BP has said that the volume of oil and gas being collected by the riser insertion tube tool (RITT) containment system at the end of the leaking riser is estimated to be about 3,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil and some 14 million standard cubic feet a day of gas.

The oil is being stored and gas is being flared on the drillship Discoverer Enterprise, on the surface 5,000ft above. The company also continues to develop options to shut off the flow of oil from the well through interventions via the failed blow out preventer (BOP).

Plans continue to develop a ‘top kill’ operation where heavy drilling fluids are injected into the well to stem the flow of oil and gas, followed by cement to seal the well, BP said.

Most of the equipment is on site and preparations continue for this operation, with a view to deployment in the next few days. Options have also been developed to potentially combine this with the injection under pressure of a variety of materials into the BOP to seal off upward flow.

In total, over 19,000 personnel from BP, other companies and government agencies are currently involved in the response to this incident, the company said.

Work on the first relief well, which began on May 2, is continuing. The DDII drilling rig began drilling the second relief well on May 16. Each of these wells is estimated to take some three months to complete from the commencement of drilling.