Jane Van Ryan
Posted August 4, 2010
BP's static kill has worked. In a statement posted this morning, BP reports that the Macondo well has reached "static condition," meaning that the heavy drilling mud pumped into the top of the well has overcome the pressure of the oil and gas attempting to flow up the wellbore. BP is calling the success of the static kill "a significant milestone."
BP began pumping mud into the well yesterday afternoon and stopped after about eight hours. It's not known whether additional pumping of mud will be required to maintain the static state. Working with Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, engineers will continue monitoring the well and will determine whether to initiate the pumping of cement into the top of the well.
Plans to complete the drilling of a relief well, which can be used to pump heavy muds and cement deep into the Macondo's wellbore, will continue. The relief well remains the best way to kill and permanently close the well.
At last report, the relief well was very close to the Macondo wellbore, but drilling was suspended during the static kill procedure. The company says the relief well is expected to intercept the Macondo's wellbore in mid-August.
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.