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

Senate passes Defense bill with BLM drilling permit program provision

12/15/2014 The US Senate approved a Department of Defense appropriations bill on Dec. 13 containing a provision extending and making permanent a drilling perm...

Mitigating methane

12/15/2014

Among greenhouse gases, methane should be particularly amenable to deliberate cuts in emissions.

Study: To cool climate, eat less less meat, milk

12/15/2014

Meeting stated goals for Earth's climate requires not only using pricey energy but also spurning animal protein.

API: Producers reducing methane emissions already

12/15/2014 US oil and gas producers are reducing wellhead methane emissions already and don't need ill-conceived, overly prescriptive federal regulations, Ame...

A message from Oil & Gas Journal

12/15/2014

An important transition occurred during production of this issue of Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Small subset of wells accounts for most methane emissions, researchers say

12/09/2014 A small subset of natural gas wells are responsible for most methane emissions from US natural gas production, said a study from the University of ...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

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