(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by BP and received via electronic mail. The release was
confirmed by the sender.)
BP Again Confirms Macondo Wells Secure
ROV survey reveals oil droplets from cofferdam, a container
lowered over drill pipe during response, are probable source of
18 October 2012
HOUSTON - BP today announced it has once again confirmed the
integrity of the Macondo well and its associated relief wells
following an extensive subsea survey this week to identify
potential sources of a surface sheen near Mississippi Canyon
block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico.
The latest survey marks the third time since the Macondo well
was permanently sealed in September 2010 that it has been
visually inspected at the sea floor and confirmed not to be
The nearly three-day-long inspection was also successful in
identifying the cofferdam, a piece of containment equipment used
during the Deepwater Horizon response, as the probable source of
the surface sheen.
The survey was conducted jointly by BP and Transocean with Coast
Guard oversight. It was also performed in the presence of the
Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for the Deepwater Horizon
oil spill, as well as representatives from the Interior
Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
(BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and state
on-scene coordinators from Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
The cofferdam is a 86-ton, steel container that was lowered over
a leaking drill pipe at the Macondo well site in May 2010 in an
attempt to capture the oil and funnel it to the surface. A
mixture of oil and slushy methane hydrates was trapped inside
the cofferdam during the response.
On October 17, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) video inspection
observed small, intermittent drops of oil coming from an opening
at the top and another on one side of the cofferdam. Samples of
the droplets have been collected from the opening at the top,
known as the stovepipe, and will be analyzed to confirm a match
with the sheen. Droplets were also observed coming out of a
small connection port on oneside of the cofferdam.
The Coast Guard has determined the sheen is not feasible to
recover and does not pose a risk to the shoreline.
ROV inspection began October 15 on several potential sources of
the sheen, including the drilling riser that once connected the
drilling rig to the sea floor, the Macondo well head and the
well head of its associated relief wells.
The survey confirmed that no oil is leaking from the Macondo
well, nor from the relief well that ultimately intercepted and
permanently sealed it. A backup relief well that never
intercepted Macondo was also surveyed and confirmed to have
In addition, the entire length of the 4500-foot riser was
visually inspected, with separate passes made for the top and
two sides, and no oil was seen leaking.
The ROV inspection came after BP reported the sheen on September
16 to the National Response Center. Following the discovery, BP
took a number of voluntary actions to monitor the situation,
including surveys by aircraft and vessel. The FOSC then issued a
Notice of Federal Interest to BP and Transocean, which together
developed a plan to survey the well area with ROV’s. That plan
was approved by the Coast Guard and resulted in more than 70
hours of video inspection from October 15 through October 17.
The Macondo well was capped on July 15, 2010 and permanently
sealed with cement on Sept. 19, 2010. The well was later plugged
and abandoned with the approval and oversight of the U.S.
government. Well integrity was confirmed during and after the
On Aug. 25, 2011, BP once again confirmed the integrity of the
Macondo well and the two associated relief wells with an ROV
inspection that came after a separate surface sheen was reported
near the well site.
Name: BP US Press Office
Phone: (281) 366-4463
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