Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 93 BP Oil Spill: More Monitoring; Killing Well Nears

Jul 21: On July 20, at approximately 3:30 PM, the National Incident Commander Thad Allen reported that the government had just authorized BP another 24 hour period for the oil integrity test to continue.  He said the Unified Command (UC) continue to be pleased with the progress as far as monitoring responsiveness to anomalies that are detected. He said the scientific teams from the U.S. Government and BP and other industry experts continue to talk about the pressure difference in the well and the sources for that. The current pressure (yesterday) is 6,834 pounds per square inch and continues to slowly increase between one and two pounds per hour. BP reported the pressure at 6844 psi at 10 AM today (July 21).
    He said the team is looking for all indicators of anomalies and are "working very, very hard to make sure that we don't see any indicators that there would be any compromise to the integrity of the well head." He said they are  taking temperature readings which are stable at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature fluctuation will be an indication of movement of products through the well bore that might be something to be concerned about. They continue to collect acoustic, sonar and seismic data and continue to look for anomalies such as gas bubbles. 
    There are some minor leaks that are around the blowout preventer and the, and the stacking cap itself.  He said they don't think those are consequential to the response but they are tracking them. They are the source of some hydrates in and around the material. The next 24 to 48 hours they will continue to analyze the seismic data.  The NOAA Vessel, Pices is in place and NOAA will continue to do acoustic monitoring. 
    While the monitoring is taking place the largest, most integrated response to the surface oil continues. A total of 750 skimming vessels are now involved in the operation.  We will continue to do that. He said, "We are making great progress with the oil that was released while we were changing out the capping stacks." He reported that the weather has been fairly good holding the oil near or just south of the well head. The winds have started to change and the next 24 to 48 hours, there could be some oil moving to the west to northwest back towards the Mississippi Sound, the Chandelier Breton Sounds and the southeast coast of Louisiana. 
    Media reports on July 21, indicate that there is some concern over a developing tropical depression that could move into the area over the weekend. Efforts to permanently close the well either through the interceptor wells and/or a "static kill" which was announced yesterday are likely within the next two weeks. If the developing storm worsens, activity could be delayed. Also, the "seepage" report of couple of days ago, appears to be coming from an older, unrelated well.
    In a separate report from BP, the company indicated that it has entered into several agreements to sell "upstream" assets in the United States, Canada and Egypt to Apache Corporation. The deals, together worth a total of $7 billion, comprise BP's Permian Basin assets in Texas and south-east New Mexico, US; its Western Canadian upstream gas assets; and the Western Desert business concessions and East Badr El-din exploration concession in Egypt. BP said the decision to make the divestments follows the announcement made by BP last month that it was increasing its target for divestments to $10 billion. The proceeds of the sales will be used by BP to increase the cash available to the group.
    BP Chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg said, "Over the last two months the Board has considered BP's options for generating the cash necessary to meet the obligations likely to arise from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP has an extremely strong asset base which is diversified geographically as well as by asset class. The Board believes that there are opportunities to divest assets which are strategically more valuable to other parties than they are to BP. Today's announcement is the first such transaction and meets the value and strategic criteria of both parties." BP's stock price is holding between $36-37 per share and the current market value is $113 billion.
    Access the transcript of the July 20 UC briefing (click here). Access the Restore the Gulf website for more information (click here). Access the Unified Command website which contains additional information (click here). Access a release on the divestments with more details on each transaction (click here). Access more information on BP activities from the BP response website (click here).