Saturday, September 18, 2010

BP's Relief Well: America's Rolaids

BP's Development Driller III finished cementing the base of their renegade well. Several interesting facts were revealed in news reports. WSJ reported:

BP PLC said Saturday it is waiting for the cement it pumped into the bottom of the Deepwater Horizon well to set before proceeding to test it.

The company said in a statement that cementing operations, which are the final part of the effort to kill the well for good, finished on Friday at 8:30 p.m. CDT. The procedure involved flooding the gap between the well casing and the rock formation that surrounds it with cement.

From BP's press release:

Operations conducted bottoms up circulation, which returned the contents of the well’s annulus to the rig for evaluation. Testing of the drilling mud recovered from the well indicated that no hydrocarbons or cement were present at the intersect point.

The Development Driller II continues its work to gather additional data from the MC252 well and try to determine the location of the drill pipe that was originally in the well at the time of the accident.

Searching for the drill pipe in a "dead well" sounds like BP risk management, which got a boost from the no hydrocarbons present at intersection.

WaPo reported:

It opened a hole into the space between the shaft's wall and the outer layer of pipe. There was no camera recording it, but engineers could learn about the outer space around the Macondo well pipe by studying fluid that rose from the other well's drill pipe. When no oil came up, they knew that the Macondo well was plugged at its source.

That was a good thing for the gulf. But it could also be a good thing for BP's legal case, because it could be a signal that the blowout was not caused by a problem with BP's design for the well's pipes.

"All the information we have gathered to date . . .leads us to believe conclusively that the well design did not contribute to this accident and the well has complete integrity," Daren Beaudo, a BP spokesman, said in a statement Friday.

USA Today reported:

Rich Robson, the offshore installation manager on the Development Driller III, told the AP that about 74 barrels of cement pumped in Friday have dried. Robson said the pressure test will happen about 11 p.m. CT, and will take 30 minutes.

National Incident Commander Retired Adm. Thad Allen will not declare the well dead until it is sealed from the bottom.
They had me until the Thad Allen declaration. His performance on the Vessels of Fleeting Opportunity casts doubt on his credibility. Thad cited 7,000 vessels of opportunity, while schizophrenic BP gave two numbers, 5,000 and 3,500. Regardless, the program was a fleeting one, as is Thad's National Incident Commander-ship. He steps down October 1. Consider his recent statement:

"When we're all done, there may still be oil in the marshes but there will be nothing more we can do without damaging the marshes."

I thought Thad and BP were supposed to restore the Gulf. With this pair the bar always changes. Stake in the heart of the well, curtains closed. Everybody move on to the great egress.

No comments: