Today (August 4), BP announced that the MC252 well appears to have reached a static condition -- "a significant milestone." The well pressure is now being controlled by the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling mud, which is the desired outcome of the static kill procedure carried out on August 3. Pumping of heavy drilling mud into the well from vessels on the surface was stopped after about eight hours of pumping. The well is now being monitored, per the agreed procedure, to ensure it remains static. Further pumping of mud may or may not be required depending on results observed during monitoring.
BP said it will continue to work with the National Incident Commander and other government officials to determine the next course of action, which involves assessing whether to inject cement in the well via the same route. The aim of the procedures is to assist with the strategy to kill and isolate the well, and will complement the upcoming relief well operation, which will continue as per plan. A relief well remains the ultimate solution to kill and permanently cement the well. The first relief well, which started May 2, has set its final 9 7/8-inch casing. Operations on the relief wells are suspended during static kill operations. Depending upon weather conditions, mid-August is the current estimate of the most likely date by which the first relief well will intercept the Macondo well annulus, and kill and cement operations commence.