Here is the letter in question and a prior statement by Allen:
Chief Managing Director
501 West Lake Park Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77070
Dear Mr. Dudley,
My letter to you on July 16, 2010 extended the Well Integrity Test period contingent upon the completion of seismic surveys, robust monitoring for indications of leakage, and acoustic testing by the NOAA vessel PISCES in the immediate vicinity of the well head. Given the current observations from the test, including the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head, monitoring of the seabed is of paramount importance during the test period. As a continued condition of the test, you are required to provide as a top priority access and coordination for the monitoring systems, which include seismic and sonar surface ships and subsea ROV and acoustic systems. When seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than four hours. I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed.
As the National Incident Commander, I must remain abreast of the status of your source control efforts. Now that source control has evolved into a period beyond the expected 48 hour interval of the Well Integrity Test, I am requiring that you provide me a written update within 24 hours of your intentions going forward. I remain concerned that all potential options to eliminate the discharge of oil be pursued with utmost speed until I can be assured that no additional oil will spill from the Macondo Well.
You may use your letter of 9 July as a basis for your update. Specifically, you must provide me your latest containment plan and schedule in the event that the Well Integrity Test is suspended, the status and completion timelines for all containment options currently under development, and details of any other viable source control options including hydraulic control that you are considering. You should highlight any points at which progress along one option will be impacted by resource trade-offs to achieve progress along another option. Include options for and impacts of continued twice-a day seismic testing versus once a day testing.
As you develop the plans above, note that the primary method of securing the source is the relief well and this effort takes precedence. Therefore, I direct you to provide a detailed plan for the 2
final stages of the relief well that specifically addresses the interaction of this schedule and any other activity that may potentially delay relief well completion.
Have your representative provide results on the monitoring efforts and source control requirements described above during today’s BP and Government Science Team call at 8:00 PM CDT.
THAD W. ALLEN
Prior Statement from Sunday July 18
The US government and BP are taking a cautious look at the oil well that has been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Today, Admiral Thad Allen, the National Incident Commander stated there has been uncertainty regarding the pressure of the well.
Per my conversation with BP Executive Bob Dudley as recently as 11 a.m. EST today, nothing has changed about the joint agreement announced yesterday between BP and the US government. The ongoing well integrity test will continue until 4 p.m. EST today, with the potential for additional extensions in 24-hour increments. As a condition of the extension, the US government has required significant new monitoring and periodic evaluation and approval by our science team.
Work must continue to better understand the lower than expected pressure readings. This work centers on two plausible scenarios, depletion of oil from the reservoir and potential leakage caused by damage to the well bore or casing.
While we are pleased that no oil is currently being released into the Gulf of Mexico and want to take all appropriate action to keep it that way, it is important that all decisions are driven by the science. Ultimately, we must insure no irreversible damage is done which could cause uncontrolled leakage from numerous points on the sea floor.