With Pressure Tests Delayed, Chairman Renews Call for Information on Potential Hazards

WASHINGTON (July 14, 2010) – Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today renewed his request to BP to release information on the integrity of the wellbore and sea floor leaks, especially in light of the delayed attempt to conduct pressure tests on the new containment cap system for the BP Macondo well. These efforts were delayed, at least in part, because of the need to review seismic data -- which could provide information about the integrity of the wellbore -- from around the well site.
Rep. Markey had originally requested this information on June 23rd, several weeks prior to this test, and has still not received any answers which might shed light on the current potential path of shutting in the well using the new cap system as well as with challenges that could be encountered as BP attempts to permanently stop the flow of oil and gas using a relief well. Rep. Markey also sent a letter to Thad Allen asking for information provided to Incident Command on these matters.

Everyone is hoping for a successful outcome for this capping system, and for the relief wells,” said Rep. Markey. “But given BP’s bad track record on all of its efforts thus far, all information about the risks of these tactics must be provided to Congress and to the public.”

While BP told Rep. Markey’s staff that this information would eventually be provided, it has already been made available to executive branch staff, and is easily obtained.

This information is available. Yet BP would rather stonewall than provide information on the potential hazards lurking in the rock formations around the well, and other risks,” said Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey asks BP for answers to several questions from his June letter (available HERE ), all of which potentially relate to the current situation occurring at the well site as well as the future relief well efforts.

In the letter sent today, available HERE , Rep. Markey writes:

“Question 3 of my June 23rd letter asked BP for information needed to better understand what is known about the condition of the wellbore and about reports of sea floor leaks. It asks the following:

‘Please provide documents related to the condition of the wellbore.

--Has BP attempted to determine whether the casing inside the wellbore has been damaged and if so, what were the results? Please provide all measurements, images, and other documents related to the condition of the wellbore, as well as any future plans for such measurements going forward. 

--Has BP confirmed or attempted to confirm the presence of hydrocarbons leaking from anywhere other than the containment cap? If so, what were the results? Please provide all related documents.

--Has BP surveyed the vicinity of the well to look for any leaks from the sea floor? If so, what area was surveyed? Please provide all measurements, images, and other documents related to any survey(s) to identify hydrocarbon leakage from the sea floor. If no survey has been performed, why not?’”

Rep. Markey’s letter to Thad Allen, which asks for information provided to Incident Command on these questions, is available HERE .

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