May 27 2010
Top Kill: Still wait and see
Efforts to stop the Deepwater Horizon spill via the "top kill" procedure continued over last night and are ongoing.
This morning BP said only: "There are no significant events to report at this time. BP will provide updates on progress as appropriate."
At a press conference at 7.00 PM CDT yesterday, BP COO Doug Suttles said that actual pumping operations had started at 1.00 PM and that 7,000 barrels of drilling mud had been pumped thus far at rates of up to 65 barrels per minute. The operation was expected to continue another 24 hours and, if successful, the drilling mud insertion would be followed with cement to seal the well.
Should the top kill fail, BP's next option would be to deploy an "LMRP cap containment system." LMRP refers to the "lower marine riser package" of the blowout preventer.
Mr. Suttles said that in the event of the top kill not being successful "the LMRP cap will begin sometime at the beginning of next week'
Deployment of this system would involve first removing the damaged riser from the top of the BOP to leave a cleanly-cut pipe at the top of the BOPÕs lower marine riser package (LMRP). The LMRP cap, an engineered containment device with a sealing grommet, would then be connected to a riser from the Discoverer Enterprise drillship and then placed over the existing LMRP with the intention of capturing most of the oil and gas flowing from the well.
The LMRP cap is already on site and it is anticipated that this option will be available for deployment by the end of May.
Additional options also continue to be progressed, including the option of lowering a second blow-out preventer, or a valve, on top of the failed Deepwater Horizon BOP.
Work on the drilling of two relief wells, begun on May 2 and May 16, continues. Each of the wells is estimated to take some three months to complete from the commencement of drilling.