BP to cut Macondo drill pipe; swap BOP

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Aug. 27 -- BP PLC was unable to remove three pieces of pipe from the blown-out Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, and it now plans to retrieve the Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible blowout preventer (BOP) with two pieces of pipe inside it.

Plans currently call for the drill pipe going down into the well to be left in place, National Incident Commander and retired Adm. Thad Allen said on Aug. 27. On Aug. 28-29, BP will make the necessary equipment preparations and move around vessels in advance of removing the capping stack and replacing the Deepwater Horizon BOP with a BOP from Transocean’s Development Driller II semi.

An Apr. 20 blowout of the Macondo well resulted in an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon, killing 11 people. The Deepwater Horizon sank on Apr. 22. Macondo is on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in 5,000 ft of water.

BP, operator of the Macondo well, had used a fishing operation to try and remove an 18-in. long pipe that was crosswise in the BOP. Crews previously cut off this pipe while installing oil containment equipment on top of the BOP. A second pipe, which is about 13 ft long, also is in the BOP.

“They are fragile, and they break apart when we try to pull them out,” Allen said of those two pipes. The third pipe, held suspended from the BOP, has been estimated at up to 3,500 ft long.

During an earlier “static kill” procedure, BP pumped heavy drilling mud and then cement into the casing from the top of the well following the July 15 installation of a capping stack (OGJ, Aug. 9, 2010, p. 27). No oil has been released into the gulf since then.

Transocean’s Discoverer Enterprise drillship is expected on Aug. 30 to remove the capping stack, which will be placed on the seabed in case it might be needed again. The Helix Q4000 multiservice vessel then will attempt to lift the Deepwater Horizon BOP, Allen said.

If necessary, crews are prepared to use what Allen calls “a gentle tug” involving 80,000 lb of force to free the BOP. Remotely operated vehicles then will be used to cut off the drill pipe below it.

If the gentle tug fails, then BP plans to open rams in the BOP’s lower marine riser package before it cuts off the pipe. Allen said BP is prepared to use tools to force open the rams.

Once the Deepwater Horizon BOP is removed, the DDII will install a different BOP on the wellhead in preparation for completion of a relief well, being drilled by the Development Driller III, to kill the Macondo well using mud and cement at the bottom of the well.

Assuming no tropical weather delays or problems with opening the rams, Allen estimates the DDIII could resume drilling the relief well on Sept. 7-8.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

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 ...

Methane controls just part of complete climate strategy, speakers say

12/08/2014 Reducing oil and gas operations’ methane emissions is an essential, but far from the only, part of a comprehensive climate strategy, speakers at a ...

Cost-benefit believability

12/08/2014 In anticipation of what might become the costliest federal regulation in US history, Congress should join the Supreme Court in reviewing the Enviro...

EPA air proposals should recognize progress, API official says

12/08/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency should recognize progress that is continuing before it considers imposing costly new air quality requirement...

EPA poses tighter ground-level ozone pollution controls

12/08/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed reducing ground-level emissions limits to 65-70 ppb from its current level of 75 ppb. It also will ...

API: Producers reducing methane emissions already

12/05/2014 US oil and gas producers are reducing wellhead methane emissions already and don’t need ill-conceived, overly prescriptive federal regulations, Ame...

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