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11 03, 2011 by Fuel Fix
BP just launched deep-water drilling at its Kaskida field in the Gulf of Mexico — the first exploration of its kind in U.S. waters since the lethal blowout of its Macondo well a year and a half ago.
The company confirmed today it had begun drilling one of up to seven wells planned at the site, after winning federal approval for the project late last month.
BP is drilling the new well in 6,034 feet of water using Seadrill’s three-year-old West Sirius semi-submersible rig.
It was not clear how long the drilling might take, but the well has a target vertical depth of 32,873 feet.
The Kaskida project is one of BP’s biggest finds ever in U.S. waters. The company estimates that it could hold as much as 3 billion barrels of oil. BP first announced the discovery of its Kaskida field in August 2006 after drilling a six-mile deep well in an outer area of the Gulf known as Keathley Canyon and finding an 800-foot section of oily rock.
BP has promised to abide by new drilling safety and environmental mandates imposed since last year’s spill, as well as a suite of voluntary performance standards for the new exploration.
For instance, the company will use a second set of pipe-cutting shear rams on the emergency blowout preventer that will help secure the new well, doubling the opportunities for the device to successfully slash through drill pipe and trap flowing gas and oil underground in case of an emergency.
BP also is employing engineers to witness testing of cement used at its Gulf wells.
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