BP’s Efforts to Stop the Oil Leak from Macondo Well

Today is Aug. 1st, 2010, 100 days after Deepwater Horizon explosion. During the past 100 days, let’s review BP’s efforts to stop the oil leak from Macondo Well. Besides, a simple explanation of each method will be provided here.

1st, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV)

Initially the engineers tried to turn off the valves on the blowout preventer (BOP) to shut in the well. But all the attempts failed.

2nd, Containment Dome

A 125-tonne containment dome was about to place over the well and pipe the oil to the surface, but failed because methane hydrate generated blocked the opening at the top of the dome during the placing process.

3rd, Top Kill

Drilling mud with higher density than normal was pumped into the BOP to restrict the oil flow before sealing it permanently with cement, but failed due to the high bottom hole pressure.

4th, Riser

A riser with a stopper-like washer around was insert into the wide burst pipe. Only part of oil and gas was diverted into the insertion tube.

5th, Sealing Cap

Before the sealing cap was installed, a diamond saw was controlled by ROV to cut the damaged pipe. During the process, the saw failed once, and oil and gas flow out without restriction. Eventually, the sealing cap was successfully installed on the BOP. Later, a more fitting sealing cap was replaced the previous one. After around 48 hours pressure test, no obvious leak was found. Temporally,  this method worked.

6th, Relief Well

With other efforts on going, two relief wells began drilling on May 2nd. The extremely high subterranean reservoir made all the other efforts very difficult. Since the sealing cap closed the well successfully, relief wells were still needed to permanently shut in the well.

7th, Static Kill

After sealing cap was installed successfully, the static kill was on schedule. There is no big difference between top kill and static kill. The sealing cap and the declined bottom hole pressure should make the static kill more successful. The drilling mud and cement will be injected into the well as kill.

8th, Bottom Kill

Bottom kill should be applied once the relief well was ready. The concrete will be poured into the lower part of the well via the relief well. In addition, bottom kill will verify if the static kill is successful. If not, bottom kill would be regarded as plan B.

From BP’s efforts to stop the oil leak from the well, I have learned a couple of things as following:

1. BP’s advanced technology to stop the oil leak;

2. Billions of dollars lost gave everybody a lesson that how important the risk management is.

3. BP’s crisis management should be improved.


1. Efforts to stem the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

2. Gulf oil spill: ‘Static kill’ vs. ‘bottom kill’–what’s the difference?

3. BP’s ‘static kill’ of Gulf oil well should begin Aug. 2.

4. Coast Guard defends dispersant use in Gulf oil spill.

5. Gulf oil spill make BP’s future disquieting (Chinese).


2 Responses to BP’s Efforts to Stop the Oil Leak from Macondo Well

  1. I bet you wish george bush was still president now

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