BP Considers ‘New Plan’ To Permanently Seal Busted Gulf Oil Well?
July 19, 2010: Henry Fountain / The New York Times – July 19, 2010
As scientists on Monday allayed concerns that BP’s well in the Gulf of Mexico was damaged, the company said it was considering an alternative plan that could permanently seal the gusher sooner than had been anticipated.
Kent Wells, a senior vice president for BP, said the company was studying the possibility of a “static kill,” in which heavy mud would be pumped into the recently capped well.
Also known as bullheading, the procedure would force the oil and gas back down into the reservoir.
“The static kill does give us a new option,” he said at a briefing in Houston. A decision to proceed could be made in several days, Mr. Wells said.
He said that the procedure could speed the process of sealing the well and that the digging of a relief well, which has been seen as the ultimate solution and could be completed by August, might be needed only to confirm that the technique had worked. The flow of oil into the gulf has been shut off since BP installed a cap on the well and closed its valves last Thursday.
On Monday morning, BP and the government said scientists had determined that methane gas seeping from the seafloor nearly two miles from the well was a natural occurrence and not related to a pressure test to assess the well’s condition. The test was extended to a fifth day on Monday. The seeping was discovered on Sunday and raised concerns that the test had shown that the well was damaged and was allowing gas to escape into surrounding rock and up through the seabed.
Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who commands the spill response, said small numbers of gas bubbles that had appeared much closer to the well were not a problem, either. “It’s the collective opinion of folks that these small seepages do not indicate there is any threat to the well bore,” he said at a briefing in Washington.
Admiral Allen said that the need to extend the tests was being evaluated day to day, and that it was possible the well would remain shut indefinitely. He dismissed concerns that if it was not reopened and collection of oil restarted, the precise flow rate of the oil might never be determined. “I think we’re going to know enough about this well that by the time we’re done we’re going to be able to do that,” he said.
Mr. Wells said the idea of a static kill had arisen because the pressure test so far had shown that the well was not damaged and that the pressure of oil and gas coming from the reservoir was lower than expected. If the procedure was carried out, he said, it could use the same deep-sea plumbing used for the failed “top kill” procedure in late May.
In the top kill, heavy mud was pumped into the flowing well, but engineers could not pump it fast enough or long enough to counter the flow of oil. The static kill would be much more likely to succeed because with the new cap on top and the valves closed, the well is completely sealed and the oil and gas are not moving.
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: How many times does this article contradict itself? Amazing propaganda! Welcome to the twilight zone of 21st century doublespeak… – SJH
Link to original article below…
Written by Steven John Hibbs
July 19, 2010 at 11:34 pm
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