Oil Spill News: Leak delays injectivity test, permanent plug at Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico

By Phaedra Friend Troy

While the injectivity test on the blown-out Macondo well was supposed to take place on Monday, with the static kill following closely behind, BP reported that a small leak has been detected, delaying the schedule. 

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.

Just before commencing the injectivity test on Monday, a small hydraulic leak has been discovered on the capping stack hydraulic control system.

The oil spill team moved immediately to repair the leak in the hydraulic control system, and once that has been done, the injectivity test will begin.

The injectivity test will determine if the well is capable of handling a static kill. The injectivity test will pump base oil into the MC252 well to determine if the well can withstand injections.

BP estimates that the injectivity test could start on August 3; and if the test deems appropriate, it will be followed by the static kill.

The static kill on the Macondo well involves pumping heavy drilling fluids into the wellbore from the top to push the oil and natural gas down.

The heavy drilling fluids will then most likely be replaced with concrete, which will permanently seal the well.

According to a press conference on Monday, BP senior vice-president of exploration and production Kent Wells revealed that the company is unsure whether it will pump cement from the top (static kill) or via the relief well (bottom kill).

Should the static kill be performed, the relief well will serve as a confirmation. Should the team opt to perform the bottom kill, the well will be shut-in via the relief well.

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