June 12th, 2010
08:09 PM ET

Day 54: Latest developments on the Gulf oil disaster

Oily pelicans await treatment at Buras, Louisiana.

[Updated at 8:03 p.m.] 

Here are the latest developments on the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which unfolded after the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20: 

– BP officials are reviewing a letter from federal authorities that gives the oil giant until Sunday to identify and expedite other ways to contain the massive oil spill, a company spokesman said.
 
– Additional areas of Mississippi waters in the Gulf have been closed to recreational and commercial fishing due to the detection of oil in the region, state officials announced Saturday. 
 
– Environmentalists said demonstrations against BP's response to the disaster were unfolding Saturday in more than 50 cities across five continents, from Pensacola, Florida, to Christchurch, New Zealand.

– Federal authorities expressed concern that BP's plans to recover oil and provide backup collection plans fall short of what is needed, given new estimates of the amount of crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. In a letter sent to BP, Rear Adm. James Watson, the government's on-scene incident commander, gave the company until Sunday to provide alternative plans that adequately address substantially higher rates of oil flow. 

– President Obama sought to ease diplomatic tensions raised by criticism of British oil giant BP by telling Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday that frustrations over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster had nothing to do with national identity. 

– The latest federal wildlife report says 530 oiled birds have been collected alive while 730 were found dead and 59 sea turtles have been collected alive while 315 were found dead. 

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED CLEANUP 

– More than 4 million gallons of oil have been recovered so far from the gushing BP well, Adm. Thad Allen, manager of the government's response to the disaster, said Friday. 

– He said the government has spent about $140 million in cleanup efforts so far and plans to keep "pouring in assets" into cleanup efforts, which now involve more than 25,000 people. 

– As early as Monday, BP plans to attach a secondary cap to a primary cap that was put in place over the leaking well last week. Allen has said he expects that the Q4000 will be able to collect an additional 5,000 to 10,000 barrels per day. 

– Rising temperatures are adding to the perils of cleanup efforts, and workers' heat-related illnesses are now the primary worry for local doctors and nurses. 

– If oil remains in the Gulf marshlands, it has the potential to affect more than 13 million migratory birds that will begin arriving in August, said Tom Moorman, who is heading up the disaster response for the conservation group Ducks Unlimited. 

ECONOMICS 

– Nearly 42,000 claims have been submitted and more than 20,000 payments made, totaling more than $53 million, BP says. So far, the cost of the response is $1.43 billion, it said. 

– Uncertainty about the depth of BP's pockets has spurred calls for the company to suspend its dividend payments. London's TimesOnline reported Friday that the company may funnel its second-quarter dividend into an escrow account to be paid to shareholders. 

POLITICS 

– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused BP of having "misrepresented what their technology could do." 

– BP won support from billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "The guy that runs BP didn't exactly go down there and blow up the well," he told a radio program.


Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. wes

    Solving this dilemma and stopping this horrendous oil tragedy is really quite simple, force BP to shut down all rigs in U.S. waters until the flow is completely stopped from the disabled rig. Unfortunately the BP board of directors needs someone to light a fire under them...something to get them off their 'blessed assurances'. I believe if you hit them in the bank accounts and start depleting and draining their money supply the company may get serious enough to force the board of directors to wipe their mouths, get up from their steak dinners and actually do something about this tragedy.

    This oil company is lacking in many areas...I don't care what anyone says...there is a way it can totally be stopped, the greed of the oil company just keeps them from stopping it because they want the money that will eventually come from the well when it is under control once again.

    I can assure you that if this tragedy happened on the British coast the flow would have been stopped a long time ago.

    But since it is in our waters and the BP Board of directors only thinks in terms of $$billions and trillions$$ this disaster isn't real enough to them and so they continue to do what they do best, twiddle their thumbs and wonder what's for dinner because it's close to dinner time and the longer this thing drags on, the more destruction reaches our shores and kills everything it touches doesn't really matter because America will soon become numb to it and BP can continue to rake in billions after the relief wells are complete.

    FORCE THEM TO SHUT DOWN ALL RIGS IN U.S. WATERS.....it is that simple.

    June 13, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Florida coast resident

    I moved to Florida in '99 because of the breathtaking beauty of the wildlife and water. Now marrried and with one toddler, we enjoy it daily and believe we live in the most beautiful place in the US.

    Now, I feel sorrow for all the wildlife here and wonder if they will be alive by the end of the summer. A part of me wants to sell our home, boat, and move out of here before it gets bad. It's depressing how the oil companies have controlled our government and land for so many years. How they aren't held accountable and are heartless of the destruction of life to not only animals, but to humans as well. Think of the cancer cases and respiratory diseases that will rise to people who live near the gulf, think of the diving, boat, fishing, and tourist shops that will close. The restaurants and hotels and property values will plumet to the ground.

    Our earth has a punctured artery, uncontrollable any time soon for humans to fix. Gushing at 40,000 gallons/day, this is not a "deep horizon spill" this is a world catastophy.

    June 13, 2010 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Isabeaux

    Should we look for the "Silver Lining"? (PerHaps) I asked myself this Question. This under water blown out well head
    could be a way to release pressure from the earths' inner/outer core. Therefore with the Magnetic Storms which are predicted for our future maybe, possibly, could be a way to save thousands more people.

    June 13, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • wes

      unfortunately the only silver lining in this mess is making BP go bancrupt or at least getting them close to the smell of bancruptcy because money is the only thing that motivates corporations.

      Remember this about people and you'll understand BP's thought on this disaster......People only do what is important to them and they only talk about what is important to them. The things you do and talk about should give you an example of what is important........

      Now I ask, do you think this disaster is important to BP and their execs or is it their huge-mongous quarterly bonuses? Hmmmmm.......

      "People only do what is important to them and they only talk about what is important to them."

      June 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steven Ivester

    CAP WELL:

    1.Remove top hat that is in place now, 2. Using a high impact underwater torch wrench remove the
    retaining bolts that hold the top flange of the BOP where they cut the pipe. Yes this would allow the oil to flow freely for a few hours.... 3.) before actually doing steps 1 & 2 you would create a 25, foot pipe with a flange on the bottom that is identical as the one the will be removed from the tom of the BOP
    and on top will be a mechanical shut off valve. 4. lower the new pipe in place, there will be little resistance because it is open on both ends. 5. replace the bolts with the high impact underwater torch wrench, now you have a new 25 foot pipe bolted in place to the top of the BOP and on top off the new pipe you have a mechanical shut off valve 6. close the valve

    June 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Steve M

    This (excluding the extreme depth) is not a first folks.
    Steve, In my opinion they do not want the flow stopped..Your idea is plumbing 101 and I see no reason why it would not work.
    Here is a comparison video of the 79 spill and the situation occuring today..Same technology, 31 years later.

    http://butnerblogspot.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/rachel

    June 13, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
1 2