BP says Gulf oil spill has been stopped in test

Good news, more here

From Reuters

BP said on Thursday no oil was leaking into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since its huge spill began in April as it conducted pressure tests on its blown-out deep-sea well.

For the test, BP closed valves and vents on a tight-sealing containment cap installed atop its ruptured well earlier this week. Initial results early in the test showed the cap had completely contained the flow of oil, BP said.

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50 thoughts on “BP says Gulf oil spill has been stopped in test

  1. Will we see headlines “BP saves Gulf from oil Spill”. I doubt it. But we are hearing that Obama is trying to keep his emotions in check . Shouldn’t be too hard, he wasn’t all that upset in the first place.

  2. Why aren’t they taking the oil up to the ships above, instead of trying to shut off the flow?
    Great that it held in the test, but it’s not nice to tempt Mother Nature.

  3. [1] Is the three valve cap a brand new engineering technique? Looks like we all just learned something about managing off shore drilling in deep water. This may be useful for BP when drilling off shore of Brazil in more than 9000 feet of water.
    REF: http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=7060559
    [2] A successful CAP will remove a useful “crisis” from the progressive agenda – ahh the wailing and gnashing of teeth can be heard from the other side of the world.

  4. rbateman says:
    July 15, 2010 at 5:36 pm
    Why aren’t they taking the oil up to the ships above, instead of trying to shut off the flow?

    R U series?
    Ingest 50/50 water/oil and gas mix and separate same in quantity at full, unrestricted volume flow?
    R U series?
    .

  5. Many experts worry that the well casing below has been compromised. If so, the cap could result in a subsurface blowout, jettisoning oil through the ocean floor. They are monitoring pressure to ensure that the well stays at 8,000 psi or higher for 48 hours. This isn’t over by a long shot.

  6. @kirkmyers says:
    July 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm
    “Many experts worry that the well casing below has been compromised. If so, the cap could result in a subsurface blowout, jettisoning oil through the ocean floor. They are monitoring pressure to ensure that the well stays at 8,000 psi or higher for 48 hours. This isn’t over by a long shot.”
    According to http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6733#comment-677659, they were expecting about 9,000 psi but only reached about 6,700 psi. It was expected to go a little higher to maybe top out at about 7,000 psi, which may be inconclusive. The lower pressure may indicate a leak in the borehole or it may indicate that the formation has been depleted somewhat by running uncontrolled for so long and the reservoir pressure is no longer the 11,900 psi or so that was originally measured. The good news is that the cap is exceeding the 3,000 psi to 4,000 psi needed to help balance the relief well when the bottom kill is attempted. The relief well is about 5,000 feet higher than the Macondo well, because the mud would be pumped into the relief well from a rig floating at sea level and the Macondo well BOP is at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

  7. God, I hope this works. I love the Gulf and it’s been horrible to see this. On the upside, there was a huge blowout in the Mexican portion of the gulf in 1979, causing massive oil spills on beaches in South Texas (barrier islands), and the recovery was surprisingly fast. I’ve been going there for years and you would never suspect that anything like that had happened. I hope the coastal damage can be minimized here, but I don’t have much confidence in the feds.

  8. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is drafting a 5320 page bill banning oil spills. Obama is expected to sign it. Somehow, a bailout of the Chinese is also included.

  9. During the 2nd world war, an immense amount of oil was dumped into the oceans from military and civilian (cargo) ship losses due to combat. The oil disappeared within a few years due to natural dispersal effects.

  10. Does this mean now that deep sea drilling can now be considered safe, as long as a spare cap is available somewhere somewhat nearby?

  11. A curious thing – every time BP makes a step forward in dealing with the spill, instead of any positive response from the US media, there is always instead an uptick in abuse and recrimination against BP. The reason is that the deep south are so enjoying their racist lynching of BP that they are hoping for more pollution, not less.
    How many times have we seen the single solitary oil-bedraggled pelican flopping around in a small beach enclosure, maybe anointed with the sump oil from a reporter’s car? One pelican! And on most beaches they are having to satisfy themselves with tar-balls.
    The sense of disappointment and frustration on the US gulf coast is indeed palpable. But it is frustration with SO LITTLE OIL contamination. That is why any BP progress meets with such an angry response.
    Oil spills in warm water always clear up rapidly due to bacterial degradation proceeding faster – some Arabian gulf spills of much larger magnitude were gone without trace within 2-3 years. When this happens in the gulf of Mexico it will deepen still further the rage and frustration. The MSM however will just keep on showing historic footage of the solitary celebrity pelican, just to keep the show on the road.

  12. Phlogiston says : ‘A curious thing – every time BP makes a step forward in dealing with the spill, instead of any positive response from the US media, there is always instead an uptick in abuse and recrimination against BP. The reason is that the deep south are so enjoying their racist lynching of BP that they are hoping for more pollution, not less.’
    Rings a bell! Every time any data shows that AGW effects are less than the ‘scientists’ expect, the warmists go into overdrive – their religion demands the end of the world and, by golly (is that PC?), the end of the world it shall be!

  13. I congratulate BP so far. I am no supporter of them as there checkered history has been clear. Engineering know-how has so far succeeded. I sincerely hope that this situation will be resolved asap! However, the drilling company, Transocean, who was contracted by BP to do their bidding, & from who the drilling platform was leased, has very nicely slipped from view in all of this, barely a mention apart from the in the very early days, & BP has stood by them & taken all the flak from the politicos & MSM, when they could have easily played the Pontius Pilate card. As I understand it, it was Transocean who caused the problem, & who had not installed an operational “blowout preventer”. Will we see a true picture emerging from the debris or will this be a whitewash for the drilling company (who claim world expertise in deep sea exploration/production), & the noose for BP? It is just the same as me being engaged by a client because I claim world leading expertise in structural engineering skills, then when the building falls down half way throught the build due to a design fault, say it’s the client’s fault not mine! They should at least share the blame.

  14. Watts Up With That? It’s ironical because the spill might be part of a larger plan to get us to pay more for watts aka energy.

  15. Good news indeed.
    I know that BP are mainly interested in exploring the carbon trading angles, burnishing their greeie image and giving handouts to enviro-activist groups.
    But now they have quenched this enormous gusher, might they be able to use similar technology to quench the even greater (and far more damaging) flow of pseudo scientific scaremongeringing cAGW pollution from the politicians and academia???
    Just wondering…..

  16. Reading the comments on the linked article, and a few here, I am reminded why I once said “Give everyone a voice and you’ll discover they have nothing useful to say”.
    Seriously, one guy says this was prophecied in 1954 as a forerunner to the rapture, others are worried that the pressure will crack the seabed open, some question the intellectual abilities of those handling this situation, and the obligatory “Blame Bush” post caps it off.
    I am fascinated watching the politics at play in this medium sized spill. It’s bad, it was stupid, the events leading up to it were sadly predictable, and the people responsible are too busy pointing fingers at others to even consider the reality.
    That poor pelican. So, how many dead birds is the average windmill responsible for?
    Those poor beaches. So, how many natural seeps are there fouling up beaches?
    Sorry, but my pity gland doesn’t work anymore. This was bad, but it’s no catastrophe, no matter how much some people want it to be (the loss of life was catastrophic to those killed and their families, and for that I feel bad). And when it’s all over, the guys who actually DO the work, whose job it is to be on call 24/7 to deal with these kinds of things will remain unsung, while some ignorant posturing politico will somehow take the credit.
    In some ways this blowout was beneficial (with all due respect to those killed and injured on the platform)… several people who seemed relatively sane managed to “out” themselves as the nutjobs they are, and sales of Depends were up 15%.
    On topic: I’m thrilled this particular test was successful… it’s sad to see so much product wasted in this manner. It won’t be long now before final close-up.

  17. We don’t shut down the airline industry because of a fatal air crash.
    We don’t shut down a highway because of a fatal car crash.
    We don’t shut down the food industry because of a fatal outbreak of food poisoning.
    We fix the problem and move on.
    Off shore oil industry has drilled 50,000 wells since 1969, the year of the Santa Barbara spill. There have been 13 out of control wells until this latest. 6 of the 13 released less than 100 barrels of oil.
    It is estimated the gulf handles a million barrels of oil a year from natural seepage.
    See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000127082228.htm
    We know now that Santa Barbara leaks a lot of petroleum, naturally.
    See http://www.isa.org/InTechTemplate.cfm?template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=76955
    Trillions of bacteria are now digesting the oil from the BP oil well. Most of the oil is probably already consumed.
    Prediction?
    Six months from now we will be hard pressed to find any evidence of this spill.
    I’m still waiting for the results of Dr. Joye’s analysis of the oil spill to see what is really going on.
    See http://gulfblog.uga.edu/
    The spill has been a blessing for the sea life in the gulf. Not only more food stock in the food web, but the most dangerous threat to fish, turtles, etc.; fishermen, have been taken off the seas for over three months.
    Since a lot of economy in those parts is cash based, and therefore unreported, many of the fishermen will be unable to document any losses to BP. That’s OK; they already have gotten reimbursed through non-payment of taxes and other fees over the years.
    I could be completely wrong of course. But I will guarantee one thing: we will not see any follow up stories from the media six months from now. There won’t be anything to report. The ‘greatest environmental disaster in American history’ will be forgotten as we move on to the Mel Gibson’s temper tantrum or Al Gore’s sex scandal or some lovely young thing showing off her physical assets (sorry, that’s boring. we’ve seen it all) or a famous sports figure’s ‘untimely’ death (How do you like George Steinbrenner’s tax dodge?) or whatever.
    Not a word. Just like we’re not hearing a word about the cancellation of the end of the world because of AGW.

  18. “Ominous reports are leaking past the BP Gulf salvage operation news blackout that the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico may be about to reach biblical proportions.”
    What, you mean the 1307-page report will be published as a pocket-sized leather-bound book on India paper? In two columns.

  19. Jack Simmons says:
    July 16, 2010 at 4:31 am
    I could be completely wrong of course.

    Indubitably.

    But I will guarantee one thing: we will not see any follow up stories from the media six months from now.

    A guarantee is usually backed up by something. What are you offering?

  20. This is a terrible thing to happen and given all of the money being poured into oil drilling we need to find a way to prevent this from happening again.
    Still, I think the damage being done to the environment is being oversold. Oil is regulary dumped into the environment naturally and cleaned up naturally.
    See http://magazine.jhu.edu/2010/06/the-big-question-will-the-gulf-of-mexico-recover-from-this-spring%e2%80%99s-massive-oil-spill/
    “once the source has been stopped, most of the acute damage will no longer be present within six months to a year. Oil has been on the earth since geological time, and microorganisms exist that are able to rapidly biodegrade a good fraction of the oil, particularly when it has been diluted…”

  21. My wife and I both predicted that once things were fixed (and I realize this is only temporary) that we wouldn’t see any news reports on it. So once we stopped seeing MSM reporting on the oil spill, we looked online, and yep…spill pretty much stopped.
    They reported on it everyday when things were bad. Now that it’s fixed…not a peep.
    -Scott

  22. I’m surprised that they did not hurry to break though with the relief wells first. These would have considerably reduced the pressure in the original pipe.

  23. >>why did they not do this in the first place?
    Indeed why?
    And why not just drop a socking great cover over the whole damn thing. I know they ‘tried’ this initially, but they did not say why it failed. I would guess that it was too light (I saw no ballast on it) and as soon as it became full of oil it floated upwards. Bust surely a VERY heavy bell over the top would have held its position.
    .

  24. To the non-oil industry person, the fact that BP has stopped the oil leak may not seem that impressive. But it IS! They contracted all this oil filed equipment in a extremely short time frame – it usually takes years to contract a deepwater drilling rig and they got 2 in less than 2 weeks. The well is producing over 60,000 barrels of oil and 20-30 million cubic feet of gas per day at between 8000-9000 psi pressure (atmospheric pressure is about 14 psi). They are operating at 4823 feet water depth in complete darkness. They are operating several ROV’s in order to do the work on the sea floor.
    They are inventing technology as they go. The sealing stack is quite an impressive feat of engineering, invented and built in less than 80 days. And they have successfully shut-in the well and the sealing cap, casing, cement and the sea floor is holding against the well pressure.
    The spill should have not happened in the first place if BP had had used standard oil industry deepwater drilling safety practises; my employer drilled a deepwater well successfully in the lease block next to BP’s deepwater lease. It is not dangerous to operate in those water depths. Chevron is drilling a well in over 2000 metres (6500 ft) of water offshore Newfoundland and they will do it safely.
    However, this incident will make deepwater drilling much safer form a regulatory and enforcement standpoint and a technology improvement standpoint. However, these improvements will take years to be fully implemented and the drilling moratorium in the Gulf in absolutely unnecessary. It is too short to make step changes in drilling technology and will simply destroy the Gulf Coast region economy and may drag the US economy down, or at least sideway. Yes, the oil industry has THAT large of an economic impact (ask Louisiana Govenor Bobby Jindal).
    Now that BP has stopped the oil flow, even temporarily, environmental groups and US legislators like Henry Waxman can again feel free to continue to pummel the Alberta oil sands. They call it the “dirtiest oil available.” I wonder if mr Waxman has ever been to Fort McMurray. It is the armpit of Canada. So, Mr. Waxman, what’s up with that?
    http://blogs.forbes.com/investor/2010/07/14/liberal-california-politician-holding-oil-sands-hostage/

  25. Stan Willi,
    Good post. There has actually been very little damage, and zero permanent damage resulting from this spill.
    Everyone can see that Obama purposely dithered throughout this entire mini-crisis, and even put major obstacles in the way of the cleanup by barring oil skimmers from operating. Clearly Obama wanted a monumental disaster with maximum damage, in order to advance his agenda of shutting down the U.S. fossil fuel industry.
    BP should announce that based on the lack of damage, it will not hand over $20 billion to the Obama Administration — which was extortion anyway, based on a threat, and thus illegal.
    Obama is every bit as accountable in this drama as anyone else. He waited eleven days before commenting on it, preferring to go golfing instead. He wanted this spill to be an environmental disaster, but he has been disappointed. Now he will just MoveOn to the next exploitable crisis.

  26. Dave Springer says:
    July 16, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Jack Simmons says:
    July 16, 2010 at 4:31 am
    I could be completely wrong of course.
    Indubitably.
    But I will guarantee one thing: we will not see any follow up stories from the media six months from now.
    A guarantee is usually backed up by something. What are you offering?

    I will formally apologize for any inconvenience resulting from my prediction.
    If you are in town (Denver) I could even buy you a beer or two.
    If you’re really a nice guy, it could even be a Coors!

  27. StanWilli says:
    July 16, 2010 at 7:33 am
    Yes, you are correct.
    This was an engineering marvel.
    Almost routine for the oil patch. Some very talented folks in this industry.

  28. Smokey says: (July 16, 2010)
    “Good post. There has actually been very little damage, and zero permanent damage resulting from this spill.”
    I’ll have to take issue with that observation. Again, the “Butterfly” (Lorentz) effect is being totally ignored. The sudden change of evaporation rates on the gulf: IMMENSE. All I’m saying is that weather upset has already begun because of solar cooling, now this? Let’s take a quick scan of the news:
    1) 122 Degrees in Germany…100’s rescued on trains
    2) Record cold days in Los Angeles…coldest day in 84 years
    3) Australia coldest day in 100 years…..
    4) Record HIGH minimum…Medford Oregon…warmest in 77 years…
    I’m saying that solar cooling would have had the results predicted by David Archibald in ’08. I’m adding that those results are going to become less predictable now the earth’s dynamical system has been rung like a giant bell via this latest physical change of a giant biome. Albedo changes, evaporation changes, all will cause incredible disturbances in what was once a rather sweet looking dynamical system.

  29. Obama piloted the submarine James Cameron has lend him and activated the Costnertron near the Macondo well, freezing the biggest Methane bubble shortly before it erupted to wipe all life off the face of the Earth? And the media got a cover story to print?

  30. Good to see they’ve managed to stop the gusher and have the option to extend the test until the relief wells are drilled, or pipe the oil up to vessels to prevent the waste of oil.
    The leak seems to have been well controlled and there should be little long-term damage to the environment, as the clean-up has been in damage limitation mode almost from day one.
    I feel sorry for the people who died in the rig explosion, but was very disappointed by the hysterical over-reaction of Obama to this mishap. I dread to think he would cope if he had to deal with a real crisis and, for the sake of my very good friends in the USA, i hope he never has to face such a challenge – time will tell.

  31. StanWilli says:
    July 16, 2010 at 7:33 am
    “[…]They are inventing technology as they go. […]”
    I’m as impressed as you; the engineers have done a marvellous job. Knowing how engineers solve a crisis, i knew how painful it would be for the bystanding public reading about all the attempts, all the failures and all the know-nothing critique by ome journalists (not all of them!).
    But what impressed me as well was the fact that most journalists (not only the few good ones) actually grasped the concept that oil spills happen naturally and that bacteria help to break oil down. That was a first for the news industry.

  32. Scott says:
    July 16, 2010 at 7:19 am
    “[…]They reported on it everyday when things were bad. Now that it’s fixed…not a peep.”
    How do engineers work? Try to fix the problem. When fix doesn’t work: Try to fix it in a different way. Repeat until fixed for good.
    How do Journalists works? As long as there’s a problem, report on it. If there’s no problem, stop reporting.
    How do Investors work? Watch the journalists. As soon as they stop reporting, buy.

  33. Last article I saw about the pelicans being killed by the nasty oil barons in the gulf mentioned a grand total of 200. Has anybody seen an update of that number?

  34. DirkH says:
    July 16, 2010 at 10:51 am
    Obama piloted the submarine James Cameron has lend him and activated the Costnertron near the Macondo well, freezing the biggest Methane bubble shortly before it erupted to wipe all life off the face of the Earth? And the media got a cover story to print?
    ————
    LOL!!
    Yeah, to those of us who have worked with decanters & oil/water separators all our lives, we had to scratch our collective heads over the Costnertron! As in, “What’s up with THAT?” Old technology with a Hollywood twist.
    Haven’t read that it has done anything good for the Gulf. Oh well.
    Can I get out from under the desk now? You know, those mass-extinction-spawning methane bubbles give me the willies!!

  35. Loodt Pretorius says:
    July 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm
    There is a fish and wildlfie report updated daily here:
    http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doctype/2931/55963
    These are the consolidated numbers of collected fish and wildlife that have been reported to the Unified Area Command from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), incident area commands, rehabilitation centers and other authorized sources operating within the Deepwater Horizon/BP incident impact area.
    They don’t break it down as per bird type and they report other animal mortality as well. The total number of birds collected dead which were visibly oiled to date is 1997. Other dead birds with no visible oil which are collected dead may have died from natural causes and they’re finding more becasue there’s more people looking for them. Total released to date is 509.

  36. Alan the Brit July 16 @1.55 am
    Alan, I might add that the oil exploration industry is made up of “Operators” and “Contractors” with 99% of the responsibility in the hands of the “Contractors” ( a BP Company man on the Rig cannot control hundreds of contracting personal 24 hours a day )
    Halliburton would not get a fee of millions of dollars for supplying and mixing the cement on this well if all it took was a couple of Roustabouts with shovels.
    Camron Ironworks would not receive millions of dollars for supplying, testing and installing the ‘Blowout- Preventor’ if a of the shelf item would do just as well.
    Transocean which you say also has a multi billion dollar question to answer.
    Halliburton, Camron, and Transocean are just 3 of I expect many Companies that will, when the lawyers start their payday have to take a big share of the responsibility
    BP has gone the right or the wrong thing ? I personally think that they did wrong, if they had spreed the blame a little ( the “Contractors” ) who were all American Companies when the ‘oil’ hit the fan.
    Not as Obama and the MSM make it sound. ‘a British Company (BP) was the only Company involved and it is all the fault of them Englishmen !

  37. Ralph says:
    July 16, 2010 at 7:22 am
    ‘I’m surprised that they did not hurry to break though with the relief wells first…’
    http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/incident_response/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/ReliefWellDiagram07102010.pdf
    Drilling to almost 18,000ft in 70 days and having to run 7 casing strings – that’s pretty good going. The update is a week out of date so they are probably trying to entire the rogue wellbore now – it is tricky to find and drill into a 7″ diameter casing so this may take a while.

  38. We’re lucky no hurricane came along and disrupted operations. Let’s hope things stay calm until the relief wells are completed.

  39. Because the US gov’t has interfered with the procedures to deal with the Gulf oil spill and because of their hysterical comments, I am trying to buy all my gas at stations that show a BP logo. And I tell the station management why.
    Yes, I know the stations are independently owned. But it is good for my psyche.

  40. Why did it take media outlets so long to talk about the natural clean up of the oil? For 100 days all that was heard was about how long it would take and how much it would cost, then a few days ago they start reporting on the natural clean up through evaporation and bacteria. Why did we not get the whole story? It was bad enough without the doomsday reporting.

  41. Reporting on this has been really poor. A lot of commentators compared the spill to Exxon Valdez when the circumstances are different in every way. They have also invarious outlets been describing the rig as BP’s, saying that BP operated the rig, interviewing rig workers and captioning them as “BP rig worker”. There is no question oil spills are bad for wildlife, for eco systems and commerce, but BP’s response has generally been pretty good. Is difficult to say you wanted a ‘bigger’ oil response of all time which is what BP has implemented
    I feel for the Gulf, i think the media have over reported it. The tourism indistry will suffer from Texas to Florida where there is little if any oil at all. I’m not sure a claim for recompense would be successful due to oil absence, if no oil was there then really the hoteliers and boat owners should be submitting claims to the media outlets.

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