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Dori Smith: …to what the percentage of oil versus methane is in any of the leaks that have been identified, either on the cap area of the well or in any plumes nearby within the radius that you’ve been looking at, concerned, of course, about the pressure?
Thad Allen: We believe, especially around the current blowout preventer the capping stack that it is a mixture of the hydrocarbon column itself, which would be some mixture of oil, some natural gas, and some water. The existence of hydrates on the blowout preventer and the capping stack is indeed that there is gas there because the gas combined with the cold water and pressure is what produces hydrates. So there is some amount of methane gas in that.
The exact percentages, we have taken samples and they’re being analyzed ashore. Some samples done on scene based on the samples that were taken in around the wellhead indicated there was about 16 percent methane, but that needs to be validated by a shore test.
Dori Smith: And can you finally, on follow up, tell us is – has BP or has anyone identified new plumes or new leaks beyond what were already being studied in the vicinity?
Thad Allen: What we have asked BP to do is actually number these events so we can follow them. And I can take you through the general grouping of them. On the 17th of July, that was the event that we noted that was three kilometers southwest of the wellhead that we now have attributed to be in place before this started, probably attributable to another well.
Then we had a series of anomalies that were detected on the 18th of July. And these are just differences in density and return on both the seismic and the acoustic sensors. They were investigated with ROVs. They thought there might be some plumes. There were some gas bubbles brewing and they were followed up with ROVs. There were no other indications observed, and we closed out on those.
Following that, on the 19th is when we started to observe the bubbles around the current wellhead in the blowout preventer. Those have already been reported. And these are emanated from the wellhead itself through gaskets and seals that happen to be leaking.
And finally, we found another leak just yesterday in the BOP in the annular preventer. That’s the upper part of the BOP or the lower marine riser package. And that’s attributed to a leak in a gasket as well.
I think what you’re generally starting to see is from the blowout preventer—it’s been down there a long time under a lot of stress. And just like any other piece of equipment, we’re starting to see some small leaks around it. But that’s been it so far”. ) From Joint Task force transcript..7/21/2010