Relief Well to be Completed After All…Static Kill Not So Successful
From the Times-Picayune:
BP’s blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is not yet plugged for good, and work on what’s been touted as the permanent solution will need to continue, the federal government said Friday.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man for the spill response, said during a news conference Friday that crews must move forward drilling the relief well even though officials were still working out the best way to finish it. “The relief well will be finished,” he said. “We will kill the well.” BP had thought the mud and cement pumped in from above the leak may have essentially killed the well. But the relief well will allow engineers to pump in mud and cement from below, which is intended to permanently seal the well.
Work on the well and a second backup well was stopped this week because of bad weather.
The decision to proceed with the so-called “bottom kill” operation means a key milestone in the crisis that wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast’s economy and ecosystem remains days off. However, Allen has repeatedly insisted on an “overabundance of caution” when it comes to permanently plugging the well.
“If it’s a nearly redundant safety measure, that makes sense to us,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal, who attended a closed-door meeting Friday with Allen, local leaders and other federal officials. Jindal said he was glad the work would proceed so long as there is no risk of damaging the temporary plug that’s so far choked off the flow of crude. Officials had been testing the pressure beneath the cement seal currently in place. Steady pressure would indicate the presence of cement in the space between the inner piping and the outer casing, likely indicating a permanent seal.
But because pressure rose during the testing, the scientists concluded that space still needs to be plugged in.
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