baby Language so they can understand.


Oil company engineers are real smart, they all got Phd’s and stuff, but practical things often get them confused. And geologists…well forget-about-it.


OK perhaps it’s not feasible, but it would have been nice, after us taking the time, to at least get a junior idiot BP engineer on the line to take up five minutes of his “valuable” time, to explain why the thing wouldn’t work.


After all, perhaps the idiot engineers never did anything like this before, and perhaps they hadn’t figured all the angles? You never know until you have a conversation.


That’s the difference, Clive did a lot of crazy stuff before, and most of the time all of the experts said it was impossible.


Maybe they are so-so-so smart that finally they got it figured. But not making a call, just five minutes, is just plain rude.


And who know, that's also possibly stupid. They have done stupid before, it would not be the first time.


Disclosure: "No Positions"