Yesterday in his daily presser, Adm. Allen said that all is well with the well, and that BP may be ready to pump the Static Kill (Top Kill II) to cover up the evidence as early as Sunday. The problem is, if everything with the Well Integrity Test (translation: Shut-In-Until-We-Can-Get-Mud-Pumped-in-to-Keep-from-Measuring-the-Flow-Test) is going so well, how come they cut off the ROV video feeds of the well 3 days ago? Our pals over at Daily Kos, the Gulf Watchers, who have maintained a 24/7 vigil over the feeds, are telling me that we are now in our third day of no view of the wellhead.
They're right. If you go to BP's Video Feed site (warning: it's slow and locks up some browsers) you'll notice that the Skandi feeds, which have shown the wellhead virtually full time for weeks, are now blank. There are a few feeds still working, but most show the ROV staring off into the distance, working on other components, or in sonar mode. Nothing of the old BOP or new Capping Stack. When the video feeds were up after the Well Integrity Test (see translation above) started, the Gulf Watchers began noting leaks in the new stack and the old BOP, but especially around the Cameron HC connector that is between the stacks. Last weekend and earlier this week, they began noting that the leak in the connector was getting worse, as all leaks do if not repaired. About the time of the reports of worsening leaks, the feed was suddenly cut, and continues to remain off. We are blind to the wellhead that BP committed to Markey that they would all let us see. The Gulf Watchers do report occasional glances at the wellhead from other ROVs as they move around, and say that the Skandi ROVs are still there watching the wellhead. BP has just chosen to not broadcast them.
We all know that BP is monitoring the well very closely, as Adm. Allen said as late as yesterday afternoon. If that is so, why are they not letting us monitor it, too? Why is Adm. Allen and the US government letting BP reneg on its commitment to transparency? The leaks may very well be inconsequential; however, they should let us judge that for ourselves. I doubt this is some oversight or mechanical malfunction; the feed has been intentionally cut with no explanation. What's really irritating is that the press is more focused on how the oil is "disappearing" and how many birds have been released than the damn well. I guess the Lindsay Lohan-in-Jail story is now more appealing, since the oil spill has now fallen off of CNN's front page as well as every other network's except for MSNBC.
The Gulf Watchers have calls into the Energy and Commerce Committee press office, as does the Daily Hurricane. We also have a call into the Unified Command press office asking for comment why the feeds have been cut off. The question was not answered and calls not immediately returned.
We'll update this as we hear more (or don't) throughout the day.
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