Oil and gas are being received onboard the Discoverer Enterprise following the successful placement of a containment cap on top of the Deepwater Horizon’s failed BOP, BP said on 4 June. This follows the cutting and removal of the riser pipe from the top of the BOP’s lower marine riser package (LMRP).
Flow rates have yet to stabilize, BP said, so it’s difficult to estimate how much oil and gas will be captured by this containment system.
Preparations also continue for planned enhancements to the containment system. The first addition is to use the hoses and manifold that were deployed for the “top kill” operation to take oil and gas from the Deepwater Horizon BOP through a separate riser to an intervention vessel on the surface, in addition to the LMRP cap system. This system, which is expected to be available for deployment in mid-June, is intended to increase the overall efficiency of the containment operation by possibly increasing the amount of oil and gas flow that can be captured from the well.
BP hopes that the operation will provide a more permanent system by directing oil and gas to a new free-standing riser ending approximately 300 ft below sea level. A flexible hose will then be attached to a containment vessel. This long-term option is designed to permit the system to more effectively disconnect and reconnect the riser to provide the greatest flexibility for operations during a hurricane. Implementation of this enhancement is expected in late June or early July.
Work also continues on two relief wells being drilled. The first was spud on 2 May and has reached a depth of 12,090 ft. The second was spud on 16 May and had reached a depth of 8,576 ft before drilling was temporarily suspended on 26 May; drilling resumed on 30 May. Both wells are still estimated to take around three months to complete.
BP is also continuing to collect and disperse oil that has reached the surface of the sea, to protect the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, and to collect and clean up oil that has reached shore.
Over 1,600 vessels are now involved in the response effort, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels. Operations to skim oil from the surface of the water have recovered some 321,000 bbl of oily liquid.
The total length of containment boom deployed is now over 1.9 million ft, and an additional 1.8 million ft of sorbent boom has been deployed.