BP Attacks Oil Spill from Multiple Angles

On Sunday BP said that a third rig, the GSF Development Driller II, is going to be deployed at Mississippi Canyon 252 to drill a second relief well and that both relief wells will be drilled simultaneously. The Development Driller III spudded the first relief well yesterday. The Discoverer Enterprise, which is also on location, will be used as part of the containment operations. Currently, plans call for this rig to install a cofferdam measuring 14' x 24' x 40' on the seabed over the BOPs to capture the oil and funnel it to the surface. It is estimated to take approximately a week to install the cofferdam.




Oil is currently flowing from three places, the end of the riser, the end of the drill pipe which is sticking out of the riser and a crack in part of the riser. The spokesman also noted that a clean cut had been made at the end of the drill pipe and a valve will be placed on the end in the next one two days. This procedure is expected to stop one of the three leaks. A trial injection of dispersant was carried out on Friday and was delivered as expected. Three thousand gallons of dispersant was injected directly into the plume over a five-hour period. A second trial over a twenty-four hour period using 15,000 gallons of dispersant is also being performed. However, the impact of this procedure was difficult to ascertain from a visual flyover due to high seas and bad weather in the area.

Eight ROVs are in the area and performing a series of operations to try and activate the BOPs. The ROVs are also being used to tap into the electrical control system to read the pressure in an attempt to determine where the pressure is in the system.

BP is also considering another potential solution which would involve installing a new BOP on the existing BOP. If the pressures are not too high, then the broken riser could be sheared off and a second unit installed. The new BOP is already on board the Discoverer Enterprise.

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