It’s back to the drawing board. BP has given up with the idea of sinking mud, golf balls, tires, and other junk into the well to plug it. Top Kill is officially dead.
Bloomberg reports BP Abandons ‘Top Kill’ Plan That Failed to Cap Leak.
BP Plc said it will switch to a new strategy to cap a leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico after a three-day effort to stop the flow with a blast of pressurized fluids was unsuccessful.
At a press conference today, Doug Suttles, the BP executive in charge of the spill response, said the top kill strategy didn’t work. BP will now try a containment device known as a lower-marine riser package cap, Suttles said.
Oil from the spill may have spread underwater for 22 miles toward Mobile, Alabama, researchers aboard a University of South Florida vessel reported May 27. Initial tests aboard the Weatherbird II show the highest concentrations of “dissolved hydrocarbons” were 400 meters (1,312 feet) below the surface.
BP plans to install the new blowout preventer on top of the existing one, Suttles said. BP will then try to use the valves on the new blowout preventer to stop the flow.
“We’re still looking at a month before we get this thing killed,” Les Ply, a retired mud engineering consultant for the oil industry, said today in a telephone interview. “I think we’re looking at a week to 10 days to get this riser and cap in place.”
The new method, if successful, would stop the leak long enough for a so-called relief well to be drilled nearby and provide a permanent seal.
Crews are ahead of schedule in drilling a relief well and are about halfway to the end, with around 6,000 feet left to go, Suttles said. Completion of the well is still expected by about early August, he said.
Drilling on the second of two relief wells, which was temporarily suspended so that its blowout preventer could be available if the top kill failed, is expected to resume “shortly,” David Nicholas, a spokesman for BP, said today in a telephone interview.
BP’s costs from the spill rose to $940 million, the London- based company, the largest producer of oil and gas from the Gulf of Mexico, said today. BP leased the rig destroyed in the explosion, the Deepwater Horizon, from Geneva-based Transocean Ltd., the world’s largest deep-water driller.
A Week Later
Here is a video from biologist Marc Gauthier on the oil spill.
Clips from the Above Video
BP’s ‘Systemic Failure’ Endangers Gulf Cleanup Workers
Inquiring minds are reading BP ‘systemic failure’ endangers Gulf cleanup workers
Federal regulators complained in a scathing internal memo about “significant deficiencies” in BP’s handling of the safety of oil spill workers and asked the Coast Guard to help pressure the company to address a litany of concerns.
The memo, written by a Labor Department official earlier this week and obtained by McClatchy , reveals the Obama administration’s growing concerns about potential health and safety problems posed by the oil spill and its inability to force BP to respond to them.
BP said it’s deployed 22,000 workers to combat the spill, which experts now estimate has spewed 37 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico . At this point, much of the oil remains offshore.
David Michaels , the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health who wrote the memo, raised the concerns on Tuesday, the day before seven oil spill workers on boats off the coast of Louisiana were hospitalized after they experienced nausea, dizziness and headaches.
Late Friday, the disaster response team sent four more workers to the hospital by helicopter, including two with chest pains.
In his memo to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen , Michaels said his agency has witnessed numerous problems at several work sites and staging areas through the Gulf Coast region.
“The organizational systems that BP currently has in place, particularly those related to worker safety and health training, protective equipment, and site monitoring, are not adequate for the current situation or the projected increase in clean-up operations,” Michaels said in the memo.
“I want to stress that these are not isolated problems,” he continued. “They appear to be indicative of a general systemic failure on BP’s part, to ensure the safety and health of those responding to this disaster.”
Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, whose district encompasses Grand Isle, told Yahoo! News that BP bused in “hundreds” of temporary workers to clean up local beaches. And as soon as the president was en route back to Washington, the workers were clearing out of Grand Isle too, Roberts said.
“The level of cleanup and cooperation we’ve gotten from BP in the past is in no way consistent to the effort shown on the island today,” Roberts said by telephone. “As soon as the president left, they were immediately put back on the buses and sent home.”
Of all the dumb stunts by BP, that has to be among the stupidest. How could anyone at BP think this stunt would not be immediately caught and blasted? It is one mistake after another after another for BP.
We still do not know exactly how much oil is leaking. What we do know is BP has lied every step of the way about every facet of this disaster while underestimating the damage and overestimating when the problem would be fixed.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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