The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Blowout Preventer Cap Removed

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 23, 2010

Safety concerns have prompted engineers to remove the cap from the leaking well's blowout preventer (BOP) in the Gulf.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen reported today that workers aboard the drillship Discoverer Enterprise noticed gas bubbling up a line used to pump hot water to the cap to prevent the formation of methane hydrates. The cap and the riser were disengaged, according to a published report.

An initial inspection of the cap revealed that a cap vent had been closed, perhaps after it was bumped by an ROV. The cap is being examined to determine whether it has become clogged with hydrates, and it's hoped that the cap can be redeployed. In the meantime, BP reports that oil and gas are continuing to be collected through the manifold on the seabed and are being funneled to the Q4000 for flaring.

On Tuesday, BP's two devices gathering oil and gas from the leaking well set a new record for oil collection. A total of more than 27,000 barrels of oil were captured and sent to the drillship and the Q4000 vessel.

Sadly, we also learned today that two more lives have been lost in the Gulf. At today's noon briefing, Adm. Allen announced that two response workers have died. One person died as a result of a swimming pool accident, and the other was skimming oil. No details were released.

Live streaming video of the Macondo well and the subsea response efforts is available here.

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Update on June 24, 2010: The cap was reinstalled on the blowout preventer (BOP) Wednesday evening, June 23, and began accepting oil and gas a short time later. Also, published reports indicate the death aboard a skimming boat was an apparent suicide.

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.