Deepwater Horizon: Relief well awaits pressure management decision

Completion of the relief well and subsequent bottom kill of BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico is pending a decision by the federal scientific team on the way to proceed.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – Completion of the relief well and subsequent bottom kill of BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico is pending a decision by the federal scientific team on the way to proceed. The question is what might happen to cement from the static kill as the result of pressure applied to the annulus during the bottom kill, according to Admiral Thad Allen, national incident commander.

Once the choice has been made and BP given the directive to conduct the relief well interception, the bottom kill will take four day to intercept the well and then 24 to 36 hours more to pump the cement into the well and set it up. Then the testing could bring the elapsed time to around seven days.

If, however, it is determined that something has to be done to control the annular pressure, that schedule is no longer valid. The solutions previewed to address this pressure question address either methods to release pressure in the annulus using existing capping stack and BOP equipment, or installation of a higher pressure rated BOP.

An “over abundance of caution” is being taken in making these choices, Allen said today.

08/16/2010

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