July 22, 2010
Bonnie forces pause in relief well drilling
Adverse weather has forced a slow down of response activities at the Deepwater Horizon spill site.
"Due to the risk that Tropical Storm Bonnie poses to the safety of the nearly 2,000 people responding to the BP oil spill at the well site, many of the vessels and rigs will be preparing to move out of harm's way beginning tonight," said National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, in a statement issued yesterday. "This includes the rig drilling the relief well that will ultimately kill the well, as well as other vessels needed for containment. Some of the vessels may be able to remain on site, but we will err on the side of safety."
Admiral Allen said that he had directed BP to continue with the well shut in procedure while the work to kill the well was temporarily suspended. He said he had also directed BP to take measures to ensure the vessels operating the ROV's are the last to leave, and the first to return in order to maximize monitoring of the well.
"While these actions may delay the effort to kill the well for several days, the safety of the individuals at the well site is our highest concern," said Admiral Allen. "We are staging our skimming vessels and other assets in a manner that will allow us to promptly re-start oil mitigation efforts as soon as the storm passes and we can ensure the safety of our personnel."