Friday, September 17, 2010

The Gulf and Chile - two quick updates

A couple of quick updates. Firstly Admiral Allen has now announced that the relief well intersected the original well late last night:
Through a combination of sensors embedded in the drilling equipment and sophisticated instrumentation that is capable of sensing distance to the well casing, BP engineers and the federal science team have concluded that the Development Driller III relief well has intersected the Macondo well. This determination was made based on a loss of drilling fluids that indicated communication had been established beyond the relief well, the pressure exerted against the drill bit as it came in contact with the well casing and, finally, an increase in pressure in the choke line of the Macondo well blow out preventer. While each of these indicators taken separately would not necessarily be conclusive, the aggregate data available supports the conclusion that the two wells are joined. It is also important to note that none of the measurements supported a scenario where the annulus of the well is in communication with the reservoir. Accordingly, we intend to proceed with preparation to cement the annulus and complete the bottom kill of the well.

Secondly the drill that had almost reamed the borehole down to the miners now has reached them. Because this particular borehole is a multi-stage ream, and the intersection was with a larger bit, apparently they may be able to assemble the next reaming stage at the bottom of the hole, and then back-ream it upwards. This, if true, is a much better way of doing things, since the larger hole makes it less likely that the chips from the cutting process will block the downward passage.
The machine is creating a conduit about 30 centimeters (12 inches) in diameter and when it reaches the mine gallery where the miners are, 700 meters below ground, a new drill bit will be installed on there and as it is drawn back up to the surface it will widen the conduit to about 65 cm (26 inches) so that a capsule can be sent down to the miners that will be used to extract them one by one.

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