The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) announced this afternoon that the drilling operation to permanently seal the well that blew out at South Timbalier 220 and forced the evacuation of the Hercules 265 jack-up rig will commence on Thursday.
“Work is moving forward on all approaches,” notes BSEE in their latest release. “Gas detectors and high-capacity water jet fire monitors have been installed on board the Hercules 265 rig; this is for the safety of the rig and the well intervention operations which will be conducted from a near-by barge, Superior Derrick Services’ ‘Performance.'”
The Rowan EXL-3 jack-up rig, contracted by Walter, will drill the relief well, an evolution that is expected to take approximately 35 days. Once the well is intercepted, drilling mud followed by cement will be pumped into the well to secure it.
BSEE’s investigation into the cause of the loss of well control continues in coordination with the Coast Guard.
gCaptain sources indicate that the blowout preventer on the rig likely failed due to a lack of weight on the drilling string which made the shear rams less able to cut through the drill pipe when activated.
Putting it in a sailing context, if you have a line under significant tension, it’s a lot easier to cut as compared to a line that is slack.