Relief Well Under Way in Gulf

BSEE said drilling began Aug. 4 and will continue for about 35 days.

A relief well is being drilled offshore of Louisiana to ensure Walter Oil & Gas’ South Timbalier 220 natural gas Well A-3 is indeed shut down, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced recently. BSEE, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Walter are continuing to oversee response efforts to secure the well.

"Safety of personnel and protection of the environment remain the top priorities," the agency's news release states. "Many factors can affect the expected schedule, including weather and the intricate work of locating the target well bore at the end of the drilling process. A relief well is drilled to intercept the target well. Once intercepted, drilling mud, followed by cement will be pumped into the well to secure it. All available options to safely secure the natural gas well remain under consideration. Work is moving forward on all approaches. Removal of debris material surrounding the well head began Friday. This work is being conducted from the derrick barge, Performance," according to BSEE's news release.

The Coast Guard is enforcing a 500-meter safety zone around the well site, and firefighting and other marine vessels are on site, "with personnel from Walter, Hercules, and other professional engineering contractors, and relevant federal agencies," according to BSEE.

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