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BP continues work to stem Gulf oil spill

BP expects to have captured the majority of the oil gushing from its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico by the time President Obama next visits the region.

BP’s chief operating officer Doug Suttles said the flow should become a “relative trickle” by early next week.

A second pumping ship would aid the operation while a new containment cap which is being put together would be a better fit, he said. President Barack Obama is due to visit the area next week.

Suttles said BP believed the oil now washing up on the coast was spilled soon after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April and sank, killing 11 workers.

But while BP is capturing more oil from the blown-out well with every passing day, scientists on a team analysing the flow said earlier that the amount of crude still escaping into the Gulf of Mexico was considerably greater than that claimed by the US Government and the company.

Their assertions - combined with BP’s rush to build a bigger cap and its apparent difficulty in immediately processing all the oil being collected - have only added to the impression that BP and the government are still floundering in dealing with the catastrophe and may be misleading the public.

The cap that was put on the ruptured well last week collected about 2.8M.l of oil on Monday and funnelled it to a ship at the surface, said US Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the crisis.

Readers' comments (2)

  • The BIG question is why the BOP [Blow Out Preventer failed]
    WHO authorised the use of one that was not properly tested ? Drilling Contractor, Rig Management Team, or Well Owner [BP] ?
    Is the one that is there properly anchored to the sea bed ?
    Lets get the REAL story. Some drawings or sketchs showing the situation woukd be good ...

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  • The U.S. Coastguard gave the original estimate of 1000 barrels/day oil spill flow, raised to 5000 barrels per day a week or so later. However, people are now talking about an up to 40000 barrels per day flow or even more.
    How can anyone start any procedure needed to shut off the oil flow without first having a meaningful flow estimate of the flow rate, even to a crude accuracy? A proper advance estimate of the flow was surely needed before even considering the engineering options available and then, and only then, start detailing up and implementing the option scheme then deemed appropriate.
    Is it no wonder BP's efforts have failed several times if they, the other Contractors, and the US Regulatory bodies have all grossly under-estimated the flow? With reasonably accurate prior estimates of actual flows there would have been a far greater chance of getting the right solution right first time or certainly much sooner – thus minimising the clean up exercise, the costs, the fines involved, and the political backlash!
    If any "ass needs kicking" publicly by B.O. it should now also include not only the American companies Transocean and Haliburton, who were directly responsible for the works, but also the U.S. Regulatory/Monitoring organisations responsible for vetting and checking this disaster and for assessing the proposed methods intended to overcome the problem.

    How do you estimate the flow? If, as appears likely from video shots published, the flow is through the open end of the exposed broken or cut casing, and not up the annular space around the casing, then as a starter couldn't a crude weighted propeller flow meter get dropped down the pipe via an ROV, possibly with sampling to get some estimate of gas content if a 2 phase fluid flow exists?
    How do you stop the flow? Why not start by simply poking a line down the casing using an ROV and jet in controlled shots of liquid nitrogen or a similar agent to form a temporary frozen plug at some level below the sea bed to stop the oil, at least for sufficient time to properly cap the well! With a valved connection on the cap, the well could then have also been sealed at the well location using a pumped high density cement/concrete without the need for an extended spillage period or the massive cost of the relief well currently being attempted from a location elsewhere.

    The engineers involved, whether Brits or U.S. in whatever organisation appear to have a lot to answer for, but B.O. should also be publicly diverting a large proportion of his venom back into his own organisations and his own back yard!!!!

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