UPDATE 3-BP replaces failed blowout preventer on Gulf well

* No oil leaked from well during switch – Allen

* Relief well drilling to resume in coming days
(Updates with new equipment installed)

By Kristen Hays

HOUSTON, Sept 3 (BestGrowthStock) – BP Plc (BP.L: )(BP.N: )
successfully replaced a failed blowout preventer from atop its
ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well late on Friday, the top U.S.
official overseeing the spill response said.

Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen called the equipment
switch “an important milestone” toward permanently killing the
leak that spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the
Gulf from April 20 through mid-July.

“During the period of time between the removal of the
damaged BOP and installation of the replacement BOP, there was
no observable release of hydrocarbons from the wellhead,” Allen
said.

The failed 50-foot (15-metre) stack of valves and pipes is
critical evidence in criminal and civil investigations into the
April 20 blowout that led to an explosion aboard the Deepwater
Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 men.

BP replaced it with a working BOP to preserve its value as
evidence and ensure working equipment sat atop the well before
a relief well allows the final kill to occur.

Allen said earlier Friday that it would take 24 to 36 hours
to slowly lift the failed BOP to a rig on the surface to be
transported to shore. The failed BOP was removed from the
wellhead early on Friday afternoon.

BP expects to resume drilling the relief well in the coming
days. By mid-September the relief well is expected to bore into
the ruptured Macondo well near its bottom about 13,000 feet
(4,000 metres) beneath the seabed and pump in mud and cement to
plug the leak for good.

BP and government officials did not expect oil to leak from
the well once the failed blowout preventer was lifted off. The
company pumped cement into the well from the top on Aug. 5,
which officials believe sealed off the well from the
reservoir.
(Reporting by Kristen Hays, editing by Anthony Boadle)

UPDATE 3-BP replaces failed blowout preventer on Gulf well