July 26, 2010
Gulf spill response gets back on track
The response to BP's blown out Macondo well is getting back on track after a tropical storm threat forced suspension of operations and evacuation of vessels.
Development Driller II and Development Driller III have returned to the well site and are making preparations to resume drilling the relief wells. Before suspending operations, Development Driller III had drilled the first relief well to a depth of 17,864 feet below the Gulf surface and Development Driller II had drilled the second relief well to a depth of 15,963 feet below the surface.
In a briefing yesterday National Incident Commander Thad Allen said preparations were being made to move on with the static kill and the bottom kill of the well.
"Q4000 is inspecting the yellow pad, that is the control device that's placed subsea to operate the hydraulics," he said. "They replaced the valve on that and they plan to install it later on today and then they will begin preparations for the static kill operations.
"The Gecko Topaz, which is the seismic research vessel, is back in the field. They completed a pass [Sunday] morning and detected no anomalies and this is consistent with our decision to leave the capping stack on in the absence of any indication there are problems with well integrity. And we will attempt to have the Gecko Topaz make more passes tomorrow.
"And this is an opportune time to do this because while we're bringing the vessels back in it is quiet and not as crowded and doesn't present a problem with simultaneous operations. The stack pressure has gone above 6,900 PSI and currently stands at 6, 904 PSI.
"And the temperature has been steady around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, these are both indicators of a - and consistent with a well that has integrity."