Surface ship carries 50,000 barrels of mud Heavy mud Twice density of water 1 Pipe from surface ship

connects to BOP lines 2 Ship uses 30,000 horsepower pumps to inject heavy mud into well

Oil leak

What’s next for leaking well
BP will attempt to plug the Gulf oil well by injecting heavy mud into it to reverse the oil flow so it can be capped. How a “top kill” works:

Bent riser Site of second leak

Deep underwater
6 5/8 in. (17 cm) drill pipe 3 Mud pumped at a rate of 50 barrels a minute Manifold BOP Biggest worry Mud goes up and out riser; makes leak bigger

3 in. (8 cm) hoses


4 Enough mud must go down well to force oil back into reservoir Blowout preventer (BOP) on top of well

Then well can be 5 capped, or killed

If top kill fails

Manifold controls mud flow
© 2010 MCT

Other methods BP could try Lower marine riser plug (LMRP) cap Riser cut from top of BOP; cap inserted; sends oil to surface ship Junk shot Debris injected into BOP to clog it, slow oil flow Second BOP Placed on top of first one
Graphic: Judy Treible, Melina Yingling, Lee Hulteng

Oil flow

Sea floor 5,000 ft. (1,500 m) down

Source: BP, Technology Review

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