High seas delay BOP replacement at Macondo in the US Gulf of Mexico

By Phaedra Friend Troy

BP revealed Monday that high seas at its Mississippi Canyon Block 252 have delayed the replacement of the Macondo blowout preventer with the Development Driller II BOP. 

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.

High seas have put operations to remove the current capping stack and replacement of the Deepwater Horizon BOP with the new BOP on hold.

The Development Driller III drilling rig is ready for preparation of the latching of its BOP on the Macondo well once the seas calm. The rig is on stand-by, but is “maintaining full readiness” to move forward with the procedure once directed to do so.

Current weather conditions have put the BOP replacement operations on hold for an estimated two to three days.

Once the weather improves, the Discoverer Enterprise will remove the current capping stack. Then the Q4000 will remove the BOP, and the Development Driller II will move in with the new BOP.

With the new BOP installed, the Macondo well will be better able to withstand the pressure of the drilling mud and further operations, said Admiral Thad Allen at Monday’s operational briefing.

The Macondo well has been completely shut-in since July 15. The well had been spewing oil and natural gas into the Gulf of Mexico since mid-April, when a blowout aboard the Deepwater Horizon caused the sinking of the drilling rig.

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