Friday, September 3, 2010

Deepwater Oil Spill - changeover completed.

Well, in one day the progress on the Deepwater Horizon moved significantly further towards the end. First the capping stack was removed from the well, and then, after a strong initial tug on the BOP, and transition spool, they were unlatched and moved away by the Q4000. As they left it was clear that there was no pipe, or hydrates under the BOP, though there was a thin film of a liner inside the BOP mount. This was then cleaned off, and a new gasket inserted. Once that was in place, then the new BOP (from the second relief well) was brought to the well, and lowered until it into place. (There is a Youtube video of the separation with the mount and BOP clearly separated by 3 minutes into the tape.)

Waiting for the new BOP

There was no drill pipe under the BOP, when it was lifted, nor any evidence of one or of any hydrates in the casing of the well itself. Thus some of the concerns that I had turned out to be unwarranted, but we did not know until the BOP was gone, what the conditions were likely to be. The next step in the process is to ensure that the BOP is working properly, and then the relief well will be completed at the beginning of next week.

With the "new" BOP in place.

That will likely be when we find out whether the annulus between the production casing and the well liner is full of oil or drilling mud. Given that a number of my concerns over the condition of the well have turned to be worse than the actual condition, I think I will hold off, at this time, on making any on that one.

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