UPDATE 2-BP says relief well rig back at Gulf spill site

Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:04pm EDT

Related Topics

* Rig drilling relief well at spill site, reconnecting

* Other vessels that left for storm returning

* Upcoming week mostly preparation for static kill

(Recasts, adds detail, quotes)

By Kristen Hays

HOUSTON, July 25 (Reuters) - A rig that had been drilling a relief well to plug BP Plc's (BP.L) (BP.N) Gulf of Mexico oil leak was reconnecting equipment to resume work at the spill site on Sunday, the top official overseeing the spill response said.

Once the last bit of pipe, or casing, is cemented in place near the bottom of the relief well this week, BP will begin a "static kill" the first week of August, retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told reporters at a briefing.

"Generally the next week will be preps, making sure everything is ready to go," he said.

The leak remains capped after what was Tropical Storm Bonnie disintegrated over the Gulf on Saturday.

Allen had said the static kill, which involves pumping heavy drilling mud and cement into the well from the top, could start three to five days after the casing is cemented in the relief well.

He said on Sunday that the timeline was "refined and revised" after consultations with BP.

The entire operation was interrupted last week when the storm was bearing down on the Gulf.

While most rigs and ships left the spill site out of caution, ships running underwater robots that provide live feeds of the wellhead stayed and continued to operate, BP spokeswoman Jessie Baker said.

Those feeds showed no problems with the cap, which has shut in all flow from the leak since July 15, BP said.

A pair of Transocean Ltd (RIGN.VX) (RIG.N) rigs had been drilling two relief wells, the second well a backup for the first. BP suspended drilling on the second relief well July 13 so it wouldn't interfere with the first one.

BP stopped work on the first well July 20 in advance of the storm and put a plug inside to keep it stable until the last round of casing could be installed.

Allen said on Sunday that the casing work will start "sometime in the next week" once the rig reconnects to the well, removes the plug and cleans out the hole.

While the static kill can start once the casing is in place, the relief well will still bore into the blown-out Macondo well near its bottom 13,000 feet (2.5 miles/4 km) beneath the seabed, Allen said.

Kent Wells, BP's senior vice president of exploration and production, said in an update on BP's website that the static kill might plug the leak on its own. The relief well will confirm that or finish the job, Wells said.

"Those two work in tandem," Wells said.

And Allen said on Sunday that BP will still move ahead with assembling a four-vessel oil-capture system that can handle up to 80,000 barrels a day if needed. (Reporting by Kristen Hays; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Comments (2)
amos033 wrote:
The “Static Kill” will cause the wellhead to collapse into the Macondo Reservoir.

Send those Rovers down to check for new eruptions in the seabead and not just the CAP

The “Prophecy of the Final Solution” is about to be fulifilled. They will find multilple leaks in the Seabed and from Older Welss in the area.


May God have mercy on USA!

Jul 25, 2010 12:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Alkan wrote:
Alkan here:

Everybody has their own religion. “May God have mercy on USA! amos033.” amos033, you are welcome to your own version of this.

Science requires verification rather than faith, but still uses best guesses hopefully based on empirical observed data that is mathematical.

The new Top Kill (Bull Head Kill, or Static Kill) — as this method is called requires pumping at pressure slightly higher than the depleted (by months of flowing near wide open) reservoir pressure.

Modeling what their pressure curve is will tell that, and even allows prediction of pumping rates needed to kill the well, as well a predicting the potential for bpd spill to the ocean of different choke size openings during that open flow period, so BP penalties can be assessed.

Probably one model to use is like charging a condenser from a steady voltage through a resistor. The mathematical constant “e” will somewhere be needed. Then the RC is just a constant that will be calculated from their pressure graph and the final asymptote at the depleted pressure of the reservoir can be extrapolated by extending the model’s time.

From your physics you remember that the capacitor voltage EC and the ES of the steady voltage source of the voltage reservoir are related by EC=ES(1-e^(-t/RC)). This for such a complicated problem is an over simplification, but if a beginning time after some fairly stable pressure is used for the starting point for t, it might be quite close to the observed curve.

In this model, the EC becomes the pressure reading (beginning some time after it quickly stabilizes), then the t is the time since that rather stable pressure after closing of the leak, and the ES is the pressure difference from that beginning point to the depleted present reservoir’s pressure. RC is just some reservoir constant calculated from the plot or chart graph.

This way, a model based on the exponential drop toward the final pressure can be used by merely graphing the results — and then they can apply a educated guess to the equation to find many things — rather than use a religious guess.

They can even know a new total t or time to pump in the mud and cement to do the “Top Kill” for the well that will plug it. The equation will furnish a good guess about several things. They will know what small extra pressure to pump at that is needed, using the model, and calculated to use a very slow and long pumping (whatever large pumping total time t they plan to use. That way there will be little increase in pressure to stress the well.

The calculated RC constant will become the formula’s reservoir constant, that will allow the government to calculate flow for different choke size openings during the months of open flow — in order to fine BP. They already know the Oil to Gas ratio from burning it at the surface to help with calculations. It will be unnecessary to open the well to do this, as the curve shows no leaks, and doing so would be stupid. The Government scientists can then do their calculations.

The big decision will be after cementing the last casing string in the relief well whether to then drill the relief well into this Devil Monster or just plug the relief well after the Bull Head Kill plugs the well. I would prefer that once it is plugged by the Static Kill that the relief well is abandoned and plugged.

BP may want to let it set there for months or years — unplugged and full of mud — just in case the USA government lets them drill in and produce it later on.

Making decisions this way, those with gut feelings based on a personal religion will be bypassed and no religious wars will have to be fought with them over decisions — just to make an educated guess.

It is a personal thing, but faith guesses and guesses using science are the usual methods of making human decisions.

Nothing is wrong with a faith guess, except it is hard to convince those who operate by the teachings of science to use such guesses.

Jul 25, 2010 4:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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