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

Can ersatz meat ease climate heat on fossil energy?

12/22/2014

Human food from animals might represent a stronger lever for climate-change mitigation than was indicated by a study reported here last week.

Watching Government: What best practices involve

12/22/2014 So what, exactly, are best practices? Government policymakers freely use the term these days when they describe what's behind standards they're pro...

EPA delays proposal to regulate methane emissions until 2015

12/19/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency is delaying plans to issue proposals to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas operations until 2015, O...

BLM starts process to consider new Nevada lease nominations

12/19/2014 The US Bureau of Land Management’s Battle Mountain, Nev., field office is seeking public comment on 197 parcels of public land, totaling 415,921 ac...

California Bay Area advances plan for enhanced refinery regulations

12/19/2014 California’s Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the public agency responsible for regulating stationary sources of air pollution in...

IEA finds US energy policy improved in latest in-depth review

12/19/2014 US energy policies have come into sharper focus in the last six years, the International Energy Agency said in its latest periodic review. It speci...

Jewell names Maryland energy administrator BOEM’s new director

12/18/2014 US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell appointed Abigail Ross Hopper, who currently directs the Maryland Energy Administration, as the new director of the U...

Moody’s: Mid-term elections dim federal fracing regulation prospects

12/18/2014 Results of 2014’s congressional elections have reduced the prospect of the federal government enacting its own hydraulic fracturing regulations, Mo...

Thirty-one House Democrats ask Jewell to bar leasing in Arctic Ocean

12/18/2014 US Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and 30 other House Democrats urged US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell to reject the second supplemental environmental i...

White Papers

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by

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

Available Webcasts



The Future of US Refining

When Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015

When Fri, Jan 30, 2015

The  Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015 Webcast will address Oil & Gas Journal’s outlooks for the oil market and pipeline construction in a year of turbulence. Based on two annual special reports, the webcast will be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and OGJ Managing Editor-Technology Chris Smith.
The Forecast & Review portion of the webcast will identify forces underlying the collapse in crude oil prices and assess prospects for changes essential to recovery—all in the context of geopolitical pressures buffeting the market.

register:WEBCAST



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


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