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Monday, 19 July 2010 08:22
BP Oil Spill: Thad Allen Confirms Seepage, Dispute
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Retired Admiral Thad Allen, the Incident Commander over the BP Oil Spill issued a statement early Monday morning sent a letter apparently confirming the schism between BP and the US government and the existence of seepage near the well and possible methane over the well. 

Late Sunday night Allen unveiled the existence of the seepage and also expressed terms for BP to follow in relationship to the monitoring of the BP well and the notification of incidents and conditions.

Below is the statement by Allen and an early Monday update by BP written which included the statement that a relief well  might be available the first half of August:  

Statement by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen:
"Yesterday I sent BP a letter stating that there were a number of unanswered questions about the monitoring systems they committed to as a condition of the US government extending the well integrity test. Last night a conference call between the federal science team and BP representatives was convened to discuss some specific issues, including the detection of a seep near the well and the possible observation of methane over the well. During the conversation, the federal science team got the answers they were seeking and the commitment from BP to meet their monitoring and notification obligations.

Ongoing monitoring and full analysis of both the seepage and methane will continue in coordination with the science team.

I authorized BP to continue the integrity test for another 24 hours and I restated our firm position that this test will only continue if they continue to meet their obligations to rigorously monitor for any signs that this test could worsen the overall situation. At any moment, we have the ability to return to the safe containment of the oil on the surface until the time the relief well is completed and the well is permanently killed."

BP continues to work cooperatively with the guidance and approval of the National Incident Commander and the leadership and direction of federal government including the Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Federal Science Team, Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard and secretaries Ken Salazar and Steven Chu. At this time, the well integrity test on the MC252 exploratory well continues.

During the test, the three ram capping stack has been closed, shutting in the well. All sub-sea containment systems (namely, the Q4000 and Helix Producer systems) have been temporarily suspended.

The pressure inside the well recently has been measured at approximately 6,792 pounds per square inch and continues to rise slowly. As directed by the National Incident Commander, extensive monitoring activities are being carried out around the well site. Information gathered during the test is being reviewed with the government agencies, including the Federal Science Team, to determine next steps. Depending upon the results of the test and monitoring activities, these steps may include extending the well integrity test or returning to containment options.
Should the test conclude, the Q4000 is expected to resume capturing and flaring oil and gas through the existing system. It has been capturing and flaring an average of 8,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil in recent weeks. The Helix Producer also is expected to be available to resume capturing oil and flaring gas through the recently installed floating riser system. It has the capacity to capture approximately 20,000 – 25,000 b/d of oil.

Plans continue for additional containment capacity and flexibility that are expected to ultimately increase recoverable oil volumes to 60,000-80,000 b/d.

The sealing cap system and many of the other containment systems have never before been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and their efficiency and ability to contain or flare the oil and gas cannot be assured.

To date, the total volume of oil collected or flared by the containment systems is approximately 826,800 barrels. Information on the subsea operational status is updated daily on BP’s website,

Work on the first relief well, which started May 2, continues. The well reached a depth of 17,864 feet as of July 18th and the next scheduled operation is to carry out a ranging run. The first relief well has approached its last casing end point and, following the casing set, additional ranging runs will be used to guide the drill bit to a MC252 well intercept point. After interception, operations are expected to begin to kill the flow of oil and gas from the reservoir by pumping specialized heavy fluids down the relief well.

The second relief well, which started May 16, is at a measured depth of 15,874 feet and has been temporarily halted so as not to interfere with the ranging runs being performed in the first relief well.

Although uncertainty remains, the first half of August remains the current estimate of the most likely date by which the first relief well will be completed and kill operations performed.

More articles about BP oil spill on Bayoubuzz:

  1. Gulf oil cap gets a reprieve; BP says spill cost n...
    The federal government's point man for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill says he's authorized BP to keep the cap on its busted well for another 24 hours after the company pledged to closely monitor the seafloor ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  2. Oil Spill Could Have Long-term Effect On Marine Li...
    The massive BP oil spill has scientists and experts fearing a decades-long cascading effect on marine life that could lead to alterations in the entire biological network in the Gulf of Mexico. With more ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  3. BP allowed to close cap
    NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana) - THE US government on Monday allowed BP to keep the cap shut tight on its damaged Gulf of Mexico oil well for another day after the company promised to watch closely for any signs ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  4. Feds let BP keep Gulf oil cap closed despite seep ...
    AP - The federal government Monday allowed BP to keep the cap shut tight on its busted Gulf of Mexico oil well for another day despite a seep in the sea floor after the company promised to watch closely ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  5. Oil prices move above $76 as traders eye equities ...
    AP - Oil prices moved above $76 a barrel Monday as traders eyed a modest rebound in stock markets despite continuing economic uncertainty. ...Read Full Article  ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  6. US allows BP to test, keep shut Gulf well despite ...
    AFP - The US government authorized BP to keep closed the busted Gulf of Mexico oil well for 24 more hours to allow tests Monday even though experts detected seepage from the surrounding seabed. ...Read ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  7. Investors worry about seepage at capped BP well ...
    Reuters - Investors fretted about possible seepage from BP's capped Gulf of Mexico well on Monday and speculation grew about assets the company may sell to pay multibillion dollar costs for its oil spill. ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  8. Feds let BP keep oil cap closed for another day ...
    AP - The federal government's point man for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill says he's authorized BP to keep the cap on its busted well for another 24 hours after the company pledged to closely monitor the ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  9. Investors worry about seepage at capped BP (R...
    Reuters - Investors fretted about possible seepage from BP's capped Gulf of Mexico well on Monday and speculation grew about assets the company may sell to pay multibillion dollar costs for its oil spill. ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  10. Gulf residents see oil cap as short-term fix
    NEW ORLEANS, July 18, 2010 (AFP) - For weary Louisiana residents, news that BP's cap on the Gulf of Mexico gusher is holding is merely the end of the first phase of the disaster: now comes the long-term ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  11. Spill success marred by BP, government bickering ...
    AP - With a newly installed cap keeping oil from BP's busted well out of the Gulf during a trial run, this weekend offered a chance for the oil company and government to gloat over their shared success ... Monday, 19 July 2010
  12. China seals oil port after spill (Reuters)
    Reuters - China has closed the Dalian Xingang oil port in its northeast, home to the country's largest oil reserve bases, after crude pipeline explosions spilled oil into the sea, but the main facilities ... Monday, 19 July 2010


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