HOUSTON – The final step in securing BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico could be a two-phase project, says Admiral Thad Allen, national incident commander. Depending upon the results diagnoses now under way, step one would be to add cement to that of the earlier “top kill” and then to intercept the hole with the relief well and cement from the bottom.
“The two steps would be to actually perforate the casing above the cement that was put in during the static kill and put cement there at the top and then come in from the bottom with the relief well,” says Allen.
“Exactly how that will happen and the options that will be discussed moving forward are actually being developed down in Houston right now. But in the meantime, they're going to look at the condition of the well and see if they can find out more about the condition of the pipe, location of the pipe, and so forth.”
In effect, this would combine the steps needed to P&A the well according to existing regulations and to complete the relief drilling.
Meanwhile, the oil containment boom installed earlier is being removed. As of today, all the boom along Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi should be taken up, leaving only Louisiana with boom in place.
Another ongoing project is the testing of the water column for hydrocarbons. NOAA, EPA, and other federal officials, along with private research organizations and academics are trying to understand what has become o the spilled oil.