June 7th, 2010
12:36 PM ET

Day 49: Latest oil disaster developments

Oil pools near a boom alongside Cat Island near Grand Isle, Louisiana.

[Updated at 7:22 p.m.] It's Day 49 of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. We'll be bringing you the latest developments on the story throughout the day. Here's where we stand right now.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

- Workers in Louisiana have built about 2 miles of sand berms along the state's coast, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

- BP Managing Director Bob Dudley said the company has agreed to pay $360 million toward the berm project, which is aimed at raising walls of sand along Louisiana barrier islands to catch the oncoming slick.

- Heavy oil was spotted at several points along the southeastern Louisiana coast, state officials reported.

- Tar balls ranging in size from less than an inch to about 4 inches continued to wash up on Florida's Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key on Monday, but the oil sheen remained 5 to 10 miles offshore, Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino said.

- Frustration is "rapidly escalating" along the Gulf Coast, Kelby Linn, a real estate agent and Chamber of Commerce official on Alabama's Dauphin Island, told a House subcommittee meeting in Louisiana. "We do not feel that BP is going to be stepping up to the plate," Linn said.

- The widows of two men killed aboard the offshore drill rig that sank in April, ripping open the undersea gusher, told members of Congress that more needs to be done to keep oil companies from putting profits ahead of safety.

- "Let's not place the importance of oil over the importance of a life," said Natalie Roshto, whose husband, Shane, was aboard the rig. But both she and Courtney Kemp, whose husband also died aboard the Deepwater Horizon, said they still supported drilling in the Gulf.

- A BP spokesman told CNN, "BP's priority is always safety."

CLEANUP

- BP says that it has closed one of four valves on the top of the cap that it had put in place last week, and that the process is working well. The company says it may not close all four of the valves because engineers think the valves may be releasing more gas than oil.

- Federal authorities reopened about 340 square miles of federal waters off the Florida Panhandle east of Destin to fishing Monday after finding no sign of oil in that area, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration announced.

- The federal government has accepted Canada's offer of 3,000 meters - or more than 9,800 feet - of ocean boom to help combat the oil disaster, a State Department spokesman said Monday. The boom is expected to arrive in the Gulf on Tuesday.

–The total amount of crude being collected from the ruptured undersea well responsible for the Gulf oil disaster increased Sunday to roughly 466,000 gallons, or 11,100 barrels, according to estimates from BP and Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's response manager for the spill. On Saturday, BP indicated that it had increased the amount of crude being funneled to the surface to roughly 441,000 gallons.

- Since the containment cap was installed Friday, the total number of gallons of oil being captured on a daily basis has nearly doubled, Allen said at the White House on Monday. BP "anticipates moving another craft" to the well site shortly in order to raise the capacity of oil that could be captured on a daily basis to roughly 840,000 gallons, or 20,000 barrels, Allen said.

- Allen said Monday that roughly 120 miles of coastline in the Gulf of Mexico have been affected by the spill and it could take years to fully restore the environment impacted by the disaster.

Allen said BP has made progress, but cautioned it was too early to call efforts a success. "We're making the right progress. I don't think anyone should be pleased as long as there's oil in the water," he said.

After reviewing new images and data, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reopened more than 16,000 square miles of ocean along the Florida coast that was previously closed for fishing because of the oil spill.

More than 13,000 square miles of that lie just west of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. But the federal agency also closed a 2,275-square mile area off the Florida Panhandle, extending the northern boundary just east of the western edge of Choctawhatchee Bay. That means that 32 percent of the Gulf still remains off limits for fishing.

POLITICS

- Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, asked that the moratorium on deepwater drilling be lifted early.

- Allen was in Washington to brief President Obama and the cabinet on the administration's ongoing response to the incident.

- President Obama plans to personally offer his condolences to families who lost loved ones in the rig explosion, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. The president has invited the families of the 11 dead workers to the White House on Thursday.

- The cost of the federal response effort to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill totaled $93 million as of June 1, according to a Friday letter from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen to congressional leadership. They are requesting that Congress approve a proposed
provision that would make available up to an additional $100 million to the Coast Guard.

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Cieje3

    Dude, the pic makes it look like blood!

    June 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Babette Taylor

    I'm offering a suggestion on how to properly "cap off" this terrible oil disaster. I believe large, round flat magnets could work to seal the leak. One magnet on top of the leak, one magnet underneath the piping.

    June 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shirl

      Babette, This idea is really cute!!! I.m glad someone can have a sense of humor about such a serious situation. However, in case you are not joking, the problem.with this idea as with many many others is the tremendous pressure of the oil and gas that is escaping. Not to mention the depth they are working at. I'm afraid this is the price we pay for the energy we can't do without. Look at the coal mines. You don't see the presiident running to the latest coal mine explosion to console the survivors. Considering the depth of this well it is incredible that this type of disaster doesn't happen more often given the number of drilling rigs that are in the gulf.
      .

      June 7, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mick

    Yes BP has probably dragged their feet, but they are trying to clear it up and pay compension.

    After 25 years Bhopal is still contaminated and the compension dismal. What would you say to this on American soil.

    The Indian Government says that around 3,500 people died soon after a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal accidentally released 40 tons of deadly methyl isocyanate gas into the air on December 3, 1984.

    It estimated that the lingering effects raised the death toll to about 15,000 over the next few years, but activists say the leak killed about double that number and may have affected the health of more than 500,000 overall.

    June 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shirl

      Good point Mick!! Something for all these people who think BP employees are a bunch of blithering idiots to chew on. Actually, BP employees include a lot of Americans from top to bottom. many of these are graduates
      of MIT and I know there is a lot wrong with US education but these people are a long way from village idiots.

      June 7, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. klay ydell

    please study this and forward to everyone you can – tx

    http://tinyurl.com/2cunacb

    June 7, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Softdude

    What I don't get is why the cap was not engineered to capture all of the leaking oil. Would it be that hard to make it seal to the riser? If so, then why not unbolt the current riser and put a good one on? Continuing the leak is absurd.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. HD

    What will it take to finally get heard here !! the simplest answer to stopping the old flow is to vertically drop in what looks like a Knight's lance, pointy end first. By making the the unit heavy enough it will easily enter the well head. The long lance-like front of the unit will ensure it will remain in the well head regardless of well pressure. Once inserted, the lance will then lower itself to the point where the flared flange end of the lance will come in contact with top of the well head,(the outside diameter of the the flared head on the lance should be just slightly larger than the well pipe itself. This will then cause the unit to "bounce" from the pressure inside the well. Once this lance is in place, either lead ballast can be placed on the protruding portion of the lance (lets call it the handle of the lance aft of the flare on the water side of the inserted lance), or a clamp-down mechanism can be lower to force the lance further into the well head. Either way this will reduce if not stop the flow of oil. Any half way competent machine shop could build this unit and it would much easier to place into / onto the gushing well head than the current valve which is still leaking. The existing well pipe will be able to take the (oil) pressure as it was build for that purpose. Lets get this thing done finally !!!

    June 7, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jjv36

      because that idea wouldn't work and it would simply cause more leaks to begin in other parts of the well...now please shut up.

      June 8, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. Brenda

    I have but one question? Why didn't BP, or whoever does this sorta thing, not implode the well? Seems to me that would have solved the problem just days after it happened. I am from Dulac Louisiana in Terrobonne Parish. This disaster has totally destroyed the lives of this small fishing community. Seems to me that saving the well was more important than saving our way of life and the environment. Just sayin.

    Brenda

    June 7, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SteveG

    100607 1915 edt

    Yesterday when answering questions on TV and painting the situation as positive "progress", Thad Allen said there would be full and frequent transparency re technical data over time re the leaking oil and BPs efforts to stop it..where do we find some semi-professional engineering reports and data Adm Allen?

    As for BP, here are the two most recent technical updates from the BP website.....
    .
    Subsea operational update:
    • On June 6, a total of 11,100 barrels of oil was collected and 22 million cubic feet of natural gas was flared.
    • Optimization continues and improvement in oil collection is expected over the next few days.
    June 7, 2010 9:00 am CDT / 3:00 pm BST

    Subsea operational update:
    • In order to maximize the amount of oil and gas being collected, engineering and operations teams continue to optimize the choke valve settings on the surface, overall systems pressures and valves on the LMRP cap.
    • Daily oil collection will be maximized through maintaining a stable system.
    • Both production trains for processing oil at the surface are in operation.
    • We may leave some of the LMRP cap valves open to ensure system stability – one is currently closed.
    The next update will be provided at 9:00am CDT on June 7, 2010.
    June 6, 2010 5:30 pm CDT / 11.30 pm BST

    NO info or data explaining anything about why its taking them so long to minimize the leakage with the cap they have
    installed. No specific historical data or specific goals going forward. As a engineer, these reports are the next thing to useless and totally inadquate and we need and deserver something much better NOW. Perhaps have our Dept of Energy put something on their website so those with interest to know what's really going on can get some data and pose some questions.

    1) I continue hearing about BPs desire to go slow to allow things (including temps and pressures) to stabilize before
    changing setting (eg, closing more vents) but its vhard to believe it takes more than a few hours for temp, pressures, and flow rates to restabilize. No info or data vs time being shared I can find.
    2) heard Thad Allen say something yesterday that BP's current approach can support a max collection of ~15k bbls a day. If they collected 11k bbls a day on 06Jun with only one vent closed (of 4?) and with estimates that the actual leak rate could be 12-25+k bbls a day and possibly even more than that, it seems very likely the collection system that was put in place was clearly inadequate from the start. Aside of the fact that the design doesn't apparently provide much of any seal (eg, compressed to the flange surface above the BOP) to prevent infiltration of seawater which would have apparently greatly reduced the risk of hyrates forming, it (plus the surface equipment now in place) isn't apparently anywhere near capable of collecting what's actually leaking out. Did anyone know this plan was half-baked before it was deployed and just not tell us???? If no, wow. If yes, wow.
    3) while BP and others argue about existence of plumes etc, why aren't we hearing about options underway or maybe not to find large concentrations of oil and have ships go suck it up?
    4) keep hearing the millions of feet of "booms" many like to tout as one of the primary responses put in place to "save the
    coastline" are a joke....have cost lots of $ and time but are relatively ineffective except as a visual prop.
    WHY are our illustrious media having such a tough time digging into these technical issues and questions and reporting
    something on that level on an hourly basis rather than just passing on the PR generalities being doled out by BP and numerous policiticans.
    WHY does everything being done to stop this leak and collect the oil still always seem to fall short???
    Saying BP will reimburse the US govt for the related expenses but much of the harm being done now will effectively be
    irreversable...unfortunately $ can't buy or fix everything.
    WHY is it the people being paid to act in all of our interests seem to be surprised every day that the disaster is getting bigger and bigger and continuously rendering every one of their "battle plans" inadquate.
    Its time to ANTICIPATE and get an effective OVERDESIGNed "battle plan" put in place to stop the oil leak NOW and to find and collect as much of the lost oil NOW, please?

    Its time to realize this is an extraordinary mess and deserves extraordinary measures and information sharing.

    SteveG

    June 7, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KateF

    The stories about the oil-soaked birds and sea animals are heartbreaking – but seeing a CNN story earlier today about a company producing oil filtering mats infused with microbes gave me an idea. Could those same microbes be added to holding pools where birds are being treated? I would seem to be much less traumatic than repeatedly toweling the animals to remove the oil from their feathers.

    June 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Andrew

    Epic Fail in the Gulf

    Just imagine what could be accomplished if the government was to approach places like MIT, Harvard, NASA, and any other group that's full of people far smarter then myself and said, “take these visa cards, they have no limits and we'll pick up the bill, and find us a solution, no cost to too high, no idea is too far fetched. You have one week.” I bet my a$$ we would have had a solution on Monday of week 2 of the disaster.

    I can understand why its hard for BP to think about ways to permanently shut down the well, as that well still has the potential to bring in billions of dollars. Perhaps this is why this whole operation needs to be handle by people who are motivated more by the larger issues in life then by the size of their paychecks.

    This is almost comical, but why not just make a giant dome, kinda like in the Simpson's movie, with a large filtration unit on the top of it. The dome would be pressed into the ocean floor surrounding the well head, and the filter unit on the top would divert gas being released to the surface (I'm pretty sure gas will go up in water), and the oil and other materials being ejected up to large container ships.

    This is extreme, but why cant we just drill a hole (insert required depth to work) feet down near the well head and then detonate a thermonuclear device, instantly sealing the drilled column with glass or what not. We have already killed the ocean in that area, exposing it to some radiation isn't going to do much worse.

    That worked against a super asteroid in Armageddon, and even got the core of the earth roll'n again in The Core, I'm sure it would seal a hole in the ground.

    Just image if there was some event like a tidal wave, that caused multiple oil rigs to blow up or epic fail, and instead of one well head, we had 30 to deal with... plus unthinkable coastal damage and loss of life on a grand scale. …

    June 7, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jjv36

      I really hope you are kidding...those are the dumbest ideas I have ever heard...Armageddon, the Simpson's...really?

      June 8, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. Victoria

    Please join our cause!

    http://www.causes.com/causes/487728?recruiter_id=101964161

    We are currently seeing the destruction that's taking place because of BPs oil drilling.
    The oil is now found, not only floating, but even 500m under water! This means that the oil is even trapping animals swimming beneath the surface of the water and causing them to die!

    Not only do we have a crisis on our hands, but we have a choice...

    Something needs to be done, why don't we start today?
    Before its TOO LATE!

    YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

    Thank you
    – Founder of Save Our Oceans

    June 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bernie lemieux

    The oil spill in the gulf has finallly been partiallly capped. Hopefully it will be fully capped soon. This disaster was caused by very poor planned maintenance and testing by BP. Faulty or innoperative back up equipment like batteries and actuators. They got away with it likely for quite a while until somebody in the control room made an unauthorized and inadvertent actuation of the joystick which severely dammaged a rubber seal in the blowout preventer allowing large amounts of gas into the rig. At that time, the crew tried to activate the preventer but because of faulty back-up equipment it did not work. From that moment on, they were helpless and had an unpreventable and unstoppable catastrophe on their hands. We know the rest of the story. Who's to blame? Probably BP. How do you make them pay for this? Throwing the upper echelons of the PB board in jail for years would appease a lot of anger but it would be counter-productive. Hit them where it really hurts, in the pocket book. BP CEO Tony Hayward although much demonized performed quite well under intense pressure and incessant criticism. He and his company have learnt a wealth of knowledge and woud be very helpful in the investigation of the disaster and the revision of procedures in the planned maintenance and testing of oil rig equipment. Coast guard admiral Allen demonstrated great composure and invaluable guidance during this event. We should not see this in terms of punishment but as a huge "Teaching moment" for the industry and possibly humanity! Rather, think future, planet survival! Now is the time to set universal and international standards for planned maintenance and testing of oil rig equipment. We don't know who is going to drill in the north. A disaster of this magnitude up there would be cataclysmic! All planned maintenance and testing should be done IAW (In accordance with) international authorized numbered procedures to standardize planned maintenance and testing. Example; STDTP (Standard procedure) 432 BLOWOUT PREVENTER TESTING. All critical manoeuvers like the actuation of the joystick should be done using military style commands to prevent errors. Further, all testing of critical equipment should be witnessed and signed for by upper echelon engineers. Accidents may still occur for unknown reasons like a hair line crack in a pipe but at least the testing will be done properly. Now is the time to reset standards and procedures. The american government supported by the influence of president Obama should push for this. It's awful that this terrible environmental catastrophe happened ;hopefully because of it, a worse one will be prevented in a very deep well or in the Artic in the future. Our way of life could be at stake. Are we going to learn anything from this "Teaching moment"?

    June 9, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Craig N. Barthelmas

    Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 1814, this is an oil spill contingency plan that has a proven extraction process. If British Petroleum’s hired goons stop authorized U.S. press from filming on American Soil just one more time, History may repeat its self!

    THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS, by Johnny Horton: In 1814 we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip, we took a little bacon and we took a little beans, we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans

    We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin', there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago we fired once more and they begin to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    We looked down the river and we see'd the British come, there must have been a hundred of'em, beatin' on the drums They stepped so high, and they made their bugles ring, we stood by our cotton bales, and didn't say a thing

    We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin', there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago we fired once more and they begin to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise if we didn't fire our muskets 'Till we looked 'em in the eye, we held our fire 'Till we see'd their faces well Then we opened up our squirrel guns And really gave 'em – well we

    Fired our guns and the British kept a-comin', there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago we fired once more and they begin to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    Yeah, they ran through the briars And they ran through the brambles And they ran through the bushes Where the rabbit couldn't go They ran so fast That the hounds couldn't catch 'em On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind And when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind

    We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin', there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago we fired once more and they begin to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    Yeah, they ran through the briars And they ran through the brambles And they ran through the bushes Where the rabbit couldn't go They ran so fast That hounds couldn't catch 'em On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. Go Johnny!

    We posted a PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 10 May 2010, this is a post oil spill contingency plan that has a proven Oil Spill extraction process and a patented Hydro-Carbon (emissions free) recycling technology.

    We’ve found a pre-processed material and developed an action plan that will extract up to 98% of oil spill contaminants from the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It also includes contingencies for, re-processing all of the oil drenched materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities creating, long term renewable energy revenues for the community.

    We all know that BP has been feeding us misinformation and then trying to minimize their cost by denying problems exist. Yes! We sent BP and other agencies our plan. Operations of this nature have a price tag associated with them and so, it would appear that they have no wish to spend anything on an oil spill they can’t control or that won’t go back into their pockets. This cannot be allowed to go on any longer! We have four suggestions to remedy this situation.

    a. Executive orders from the president to keep BP within five miles of their oil rig to work on plugging their oil well.
    b. Executive orders from the president keeping BP completely out of the state containment and clean-up process.
    c. Executive orders from the president to keep BP paying for the affected business and state clean-up’s, on time.
    d. Find a way to approve pro-active plans rapidly and, for God’s sake, make decisions without first consulting BP.

    To date, BP has not plugged the well, contained the oil spill or even moved quickly to approve state contingency plans to keep oil off their shores. BP needs to plug their damned hole and pay the states for containment and clean-up operations.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Craig N. Barthelmas ge1re22@aol.com

    June 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. pradeep kumar

    Delhi/India based manufacturer and supplier of suction pump, suction machine, medical suction, portable suction, suction unit, and surgical suction buy today and get discount on all Suction equipments.

    June 18, 2010 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
1 2