BP hopes to remove capping stack on Sept. 2

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Sept. 1 -- BP PLC tentatively planned to remove a capping stack from the top of the Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible blowout preventer on Sept. 2, pending the anticipated arrival of calmer seas in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal spokesman said.

The planned removal of the capping stack and subsequent replacement of the BOP has been on hold since Aug. 30 because of 6-ft seas caused by local weather around the mouth of the Mississippi River. Weather forecasters expect a window of calmer seas throughout Sept. 2-4.

National Incident Commander and retired US Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said a riser pipe from the Enterprise will be attached to the capping stack, which will be moved to the side and stored temporarily on the seabed near the Macondo well on Mississippi Canyon Block 252.

When wave levels are no more than 3 ft, the Helix Q4000 multiservice vessel will use a drillstring to remove the Deepwater Horizon BOP, Allen said.

The drillstring is not as substantial as a riser pipe, Allen said, noting that the capping stack can be removed in higher seas than can the BOP. Crews are prepared to use what Allen calls “a gentle tug” involving 80,000 lb of force to free the BOP.

Engineers and scientists calculated a limit of 80,000 lb of force to ensure the integrity of a casing hanger and an annulus seal at the top of the well, he said.

If the gentle tug fails, BP plans to open rams in the BOP’s lower marine riser package before it cuts off the drill pipe, Allen said. An estimated 3,500 ft of pipe extends down into the well, and it will be left there for now.

“Disposition of any remaining drill pipe in the well will be addressed as part of the plug and abandonment procedures that would take place after the well intercept consistent with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management[, Regulation, and Enforcement],” Allen said.

The Deepwater Horizon BOP will be brought to the Q4000 vessel and eventually transferred to the authority federal investigators. An Apr. 20 blowout of BP’s deepwater Macondo well caused an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible, killing 11 people.

“We will not know the exact status [of the Deepwater Horizon] BOP until we get that thing off and look at it,” Allen said.

Once the Deepwater Horizon BOP is removed, Transocean’s Development Driller II semi will install another BOP on the Macondo well so that a relief well being drilled by the Development Driller III can be completed to intercept the Macondo well and kill it from the bottom.

“We do believe the risks are small of a hydrocarbon release, but we want to be sure we are prepared for all contingencies,” Allen said. “There shouldn’t be any hydrocarbon release into the environment.”

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

Senate Banking Committee’s crude export debate breaks along party lines

07/28/2015 Congressional committee debate over the 40-year ban on exporting US-produced crude oil continued to break largely along party lines as the US Senat...

Canada’s NEB approves Orca LNG export license

07/28/2015 Canada’s National Energy Board has approved an application by Orca LNG Ltd., Cypress, Tex., for a 25-year natural gas export license (OGJ Online, J...

UK awards 41 more licenses in offshore round

07/28/2015

The UK government has awarded 41 licenses for exploration and production in the second tranche of the 28th Offshore Licensing Round.

CBM producer Walter Energy files for Chapter 11

07/28/2015 Walter Energy Inc., Birmingham, Ala., and its US subsidiaries filed for restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US Northern District Court...

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures maintain downward momentum

07/28/2015 Light, sweet crude oil futures prices fell July 27 to settle at less than $48/bbl on the New York market while Brent prices on the London market pl...

Removing crude oil export ban would raise product prices, study finds

07/27/2015 Ending the decades-old ban on exporting US-produced crude oil would raise prices by $3/bbl and increase product prices, a study commissioned by Con...

Encana books impairment charge, maintains 2015 budget

07/27/2015 Encana Corp., Calgary, reported a $1.3 billion impairment charge for the second quarter, which executives said reflected a decline in oil and natur...

First bidding round showed Mexico reform challenges, House panel told

07/27/2015 An apparently disappointing first round of bids for oil and gas exploration rights revealed problems that require attention if Mexico’s dramatic en...

Study looks at gas transmission, storage sites' methane releases

07/27/2015 A comprehensive study of US natural gas transmission and storage operations found total methane emissions from 2,292 on-site measurements, addition...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

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