The suspension is expected to delay the completion of the “bottom kill” of the well that has been spewing in the gulf since April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded.
On Tuesday, BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said the company is near 50 feet of the well and the company will do a test prior to proceeding with the bottom kill which will is design to permanently stop the well from spilling any more oil.
Also, early Tuesday afternoon, Admiral Thad Allen responded to these media questions regarding the gulf weather:
Operator: Your next question comes from Eaton Brown with Fox News Radio.
Eaton Brown: Good afternoon my question was somewhat answered earlier, but Admiral if you could sort of repeat what you said at the very top we had a little static on the line. I know that you’re, are suspending the drilling due to weather but is there anything else that’s been involved due to weather?
Admiral Allen: No that’s what they’re doing is they’re not disconnecting. Last time they actually disconnected from the blowout preventer and actually moved away. What they’re going to do is just withdraw the pipes the drill string, put a packer or basically a plug subsea containment device into the casing and then fill the riser pipe between the well head and the Development Driller III with seawater to stabilize it.
And they’re just going to wait out the storm. The Development Driller III can take the expected wave heights as no problem there then they will purge the seawater, put the drill string back down, remove the packer and then put the drill string again the position where they’ll be able to go ahead and drill when they’re able to do that with the weather.
Was that responsive?
Eaton Brown: Yes, but just quickly, how long will, of a delay will this be. I know earlier you know bad weather situations you would say that you withdraw five days before gale force winds and so on and so forth.
How long would this be a delay?
Admiral Allen: You know we don’t necessarily expect gale force winds, but we expect the weather to be choppy enough out there where an overabundance of caution to make sure we do no harm on this well moving forward.
That just terminating drilling operations and holding still where they’re at was the best thing to do until the front passed through. So we’re really not invoking the hurricane protocol if you will, because this is not anticipated to be that strong, but we’re taking these steps as a precaution.
Eaton Brown: Thank you.
Admiral Allen: Yes.
Operator: Your next question comes from Vivian Kuo with CNN.
Vivian Kuo: Hi there Admiral, I just wanted to circle back you said it was conditions based on whether or not to kill the well from the bottom, so are we, is, are we kind of going back here or is the final relief well in the bottom kill not the ultimate solution definitively?
Admiral Allen: No, it is. The relief well is the ultimate solution. Until you've drilled a relief well you can’t ascertain the status of the annulus. It could be that we have cement that went down into the reservoir and came back up the annulus but we have no way of determining that without the relief well.
I didn’t mean to confuse everybody. Everything we do is conditions based on to be as successful to the point it went before. But until we understand the condition of the annulus, and we have taken care of that we have not finished killing this well.
And what we need to do once we get down there, if for some reason we have cement that went into the reservoir and back up into the annulus, that might change our thinking from which there are hydrocarbons being forced up from the reservoir.
I was just trying to discriminate against the different conditions you might find in the annulus. The relief well has always been the final step.
Today, as of 6pm CST, the National Hurricane Center issued this statement regarding a low pressure system about 100 miles west of southwest Coast of the Florida peninsula.
A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED OVER THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF
MEXICO...ABOUT 100 MILES WEST OF SOUTHWEST COAST OF THE FLORIDA
PENINSULA...IS ACCOMPANIED BY A LARGE AREA OF SHOWERS AND SQUALLS.
SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT THERE HAS BEEN A GRADUAL INCREASE IN
ORGANIZATION TODAY. HOWEVER...THE ENVIRONMENT IS NOT IDEAL FOR
SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT. AN AIR FORCE PLANE IS APPROACHING THE
SYSTEM AND WILL HELP TO DETERMINE IF A TROPICAL DEPRESSION IS
FORMING...AND IF SO...WATCHES OR WARNINGS COULD BE REQUIRED FOR A
PORTION OF THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO COAST AS EARLY AS THIS
AFTERNOON. THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE...70 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 5 TO 10 MPH.
Louisiana Governor Jindal
Late Tuesday afternoon, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiasna issued this statement concerning the weather:
Governor Jindal said, “While the weather system is not expected to be severe, all state agencies are taking the necessary steps to prepare for a quick response should this system strengthen. As we enter the height of hurricane season and because of the oil that remains off of our coast, we cannot take anything for granted. We know weather systems can quickly strengthen and that’s why we always hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Now is the time to ensure that you and your family have a game plan should a severe storm threaten our coast. I urge all Louisiana families to visit www.getagameplan.org right away to find out how they can protect themselves and their homes in the event of a bad storm.”