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FEATURE

U.S. Energy Secretary: BP Oil Spill Update





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U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu
talks with President Barack Obama
As you may know, I’ve spent much of the last three months working to help contain the BP oil spill. I recently returned from my seventh trip to Houston, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to update you on our work to seal the damaged well in the Gulf.

My job has been to oversee the federal science team – a group of top scientists from the Department of Energy’s national labs, the federal government, and academia, along with outside industry experts. We have been working seven days a week to tackle this very challenging problem. Our focus has been on collecting as much data as possible and making sure we plot the best path forward based on the facts.

Because of the gravity of the situation, the Administration asserted its authority over BP’s actions. As we evaluated the scenarios for stopping the leak, BP was not allowed to move forward on a course of action without the government’s approval.

The results of the well integrity tests (including additional monitoring of the wellhead and the surrounding area, which we had insisted upon) indicated that the well was likely intact, and we saw no evidence that oil was leaking from the wellbore into the rock formation. This meant we would be able to safely pump fluid into the well to attempt to kill it.

After the science team reached a consensus that the static kill attempt could work with minimal risk, we gave BP the go-ahead to proceed. During the static kill, the damaged well was filled with mud, stabilizing the pressure within the well and relieving a lot of the excess pressure on the damaged blowout preventer and ceiling cap. I am pleased to tell you that it was completed successfully.  Continued...




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