The Fourteenth Banker Blog

June 15, 2010

BP Blowout End Game

Filed under: Running Commentary — thefourteenthbanker @ 8:34 AM
Tags: , , ,

This link provides more detail on the well situation than you will ever read in the press. I cannot vouch for its reliability but it seems to pass the smell test and is well documented.

Tonight the President will go on television to discuss damage control. Environmental damage control, political damage control, economic damage control. But beware the illusion of control. We are all oftimes captured by it. You cannot control all consequences. If this posted link is accurate, we may have met a catastrophe on a scale we have not seen in centuries.

It was preventable. The causes and conditions which led to this disaster must be struck from our society.

We will see tonight if the President dances around or blusters or puffs up. What I hope we see is wisdom and vision. Anything less is a failure.


  1. This oil leak can not be stopped by any technology that currently exists. A standard oil well yields oil at 1500 – 2000 psi. This well struck into a cavity that is running 20,000 – 25,000 psi. The back pressure is what caused Deep Horizon to blow up.

    BP and the US government are trying to keep this out of the media, and thus far have been somewhat successful. But that is changing as a scientist has come forward to explain how this is an apocalyptic event.

    In the oil are contaminants such as toxic gases and sand. The sand, through friction, is sandblasting the pipe into oblivion. Thus far the 2-inch pipe has eroded to less than 1 inch. The pipe is also reported to be compromised at around 1000-ft below the seabed.

    The end result is that the hole will continue to expand, blasting away the pipe, and sea bottom, expelling and ever increasing volume of oil. Once the hole gets large enough, the water pressure will be great enough to force the oil to stop, and the water will go down the hole. Because the temperature at the bottom of the hole is estimated to be 400+ degrees Fahrenheit, the water will immediately expand raising the sea floor that will cause a massive quake. The uplift will immediately be followed by a collapse of the cavity sealing the leak once and for all.

    Nature will solve this problem but it will end with an 80-foot Tsunami that wipes out anything within 50 miles of the gulf coastline.

    Estimated turnaround time is 18 months. If you live in the Gulf Coast you will be evacuated or you will die.

    So if Obama does not relay what his scientists have already told him, informing the masses of the peril that will befall them, then he is offering nothing other than to prove that he is in the hip pocket of BP, and big oil in general.

    Comment by The Mad Ape — June 15, 2010 @ 9:04 AM | Reply

    • Why a tsunami? Are there links you can post? When you mentioned the scientist whom are you referring to?

      Comment by thefourteenthbanker — June 15, 2010 @ 9:24 AM | Reply

      • The tsunami argument I’ve heard is based on a collapse of the sea floor which then creates something similar to an underwater volcano, constantly erupting, leading to greater collapses of sea floor and earthquakes. Just what I’ve read, I know nothing more.

        I’d like to know more about the CV of the poster dougr on the link to the oil drum. Is he an expert or someone who see’s himself as an expert?

        Comment by Mark G. — June 15, 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  2. strange – seems someone had the article removed in the last few minutes…at least I had copied the text beforehand.

    I hope that this is bad science but my gut is telling me different.

    The link had been at:

    It has been estimated by experts that the pressure which blows the oil into the Gulf waters is estimated to be between 20,000 and 70,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). Impossible to control.

    What US Scientists Are Forbidden To Tell The Public About The Gulf

    What you are about to read, is what the scientists in the United States are not allowed to tell you in great fear of the Obama administration.

    They are under the threat of severe repercussions to the max.. Scientists confirming these findings cannot be named due to the above, but what they believe, they want to be known by all.

    Take a U. S. map, lay it flat and measure inland just the minimum 50 miles of total destruction all around the Gulf of Mexico as to what you will read below.

    The carnage to the United States is so staggering, it will take your breathe away.

    Should what the scientists who are trying to warn everyone about be even close to being true… all of Florida will be completely destroyed as will everyone and everything on it.

    You decide!! Everyone has the right to read what I have just written in this article, as well as to what is written below by the scientists who the Obama administration and BP are trying to shut up.

    Please share with as many as you can.

    –Dr. James P. Wickstrom

    Summary of What is Happening

    The estimated super high pressure release of oil from under the earth’s crust is between 80,000 to 100,000 barrels per day.

    The flow of oil and toxic gases is bringing up with it… rocks and sand which causes the flow to create a sandblasting effect on the remaining well head device currently somewhat restricting the flow, as well as the drilled hole itself.

    As the well head becomes worn it enlarges the passageway allowing an ever-increasing flow. Even if some device could be placed onto the existing wellhead, it would not be able to shut off the flow, because what remains of the existing wellhead would not be able to contain the pressure.

    The well head piping is originally about 2 inches thick. It is now likely to be less than 1 inch thick, and thinning by each passing moment. The oil has now reached the Gulf Stream and is entering the Oceanic current which is at least four times stronger than the current in the Gulf, which will carry it throughout the world within 18 months.

    The oil along with the gasses, including benzene and many other toxins, is deleting the oxygen in the water. This is killing all life in the ocean. Along with the oil along the shores, there will be many dead fish, etc. that will have to be gathered and disposed of.

    Summary of Expectations

    At some point the drilled hole in the earth will enlarge itself beneath the wellhead to weaken the area the wellhead rests upon. The intense pressure will then push the wellhead off the hole allowing a direct unrestricted flow of oil, etc.

    The hole will continue to increase in size allowing more and more oil to rise into the Gulf. After several billion barrels of oil have been released, the pressure within the massive cavity five miles beneath the ocean floor will begin to normalize.

    This will allow the water, under the intense pressure at 1 mile deep, to be forced into the hole and the cavity where the oil was. The temperature at that depth is near 400 degrees, possibly more.

    The water will be vaporized and turned into steam, creating an enormous amount of force, lifting the Gulf floor. It is difficult to know how much water will go down to the core and therefore, its not possible to fully calculate the rise of the floor.

    The tsunami wave this will create will be anywhere from 20 to 80 feet high, possibly more. Then the floor will fall into the now vacant chamber. This is how nature will seal the hole.

    Depending on the height of the tsunami, the ocean debris, oil, and existing structures that will be washed away on shore and inland, will leave the area from 50 to 200 miles inland devoid of life. Even if the debris is cleaned up, the contaminants that will be in the ground and water supply will prohibit re-population of these areas for an unknown number of years.

    (End of scientists information release.) From Tom Buyea FL News Service

    Comment by The Mad Ape — June 15, 2010 @ 9:47 AM | Reply

    • O.K., for the sake of argument let’s say this is all credible and true and the government releases the information to the media. Now you not only have a disastrous situation to deal with, you get to deal with it in the middle of mass hysteria – a known cause of serious problems.

      So if you were president what would you do?

      Comment by oldgal — June 16, 2010 @ 8:53 AM | Reply

      • I tend to be skeptical of apocolyptic theories. So I am having a hard time buying the tsunami possibility.

        However, I am quite convinced the government has tried to “contain” information. They, under the President’s leadership, have taken on a paternal stance to the extent of being untruthful. That is what I would change. That would lay a foundation of believability and trust that would serve the President well in a worst case scenario.

        I don’t know enough to comment on what risks should be disclosed at what time if the disclosure might trigger panic. I hope someone is in top of it.

        I did not hear the speech last night. What was your take on it?

        Comment by thefourteenthbanker — June 16, 2010 @ 9:33 AM

  3. […] enterprise always does things better than government, read this post from insider oil blog (hat tip 14). It is hard to be optimistic about the Gulf oil disaster; indeed, the post is positively chilling. […]

    Pingback by private industry in all its glory | theParetoCommons — June 15, 2010 @ 12:12 PM | Reply

  4. There is also the view of the abiotic oil crowd that this well hit a ” migration channel” that is also a huge storage zone. Their view is that all elephant fields are points where migration channels enlarge to store oil wicking it’s way up from deeper zones in the lithosphere. This school of thought is largely centered in Russia. One prominent Professor is Vladimir Kutcherov who teaches in Sweden and Russia. F William Engdahl has a piece on this at Global Research where he quotes a telephone conversation with Dr . Kutcherov that this disaster will indeed continue for many years unless interdicted. There have been reports over the years that some fields around the Gulf do indeed refill to some degree. Never consider Thomas Gold knocked out, I guess.

    So who do you believe? It is not hard to at least tentatively conclude that US academics are less and less scientists and more and more bureaucrats protecting their academic turf and sources of funding. Control fraud here ala Dr . William Black in the academic business? It is a business after all. The big universities are run by academic Hank Paulson’s?

    So, the only way to go here is to have an open mind. Look at the long term scientific truculence involving the Pleistocene Extinction causes.

    Would not the pressure alone be indicative of a massive field far greater than initially thought? There are also reports of seepage zones opening up near the Macondo site. Is this confirmed? It would seem to me that if the pressures are as great as claimed that only massive successful drilling and harvesting of gas and oil would lower the pressure. Look at the history of the East Texas field in the thirties. It was a huge gusher creator and very quickly the field pressure was lowered from the huge numbers of wells sunk at the same time.

    I ran across a piece that I did not save and only scanned that speculates the Macondo Play initial well hit an oil field the size of Mount Everest. In short, another Ghawar.

    Comment by Jerry J — June 15, 2010 @ 12:55 PM | Reply

  5. Time for the Russian solution?

    Small tactical nuke, like, say, a nuclear torpedo detonated at the wellhead creates a sealed crater. PR nightmare but a damn sight better than what is predicted above…

    Comment by craigdp — June 15, 2010 @ 2:09 PM | Reply

  6. here is a link to video of what is described as seepage from the sea floor. i cannot vouch for the video nor its source:

    Comment by victoriap — June 15, 2010 @ 2:34 PM | Reply

  7. If the video is a fake two important companies would say so. Veolia ES Services is a big player in the Gulf. Viking Poseidon’s owner is Norwegian company associated with green business operations. Veolia ES is the lessee of the vessel.

    I would, at this point almost presume that the well pipe was destroyed in some places . So there could very well be crude migrating upward under the pressures discussed . Just how far away from the well bore might cracks develop?

    What gets my goat through and through are the discussions about who pays before doing what must be done. When the big one hits Southern California will everyone have to prepay their help? Seize the well ar ea and fix if the government has a clue about what to do and of course the logistics in place with which to accomplishing interdiction of the leaks. Now , if you do not know what to do and do not even have what you might need logistically available I guess the political thing to do is scream you pay to BP etc.

    Grant wants to biff Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. Does he scream about prepayment? No he gets his logistics and organization in place and goes after Lee if it takes all summer.

    Comment by Jerry J — June 15, 2010 @ 5:49 PM | Reply

  8. First of all, let me dispel the theory that the water will go down the well. The pressure is higher pushing oil and gas up the well. Once that pressure subsides, there will be a point of equilibrium, where nothing goes up or down. In order for water to go down there would have to be a negative pressure in the rock. Never happen. Secondly, if water ever were to seep down the well, the pressure it would be under would be so great that it would have to be almost 600 degrees F to boil.

    Comment by Mark C — June 15, 2010 @ 11:57 PM | Reply

  9. This talks of a much greater amount of oil “leaking” than previously admitted or specified. It makes me wonder if the godawful scenario above is the real situation.

    Comment by Sandi — June 16, 2010 @ 7:26 AM | Reply

  10. Macondo and the field encompassing Block 252 is a very high pressure field with presumably only one well puncture at the moment. Pressures as high as 70,000 psi in the well bore are commonly bandied about. Single well rates are bandied about at rates of 100,000 bbls of oil per day plus undefined amounts of gas. This rate of flow is mixed with sand particles sufficient to wear wear out the casing in very short order.

    Had, this well not blown but entered test, everyone would be ecstatic at the results. The East Texas field when opened had very high pressure but fizzled out quickly with huge numbers of other wells sunk in a very short order with the gas mostly flared. Pressure is required for conventional primary production. That is the first 10 % or so of the fields production depending on how wastefully the pressure is dissipated .

    This field, will require a lot of wells to remove the oil and take the pressure down if it is prognosticated size of 50 million bbl. If it turns out to be an Elephant Field, pressure reduction would take decades as in the experience of Ghawar. If , by some chance, the abiotic crowd is correct and Macondo tapped into a ‘ Migration Channel’, then the presure might last a very long time.

    It is in the cards that this field will be tapped with new well bores . In fact, this might be the only way to permanently stop leakages triggered by the blow out. BP might not do this but the field will be harvested.

    Obviously, Obama’s weapon here is cancellation of BP Gulf Leases. Without finding a good source, I presume here that these leases are held via ventures by BP Exploration & Production , Inc. BPE&P would be the probable upper limit in a fight. Right now, my overtuned warrior type instincts would be spoiling for a fight if Obama pushed too far. Obama certainly threw down the gauntlet last night. His presidency rides on winning now.

    But , oh those consequences outside the main contest. Do you think it will be possible for the captive insurers of the big oil companies doing deep water to reinsure their risk after current contracts expire? I ignore expense here, but I would think that the cost of insurance for any oil exploration on water will increase to the point that oil prices would be forced dramatically upward.

    The real effect of Obama’s glove throwing might well be either very higher refined product prices from liability costs alone. How about $5 gas and middle distillates. If nothing else the E&P segment in oil will shut in and abandon deepwater first and then shallow production.

    If our ignorant Congress raises the tort limitations, the reinsurance pricing will be awesome. That reinsurers stop coverage entirely. Reinsurers like everyone else need to bring in business, so until they are really in a corner they will sell very very high priced coverages with say $10 bn coverages the arses in Congress are talking about. Note that they want $10 bn limitations for any spill of any type. Thus, all E&P and refining in the US must be a lot more reinsurance protection. Get set for $5 gas and middle distillates. The oil companies pay more for insurance or shut in US production and refining.

    Americans want cheap gas and middle distillates so exempt the E&P from all liability? Naturally, over time, if the oil companies get so good they do not have spills, liability insurance would trend lower but for the risk of the Black Swan. That is decades away. Just what would be the cycle of insurance liability? Sooner or later there is an accident.

    My Dad had a phrase that American’s are stupidly good . The observation is ever more cogent as I age.

    The Obama crowd look to be not much better than the Bushbaby crowd. That is if the entire public posture of Obama is just grandstanding.

    Comment by Jerry J — June 16, 2010 @ 12:39 PM | Reply

  11. It just came across the AP system that BP has agreed to a $20 bn liability fund to be adminsitered by Kenneth Feinberg. I presume this amounts to a legal settlement in that the USG will have agreed to not push any state sanctions. They keep their deepwater leases and go on including Macondo.

    There is the no mention of either Anadarko or Molex which suggests this is a settlement with the JV that operates Macondo with $20 bn guarantees by BP . Thus , it is all inclusive. The JV will ultimately have equity contributions of $20 bn over and above pre existing numbers. The lease owning entity would not be piercable.

    That $20 bn as an accrual would take down the BP equity by a tad less than 20 % ignoring insurance recoveries. Well, if Anadarko had $375 million to be folded into the deal , just what insurance recoveries would BP have? It would be many billions more than Anadarko’s coverages.

    So, just guessing, the actual equity hit over time from the spill may be contained to as little as $5 bn. That means some big reinsurers reserves just got taken down. Might their be another AIG problem cooking? Or several?

    14th banker, what do you here behind closed doors as rumors?

    But the $20 bn makes headlines…. and who knows just how much future oil will be extracted from the Macondo 252 block?

    Comment by Jerry J — June 16, 2010 @ 1:08 PM | Reply

  12. Obama’s settlement must be of some final type. The liability is established legally for all concerned. One way or another the minority non operator lease owners owe 35 % or $7 billion. Might they exchange their lease positions along with liability insurance assignments to BP? So , in the deal BP winds up with the sole position in the Macondo lease? Now, the subcontractors must kick in something to get out of the deal. Quick cash too! NO arguement about who was at fault. It was their say so. They could have walked etc. That might be $3 billion leaving $10 billion total exposure to BP. BP insurances must be most of that $10 bn and they pay now for a settled deal brokered by POTUS. BP forks over the total cash pile and then has an obvious specially treated tax loss net of insurances , of course. They get a loss carryback and cancel out of 2010 taxable income as a minimum. That could be several billion . So, it is quite possible that the bottom line effect on BP might turn out to be not so horrendus. Provided that this deal along with the Oil Spill Act of 1990 closes off all future liability. They close off the spill. The stock bounces back later this year and a lot of people make a killing.

    They need an air tight final settlement for that $20 bn. POTUS gets to pay it out too . In an election year. Oh my, the confidentialty agreements here could be stunning if they were known. POTUS agrees to keep the Congressional morons out of it too ! The Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Florida pols get to look good too! Now how much do the states themselves get with the dregs left for the little man?

    The other players in deep water must really think deeply about staying in the Gulf. At the least, they spin off the Gulf E&P so that if another problem happens they are not stuck. What better example than the removal of wholly owned shipping to separate carriers after the Exxon Valdez spill. The majors all dumped their shipping. Instead, they make sure the suppliers stay a kittle above hand to mouth and they no longer carry the risk.

    Might reinsurer’s decide deepwater is a bridge too far? They thought they had a cap for this risk buried in their total G/L coverages sold. So instead of $75 million for this single risk it could cover the entire total of G/L coverages they sold.

    Oh well, the end result will be higher oil prices or a production stand down at some point.

    Comment by Jerry J — June 16, 2010 @ 4:34 PM | Reply

  13. The British papers claim that the BP Obama deal is provisional and that there is no cap on BP liability. The papers quote Obama as saying that non government suits are still open. If private parties take from the $20 bn fund may they still sue BP? Then just what does provisional mean? Ok, next week, I say buzz off says BP? That is provisional. So do we only have a photo op of the BP people standing post genuflection to Obama? The Telegraph carries a piece where the PM is going to bat for BP against Obama. BP contritely gave in on the dividend which will make for a lot of howls from the pensioners and pension trusts. The BP/ Obama meeting was said to last 20 minutes. That says they had a deal or that it was just a photo op for Obama to buy some time. You can craft a finished binding agreement in twenty minutes?

    And nowhere in these PR pieces that pass for news do they address that two others owe 35 % of the loss settlement.

    Might BP really be stalling for time to do a spin off of all Gulf Ops? That is the best they can do? Tell Obama Obama to just go ahead and cancel the leases? We would love it. It saves us ( BP) abandoning the leases in an assignment for benefit of creditors of the E&P companies involved.

    Must be grandstanding by Obama and BP simply genuflects to buy time for their lawyers and accountants.

    Comment by Jerry J — June 16, 2010 @ 6:11 PM | Reply

    • Pac 10 sure thought they had a deal.

      Comment by Coach — June 16, 2010 @ 8:53 PM | Reply

  14. Pieces of the Obama deal with BP are just now coming out. This from Bloomberg. ” BP Cancels Dividend, Plans Assets Sales to finance Spill Fund” By Brian Swint. BP cancels dividends for three quarters. Will raise cash over four years to fund the payouts by selling oil and gas assets.

    Absolutely no mention that Anadarko and Molex are on the hook for 35 %. They would owe $7 bn if as the media reports they are full lease contributors to costs in exchange for 35 % of the revenues. My god, what did BP do that would let the non operating lease participants to be off the hook legally?

    All this raises some interesting observations. For years from Bush Sr. on there was the huy and cry that big oil owned the government lock, stock and barrel. That Cheney was the real president and so forth. Yet, there was a law limiting spill liability apparently completely ignored by the President with BP agreeing gratuitously.. The states control corporate charters and separation of liability through subsidiaries . The case law is massively in favor of liability tiering. Completely ignored here too from tonight’s view. Does this not give the lie as to who controls whom in government. I would think big oil is just as powerful as Wall Street.

    Why would BP shareholders not be entitled to litigate this usurpation of their ” rights” and win any contributions to the fund being ultra vires and beyond the powers of the even the boards of BP.

    What does Obama have as a club over this company?

    Even more interesting is what the rest of big oil will do to protect themselves from what might be summarized as gross usurpation of all those scared precepts of limited liability. Clearly, if all this sticks, Big oil must get out of offshore. Inherent risk. One mistake kills you means one win should make you forever too as a working principle. 100 highly risky successful ventures gives you 100X profits with taxes paid. 1 hit of the highly risky same venture gives you 100X losses with limited recovery of taxes by carryback. That is a fools risk.

    My hat is off to Barack Obama if he makes this stick. But, be prepared for very high oil prices.

    This sticks… the Imperial President Rules if he is competent, cunning and as ballsy as Alexander the Great.

    Why would Obama not dictate similarly to Wall Street? Fire those arses at the top and forthwith ?

    The management of BP waived all corporate protections evolved over the last 90 years or so! What sin induced this?

    Will this put BO on top as being a TR?

    Comment by Jerry J — June 16, 2010 @ 10:23 PM | Reply

  15. The ongoing saga of the BP spill and its exposition of conditions and causes of the disaster are now moving into the stage of adversarial protection of unrelated players.

    BHP Billiton,Conoco Phillips, Statoil, Total, ATP, Dominion, Exxon and nine others had rigs operating or exploring in the Gulf at the end of last year. ( 22 rigs, 10 of which are E&P) Only BHP had four rigs operating. All others had two or one.

    Every one of these players risks their entire business if they continue very nominal to their business deepwater operations. They are under a drilling moratorium. Undoubtedly, they face an impairment charge of some kind during the second quarter for these assets. At the least , these companies need to consider cementing in their E&P wells immediately and terminating the rig contracts. It would be insane to do otherwise if the provisional BP deal even smells of a being finalized. They will then have written off the oil block leases and can sit and wait. I doubt there would be much of a market Chevron, ENI and Murphy have five rigs and I would think these operators would do the same. The remaining three participants would be obama playthings… The USG may as well own these ops and do their own E&P at it’s own risk.

    So, will there be fifty or more rigs sitting in port or going elsewhere in the next year. If these rigs are shut down, will BP be liable for their employment losses too?

    Present deepwater Gulf ops are absolutely minor compared to total ops of most of the big oil players . A one time charge they probably will be required to make anyway. By getting out they remove the single biggest risk they ever faced. A monstrous risk compared to the profit potential. There will be a repeat of the BP spill. If big oil took this option, the consequences to the Obama Administration will be loss of a lot of domestic oil and increased pressure on prices to supply the oil from elsewhere. $4-$5 gasoline middle distillates for years on end.

    It is obvious that the Obama axe was the threat of all lease cancellations across subsidiary lines. I can only surmise , not having read a USG oil lease, that the government can cancel at will under certain parameters without cause. Now, if that be the case, there might be an excellent poison pill. The big companies should put all the leases with the government into a royalty trust and spin them off to shareholders. Thus, they continue on as operator the same as the arrangements prevalent in existing oil royalty trusts. Big oil then would own no deepwater or shallow government leases. The Obama axe is put down.

    Put it this way, if unrelated big oil does not opt out here, the risk they take against shareholder equity and credit generally is probably the same magnitude as the risk taken by big banks everyone is so upset about. Two different business situations but the risk is the same. Would you trust the government to be in your court here? They would be ahh regulatory captured if the government went in their favor.

    Disunities from complex reliance on groups within the culture showing up. What brings down societal arrangements like the collapse of the USSR. Obama is pursuing absolute good here? But those damn complications. Jared Diamond and Joseph Tainter being further validated by the collateral problems of doing absolute good here?

    Comment by Jerry J — June 17, 2010 @ 12:30 PM | Reply

  16. It gets more interesting by the hour when it comes to BP. Today there was testimony that BP has not secured plan approvals since 2009 for their ops. Apparently everywhere in the Gulf. They forgot to keep Streets and San as they say in Chicago happy and feeling duly respected. You never , never defy the bureaucratic power centers especially when you subvert them in the first place. Why you buy rubber stamps. I thought these people were bought and paid for so that you bring your plans over to the boys for a ‘Hi how are you this fine Day… Thank You so much. How about lunch?’ Why would they ignore what they own? If competence were in play here, the paper trail would be perfect.

    Did it take fifty days plus for the Obama crew to get wind of this caper?

    Look at Governor Jindal of Louisiana getting the Coast Guard all upset about His Dulyship, da Gov defying Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers duly granted powers. If you or I told Jindal’s fuzz to buzz off, we would be in a world of Taser hurt and Jindal would be praising HIS dulies for the Taser. He could activate his National Guard and order them to shag the Coast Guard? More and more is surfacing that jurisdictional spats and Duly Huffies are behind the miserable performance in interdicting the spill.

    And we looked down at the USSR.

    Comment by Jerry J — June 17, 2010 @ 8:37 PM | Reply

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