The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Top Kill Fails

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted May 30, 2010

The engineers working on the Macondo well in the Gulf have abandoned the top kill procedure. Late yesterday afternoon, BP's Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles announced that the top kill and the junk shot did not plug the leaking well, so they are moving to the next option--the low marine riser package, or LMRP.

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The LMRP involves using ROVs to make a clean cut through the riser at the top of the blowout preventer (BOP) with a high-tech device similar to a band-saw, and then lowering a new riser fitted with a sealing grommet to the existing riser. On the surface, the Discoverer Enterprise drillship will collect the escaping oil and natural gas. Suttles told reporters yesterday that the procedure could take four days and that the equipment is on scene and is ready for deployment.

BP also is stepping up efforts to clean up the oil that has washed ashore by hiring additional workers. Suttles said yesterday that the workers are likely to be housed in tent cities or in floating hotels close to the affected areas.

About the efforts to plug the well, Suttles said, "People want to know which technique is going to work, and I don't know. It hasn't been done in these depths, and that's why we've had multiple options working in parallel."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.