OGJ Senior Staff Writer
HOUSTON, Sept. 3 -- BP PLC has started operations to replace the Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible's failed blowout preventer with the Development Driller II’s BOP so that a relief well can be completed on the deepwater Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Crews on Transocean’s Discoverer Enterprise drillship on Sept. 2 removed the capping stack from the Deepwater Horizon BOP. The capping stack was installed on July 15. An Apr. 20 blowout of the Macondo well caused an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon, killing 11 people and setting off a massive oil spill.
In a Sept. 3 news release, BP said the Helix Q4000 multiservice vessel planned to connect a riser to the Deepwater Horizon BOP and lift it from the Macondo well. Transocean’s Development Driller II semi then will move the replacement BOP into place.
The Development Driller III semi is on standby in readiness to resume drilling the relief well. The well is at 17,909 ft measured depth and progressing to intersect with the Macondo well will involve drilling and ranging runs to confirm proximity to the well.
“Depending upon weather conditions, mid-September is the current estimate of the most likely date by which the relief well will intercept the MC252 well annulus,” BP said.
Some 28,400 people, more than 4,050 vessels, and dozens of aircraft are involved in the response effort. BP estimates it has spent $8 billion, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, static kill and cementing, grants to the Gulf Coast states, claims paid, and federal costs.
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