Storm delays BP relief well by 2-3 days

HOUSTON Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:34pm EDT

1 of 7. The containment capping stack is seen in this close-up image captured from a BP live video feed from the Gulf of Mexico, August 7, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/BP/Handout

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - An approaching storm in the Gulf of Mexico will delay BP Plc's work on a relief well, the final step in permanently killing the source of the world's worst offshore oil spill, by two to three days, the top U.S. spill official said on Tuesday.

BP suspended work on a relief well aiming to bore into its blown-out Macondo well after the National Hurricane Center said the system had a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next two days as it moves toward the Louisiana coast.

"This could potentially delay the final portion of the relief well for two to three days," retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told reporters.

Separately, a special judicial panel ruled that a New Orleans federal judge will oversee a swath of civil lawsuits brought by commercial fishermen and injured workers from the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and unleashing a nearly three-month undersea oil gusher.

Securities lawsuits lobbed at BP by stockholders angered by its steep share price declines will be combined in Houston, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided. The British energy giant has lost over a third of its market value since the explosion.

BP has reserved $32.2 billion to pay legal claims, but analysts said the eventual bill could run well above that.

The biggest U.S. environmental response operation passed a critical milestone last week by subduing the blown-out deepwater well with injections of heavy drilling mud, followed by a cement seal.

BP's Macondo well, a mile down in the Gulf of Mexico, had been provisionally capped on July 15 after spewing an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, soiling marshlands, fisheries and tourist beaches along several hundreds of miles (kilometers) of the Gulf Coast.

The relief well is regarded as the final solution to plug the well 13,000 feet beneath the seabed.

Computer models forecast the storm will move northwest, crossing the spill site before making landfall in southeast Louisiana on Thursday.

The storm could delay until Tuesday the planned "bottom kill" of the Macondo well, when the relief well is scheduled to intersect the well shaft, Allen said.

The actual kill operation still could take several days, officials say.

The enormous spill response operation is "moving into a new phase" to focus on shoreline cleanup and long-term recovery, Allen said. Crews are in the process of removing protective booms from the shores of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, he said.

The government on Tuesday reopened 5,144 square miles of Gulf waters to commercial and recreational fishing.

About 22 percent of federal waters in the Gulf are now closed, down from 37 percent at the height of the spill.

(Additional reporting by Anna Driver in Houston, Martha Graybow in New York and Tom Hals in Wilmington, Del.; Writing by Chris Baltimore; Editing by Bill Trott and Jerry Norton)

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Comments (3)
Alkan wrote:
Alkan here:

Good news!

BP’s Suttles made the statement “What we’ve stated is the original well that had the blowout and the relief wells will be abandoned,”

Abandoned by BP — but probably sold in the near future to another company. LOL

I just wish they would right now plug the relief wells — like the original Macondo Well is now plugged. This is because there is a small but real chance of another blow out from a relief well.

The static kill (already done) had every feature of a permanent kill. The procedure tested the annulus and even pumped cement into the formation. If it had an open annulus the pumping pressure would have pushed the bottom cement into that opening. They finished the job by measuring a whole mile of cement left inside the casing that is now tested and totally turned now to rock — by that testing.

Every intelligent person knows this well is totally killed and plugged forever — right now.

So why the relief well?

Pride and Ego. “I said we would use a Second Kill” — just like you have to kill Zombies and Phoenix birds a second time in your nightmares — and we WILL do it by my irrevocable order — no matter how dangerous it is or how much damage it might do. It will make me feel better — about my own stupid order, and prove my authority to the World.

My huge Ego and Pride need appeasement — and I am the only one giving the orders here.

For these reasons, canceling the relief well will not happen — and the closest relief well will be used in some manner — either checking the now sealed space outside the pipe(the annulus) or actually drilling on into the formation and reopening the Monster Zone.

The major risk of reopening the Monster Zone here — is the same scenario as the drilling the original Macondo well had.

I think in the future — what will happen — is that this lease of an estimated 4 Billion Dollar value reservoir of BP’s Macondo oil lease — will be sold to another Company.

There is too much loss of confidence in the reliability in BP for the people and the Government to allow BP to reopen the formation (whether BP is reliable now or not).

Another company will “for sure” will be the purchaser or this 4 billion dollar lease — probably at a discount of maybe 2 billion dollars. There are rumors of even more huge O&G zones lie under the Monster Zone that might drive this price up.

When we hear whatever that purchase price is, then that price will let us know if the rumors are true or not.

BP is going to have to pay royalties to the Government on oil already spilled but legally can sell their lease.

Most likely they will leave the relief wells plugged in such a way they can be easily and quickly be cleaned out by whomever buys this lease.

The new company can then simply drill on into the formation and make money.

The value of each well will be high to whoever buys this lease, as a new well is expensive.

I just hope whoever it is will use a decent blowout preventer (BOP) –hopefully one with my “quick connect” BOP top. This is used in case this same thing happens when they drill in and it can be fixed in hours.

I sent a BOP design that can be quickly connected and shut in hours — instead of months. I sent it to our Offshore Governmant Regulation Division for O&G so future events like this will have little impact. Chances are they discarded it even though the said they would “pass it on.”

With a little luck, only the Gulf clean up is now the residual problem.

The only “good news” here is that there are lessons to be learned from this event.

Aug 10, 2010 11:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ccrider27 wrote:
The headline says the well kill is nearly finished and BP is ‘kicking off’ the compensation fund. Early in the article it says the first $3B deposit to the compensation fund was made yesterday, ‘ahead of schedule.’ There’s never been any mention previously of a ‘schedule.’ The compensation fund was first announced by Obama two months ago. BP has been accepting, delaying and denying payment of claims ever since. Where was the discussion of a ‘schedule?’ Next this article refers to a “government scientists’ report asserting that around 75% of the 4.9M barrels of spilled oil has either evaporated, dispersed or been contained.” These people take us for idiots. Then towards the very end of the article, the nitty gritty: BP has set up a ‘subsidiary’ that has established a ‘trust fund’ to pay the compensation money. The National Wildlife Federation says that instead of receding since the capping of the well last month, cases of oil-impacted wildlife appear to be increasing. More oiled sea turtles have been ‘discovered’ in the last 10 days than in the first three months of the spew. I hope you can see where this is going: Public attention will be directed elsewhere. Brittany Spears/Lindsay Lohan will make an amazing comeback. The subsidiary will go bankrupt. BP will claim it has paid out far more than it was required to and Kenneth Feinberg will back them up. Dolphins, sea turtles, whales, pelicans will continue to die. More oil will coat the beaches, inlets and bayous. It will all go unreported and we’ll forget about it just as we have New Orleans. Change? George Bush couldn’t have played it better.

Aug 10, 2010 1:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
amos033 wrote:
The Relief Well will not work and both the Original Well Bore and the Relief Well will collapse into the Reservoir. We about to have many more leaks, most coming from the seabed itself, but not all will be oil, most will be Methane Gas.

This is the “Prophecy of Gulf of Mexico Oil Leaks Worsening”

Aug 10, 2010 5:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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