Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Final BP well kill delayed by storm

Energy Daily via Agence France-Presse: Final operations to kill BP's catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil well have been delayed due to an impending storm, probably until next week, US spill chief Thad Allen said Tuesday. There is no danger of the storm reopening the plugged well, which caused the largest maritime oil spill of all time, but Allen said he had decided to suspend the drilling of the crucial relief well as a precaution.

After drilling 17,909 feet (5,426 meters) below sea level, the first relief well is about 30 feet from intercepting the stricken Macondo well, although the last bit is by far the trickiest and most time-consuming part. "We would have been in a position to probably do it on Thursday or Friday of this week. That's now been pushed off two to three days," Allen said. "That would take it possibly to (the) Sunday through Tuesday window next week."

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said there was a 70 percent chance of the weather system developing off the west coast of Florida becoming a tropical storm in the next 48 hours.
…BP performed a static kill operation last week that suppressed the gushing oil with mud and cemented in the main drill pipe. But there is still concern that the area between the pipe and the outer well bore, known as the annulus, could contain hydrocarbons.

Once the relief well intercepts the Macondo well, scientists can check before sealing the bottom of the annulus once and for all with cement….

Anchor-handling tugboats battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors. Photo by the US Coast Guard

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