BP starts well integrity test in gulf

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, July 15 -- BP PLC started its well integrity test on the Macondo well on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico on July 15 following a 24-hr review of test procedures by scientists and an unexpected equipment-related delay caused by a leaking choke line on a three-ram stack.

The three-ram stack on a sealing cap was fully closed to shut in the well at about 2:25 p.m. CDT on July 16, marking the start of the integrity test. Earlier in the day, oil collection systems involving the Helix Q4000 multiservice vessel and the Helix Producer floating production unit were stopped for the test.

National Incident Commander and retired US Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said information gathered during the test will be reviewed with government officials, including a federal science team, to determine next steps. The well integrity test was expected to take 6-48 hr.

Allen issued a directive to BP requiring additional seismic testing and monitoring from remotely operated vehicles during the test. He also requested acoustic and temperature monitoring.

Government scientists, industry experts, and BP executives planned to evaluate test findings every 6 hr, Allen said. Information gained through pressure readings was expected to help crews drilling the relief wells determine how much heavy fluid and what weight of fluid to use for the bottom kill, he said.

“The sealing cap system never before has been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and its efficiency and ability to contain the oil and gas cannot be assured,” BP said. Shortly after the test started, BP reported no oil could be seen coming from the sea floor or from the well in 5,000 ft of water.

BP emphasized that the test was in its very early stages, and it was possible crews might have to open the well and resume oil and gas collection again depending on what pressure readings develop as the test proceeds. Readings of 8,000-9,000 psi after several hours could indicate well integrity.

During the well integrity test, operations on the first relief well were temporarily stopped as a precaution. The relief well being drilled by the Development Driller III was at 17,840 ft.

Kent Wells, BP senior vice-president of exploration and production, said, “We’re only 4 ft away horizontally from the [Macondo] well” so crews stopped drilling the relief well just in case of the possibility of “flow out the backside” of Macondo toward the relief well during the test.

“We don’t believe that’s going to happen, but I think it’s a really good safe precaution to do that,” Wells said. “We’ll be in a position to commence [relief well] drilling and setting the casing as soon as the test is over.”

Operations on the second relief well were suspended at 15,874 ft to ensure that there is no interference with the first relief well.

“The relief wells remain the sole means to permanently seal and isolate the well,” BP said in a news release.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

Victoria extends drilling, fracing ban

01/30/2015 The new Victorian Labor government of premier Daniel Andrews has extended the coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and hydraulic fracturing ban in the s...

US Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL pipeline project

01/30/2015 The US Senate has passed a bill approving construction of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline by a 62-36 vote after 3 weeks of debate. Nine...

Pennsylvania governor reinstates state forest drilling moratorium

01/29/2015 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed an executive order fully reinstating a 2010 moratorium on new oil and gas leases in state forests and parks. ...

DOE could meet 45-day LNG export decision deadline, Senate panel told

01/29/2015 The US Department of Energy would have no trouble meeting a 45-day deadline to reach a national interest determination for proposed LNG export faci...

PHMSA outlines community steps to reduce pipeline incident risks

01/27/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released a guide to best practices for communities to reduce risks from pipeline inci...

DOI’s 2017-22 draft proposed OCS program includes Mid-Atlantic sale

01/27/2015 The US Department of the Interior released a draft proposed 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf management program that included 14 potential oil and g...

OGUK: Push to ban fracing in UK ‘ill-informed’

01/26/2015 The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s proposed amendment to the infrastructure bill that would introduce a moratorium on hydraulic f...

Obama administration proposes making ANWR Coastal Plain wilderness

01/26/2015 The Obama administration said it will propose managing more of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including its Coastal Plain, as wilderness. Ala...

White House orders steps to curb oil and gas methane emissions

01/26/2015 The Obama administration set a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector from 2012 levels by 40-45% by 2025, and a set of actio...
White Papers

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

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

When Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

When Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


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