The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

BP Stops One Leak

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted May 5, 2010

BP has stopped one of the three oil leaks caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico. BP spokesman John Curry said today it's not likely to reduce the amount of oil spilling into the water, but it "does enable to us to make progress, to winnow down the focus from three leaks to two." (The New York Times)

As explained in a press release, BP used ROVs to cut off the end of a leaking pipe and place a one-half ton, high-tech valve over the end late last night. News reports say the operation was planned for last Monday, but high winds and rough seas made it impossible. Weather conditions improved yesterday.

Today BP is loading a four-story, 98-ton containment dome on a barge and transporting it from Port Fourchon, Louisiana, to the well site.

containmentdome.jpg

(Construction work on subsea oil collection system and containment dome)
Source: BP p.l.c

The dome is to be lowered over the leaking riser in 5,000 feet of water, where it will cover the remaining leaks, capture the oil, and send it to the surface safely where it will be collected by a specially designed vessel. The trip to the wellhead is expected to take 12 hours--and weather permitting--the dome could be operational by the end of the week.

BP plans to conduct more controlled burns of the oil floating on the surface and to drop dispersants which speed the degradation of the oil.

The company also reports that it has made $25-million block grants available to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida to provide funding to mitigate or prevent substantial coastal environmental threats. BP's Tony Hayward said, "We hope these grants will support the effective deployment of pre-prepared response plans in each state."

The company also says:

  • It has established rapid response teams to enable a quick response where oil might come ashore.
  • It is holding town meetings in Gulf Coast communities and training volunteers. So far more than 2,000 volunteers have been trained.
  • It has created a supply chain to ensure that responders have the equipment needed to fight the spill.
  • It also continues to work with government to manage the spill as effectively as possible. The number of oil-response staging areas has increased to nine.

For more information, read a CNN news report from yesterday about the containment chamber.

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.