tagged w/ Relief Wells
Leak in Equipment Delays BP's Efforts to Stop Massive Oil Gusher - 07-15-10 - 4:57AM ET | Video with Bill Nye, The Science GuyLeak in equipment delays BP's efforts to stop massive oil gusher
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 15, 2010 4:57 a.m. EDT
'The Science Guy' weighs in on BP tests
* NEW: New leak stalls crucial tests for BP
* The tests could determine whether BP can stop the massive spill
* The tests were also delayed on Tuesday
New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- A leak in a crucial piece of equipment may stall BP's effort to stop the massive oil gusher Thursday in the Gulf of Mexico.
The equipment, called a choke line, started leaking Wednesday, another setback for the beleaguered company in its hope of stopping the disaster. The company will need to fix the leak before it can run the vital tests that could show whether an end to the environmental disaster is finally in sight, the company said.
There was no timetable for when the leak was to be fixed, a company spokesman said early Thursday morning.
And video images of the busted oil well showed a continuous flow of ominous dark oil streaming from the ocean floor.
Even before the new delay, the process had been stalled.
U.S. officials told BP on Tuesday to proceed with an "integrity" test on the well.
But the test was delayed for a day, according to Retired Adm. Thad Allen, who is heading the government's response to the oil spill.
Allen said the officials "sat long and hard about delaying the test" and it was "not easy" to decide to delay. He said they wanted to make sure they're "getting this right" for this "significant event."
Allen added the delay was not prompted by the White House.
"We advised the White House that we decided to take a 24-hour break. It was us advising them that we thought it was the right thing to do. We briefed them," he said.
BP's Senior Vice President Kent Wells reported shortly after Allen spoke that the middle valve of the three-valve stack had been closed. That's an initial step in the complicated process of closing off the well and checking pressure to see how it's holding.
A key question was whether shutting the well was worth the risk, or whether it might damage the well bore.
BP hopes the tests will show whether the well can be contained -- either by closing the 30-foot, 75-ton cap stack or siphoning off oil to the surface.
A successful test would signal a beginning of an end to the catastrophe that began when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and launching the relentless oil spill. But even if the well is contained, the cleanup could take years.
Meanwhile, two relief wells are seen as the ultimate solution to the oil disaster. They're expected to be completed in August.Leak in equipment delays BP's efforts to stop massive oil gusher By the CNN... more
Latest update on the BP Gulf oil spill. Also, not included in the update: they have halted drilling the relief wells...Latest update on the BP Gulf oil spill. Also, not included in the update: they have... more
Alex moves into Gulf of Mexico
Tropical storm regains strength, may become hurricane
updated 6/27/2010 11:01:57 PM ET
BELIZE CITY — Forecasters say Alex is again a tropical storm as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico and may become a hurricane as it swirls toward Mexico's east coast.
Forecasters say the storm's direction is not on track to hit the BP oil spill on the northeastern end of the Gulf. Maximum sustained winds Sunday night were 45 mph.
Alex had weakened to a depression across Belize and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It dumped rains that left at least four people dead across the region.
But the warmer Gulf waters added energy to the storm.
Officials at the National Hurricane Center say Alex is expected to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain over the peninsula, southern Mexico and Guatemala through Tuesday. Up to 15 inches are possible over the mountains. The rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
On Saturday, Alex soaked parts of Central America and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with torrential downpours, killing four people and forcing hundreds of tourists to flee resort islands. Winds were at 60 mph when the storm made landfall in Belize on Saturday night but had decreased to 35 mph by Sunday morning.
The heavy rains prompted a landslide in northwestern Guatemala that dislodged a large rock outcropping, killing two men who had taken shelter from the storm underneath, said officials from the national disaster-response agency.
In El Salvador, Civil Protection chief Jorge Melendez said two people were swept away by rivers that jumped their banks. About 500 people were evacuated from their homes.
Authorities in both Guatemala and Belize were keeping an eye on rising river levels. One bridge in western Belize was swamped entirely, cutting off a remote Mennonite community. Seven homes in the Belize River Valley, outside Belize City, had their roofs blown off, and at least one structure collapsed.
Belize officials opened storm shelters in the island tourist resort of San Pedro, as 1,400 people fled for the mainland by plane and by boat.
But the country apparently avoided major damage, and emergency coordinator Noreen Fairweather said on national radio that there were no reports of injuries. People who took refuge in storm shelters were returning home.
Along Mexico's resort-studded Caribbean coast, officials warned tourists to stay out of rough surf kicked up by the storm. But there were no immediate reports of damage to popular beach destinations such as Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen or Tulum.
Now all eyes are on the Gulf of Mexico.
When Alex became the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, officials immediately worried what effect it could have on efforts to contain the millions of gallons of crude spewing into the Gulf.
A cap has been placed over the blown-out undersea well, directing some of the oil to a surface ship where it is being collected or burned. Other ships are drilling two relief wells, projected to be done by August, which are considered the best hope to stop the leak.
For the time being, the storm appears likely to miss the oil-slicked region and make landfall in Mexico, apparently in Tamaulipas state — but meteorologists warned that a storm's track can quickly change.
Alex was centered about 85 miles south of Campeche, Mexico, on Sunday.
Meanwhile in the Pacific, once-powerful hurricanes Celia and Darby weakened to tropical storms and did not pose a threat to land.Alex moves into Gulf of Mexico Tropical storm regains strength, may become hurricane... more
The Real Truth About BP and What is Happening in the Gulf
June 26, 2010
BP is engaged in criminal negligence. It only pretends to clean-up its mess when government officials arrive for photo-ops. BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama.
(VIDEO) The Real Truth About the BP Oil Spill and What is “Gulf of Mexico Syndrome”…Plus Shocking (NASA VIDEO)...http://ctpatriot1970.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/nasa-video-the-real-truth-about-the-bp-oil-spill-and-what-is-gulf-of-mexico-syndrome/
Small people. Expendable people. The woman in this video tells us what is really happening in Louisiana. BP, Obama, and Congress — all beholden to large corporations and bankers — are sacrificing thousand of people and keeping it hidden.The Real Truth About BP and What is Happening in the Gulf Kurt Nimmo... more
Photo: Crews worked Saturday on the failed top kill effort to stanch the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP will try another strategy.
May 29, 2010
BP Prepares to Take New Tack on Leak After ‘Top Kill’ Fails
By LESLIE KAUFMAN and CLIFFORD KRAUSS
NEW ORLEANS — In another serious setback in the effort to stem the flow of oil gushing from a well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, BP engineers said Saturday that the “top kill” technique had failed and, after consultation with government officials, they had decided to move on to another strategy.
Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, said at a news conference that the engineers would try once again to solve the problem with a containment cap and that it could take four to seven days for the device to be in place.
“After three full days of attempting top kill, we now believe it is time to move on to the next of our options,” Mr. Suttles said.
The abandonment of the top kill technique, the most ambitious effort yet to plug the well, was the latest in a series of failures. First, BP failed in efforts to repair a blowout preventer with submarine robots. Then its initial efforts to cap the well with a containment dome failed when it became clogged with a frothy mix of frigid water and gas. Efforts to use a hose to gather escaping oil have managed to catch only a fraction of the spill.
BP has started work on two relief wells, but officials have said that they will not be completed until August — further contributing to what is already the worst oil spill in United States history.
The latest failure will undoubtedly put more pressure — both politically and from the public — on the Obama administration to take some sort of action, perhaps taking control of the repair effort completely from BP.
President Obama, who is spending the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, issued a statement Saturday evening on the decision to abandon the top kill.
“While we initially received optimistic reports about the procedure, it is now clear that it has not worked,” Mr. Obama said.
He said that Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard had “directed BP to launch a new procedure whereby the riser pipe will be cut and a containment structure fitted over the leak.”
“This approach is not without risk and has never been attempted before at this depth,” Mr. Obama said. “That is why it was not activated until other methods had been exhausted.”
The president continued, “We will continue to pursue any and all responsible means of stopping this leak until the completion of the two relief wells currently being drilled.”
For BP, the besieged British company, the failure could mean billions of dollars of additional liabilities, as the spill potentially worsens in the weeks and months ahead.
“I am disappointed that this operation did not work,” Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, said in a statement. “We remain committed to doing everything we can to make this situation right.”
A technician who has been working on the project to stem the oil leak said Saturday that neither the top kill nor the “junk shot” came close to succeeding because the pressure of oil and gas escaping from the well was simply too powerful to overcome. He added that engineers never had a complete enough understanding of the inner workings of drill pipe casing or blowout preventer mechanisms to make the efforts work.
“Simply too much of what we pumped in was escaping,” said the technician, who spoke on condition of remaining unnamed because he is not authorized to speak publicly for the company.
“The engineers are disappointed, and management is upset,” said the technician. “Nothing is good, nothing is good.”
The spill began after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 people. Since then, it has dumped an estimated 18 million to 40 million gallons into the gulf.
After the announcement Saturday, the disappointment was palpable along the Louisiana shoreline, where the oil has increasingly washed up in sticky, rusty globs.
Michel Claudet, the president of Terrebonne Parish, 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, said that when he heard the news, he felt “sorrow, despair and like this ordeal will never finish. If you go around the parish, it is all our folks talk about.”
Mr. Claudet said that he was trying to remain hopeful, but that it was increasingly difficult. “As every item fails,” he said, “I am less and less optimistic.”
In New Orleans, Margaret Shockey, 67, a retired teacher, said, “One thing’s for sure, this is the last city that deserved this.”
Last week, BP described the top kill — which was an effort to pump heavy mud into the well to counter the flow of oil — as its best hope for stopping the spill. During the course of the operation, BP officials had often expressed optimism that it would work.
But on Saturday, Mr. Suttles said the operation had pumped 30,000 barrels of mud into the well and yet failed to stop it from flowing.
Admiral Landry called the failure “very disappointing.”
The new strategy is to smoothly cut the riser from which the oil is leaking and then place a cap over it. Pipes attached to the cap would take the oil to a storage boat on the surface.
Though a first effort at a containment dome failed, Mr. Suttles said BP had learned from that experience and now believed that this cap, which is custom fitted to the riser, would be more successful.
He said it would capture most but not all of the oil leaking from the well, which is believed to be gushing 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.
He would not give odds for the operation’s success, but said he had “a lot of confidence” that it would work.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Suttles said preparations for such an alternative plan were already under way, just in case. “That equipment is on stage and ready to go,” he said. Equipment is being deployed on land and on the seabed, he said.
If the new cap is not successful, the company has said it will look into attaching another blowout preventer to the one that already exists at the wellhead and has not functioned.
But officials emphasized that the real solution to the spill was the relief well. They said one of the relief wells was currently proceeding ahead of schedule, but was still at least a month away.
“It’s like a bad movie that just won’t end,” said Billy Altman, 45, a mechanic in New Orleans. “You know, you think they finally killed the bad guy, and then he comes back to life. It’s crazy.”
Clifford Krauss reported from Houston, and Leslie Kaufman from New Orleans. Robbie Brown contributed from New Orleans, and Sarah Wheaton from New York.Photo: Crews worked Saturday on the failed top kill effort to stanch the leaking oil... more
BP's "top kill" attempt to stop the flow of oil from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico failed, the company's chief operating officer said Saturday.
The oil giant has tried for days to stop the the largest oil spill in U.S. history by pumping heavy, mudlike drilling fluid into a ruptured oil well, a method known as "top kill."
The next option is to place a custom-built cap known as the "lower marine riser package" over the leak, the company's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles said. BP crews were working Saturday to ready the materials for that option should it become necessary, he said.
"We've been prepping that all along in case we need to move to that option," he said. "People want to know which technique is going to work, and I don't know."
And if "lower marine riser package" were to fail, he said, BP engineers would try placing a second blowout preventer on top of the first, which failed to cut of the oil flow after the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. The failed blowout preventer is a 48-foot-tall, 450-ton apparatus that sits atop the well 5,000 feet underwater.
Meanwhile, teams in Louisiana were working Saturday on a clean-up project aimed at protecting coastal marshes while BP continues its efforts to stop oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser has said that machines would suck oil out of marshes Saturday after crews determined where to deploy them.
Video: Fishermen woes
Video: BP CEO pledge: 'Stop the damn leak'
Explainer: Stopping the leak RELATED TOPICS
Gulf Coast Oil Spill
"We will begin to clean up some of those areas that fell by the wayside for the last couple weeks," he said.
Oil giant BP's focus has been trying to put a stop to what officials say is the largest oil spill in U.S. history, with as many as 19,000 barrels of crude gushing into the ocean daily.
By Sunday morning the company could know whether the "top kill" procedure -- pumping heavy drilling mud into the breached oil well at high pressure -- is working, said Robert Dudley, BP's managing director.
"It's like an arm-wrestling match of two equally strong forces," he said.
Government scientists on Thursday said as many as 19,000 barrels (798,000 gallons) of oil were spewing into the ocean every day, making this disaster perhaps twice the size of the Exxon Valdez incident.
Previously, BP officials and government scientists had said 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) of crude were flowing out daily.
"This is clearly an environmental catastrophe," BP CEO Tony Hayward said Friday. "There's no two ways about it."
Under intense political pressure to take control of the situation, President Obama toured the region on Friday.
"We want to stop the leak, we want to contain and clean up the oil and we want to help the people in this region return to their lives and livelihoods as soon as possible," the president told reporters.
About 25 percent of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone has been put off limits, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and fishermen are worried the gushing oil will take a more serious toll than Hurricane Katrina did in 2005.
"Katrina was nothing but rain, water and wind. This is poison. It's gas," oysterman Arthur Etienne said.
Obama said Friday that federal officials were prepared to authorize moving forward with "a portion of" an idea proposed by local officials, who want the Army Corps of Engineers to build a "sand boom" offshore to keep the water from getting into the fragile marshlands.
That did not satisfy Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has advocated immediate construction of the booms. Noting in a written statement that 107 miles of the state's coast have been oiled, he said, "We continue to ask federal officials to approve our entire sand-boom plan from the northern Chandeleurs to the Isle Dernieres chain."
Obama said he has directed federal officials to triple the manpower in places where oil has hit shore or appears within a day of doing so.BP's "top kill" attempt to stop the flow of oil from a ruptured well in... more
Transocean Then - Transocean Now - Transocean Invoking Obscure, 159-Year-Old Law to Avoid Paying Damages, Compensating InjuredRachel Maddow Covers Gulf Oil Spill... From 1979
By Alex Weprin on May 27, 2010 09:12 AM
In one of the more interesting cable news reports about the gulf oil spill, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow busted out some footage from the NBC archives.
Maddow broadcast reports from an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, caused when an oil rig exploded. Except that the reports were from 1979, not 2010.
Amazingly, the techniques currently being used to try and cap the leak appear to be exactly the same as the ones used over 30 years ago. The only difference are some subtle (and funny) name changes. What BP called the "top hat" containment effort earlier this month, was called the "sombrero" back in '79.
The Maddow segment is below.
http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/msnbc/rachel_maddow_covers_gulf_oil_spill_from_1979_162910.aspRachel Maddow Covers Gulf Oil Spill... From 1979 By Alex Weprin on May 27, 2010 09:12... more