Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 67 BP Oil Spill Update: Browner & BP; Possible Tropical Storm

Jun 25: A statement from the White House indicates that, "Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner met with BP executives Bob Dudley, Lamar McKay, David Nagel and Karen St. John earlier today to discuss a number of key issues including containment, redundancy, claims and scientific monitoring. The meeting with Dudley was important to do given his new role for BP in the Gulf restoration. Browner reiterated the President's commitment to the people of the Gulf, that we are not going to rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods. Browner reminded them that we will be judging their work and response based on that bar, no exceptions."

    BP reported that for the last 12 hours on June 24 (noon to midnight), approximately 8,570 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 3,905 barrels of oil and 27.5 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared. On June 24, total oil recovered was approx. 23,725 barrels (15,785 barrels of oil were collected; 7,940 barrels of oil were flared; and 54.7 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared). Total oil recovered from both the LMRP Cap and Q4000 systems since they were implemented is approx. 366,000 barrels. An additional 22,000 barrels were collected from the RIT tool earlier in May bringing the total recovered to approx. 388,000 barrels.

    BP also reported that work on the first relief well, which started May 2, continues. The well reached a depth of 16,275 feet on June 23 before the drillstring was removed from the well to carry out the first "ranging' run" using wireline. During the ranging run, the MC252 well was successfully detected. Subsequent ranging runs will be needed to more precisely locate the well. Drilling and ranging operations will continue over the next few weeks towards the target intercept depth of approximately 18,000 feet, when "kill" operations are expected to begin. The second relief well, which started May 16, is drilling ahead at a measured depth of 10,500 feet. Both wells are still estimated to take approximately three months to complete from commencement of drilling.

    The Unified Command (UC) reported that SBA has approved 101 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $6 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the Agency has granted deferments on 481 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $2.2 million per month in payments. Additionally, UC reported that to date, 75,106 claims have been opened, from which more than $125.9 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 787 claims adjusters on the ground.

    The latest concern for the oil spill recovery and cleanup operation is the possibility of a tropical storm. The UC reported it needed 5 days notice to began preparation of a shutdown of operations. Weather forecasters are indicating that a tropical storm may be developing and could affect the spill area in about 5-7 days. The storm would require curtailing the oil recovery and cleanup operations for several days which would leave up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day flowing into the Gulf and could create havoc with boom placements and skimming operations. Currently, more than 6,200 vessels are responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts -- in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles, and multiple mobile offshore drilling units. Approximately 2.6 million feet of containment boom and 4.24 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill.

    On June 23, Michael Bromwich, the former Department of Justice Inspector General who now leads Interior Department (DOI) reform initiatives to strengthen oversight and policing of offshore oil and gas development, announced that he will establish an investigations and review unit that will help to expedite his oversight, enforcement and re-organization mandates. Bromwich, who is the director of the newly established Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (Bureau of Ocean Energy or BOE) said, "The new unit will provide us the capacity to investigate allegations of misconduct, to provide unified and coordinated monitoring of compliance with laws and regulations, and to respond swiftly to emerging and urgent issues on a Bureau-wide level and in the industry." said

    The new Bureau, established by Secretarial Order, replaced the former Minerals Management Service (MMS) which was responsible for overseeing oil and gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Bromwich said, "In light of the response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the impending reorganization of Interior's offshore oil and gas management and enforcement missions and the new Bureau's mandate to implement broad reforms, it is critical that we have an internal compliance and investigations team that can act quickly and report directly to me."
     Access a statement from the White House on the Browner meeting (click here). Access several release on BP activities from the BP response website (click here). Access additional information updates and links to releases and briefings on the Administration's response from the Unified Command website (click here). Access a release from DOI with additional details and link to the Secretarial Order (click here).