Oil company BP announced on Wednesday that the “static kill” operation to plug its ruptured Deepwater Horizon oil well from above with drilling mud had achieved its “desired outcome” of temporarily controlling the flow of oil.
Oil industry expert Bob Cavnar, however, is skeptical of BP’s rosy evaluation.
“You don’t know if that well’s actually killed down below,” he told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Tuesday. “Because of all the damage down below, it could be flowing into another zone, it could be flowing some place else into the substrata. The only way you kill this well is with the relief well from down below.”
When Olbermann asked whether we can be sure that the underwater video feed is legitimate, Cavnar laughed and replied, “It’s very interesting. I got up early this morning . … I was very concerned about this connector I’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks. They had a good shot of that so I watched that for a while … came back about 30 minutes later, and it replayed. And I noticed that the time was an hour and a half behind the current time. So they were relooping some of the video feed, and it was not live.”
“I always wondered if they want you to see what they want you to see,” Cavnar suggested, “and sometimes if they have something else going on they just loop the tape for a while before they go back to live.”
Suspicions that BP is looping its video feed have been raised repeatedly on various message boards over the last couple of months. One blogger reported as early as May 23 seeing the live feed freeze just as a major gush of oil erupted, followed after a page reload by a much clearer view with “no more black chaos.”
In addition to voicing concerns about the video, Cavnar had questions about why BP has spent the last several weeks undertaking other operations, like the “top kill,” rather than completing the drilling of a relief well to provide a permanent solution to the leak.
“This is the one thing I just don’t understand,” he told Olbermann. “This deepest relief well is only four feet from the intercept point. .. They’re right there and they’ve lost three weeks of operations. … Had they just kept going, I think they could have already had the well killed instead of doing all this nonsense from the top.”
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Aug. 3, 2010.