May 28th, 2010
10:49 AM ET

Day 39: Latest Gulf oil spill updates

Oil comes ashore at the Grand Isle East State Park in Louisiana.

Here are the latest developments Thursday involving the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:

[Updated at 10:49 a.m.] BP has measured "some success" with a risky procedure known as "top kill," which has never been tried before a mile under the ocean's surface, the company's top executive, Tony Hayward, said Friday.

[Posted at 10:00 a.m.]

The Cleanup

- President Barack Obama is traveling to Louisiana Friday to get a bird's-eye view of the devastation and the cleanup efforts.

- Engineers tried the "junk shot" method to try to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, finishing their attempt early Friday, BP's Chief Executive Tony Hayward said. The company plans to resume its "top kill" method, pumping heavy mud into the leak, later Friday, he said.

- Hayward said it will be 48 hours before any conclusions can be drawn about the operation's success. "I know that is frustrating for everyone," he said. "I want to get this over with as soon as we possibly can. We are doing everything we can to achieve that."

- Hayward, who had previously said the environmental impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill would be modest, upgraded his assessment Friday to an "environmental catastrophe."

- Even if BP were to successfully plug the well this weekend, the Gulf oil spill is still the largest in U.S. history. Government scientists said Thursday that as many as 19,000 barrels (798,000 gallons) of oil were spewing into the ocean every day, making this disaster perhaps twice the size of the Exxon Valdez incident.

Health problems

- Seven oil spill recovery workers who were hospitalized in New Orleans after complaining of feeling ill were properly trained and had protective gear on, according to the federal on-scene coordinator for the oil spill response effort in the Gulf of Mexico.

- Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said workers were treated for several symptoms, including headaches, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath. Safety officials from the Coast Guard, BP and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration have responded.

- BP says it has provided spill recovery workers with protective equipment, such as suits, steel-toed boots, gloves, hard hats and safety glasses. In addition, BP said, workers are conducting about 250 air-quality tests a day. They also are testing workers for exposure to irritants and other substances that could be harmful, BP said.

Economy

- Images from the massive BP oil spill have prompted many tourists to bolt to other destinations this Memorial Day weekend.

- Hotels in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi are using everything from "beach cams" and money-back guarantees to constant updates on their Web sites to get the word out that their beaches are clean and open for business.

- In Louisiana, hotels catering to sport fishermen are seeing a falloff in bookings, but that's been offset by the masses of recovery workers, BP employees and journalists who have poured into the area.

- Oil prices rose for the third day in a row Friday, as traders anticipate a 6-month moratorium on new offshore drilling permits and other responses to the Gulf oil spill could mean supply decreases in the long-term.

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Wassup

    You people are hilarious. You have no understanding of the oil field or the difficulty of the work. I'd like to see half of you even walk a mile, much less work on something under 30 feet of water. Do you own a car? You depend on drilling. Heat your house? Yep, same deal.

    May 28, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Evan

      You are so right. I would like to see these people fix a leaky toilet, or an air conditioning unit without calling a repair man

      May 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    All this blame game really get me. We all want cheap oil so we can drive our big cars but never want to face the consequences of a disaster. The will always be a risk with drilling oil on land or at sea, especially this deep. The government is not to blame because if they regulate too much the conservative rant about big government killing business. This is no different that the wall street mess and the total cost will be less even if the fed pick up the tab. The real cost will be long term to environment in the gulf. As a former home owner on the gulf side of Florida I hate to think of what the shallow Florida gulf coast beaches will look like for the next ten year, especially if we have several hurricanes in the gulf this year to stir up the mess even more.

    May 28, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jerry Desaulniers

    They should try putting ball bearings of various sizesdown the hole by using a large hose. This would drastically lower the amount of oil leaking out.

    May 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Metropl

    BP was just responding to my (and your) incessant need for oil. We wouldn't have this standard of living without BP and her sister companies. We can change the demand any time we want.

    May 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • John K

      Well said. The problem is that the American public has made it very clear that that's exactly what they DON'T want. They want plentiful cheap oil, and they want it RIGHT NOW.

      May 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Darrell Fox

    Boycott of BP and all its holding is in order now!!

    May 28, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. quad

    I blame Obama...he is the president, and yet seems very unconcerned about the issue. I watched his press statement yesterday and felt sick! Many alternatives were presented to him, and supposedly he deemed most of them "not necessary"...how about sending the supertankers out to suck up the oil. Common sense says to suck up the oil while trying to fix the leak.
    I believe this is one of the first instances where his inability to lead a country finally comes to light. Lets watch what he does when the next terrorist attack happens...my bet, he'll apologize to the muslim nations for america's oppression and somehow blame it on the Bush administration's method of handling the war on terror.
    This is only the beginning. America is in worse shape than I thought!

    May 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Malik

      You blame Obama simply because your heart is a black hole full of disgusting filth and hatred! Its so polluted that it has poisoned your brain and destroyed its ability to think rationally, logically, and clearly.

      May 28, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JP

    BP will no longer be known for their "Beyond Petroleum" motto, it now stands for BEYOND POLUTION!!

    May 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. doddidge high 16

    they need to stop pointen fingers and be a man lget it done

    May 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mike

    Looks like it is working great. Another smooth operation brought to you by FedTROOP and Haliburton.

    May 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mitchall

      from my understanding the oil spill has been going on for a while I dont understand why it is taking this long to deal with this I mean come and do something about it already for crying out loud.

      May 28, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tony Kassebaum

    The driller, Ed is right, I would like to see the mud log readings, pressure readings, and what was showing up on the shake table,(where the mud comes back up, it recirculates). If there were handfuls of the annular as reported, that is a real big red flag that something is wrong. If the well had a history of kicking, and whoever pulled the mud out of the riser and filled it with seawater, allowing the hydrate crystals to form, and then thaw out as it reached warmer waters releasing a massive amount of natural gas well wake up kids....that is what started this whole mess. The fail safe systems failed, and I would like to see a 360 shot of the BOP from top to bottom....and a shot of the well head to BOP. As far as the ball bearing idea, because of the pressure from the well head you would create a shotgun effect, perforating the bent riser pipe, the weakest point...

    May 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry Desaulniers

      I doubt that you would create the shotgun affect. Each bearing would contiue downhill acting as resistance to the flow of oil. If pressure built up it would just seep out through the bearings. You might wat to take me serious as I'm an established inventor with the last invention being the vortex wind funnel, a new type of wind turbine. http://www.masterflowind.com

      May 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Evan

    As horrific as this spill is, it's not the worst spill ever (not even in to top 10) – that honor goes to the Ixtoc 1 in 1979 (similar drilling rig further south in the Gulf). Ixtoc 1 spit out 480,000 tons – I think Deepwater is around 55,00 now. However, neither of those compare to the 1500,000 (!) tons deliberatly released into the Persian Gulf during Gulf War 1 by the retreating Iraqis. They cleaned those up and they can clean this up – they just need to want to do it.

    May 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Malik

      They can clean it up huh??? Whats your idea of clean??? You mean they can attempt to clean it up because there is no way they can get it back to the way it was before this disgusting, blundering, idiotic disaster. And they can never bring back to life all of the wildlife and plants that have and will die as a result.

      May 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Concerned

    One thing to note is that they only now attempt to "Top Kill" the well by pumping mud. Every drilling rig on land and sea utilizes mud systems to lubricate and control pressure while drilling, so this system could have been utilized weeks ago to attempt to stop the leak. In my opinion, they waited until now to do it because they were waiting to see if they could somehow get the well under control and keep it producing.

    May 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. harriet fasenfest

    Comments that clean up crew had protective gear on counters a report seen on Democracy Now which I highly suggest readers view (www.democracynow.com) . Fact is, BP told workers (LA fishermen) that they would be fired if they wore respirators. Evidently the issue was one of liability – that wearing them would suggest they BP knew the dispersants were toxic. But I suggest you judge for yourself. The interview was chilling.

    May 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jim elliot

    Where's the surface removal.
    I heard Coastguard nixed the protective sand berms becasue of budget constraints?
    I suspect that BP and the Obama administration are accepting Dich Cheney's opinion that nature will take care of it and the only thing they have to do is control the news and public opinion.
    Wouldn't want the "little piggies to panic"..

    May 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Maurice Raes

    Can you imagine what would have happened if this oil leak had been caused by Venezuela or Mexico.

    May 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
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