BP Drilling Is on Schedule to Permanently Plug U.S. Gulf Well Next Month

BP Plc’s attempt to pump mud and possibly cement into the top of its Macondo well may begin late Aug. 1 or early Aug. 2, Senior Vice President for Exploration and Production Kent Wells said on a conference call.

The procedure, known as a “static kill,” will more fully seal the well before a relief well reaches it in two weeks to finish the job, Wells said today on the call with reporters.

Work has resumed at the well, site of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, after an interruption from a storm passing through the area during the weekend, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said in a press conference earlier today.

The well has spilled 2.31 million to 4.1 million barrels of oil, based on government estimates. It erupted April 20 with a blast that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig, killing 11 crew. On July 15, BP shut the flow after installing a 40-foot (12- meter) cap atop a damaged valve assembly.

A rig drilling a relief well has been reconnected to the site and is testing a stack of valves at the top of the well designed to stop the flow of oil and gas in an emergency, the company said today on its website. Pressure inside the well is 6,928 pounds per square inch, according to the website.

BP’s decision to replace Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward with Robert Dudley, director of BP’s oil-spill response unit, on Oct. 1 will not have an impact, Allen said during today’s conference call with reporters.

No More Spilling

“The level of effort before and after the naming of Mr. Dudley has been undiminished,” Allen said. “What we have planned to do and tried to do all the way along has been kind of independent of senior leadership assignments in BP.”

BP doesn’t expect any more oil will spill from the well, Dudley said today on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Lamar McKay, chairman and president of BP America, will take over the spill-response effort from Dudley, BP said in a statement today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.net.

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