Another Potential Disaster In The Making… BP Gets Go Ahead To Cement Well While It Continues To Leak
BP posted the following tweet at 2:20 AM EST.
Here is the official press release stating the federal government has given the go ahead to begin cementing the well as part of the static kill procedure.
BP Authorized to Begin Cementing Procedure on MC252 Well
Release date: 05 August 2010
HOUSTON – BP has received authorization from the National Incident Commander (NIC) to conduct cementing operations on the MC252 well as part of the static kill procedure. Pumping operations are expected to begin Thursday, August 5th.
All operations are being carried out with the guidance and approval of the NIC and other government officials.
The aim of the procedure is to assist with the strategy to kill and isolate the well, and will complement the upcoming relief well operation.
While this sounds like good news it could be a recipe for disaster.
Simply put in order for cement to cure and make a proper bond it needs to be able to sit absolutely still.
If the cement is still moving it will not cure and make a solid bond.
In case you missed my previous posts the BOP is still leaking even though BP and the federal government are claiming that the well has been killed.
Several videos captured from the underwater robots monitoring the well show that the well is still leaking in several places on or near the blowout preventer.
For example, this video shows the BOP leaking almost 12 hours after BP claimed that static kill has killed the well.
Here is another video of the oil in the same area.
To make matters worse I was the first to report this leak back on July 17th at which time this was only very small leak.
Watch: New Oil Leak Found IN BP Gulf Oil Spill BOP
Not only have the BOP leaks worsened two new leaks have sprung since static kill has started.
The first is a large amount of gas leaking from the BOP.
BP turns out the lights as ‘BOP Monitoring’ shows largest leaks yet.
The BP Gulf Oil Spill ROV Boa Deep C ROV 1 has found a new slow seep coming from what appears to be a pipe lying in debris on the sea floor.
This is happening now and you can watch here: http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/bp-live-oil-spill-cam.html.
Here is a video of the new seep I recorded around 8:00pm CTD.
These new leaks could be bad news for the any attempts to cement the well at this point and time.
New leaks aside there are several other leaks in the BOP that the federal government has previously acknowledged.
That Allen has repeatedly acknowledged the leaks coming from the BOP but has downplayed them although he does admit the leaks do raise questions about the condition inside the BOP.
Given this information it seems a risky choice to go ahead and cement the well knowing that oil is still flowing from the BOP.
If there is enough leakage from the well, be it in the blowout out preventer or down hole, this will become a huge disaster if the well is filled with cement the cement does not cure properly.
The only reason I could conclude that would prompt the federal government to give BP the go ahead to cement the well while the BOP is still leaking is because they have lost all faith that the relief wells will work.
As I previously reported 40 feet of the relief wells collapsed during the drilling of the well within just feet of intercepting the leaking well.
While the federal government has downplayed the issue as Florida Oil Spill Law points out that BP is in fact more worried about the collapsed walls than they are telling the public.
The AP reveals BP “could be more worried than it has said publicly about debris found in the relief well after it was briefly capped as Tropical Storm Bonnie passed last week, said Louisiana State University environmental sciences professor Ed Overton.”
In fact since the relief well collapse BP has for the first time indicated that it may not even use the relief wells at all even though the relief wells have been touted as the final and permanent solution for sealing the well since the beginning of the disaster.
The AP reports, “With engineers only feet away from completing a pair of them they’re now wrestling with how exactly to use them.”
BP Senior VP Kent Wells said the kill may be attempted through the failed blowout preventer via a surface ship, rather than wait for the relief well’s planned completion later this month.
The AP notes, “BP has never before indicated it might forgo use of the relief well altogether in direct attempts to plug the leak.”
“Precisely what the relief wells will do remains to be seen given what we learn from the static kill,” BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said. “Can’t predict it for certain.”
So we can only speculate that BP and the federal government has came to the conclusion that the condition of the strata down hole is so bad that BP and the government have given up on the relief wells altogether.
With the BP leaking in multiple locations combined with methane and oil seeps coming from the sea floor near the leaking well they must be keeping their fingers crossed that the cement will be able to make a good enough bond to finally seal the well.
If they fill the well with cement and it doesn’t hold they may never be able to seal the well and the ability to contain any oil leaking from the well would almost certainly be eliminated and they certainly must have considered this fact before going ahead with the plan to abandon the relief wells and attempt to cement the well from the top while the BOP is leaking so badly.
Like the title says this is a potential disaster in the making and we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.