Top kill

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A top kill is a procedure used as a means of regaining control over an oil well that is experiencing an uncontrolled eruption of crude oil or natural gas (blowout). The process involves pumping heavyweight drilling mud into the well. This procedure is expected to stop the flow of oil and gas from the well. A further step could be sealing the well completely, often with cement.[1]

In use[edit]

The top kill procedure was used to plug flaming oil wells, blown up by retreating Iraqi forces, in 1991, during the Gulf War.[2]

This technique came to prominence during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill when it was used in an attempt to seal a seafloor oil well after the failure of the blowout preventer.[1] However, it failed to block the flow of oil.[3]


  1. ^ a b Rohrer, Finlo (27 May 2010). "What is a 'top kill'?". BBC. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Brett Calnton (5 May 2010). "New tactic might seal leaking well sooner, BP CEO says". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 29 May 2010. 
  3. ^ John Harlow (30 May 2010). "BP struggles to stem gush of reproach". The Times. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 

See also[edit]