June 18th, 2010
09:50 AM ET

Day 60: Latest oil disaster developments

[Updated at 9:50 a.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:

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

- CNN brings you an account of the night the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded based on exclusive interviews with five survivors and three of their wives conducted by CNN's Anderson Cooper and the CNN Special Investigations Unit. The interviews paint perhaps the most detailed picture yet of what happened - and the possible causes of the explosion. CNN producers Scott Bronstein and Wayne Drash report.

- Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Friday that approximately 25,000 barrels of oil - slightly over 1 million gallons - were collected from BP's ruptured Gulf well in the 24-hour period ending at midnight Thursday.

- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized cleanup coordination Thursday.

"It is frustrating because it doesn't seem like the left hand knows what the right hand is doing," he said in a statement on his website. "There is no streamlined system here. This is why we keep stressing that we need to see more of a sense of urgency from the Coast Guard, federal officials and BP. We are in a war here - we are in a war against this oil that absolutely threatens our way of life."

CLEANUP

- 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. A BP document provided to the senator says "an absolute worst case flow rate of 60,000 barrels a day was calculated." The document does not have a date.

- BP said it captured about 8,000 barrels (336,000 gallons) of oil from midnight to noon Thursday.

- The drilling of two relief wells has reached depths of 15,226 feet and 9,778 feet respectively, but they are not expected to be completed until August, according to BP.

- The latest wildlife report said 629 oiled birds have been recovered alive while 829 were found dead and 103 sea turtles were recovered alive while 358 were found dead.

PAYMENT

- BP has agreed to place $20 billion in an escrow fund to help compensate those affected by the oil disaster. The fund "will not supersede individuals' or states' rights to present claims in court," President Obama said. BP, he asserted, will remain liable for the environmental disaster in the Gulf.

- BP has agreed to create a $100 million fund for the purpose of compensating oil rig workers now unemployed as a result of closure of other deep-water rigs after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion, Obama said.

- The judge 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 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, 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."

- After Hayward testified that some oil samples in the Gulf were related to the Deepwater Horizon leak while others were not, and he avoided directly answering a question about whether there were plumes in the water, Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts charged, "Your testimony continues to be at odds to all independent scientists."

- 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 had been 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.

- The retraction came after the White House pounced on Barton's 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.

- Police arrested Diane Wilson of the activist group Code Pink for disrupting the hearing Thursday just as Hayward was beginning his testimony. "You need to go to jail," she shouted. She has been charged with unlawful conduct for disrupting Congress.

- Six in 10 Americans disapprove of how Obama's handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a jump from last month, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey also indicated that a vast majority of the public disapproves of how BP has handled the environmental disaster and two-thirds say making a profit rather than cleaning up the spill is oil giant's
top priority.

soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Stan Willmann

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has no grounds for complaining! His state depends on the oil industry but it appears that Louisiana had no contingency plans for any kind of oil industry accident! The state is totally unprepared even though oil is their biggest industry. I also understand that the state does little to protect their own citizens from the hundreds of chemical plants in the state. I have no pity for state governments who love the business but have no plan of any kind for dealing with accidents which WILL occur! And yes, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is a big supporter of less government, less regulation, less federal "interference" in state affairs. Jindal for President??? God forbid!!!

    June 18, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Beck

    Easy solution for plugging the oil – send Chuck Norris to the site. The oil will plug itself out of fear.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. don

    If BP can not stop this leak untill the relief wells are drilled. Why doesnt the U.S government or B.P make some type of system that can inject a highly absorbant material (that floats) into the leaking oil at the bottom of the ocean, and maybe if the oil was mixed up with this material, all the oil would float to the top and not seperate into different layers, and maybe easier to clean up or control.

    June 19, 2010 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dr. Anthony Hayward

    I lyke how all ur govenators complain about how theyr stat beeches been baddened, but non of them come to acshoelly halp kleen. All they do being complain and crying out loud for moar help when thye want to buy are oyl! They just mad becaz it take us lonnger tyme to seel to them for big muney! Don's idea make no sesns to me. We alredy tryed puting balls for galf in this big dark whole and it no werk. Now you say we use spunge? I think it funy! you funy joker Don! I liek you! I seel you gas for vewry big discount prices! Chuck Norris all ways been my child hud hero! If anywon noes how to stap da leek HE CAN!!!

    June 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 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!..... 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). Even if they had something like balloons that would fill up with the oil, 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 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 safely transporting oil to help pay for their services. This will create jobs!

    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 . Then have other skimmers (with smaller filters or seperators) then remove another 10%.of film and residue from the clean up site (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."

    WHen not in use for clean up opps , 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 keep making them would be not only be profitable but responsible and therefore and good company to buy gas or products from!

    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 .........Any solutions to curing greed, thats the planets biggest problem?

    June 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TJ

    Dr. Hayward, where did you get your education? You need to get off the drugs and off the comments.

    June 19, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TJ

    is this thing on?

    June 19, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TJ

    Capitalists, more profit, more profit. Greedy bas.....ds!!!! When you are the last on Earth, good luck eating your money and power.

    June 19, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RickyFingerz

    http://www.cnn.com/profile/?emailConfirmed=success#mynewstop

    June 20, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Paul Gibbs

    President Obama needs to demonstrate his ability to make the tough decisions that will protect the United States and the world whenever it is under threat. He needs to step up, engage and successfully defeat the enemy. In this case it is an oil spewing well in the gulf. tomorrow it may well be an alian or a meteorite. Obama's reaction to this oil disaster is nothing short of a gong show and I personally do not feel that any other threat would be handled much better.
    God help us if the oil giants are allowed to continue drilling in our oceans because we have proven our inability to respond to disasters like this.

    June 21, 2010 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jack

    which also is contributing to a delayed response in the cleanup process. Hopefully, Jindal was unaware of the environmental problems involved in his suggestion, and that is why he never explained (to the public) the problems involved with the initial plan, but in our political climate-I did not trust him to not capitalize on the situation. I'm now giving him the benefit of the doubt, and I hope that from this time forward he will work with the coast guard-that politics will not play a role in this devastating problem.

    June 21, 2010 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. RYAN

    I have a good idea how to kill this well. drawings and in depth detail on facebook Ryan Wall Metairie La ..
    Here is a submission to the Horizon Repsonse website that is accepting ideas to solve the problem in the Gulf. This idea was thought of yesterday and ironically today before I could submit it to the site I went to work to start a tils repair at a house that formally belonged to Saddam Husseins brother ,that is located in Metairie Louisiana. The idea is to use liquid nitrogen to create a frozen tar plug that would allow a brief period to close the blades on a shaft designed to enter the the port of the Blow -out preventer and with hope where the five inch riser pipe of the BOP ,and the much larger well shaft casing pipe join this circular cap or plug would be forced against the lip where the two meet ,once the thawing of the frozen tar plug takes place .This would allow for the force from the well to actually work against itself .

    The design of the blades of the smaller shaft staggered at different levels of the shaft would allow for the upward pressure to escape while comperessed air blasted from the bottom port of the shaft would improve the the possibility to reach the desired depth into the well . This idea is based on the theory of what has sunken ships in the Bermuda Triangle,which although methane and in much larger force is based on the same physics.

    Once the desired depth of the bladed shaft is achieved and the liquid nitrogen is blasted into the shaft a heavy larger pipe is lowered on cable by crane over and around the shaft forcing down the hinged blades that are blown upward on the way down the well. Once the blades are forced down anf the cap is opened to its potencial a huge drill bit is driven by a submersible into both pipes to secure the plug in place so the pipe exstention can be cut off and the crane removed so in the case of storms the support ships are sent out of harms way . This idea will not be leak free but anything at this point is an improvement.

    God Help Us ,You Know We Need It.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
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