Friday, June 11, 2010

Development Driller III & II Relief Wells

Thad Allen referred to relief well rigs in today's press confab:

We’ve got Development Driller III which is doing the primary relief well [and] we’ve got the Development Driller II drilling the second relief well.
The history is as follows:

MMS Begins to Review BP Applications for Permit to Drill Two Relief Wells

Saturday, April 24

MMS reports that they expected to receive and begin reviewing BP Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) for two relief wells. Four remote operated marine vehicles continued to monitor the stack, conduct surveys of the riser and pipelines, and assess the stability of the sunken rig.

MMS Approves First Drilling Permit for First Relief Well

Wednesday, April 28

MMS reports that the drilling permit for the first relief well had been approved, and that the application for the second relief well was under review.

MMS Reports that BP Begins Drilling First Deep-Water Intercept Relief Well

Sunday, May 2

MMS reported that BP began drilling the first deep-water intercept relief well. This action is expected to take approximately 90 days.

Wednesday, May 12

MMS also reports that the drill ship drilling the second relief well is en route to the drill site to begin drilling preparations.

Progress Made in Relief Well Drilling Preparations

Saturday, May 15

The Development Driller III, which will dig the first relief well, is lowering the blowout preventer stack and riser. The reported depth was nearly 3,000 feet as of 7 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 14. After initial review by MMS, BP revised and resubmitted the Application for Permit to Drill the second relief well, which will be undertaken by the Development Driller II—which is on location and making preparations for initiating the drilling process.

Progress Made in Relief Well Drilling Preparations

Sunday, May 16

MMS reports the Development Driller III, which will drill the first relief well, has finished running blowout preventer (BOP) stack and riser and is currently latching the BOP to the wellhead for the first relief well. The Development Driller II, which will drill the second relief well, is on location and is making preparations for initiating the drilling process and performing BOP maintenance.

MMS Oversight of BP Relief Well Drilling Continues

Monday, May 17

MMS reports that the Development Driller III, which is drilling the first relief well, installed the blowout preventer on the wellhead and is undergoing functional tests. The second relief well has progressed hundreds of feet into the seafloor after spudding on the morning of May 17. Spudding indicates the point in time when the drill penetrates the sea floor.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells

Thursday, May 20

The Development Driller III, continues to drill the first relief well at approximately 30 feet per hour. The Development Driller II is being prepared to receive the blowout preventer, following which it will begin drilling the second relief well.

Drilling Continues on Both Relief Wells

Monday, May 24

BP continues to make progress in drilling both relief wells—more than 10,000 feet down for the first and more than 8,500 feet for the second.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells

Monday, May 31

The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of more than 12,000 feet—10 days ahead of schedule—and is beginning to angle the well at 35 degrees. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well to a depth of 8,650 feet.

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen

Monday, June 7

As I've said on several occasions, though, the long-term solution to this is going to be drilling the relief wells, which, again, are targeted at early August. There are two relief wells in progress right now: Development Driller III is down between 7,000 and 8,000 below the sea floor; Development Driller II is down around 3,000.

Those will continue. The second one is a risk mitigater, as we move towards what will be the final solution, which will be the relief wells. And following the intersection of the well bore with those relief wells, they will put heavy mud down there to suppress the pressure of the oil coming up from the reservoir, put a cement plug in and effectively do what I would call a bottom kill, as opposed to the top kill, which was not successful a couple of weeks ago.

That's the White House relief well update. What they didn't say is Transocean owns Development Driller II and III. Did Cameron make the blowout preventer? Will Halliburton cement the well? BP is the operator. How often do parties get to fix their catastrophic mistakes?

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