As you know, the next step in plugging the Deepwater Horizon well is to implement a so-called Lower Marine Riser Package, which as we noted yesterday is similar to the first containment dome strategy attempted in mid-May.
In this case though, the operation is more surgical, as it involves cutting a clean end to the pipe, and affixing a cap directly on it.
As SFGate.com Yobie Benjamin has a great writeup on the process, the difficulties, and the risks. The gist is that this is the most technical procedure yet — surgery a mile underwater with gigantic robots. It’s kind of a longshot, and even BP executives aren’t sounding all that confident. They’re specifically saying there’s “no guarantee” it will work, as opposed to Top Kill, which they (foolishly?) expressed 60-70% optimism that it will work.
Here’s how Benjamin describes the exact process, once BP goes for it:
Step 1 – Position the LRMP cap close to BOP.
Step 2 – Do another top kill to buy a few minutes of no oil and gas spewing. At least try for a few moments of reduced pressure.
While the top kill did not work, the mud did stop or reduce the gusher for a few moments.
Step 3 – Using the few moments when the top kill stops the oil and gas or reduce the pressure of the gusher, position the LMRP very quickly.
Step 4 – Engage the sealing grommet around the sheared off riser pipe.
Step 5 – Pray and hope.
Do no harm any more.
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