Solutions to Oil Leak Bring New Risks

A cement plug was created when the BP oil well was pumped with mud and cement to seal April’s massive oil leak. The cement traveled down into the well column, into the reservoir and settle back up the annulus. Nobody knows how thick that cement barrier is.

In an article on the nola.com news site, Cliff Owen of the Associated Press says that although the “static kill” created by the cement plug has effectively shut down the well, the federal government is insisting that BP’s next step be a “bottom kill” procedure that involves drilling into the well some 18,000 feet below the water’s surface. Scientists and engineers preparing for the bottom kill are concerned that rising pressure in the well could damage the well and its blowout preventer and “possibly lead to the release of about 1,000 barrels of oil into the sea,” says the article.

National Incident Commander Thad Allen has directed BP to place a new blowout preventer on the well to alleviate that concern. That would, he said, manage the expected increase in pressure during the bottom kill procedure.

To read the nola.com article, click here:
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/08/blowout_preventer_from_damaged.html