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June 7, 2010

BP planning enhancements to containment system

BP said today that it continues to optimize the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap system, installed June 3 at the leaking Deepwater Horizon well site. The system is collecting oil and gas flowing from the well and transporting them to the Discoverer Enterprise drillship on the surface. On June 5, a total of 10,500 barrels of oil was collected and 22 million standard cubic feet of natural gas was flared. From June 3 through June 5, the volume of oil collected was 16,600 barrels and 32.7 million standard cubic feet of natural gas was flared.

Improvement in oil collection is expected over the next several days, but BP says it will be a few days before an assessment can be made on the success of the containment effort. Meantime it is preparing enhancements to the LMRP system.

The first planned addition will use the hoses and manifold that were deployed for the “top kill” operation to take oil and gas from the failed Deepwater Horizon blow-out preventer (BOP) through a separate riser to the Q4000 vessel on the surface, in addition to the LMRP cap system. This system is intended to increase the overall efficiency of the containment operation by possibly increasing the amount of oil and gas that can be captured from the well and is currently expected to be available for deployment in mid-June.

The second planned addition is intended to provide a more permanent LMRP containment cap system by directing the oil and gas to a new free-floating riser ending approximately 300 feet below sea level. A flexible hose then will be attached to a containment vessel. This long-term containment option is designed to permit more effective disconnection and reconnection of the riser to provide the greatest flexibility for operations during a hurricane and is expected to be implemented in early July.

In the meantime, work on the first relief well, which started May 2, continues and has currently reached a depth of 12,956 feet. The second relief well, which started May 16, is at 8,576 feet, and testing of the BOP is continuing. Both wells are still estimated to take approximately three months to complete from commencement of drilling.


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