June 3rd, 2010
02:22 PM ET

Day 45: Gulf oil disaster updates

[Updated at 10:16 p.m.] Here are the latest developments on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which began when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20:

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

BP on Thursday night was positioning a cap over the top of the blowout preventer, which may dramatically slow the oil leak. Earlier Thursday, BP said it had reached an important milestone in its effort to cap the spill by cutting away the damaged riser pipe atop its ruptured undersea well.

- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has asked BP for an additional $50 million to cover the costs of preparing to protect the state's coastline from the oil spill. BP granted $25 million to Florida last month. In a letter to the president of BP America, Crist writes that Florida already has spent $50 million in protective measures and other preparedness costs.

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED

CLEANUP

- The Obama administration has sent a $69 million bill to BP for the U.S. government's efforts to help deal with the energy company's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, giving the company until July 1 to pay the bill in full. The bill was also sent to Transocean, Anadarko, Moex Offshore and QBE Underwriting.

- BP has spent more than $40 million so far to pay 15,000 of the nearly 32,000 loss-of-income claims filed by area business owners and their workers.

- U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is managing the government's response, called Thursday's cut of the damaged riser pipe a "significant step forward." But even if the well is capped, it remains unclear how much oil will continue leaking through August when a relief well will be in place. BP was unable to make a more precise cut of the pipe that would have assured a tighter seal.

- The beleaguered company began airing national television ads Thursday apologizing for the spill. Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward appears in the ad, saying he is "deeply sorry" and that BP "will make this right."

- In Louisiana, where oily sludge has been fouling coastal marshes for two weeks, state officials said the White House has given its blessing to a plan to dredge up walls of sand offshore.

- The U.S. government has closed fishing in 37 percent of the Gulf because of the massive spill.

POLITICS

- President Obama told CNN's Larry King on Thursday that he is "furious" about the spill but said his job is to fix things instead of just yelling at people.

- President Obama will return to the Louisiana Gulf Coast on Friday "to assess the latest efforts to counter the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill," according to a White House statement.

- A grass-roots campaign dubbed Seize BP planned demonstrations in more than 50 cities starting Thursday.

- BP has hired a Washington-based, bipartisan political consulting firm to produce its new aggressive national advertising push, including a national TV spot released Thursday. Purple Strategies includes veteran political consultants Steve McMahon, a Democrat, and Alex Castellanos, a Republican.

ECONOMY

- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wrote a letter to Obama on Wednesday expressing his concern about the government's moratorium on offshore drilling. The new measure could cause thousands of people to lose their jobs, Jindal said.

- With the help of $25 million from BP, Florida has been running ads trying to emphasize that its beaches and resorts have stayed open and oil-free. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said some of those ads will be re-edited if necessary.

soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. engineer

    To stop the oil: Drill a hole 50 feet deep at a distance of 10 feet from the blowout preventers. Fill the hole with ~200 to 500 pounds of high explosive this will most likely cause the well pipe to close and stop the leak. You can see how it can be done here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuJETgpozOw

    June 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Renee Dotson

    Well, I was born and raised around the oil business. However by no means am I an engineer, geologist,researcher or any of the other thousands of educated persons that are required to do this monumental task. My thoughts are simple; use every resource available in the world...NASA, other large oil companies, other countries and even those "laymen" off the street, the ones commenting on this blog. My father , in the late70's was involved with John Wayne and a couple of other guys developing a Separation and Recovery System that separated oil from water. Initially, it was for ships when returning bilge water back to the sea. The hopes for the future was to also use it in offshore drilling and other places where oil spills could happen. Unfortunately, it was very expensive to build and operate and although the Navy was very interested in the project they never secured the funds to proceed. My father has since passed but always wanted this dream to see reality. my point is; surely there is someone out there with similar ideas. Come on....this is not a national issue...its a world issue! I saw Kevin Costner on television the other night ...only for a few minutes. He presented something similar to the LA governor.... what happened to this story? Come on now CNN, MSNBC , and all other news companies get with it you have the means to help ...call on the world and listen and report!!! And .Obama in one of you nationally aired broadcasts, couldn't you set up a web site that could filter in ideas?? There are many people in the world that have no way to reach officials with their ideas that ..oh my gosh ...could maybe have the answer. Quit laying blame...work to find an answer...they'll be time enough to lay blame later. God Bless all the efforts made thus far and those in the Gulf States directly effected by this environmental disaster. I wonder if anyone from CNN ever really reads these blogs?

    June 3, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. K Lee, Round Rock TX

    It's just a pipe at the bottom of the ocean. Best solution in my opinion would be to run a section of PVC to the surface and capture this oil. I think everyone is overthinking the whole thing.

    June 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Scott Mansfield

    Please!!! for the love of god... please inform BP to lower a giant vaccuum tube that will sit above the leak, and suck this crap up then filter ocean water back into the sea while trapping oil... Since some force or pressure seems to be less, since they made that cut... Gushing through the summer would be catastrophic!

    sales@positivecreations.com

    June 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greg2804

    BP is not trying to stop this leak they are to worried about getting there oil. Super Tankers did a great job cleaning the oil spill off the coast of Russia in 95, but lets not do something that is proven to work, lets do sht the hard way. And to stop the leak, its a freaking pipe cut and clean the broken section and weld on a new peace. How hard could that be.

    June 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PV

    They are not interested stopping the leak.
    Goldman Sachs sold 44% of BP shares PRIOR to this incident and all time record for Sachs with regard to oil.
    BP is heavily invested in alternative technologies.
    The Obama administration's cabinet is filled with Goldman Sachs employees.
    Obama is now heavily pushing carbon taxes and alternative energies that he failed to sell successfully to the public prior to this incident.

    June 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CD

    Wachovia and UBS sold 98% and 97% of their shares of BP in Q1 respectively. Couldn’t be that instead of a giant black-helicopter conspiracy, they just didn’t think it was as good of an investment as something else. Bill Gates actually bought BP stock during Q1 so I guess he’s on the outside of the uber-rich power play. Please...

    June 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Don Finkeldei

    2:00 pm June3,2010 CDT: BP's ROV with a diamond circular saw just cut off the piece of metal that would stop a seal of the Top Hat Containment

    System. They cut the riser pipe above the flange earlier this moring. Things are looking better. Next, the Top Hat Containment placement!!

    I know that we're dependent on oil for a while, but finding different green energy sources has to be done. I'm for green innovations.

    Some suggestions for Governments and Oil Companies:

    1. Require the Oil Industry to set up a test well in deep water (not to the target formation, shallower but deep sea, with no danger from high

    pressure formations), cemented, with conduits for pumping high pressure sea water and possibly non-toxic dye. Then test all scenarios of failures

    and to refine ROV's and equipment to handle it. Also, I've noticed that BP's (and probably the Industry standard) ROV's and equipment is not

    accurate enough to have enough control at deep sea depths to efficiently fix/repair things.

    Don Finkeldei

    June 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PV

    CD,

    I suppose we should remove the word conspiracy from the dictionary since they never appear to exist according to people like you. Thanks for throwing in the black helicoptor comment to make this look crazy. No one will see through that. Yup, anyone who questions or criticizes the fortune 500 and government (obviously) working together is the modern day equivelent of a Jew in Nazi Germany. I'm waiting for my gold star any day now. Everyone gets your tired old formula that you parrot from the establishment, that you think you're a part of. The formula: people working together behind the scenes to profit is impossible therefore, you are an outcast for pointing out. Do you ahve anything new?

    June 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CD

    Conspiracies are not impossible. Nowhere in my simple factual statement did I say that. I just don't believe that most events such as this are. I just find it hard to believe that a) anyone who is already super-rich would think that blowing up a well in the gulf, killing a bunch of people and destroying the environment is a good idea and b) that they could convince a bunch of other super-rich people to go through with the plan. Oh, and let's get the White House involved while we're at it. If you live anywhere near a toll road you probably don't take it for fear that the government is tracking you.

    June 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jan Shevik

    Someone in this world needs to say "UNACCEPTABLE" to BP. here are the leaders and people in power who stand by twiddling their thumbs while our world dies because BP is going to lose money. If this were a parent and they treated their child like BP is treating the Gulf of Mexico someone would be arrested and that child would be taken into protective custody. World powers must unite for this common cause! By August it will be in Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico ... everywhere! Imagine never being able to go to the beach, go surfing, fishing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling again for so long you will be dead or the art will be forgotten! This has gone on way too long with inadequate response to rectify this situation. AUGUST! NOT ACCEPTABLE! If you cannot do better than that then step aside and let someone who does know do the job. If this were in your home do you think you would let a leak of oil or even water go on for 45 days? Absolutely not! Please people of the world who have knowledge step up and make yourself heard and available. Woods Hole, NOAA, NUMA, Navy, Exxon, anybody with engineering expertise please start doing something to stop this travesty! I beg you everyday we delay we are killing our planet. I do not have engineering expertise but my husband calls me his little bulldog. I handle all kinds of unacceptable answers. I will volunteer my services to make BP understand that their answers are unacceptable to all of us and I want it stopped now. I will give you till tomorrow to do something to stop the flow now or I will bring in private contractors to do so. I am unconcerned with what BP may lose in money what you are destroying and we all are losing is priceless.
    And a word to our president, butch up and stand up! Grow a backbone and tell BP their responses and time delays are UNACCEPTABLE!!

    June 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dvotdtohm

    I knew I was right, but still checked calendar. |It is day 44 since the Deepwater Horizon exploded. I ought to know, it was my son in law who died , as one of the 11. Tuesday made 7 weeks..Tues at approx 10 pm. So please correct your date. It is not 45 days. Trust me when I say, we know from the heartbreak how many days it is.
    God bless

    June 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dvotdtohm

    correction...6 weeks...had company come in behind me, and hit wrong button.

    June 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. walterrhett

    Sheer away the sensationalism and shock of the nuclear idea, and left at the core is a real question, : can non-nuclear devices with properly prepared charges to implode the well? What conventional systems are available, and what risks are involved if explosives were to be used?

    The Aegis guidance system that operates in the Arleigh Burke class US Navy destroyers appears to have the guidance capacity to provide pinpoint directed targeting on underwater sites; (extremely important for proper implosion and sealing of the wellhead).

    Conventional payloads would have to be re-configured; this may be the biggest hurdle to using the Navy's Aegis system; payloads may not be available or perhaps cannot be built and installed in time.

    Another drawback is scientists and experts concerns about how the ocean floor will react to an explosion, whether parameters can be established for the "behavior" of the ocean floor under an explosive force.

    The discussions of options to seal the well are driven by choices presented only by BP–yet at the very same time, everyone is critical of the Administration and BP for the failure to offer real leadership and break out of plodding mindsets that endorse a stream of activities judged by the public to be PR spin, duplicitous, or plainly insufficient.

    Finally the use of explosive charges to seal the well is not wild or extreme: we blow buildings and bunkers in peace and war with unflinching accuracy. Boom and the leak stops.

    June 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Dude

    You can thank "Dick" Cheney and other TEABAGGING REPUBLICAN RODENTS for this unprecedented catastrophe of monolithic proportions. The Republicans have been in bed with and sucking the D1CKS of big oil companies for decades....you know, DEREGULATION!!! It's all about "investment interests" and "$$$$" for these hypocritical RIGHT-WING VERMIN, and now the Gulf of Mexico is F#*KED for the next 100 or more years!! Thanks D1CKHEADS!!!

    June 3, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
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