OGJ Senior Staff Writer
HOUSTON, Aug. 4 – The Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico appears to have reached a condition in which the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling mud is offsetting the reservoir pressure, which is the desired outcome of the static kill procedure that started Aug. 3.
BP PLC, operator of Macondo, pumped heavy drilling mud into the top of the well for about 8 hr starting at 3 p.m. on Aug. 3. On Aug. 4, crews monitored the well to ensure it remains static.
Kent Wells, BP senior vice-president of exploration and production, said a static condition means BP does not have to have a valve closed at the surface to contain the well. An Apr. 20 blowout of the Macondo well resulted in an explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd.’s semisubmersible drilling rig, killing 11 people. The well is on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in 5,000 ft of water.
“Further pumping of mud may or may not be required depending on results observed during monitoring,” BP said. The start of the static kill was based on the results of an injectivity test, which immediately preceded the static kill and lasted about 2 hr on Aug. 3.
The static kill was done to assist BP’s strategy to kill the flow of oil and gas within Macondo, and the static kill is intended to complement the upcoming relief well operation to kill the flow from the bottom and to permanently seal the Macondo well with cement.
Operations on the relief wells were suspended during static kill operations. Depending upon weather conditions, mid-August is the current estimate of the most likely date by which the first relief well will intercept the Macondo well annulus.
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