BP told to submit blowout preventer removal plan

* Blowout preventer key evidence in spill probes

* Successful pressure test shows further leak unlikely

By Kristen Hays

HOUSTON, Aug 21 (BestGrowthStock) – BP Plc (BP.L: ) (BP.N: ) will
remove a failed blowout preventer from its ruptured Macondo
well in the Gulf of Mexico under watchful eyes of investigators
probing the deadly April 20 explosion, the top U.S. official
overseeing the oil spill response said.

Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told BP to submit a
removal plan in a directive issued late on Friday and made
public on Saturday after a 48-hour pressure test indicated the
giant stack of pipes and valves could be removed and replaced
with little likelihood of a leak.

The plan must say how BP will contain a leak if necessary,
Allen said.

The blowout preventer is key evidence subpoenaed by federal
investigators seeking the cause of the Deepwater Horizon
explosion that killed 11 workers and unleashed the world’s
worst offshore oil spill.

More than 4 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf,
contaminating wetlands, fishing grounds and beaches from
Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

No oil has leaked since July 15, when BP sealed shut a
provisional cap over the wellhead.

Allen said BP’s plan will ensure investigators with the
U.S. Department of Justice and a joint team of the Coast Guard
and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have “unfettered
access to observe and record the entire removal and recovery
process” and retrieve the equipment once it is brought ashore.

That will include continuous live camera feeds of the
removal by underwater robots with enough backups to ensure no
interruptions, Allen said.

In the interim, BP on Saturday said it was trying to fish
out a drillpipe scientists believe is hanging inside the
blowout preventer. BP said that process could take several
days.

Once another blowout preventer is installed on the well, BP
said it will be able to resume drilling on a relief well to
intersect the Macondo well to inject mud and cement and kill
the leak for good. Allen said the intersect is expected
sometime after the U.S. Labor Day holiday on Sept. 6.

(Editing by Bill Trott)

BP told to submit blowout preventer removal plan