Scientists, BP delay well integrity test for more analysis

(Update: National Incident Commander authorized integrity test to proceed after 24-hr delay)

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, July 14 -- BP PLC and a team of federal scientists decided they needed more time for analysis before crews proceed with plans to shut in the runaway Macondo well on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico for a well integrity test, spill response officials announced late July 13.

National Incident Commander and retired US Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen announced the delay, saying additional analysis of the well testing procedure “should be performed before starting the well integrity test.”

Kent Wells, BP senior vice-president of exploration and production, told reporters that the test might start sometime on July 14.

Wells said the delay was prompted by debate by scientists and industry experts about how to interpret pressure readings during the course of the integrity test, which could take at least 6-48 hr.

“We are trying to understand what pressure readings mean over time,” Wells told reporters during a July 14 briefing call. The ideal scenario would be for pressure to build quickly to 9,000 psi once the well was shut in and to hold at that level (OGJ Online, July 13, 2010).

If the well were to be shut in but pressure fails to build to 8,000-9,000 psi at the top of the well, then scientists want to determine at what level within the well that oil might be escaping. Wells said crews would not want oil to be pushed out of the well into shallow zones and leak into the gulf.

If the pressure readings were to reach 6,000 psi or less, Allen said the test would be abandoned. Speaking to reporters during a July 13 briefing, Allen said the difficulty in interpreting the meaning of the pressure readings would come if the pressure were to stall within the range of 6,000-8,000 psi.

Wells said the pressure readings would be taken by transducers that would not be visible in ongoing video taken by remotely operated vehicles and posted on the BP web site.

Relief wells on hold
Wells said the first relief well was at 17,840 ft measured depth, and drilling operations had been paused for the well integrity test. The well is 4 ft horizontally from the Macondo well.

Operations on the second relief well were suspended at 15,963 ft to ensure 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.

Until the well integrity test starts, BP continues to ramp up collection operations on the Helix Producer and also continues to use the Helix Q4000, which burns oil using a special burner. The Helix Producer, with capacity to collect 20,000–25,000 b/d, collected 9,200 b/d for the 24 hr ending at midnight on July 13. The Q4000 flares an average of 8,000 b/d.

The sealing cap system, the Q4000 system, the flexible riser system, and the planned additional containment systems never before have been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and their efficiency and ability to contain or flare the oil and gas cannot be assured. BP said in a news release.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...

USGS: Water usage for fracturing varies widely across shale plays

07/01/2015 The volume of water required to hydraulically fracture wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national analysis and map of ...
White Papers

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

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
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


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