Top Kill Has Failed: Update 4: Junk Shot Fails

(6 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Update 4: it appears they’re doing one junk shot after another, at least they were on Friday, each has failed so far to lodge enough material to restrict the flow very much if at all.

Despite Obama’s (public) orders, they have stopped drilling one of the relief wells.   Which means this could all come down to one relief well attempt months from now.

Update 3: again as should be obvious to anyone watching the feed, the junk shots have failed:

But the technician working on the effort said that despite the injections at various pressure levels, engineers had been able to keep less than 10 percent of the injection fluids inside the stack of pipes above the well. He said that was barely an improvement on Wednesday’s results when the operation began and was suspended in its 11th hour of operations. BP resumed the pumping effort Thursday evening for about 10 more hours.

“I won’t say progress was zero, but I don’t know if we can round up enough mud to make it work,” said the technician. “Everyone is disappointed at this time.”

Frankly, I think they knew this was never going to work from the start, and it’s a bunch of theatre and gamesmanship with Obama that we’re seeing.

Update 2: Thad Allan is now claiming the Junk Shot is working ‘Oil flow is stemmed’–but he said that yesterday, and it was an outright lie.

He said that overnight, workers pumped what is known as “junk shot,” a mix of more substantial materials, like golf balls and shredded tires, into the well, and he said they would follow with more mud later Friday. The junk shot serves as a “bridge,” he said, for the mud injections, to strengthen their ability to counteract the leaking oil.


Update 1: CNN is reporting that the 2nd attempt– with ‘Junk Shot’  has started. However, there is no indication of that on the live feed at all.


The top kill has not succeeded in reducing the pressure enough to inject concrete.  They have ‘temporarily’ stopped–as anyone watching the live stream could have figured out.

New York Times:

Setback Delays ‘Top Kill’ Effort to Seal Leaking Oil Well in Gulf


BP had to temporarily stop its effort to plug the well when engineers saw that too much of the fluid they were injecting into the well was escaping along with the leaking crude oil.

Word is they are going to try the junk shot. Maybe, then another top kill attempt?

I worry they’re gonna blow this thing up.

The leakage rate is significant (I calculated earlier that it was around 17,000 bd, which lies within the newly reported range of 12,000 to 19,000 bd, and may have been higher than BP were actually anticipating. (Though the leak may also have increased a little as the mud was injected at higher pressures). The operation has already used all the mud on one of the supply boats, and has moved to the second (there is a third standing by so they won’t run out). The concern, however is now with the volume of cement that will be required for the seal.

The high volume that is leaking would require that additional amount to the volume needed for the seal itself, and that may be closer to the available capacity of the system that they have in place, or the supplies that they have on site to achieve the seal. If that is the case, one can understand the desire to at least partially plug the leaks in the BOP, and to wait until the mud column fully balances the pressure in the oil reservoir before starting this phase of the operation.

Until this point in the operation the volume of cement required to create an effective plug has not been seen as an issue.

– The Oil Drum


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  1. Sounds like they’re all in.  

  2. Prof. Goose on May 27, 2010 – 4:45pm      

    A conversation between Rock and I that I wanted to make sure got over here from the last thread:

    Goose: Hey ROCK, what’s your thoughts on already having gone through a tanker of mud in 8 hours? That’s a lot of loss right?

    It seems to me this thing may be far from over… 🙁

    ROCKMAN: Goose — I KNOW nothing but I suspect it might not be working. I thought of a way folks could look at the effort in a manner they can more easily visualize. Here goes: there is a fire hydrant open full force. Putting out 7 ppg water at 80 psi at a RATE OF 500 GALLONS PER MINUTE.. Now I want to stop that water from coming up the main by pointing another fire hose at it. Unfortanately I can’t connect the hose directly to the hydrant because the threads are messed up (i.e. bad BOP). So all I can do is hold the end of the hose close to the opening of the hydrant. My hose is putting out 500 gallons of 16.5 ppg mud at a pressure of 80 psi. So can I stop the water flowing from the hydrant? Nope…the pressures are the same. At best the two streams hit each other and the total flows out of the gap.

    This is the problem I’ve had with the top kill from the start. I’ve been on rigs where we’ve pumped a successful kill pill. But the well was shut in. All we had to do was pump in at a pressure greater that the shut in pressure of the well. The pressured mud would push whatever was in the well downwards. But the BP well isn’t shut in…it’s flowing. How much force do you need to apply to a river to make it flow upstream? I know folks were holding out for the top kill to work so I didn’t want to be too negative. But if they couldn’t get a very tight seal on the BOP I couldn’t envision how they could get the flow to stop let alone flow backwards down the csg. But as I’v said before I’m not an engineer…just pretend to be sometimes on TOD.


  4. This will keep leaking until the ‘relief well’ is drilled-maybe August.  If that works.

    Using BP’s new numbers:

    Low Range: 134,400,000 gallons of oil released by then.

    High Range: 537,600,000  gallons of oil released by then.


    They certainly do have some points, whether they are right about all of it or not.  

    • banger on May 28, 2010 at 15:49

  6. May 28, 2010, BP Photo

    A 22-mile oil plume under Gulf nears rich waters.

    By MATTHEW BROWN and JASON DEAREN, Associated Press Writers Matthew Brown And Jason Dearen, Associated Press Writers – Fri May 28, 10:31 am ET

    NEW ORLEANS – A thick, 22-mile plume of oil discovered by researchers off the BP spill site was nearing an underwater canyon, where it could poison the foodchain for sealife in the waters off


    The discovery by researchers on the

    University of South Florida College of Marine Science’s Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume reported since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20. The plume is more than 6 miles wide and its presence was reported Thursday. . . . .

    This catastrophe becomes more frightening each day — I fear for ocean life and more, everywhere now!

  7. The suspension of the effort was not announced, and appeared to again contradict statements by company and government officials that suggested the top kill procedure was progressing Friday.

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