BP: Work Has Started on Removal of Capping Stack

Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

HOUSTON (Dow Jones Newswires), Sep. 2, 2010

BP said Thursday it has begun operations to remove a capping stack above the Deepwater Horizon well, another step towards the replacement of a broken blow-out preventer and the ultimate killing of the well that released millions of barrels of crude oil into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

A BP spokeswoman said the capping stack--which shut off the three month-long flow of oil after its installation in mid-July--is due to be removed "sometime this afternoon." Oil-spill responders, who have halted operations at the site since Monday due to high seas, aimed to remove the cap in anticipation of a good-weather window that will allow them to fish out a damaged blow-out preventer and install a new one.

U.S. officials say the device is needed because the final steps to kill the well could endanger a cement plug that BP installed in early August at the top of the well, and only a stronger blow-out preventer could stop a new leak from happening.

The BP spokeswoman said that weather had already improved; responders are facing three-foot waves at the moment, down from six- to eight-foot waves earlier this week.

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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