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The BP well could be capped tonight!

  1. Jul 13, 2010 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    A new valve has been installed on top of the failed BOP. Tonight, they will be closing the valves and evaluating the response. I believe that something like 8000 psi on the gauge, means success.
    http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_int...ponse/STAGING/local_assets/html/Hos_ROV2.html

    All live feeds
    http://www.bp.com/sectionbodycopy.do?categoryId=9034366&contentId=7063636

    Edit: In fact, they just now repositioned the camera to center the guage. They must be getting ready.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2010 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Oooh, and other cameras are coming online.
     
  4. Jul 13, 2010 #3
    The ROV's were busy Sunday and Monday. There are about 15 of them in the area now all with cameras.

    I still question the idea of loading 160,000 pounds on top of everything else. If the pressure doesn't come up high enough it means there is a leak under the sea floor.

    According to news releases the relief well is only five horizontal feet from the main well pipe. They have been drilling through extensive frozen methane. Hot oil passing through frozen methane doesn't sound good.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2010 #4
  6. Jul 13, 2010 #5
    One big concern of the cap is whether or not the pressure may crack or break a pipe elsewhere along the line. The cap is fantastic, and I hope beyond anything I can articulate that it works well until they the relief line over.

    There's also the concern of why they didn't use this thing months ago. All of the parts for the cap were readily available and the little underwater mabob working on it was available too. But I guess we'll have to leave WTF is up with BP with that for another day and cheer anything that will stop the incessant puking of toxins into the world's water supply and ocean world.
     
  7. Jul 13, 2010 #6

    russ_watters

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    Unless there is the expectation of another component damaged somewhere, I don't know why this would be a concern.
    I wondered that as well. We don't know a whole lot about how they went about their contingency operations. When you think about what they've done over the last 3 months, there really were only about a half a dozen major efforts made to stop the leak. I wonder if they immediately started pursuing all of them in parallel or attacked them one at a time - I'm sure the cap took several weeks to actually design and construct. Anyway, though, a wellhead cap seems like an obvious best fix compared to things like hanging a big funnel above a broken pipe!
     
  8. Jul 14, 2010 #7
    According to this story they are on hold with the pressure testing.

    (CBS/AP) Updated at 11:53 p.m. ET

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/13/national/main6675968.shtml
     
  9. Jul 14, 2010 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    There is [or was] no way to know if there is additional damage below the bop. One of the big concerns is that well casing might be damaged. The potential for damage exists due to the blowout.

    Allegedly, this was started almost right away. My best take on this is that it has never been done before, so a lot of engineering had to be done first. It was reported somewhere along the line that Chu himself was working on this one.

    I remember that early on, this approach was considered very risky due to potential damage to the casing. If they cause the casing to blow out of the hole, which [in some sense] is possible, there is no more to be done except the bottom kill. So this may have been treated as a last resort due to risk. In know they have been doing various analyses of the well and the surrounding material, so that may play a role. They now seem to be reasonably confident that the well will hold under pressure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  10. Jul 14, 2010 #9

    russ_watters

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    I'm not following - what could the blowout do to the well below the BoP? It isn't like the well saw abnormal pressure or anything - all of the damage should have been after the BOP (besides whatever happened when it tried and failed to close). A blowout/gusher is just a well without a cap on it.
     
  11. Jul 14, 2010 #10
    Was there not initially an explosion and a fire? And could that not have damaged more of the pipe than just the part that connected the main pipe to the rig? And wasn't that an issue when they tried the top kill procedure, that not only was the oil still blowing out around that plug but began leaking from a cracked pipe elsewhere?

    That's what I've heard. Could be entirely wrong, though.
     
  12. Jul 14, 2010 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    I know that is one of their concerns [according to Thad Allen and others]. But whether the potential for damage results from the blowout, or potentially was the cause of the blowout, I'm not sure. There was a reason for the blowout, and I don't know that the well never experienced abnormal pressure.

    Where do you get your information? How do you know that the well never experienced any unusual pressure or abnormal conditions that could cause damage?

    The last report indicates that they stopped to do some additional analysis. That doesn't sound good.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  13. Jul 14, 2010 #12
    From the CBS link above:

    I am surprised that they didn't already have a seismological map of the formations below the well. That is how they find the oil.
     
  14. Jul 14, 2010 #13
    If the cap works, will all of these SES people go back to being their boring selves again?
     
  15. Jul 14, 2010 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    Woohoo! In the last five minutes, they started shutting down the flow and raising the pressure in the system. As of right now, the flow from the main pipe has stopped! Apparently the pressure is holding. They will be testing for some time. There is still some flow from other outlets, and main flow might start again, but so far, so good. I'm hearing that they hit the 8000 psi mark with no problem.

    Thad Allen had just finished a news conference and given the go ahead, about an hour ago. A 24 hour delay had been imposed by the government, for review, to help ensure that they wouldn't cause a casing failure, so the test never did start yesterday.

    Edit: It doesn't make sense that it would be up to 8kpsi already. That must have been a misstatement.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  16. Jul 14, 2010 #15

    russ_watters

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    There was an initial explosion and fire, but that was at the surface, 3/4 of a mile above the wellhead on the floor of the Gulf. The explosion and fire did not touch nor could have had any direct impact on the wellhead.
    Yes, but all of that piping has now been removed and the cap right on top of the wellhead, above the blowout preventer.

    The blowout preventer and where it connects to the wellhead are the only components that have much chance of being damaged - they were probably subjected to forces they weren't designed for when the piping riser fell to the sea floor around them. Below that, it's just a pipe imbedded in rock for 6 miles - I don't see how any of that could have been damaged.
     
  17. Jul 14, 2010 #16

    turbo

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    The final certification of the concrete installed by Halliburton was not performed. The company contracted to do that evacuated its employees from the rig after the rig's operators refused to honor a stop-work order. There may be some concern that there are gaps or weak concrete between the drill-pipe and the surrounding rock, which could allow the pipe to blow out and rupture, allowing oil to emerge from around the pipe. We may never get all the details surrounding this incident, but there seems to be some uncertainty and some caution surrounding the application and closing of this new cap.
     
  18. Jul 14, 2010 #17

    russ_watters

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    I see that in several stories now (hadn't read any yet this morning when I posted before). Perhaps it is just an overabundance of caution (better than an underabundance, to be sure), but I just don't see how it is possible for there to be damage below the wellhead and they aren't specific about what they are looking for or why.
    A blowout in and of itself isn't really that violent of an event. It used to be par for the course in drilling until it was decided that the loss of oil, pollution and risk of an explosion was too high to keep doing drilling that way.

    From what we've been told so far, it seems relatively clear that the cause of the blowout was the removal of the heavy drilling mud before the concrete lower riser caps cured, which pressurized the entire riser before it was ready to take pressure. Then the blowout preventer failed to contain/stop the blowout.
    :confused: :confused: There's a thousand posts in a half dozen threads in PF on the subject. I didn't think the general cause of the accident was much in doubt anymore.

    Most of the keys were laid bare in the 60 minutes interview a couple of months ago. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/16/60minutes/main6490197.shtml
     
  19. Jul 14, 2010 #18

    russ_watters

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    Yes, and in fact, the last plug wasn't even fully set before the accident. That's in the riser and it appears the blowout broke through the caps. But that is very unlikely to damage the riser itself.
    It was my understanding that the caps are inside the drill pipe (riser), between it and the oil extraction pipe.
     
  20. Jul 15, 2010 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    You seemed to suggest this is not a problem, or that it contradicts something you have seen, but it [a casing failure] has been at the top of the list of concerns from day one. An abundance of caution? Perhaps. If the casing fails, nothing more could be done less the bottom kill. And from what I understand, there are situations where even that would be ineffective in stopping a leak.

    The test had to be stopped last night due to a leak in the choke line. But about 45 minutes ago, they started again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  21. Jul 15, 2010 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    I would add that I don't think anyone knows for a fact what happened yet. It may all seem to make sense based on certain criteria, but a 60 minutes reports hardly qualifies as a failure analysis.
     
  22. Jul 15, 2010 #21

    Office_Shredder

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    If the cap didn't work, we won't hear about it until Friday night or Saturday.

    This is based on PR experience, not engineering experience
     
  23. Jul 15, 2010 #22

    Ivan Seeking

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    BP just announced that the flow of oil has been completely stopped!!!

    It is a bit confusing to make sense of the testing procedure. They may have to allow additional flow at times, but at the moment no oil is flowing. As near as I can tell, as long as the pressure holds, the source of this nightmare is finally under control.
     
  24. Jul 15, 2010 #23
    whoohoooo!
     
  25. Jul 15, 2010 #24

    Ivan Seeking

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    Note that the gauges are for ROVs and not for the well. Only transducers are used to monitor the well pressure.

    BP just tweeted CNN to clarify that point! :rofl:

    I have to admit that I was a little worried to see the one gauge sitting at 3kpsi. Whewww.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  26. Jul 15, 2010 #25

    Ivan Seeking

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    Uh oh, Thad Allen is now calling this a temporary means of shutting down the well in the event of a hurricane, in which case the ships would be forced to leave. Apparently they are now planning to go back to capture. But, it was also noted early on that capture is now practical as they have a clean connection.

    This is definitely a change in the language, so I can't help but suspect that they see a problem. But they still think they can capture 100% of the oil now. They are prepared to receive 80,000 barrels a day.
     
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