17 July 2010

Sealing Cap Holds, Relief Wells Resume Drilling

NOAA (al.com)
There is no oil leaking at the seafloor, no gas or oil being flamed at the surface since the well was shut in by the new sealing cap. Relief wells are drilling again -- the final solution to killing the well. Pressure at the Macondo well head remains steady -- slightly above the 6700 psi reported by BP yesterday. BP officials are watching pressure readings closely. If pressure begins falling, it will indicate a leak somewhere in the total well system, which would require BP to re-open the well and resume containment measures to surface vessels.
Officials have said a high pressure reading, of between 8,000 and 9,000 pounds per square inch, would indicate the well was completely intact. A reading below 6,000 pounds per square inch would show it was damaged and oil was escaping through fissures.

Saturday morning, pressure inside the well was at about 6,745 pounds per square inch, slightly above readings taken Friday, Wells said. Pressure was building at about 2 pounds per square inch per hour and has been beginning to slow, he said.

Wells said oil company engineers predicted the pressure would top out at about 6,800 pounds per square inch.

"We're feeling more comfortable that we have integrity," Wells said. "The fact that the pressure's continuing to rise and is giving us more confidence."

Pressure inside the well may be lower than initially expected because of the oil that has already leaked out, he said.

While officials are optimistic about the integrity of the well, tests may continue before they officially declare that the shut in procedure has worked, Wells said. Officials initially planned 48 hours of testing at the well, which would have concluded this afternoon.

"The test was set up to be a 48 hour test, but always with the provision that under certain circumstances it could be extended," Wells said. "It doesn't mean we need to immediately make a decision that we're going to shut in for an extended period of time." _NOLA
Kent Wells, a BP PLC vice president, said on a Saturday morning conference call there were no signs any new leaks had sprung in the well since the cap choked the flow of oil Thursday.
Wells said there has been no decision yet on whether they will reopen the cap and let oil back into the water when the test period ends later Saturday.
Wells said pressure inside the cap was slightly above the last level they announced late Friday. Rising pressure is a good sign, and falling pressure would indicate a new leak. _AP

Oil slicks have moved further offshore, although some tar balls have come ashore at some Gulf beaches and shorelines.

Tests of the giant tanker-skimmer "A Whale" have failed to show significant advantages to its use in the cleanup efforts. A number of other inventive solutions to skimming and cleaning up the oil slicks have also proven less than ideal.

As long as the oil is prevented from leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, surface cleanup can take on a more definitive shape.


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Blogger Tom Craver said...

Something I'm wondering about the "relief" wells - once they've plugged the original bore from below, will the relief well bores be used (probably backing off a ways and drilling down separately) to start producing oil? I don't see anything wrong with that, but I could see it becoming the next big controversy...

Sunday, 18 July, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...


I wouldn't be surprised if BP hasn't tossed that idea around.

The Obama Pelosi government on the other hand appears determined to destroy BP as a company.

Just tonight an unnamed government official leaked some vague information to the AssociatedPress about possible oil seeps and methane leaks, somewhere "near the location" of the Macondo well. The same anonymous official accused BP of not complying with government requirements to monitor the sealing cap response.

Yesterday the government was demanding that as soon as BP finished testing the well pressures, that it return to containment procedures at the well. That would mean at least 3 days of leakage into the Gulf of Mexico again, until full containment could be rigged.

Why would the government want to go back to large scale leakage into the Gulf? 2 reasons: They collect substantial fines and penalties from BP for every barrel spilled -- AND, they charge royalties from BP for every barrel recovered -- presumably even if BP burns it at the surface.

Plus, the trial lawyers who stand to make billions on suing BP are close friends of Obama Pelosi. If O-P can cause more oil to be spilled, that means more dead birds, more out of work fishermen and charters, and bigger jury awards at trial.

Sometimes the government that says it is here to help you, intends something a little different than you may think they mean.

Sunday, 18 July, 2010  

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