Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 63: Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill Update

Jun 21: Information from BP indicates that for the last 12 hours on June 20th (noon to midnight), approximately 7,780 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,430 barrels of oil and 25.1 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared. On June 20th, total oil recovered was approx. 23,290 barrels: (approx. 14,570 barrels of oil were collected; approx. 8,720 barrels of oil were flared & approx. 48.3 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared). BP said total recovery was slightly down on June 20th due to "shut-ins" from a lightning storm in the area of the Enterprise and Q4000 heading changes to accommodate wind shifts.
    In a release from BP today, the company reports that two systems continue to collect oil and gas flowing from the MC252 well and transport them to vessels on the surface. The first is the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap located on top of the Deepwater Horizon's failed blow-out preventer (BOP). This system, which was installed on June 3, takes oil and gas to the Discoverer Enterprise. A second system, which started on June 16, is connected directly to the BOP and carries oil and gas through a manifold and hoses to the Q4000 vessel on the surface. The Q4000 uses a specialized clean-burning system to flare both oil and gas captured by this second system.

    On June 19, a total of approximately 11,050 barrels of oil was collected and 25.6 million cubic feet of natural gas was flared on the Discoverer Enterprise. This is less than recent averages because process facilities were shutdown for part of the day. In the same 24-hour period, 9,990 barrels of oil and 17.8 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared on the Q4000. The total volume of oil recovered from both the LMRP containment cap system and the Q4000 since they became operational is approximately 249,500 barrels. Approximately 103,000 barrels of collected oil were transferred from storage on the Discoverer Enterprise to the Overseas Cascade tanker on June 17 and June 18. The Overseas Cascade left the MC252 site on June 18.
    On June 20, the Unified Command reported that The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 11,000 feet below the sea floor, and crews have begun the process of cementing and casing the well liner. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well -- a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration -- to a depth of approximately 5,000 feet below the sea floor.
    The Unified Command also reported that the Administration will continue to hold the responsible parties accountable for repairing the damage, and repaying Americans who've suffered a financial loss as a result of the BP oil spill. To date, 65,703 claims have been opened, from which more than $107.4 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 720 claims adjusters on the ground.
    NOAA announced some preliminary finding on the extent of subsurface oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill [See article below]. The NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson returned to Galveston, Texas, on June 11 from an eight-day research mission which began in New Orleans on June 3, to investigate the presence and distribution of subsurface oil from and collected water samples for chemical analysis and tested the feasibility of using acoustic and flourometric scanning to help find potential pockets of subsurface oil clouds. The science team onboard included researchers from NOAA, U.S. EPA, the University of New Hampshire and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
    Politically, following Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) now very public apology to BP and comments characterizing the $20 billion oil spill claims fund agreement as an Administration "shakedown," the Democratic National Committee has now broadened its criticism to what they are calling the "BP 114" -- i.e. the member of the House Republican Study Committee (RSC). On June 16, one day before Rep. Barton comments, the RSC, chaired by Representative Tom Price (R-GA), issued a release calling the $20 billion agreement "Chicago-style shakedown politics." Ironically, many of the Republican members criticizing Barton's comments and some calling for him to resign his leadership position on the Energy and Commerce Committee, are members of the RSC and many are Gulf Coast Representatives [See WIMS 6/18/10].
    Access additional information updates and links to releases and briefings on the Administration's response from the Unified Command website (click here). Access the BP response website for links to visuals more information on the recovery work (click here). Access a report on the BP 114 from The Hill blog (click here).

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