BP: Work Has Started on Removal of Capping Stack

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.

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