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Gulf relief driller can't wait to celebrate

August 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The man who is drilling the relief well meant to plug BP's busted well said he's looking forward to celebrating after his mission is finished.John Wright said he wants to celebrate with a cigar, a dinner party with his crew and a trip somewhere quiet with his wife.

Wright has a pristine drilling record. He has never missed his target and successfully drilled 40 relief wells that were used plug leaks around the world.

BP began work on its first and primary relief well in May, intending to permanently plug the ruptured well. Crews successfully executed a static kill, by pumping mud and cement into the top of the well.

After some back and forth about whether a bottom kill procedure would be necessary, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, suggested concluded the bottom kill will be started next weekend.

Latest Developments:

  • The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and causing 206 million gallons of oil to spew from BP's well a mile beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The work on the BP well has been an intense stop-and-go project, with Wright drilling only a short distance at a time so his team can then do tests to make sure he's still on target. If not, the crew adjusts the drill's trajectory before restarting.
  • To date, he and his team have drilled nearly 18,000 feet - more than three miles. The grapefruit-sized drill bit is about 50 feet from their target, which is less than half the size of a dart board. The unusual depth, the relative weakness of the rock and the high pressure in the well have made the task challenging.
  • Wright, who is not a BP employee but is working on a contract basis, is senior vice president of technology for Houston-based Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc. Boots & Coots bought Wright's company in 2009, and Wright became vice president as part of the sale.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.