July 12, 2010
BP places new cap on leaking well
BP has succeeded in installing a new cap on the riser of the leaking Deepwater Horizon well.
The three ram capping stack was installed on the Deep Water Horizon LMRP at 7 p.m. CDT. The stack completes the installation of the new sealing cap.
Following installation of the capping stack and in line with the procedure approved by the National Incident Commander and Unified Area Command, the well integrity test will begin July 13 on the MC252 well.
For the duration of the test, which will be a minimum of 6 hours and could extend up to 48 hours, the three ram capping stack will be closed and all sub-sea containment systems (namely, the Q4000 and Helix Producer) will be temporarily suspended, effectively shutting in the well. BP says "it is expected, although cannot be assured" that no oil will be released to the ocean for the duration of the test.
This will not however be an indication that flow from the well bore has been permanently stopped.
Information gathered during the test will be reviewed with the relevant government agencies including the federal science team to determine the way forward.
Options include reinstatement of containment as well as extending the test duration beyond 48 hours.
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen says the measurements that will be taken during this test will provide valuable information about the condition of the well below the sea level and help determine whether or not it is possible to shut the well for a period of time, such as during a hurricane or bad weather, between now and when the relief wells are complete.
Admiral Allen has reviewed the protocols for this test, in consultation with the government science team. The test will likely last anywhere from 6-48 hours or more depending on the measurements that are observed. BP will be in regular contact with the government during the test, and the government will halt the test if the risks of doing further damage to the surrounding formation are significant.
BP says the sealing cap system never before has been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and its efficiency and ability to contain the oil and gas cannot be assured.
The Helix Producer containment system started operations on July 12. The Q4000 containment system continues to capture oil and gas from the MC252 well and flare the hydrocarbons safely at the surface
Relief well operations continue throughout this period and, says BP, remain the sole means to permanently seal and isolate the well.