BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Taking it Day by Day - and Open Thread
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Doug Suttles was the BP representative on this morning's (Sunday morning) technical update. Mr. Suttles said that pressure is now at 6,778 psi, and continues to build at one to two psi per hour, and this is encouraging. BP still does not see any problems.
BP now thinks that there is a possibility that the test can continue from now until the well is killed by the relief well, probably in August. But this is not a decision that can be made all at once. Instead, careful monitoring will be continued, and a decision made on a day by day basis. Admiral Allen and government representatives will no doubt be involved in decision making as well.
Mr. Suttles said that when the cap is left on, this is really continued testing, rather than shutting the well in.
BP is using a number of types of tests to make sure that no hydrocarbons are escaping from the well bore. The types of tests being used include
- Monitoring by NOAA Pisces
- ROV's looking for visual and sonar evidence
- Monitoring temperature at the BOP
Regarding monitoring temperature at the blowout preventer (BOP), they would expect to see the temperature to rise, if any hydrocarbons were escaping. The temperature is at a steady 40 degrees, so this is not showing evidence of any escape.
Yesterday, Kent Wells mentioned that some bubbles had been seen. BP has not yet been able to gather samples of these bubbles, but is working on this effort. If these bubbles were methane, they would expect to see methane hydrates forming, but none have been seen so far. So this would seem to be evidence that the bubbles that have been seen are something else.
Mr. Suttles indicated that really would like to keep the cap on if conditions permit. If it is necessary to take the cap off, oil can be expected to flow into the gulf for up to three days.
Relief Well 1 is now at 17,864 feet. The next step is casing the well, and that will take about a week. After that, they can start drilling--very slowly--the remaining distance. The well intercept is expected to take place about the end of July, but the kill procedure will take until perhaps mid-August.