July 20th, 2010
09:29 AM ET

Scientists weighing new option for shutting down oil well

CNN Wire Staff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/07/20/gulf.oil.disaster/smlvid.bp.oil.cam.01..jpg caption="The 'static kill' option involves pumping mud into the well" width=300 height=169]

As tests continue Tuesday on BP's ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists are weighing a new option for permanently sealing it.

The "static kill" would involve pumping mud into the well to force oil back into the reservoir below, officials from BP said Monday, noting that the option could succeed where other similar attempts have failed because pressure in the well is lower than expected.

Geologist Arthur Berman told CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday the relative simplicity of a static kill makes it an attractive option for BP.

"I think the reason that they're considering it is because they've yet to intercept the well bore," Berman said. "They're very close, a few feet away with the relief well, as everyone knows. But to actually intersect the seven-inch pipe does involve a bit of technology and accuracy, whereas if they do the static kill through the existing well bore at the top, there's less uncertainty about their ability to actually get the mud into the pipe."

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Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill • T1
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Larry the Cajun

    I would like to know exactly why it took 86 days to get a cap on the well. I'm an old oilfield guy, worked on about 1000 rigs, and I know that when a piece is needed, it doesn't take 86 days to make it. I would think that 30 days would be more than sufficient to get a transition spool, 3 rams with a choke and kill lines and a "standard" subsea connector. That's the first procedure and rule on a blowout: get the dammed thing capped; then figure out how to kill it.

    Please make the distinction between a "drilling rig" and a "production platform" A drilling rig actually drills the well. The production platform only has sets of valves, gages, and tanks to produce the oil. By the way–ALL production wells in the Gulf of Mexico have a "storm choke" in the well. This prevents any sudden decrease in pressure from having the well blowout or spill. The storm choke closes off the well until it is physically reset. It is usually located about 200 feet below the sea floor.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  2. jd

    can you guys do a story about the whistleblower from the epa who's accusing them of covering up the dangerous effects of corexit in the gulf. it appeared on democracynow. it's ok that you didn't break the story. i know a lot of people look to cnn for the news, but you guys never seem to mention a story unless you're breaking it yourself. it's ok to give others credit, especially on issues as important as this. just tell the people what they need to know. get sen. markey on the horn and let him chat about it. this could be a huge revelation. thanks.

    July 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  3. Isabel Siaba

    We need to have assurances that will not happen even something similar in the future.

    The issue of security, protection and mitigation of the effects of pollutants must be evaluated to ensure the prevention of potential accidents or events predicted. That is, act in a predictive active and not passive in the matter of security.

    July 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm |

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