Mission (Not) Accomplished on Oil Spill

Washington’s Blog
Saturday, August 28, 2010

You’ve probably heard that BP has capped the oil well and the almost all the oil has been cleaned up, right?

Meanwhile, back in the real world:

A tidal wave of oil is, supposedly, about to hit shore: “A 200-foot-by-2-mile swath of oil is going to make landfall on Grand Isle in the next couple of days”
Much of the oil has only been temporarily hidden by continued spraying of dispersant, which is causing the oil to sink, where common oil-eating microbes can’t break it down (and the jury is out on other species), but will instead be washed up for years by the action of hurricanes
The boys tried to fish out 3 pieces of broken pipe (one of them 3,000-3,500 feet long and attached to the blowout preventer), but failed miserably, apparently because of the fragile condition of the pipe
Now the three stooges experts are going to try to remove the blowout preventer anyway, even if the pipe sticks to it, but may damage the casing hangar in the process, which would mean oil is leaking (and see this)
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)

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As oil industry expert Bob Cavnar writes today:

Admiral Allen announced today that BP’s fishing job being undertaken on their Mississippi Canyon Block 252 well has been called off due to total failure. You’ll recall that I disagreed with the procedure when it was announced on the 21st, believing it was unwise and risky. After now attempting to fish out the drill pipe (actually 3 pieces) for several days, they have called off the job after completely failing at achieving their goal. Previously, Adm. Allen had said that they wanted to get all the drill pipe out before pulling the BOP (which I also think is unwise), and replacing it with the BOP from the DDII before completing the relief well.

***

They’re going to pull the damn BOP anyway. That’s right, they’re going to pull the BOP anyway. What’s amazing is that they’re pulling it with an estimated 3,000 feet of drill pipe hanging in a set of rams, as well as two other smaller pieces in the stack and God knows what else. Admiral Allen said they’re setting an overpull limit of 80,000 pounds over stack weight to pull it free, worried that more would dislodge the casing hanger and packoff that are supposedly in the casing hanger. They couldn’t get the camera in that far down, but they still continue to assume that all that is somehow still in place after the well blowing out and flowing for 87 days, probably right through where they say the packoff is set. Not likely. Allen says they’re going to actually try to pull the drill pipe, still hung in the rams and then, while suspending the BOP above the casinghead, cut the drill pipe with ROVs and drop it back in the well.

Probability of success of getting that done? Almost zero.
As Rick Steiner told Dan Froomkin this week:

I smell politics all over it. The only plausible explanation is they were in a rush to hang the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner.

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