In the tradition of “Without Bad Luck, We Wouldn’t Have Any Luck at All,” the National Hurricane Center this morning forecasted a 70% chance that Invest 97, now just south of the Bahamas, would form into a tropical cyclone. Destination? The central Gulf. In his McBriefing yesterday, Kent Wells announced that instead of running and cementing the last liner into relief well 1, they had already run in a storm packer to temporarily seal the well and were preparing to shut down. Here’s the storm track by computer model.
For reasons that should be obvious, we at The Daily Hurricane follow hurricanes pretty closely. This storm is in Hurricane Alley, which allows the storm to stay over water virtually all the way into the Gulf allowing it to gain considerable strength. As you can see, the majority of the current storm models has the Deepwater Horizon site dead center. What will happen today or tomorrow will be the decision to evacuate. As we’ve talked about before, you generally have to start getting people and ships out about 5 days in advance of the storm. We’ll be at that decision point very quickly, and other operators have already begun evacuating.
A hurricane, or even a tropical storm, will cause 10 days to 2 weeks of delay. Yesterday, Adm Allen said that the decision whether to open the capping stack or leave it closed was currently being discussed. Without monitoring, there is fear of a major leak causing serious damage to the wellhead endangering future containment efforts. He also said that they would leave an ROV boat as last boat out, since it can travel faster than the service vessels.
Note: I’m at Netroots Nation this week for meetings and will be speaking on a panel about the Deepwater Disaster on Friday at 3 PM PDT. NN will be live streaming the events and you can get details how to watch the sessions here.