Posts Tagged ‘well integrity test’

Pressure Test Failing, Stopping Short of Target

Oil Pressure Stopping Short of Target … Does that Mean the Well Integrity Test Is Failing?

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

COCODRIE, LA - JULY 15: Workers (L) use absorbent boom to clean oil from a marsh on July 15, 2010 near Cocodrie, Louisiana. BP has resumed work on capping its leaking Gulf of Mexico oil well. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The well integrity test is arguably failing, as the pressures are not reaching the 8,000 psi minimum target.

CBS News notes:

The federal pointman for the BP oil spill says results are short of ideal in the new cap but the oil will stay shut in for another 6 hours at least.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said on a Friday afternoon conference that pressure readings from the cap have not reached the level that would show there are no other leaks in the well.

He said the test will go ahead for another 6-hour period before being reassessed to see if BP needs to reopen the cap and let oil spill out again.

MSNBC writes:

Allen said two possible reasons were being debated by scientists: The reservoir that is the source of the oil could be running lower than expected three months into the spill. Or there could be an undiscovered leak somewhere down in the well.

The New York Times reports:

Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is overseeing the response to the gulf oil spill, said that while there were indications from the test that the well was in good shape, it was not yet possible to rule out damage that could complicate efforts to halt the leak permanently. 

“We want to be careful not to do any harm or create a situation that could not be reversed,” he said in a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon. 

***

Admiral Allen said the test would continue in six-hour increments and that any new data would be reviewed by scientists and engineers from the government, BP and other companies. He said there would be “enhanced monitoring” of the seabed, including acoustic tests that could detect tiny bubbles of methane gas coming from the bed, which would be evidence of damage to the well.

*** 

Admiral Allen said that such a pressure buildup suggested that the well was not damaged. But he said that the pressure level reached — about 6,700 pounds per square inch, or more than 450 times atmospheric pressure — was below that expected for an intact well.

One explanation for the ambiguity, he said, is


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Is the Well Integrity Test Failing?

Is the Well Integrity Test Failing?

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

BP suspended the "top kill" operation for 16 hours - because, according to numerous experts, it was creating more damage to the well bore - without even telling the media, local officials or the public that it had delayed the effort until long afterwards.

BP also admitted - many days after it stopped the top kill attempt – (1) that BP had to stop because mud was leaking out below the seafloor, and (2) that capping the well from the top could blow out the whole well.

Similarly, it took more than 5 hours for BP to publicly announce the delay of the "well integrity test" after the decision to delay was made.

So BP doesn’t have a great track record of promptly informing us of what is happening.

But now that the well integrity test (background here and here) is underway, can we somehow tell if it’s working or not?

The government previously announced that the test would succeed if pressure in the well of 8,000-9,000 psi were observed for a sustained period. As Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen said:

We are looking for somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 PSI inside the capping stack, which would indicate to us that the hydrocarbons are being forced up and the wellbores are being able to withstand that pressure. And that is good news.

If we are down around in the 4,000 to 5,000, 6,000 range that could potentially tell us that the hydrocarbons are being diverted someplace else, and we would have to try and assess the implications of that. And as you might imagine, there are gradations as you go up from 4,000 or 5,000 PSI up to 8,000 or 9,000. …

We will at some point try to get to 8,000 or 9,000 and sustain that for some period of time, and these will be done basically, as I said — if we have a very low pressure reading, we


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Well Integrity Test Has Now Started, But Oil Industry Experts Ask “What the Hell Are They Doing?”

Well Integrity Test Has Now Started, But Oil Industry Experts Ask "What the Hell Are They Doing?"

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

Admiral Thad Allen just announced that the well integrity test will commence tonight. For background on what this means, see this and this.

As I noted yesterday, BP suspended the "top kill" operation for 16 hours – because, according to numerous experts, it was creating more damage to the well bore – without even telling the media, local officials or the public that it had even delayed the effort until long afterwards.

Similarly, it took more than 5 hours for BP to publicly announce the delay of the well integrity test after the decision to delay was made.

Oil industry expert Rob Cavner – who has been right about virtually everything so far, previously explaining that there is damage in the oil well beneath the seafloor, and that BP has to let the oil spill keep on gushing to avoid further damage to the well bore until the well can be killed with relief wells (subsequently confirmed by BP) – now says that he is worried that the well integrity test could further damage the well bore and could blow out the entire well:
 

And as Cavner points out today, the government and BP are fooling around instead of killing off this monster once and for all with the relief wells:

 
 

What? Well integrity test? I’ve looked back through all of my notes, blog entries, and reviewed BP’s and the Unified Command’s communications. I’ve even done multiple internet searches, and found the first mention of a "well integrity test" related to BP on this past Sunday, July 11. Certainly I could have missed something, but I don’t recall even a single mention of what I consider to be probably the most significant (and risky) operation BP has conducted since the much hailed, and utterly failed, top kill procedure that kept the masses enthralled during the Memorial Day weekend.

***

This morning, we learned that, even thought the stack has now been set for 3 days, they actually haven’t hooked up the two new valves. He also announced that yesterday, they pulled all of the ships off site to run


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Courtesy of Max MoritzUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

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