(This story was updated Aug. 6, relief well resumes operations)
By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 5 -- BP PLC, operator of the Macondo well, completed cementing operations as part of the static kill procedure in the Gulf of Mexico on Mississippi Canyon Block 252.
“Monitoring of the well is under way in order to confirm the effectiveness of the procedure,” BP said. The cementing operation started at 9:15 a.m. Aug. 5 and was finished at 2:15 p.m.
National Incident Commander and retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said, “This is not an end, but it will virtually assure us that there is no oil leaking into the environment.” He expects that mud and cement probably will be pumped into the bottom of the well as a separate operation using the relief well.
The Macondo well "will not be killed until there is a bottom kill," Allen said in an Aug. 5 news briefing before BP completed its cementing operations using the static kill, which involved putting cement into Macondo from the top of the well.
On Aug. 6, Allen said crews drilling the first relief well, using the Development Driller III, were working to drill through a cement shoe that was placed in the relief well before the static kill on Macondo. From Aug. 8-13, crews plans to drill in 30-ft segments and then do ranging runs to check the relief well's location in relation to the Macondo well.
Allen expects the relief well could intercept the Macondo well annulus during Aug. 13-15. Crews are ready in case the intercept happens earlier than that, he said. The schedule is subject to change because of weather or technical problems.
A second relief well has been started as a backup to the first relief well and is on hold for now.