USCG: No apparent leak from wellhead after rig sinks into gulf

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Apr. 23 -- The US Coast Guard reported Apr. 23 that there was no apparent oil leak from the wellhead of a well drilled by Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible rig, which settled under the water’s surface in the Gulf of Mexico after an Apr. 20 fire and explosion (OGJ Online, Apr. 22, 2010).

The semi had been contracted by BP Exploration & Production Inc. to drill an exploration well, which had found oil and associated gas in 4,992 ft of water 41 miles off Louisiana on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 near Rigel gas field.

The well had reached a TD of more than 18,000 ft and crews were running casing and doing cementing when the accident happened. Cause of the accident remains under investigation.

USCG Rear Adm. Mary Landry said the Coast Guard, BP, Transocean, and the US Minerals Management Service remained focused on mitigating any potential oil spill. Landry noted the sunken semi possibly contains 700,000 gal of diesel that could spill.

“From what we have observed yesterday and through the night, we are not seeing any signs of release of crude in the subsurface area,” Landry said on Apr. 23. “However we remain in a ready-to-respond mode…to prepare for a worst-case scenario.”

The rig was staffed with a 126 member crews of which 11 remain missing as of Apr. 23 and 115 were evacuated.

BP assisted Transocean in using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to assess the well and subsea blowout preventer. A nearby drilling rig was available if needed to drill a relief well, BP said, adding the rig was available to begin activity immediately.

“The combined response team was not able to stem the flow of hydrocarbons prior to the rig sinking,” Transocean said in an Apr. 22 release.

USCG and the companies involved said they continue to monitor visual feed from deployed ROVs with sonar capability in an effort to identify any crude oil that may have the potential to escape from the subsurface well.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama ordered federal agencies to devote all necessary resources to help with the Deepwater Horizon.

Obama was briefed on Apr. 22 by officials from the departments of Homeland Security and Interior, USCG, Environmental Protection Agency, and others. David Hayes, a deputy interior secretary, has been in New Orleans at the USCG command center for much of the week.

David Rainey, BP vice-president of gulf operations, said BP has implemented contingency plans to respond to any subsequent pollution. BP mobilized a flotilla of vessels and resources that includes 32 spill response vessels including a large storage barge; skimming capacity of more than 171,000 b/d, with more available if needed; 1 million ft of boom, offshore storage capacity of 122,000 bbl and additional 175,000 bbl available and on standby; supplies of more than 100,000 gal of dispersants and four aircraft ready to spray dispersant to the spill, and USCG preapproval to use dispersants.

BP Group Chief Executive Tony Hayward issued a statement from London: “There should be no doubt of our resolve to limit the escape of oil and protect the marine and coastal environments from its effects.”

Relatives of a missing crew member filed a lawsuit in US District Court in the Eastern District Court of Louisiana against Transocean and BP, claiming negligence on the part of the companies.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

Related Articles

WAFWA: Aerial survey finds lesser prairie chicken population grew

07/06/2015 A recent range-wide aerial survey found the lesser prairie chicken population rose 25% from 2014 to 2015, the Western Association of Fish & Wil...

Production ramps up from Sunrise oil sands project

07/06/2015 Husky Energy Inc., Calgary, reported that 25 well pairs are now on production at its Sunrise oil sands project in northeastern Alberta. Steaming is...

CERI: Energy, operational efficiencies possible in Canadian oil, gas

07/06/2015 Measures can be taken by operators in the expanding resource-intensive Canadian oil and gas sector to improve both energy efficiency and operationa...

Macondo settlement seen ‘positive’ for BP

07/06/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s recent agreement to settle federal and state claims related to the 2010 Macondo blowout and spill improves t...

Court to EPA: Costs matter

07/06/2015 Oil and gas groups did not respond immediately when the US Supreme Court ruled on June 29 that the US Environmental Protection Agency acted unreaso...

Statoil installs subsea wet gas compressor at Gullfaks

07/06/2015 Statoil SA installed what it is calling the world’s first subsea wet gas compressor at its Gullfaks C platform offshore Norway. By compressing at t...

Innovation addresses US environmental regulations; more needed

07/06/2015 Technology spawned the recent boom in US oil and gas production which in turn led to new regulations that keep the environment and people safe.

Giant Perla field flows gas off Venezuela


A 50-50 joint venture of Eni SPA and Repsol SA has started production from giant Perla natural gas field in shallow water offshore Venezuela.

Big data, more oil

07/06/2015 Development of unconventional resources soon will enter a phase promising to lower the cost of producing oil from shale toward levels normally asso...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected