By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 4 -- The Discoverer Enterprise drillship has started to receive oil and natural gas onboard following what BP PLC is calling a “successful placement” of a containment cap on the top of the Deepwater Horizon’s failed blowout preventer (BOP) in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
The oil spill cap was placed atop the BOP following the cutting and removal of the riser pipe from the top of BOP’s lower marine riser package (LMRP).
BP says it will likely take 1-2 days for oil and gas flow rates to stabilize, noting that “it is not possible at this stage to estimate how much oil and gas will be captured by this containment system.”
BP said, “All of these operations are complex, involve risks and uncertainties, and have to be carried out by remotely operated vehicles…at 5,000 ft under water. Systems such as the LMRP containment cap never before have been deployed at these depths and conditions. The containment system's efficiency, continued operation, and ability to contain the oil and gas cannot be assured.”
Preparations continue for the planned enhancements to the containment system as announced on June 1, BP said. Also, work continues on the first relief well, drilling of which began on May 2, and the second relief well, which started on May 16. These two wells are still expected to take 3 months to complete from the start of drilling.
National Incident Comm. Adm. Thad Allen noted, “The placement of the containment cap is another positive development in BP’s most recent attempt to contain the leak, however, it will be sometime before we can confirm that this method will work and to what extent it will mitigate the release of oil into the environment.”
He said, “Even if successful, this is only a temporary and partial fix and we must continue our aggressive response operations at the source, on the surface and along the gulf’s precious coastline.”