The new cap on the well is secure and does not appear to be leaking, however, a new and smaller “BOP” has been attached to the new cap … the oil is flowing through the old “LMRP” or Lower Marine Riser Package … through the new cap … into the new BOP and out the top end of the new BOP into the gulf …. the Feds & BP are closing off vents in the new BOP and they will eventually attach a new riser or pipe to the top end of the “new “BOP” to take the oil to the surface …. at the moment … the oil continues to flow into the Gulf …. however, the new repair appears on track to stop the spill ……….
NPR’s 6 camera live feed ….
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, July 10, 2010 (AFP) – Underwater robots were preparing to replace a cap over the leaking Gulf of Mexico well that could see the devastating oil flow finally contained as early as Monday.
The more snuggly-fitting containment cap, which comes on the heels of repeated failures and setbacks for BP, would then siphon crude and gas up to a series of tankers on the surface, but the system is only a temporary solution, before relief wells are completed that could stop the flow completely.
Once the old cap is removed, oil will flow nearly unabated into the Gulf waters for some 48 hours, and the new system’s success is anything but guaranteed, however.
“This new sealing cap has not been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and there can be no assurance that the sealing cap will be successfully installed or installed within the anticipated timeframe,” BP warned in a statement.
The existing cap, which sucks up to 25,000 barrels (one million gallons) of oil a day, was installed over a month ago but it allowed some of the hydrocarbons (oil) to escape because it was placed over a jagged cut of the well pipe.
BP is also working to connect the Helix Producer containment ship to another portion of the blown-out well. The government’s point man on the spill, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, said the ship should be up and running by Sunday.
McAuley’s World Comments:Will the Gulf Spill Be Capped By Monday 07/12/2010? Why wasn’t the well capped like this In Week #1? Why wasn’t his repair completed 70 days ago? The repair is being completed with 50 year old techniques and 50 year old technology. Can you image the Gulf today, had the well been capped 70 days ago and had the Obama Administration let the local Governors address the spill? Cap the well in the first 10 days and start skimming immediately? Limiting the oil flow to 10 days and starting an immediate effort to “berm, boom & skim”. Would the oyster beds be open today? Would the fisherman be back to work today? Would the restaurant owners be visiting the fish markets every morning? Would the tourists in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi even have noticed the spill? Would we even be considering a 6 month moratorium? Cap and what? What price is the Gulf paying for this mismanagement, this incompetence? This repair was suggested weeks ago …
NEW ORLEANS – Robotic submarines removed the cap from the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, beginning a period of at least two days when oil will flow freely into the sea.
It’s the first step in placing a tighter dome that is supposed to funnel more oil to collection ships on the surface a mile above. If all goes according to plan, the tandem of the tighter cap and the surface ships could keep all the oil from polluting the fragile Gulf as soon as Monday.
BP spokesman Mark Proegler said the old cap was removed at 12:37 p.m. CDT on Saturday.
Engineers now begin removing a bolted flange below the dome. The flange has to be taken off so another piece of equipment called a flange spool can go over the drill pipe, where the sealing cap will be connected.
BP was next attempting to remove the bolted top flange that only partially completed the seal with the cap that was moved Saturday. If not, a specially designed tool will be used to pry apart the top and bottom flanges. Once it’s removed, a 12-foot-long piece of equipment called a flange transition spool will be lowered and bolted in its place. But before that can happen, BP has to bind together two sections of drill pipe that are in the gushing well head, which the transition spool will cover. After the flange transition spool is bolted in place, the new cap — called a capping stack or “Top Hat 10” — can be lowered. The equipment, weighing some 150,000 pounds, is designed to fully seal the leak and provide connections for new vessels on the surface to collect oil. The cap has valves that can restrict the flow of oil and shut it in, if it can withstand the enormous pressure.
On Friday, National Incident Commander Thad Allen had said the cap could be in place by Monday. That’s still possible, given the timeline BP submitted to the federal government, but officials say it could take up to a week of tests before it’s clear whether the new cap is working.
The cap now in use was installed June 4, but because it had to be fitted over a jagged cut in the well pipe, it allows some crude to escape. The new cap — dubbed “Top Hat Number 10” — follows 80 days of failures to contain or plug the leak.
The company is also working to hook up another containment ship called the Helix Producer to a different part of the leaking well. The ship, which will be capable of sucking up more than 1 million gallons a day when it is fully operating, should be working by Sunday, Allen said.
The plan had originally been to change the cap and hook up the Helix Producer separately, but the favorable weather convinced officials the time was right for both operations. They have a window of seven to 10 days.
UPDATE 2: 07/10/2010
The process begun Saturday has two major phases: removing equipment currently on top of the leak and installing new gear designed to fully contain the flow of oil.
BP began trying Saturday afternoon to remove the bolted top flange that only partially completed the seal with the old cap. Video images showed robotic arms working to unscrew its bolts. Wells said that could last into Monday depending on whether the flange can be pulled off from above, as BP hopes. If not, a specially designed tool will be used to pry apart the top and bottom flanges.
Once the top flange is removed, BP has to bind together two sections of drill pipe that are in the gushing well head. Then a 12-foot-long piece of equipment called a flange transition spool will be lowered and bolted over it.
View the video here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100711/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spilliew
Live feed: http://www.ustream.tv/pbsnewshour
Update 3: 07/11/2010 – Day 83
BP happy with new oil-leak effort, but no promises
NEW ORLEANS – Under promising with hopes of over delivering, BP said Sunday that it is making progress on what could prove its most effective effort yet to contain the Gulf oil leak, but cautioned that the verdict could be several days away.
A new cap being placed atop the gusher is intended to provide a tight seal and might eventually allow the oil giant to capture all crude leaking from the well for the first time since an April 20 oil-rig explosion set off the environmental crisis. But several prior failed attempts to stop the leak have made BP PLC careful to keep expectations grounded.
Robotic submarines finished removing a busted piece of pipe that was bolted around the leak around 3 a.m. Sunday. That paved the way for the installation of a pipe-like connector called a flange spool that will sit on top of the spewing well bore. The new cap would be mounted (bolted) on top of that connector and have flexible pipes leading up to surface ships.
If the new cap is a complete success in stopping the leak, that will be a first.
The new cap, or “Top Hat 10,” weighs some 150,000 pounds. It is designed to fully seal the leak and provide connections for new vessels on the surface to collect oil. The cap has valves that can restrict the flow of oil and shut it in, if it can withstand the enormous pressure.
Update 4: 07/12/2010 – Day 84
BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said in a Monday morning briefing the plan to replace a leaky old cap on the well remained on track to be done by the end of this week.
The new cap is designed to funnel oil to vessels on the surface [a production valve] as part of a containment system that could prevent crude from spilling for the first time since April 20.
Update 5: 07/12/2010 – Day 84
NEW ORLEANS – Live underwater video showed a new cap was placed Monday onto the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, offering hope of containing the gusher for the first time since BP’s deepwater rig exploded in April.
BP officials did not immediately comment on the video images streamed online by the company.
The company has said the next step will be running tests to make sure there are no other leaks from the well. Tests and monitoring could last from six hours to two days, and oil will still leak into the Gulf during that time.
BP hopes partly to close the cap on Tuesday to test the well’s integrity.
“The measurements that will be taken during this test will provide valuable information about the condition of the well below the sea level and help determine whether or not it is possible to shut the well for a period of time,” Adm Allen said in a statement.
During testing, the system collecting the leaking oil will be shut down for six to 48 hours while pressure readings are taken to make sure there are no other leaks from the well.