20 July 2010

BP Considers Variant of "Top Kill" Called "Static Kill"

France24
In Kent Wells' 19July evening press briefing, he announced the possibility that BP would attempt a new way to kill the well from the top called "static kill." It is called "static kill" because the well is currently shut in, with no flow. In this situation, there is no need for ultra-high speed pumping of the kill mud, as in the failed top kill. Instead, heavy mud can be pumped into the top of the shut-in well through the choke and kill lines, in a relatively leisurely manner, under close monitoring. More from Kent Wells:
In terms of the static kill. And let me talk about this because this is – people are probably going gee, we haven’t heard about this. And I think there’s good reasons. This is very much in its infancy. This is not something that we’ve approved to do. We want to have a number of sessions going through all our procedures. But let me tell you what brought this into play.

There was two things that allowed this to become a reality. First of all was the possibility the well having integrity. We needed to have that. The tests are encouraging at this point but we haven’t made a firm decision on that. But that was – that was important.

And the second piece was the fact that it had a lower reservoir pressure. That was important as well to make sure we stay underneath the – any pressure constraints we might have with the system.

And so the big difference between the static kill and of course before when we talked about the top kill, which was a dynamic kill where we had to pump at tremendously high rates to try to overcome the flow of the well. It’s a very different situation when you actually have the well shut in. We can pump at low rates, we can keep it at low pressures and do it in a very different way.

So we’re going to work through with the teams and work with the scientists and see whether this is something we can do. It clearly has some advantages in lowering the well head pressure et cetera. Maybe even to the point of the well being killed. But these are all the things that we need to work through.

Now, what I want to stress through is that at the end of the day the relief well will still be the ultimate solution. We will still drill in with the relief well to make sure that the annulus is dead, et cetera. But this static kill does give us a new option like always we like to pursue parallel options, we’d like to use an overabundance of caution and that’s what we’re doing to move forward. so I’ll put it as – it’s encouraging at this point but there’s a couple days of work to do before we’d be in a position to make a decision. _Kent Wells Briefing PDF_and_audio

Here is more about the static kill:
BP’s new idea of a static kill would involve pumping heavy mud into the well bore, to choke off the oil. A similar technique, called a top kill, was attempted in May but failed. The top kill could not overcome the force of oil flowing out of the well. But now that the cap is on, and holding, the forces involved are weaker and a static kill might work.

“The static kill does give us a new option,” Mr. Wells said. “It’s encouraging at this point but there’s a couple days of work before we’d be in a position to make a decision.”

The move, if it is tried and is successful, would effectively do the job of the close-to-ready relief well, which is now about a metre away from the original well. However, it will take until at least early August, and possibly mid-August, until the relief well is finished. Mr. Wells said the relief well remains “the ultimate solution.” _GlobeandMail

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