HOUSTON – While the weather still puts a hold on the actual removal of the BOP stack from BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, preparations are under way to make that removal as soon as the weather permits.
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen said plans are to remove the capping stack at about noon on Thursday, Sept. 2, using the Discoverer Enterprise and then for the Q4000 to connect to the BOP and await a weather window that would allow recovery to the deck. The Development Driller II would then move in and put the replacement BOP onto the well.
Allen said the Incident Command thinks a weather window might open within the next 24 to 36 hours and last perhaps until Sunday. This would allow sufficient time to remove the BOP and replace it.
Allen reminded that the plans are subject to change from at least two directions. One is the weather window. The other is whether the pipe in the well will come free when the BOP recovery is attempted. There is an 80,000 lb pull limit placed on that operation. If the pipe does not come free to be brought up with the BOP, the plan is to open the rams on the damaged BOP to release the pipe and then pull the BOP to surface.
The Joint Investigating Committee formed by the departments of Interior and Homeland Security will monitor the entire operation and take possession of the recovered well hardware.
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While the weather still puts a hold on the actual removal of the BOP stack from BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, preparations are under way to make that removal as soon as the weather permits.