Efforts to permanently plug the gusher hit a snag when crews found debris in the bottom of the relief well that need to be fished out before crews can pump mud into BP’s busted well in a procedure known as a static kill.
The sediment settled in the relief well last week when crews popped in a plug to keep it safe ahead of Tropical Storm Bonnie. They found it as they were preparing for the static kill and now they have to remove it. They had hoped to start the static kill as early as Sunday, but removing the debris will take 24 to 36 hours and like push the kill back to Tuesday.
“It’s not a huge problem, but it has to be removed before we can put the pipe casing down,” retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man for the spill, said Friday.
After the static kill comes the bottom kill, where the relief well will be used to pump in mud and cement from the bottom of the busted well and hopefully cut off the oil permanently.