2010 Archives

BP says effort to plug well 'proceeding as planned,' but success still uncertain


The following is from the May 27, 2010, edition of The Washington Post. Bruce Bullock, director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute, provided expertise for this story.

May 27, 2010

By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer

The "top kill" is underway, success uncertain. BP engineers are pumping mud at a furious rate into the damaged blowout preventer that sits on the uncapped well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

The hazardous-but-high-reward maneuver comes five weeks into the oil spill crisis amid an intensifying atmosphere of political recrimination that has spread from the Gulf Coast to the White House and Congress.

The early bulletins on the top kill were encouraging. "The operation is proceeding as we planned it," BP chief executive Tony Hayward said Wednesday evening, adding that it would be 24 hours before BP knows if the well is dead. . .

Much could go wrong. The pressure of the injected mud could damage the blowout preventer and exacerbate the leaks. The mud will go wherever it can, and not necessarily where the engineers would prefer.

"There's a hole, but it's kind of like pushing toothpaste through an obstacle course," said Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University.

Read the full story.

Also see: SMU Oil Spill Experts

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