Newest oil spill containment measure seems to be working

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The “top kill” oil spill containment measure that began Wednesday afternoon appears to be working.

Although the procedure was supposed to take two days, within the first 24 hours, reports are surfacing that the “top kill” procedure appears to be working, although there is no definitive word from BP or US officials on its success. 

For comprehensive coverage of the Deepwater Horizon incident, oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and efforts under way to resolve them, visit PennEnergy's Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico special section.

The “top kill” oil spill containment measure involves pumping very heavy drilling fluids into the damaged Macondo well, which began early Wednesday afternoon. The drilling fluids will help to mitigate the flow of oil and natural gas from the well – enough so that a cement slurry can be pumped into the well to permanently seal it.

The “top kill” procedure has never been deployed at this water depth of 5,000 feet subsea, raising concerns that the oil spill containment measure may not be successful.

BP has an army of experts from the oil and gas industry, as well as governmental agencies, working to plug the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Other containment measures have been developed, including a “junk shot,” a LMRP cap, and deploying and installing a second BOP above the existing damaged BOP.

Additionally, the drilling of two relief wells is currently under way to help ease the pressure within the Macondo reservoir and slow the flow of hydrocarbons from the damaged well.

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