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Thad Allen News Conference

Thad Allen News Conference

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Published by cbsradionews
A News Conference Held by Thad Allen on the Gulf Coast
A News Conference Held by Thad Allen on the Gulf Coast

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: cbsradionews on Sep 02, 2010
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09/02/2010

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DATE: September 1, 2010 1:23:55 PM PDT
Transcript – Press Briefing by NationalIncident Commander Admiral Thad Allen
Key contact numbers
Report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information: (866) 448-5816
Submit alternative response technology, servicesor products: (281) 366-5511
Submit a claim for damages: (800) 916-4893
Report oiled wildlife: (866) 557-1401
Deepwater HorizonIncidentJoint InformationCenter
Phone: (713) 323-1670(713) 323-1671Below is a transcript from Wednesday’s teleconference press briefing by Admiral ThadAllen, National Incident Commander for the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.A downloadable audio file of the conference is availablehere.September 1, 201010:30 a.m. CDT
 Thad Allen: Thank you, Jeff.Good morning. As you know, I’m here in Houston today. This morning I met with the BPengineering team and their senior leadership. We had a conference call with Secretary Salazar and his science team going over the current conditions out on site and our current efforts at oilcontrol. I’d like to give you an update on that and then I’d like to talk a little bit about subsea oil,which has been a topic of concern to a lot of folks and I’d be glad to take your questions after that.We are currently in a holding pattern offshore waiting to proceed with the replacement of the blowout preventer, the legacy blowout preventer from the Deepwater Horizon in advance of  putting a new blowout preventer on that will allow us to have pressure integrity in the well, allowus to proceed with the oil kill itself.We’ve hit a weather window where it’s been difficult for us to move forward. I’d like to explainthat briefly and then tell you how we think we’re going to move ahead.
 
We anticipate removing the blowout preventer with the latching mechanism that will be attachedto a drill pipe string that will be suspended from the Q4000. There’s a picture of the Q4000 rightto my left here.The combined weight of the drill string, the latching mechanism and the blowout preventer itself is approximately a million pounds. When they released that blowout preventer from the well itwill be suspended at about 5000 feet below the surface.There are two things we’re concerned about when this occurs, number one is the wave height.You can imagine the Q4000 riding up and down on the waves. When they ride up it exerts moredynamic loading on that pipe system. So we’re concerned about the weight and the ability of the pipe system to handle that. So there is a limit as far as the wave height for being able to recover the BOP.Secondarily, when you have something suspended 5000 feet below a drilling rig like this youhave a pendulum motion. It kind of swings around and that’s related to the period of the swell – of the swells in the waves when they come through. So the combination of the period of thewaves and the height of the waves creates a set of conditions that dictates when you can safelydo this. We are in a window now where we cannot do that because it exceeds the safety factors.We believe, in the next 24 to 36 hours, we will enter a weather window that will allow us to proceed.So with that in mind, we are making preparations right now to take advantage of that weather window which we believe will last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, potentially into Sunday toremove the blowout preventer.The first step that will be taken will be tomorrow around midday. We will bring in theDiscoverer Enterprise. They already have a riser pipe that’s been dropped down to about 4000feet with a latching device and they will remove the capping stack. That is the capping stack we put on on the 15 of July that basically shut the well in. So we will remove that and theDiscoverer Enterprise will then move away.At that point, the Q4000 will come in and latch up and will be ready to (lift) the blowout preventer when the reach the wave height and the period of wave that will allow them to be inthe safety window.We’re moving in advance, knowing that when we get the window we need to be able to moveright then.So the Q4000 will be hooked up, ready to release the blowout preventer and lift it, and we’ll beready to do that when they achieve the weather window, which we think will come sometime inabout 24 to 36 hours from now.Once that happens, the blow out preventer will be lifted, brought to the surface and to give youan idea, if you look at the photograph just to my left here—it’s kind of hard to see because thedarkness of the photograph—but that’s a very large object and there are two tugboats underneath
 
the Q4000 managing that so you can see how large the Q4000 is. It will literally raise the blowout preventer up through the Q4000 and if you look to the picture on the left, there’s a veryhigh derrick there in the set of cranes. One of the interesting things about the Q4000 is that it hasthe height to be able to lift that blowout preventer completely up out of the water and place it ondeck on the Q4000.Ultimately they will take apart the lower marine riser package from the blowout preventer, storethose on the Q4000, get in closer to shore and then transfer those to other vessels or barges to betaken to a staging area. This will all be done under the supervision of the joint investigationsteam and under the conditions laid out by the Department of Justice regarding the evidentiaryrequirements for handling the blowout preventer, which is material to the number of investigations that are going on.Once the blowout preventer is removed, development driller two which was drilling the secondrelief well, will move in with the new blowout preventer and will place it on top of the well. Atthat point, there will be a series of diagnostics conducted to make sure that the well is – the blowout preventer is functioning properly, including testing the valves and ability to retain pressure and so forth.Once the blowout preventer has been tested we will be then in position to proceed with thekilling of the well, if you will. And we are looking that the timeline to move forward, but it iscontingent on completing these steps and these steps I would pass on to you that are contingentthemselves on weather. And the removal of the blowout preventer could be impacted by the factof whether or not the pipe that is suspected of being suspended below the blowout preventer is incontact with any cement that might have adhered to it while we were doing the static kill,whether or not we have to pull to get that free. One of two things could happen, the blowout preventer comes free and it’s not a problem. We lift it up and at some point we will cut the pipe below the blowout preventer and that will be taken to the surface by another vessel.If we cannot free the pipe from the blowout preventer by applying about 80,000 pounds of pull,we will manually open the rams, remove the blowout preventer and then cut the pipe off after we’ve removed the blowout preventer. So we will try to pull the whole thing up together. If wecan’t, we will mechanically open the rams and remove the blowout preventer.We believe then if we do that then we can go ahead and proceed with killing the well sometimeafter Labor Day weekend. But again, this is conditions based on weather and then the conditionof the pipe as it relates to blowout preventer when we attempt to remove it.That’s the current status. I was out at the well site on Monday. I was aboard the Q4000. Iclimbed down below on the catwalks to take a look at the area underneath there where they bringthe blowout preventer up. And it’s hard to see now, but in a six foot sea state you’d be amazedat how much up and down vertical movement there is that is hard to detect unless you’re sittingright on top of it. So this is a good safety call. We’ll have to wait for the right weather windowto proceed.

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