BP reschedules crucial test before final efforts to plug leaking well

17:19, August 03, 2010      

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The containment capping stack is pictured in this image captured from a BP live video feed from the Gulf of Mexico during integrity testing July 31, 2010. BP Plc said on Friday it could seal its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well by next week as U.S. lawmakers prepared to vote on reforms that would put tougher restrictions on offshore drilling. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

BP said Monday a crucial test ahead of a final effort to plug the damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico will be rescheduled because of a small hydraulic leak in the containment cap.

BP said earlier it plans to start the "static kill" procedure to seal the blown-out underwater well for good on Tuesday, after the crucial test, called "injectivity test", is conducted Monday to determine whether the procedure will work.

However, the company said in a later statement that "during final preparations to commence with the injectivity test, a small hydraulic leak was discovered in the capping stack hydraulic control system".

The test "will be rescheduled until the leak is repaired," it said.

"It is anticipated that the injectivity test and possibly the static kill will take place Tuesday."

The test is the initial phase of the "static kill" operation. If the test shows crews are able to pump "base oil" down the ruptured well bore and back into a reservoir, BP will start the "static kill" sometime Tuesday, BP senior vice president Kent Wells said earlier Monday.

The "static kill" procedure would likely run into Wednesday, he said. In that procedure, mud would be poured down into the well, possibly followed by cement, to seal the damaged well.

After the deadly rig blast on April 20 opened the gusher about 1.6 km under the Gulf of Mexico, hundreds of millions of liters of crude oil spewed into the sea before BP succeeded in sealing the leak in mid-July with a tight-fitting containment cap.

The "static kill" would be followed by a "bottom kill" after a relief well intercepts the underwater gusher, according to Wells.

Source: Xinhua


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