BP’s Well Tests Show No Signs of Oil or Gas Leaks
July 18, 2010
(ChattahBox)— So far, so good for day three of pressurized tests on the damaged BP oil well in the Gulf. As Gulf residents breathed a sigh of relief with the welcome absence of gushing oil into the waters, now the talk seems to be headed towards the issues of keeping the well valves shut vs. reopening the valves to continue containment and oil collection procedures. According to The New York Times, there is also a debate going on between BP engineers on whether to continue with the drilling of the relief wells, which is the best chance of permanently sealing the well or attempting what’s called a “bullhead kill” that would seal the well by pumping mud and cement down existing pipes. Whatever is decided, suddenly BP has a host of workable solutions to choose from, when just weeks ago, the outcome appeared grim.
Kent Wells, a senior vice president of BP, told reporters he was encouraged by the tests performed on the underwater well. “The longer the test goes, the more confidence we have,” Wells said. Engineers found no signs of oil or gas leaks.
The testing has gone so well that BP is considering the “bullhead kill” fix. But it seems unlikely that retired Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen and the Obama administration would agree with a proposal to stop drilling the relief wells:
“A technician involved in the effort said that with the encouraging news from the test, there had been discussions Saturday about leaving the well shut and changing the method of permanently sealing it. The current plan calls for the gusher to be plugged by pumping mud, and then cement, into it through a relief well that is nearing completion.”
“The technician, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the work, said that engineers had discussed stopping work on the relief well in favor of a “bullhead kill.” In that operation, heavy mud would be pumped in through existing pipes and the oil and gas would be forced back into the oil reservoir at the bottom of the well.”
After another day of testing on Sunday, a decision will be made on either keeping the well closed or reopening it to proceed with oil collection, which would mean the oil would be gushing into the Gulf again for a short time.
You can view the underwater testing here.