24 May 2010 21:07 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--BP’s latest bid to completely shut the oil flow from the sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico stands a 60-70% chance of success, the company’s chief operating officer said on Monday.
“I think everyone is frustrated by why we haven’t been able to stop the flow,” said Doug Suttles. “We need this to work.”
US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Sunday voiced dismay over the inability of BP to contain and stop the oil spill more than a full month since it began.
In the upcoming “top kill” operation, heavy drilling fluids would be injected into the well to completely stem the flow, followed by cement to seal the well.
Most of the equipment for the operation was on site, BP said, with deployment expected on Wednesday. The previous schedule was for Tuesday.
“The timeline assumes things go to plan,” Suttles said on a conference call. “We already lost about a day because at times we encountered problems at 5,000 feet [below the surface]. Down there, a small problem like a leak in the connection for a piece of pipe is a quite complex job to fix.”
Should the top kill operation be unsuccessful, BP would attempt to put a “top hat” containment device over the larger leak, which would seek to capture a majority of the oil and pipe it to a surface vessel.
In addition, BP said it would consider a “junk shot”, involving the injection of golf balls, pieces of rubber tyres and other debris in an attempt to shut the well’s failed blowout preventer (BOP).
At one point, the company was siphoning oil at a rate of 5,000 bbl/day, but that was for a very brief period, Suttles said. Since then, increased amounts of gas and gas hydrates had entered the tube, limiting the flow of oil, he said.
The 5,000 bbl/day estimate also forced the company to acknowledge that the prior ?xml:namespace>
“I’m very confident the rate coming out of this well is nowhere near some of the estimates you see quoted on radio and TV,” Suttles said.
“We met with them again yesterday, and they continue to push us to find an alternative,” Suttles said. “If we can find an alternative that is less toxic and available in the quantities needed, we will switch.”
Overall, cleanup costs for the oil spill had already reached $760m (€608m), BP said on Monday.
Oil began spewing from the bottom of the
($1 = €0.80)
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