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Static Kill, What is it? Will it work?

by admin on July 26th, 2010

Boats were streaming back into the area of the Macondo well on Monday, as everyone rushed to get back into place, and continue the operations on the relief well. One of the most mentioned operations before tropical storm Bonnie rudely forced an evacuation of the Deep Water Horizon site, was a technique called a “static kill”. A static kill is simply beginning to pump the heavy drilling mud down the capped well bore ahead of the relief wells which are expected to be completes in the next few weeks. The procedure would be a temporary effort ahead of the pumping of mud and cement into relief wells that will intersect the well bore much lower in the column. It is similar to the failed top kill, but in this case with the cap in place, BP has the added advantage of not having the pressure of a gushing well blowing out all the mud it it pumping in. No pressure=static. Thus static kill. The main concern of course is that pressure in the well stubbornly refuses to reach the 9000 psi that scientists had hoped for. That could be accounted for by all of the oil that has spilled out of the reservoir and headed for the Gulf beaches but it might also mean a leak somewhere else in the reservoir. That would be very, very bad in that fixing a naturally occurring leak on the sea bed is unchartered and potentially catastrophic territory. If they move forward with static kill, it would provide another level of containment and might help speed up the final stage of the relief well, which will also include pumping of mud into the well bore. Once the pressure of the well pushes that mud into something more solid, and begins to fill the well bore, then cement will be used to build a cap on the tomb over the whole nasty
affair. In theory, anyway.

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