June 9th, 2010
11:26 AM ET

Day 51: Latest oil disaster developments

[Updated at 10:01 p.m. ET] It's Day 51 of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Here are the latest developments on the oil disaster, which unfolded after the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20:

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar defended the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, which has come under fire from critics who argue that the drilling is vital for reducing the dependence on foreign oil.

- Federal agencies responsible for monitoring the toll to wildlife reported Wednesday that 442 oiled birds have been collected alive; 633 were dead. The report said 50 sea turtles have been collected alive; 272 were dead.

- Government scientists estimate that the spill's flow rate after last week's cut of the well's riser pipe increased by 4 to 5 percent. That's well below an increase of as much as 20 percent that administration officials had indicated could happen.

- States are tracking the disaster's health impact, including respiratory and skin irritation problems in Louisiana and Alabama, health officials said.

- BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles denied Wednesday that BP has ordered cleanup workers not to talk to reporters.

- Federal authorities gave BP until Friday to come up with a contingency plan for collecting gushing oil. In a letter written Tuesday to BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, the government instructed the company to submit redundancy plans in the event of operation failures or severe weather that could disrupt the continuous recovery of oil.

CLEANUP

- BP said Wednesday that it has collected about 57,500 barrels (2.4 million gallons) of oil since it placed a containment cap on its ruptured well.

- A second ship, the Massachusetts, started transferring crude oil Wednesday from the Discoverer Enterprise, which has been collecting the oil pumped up from the well cap, BP said.

- Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Wednesday that slightly more than 15,000 barrels of oil - more than 630,000 gallons - were recovered from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico in the 24-hour period ending Tuesday at midnight. A BP spokesman placed the total figure at 15,006 barrels.

- In addition to the letter to Suttles, Allen wrote to BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward asking for the development of better redundancies in the company's short- and long-term containment plans.

-The letter to Hayward also highlights concerns over BP's ability to effectively process damage claims associated with the Gulf disaster.

ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

- BP provided more insight into its claims process Tuesday, saying that as of Monday, it has paid nearly $49 million to individuals and businesses affected by the spill. The company also said it expects to issue a second round of payments this month to cover anticipated lost income or profits, bringing the total it has paid to about $84 million.

- Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said Tuesday that he was frustrated with BP's reimbursement process, announcing that he will send National Guard troops and emergency management workers into affected communities to help residents with the preparation of claims forms.

POLITICS

- The oil disaster took center stage on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as House and Senate panels tackled issues ranging from safety to cleanup to liability.

- President Obama will make another visit to the Gulf Coast next week to review efforts to contain and clean up the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the White House announced Tuesday.

- BP's Hayward has been asked to appear at a hearing June 17 before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

- Norway has suspended issuing deepwater drilling licenses until it has more information on the BP oil disaster, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

- Advocacy groups are planning a nationwide vigil for later this month. Hands Across the Sand and Sierra Club leaders announced Wednesday a "National Day of Action" for June 26. The groups said it could be "the largest gathering ever of Americans against offshore drilling."

- In a letter to rig owner Transocean released Tuesday, Rep. Nick Rahall, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, raised concerns about staffing shortages aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig on the day of the explosion, citing daily drilling reports provided by the company. Rahall, D-West Virginia, requested additional information in the letter.

- Top congressional Democrats renewed their push Wednesday for legislation that would remove all oil spill liability caps - a move some Republicans warn will lead to stronger monopolies in the energy sector while increasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil sources. "If you or I ... got into an accident that we caused, [we'd be] responsible for all the damages," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "There would be "no caps in that case, and there should be no caps in this case."

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Allen C. Morse III

    There might be another consequence of this oil disaster that is not yet being considered: METHANE GAS IN THE ATMOSPHERE! Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than is Carbon Dioxide. If it is pooled in the atmosphere in the local area of the Gulf, temperatures could RISE significantly! Heat is the fuel for hurricanes! We could be looking at a category 3 storm becoming a category 5 storm when it runs into one of these "heat pockets". One or more of these in the Gulf could wreak total havoc, sending the contamination from the shoreline literally miles inland! Not to mention the shear force of destruction a category 5 hurricane can cause! This whole mess is far worse than I think many of you realize. The damage will remain for at least a decade if not more. I hate to say it, but those poor fisherman's livelihood has been utterly destroyed for years to come. It will be very lucky if any sea life survives at all! I hope this silences those "drill baby drill" maniacs out there. If anything, we need to stop drilling altogether! I intend to not purchase gasoline or any product made by British Petroleum for the rest of my life. I would also urge the Federal and any state government to cancel all contracts with British Petroleum in spite of the hardship it may cause. There has to be consequences for what has happened and BP should be made to lose as much money as they possibly can. It must be made excruciatingly painful for them so that they and their price fixing American counterparts never let anything like this ever happen again!

    June 9, 2010 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
    • BreakingNewsBlog.us

      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      READ THIS AMAZING SCOOP ABOUT HOW BP WOULD BEEN ABLE TO STOP THE OIL SPILL FROM THE EARLY DAYS !!!
      .
      http://bit.ly/c8y9GX
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .

      June 9, 2010 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyle Lee

      I am just vexed by this entire situation. How could you begin drilling underwater in the first place without some sort of safety back up plan? I am sickened by the fact that we could simply use oil eating microbes to clean that mess up before and/or after the subterranean oil geyser is contained. Sickening that we live in a world today where apparently BP cares more about gathering the oil and collecting the money rather than take the hit and clean up the gulf with the oil eating microbes. Did anyone ever stop for a second and think "hmm, maybe the oil below the crust is supposed to be there as natures/Earth's natural lubrication for tectonic plate shifts?" I did. I guess we're in for some more devastating earthquakes to come. Vexes me to the umpth degree.

      http://www.wimp.com/spillsolution/

      June 9, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      I just want to say that all of BP's physical assets should be divided between other major oil companies, and all monetary assets divided between all the families who lost loved ones out there and all who suffer LEGITIMATE financial loss, (which should be determined by comparing income from last year as opposed to this years). And then to the cost of clean up, anything left should go toward colleges and universities to do research related to energy. BP's top management and those directly involved with this disaster should be jailed. There should be no more BP, period, those who are innocent employees should be absorbed into other oil companies along with the physical assets.
      The damage that has been caused by them will go on for decades.

      June 9, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Trash

      coo-koo

      June 9, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. alberto salinas

    Why don't you slip a pipe with an open shut off valve over the existing leaking pipe, weld them together then shut the valve off stopping the leak all together? If you don't know
    what I mean, call me and I will show you.

    AT THE RATE THE OIL IS SPILLING, HOW MANY DAYS WILL IT TAKE TO SPILL ONE MILLION BARRELS, 10 MILLION BARRELS? IF BP AND OIL COMPANIES DO NOT HAVE A WAY TO PREVENT OR STOP SUCH INCIDENTS FROM OCCURRING, THEY HAVE NO BUSINESS IN TAKING SUCH RISKS PLACING THE WELFARE OF EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE AT BAY.

    June 9, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • retired driller

      retired driller June 7th, 2010 12:20 pm ET

      "Lets call in the Military"
      What do you want them to do...shoot at it?
      "Junk Shot"
      Now What? start throwing old refrigerators at it?
      The problem is..When you run a well "full bore" as it is currently running, the B,O.P. has become worthless..all the valve trims have been washed out (sand blasted if you will) from Boxite, Interprop and sand from the pressures and volumes that are on the well-head.
      The zones that have been perforated and fractured will continue to flow until a relief well is drilled into the well caseing, if it still exists, above the perforations, and a "Completion Rig" is called in to cement the hole.
      Any attempt to try to "stop it from above" will be an excersize in futility.
      Remember, we are dealing with a 22" diameter pipe, flowing from a number of ditterent zones. Also, there is not just one hole in the ground there are several, the riser pipe is just a delivery system for the numerous strands. What BP calls "vent pipes" are the strands around and below the riser. THIS is where the oil is comming from..The Strands..remember the riser is JUST A DELIVERY SYSTEM.
      With "head pressures of 6-10k and flow rates of 10-15k B.P.D. attempting to insert or surround the well is like trying to shove a wet noodle into a brick wall.
      Capture some of it? Maybe, 10-15% at best.
      Nothing will change until the relief wells have been drilled and a Completion Rig is called in to cement it shut, providing there has not been an under ground blow-out, which I suspect is the culprit.
      Clean-up?
      With the amount that has been spilled, and the amount that continues to come out, its equivelent to trying to sop up a bucket of gravy with a biscuit.
      Sorry

      June 9, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • just me

      thanks for that insight driller – a little more honesty from bp would help

      June 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • DyronB

      if increasing flow estimates are proven to be accurate, and the most substantial flow initially occurs in the begining- when the pressure is the greatest, then 50,000 barrels per day times 51 days (as of 6.8.10) equals 2.55 million barrels... and multiple that by 42 to get the gallons. Rediculous.

      June 9, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Christopher L. Morkel Jr.

    Money, money, money, cash, cash, cash.... oh more money and more cash... and just a little more money and cash... and a tiny bit more money and cash... that is the way of life of a society built upon ideals of commercialism... who gives a hoot about anyone's livelihood or the environment as longs as money and cash keep flowing 🙂

    June 9, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Christopher L. Morkel Jr.

    Money, money, money, cash, cash, cash.... oh more money and more cash... and just a little more money and cash... and a tiny bit more money and cash... that is the way of life of a society built upon ideals of commercialism/capitalism... who gives a hoot about anyone's livelihood or the environment as longs as money and cash keep flowing 🙂

    June 9, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve Real

    The US Supreme Court will give all advantage,
    in litigation, in favour to British Petroleum
    and overturn any and all compensation package
    on a large scale to Louisiana, Alabam, Mississippi and Florida.
    Conservatives voted for the US Supreme Court in favour of business
    and not for the little guys.
    So get used to living with your tar filled beaches
    for the rest of your lives, your childrens lives
    and their children's childrens lives
    just like Alaska has to live with the US Supreme Court overturning
    their just outcome.

    June 9, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • red

      Sadly I think you are going to be proven right in your prediction. I can see it now in 5 years Rush and the Fox crew will be shouting about how those 'lazy people on the Gulf Coast' who can't seem to find work are just taking money from Uncle Sam and poor old BP so they don't have to work. I doubt any claims will be settled for the next 5-10 years. Some will take even longer.

      June 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jennifer Rubio

    I have been staying at my gulf-front condo in Pensacola Beach, Fl for almost a week. I saw the first sighting of oil globs washing up on Thursday of last week. Yesterday, we saw many crews of BP "workers" on the beach relaxing under tents. Some friends went to talk to them and were asked to, "Please step away from the tent. We can not discuss anything or answer questions".

    There were probably 10 workers and they were to work one hour on and one off. We were on the beach for at least three hours, and of these three hours we saw only four out of the ten do ANY kind of work. The remaining six were smoking and just chatting.

    Sad.

    June 9, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • All American!

      Why does that not surprise me......

      June 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. retired driller

    I hear this morning that there may have been a underground blow-out.
    If this has happened, the concrete job around the caseing, the caseing, and probablly the packers are gone.
    Worst part is, now the relief wells that a currrently being drilled have no caseing to drill into to concrete the well shut.
    If there has been a blow-out, you can say goodbye to August and look more toward Christmas or more before this is brought und control.......notice I said under control...not stopped.
    The original perforations, and fractures that were done to produce the well have collapsed the rock formation (where the oil is comming from) and distorted it.
    Now you'll have oil seeping up to the surface in a hundred different places...all around the well.
    NOW you have a well that is truely "Out of Control."
    If we think that things are bad now, and there has been an underground blow-out......
    God help us all.

    June 9, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • red

      Glad to see someone who understands drilling posting here. With all the cooks out there posting rants and asking stupid questions no one can answer it is good to know what may be going on below ground. I understand the oil reservoir is 31,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf and only 5,000 feet of that is water. That leaves 26,000 feet of mud and rock on top. If as you predict fissures in the rock will eventually begin to seep oil into the mud layer above. The mud will then slowly absorb the oil and pressure from below will push more and more upward. Eventually the oil in the mud will reach the seabed and begin to leak into the water. That is scary. I read somewhere that they thought there may be as much as 5 billion barrels of oil in the reservoir. That is not gallons but barrels.

      June 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trash

      sigh

      June 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. beeri

    Great article, Anderson!

    But it's sad to see you wasting away making small talk with other female CNN hosts on a regular basis.

    You should do more storiess like this.

    June 9, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tim Mack

    Kiss – Stop the leak! Keep it simple stupid

    1- Stick a smaller pipe in to the well casing with a heavy gauge inflatable bladder.
    2- Fill the bladder with compressed air or hydraulic solution to temporally stop or slow the leak.
    3- Fill the pipe with cement to cap.

    Why you use mud and golf balls that will be pushed back out by the crude oil pressure I will never know.

    Tim Mack

    June 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trash

      you have no idea

      June 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      Your bladder would be shot off the end of the pipe so fast due to the pressure in the pipe. First off you would have to fight the pressure of 5,000 feet of water on the surface of your bladder while you try to inflate it. Then the pressure in the pipe would be too great to overcome. How will you even hold the bladder in place?

      June 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • retired driller

      retired driller June 7th, 2010 12:20 pm ET

      "Lets call in the Military"
      What do you want them to do...shoot at it?
      "Junk Shot"
      Now What? start throwing old refrigerators at it?
      The problem is..When you run a well "full bore" as it is currently running, the B,O.P. has become worthless..all the valve trims have been washed out (sand blasted if you will) from Boxite, Interprop and sand from the pressures and volumes that are on the well-head.
      The zones that have been perforated and fractured will continue to flow until a relief well is drilled into the well caseing, above the perforations, and a "Completion Rig" is called in to cement the hole.
      Any attempt to try to "stop it from above" ie put someting in the riser, putting something over it, or lowering a "pipe around it" will be an excersize in futility.
      Lower a pipe around it??? Lets see...I want to see the crane that is able to hold a piece of pipe over a mile long. This figures to be hundreds of thousands of tons.
      Remember, we are dealing with a 22" diameter pipe, flowing from a number of ditterent zones, Also, there is not just one hole in the ground there are several, the riser pipe is just a delivery system for the numerous strands. What BP calls "vent pipes" are the strands around and below the riser. THIS is where the oil is comming from..The Strands..remember the riser is JUST A DELIVERY SYSTEM.
      With "head pressures of 6-10k and flow rates of 10-15k B.P.D. is like trying to shove a wet noodle into a brick wall.
      Capture some of it? Maybe, 10-15% at best.
      Nothing will change until the relief wells have been drilled and a Completion Rig is called in to cement it shut, providing there still is a caseing to drill into.
      Clean-up?
      With the amount that has been spilled, and the amount that continues to come out, its equivelent to trying to sop up a bucket of gravy with a biscuit.
      Sorry

      June 10, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. doncinvegas

    I don't understand why we can't build a sectioned large pipe,, about the size large swimming pool, but slightly smaller, it could be constructed on a large barge with a hole in the middle and as each section was added, slowly lowered towards the spill, when it nears the spill, it could be capped with a large pipeline to load oil tankers, this is a slow but sure way to end this, and would take a large amount of resources, but we built the Hover Dam didn't we?

    June 9, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trash

      really? really? ROFLMFAO

      June 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      Yeah the government contracted someone to build the Hoover Dam (which guy are you in those old movie reels they show on PBS?). We are asking a corporation to fix this mess.

      June 9, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Surya

    It looks like politicians are not going to sleep until BP is bankrupt. Their actions/inactions will impact future investments in oil sector. When gas prices reach $5 per gallon at the pump, US will have no where to go but MidEast for supplies, a dependency everyone wants to avoid.
    I am sympathetic with people in gulf region who lost/loosing their livelyhood. BP should pay for it. But I think Politicians are pushing very hard and in all directions.

    June 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Roy Gandy

    The President needs to put the U.S. Navy in charge and forget about preserving or collecting oil, but close it off completely with a modified white phosphorus explosive charge that will melt metal over the hole. It should not be a business decision on what is best to stop it, but just to stop it.

    June 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trash

      wow, that is just... idiotic

      June 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. All American!

    I would like charges brought against BP. I want to see the people responsible for this blowout sent to prison.

    June 9, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trash

      that will totally help stop the leak.

      June 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • red

      Don't hold your breath and stop stomping your feet. they just might get around to that in about 15 years when all the legal claims are done.

      June 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • MR Spore

      Did not the Supreme court just put cooperation's on the same footing as human beings? If they now have the same rights as people, then the liabilities should match as well.

      June 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. theonly1

    There are other factors which are not being considered. For example, everybody is focused on the oily or non-water soluble part of this. Where are all the volatiles going? Are they being dissolved into the ocean water? This is more dangerous than the non-water soluble part–the oil. Another thing is we are comparing this a lot to the accident in Mexico, but this is worse because the well in Mexico was not so deep, Just 168 ft vs 5000ft here. So the volatiles have plenty of time to escape into the ocean. Furthermore, the great depths make it a lot harder to do work. There is no comparison this is WAY worse than what ever has happened before.

    June 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Wagner Lip

    Why BP or other scientific group doesn't explain why some ideas won't work, so people stop given silly suggestions?
    I read all kinds of suggestions, some are really good, but what gives reason to keep posting, if BP doens't acknoledge it and doesn't comment about it ? Why for example not install a very large tent or funnel over the site and conduct oil flow naturally to a large pool on the surface, where ships could suck it from the pool? Why it won't work? Why we keep watching thousands of gallons leaking day by day and nobody does nothing about it? What helps clean oil from birds if more and more oil keep leaking? Come on, wake up. Fullel that leanking oil and collect on surface. Why not? Remember, excuses don't solve the problem, actions do.

    June 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
1 2