BP might burn some collected oil in gulf spill

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, June 10 -- BP PLC expects to install another collection system that will supplement its lower marine riser package (LMRP) cap system on the deepwater Macondo well in efforts to divert more oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The new system, called the Q4000 direct connect, will receive oil and gas, which will be flared. BP plans to burn both oil and gas using a specialized EverGreen burner made by Schlumberger Ltd.

It will be the first time for industry to use the EverGreen burner in the gulf although it has been used elsewhere, Kent Wells, BP senior vice-president of exploration and production, told reporters during a June 10 technical briefing from BP’s west Houston offices.

Pending the anticipated August completion of a relief well to 18,000 ft to permanently seal the well, BP is working to contain the oil spill and developing systems so that surface vessels can be moved if a hurricane hits the gulf.

Transocean Ltd.’s semisubmersible rig Deepwater Horizon drilled the Macondo well on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 for BP and partners. The Deepwater Horizon exploded Apr. 20, leaving 11 crew members dead. The semi sank Apr. 22 (OGJ, May 3, 2010, p. 31).

Direct connect system
The Q4000 was used as the command center during the “top kill” effort in which heavy drilling fluid was pumped into the well in a failed attempt to stop the flow of oil and gas. Wells said top kill equipment on the Q4000 is being replaced with production equipment.

A manifold on the seabed, also part of the top kill operation, will be used in the direct connect system. An additional 14,050 ft of hose was added between the manifold and the Q4000, a surface vessel, so it could be moved away from the Discoverer Enterprise drillship, which receives oil and gas collected by the LMRP cap system.

“We hope early next week to collect more oil and gas through this (direct connect) system,” in addition to volumes collected by the LMRP cap sitting on top of the failed blowout preventer (BOP) stack, Wells said.

The LMRP cap system has collected more oil daily since it was installed. On June 9, the LMRP cap system collected 15,800 b/d. The total volume collected since June 4 is 73,300 bbl. On June 4, the LMRP collected 6,100 b/d.

National Incident Commander and retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told reporters the Q4000 direct connect system is expected to add 5,000-10,000 b/d collection capacity.

Meanwhile, Wells believes daily volumes being collected by the LMRP cap will continue to increase.

“We will never be satisfied until no oil is going into the gulf,” Wells said. Oil from the Enterprise drillship is going into an oil barge that will take it to Mobile, Ala. A second vessel is on the way so it will be available while the first vessel travels to Mobile.

The oil barge has a 140,000 bbl capacity, and the second vessel will have 230,000 bbl capacity, Wells said.

NOAA provides update
Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on June 8 released NOAA’s analysis that confirmed the presence of less than 0.5 ppm of Macondo oil in samples taken from the surface to 3,300 ft of water.

Sampling was done 40 nautical miles and 42 miles northwest of the wellhead and 142 miles southeast of the well, she said.

“Along with the analysis of the oil, we have also been fingerprinting the oil,” Lubchenco said. “You can fingerprint it and determine if it’s from the Mississippi Canyon 252 site or some of the other oil that is in the gulf naturally. What we have found is that hydrocarbons in the surface samples taken 40 nautical miles northeast from the wellhead were indeed consistent with the BP oil spill.”

Oil found in samples 42 miles from the well at the surface, 162 ft, and 4,500 ft were in concentrations too low to do fingerprinting, she said. Oil found in samples taken 142 miles from the wellhead at 330 ft of water and 1,000 ft of water were inconsistent with oil from the oil spill.

Lubchenco said the subsurface oil is being moved around by subsurface currents.

“We will continue to do research to understand where it is and in what concentrations and what impact it will have,” Lubchenco said.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures plunge below $50/bbl


Light, sweet crude oil futures prices plunged lower to settle below $50/bbl on the New York market on July 22.

Cornyn calls for more US energy exports in wake of Iran deal

07/23/2015 US Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said it would be geopolitically, economically, and strategically absurd for the US to maintain outmode...

Post-sanctions Iran initially won’t shake markets up, executive says

07/22/2015 Iran’s resumption of oil and gas exports, once sanctions are lifted under the recently negotiated nuclear limits agreement, probably won’t flood gl...

UAE easing gasoline, diesel price controls


The United Arab Emirates is moving prices of gasoline and diesel toward deregulation effective Aug. 1.

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices gain on expected weekly supply decline

07/22/2015 Light, sweet crude oil prices settled modestly above $50/bbl on the New York market on July 21, gaining support from a stronger dollar and from exp...

BLM extends comment period for Colorado oil, gas project’s EA

07/21/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management has extended the comment period for a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) of a proposed oil and gas project ...

Study looks at gas transmission, storage sites’ methane releases

07/21/2015 A comprehensive study of US natural gas transmission and storage operations found total methane emissions from 2,292 on-site measurements, addition...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil price for August briefly dips below $50/bbl

07/21/2015 Light, sweet crude oil prices briefly dropped below $50/bbl on the New York market on July 20 for the first time since April but regained some supp...

Canadian provincial premiers propose national energy strategy

07/20/2015 Provincial premiers in Canada have proposed a national energy strategy with actions targeting “sustainability and conservation,” “technology and in...
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