June 18th, 2010
09:41 PM ET

Day 60: Gulf oil disaster developments

[Updated at 9:30 p.m.]
Here are the latest developments on the oil disaster in the
Gulf of Mexico, which unfolded after an explosion aboard the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon on April 20:

NEW

- The chief of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Friday that the oil spill in the Gulf was the "the direct result of BP's reckless decisions and actions" and, as such, BP should continue to pay all legitimate claims. BP was the company's partner in the drilling of the well.

- In response, BP said it "strongly disagrees with these allegations" and reiterated its pledge to clean up the Gulf and pay all legitimate claims related to the spill.

- The Department of the Interior on Friday ordered oil and gas companies to submit information addressing the possibility of a well blowout and detailing the steps they are taking to prevent a blowout whenever they file for a drilling permit, exploration plan, or development plan.

- Environmental groups say that Ray Mabus, the man tapped by President Obama to formulate a Gulf Coast Restoration Plan, should give up his current post of Navy Secretary to focus on the Gulf full time.

- White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNN that Mabus had the ability to carry out both jobs.

CLEANUP

Approximately 25,000 barrels of oil - slightly more than 1 million gallons - were collected from the well in the 24-hour period ending at midnight Thursday, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told reporters Friday. The total represents an increase of nearly 6,700 barrels - or roughly 281,000 gallons - compared with Wednesday's tally. Federal officials anticipate a total collection capacity of up to 80,000 barrels per day by July.

- The drilling of two relief wells has reached depths of 10,677 and 4,662 feet below the sea floor, but they are not expected to be completed until August, according to Allen.

- The latest wildlife report said 665 visibly oiled birds were recovered alive this week - 161 more than last week. Two hundred twelve visibly oiled birds were found dead - 85 more than last week. Seventy-five visibly oiled sea turtles were collected alive - 40 more than last week. Eight visibly oiled sea turtles were collected dead - one more than last week.

- Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is demanding to know if BP knew the Deepwater Horizon well could be gushing as much as 60,000 barrels of oil a day, and failed to inform the public. A team of government and independent scientists announced Tuesday that the flow rate might be as high as 60,000 barrels a day, but Grassley believes BP may have known sooner. An undated BP document provided to the senator says "an absolute worst case flow rate of 60,000 barrels a day was calculated."

PAYMENT

- Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was appointed earlier this week by Obama to manage BP's $20 billion compensation fund, pledged Friday to quickly create a system for processing claims.

- A judge whom BP wants to hear an estimated 200 lawsuits over the oil disaster gets tens of thousands of dollars a year in oil royalties and paid travel to industry conferences, financial disclosure forms show. Lawyers who practice before U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes say he's tough but fair, and a CNN review of his cases found he ruled in favor of oil companies only slightly more often than he ruled against them.

POLITICS

- Rep. Bart Stupak closed a hearing Thursday on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations - by telling BP CEO Tony Hayward, "I think the evasiveness of your answers only served to increase the frustration, not decrease the frustration, not just of members of Congress, but that of the American people."

- During the hearing Thursday, Hayward said, "There are no suggestions I have seen so far that anyone put cost ahead of safety." Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia fired back, "With all due respect, Mr. Hayward, I think you're copping out."

- Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas retracted his apology to BP on Thursday and issued his own apology for calling the $20 billion damage fund created by the oil giant a "shakedown."

- Barton was told by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, to "apologize immediately" or lose his position on the committee, according to a senior House GOP leadership aide.

- Barton's retraction came after the White House pounced on his comment. "What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction," said a statement from spokesman Robert Gibbs.

- Six in 10 Americans disapprove of how Obama's handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a jump from last month, a national poll says. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey indicates that most of the public disapproves of BP's handling of the disaster.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. BreakingNewsBlog.us

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    Look at this AMAZING SCOOP about how NASA might help BP to quickly STOP the oil spill (in a few days) using an (giant and very strong) External Tank of the Space Shuttle!!!
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    http://bit.ly/c8y9GX
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    June 19, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • qwerasdf

      Zero science (CHECK)
      Zero math (CHECK)
      Zero calculations (CHECK)
      Zero facts (CHECK)
      Zero research (CHECK)
      5 year old imagination with a crayon (CHECK)
      No education (CHECK)
      Poor English (CHECK)
      Can't spell Oxygen (CHECK)
      Crappy idea that BP, US Gov, any government, any company won't take (CHECK)
      Ugly website (CHECK)
      Spam (CHECK)
      Someone who doesn't know how to skip lines and puts idiotic periods (CHECK)

      June 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Smith in Oregon

    Exploding yet another Republican Lie and Crass Distortion of the Truth!

    From day one the Republican-Tea Potty leaders and their zombie members have been bashing President Obama over not accepting foreign aid oil skimming vessels which lease for 500,000 dollars per day. What those Potty mouths weren't telling the American people was that BP was putting off paying for those and President Obama didn't want the American taxpayers footing the bill early on in the clean-up.

    Imagine the surprise and their resulting utter silence when of ALL the foreign country's in the entire world, Only MEXICO offered vessels and containment booms for FREE.

    Yes, FREE despite the fact that Mexico is largely a poor country, despite Republican Tea Potty mouths are bashing Mexico 24/7, passing the horrific anti-Hispanic State Immigration law in Arizona and threatening to deport Hispanic infants in baskets to be left on the border for Mexico to deal with!

    Free, despite the recent murder of a young Mexican boy skimming rocks across the Rio Grande river, shot dead by a US Border Control agent in a act of revenge, Mexico offered all of its vessels, containment booms and materials for FREE!

    Britain, Russia (US Aid 70.5 Million), China (US Aid 30.6 Million), Israel (US Aid 3 Billion), France, Kenya (US Aid 35 Million), Vietnam (US Aid 102 Million), Romania (US Aid 50,000), Croatia (US Aid 50,000) all either close allies to America or having received aid from America for emergency's in either 2008 or 2009 in the total amount shown above ALL demanded money from either the American taxpayers or BP before releasing the 'help' they offered.

    Perhaps now that President Obama had the strength and courage to stand up to BP and demand a 20 Billion dollar escrow account, the 'help' from those pseudo-friends offering their vessels and oil containment booms for inflated prices can be accepted!

    June 19, 2010 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      I'm disappointed with the other countries-except Mexico- it's surprising our poorest neighbor showed more compassion for the disaster then the other countries. I would like to thank the Mexican government and its people for the graciousness they have shown us!

      June 19, 2010 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Cec

      I do find it interesting that suddenly the government is worried about the American taxpayer footing the bill to clean up the oil spill. Wouldn't it be nice if other governments would offer their technology for free? But since the U.S. has been so short-sighted in not having the technology in place here, I think this is one area where the money would be well spent. As long as there is oil moving into the wetlands, I say we need every skimmer we can get, every reasonable Costner invention we can get and any thing else we think may be helpful.
      There is discussion of the Jones Act which may hinder our ability to accept that assistance. I have heard in several press conferences given by Admiral Thad Allen the phrase, there are “no pending requests” when asked about waiver of the Jones Act. I have been dumbfounded that no reporter has asked the next obvious question, “Who is the appropriate party that would make that request?” From the first time I heard him use that phrase, I suspected it to be a carefully crafted phrase but I do not know the reason for such careful phrasing. I want to know how we can make use of the technology that has been offered to us from around the world. Who can request it? Can Gov. Jindal, Gov. Riley, a senator? Who? This needs to be hammered in every press conference until we have some answers and can push the appropriate parties into getting this technology into the Gulf.

      June 19, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • AG52

      Smith in Oregon: Sorry to say that you have not exploded any lies, whether they be from a Republican or Democrat. Neither you nor I know what is really being said and done behind the closed doors of this non-transparent administration. We only know what is being said by an untrustworthly news media. The media, whether it be CNN, FOX or the Big 3, are expert at steering a story in the path they want it to go whether it be truth or not. We have got to stop depending on all these self-absorbed, arrogant blow-hards and start finding out the truth for ourselves. We need to listen to average Americans and people that are actual witnesses to an incident, not ratings-motivated news media.

      June 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexander Itel

      I am not sure what is happening but the price on the Skimmer vessels is wrong we have a complete oil skimmer solution offered . And it is not 500000 a day . also we have over 2.5 mil oil boom ready to be processed for shipping , at a direct price not a exploded price between 6 brokers . The hold up is in the release of the funds , it seems to be easyer in destroying everything wasting time fighting lawsuits that cost 3 times of what the equipment costs .

      This is just crazy!

      Thanks Alex
      http://www.uarsales.com

      June 22, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nick Mendoza

    Oil Spill Problem Solved – Special Clamp and Tapered Tube Design – THE MELODY TUBE – Please see youtube clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAHFnhpPMC0

    June 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dr. Anthony Hayward

    Yu peeple in Amereeca our veree funnee. no won evar complane about tings wen dey going gud. as soon as we speel a leetle beeet of oyl, every won gits verwy angree! peeple in dis kontry make me cry and act like this is all me fault when I dun no any thing about oyl. My peepl handel all of oyl drelling and I no have worrys when I go to sleep in my nice beeg howse in London! It be funny how everywon make big deal on news about someting that most peeple want to bie. You can blame news man, you can blame congressman, you can blame obamamama but you can nut blam ME!! They keep me locked in a rum when I goes to work to only sign big bonus checks for peepl who all live on coast line and didn't make sure rig run right and instead have big parties on oil rig. They never evar tell me we even go to Mexican gulf to dreel wells! Why you be hatin' on me poor mee!! congressman make mee cry sooo much I have to buy many boxes XL tissure becaz my eye cry oyl!!

    June 19, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Smith in Oregon

    Where the Hell is Vice President Joe Biden during this domestic disaster and threat to 'actual' homeland security? It seems that Joe Biden is hunkered down in Dick Cheney's former bunker rather than camped out in Louisiana advising the Swamp parish presidents where he should be.

    Get out of the former Dick Cheney Bunker, Vice President Joe Biden! Real homeland security needs you to be in Louisiana!

    Bush jr placed US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts into his chair on the US Supreme Court and Roberts is on public record as being a large 'friend' to Big Oil. And on public record berating the Alaskan people over their liability case against Exxon. At least CNN has the courage to begin questioning Big Oil's graft and corruption with federal judges and investigating the Texan (Houston) Federal Judge whom BP is pushing to hear all of the hundreds of lawsuits filed against them over the Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    CNN and other News Media should more fully explore in a fair and balanced manner the fact that BP is only the principle owner of the blown Oil Well at 65%, there are in FACT THREE OWNERS of that Oil well. Anadarko Petro Company (APC) owns 25% of that well and appear to have paid ZERO thus far in liability, ZERO in spill cleanup and ZERO to help BP shoulder the costs in the Gulf of Mexico. Misco Co. has 10% of the well and again appears to have paid ZERO thus far in liability, ZERO in spill cleanup and recovery and ZERO to help BP shoulder the costs in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Anadarko is also fully lawyered up and hiding behind a legal defense and PR campaign of BP acted in negligence resulting in the well blow-out. Congress and Washington lawmakers should insist that Anadarko place 7 Billion into a escrow account and also actively pay for clean-up and recovery costs on 'their' blown oil well in the Gulf.

    June 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Outside the box?

    OK you want a solution:

    Right now. They need to put all the scooper badges and tankers and water separators from around the world they can to clean it up! Simple! They need to make a long (flexible) socks to slip over the breach and funnel the oil into holding tanks some how!..... Just think- If it's a flexible hose then they don't need to have a mechanical connection, just slip it on. like a rubber (with and elastic band at the neck) and contain the spill. (kinda like a condom works to contain the blast, sorry but that's the best way to put it). This is done by using robots made for the job (they are already using them anyway). Even if they had something like massive balloons (maybe like hot air balloon skins) that would fill up with the oil,(we need these now) and then be released to drift away for recovery later , and then changed out with the next balloon and so on, they could contain it much better than this.

    IN the future spills should be cleaned up by "Full Time" "World Emergency Oil Disaster Recovery and Response Teams", who are trained in this sort of thing. And working around the world to clean up other trash in the oceans the rest of the time or by safely transporting oil to help pay for their services. How many countries would pay to have their oceans vacuumed yearly? This will create jobs! Improve waters for fishing, clean up beaches for tourism, this just makes all around good sense.

    It would be simple to have giant ships built or fitted with giant vacuums (with long hoses) and (protected divers) that "suck the oil – and water – in, as it comes out of the leak" and then they return it to the sea in a 85%-90% improved state, by separating it "somehow" (oil floats doesn't it?) "in side" of huge tanks . Or ships that come up and scoop up the whole mess off the top and pump it to other ships through flexable hoses,,, Then have other skimmers (with smaller filters or seperators) then remove another 10%.of film and residue from the clean up site (basically filter the water around the site).

    To do the least harm to the invoronment! They have to be on the spill with- in at least 24 hours, with 5-10 big ships (depending on the spill) ready to vacuum the oil and separate it from the water, , then transport it to other ships or then take it somewhere and refine it. "There is still other $$ money$$ to be made (recovered) off of it." Especially if they catch it right away! Surely its good for something?

    WHen not in use for clean up operations , These same ships could n be used to safely transport oil around the world all the time, because, they can clean up their own spills as soon as they start.
    So building a fleet of them and to keep making them would be not only be profitable but responsible and just a wise business decision all around . Therefore all those supporting its management are good companies and counties to buy oil or other petrolium products from of to visit for tourisim because they care enough to clean up the wor!ds environment.

    Time is everything , we have to be able to act immediatly! When the red wine tips over on the table, do we not pick the glass back up immediatly, to keep it from getting to the carpet?

    This should be helped Paid for, buy any oil company who drills or ships oil in the oceans of Earth. Simple! Kinda like " clean up insurance" ! Oil Loss & Disater insurance. It will lower their fines also when they do have accidents. Simply by containing the damage it does to the invironment, so their is less liability. Its possible.... This one disater alone in the Gulf, could have paid for ten of these ships and crews, such as these suggested, by the time its done!

    Simple, they don't want the insurnace , then the united countries on global recovery, don't buy much of their oil... Come on – its a green world now! We have to think like it in really big ways, to make really big changes to clean up our planet, for our chilrdren and for all children to come!

    This solution will work and is viable, if greed wasn't such a problem in the firrst place.
    So .........Anyone have solutions to curing greed, thats the planets biggest problem?

    June 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LESS THAN HAPPY

    I wonder how many of us, mad as we are at BP's inability to stop the oil from gushing out and cleaning up the mess, and our government's inability to do anything useful about it, actually have taken the time to write to their representatives in Congress demanding less talk and more action.

    I also wonder where were the authorities who are in charge of safety (anybody heard of OSHA?), and where was the EPA, BEFORE that accident happened.

    BP, like most other big companies in all industries, have one goal and one goal only: to make as much money as possible, as fast as possible. It is up to us, through our elected officials, to keep looking over their shoulders and keep them in line.

    Instead, they keep getting their political campains funded by these companies, and when there is a problem they put on a pathetic show as Congress "little chat" with Mr. Hayward where they did little more than inform him of how disappointed the American People are. The man seemed to be in contempt of the House Comittee, with evasive answers to questions, including those to which he had been ordered in advance to be prepared to respond, yet no punishment of any kind. I'm sure most us who whatched it on C-SPAN are more outraged at the Congressmen's lack of will to exert their authority, than at Mr. Hayward mockery of our Congress.

    While I agree that Mr, Hayward should be crucified for all the destruction caused on his watch, and that BP should pay for all the damage to the environment and people's lives, I would like to also see those whose negligence allowed BP to mess up joining them in that crucifixion.

    I hope those who really care will exercize their citizenship and write to their representatives in Congress, demanding more assertive action against BP's Mr. Hayward as well as a thorough investigation into the government agencies whose job it is to prevent these accidents from happening with inspections and audits.

    June 20, 2010 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ashton Georges

    It seems rather difficult to contact people with a good idea that would definitely stop the oil.

    There is enough room in the neck of the leak to design a collar that can be fitted with a mechanism to seal the oil permanently. This collar would be placed fairly easily because it is open. A device with vents would than be lowered to the collar and sealed; once sealed the vents would be closed negating the effects of more oil entering the sea. This can be done now and rapidly. We do not need to wait until the wells are drilled!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Darrell Confused

    I understand the need to rebuild the gulf but why is CNN asking the American People for money? Giving money to a fund to help in the cleanup only puts money back in BP's pocket. I thought all the cost was to be paid by them.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. courtney

    Its really SAD wat those animals have to go thru because of us and just thinking about it is really upsetting to all that think about it

    June 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Z.Yesil

    50 some years ago I was going to a French Nuns’ middle school. It was very important that we’d prepare our homework with ink filled ‘stylos’. Sometimes the ink got stuck and we’d shake the stylo and spill ink on the work sheet. We’d immediately use ‘papier buvoir’, (something like ‘drinking paper’); it would suck all the ink off the paper. That thing was an eminent item to buy among our school supplies. It usually came in pink, and it probably was as thick as two or three layers of paper towel.
    Also, when we spilled oil on the dinner table, grandma would run and get it from our desks and clean up by absorbing the oil with that paper. She’d also do same thing when we had grease on our clothing.
    So, I thought maybe if such a thing could be spread partially on that oil in the Gulf, it could be ‘sucked off’ by such a thing. The ‘paper,’ won’t sink after absorbing the oil and could then be properly disposed of.
    Or maybe some saw dust type material can be used with same idea, to suck off the oil, then gathered and gotten rid of.. ??
    It’s just an idea! Hope it’ll at least bring maybe some more sophisticated ideas for the solution and maybe a professional scientist would come up with a better product with same mentality, to suck off the oil from top of sea.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JefB

    I am not an enginneer so take this for what it is worth:
    When the Chernobyl incident occurred, a concrete and steel containment box was built over and around the reactor.
    What if: Using technology already in use to build things like in-water bridge supports and the Boston under-river tunnels, a concrete and steel box is built with X-foot thick walls but an open bottom. The interior would have space enough to hold at least a days woth of current output.
    The top section would contain valve sections (with REAL blow-out redundancy) as well as "bleeder" valves to draw out sea water as the interior fills with oil and gas.
    The "box" would be big enough to cover the entire well-head as well as a good portion of the surrounding sea floor (cleared of debris). It is towed out to sea and lowered over the well head.
    Built heavy enough to offset the bouyancy of the captured oil, the well is "capped" (like the Chernobyl reactor) with the possibility of drawing off the oli and gas through the top valves. The desigh would allow for additional concrete block "weights" to be added to the top and sides if needed.
    Would a 500,000 – 1,000,000 pound "containment" box be enough to hold back the pressure from the well-head? I don't know, but they have already tried mud and proposed stuffing the pipe with golf balls and shredded tires.
    Just a thought.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nitrous

    It's all Sith Lord Cheney's fault.

    June 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rae

    There is news now that engineers are trying to cap in the vicinity of the gusher...and their efforts are having little impact on the containment.
    If oil and water do not mix, could there possibly be an effort to recycle if there is a way to develope some device that will separate the two liquids and channel the oil into barrels. I understand visibility is poor during the efforts to cap...is there a way to filter that water momentarily just allowing enough time to do what is needed.
    I have read many ideas, theories and suggestions from various blogs and sites and I think it is better at the point to be proactive and ask questions later. We have to have courage now and deal with it. Count me in.

    June 24, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |