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Uh-Oh

Gulf Gusher symbolSo the new cap is in place and BP announces they will be ready to start testing it Tuesday afternoon, but now Gulf of Mexico oil spill to keep flowing as cap test delayed.

As part of the operation they did a detailed seismic survey of the area, and now they want to put off any testing for a couple of days while they look at the data. The purpose of the survey was supposed to be to provide a “before shot” so they could see if closing the cap was causing any problems. It would appear, although no one will admit anything, that there are already problems underground with this wellhead.

Wow! “No one could have imagined …” that there would be problems with the Well from Hell 😈

Update: It would appear that they have also stopped work on the relief well, which really does point to a problem underground.

Update II: Even stronger statement about the condition of the Well from Hell beneath the surface. It sounds like the Federal geologists don’t like the what the seismic survey says.

2 comments

1 Badtux { 07.14.10 at 6:18 pm }

They had to stop work on the relief well to do the geological survey because otherwise the noise from the relief well would interfere with the test. Going is slow right now anyhow because they have to pull up the string, put the magnetometer on the end, push it down, get a directional reading on the casing they’re aiming for, pull the string, put the drillbit on, and drill a couple of feet in that direction before repeating the process again. My guess is that they pulled the string to swap out the drill bit and magnetometer and just left it upstairs so that there was no chance at all of noise transmitted down the drill string interfering with the test.

The test, BTW, consists of implanting sensors over a large swathe of sea bed (and under it at varying depths) then setting off explosives in various places. By seeing how the sound waves propagate, they can then get an idea of what the subsurface looks like. But it’s a process that works best if there are as few sources of extraneous noise as possible in the environment.

Worry about the integrity of the well has been a constant amongst the oil patch types ever since it was noticed that the BOP was leaning. I frankly was surprised that BP proposed closing in the well at all given the risk of a disastrous blowout. I suppose the notion was that if a hurricane comes into the area, closing in the well wouldn’t make the situation worse than just leaving it open. But really, why even chance it until you have to? Just hook up the hoses to the thing and start sucking oil, already…

– Badtux the Oil Penguin

2 Bryan { 07.14.10 at 7:55 pm }

Trying to cap it at this point with the relief well so close to completion doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. All I can think is that BP is attempting to reduce costs by not using the four rigs to suck up the oil.

That BOP looks a hell of a lot more out of plumb than the 3° they admit to.

The grit that has been coming up with the oil came from inside that well. There has to be one or more sand layers involved, so there have to be pockets along the shaft. The drilling log shows incidents of losing mud when they were drilling the sucker, and there is little doubt that pulling the mud out early condemned the cement job to failure. This is not a well for trying things on.

Like you say, just suck up the oil and wait for the relief well.