Deepwater Horizon: Weather delays relief well drilling

Drilling of the relief well at BP’s Macondo spill site in the Gulf of Mexico is on hold for weather.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – Drilling of the relief well at BP’s Macondo spill site in the Gulf of Mexico is on hold for weather. Admiral Thad Allen, national incident commander, said the delay probably will be up to three days, but depends upon the pace and course of the storm.

Allen says the decision to temporarily suspend drilling of the relief well is a precautionary measure.

“What we are going to do with the Development Driller III, is to put a storm packer into the pipe casing,” said Allen. “That’s just basically a plug, they’re going to remove the drill string and they’re going to fill the riser pipe with sea water for stability. They will not disconnect, they will remain there until the weather passes.” 

Meanwhile, NOAA has opened more than 5,000 sq mi (12,950 sq km) of Gulf waters to commercial and recreational fishing. This brings waters open to fishing in the GoM to about 78%.

Since July 3, NOAA data have shown no oil in the area, and Coast Guard observers flying over the area in the last 30 days have also not observed any oil. Trajectory models show the area is at a low risk for future exposure to oil and, fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA experts have shown no signs of contamination.

08/11/2010

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