Updated 11:30 a.m. EST
BP’s President Kent Wells said Monday that crews will likely start the so-called “static kill” attempt Tuesday if tests Monday determine the well can withstand the mud, the AP reports.
Posted 9:15 a.m. EST
BP is poised to begin a new procedure as early as Monday to plug its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico. Known as the “static kill,” engineers will shoot mud and cement to seal the well, taking another step toward ending a months-long oil saga.
“It could be the beginning of the end,” Darryl Bourgoyne, director of Petroleum Engineering Research Lab at Louisiana State University, told the AP.
The static kill starts at the top, firing the mud and possibly cement into the blowout preventer that sits on the wellhead. That effort, which would take a day or two, would be followed in another five to seven days by the start of the more laborious “bottom kill,” in which mud and cement will be injected into Macondo through a relief well that engineers began drilling at the beginning of May.
If all goes perfectly, the one-two mud punch will literally be overkill. The static kill will terminate Macondo, and the bottom kill will be more like a confirmation test, akin to poking the body to make sure it’s dead.
BP senior vice president Kent Wells describes how the process will work in this video released last week:
Amid possible progress in sealing the well, the hard work of cleaning up the oil in the Gulf remains. Gulf coast residents have been expressing concern that an unknown amount of oil remains suspended below the water’s surface and that clean up efforts will wind down with the well capped.
Concerns over the clean up have produced some unexpected players in the effort, including the X-Prize Foundation. Best known for its competitions around space flight, the group is offering a million-dollar prize for innovative oil clean up ideas. According to a statement:
A $1 Million Prize will be awarded to the team that demonstrates the ability to recover oil on the sea surface at the highest oil recovery rate (ORR) and the highest Recovery Efficiency (RE).
We’ll have more on the Rundown later Monday from Tom Bearden, who is reporting in the Gulf and was part of the first media tour of the Discoverer Enterprise, one of the drill ships assisting in the oil response.