Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Deepwater Oil Spill - approaching the well, and the birth of Hope

With very little change since yesterday in the situation in the Gulf, it may be time to start spreading these reviews out a little more, of if the well is intersected this week, to consider moving to more general topics. The DDIII drilled 30 of the remaining 50 ft between the relief well and the original Deepwater Horizon well on Monday. The drill was then retracted to make a ranging run, and once that is completed, one can assume that they might just go ahead and do the intersection on the next drilling pass.

That will begin to generate the next set of answers to remaining questions about the well condition, and what happened when the well blew out. At the same time
The DDII continues to conduct diagnostic tests on the MC252 well, and final plugging and abandonment procedures are being worked through the approval process.
One wonders how long the approvals will take?

In regard to the progress down in Chile, there is a little confusion about the nature of all the holes that are being drilled. Apparently there are more of the smaller access holes (6-inch diameter) still being drilled as well as the larger hole that will then be reamed to the size that will carry the men out in a special cage. One of the smaller drills apparently broke a bit when it encountered a roof bolt as it approached the underground mine opening. To clear the way forward, the fragments of the old bit had to be removed from the hole using a magnetic fishing tool, before the drill could be restarted, It apparently took a week.

The President of Chile has also made another decision:
Mr. PiƱera said he ruled out as too dangerous another rescue proposal involving blasting a hole in the mountain with dynamite. He understands that some would like to see faster progress, he says, but it is arduous work: "It's a very hard rock."

Since there is already a tunnel part of the way down, the excavation would only involve the section that had collapsed, but that is easier for me to say, than for miners there to do. One of the miners became a father today, and they called the baby Hope, or Esperanza.

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