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Archive for October 28th, 2010

Tests Had Warned Of “Cement Troubles” Before BP Blowout In Gulf

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October 28, 2010: Dina Cappiello / Associated Press (AP) via Yahoo News – October 28, 2010

The blame game – SJH

WASHINGTON – Tests performed before the deadly blowout of BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico should have raised doubts about the cement used to seal the well. 

However, the company and its cementing contractor used it anyway, investigators with the president’s oil spill commission said Thursday.

It’s the first finding from the commission looking into the causes of the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. And it appears to conflict with statements made by Halliburton Co., which has said its tests showed the cement mix was stable. The company instead has said BP’s well design and operations were responsible for the disaster.

The cement mix’s failure to prevent oil and gas from entering the well has been identified by BP and others as one of the causes of the accident. BP and Halliburton decided to use a foam slurry created by injecting nitrogen into cement to secure the bottom of the well, a decision outside experts have criticized.

The panel said that of four tests done in February and April by Halliburton, only one — the last — showed the mix would hold. But the results of that single successful test were not shared with BP, and may not have reached Halliburton, before the cement was pumped, according to a letter sent to commissioners Thursday by chief investigative counsel Fred H. Bartlit Jr.

BP had in hand at the time of the blowout the results of only one of the tests — a February analysis sent to BP by Halliburton in a March 8 e-mail that indicated the cement could fail. The slurry tested in that case was a slightly different blend, and assumed a slightly different well design, but there is no indication that Halliburton flagged the problem for BP, or that BP had concerns, the letter said.

“Halliburton (and perhaps BP) should have considered redesigning the foam slurry before pumping it at the Macondo well,” Bartlit wrote. Independent tests conducted for the commission by Chevron on a nearly identical mixture were also released Thursday. The results concluded that the cement mix was unstable, raising questions about the validity of Halliburton’s final test.

BP, as part of its internal investigation, also conducted independent tests that showed the cement mix was flawed, but its analysis was criticized by Halliburton, which said it was not the correct formula. BP’s report also mentioned a cement test Halliburton performed in mid-April, but it appears BP obtained the results after the accident and considered its methods flawed.

By contrast, the commission obtained proprietary additives from Halliburton as well as a recipe to re-create the slurry that was used on the well. One and a half gallons of the actual mix used on the rig remain, but it is being held as evidence in criminal and civil investigations.

A spokeswoman for Halliburton said the company was reviewing the findings and would have a response later. BP said it would not have a comment on the panel’s conclusions Thursday.

Halliburton shares dropped from near $34 to below $30 in New York trading in the half hour after the commission released its finding. The shares recovered a bit, and closed at $31.68, down $2.74, or 8 percent. BP shares rose from $40.38 to $41.28, then quickly reversed course and fell to $40.28. The shares finished trading with a gain of 49 cents at $40.59.

In testimony before the joint Coast Guard-Bureau of Ocean Energy Management investigative panel, Halliburton engineer Jesse Gagliano, when asked if he would pour the same cement again, said he would. Thomas Roth, a vice president at the company, said before a panel assembled by the National Academy of Engineering in September that Halliburton had used foam cement on 1,000 jobs, including 279 wells at 15,000 feet or deeper.

Roth faulted BP’s well design and BP’s decision not to run a test to confirm the cement had set properly. He also said Halliburton’s cement could have been contaminated by the oil-based muds BP used to drill the well. Such contamination can form channels in the cement through which oil and gas can escape.

The independent investigators do not address other decisions that could have contributed to the cement’s failure and the eventual blowout, such as BP’s decision to use fewer centralizers than recommended by Halliburton. Centralizers make sure the well’s piping is centered inside the well so the cement bonds correctly.

BP has also been criticized for not performing a cement bond long, a test that checks after the cement is pumped down whether it is secure. There are also questions about whether BP pumped down enough cement to seal off the bottom of the well, which was located more than three miles below sea level.

Revelation 8: Gulf Oil Catastrophe

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: You did it! No, you did it! No I didn’t, you did it… blah, blah, blah, as the merry-go-round of blame will spiral right down the memory hole of the American people… Not on my watch!!

This was a false flag to destroy the economy of the Gulf coast and poison not only American citizens with the spraying of toxic Corexit, but the purposed evisceration of a massive natural food source! – SJH 

Coverup Of An Environmental Catastrophe: Reappearance Of Huge Plumes Of Oil

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21657BP’s

Environmental Disaster: Fishermen Report Louisiana Bays Filled With Oil

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21653

Link to original article below…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101028/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill_cement

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Baby Boomers – Get Out Of Stock Market Now Before It’s Too Late!

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October 28, 2010: Eric Blair / Activist Post – October 28, 2010

If you’re a baby boomer who still believes in the stock market since the financial collapse of 2008, listen up.

The floor of this Ponzi scheme is about to drop out, leaving you punching a clock for some time to come and holding an empty retirement bag for your effort.  

The engineered crash is coming and the elite are jumping ship in droves — you should join them and get out ASAP.

Stock market insider selling has now reached record highs.  The trend has been increasing for the last several years, but now the ratios are getting beyond ridiculous.  Earlier this month, Zero Hedge reported that the insider selling-to-buying ratio is 2341 to 1.

Tyler Durden wrote: After last week saw an insider selling to buying ratio of 1,411 to 1, this week the ratio has nearly doubled, hitting a ridiculous 2,341 to 1. And while Wall Street’s liars and CNBC’s clowns will have you throw all your money into “leading” techs like Oracle and Google, insiders in these names sold a combined $200 million in stock in the last week alone.

Today, CNBC reported that the insider selling activity at some of the largest traded companies is at an all-time high.  This can’t be a good sign of things to come.  The article points to the analysis of Alan Newman, a market strategist who tracks insider trading: “The overwhelming volume of sell transactions relative to buy transactions by company insiders over the last six months in key leading sectors of the market is the worst . . . ever.”  

CNBC reported that industry leaders have a staggering 3177 to 1 insider sell-to-buy ratio: “The largest companies in three of the most important leading sectors of the market have seen their executives classified as insiders sell more than 120 million shares of stock over the last six months. Top executives at these very same companies bought just 38,000 shares over that same time period, making for an eye-popping sell to buy ratio of 3,177 to one.

“The grand total for the three sectors are “as awful as we have ever seen since we began doing this exercise years ago,” said Newman, who was ahead on such trends as the dangers of high-frequency trading and ETFs before the ‘Flash Crash’. “Clearly, insiders are seeing great value only in cash. Their actions speak volumes for the veracity for the current rally.”’

Also quoted in the CNBC piece was Simon Baker, CEO of Baker Asset Management, who said the insider data “is good reason for considerable caution once the price action fades,” and “insiders normally buy early and sell early too. Longer term — 12 months out — it is more of a red flag.”

It’s pretty difficult to excuse these levels of insider looting, but the experts are doing their best to claim that these poor executives (the titans of their industries) must take profits from stock sales because their salaries and bonuses have been cut.  Who do they think they are kidding?  

Wall Street is still paying record salaries and bonuses, reportedly worth $144 billion (about a $1000 for every working American).  There also has been very little news of other industry executives taking pay cuts, as American companies are holding record levels of cash to the tune of over a trillion dollars.  In fact, the flush-with-cash CEOs continue to blame the consumer class for joblessness.

Despite the mass exodus of executives from their own company’s stock, the S&P continues to remain somewhat stable since gaining 16% from July lows.  Well, those gains seem somewhat pathetic since the value of the dollar — measured against the human inflation indexes such as food and oil — has plummeted.  Major food commodities are up over 50% since their July lows, while oil prices have climbed $10 to over $81/bbl, or around 14% for the same time period, with predictions to break the $100/bbl mark very shortly.  

Barely covering the cost of real inflationary measures is hardly success, especially with the current risks involved with being in the stock market.  These risks have only increased since the 2008 financial collapse that eventually caused the stock market to bottom out to the mid-6000 range.  

The market has been propped up with TARP funds and driven by scandalous front-running by Goldman Sachs and other large firms leading to 70% of stock purchases to be held for an average of 11 seconds. Consequently, these robo-trading programs have also been blamed for the freak “Flash Crash” in May where the stock market plummeted over 900 points in just minutes.

The charade is almost up, as the bad-but-getting-even-worse main street economy is not remotely factored in to Wall Street’s casino calculations.  Truth is, most states are approaching bankruptcy, unemployment continues to worsen, and yet another major scandal is playing out with Fraudclosure Gate. Newman, the insider trading expert, says, “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we expect a significant correction.”

Unless you are an ultra-sophisticated trader with access to front-running software, it is time to follow these insiders out of the stock market and into real assets.  As the Fed announces plans for QE2, which the stock market actually views as a good thing, the elite seem to be flocking to precious metals, commodities, and large agricultural land purchases on the expectation of an even weaker dollar.  This appears to make gold, food, and oil pretty safe bets for the average bloke.

George Carlin ~ The American Dream

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: This is a bait and switch scam, folks. Take heed and get out now! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.activistpost.com/2010/10/baby-boomers-get-out-of-stock-market.html

Death Tolls From Indonesian Tsunami And Merapi Volcano Climbs

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October 28, 2010: Achmad Ibrahim and Slamet Riyadi / AP via Yahoo News – October 27, 2010

MENTAWAI ISLANDS, Indonesia – The death toll from a tsunami and a volcano rose to more than 340 Thursday as more victims of Indonesia’s double disasters were found and an official said a warning system installed after a deadly ocean wave in 2004 was broke from lack of maintenance.

Hundreds were still missing after Monday’s 10 foot (3-meter) wave spawned by a massive quake struck the remote Mentawai Islands off western Sumatra, where rescue officials — kept away for days because of stormy seas and bad weather — started arriving at the scene to chart the scope of the devastation. Some wore face masks as they wrapped swollen corpses littering roads and beaches in black body bags.

Huge swaths of land were underwater and houses lay crumpled with tires and slabs of concrete piled up on the surrounding sand. At least 311 people died as the tsunami washed away hundreds of wooden and bamboo homes in 20 villages, displacing more than 20,000 people, said Ade Edward, a government disaster official.

About 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to the east in central Java, the Mount Merapi volcano was mostly quiet but still a threat after Tuesday’s eruption that sent searing ash clouds into the air, killing at least 33 people and injuring 17, said Agustinus, a doctor at the local health department who like many Indonesians goes by one name. A mass burial was planned for later Thursday. Among the dead was a revered elder who had refused to leave his ceremonial post as caretaker of the mountain’s spirits.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono rushed home from a state visit to Vietnam to deal with the catastrophes, which struck within 24 hours along different points of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a series of fault lines prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

The first cargo plane loaded with tents, medicine, food and clothes landed Wednesday in the tsunami-hit area, Edward said. Vice President Boediono toured devastated villages on hardest hit Pagai Utara island and met with survivors and local officials, his office said. At one point, he paused solemnly in front of several corpses in body bags.

The charity SurfAid International is getting “grim news” from village contacts, said Andrew Judge, head of the group founded by surfers who have been helping deliver aid. He said he is hearing of “more death, large numbers of deaths in some villages.” With the arrival of help, Edward said officials “finally … have a chance now to look for more than 400 still missing.”

The islands lie close to the epicenter of the 7.7-magnitude quake that struck late Monday beneath the ocean floor. The fault line on Sumatra island’s coast is the same one that caused the 2004 quake and tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean.

After that monster wave, many countries set up early warning systems in their waters hoping to give people time to flee to higher ground before a tsunami — which can travel hundreds of miles (kilometers) — crashed ashore. Indonesia’s version, completed in 2008 with German aid, has since fallen into such disrepair that it effectively stopped working about a month ago, according to the head of the Meteorology and Geophysic Agency.

The system, which uses buoys to electronically detect sudden changes in water level, worked when it was completed, but by 2009 routine tests of it were showing problems, said the agency chief, who uses the single name Fauzi. By last month, he said, the entire system was broken because of inexperienced operators.

“We do not have the expertise to monitor the buoys to function as intended,” he said. As a result, he said, not a single siren sounded after Monday’s quake. It was unclear if any sirens could have made a difference, since the islands worst affected were so close to the epicenter that the tsunami would have reached them within minutes.

The group that set up the system, the Germany-Indonesia agency Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS), could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but the questions Fauzi raised highlighted the difficulty for a poor country such as Indonesia in disaster prevention and response.

On the ash-covered slopes of Mount Merapi, authorities continued a search for more victims. The eruption sent thousands streaming into makeshift emergency shelters, although the ash did not disrupt flights over Indonesia. About 36,000 people have been evacuated, according to the Indonesian Red Cross.

Some defied authorities and returned home to check on crops and possessions left behind. More than 11,000 people live on Merapi’s fertile slopes. Tuesday’s blast eased pressure that had been building behind a lava dome on the crater. Experts warned that the dome could still collapse, causing an avalanche of the blistering gas and debris trapped beneath it.

The volcano, whose name means “Fire Mountain,” has erupted many times in the last 200 years. In 1994, 60 people were killed, while in 1930 more than a dozen villages were incinerated, leaving up to 1,300 dead.

Among the dead from Tuesday’s eruption was an 83-year-old man named Maridjan, who was entrusted by a late king from the nearby city of Yogyakarta to watch over the mountain’s unpredictable spirits. He had refused to leave his house high on its slopes.

The discovery Wednesday of his ash-covered body, reportedly found in a position of Islamic prayer, kneeling face-down on the floor, rattled residents who for years joined his ceremonies to appease the rumbling giant by throwing rice, clothes and chickens into the crater.

Many Indonesians paid tribute to Maridjan on Facebook and Twitter. “I’m more afraid than ever,” said Prapto Wiyono, a 60-year-old farmer from the mountain village of Pangukrejo. “Who’s going to tell us what’s going on with Merapi?”

AP: Volcano And Tsunami Deaths Mount In Indonesia

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Memo to Mr. Prapto Wiyono, what the hell did Maridjan do to warn you of this Merapi catastrophe? Why did the new tsunami warning system fail? Pray for those who perished… – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101028/ap_on_re_as/as_indonesia_earthquake

Written by Steven John Hibbs

October 28, 2010 at 12:01 am