[QODLink]
Americas
Work to resume at BP spill site
Crews move back to Gulf of Mexico oil site as storm threat subsides.
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2010 21:18 GMT
Admiral Thad Allen says 'static kill' operation could begin in three to give days [AFP]

BP has begun moving ships and workers back to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as a tropical storm in the area subsides.

Tropical storm Bonnie had prompted many ships to evacuate the spill site and delayed work on a relief well intended to permanently seal the ruptured oil well.

But the storm had weakened to a tropical depression by the time it hit the area on Saturday, and officials raced to restart work to permanently plug the leak.

Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is heading the US government's response to the spill, said the first chance to seal the well for good, using a technique known as "static kill", could come in the next three to five days.

"The static kill operation could go very quickly," Allen said on Saturday.

Plugging the well

The operation is intended to plug the well by pumping heavy drilling mud through the blowout preventer valve system that sits on top of the well and then injecting cement inside to seal it.

BP capped the leaking well last week, choking off the flow of oil for the first time since an April 20 explosion killed 11 workers and sent crude gushing into the Gulf.

in depth

But the rig drilling the relief well and other vessels at the site, located off the Louisiana coast, were moved out of the path of the storm on Friday.

They are now returning to the site, but it will take 24 to 48 hours to get all the equipment back in place, Allen said.

The relief well is intended to intersect and finally seal the damaged well, which extends 4km below the seabed.

Once the drilling ship returns to the spill site, it has to reconnect to the relief well using 12 metre strings of riser pipe that were pulled up and stored on the rig, Allen said.

BP has said it expects to permanently plug the ruptured well in mid-August, ending the worst oil spill in US history.

But the British energy giant's response to the spill has been marked by a series of public relations gaffes by management and calls have grown for Tony Hayward, the chief executive, to step down.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.