Washington Post Reporter: "You're going to yank this pipe out... it strikes me that you're begging for trouble, potentially... isn't there some chance that in horsing around with this thing that the well could – you could have hydrocarbons flowing again?"
BP's Senior Vice President Kent Wells Technical briefing, August 19, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. EDT:
JAQUETTA WHITE: Jaquetta White from The Times-Picayune. I was hoping you could explain a little bit more why you need to remove the drill pipe...?
KENT WELLS: Yes. Another good question. So, we could have up to, I think it’s around 3,500 feet of drill pipe hanging below the BOP. And, if we were to – and we believe that the drill pipe’s being held by the BOP. So, if we were to try to pick up the BOP right now, we’d have to lift it 3,500 feet straight up to pull all of the drill pipe out, and then we’d have difficulty handling that, et cetera.
So, we think it’s more prudent for us to go in and try to what we call fish it, actually pull the drill pipe out first and recover all of it, and then go and then take off the capping stack and then recover the BOP. So, I think that’s the procedure that we believe is the most prudent way to go about it, at this point in time.
Press Briefing by National Incident Commander Thad Allen, August 19, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. EDT:
THAD ALLEN: And so we're working under the assumption that there is pipe suspended, held in place by the blow out preventer. We don’t know how far down it goes [Though BP later states 3,500 feet] and we don’t know whether or not it is connected to the 5,000 feet of cement that was put in during the top kill. So after the ambient pressure test is done, it would inform us as to whether or not the BOP could be removed without hydrocarbons being emitted.
The next thing will be to see if we can remove that pipe. That doesn't preclude us from removing the blow out preventer and putting another one on. It will just make it a little more complicated and BP will have to provide us a procedure on how they will do that. Was that responsive, Joel?
JOEL ACHENBACH: Yes, sir but let me just follow up. If you take the stacking cap off and the blow out preventer so you just have a well head there, you've got this pipe leading down into it which may be leading into the cement.
You're going to yank this pipe out, I mean just as a lay person, it strikes me that you're begging for trouble, potentially. I mean, isn't there some chance that in horsing around with this thing that the well could – you could have hydrocarbons flowing again?
THAD ALLEN: First of all with all due respect, Joel, a yank is not a very scientific term. We've talked about this quite a bit. Part of the admonition in the order that I just signed this morning is they will do nothing to cause further damage to the well. ...
THAD ALLEN: We're looking for two things, hydrocarbons that might be coming up from the well. We don't think that's likely because there's about 5,000 feet of cement there.