Congressman Markey – who chairs the select committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment subcommittee – alleges:
What’s clear is that BP has had an interest in low-balling the size of their accident, since every barrel spilled increases how much they could be fined by the government.
Markey and many others point to the fact that BP’s fines under the Clean Water Act are based on how many barrels of oil have spilled.
It is therefore not very surprising that BP is pretending that it is difficult to measure the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf.
But a commenter at the Oil Drum points out that BP had the technology to accurately measure the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf – without damaging any equipment – 2 years ago (edited for readability):
Would it surprise anyone to know that BP had already developed the technology to accurately measure troublesome oil and gas flow mixtures at the well head two years ago? It can be done remotely and continuously, at up to 10,000 feet, with a clamp-on, calibration free, sonar flow meter, or that the company that sells and installs them is presenting at petroleum conventions in Calgary and Newfoundland this summer?
The reason BP does not want the true flow known, is that it would require them to pay the “legitimate” fines and royalties they owe on what is extracted, regardless of whether it is ever recovered. As of mid-June their violations of the Clean Water Act alone are around $10B.
The reason no other oil driller wants it known, is that they may own the next blowout and will also want to conceal their true obligations.
Here’s Expro Meters’ product video.
And here’s a description of Expro Meters’ product from ScandOil.com:
Expro’s latest deepwater intervention technology will be showcased at both events. Expro’s AX-S system will break new ground in subsea well intervention when it comes to the market.
AX-S™ (pronounced ‘access’) brings cost-effective, riser-less intervention to deepwater wells (up to 10,000ft of water). Expro’s goal is to deliver a full range of wireline intervention services in deepwater wells at substantially less than the cost of using a rig.
Expro Meters offers wellhead surveillance on demand, utilizing a range of clamp-on sonar-based metering technology. Expro offers round-the-clock, 24/7 well surveillance, on any well type or location. Expro’s meters are clamp-on, non intrusive, easily installed and applied without production shutdown, providing operators with a permanent solution to their wellhead production surveillance needs.
Expro Meters are also available on demand to provide quick and easy well testing services through our portable clamp-on meters – anywhere in the world.
And the following document – on BP’s own website – contradicts everything they have said about not being able to accurately measure the rate of their Gulf oil leak (excerpt from p. 5 of BP’s own Frontiers publication, August, 2008):
BP has identified that by combining sonar flow measurement with additional measured parameters, such as pressure drop in a flow line, both the liquid rate and the gas rate on a wet gas flow line can be determined. BP has proven this additional breakthrough in practice and expects to deploy the technique in the field by the end of this year.
It appears that measuring hydrocarbon flows which contain small but troublesome percentages of liquids or gas may be less problematic in the future thanks to BP’s creative vision for sonar flow measurement.