Good News: BP successfully transfers oil to drillship via riser insertion tube tool

By Phaedra Friend Troy

BP has successfully installed the riser insertion tube tool into the broken riser, diverting some of the oil spill to a drillship above the water.

With the use of ROVs, BP inserted the 4-inch-diameter pipe into the broken riser of the Macondo well, some 5,000 feet below the water’s surface. The other end of the tool connects to a riser that connects to the drillship above.

Furthermore, the tool is able to inject methanol into the Mississippi Canyon 252 well, which combats the formation of gas hydrates. The formation of gas hydrates, similar to ice crystals, stymied the first oil spill containment dome.

The riser insertion tube tool was first installed May 16, and some oil and gas immediately began to flow from the tool to the Discoverer Enterprise drillship.

The Discoverer Enterprise then separates the oil from the water and natural gas. The produced oil is stored aboard the drillship, and the natural gas is being flared.

Unfortunately, the tool dislodged, but ROVs have successfully reinserted it, and flow has begun again.

BP is slowly increasing the amount of oil-water mixture being transferred by the riser insertion tube tool, in an effort to mitigate the oil spill from one of the two remaining leak points.

‘Top Kill’ Efforts Continue

Another leak point was capped via ROVs, and the oil spill response team continues to work to activate the failed blowout preventer (BOP) at the Macondo well.

These “top kill” efforts include utilizing a “junk shot” where various materials are injected into the cavity of the BOP to seal the flow of oil. Another solution calls for the injection of heavy drilling fluids into the well to slow the flow of oil, followed by cement to seal the well.

Plans call for the next oil spill containment effort to be deployed within the week.

While BP and governmental agencies have been desperately working to stop the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, the technologies have not been tested in waters this deep.

Developments in Drilling Relief Wells

In an effort to reduce the pressure pushing the oil and gas from the Macondo well, two relief wells are planned, and efforts are under way to complete them – although the process will take a few months.

Currently, the Development Driller III has successfully finished running the BOP stack and riser. The rig is now connecting the BOP to the wellhead to begin drilling the first relief well.

Also, the Development Driller II has arrived on location to commence operations to drill the second relief well. The rig is preparing to drill, performing BOP maintenance.



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