June 11th, 2010
09:07 PM ET

Day 53: Latest developments on the Gulf oil disaster

[Updated at 9:07 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:

LATEST NEWS

- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused BP of having "misrepresented what their technology could do." 
 
- Oil giant BP gets support from billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "The guy that runs BP didn't exactly go down there and blow up the well," he told a radio program. 
 
- 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. 
 
- More than 25,000 contractors, volunteers and members of the military were involved on the ground, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. 
 
- As early as Monday, BP plans to deploy a secondary 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 take an additional 5,000 to 10,000
barrels per day. 
 
- A delegation of U.S. senators traveled Friday to the heart of coastal Louisiana to assess the damage. "Until you see if first-hand, until you really smell it, get a sense of it, you can't understand it fully," said Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana. 

- An Obama adviser brushed off assertions Friday that the government had not prepared for a disaster of such magnitude. 

- If the latest estimate of 1.7 million gallons of oil spewing per day is correct, that would mean 90.1 million gallons have spewed in the 53 days since the rig exploded. That's more than eight times the amount spilled by the supertanker Exxon Valdez in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989.

- The U.S. government has spent about $140 million in cleaning up the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Adm. Thad Allen, the government's response manager, said Friday. He said federal authorities plan to keep "pouring in assets."

- Federal authorities are considering BP's proposals for increased oil collection rates and back-up plans and will make a determination later Friday on whether they are acceptable, said Adm. Thad Allen, the government's Gulf of Mexico disaster response manager. BP had been given 72 hours to deliver its plans.

- British Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss BP when he speaks by phone with U.S. President Barack Obama this weekend, Cameron's office at Downing Street said Friday. The phone call follows concern about anti-British rhetoric from Obama and others in America about BP's role in the disaster.

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED CLEANUP

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

- Oil in Gulf marshlands could turn them into open water and impact millions of migratory birds for generations, Tom Moorman, the
senior science official and leader of the oil spill task force for Ducks Unlimited said Friday.

- The flow of oil from the broken pipe in the Gulf of Mexico, before an insertion tube was placed inside and before it was cut on June 3, was estimated to be from 20,000 barrels per day to twice that figure, a federal scientist said Thursday.

- Scientists want BP to allow more accurate flow measurement equipment to go down to the leak site when the company switches out the containment cap. Current estimates are made visually by studying video from the site.

- BP will begin testing a second rig-based system to catch oil this weekend. It would catch an extra 10,000 barrels a day, bringing daily total recovery capacity to 28,000 barrels, said Ken Wells, BP's senior vice president for exploration and production.

- Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, told the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety that investigators are finding a lack of compliance during inspections of refineries.

- The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, experts said Thursday, highlights flaws in the blowout preventer, which is supposed to shut down an oil and gas well if something goes wrong.

- Federal agencies responsible for monitoring the toll to wildlife reported Thursday that 473 oiled birds have been collected alive; 658 were dead. The report said 52 sea turtles have been collected alive; 279 were dead.

- BP has collected about 73,300 barrels (about 3 million gallons) of oil since it placed a containment cap on its ruptured well, the company said.

- The collected oil was transferred from the drilling ship Discover Enterprise to a second ship, the Massachusetts, BP said. The Massachusetts will transport the oil for discharge at an onshore terminal.

- Federal and local officials complained at a key Senate governmental affairs subcommittee urged the establishment of a clearer command-and-control system to accelerate the decision-making process and the creation of a more definitive chain of accountability.

- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts alongshore currents becoming more westward over the next few days. That should prevent the oil from moving east. But the agency said that coastal regions between Horn Island, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, may continue to see oil come ashore on beaches. To the west of the Mississippi Delta, oil still floating on the ocean could come ashore between Timbalier Bay and Southwest Pass.

- Images of oil-soaked birds and turtles have prompted a surge in people wanting to volunteer to help in the cleanup and rehabilitation process, said Anna Keene, programs director at the conservation group Alabama Coastal Foundation.

ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

- Lots of questions have swirled around whether BP would be the only party legally responsible for the oil spill - and many readers had questions wanting to know exactly who owns the spilled oil. Fortune reports on the latest legal ramifications - including that BP won't be the only one legally exposed when this is all over.

- Transocean, the world's largest offshore drilling company, has invoked a 19th-century American law to limit its liability to $26.76 million, a fraction of what the plaintiffs are likely to seek.

- BP announced $25 million grants to Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

- Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum asked BP on Thursday to deposit $2.5 billion into an interest-earning escrow account so the state can be assured of its availability over the long-term recovery period.

- BP has pledged to speed up its payment of claims to businesses affected by the oil disaster, said Tracy Wareing, a Federal Emergency Management Agency adviser to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

POLITICS

- A Louisiana parish leader who was shown around the world last week alongside President Obama as he visited the Gulf coast now tells CNN "we are being used" by the White House to promote its energy agenda. "I think he has an agenda," LaFource Parish President Charlotte Randolph said in an interview Thursday. "And this is certainly working into his agenda. Right now we are the poster children for alternative energy. He can point to us and say this is why we need to move on to alternative energy."

- President Barack Obama will meet Wednesday with BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg at the White House, a senior White House official told CNN Thursday.

- Responsibility is a key question for families of the 11 oil rig workers who were killed and the 15 others who were injured in the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. Many of them, who met Thursday with Obama, are suing BP and Transocean, the Swiss-based company that owns the drilling rig.

- The Obama administration won't reconsider its moratorium on deepwater oil drilling "without knowing exactly what happened" to cause the oil disaster, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

- Some of the rig victims' families and Gulf politicians have objected to the moratorium.

- Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, blasted BP on Thursday for failing to attend her subcommittee's hearing on oil and gas worker safety.

- House Republican leader John Boehner mocked Congress on Thursday for holding multiple hearings on the disaster before experts have figured out how to stop the undersea gusher. He sarcastically called the packed hearing schedule "Congress at its best."

- 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.

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

- Advocacy groups are planning a nationwide vigil this month.

- Experts disagree over whether oil-soaked birds should be cleaned, with one saying only about 1 percent survive.

- Work continued on the effort to drill a relief well 16,000 to 18,000 feet below the seafloor, described as the only surefire way to stop the oil from spewing into the Gulf. As of Thursday, BP said the drill for this relief well has reached 13,978 feet.

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. damiao

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com Many thanks to CNN"s readers for visit my website blog, continue to do so, and help to spread this idea overseas, many thanks also people from different countries, in particular from USA and many others.

    June 11, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • BreakingNewsBlog.us

      -
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      READ THIS AMAZING SCOOP ABOUT HOW BP WOULD BEEN ABLE TO STOP THE OIL SPILL FROM THE EARLY DAYS !!!
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      ARTICLE and VIDEO that shows the BP tool, here: http://bit.ly/c8y9GX
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      WHY the Press hasn't seen it in the BP video??? WHY the Press STILL don't talks about that??? is BP so powerful???
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      June 11, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Harold Anderson

    CNN please investigate the fact that maybe BP could plug the leak, but they are not pluging it because they would loose all future profits from the oil well.

    Could they be stalling and not closing the Oil well for future profits from the oil well. Maybe in reality they could close it right now.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Question

      Harold, are you saying that they are stalling for future profits, or that they are stalling for future profits?

      June 11, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      are you kidding? do you realize how much they're losing by it leaking? $60B has been wiped out of their market cap

      June 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You crazy? Have you read ANYTHING at all on this article or are you just posting stupid things on the comments? BP spent $1.4 billion while the US gov only spent $140 million. BP is asked to set aside $2 billion, while paying grants to the states that were heavily affected by the oil leak. They lost more than 4 million gallons of oil along with other traces of natural gas, which is in simpler terms translated into energy (which is $$$), AND they paid for the fixing of the oil well/environmental aid/oil leak clean up and further contamination. How will they make profit from this at ALL? I can imagine BP going through crisis right now. First, if they make fortunes out of this disaster (as much as I hate to say it) it's better for those who got screwed in this incident because then more money would go to them.

      People look at BP like they are some monsters now... They are all human beings working at a job. That's all there is to it. Don't you think they themselves look at this? When they look at this, they think and feel the same exact thing EVERYONE feels. "Wow we f'd up." and "Looks like we will get sued/broke/etc." I love it when people who think they are intelligent makes such an unintelligent, ignorant assumptions of other people they do not know at all.

      I personally wish corporal punishment or serious trials are given to those responsible. But mostly, this was an accident. It wasn't some elaborate scheme to put the entire planet at risk for a few extra bucks. I don't know how your mind works but you need to study a lot more if me, a 19 year old U.S. residence, has been predicting every single thing that has happened in this article; while you're babbling about some profit making scheme...?

      June 12, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I'm sorry, in my previous post I made a mistake in leaving out one word.

      -They lost 4 million gallons of oil EVERYDAY.

      June 12, 2010 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • dcsos

      They absolutely won't close it because once they do, the Gov't will never let them open it again!
      They figgure, not that its leaking, get their paychecks and blow this joint...all St. all over again.....

      June 12, 2010 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. DddUnit

    Lets see how well prayer fixes a problem like this.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Agreed. People can hope, but hope is nothing in face of perseverance. Instead of doing something that won't change anything (ie. protesting, praying, talking about it) why don't we all get involved in cleaning up mistakes of mankind? After all, we are all responsible in the sense that oil is in high demands. We all own cars don't we? We all use electricity? We all have plastic in our house? Phones? Any form of heat/energy? Toothpaste/brush? Yup, all essentially made from oil.

      June 12, 2010 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill from Greensboro

    The media need to use the same units of measure when reporting on the spill. When the volume leaking into the Gulf is referred to, it is reported in barrels. When BP reports the amount they are recovering, they report it in gallons to make the volume sound larger. Very disingenuous. Units need to agree in all media reports. Doesn't matter which units are used as long as they agree.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Craig N. Barthelmas

    Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 23 Dec.1814, this is our oil spill contingency plan that has a proven extraction process. If, British Petroleum’s hired goons stop our authorized 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 hell

    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!

    Note: This has turned into a new BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS because U.S. Government PRO-ACTIVE = RE-ACTIVE.

    We posted a PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 10 May 2010, this was a post oil spill contingency plan that had three proven Oil extraction processes and a patented Hydro-Carbon (emissions free) recycling technology. We could not seem to get through BP’s red tape fast enough to help anyone because, we believe BP prefers it that way.

    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 their 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 oil spills that they can’t control or, that won’t go back into their own pockets. These privet / political delays cannot continue! Please Mr. President, put someone, anyone, in charge!
    To this date, BP has not plugged the oil well, contained the oil spill or moved quickly enough to approve state contingency plans, to keep oil off our shores. BP needs to plug their dam**d hole and pay for oil containment and clean-up operations.

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

    June 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff C.

    What BP needs to try is to get a tight fitting tube with a hydraulic activator/cover that can be activated to close after the tight fitting tube has been "welded" into place, then weld the the top cover.

    June 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Keith Walley, SGT, US Army

    Hello My name is Keith Walley, I'm a SGT in the US Army stationed in Fort Stewart Ga. Ive watched many news and political shows covering this oil spill. These people brought up many good points about things that could be getting done, things that we have the ability to get done but are not taking enough action. They talk about the "Chain of Command" being broken and ineffective. I personally feel like getting my gear, getting into my car and driving to the coast to do what ever I can to help, I don't care if i have to Dip a %$#king napkin in the oil one by one to clean this up. But my point is 4Th Brigade here at Ft Stewart is close to an upcoming deployment, How come we cant be activated into action on this disaster? I mean there are thousands of soldiers here that could be on the coast taking action with a well implemented Chain of Command, With a hard working backbone. People don't realize how serious this is. This is already effecting more people then 911 WTC attacks. The 911 attacks are what made me join the military shortly after graduating HS. I feel a though this is a far more damaging disaster, An "Attack" from the the "Oil Terrorists" Why aren't we taking action on a national scale. There are hundreds of thousands of able working people military and civilian that could be there doing something. This situation is the absolute worst situation we have EVER came into as a nation and on a global scale. How come people aren't being broadcast on EVERY SINGLE channel. Back 40-50 years ago this kind of situation would be broadcast on Every channel, Every radio station, every publicly available TV or sound system. DO IT NOW, people aren't realizing how serious this situation is. This can PERMANENTLY DESTROY TENS OF THOUSANDS of peoples lives for generations to come. This is like a nuke being dropped onto the gulf coast. There are entire ways of life, entire "cultures" that will be destroyed forever,possibly, There needs to be Alot more serious action taken from every single person that can help. Forget how much it cost, who has to pay or any of these things. Get these barges, these sand bars, these booms that are just sitting doing nothing in warehouses or in places where there aren't doing anything and get them into action. Who ever needs to pull there head out of you know where needs to get it out and get into action. OPEN your eyes and realize this will effect more lives and more people, more wildlife, more Eco system then both of our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. FAR more. Lets realize what is going on is the most serious issue in the WORLD at this point. Lets GO. If nobody wants to be in charge and get things get done. I will do it. Put me up there and let me tell these CEOs and whoever needs to hear it, that we need to take ALL AVAILABLE actions possible. I will take personal action if needed, I know from what these very intelligent people are saying, that if certain actions aren't taken then terrifying and permanent problems will arise. I'm not a very smart person, I don't know anything about oil clean-up or well drilling or any of these things. But there are people who do, and some of these people haven't been heard. They have been ignored because there's a "55%-45%" split of who's in charge. WHAT THE *$@)!! Put one person in charge, Take action and GET THE OIL UP ANYWAY YOU CAN, We are appx. 50 Days to hurricane season. Do you think for some reason that these hurricanes will just stop because the oil is there? NO THEY WILL BE WORSE. I understand that stopping it completely is a high priority, but if this isn't being cleaned up FASTER then the leak, then it will be FAR FAR FAR!!! more disastrous then it would be if we had already taking action. Large pelican population would have been saved already if there would have been an approval for a sand bar around this island. Hurry up. Lets go. We need Every single person Civilian, military and internationally that can be there helping to be there helping. This is our nation, if we don't protect it then who will. Nobody is going to play the US's role that we would do if this was a disaster somewhere else. I feel cold, that if this was somewhere else in the world that we would have already taken more action. These are sad times, and nobody seems to care. Forget who's to blame, Get over it. do you think that if I was in a combat zone and there was a situation where thousands of soldiers would be killed unless these easy to approve protective measures were put in place, that we wouldn't have approved it?? NO, No way it would have been done, approved and set in place immediately. Look at it this way America. We are all soldiers, the oil are the terrorists, and thousands or people will be "killed" if this action isn't taken. In the Army as an Non-Commissioned Officer, we have a creed, and the last part of the creed says "I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Non-commissioned Officers, leaders!" And Leaders are what is needed on ground and on the water in the gulf coast.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry Maguire

      Keith,

      You had me at hello.
      You...had...me...at..hello...

      June 11, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. UB

    If the media would use as much energy in helping the clean up process insteal of telling me hpw bad this situation is we would be better off.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris Rich

    That is what I have been saying- we are first on the scene in Haiti but last on the scene in New Orleans or our own Gulf- I do not understand- we have the manpower and the brainpower. What is our think tank doing these days? Our best scientists, engineers and physicists? And the military manpower- is this not a disaster of epic proportions???

    June 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tonjah Andrews

    I am by no means an expert on off-shore drilling but I think I have a solution to stopping the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Why doesn't BP remove the wellhead and then cap the well off? It would be similar to the process they use for decommissioned off-shore wells. It is my understanding that the oil is pressurized by the wellhead to bring it to the surface. I realize that oil will continue to flow into the Gulf but in might reduce the rate in which it is flowing and allow for easier capping which would stop the flow altogether. Just an idea from Wyoming!

    June 11, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jane Doe

    To answer your question Chris, in my opinion I think our government views the world like a giant high school. Being in this country together makes us all one big family. Now I know it's not the same for all teenagers, but for most of us at that age, we cared about how other people preceived us more so then about how our family saw us. I think this is why we are always almost the first to help when we see another country sufferring and the last to help ourselves. It matters to our government how the world views the US. We as the American people just foot the bill for it. I've always been under the understanding that you have to be able to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lou Ann Kirby

    God help us all. What have we done? The enormity of this catastrophe is still beyond our comprehension. Yet, the true cause is blindingly clear. BP and our government are not solely to blame. Our demand for more has created a nation of greed and opulence. Our apathy has allowed big business and government to run unchecked, creating a nation where corruption and gluttony is thought to be good business. Years of our individual indifference and unwillingness to demand these people conduct themselves with integrity is the true cause of this disaster, and we will all share in paying the price. This is one time our need for immediate gratification cannot be satisfied. The reality is that we can only hope to minimize the devastation because it can never be undone. Like it or not, our nation and our lives have already been changed forever. Even so, what we can do is make this a monumental moment in history for more than one reason. We can make this tragedy the catalyst for every American to become accountable for themselves, to stop blaming everyone else for our inadequacies and turn our frustration into vigilant supervision of those of power. Together, we have the power to make this the time when we, as Americans, regain our humanity.

    June 11, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TodaysDailyRant

    BP = Buttertooth Petroleum!!!

    Darn Buttertooth MoFo’s! OUR gulf is starting to look as bad as YOUR teeth!

    Follow me to TodaysDailyRant to post anything on your mind! A free bolg to discuss anything and everything!

    June 11, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    BP is not taking appropriate steps, our government is not taking appropriate steps. Our economy is in the crapper and now this is taking more jobs away. And lets face it, the Gulf has been the U.S. dumping grounds for years why not let the Brits do it as well? Get a life Congress and Senate, you answer to the people and the people have spoken! Why have you not acted? Oh that's right! The Big Oil Companies have been lining your pockets for years. Far be it for an average citizen to complain when we lose our jobs but your wallets continue to overflow. Do you really think we are that stupid as to not see what is going on? Get a life and give us ours back!

    June 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Peggy

    According to Raven and Berg, “The citizens of highly developed nations often seem to assume implicitly that overall prosperity is a result of science and technology, and that the environment will take care of itself. If we are to improve the world situation, we must radically change our view of the world and adopt new ways of thinking, or we will perish together” (p. 594). These new ways of thinking should start with ethics, team concepts, critical thinking, common sense, and communication.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
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