BP PLC plans to move ahead with replacing the blowout preventer that sits atop the well that unleashed the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, despite failing in attempts to remove pieces of drill pipe stuck inside the device, the federal oil-spill response chief said Friday.
Preparations for the blow-out preventer’s removal will begin Friday and last through the weekend, and the new blow-out preventer should be in place Tuesday or Wednesday, retired U.S. Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen told reporters in a conference call.
If the operation is successful, responders could begin the final step to kill the well, which involves pumping mud and cement down the area between the well and the rock formation that surrounds it, on Sept. 7, he said. That operation could take as many as 96 hours, according to Mr. Allen.
The plan coincides with previous projections that the well would be officially dead by the week after U.S. Labor Day, Sept. 6. Mr. Allen said, however, that the timeline is dependent on current conditions, and that changes in weather or developments in the field could push it out. The timelines “are as good as the next observation we find out,” he said.
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