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BOP Landed Successfully!August 12, 2012

The blow-out-preventer (BOP) has been successfully landed on the wellhead at 21:30p.m. last night!! (See the entry of Aug 8. for introduction to the BOP)

This is more than a small step, but a giant leap toward the start of riser drilling. It was Aug 7 when the BOP was first lowered into the sea. Since then, every part and function has been tested before the landing. Science party is quite impressed with the patient, professional work of engineers who made all those work to confirm everything of such a huge, complicated equipment and to solve each tiny, potential issues one by one.

Since seafloor image from a remote operational vehicle (ROV) was displayed on the monitor, some of the scientists were glued to the monitor. But the BOP landing is a not a simple task. It is to land the equipment of about 400 ton, connected at the toe of the pipe extending to the 1200 m below sea surface, exactly onto the wellhead. The only clue is ROV display, which is not very clear in the deep sea to control the position. We had to watch BOP moving above the wellhead slowly, and starting over from the start, many times. Knowing this, the scientists prepared drink and pop-corn to keep watching the patient work of engineers.

Scientists ready to celebrate the successful landing of BOP

After a while, the time has come. Everyone was ready to celebrate the successful entry to the wellhead. But... at the moment BOP contacted the wellhead, ROV image transmission was lost suddenly. But the engineers managed to continue the operation and when the ROV image recovered, we could confirm the landing was successful. Although we missed the best moment, we were glad that the mission was completed successfully.

(just before) the moment of landing, and lost transmission of ROV image. We confirmed successful landing soon after this.

Anyway, it was a big progress in the course of riser drilling, and we are approaching to the day we receive the first sample. Unfortunately we will not have core sample soon, because we had to cancel the coring operation in the shallow section. But we will soon get cuttings and mud gas samples recovered from the borehole. All of science party members are ready to take and analyze samples based on a new plan.

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