begins "static kill" operation on blown-out
HOUSTON | Tue Aug 3, 2010 7:37pm EDT
- BP pumped heavy drilling mud into its blown-out Gulf
of Mexico well on Tuesday in a "static kill"
operation it hopes will help permanently plug the world's
worst accidental marine oil spill.
operation, aimed at subduing the still unstable deepwater
gusher that was provisionally capped in mid-July, is
part of a two-pronged strategy that seeks to finally
seal the Macondo well later in August through a relief
kill" will take between 33 and 61 hours. "The
aim of these procedures is to assist with the strategy
to kill and isolate the well, and will complement the
upcoming relief well operation," British-based
BP said in a statement.
BP's senior vice president of exploration and production,
told reporters in a briefing that drilling of the first
of two relief wells, seen as the definitive, permanent
"kill" solution, could resume by Thursday.
well should intercept the ruptured Macondo well shaft
in mid-August, so that more mud, and cement can be injected
to shut it down for good.
magnitude of the Gulf of Mexico spill, triggered in
April by a deadly rig explosion at the BP-owned Macondo
well, became apparent on Monday as government scientists
released revised figures showing almost 5 million barrels
of oil leaked before the well was temporarily capped
on July 15.
it the world's largest accidental maritime release of
oil, surpassing the 1979 Ixtoc well blowout in Mexico's
Bay of Campeche that gushed almost 3 million barrels.
Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who oversees the U.S. oil
spill response, said earlier that engineers had succeeded
in halting a hydraulic leak found on Monday in the cap
that could have hindered the "static kill"
reporters engineers were moving cautiously, initially
pumping in only a small amount of mud, so as not to
damage the fractured well and cause fresh leaks.
thing won't be truly sealed until those relief wells
are done," Allen added.
has unleashed an environmental and economic catastrophe
on the Gulf Coast, disrupting the livelihoods of fishermen
and tourism operators and triggering a barrage of damages
lawsuits against BP. The company has said it will pay
all legitimate claims and clean up fouled beaches and
OVER INFORMATION DISCLOSURE
The new leak
estimates spelled further bad news for BP, which also
faces an investigation by U.S. securities regulators
into whether its employees profited illegally from the
flow numbers suggest the company had underestimated
costs by at least $1 billion.
BP had estimated
the well had leaked some 4 million barrels of oil and
that it would be fined $1,100 per barrel under the Clean
Water Act. The company faces fines of $4,300 per barrel
if gross negligence is proven, but said it saw no need
to change its provision as a result of the new estimate.
initially fell around 1 percent in early London trading
on Tuesday, but recovered to close up 0.62 percent.
BP stock is up roughly 48 percent from its 2010 closing
low of $26.97 on June 25. But it is still 34 percent
below its April pre-spill high above $60.
has fallen to a point where people are beginning to
get their hands around how large this might be and as
a result the uncertainty has started to leave the stock
and people start buying it back," said Shawn Hackett,
president at Hackett advisors in Boynton Beach, Florida.
But the British
energy giant faced fresh accusations on Tuesday that
it was seeking to restrict information.
Wildlife Federation released a letter from nine scientists
and marine researchers concerned over reports that BP
was requiring confidentiality clauses in research contracts
with scientists, which would prevent them from releasing
findings for three years.
is mounting a PR campaign suggesting that the environmental
damage of the spill is over when we know that they have
dumped millions of gallons of toxic dispersants to sink
the oil out of sight, turning the Gulf into a toxic
chemistry experiment," said Jeremy Symons, senior
vice president of the National Wildlife Federation.
sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and incoming
BP CEO Robert Dudley, demanded full public disclosure
of all scientific data related to the disaster.
took a $32.2 billion charge related to the spill in
its results last week, has said it will sell $25 billion
to $30 billion of assets to pay for the disaster.
it said it would sell its Colombian oil assets to a
consortium of Canada's Talisman Energy and Colombia's
state-run Ecopetrol for $1.9 billion.
BP's 10 percent
partner in the well, Japan's Mitsui, has yet to decide
if it will shoulder any costs, helping the trading house
to report a 79 percent jump in profits to 102.5 billion
yen ($1.18 billion).
services and drilling companies are counting the costs
of a U.S. drilling moratorium and permit delays.
But a top
official at the U.S. Interior Department on Tuesday
said he hoped the ban on deepwater oil drilling could
be lifted "significantly" ahead of the current
November 30 deadline.
Majority Leader Harry Reid is delaying action on energy
legislation that would implement offshore drilling reforms
until some time after Congress returns from its summer
recess in mid September.