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September 9, 2010 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
The ultimate sealing of BP's gulf oil well may not get underway until late this month or early October because experts want more time to analyze the well, fish out a broken pipe and possibly apply another cement seal on the top for "more insurance" against unlikely troubles, a top federal official said. National spill-response chief Thad Allen, in a conference call with reporters Wednesday, reiterated his promise that there was "no threat" of oil leaks from the well now that a stronger blowout preventer had been placed on top of it. The new equipment gives experts the luxury of taking a few extra steps to ensure that they will not encounter problems with the final "bottom kill.
September 5, 2010 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
With a new blowout preventer in place and a 5,000-foot column of cement filling its core, the BP well is no longer in danger of leaking oil, the federal spill response chief said Saturday — although he said it must still be plugged from the bottom for the job to be complete. "I'm very pleased to announce that with the new blowout preventer on this well, and the cement that was previously put in … this well does not constitute a threat to the Gulf of Mexico at this point," said Thad Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who has served as the government's point person on the response.
August 21, 2010 | By Rong-Gong Lin II and Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
Federal investigators on Monday are expected to confront executives and managers of BP and rig owner Transocean Ltd. about catastrophic failures in oil well design and disabled safety systems that may have played a role in the deaths of 11 crewmen on the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon. The joint U.S. Coast Guard- Interior Department investigation into the April 20 blowout has amassed a trove of testimony during three previous hearings in Louisiana and this week moves to Houston, the hub of the nation's oil and gas industry, where BP and other firms linked to the disaster have offices.
August 21, 2010 | By Steve Harvey, Special to The Times
Driving around Southern California, you never know where you'll find oil. Drilling platforms, for example, can be seen on the Coyote Hills golf course in Fullerton, in the parking lot of Huntington Beach's City Hall and outside Curley's Cafe in Signal Hill. There's even a derrick tucked inside the Beverly Center, near the parking area for Bloomingdale's. But one of the area's most unusual drilling sites is just a memory now. It was a well that stood in the middle of La Cienega Boulevard from 1930 to 1946, forcing drivers to zigzag around it. "Pictures and stories about it have been sent all over the globe," The Times noted in 1945.
August 12, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
BP ran a pressure test Thursday to figure out whether the final step in its tortured effort to permanently seal its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico is necessary. Federal officials have repeatedly said they will not consider the crippled well dead until BP has drilled into the bottom and plugged it. But engineers have raised the possibility that they may have accomplished that already with last week's "static kill" operation, in which cement was pumped through the well's top into its inner casing.
July 24, 2010 | By Richard Fausset and Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
A crucial two-day test of BP's troubled gulf oil well was extended Saturday by 24 hours to give experts time to further study pressure readings that could determine whether it is safe to keep a tight seal on top of the well — and keep all of the oil bottled inside. Former U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is heading the federal government's response to the spill, said in a written statement that 48 hours of testing had provided "valuable information which will inform the procedure to kill the well," but said that federal experts wanted more time to continue monitoring the results.
July 22, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Federal officials said Thursday that they would leave the damaged BP well sealed even if the site is evacuated in advance of a storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. "The decision has been made to leave the cap on even if the well is unattended," national incident commander Thad Allen said during an afternoon briefing. The cap, installed last week, has stopped the gusher of oil that spewed into the gulf for three months. But the possibility existed that BP would be required to open it in the event of a storm and the evacuation of underwater robots and other equipment that are keeping a close watch for any new leaks.
July 14, 2010 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
BP engineers began a crucial test of their leaking Gulf of Mexico oil well Wednesday evening in an effort to determine whether the pipes were structurally sound enough to allow them to seal off the gushing crude. The test will measure the pressure inside the well. High-pressure readings for at least 48 hours may suggest that the well casings are relatively undamaged, which could mean it is safe to leave the well capped from above. And that, of course, would mean the incessant gush of oil, which has already despoiled ecosystems, livelihoods and lives, may finally stop, perhaps by the end of the week.
June 3, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall and Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times
BP engineers lowered a cap over the top of the company's blown-out well Thursday night, an important step in efforts to contain the thousands of barrels of oil spewing daily into the Gulf of Mexico. "The placement of the containment cap is another positive development in BP's most recent attempt to contain the leak; however, it will be some time before we can confirm that this method will work and to what extent it will mitigate the release of oil into the environment," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the spill, said in a written statement.
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