Feds And BP Roll The Dice On Well Shutdown

We have never been as close to getting BP's now capped Mocando well irrevocably sealed. At the same time the associated risks have never been higher.

Five sea floor leaks around the well and a single leak two miles away have been dismissed as inconsequential by Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. The logic Allen used to dismiss the leak two miles away is a pure guess that the leak comes from an old abandoned well. Allen also discounts the five leaks near the well as "drips," displaying an official willingness to continue taking the risk of a significant sea floor rupture. Despite recent differences between the two, Allen and BP now agree they can monitor closely and quickly open the well cap if the leak volume escalates. Hopefully it works out for them, and  for us.

There's a storm now building and likely to impact operations within days. That means a key decision point will be reached when and if they have to pull away all ships: will they leave the well closed or not until they can return?

In summary, based on the considerable, but not conclusive unacknowledged evidence that this well is now leaking down hole they are pressing ahead anyway with a goal to shut it down as soon as possible and end the problem.

From a tactical point of view, this may be the best call, because if the well is leaking down hole into surrounding formation, then those leaks are likely to steadily get worse. Thus the sooner it is shut down the better, because if the leaks get significantly worse it would get even harder to stop.

Mud is the way to stop the well, whether from the top or the bottom, and if these leaky zones get larger they will leak a lot of mud (like they leak oil) and could make a mud solution impossible.

But the Feds and especially BP, likely don't want the public worrying their little heads about this race against time and the tight corner they and we are now in.

Despite all this, there is a very high likelihood of killing this well if done soon, and if a major increase in leak volume is not seen in the week ahead.


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