PGS: the Macondo Well Blowout

The April meeting of the Potomac Geophysical Society will be held April 21st at the Fort Myer Officers’ Club in Arlington, VA ( in the Campaign Room.

This month’s talk will be: USGS Well Integrity Team for BP Macondo-1 well blowout: monitoring flow in geologic media by Catherine B. Enomoto, Eastern Energy Resources Science Center, USGS, Reston, VA.

Scientists from BP, universities, government research laboratories, and federal agencies formed a cooperative working group in responding to the Macondo oil well (Deepwater Horizon) blowout. Among the many activities performed during this effort, US Geological Survey personnel evaluated the potential geologic hazard of shutting in the Macondo well at the sea floor, and decided with others the conditions under which it could be done safely. This hazard evaluation required analysis of 2D and 3D seismic surveys, seafloor bathymetry, well logs, and drilling data to assess the geological and geomechanical conditions around the Macondo well. Before the well was capped and shut in by BP on July 15, 2010, a variety of monitoring practices were put into place to guard against further leaks into the Gulf of Mexico. These monitoring activities, which continued for weeks after the well was shut in, included acquisition of marine multi-channel seismic profiles, sea-floor and water column sonar surveys, and wellhead acoustic monitoring. Scientists from BP, government agencies, and several universities worked together to continuously evaluate these data to ensure that the well remained safely shut in until reservoir pressures were “killed” with heavy drilling mud and the well was sealed with cement. This collaboration among scientists, engineers, and emergency response officials will hopefully lead to improved methodologies to assess and mitigate hazards posed by deepwater drilling.

Biographical Information:
Cathy Enomoto has worked for the Eastern Energy Resources Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, VA, for 2 years. Before joining the USGS, Cathy worked in the Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources, which is the Virginia geological survey, in Charlottesville, VA. And previous to that, Cathy worked in the petroleum industry in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas. Cathy’s experience includes interpretation of 2D- and 3D-seismic surveys, well logs, vertical seismic profiles, borehole geophysical data, production data, and rock properties such as porosity, permeability, mineralogy, and geochemistry for the purpose of oil and gas resource assessments. She has analyzed shallow hazard geophysical data, and helped build 3-dimensional map layers of underground coal mines to define safety issues in the petroleum and coal mining industries.Cathy is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and the Geological Society of Washington.

Dinner Menu
Chicken Picatta (House salad & vegetables, rolls and butter)
Coffee / tea
A vegetarian meal can be substituted by request.

Reception at 6:30. Dinner at 7:30. Talk at 8:30 PM. Please note that the talk starts earlier than the usual time. Allow 15 minutes for security entering Ft. Myer as all civilian vehicles are searched. To ensure access to and from Fort Myer use the Hatfield Gate, open 24 hours a day ( If you wish to attend dinner ($25), please make reservations with Joydeep Bhattacharyya at 571-269-8432 or via E-mail at If you wish, please feel free to attend the talk without dinner. Non-members and guests are welcome. Visit the PGS web site at for new meeting announcements, etc. Please send changes of address or email to


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