12 July 2010 06:09 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--BP is making progress on a new containment cap, which is expected to capture most of the oil that is leaking from its subsea well in the Gulf of Mexico, a White House statement said on Monday.
The old lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap was removed at around noon CDT (central daylight system) (17:00 GMT) on Saturday, according to a BP statement on Sunday.
The current containment cap would be replaced with a harder structure that would be both a tighter fit around the blowout preventer (BOP) as well as more hurricane-resistant.
“Installation of the sealing cap is proceeding as planned,” a BP statement said on Monday.
With the installation of the new cap, which was scheduled to be completed between Wednesday and Sunday this week, BP would be able to direct as much as 80,000 bbl/day of oil to containment ships on the surface above the leaking well, the company said.
Meanwhile, a Q4000 vessel continued siphoning around 8,000 bbl/day of oil during the installation process on Sunday, it added.
The well – estimated to be leaking oil at a rate of 35,000–60,000 bbl/day – would flow mostly unchecked until the new containment system is installed, according to media reports.
Skimmers were “surged to the well site” following the removal of BP’s top hat containment device, allowing crews to skim an estimated 25,500 barrels of oily water, double the amount collected on Saturday, the White House statement said.
BP was also in the process of attaching a third vessel, the Helix Producer, which would increase collection capacity to an estimated 53,000 bbl/day, it added.
The 25,000 bbl/day siphoning capacity from the Helix Producer would be in addition to the 18,000 bbl/day from the Discoverer Enterprise vessel and 10,000 bbl/day from the Q4000 ship.
Meanwhile, the drilling of two relief wells, which could permanently kill off the leak from well below the seabed, was continuing, the White House said.
One of the relief wells being drilled near the leak site was currently at a depth of 17,810 feet (5,428m), it said, while the other well had reached a depth of more than 15,900 feet below the surface, it added.
The wells would enable BP to plug the well permanently with mud and concrete by mid-August, according to earlier statements.
Oil has been gushing from the bottom of the Gulf following the 20 April explosion of the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon offshore rig.
BP said earlier last week that oil spill containment and cleanup costs had reached $3.12bn (€2.46bn).
($1 = €0.79)
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