By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 10--Crews drilling the relief well to intercept the deepwater Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico stopped drilling because of a storm system off Florida, National Incident Commander and retired US Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said.
Allen estimates the storm will delay the intercept of the Macondo well by 2-3 days. Transocean Ltd.’s Development Driller III semisubmersible pulled the drill string and was working to set a storm packer and fill the riser with seawater to stabilize it. Allen said the semi would remain on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 and ride out the storm.
A storm packer is a plug placed below the drilling rig's blowout preventer. This is the second time the relief well crew has done this because of weather (OGJ Online, July 21, 2010).
An Apr. 20 blowout of the Macondo well resulted in an explosion and fire on Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon semi, killing 11 people and causing an oil spill estimated at 4.9 million bbl. The Macondo well is in 5,000 ft of water.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported the weather system had a 60% chance of becoming a tropical depression in 2 days as it moves toward Louisiana.