07 May 2010 16:11 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--BP on Friday was drilling the first of two relief wells in an effort to better stop the flow of oil from the source on the sunken Deepwater Horizon offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
The drilling began on 2 May and was proceeding as expected, BP said. Response officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on when drilling on the second well would begin.
The process usually takes two to three months and involves going 5,000 feet (1,525 metre) to the seabed, drilling an additional 18,000 feet, and reaching a target the size of a basketball, according to the US Coast Guard.
“BP intends to drill two wells designed to intersect the original wellbore above the oil reservoir,” the Coast Guard said. “This will allow heavy fluid to be pumped into the well which will stop the flow of oil from the reservoir. Cement will then be pumped down to permanently seal the well.”
The blast on Transocean’s offshore rig and subsequent flow of oil from BP’s well it was drilling produced a waterborne oil patch that has been shifting toward the ?xml:namespace>
The BP-operated rig had spewed more than 5,000 bbl/day of oil since the 20 April explosion and fire that killed 11 workers, sank the platform and resulted in three leaks. BP capped one of the leaks on Wednesday, and on Friday, it was also continuing work on lowering a 110-tonne containment dome over the well as part of an effort to seal the other two.
That dome should be operational by 10 May, company officials said.
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