The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Oil Spill Update

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 29, 2010

An official from BP today indicated that the company is willing to accept help from the U.S. Department of Defense to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP)

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Government officials project oil could make landfall in the Mississippi Delta this weekend, and efforts are underway to protect wildlife habitats. So far, 100,000 feet of boom has been positioned along the coastline between Louisiana and Mobile, Ala., another 287,000 feet is available, and an additional 320,000 has been ordered to protect highly sensitive areas.

Yesterday in two news briefings, oil spill responders reported:

  • A third leak has been detected in the pipes that connected the Deepwater Horizon to the wellhead prior to the tragic accident.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the spillage from the piping on the seafloor could be five times larger than earlier estimates indicated. BP says that's possible, but its subsurface observations do not show an increased spill rate. Officials say it's important to remember that the size and rate of the spill is only an estimate.
  • The heaviest concentrations of the oil spill were subjected to controlled offshore burning last night. A report on the outcome is expected today.
  • Efforts to activate the blowout preventer (BOP) have not worked yet. BP reported in a news release this morning that the company is continuing "to work around-the-clock" on the BOP to stop the leak.
  • BP says the subsea oil collection system is being fabricated and is expected to ready for deployment within the next four weeks. This system is designed to cover the wellhead, collect the oil in a containment vessel and transport it safely to the surface for processing.
  • BP also reports that Transocean's Development Driller III has arrived on site and preparations are underway to drill a relief well to stop the flow of oil. Transocean's Discoverer Enterprise also is being deployed in case a second relief well becomes necessary.

Tony Hayward, BP Group Chief Executive, said:

"We are attacking this spill on all fronts, bringing into play all and any resources and advanced technologies we believe can help. Our action plan is safety-focused, multi-layered and has the full resources of the BP Group behind it."

(Image Source: U.S. Coast Guard)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.