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Containment Cap Collecting Oil Successfully

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 7, 2010

The New York Times reports another ship is being sent to the leaking Gulf of Mexico oil well to process oil and gas captured by the containment cap and brought safely to the surface.

The containment cap's early results are encouraging. BP says the cap collected 10,500 barrels of oil Saturday, up from 6,000 barrels on Friday. The oil and gas are being funneled through a new riser to the drillship Discoverer Enterprise, which is preventing much of the oil from spilling into the Gulf.

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The company hopes to collect more oil and gas as it closes the cap's vents, which are designed to prevent the buildup of the slush-like gas hydrates that clogged the cofferdam containment system. "Closing those vents should minimize the amount of oil that will leak out," a BP spokesman said during the weekend. (The Wall Street Journal)

Still, BP describes the containment cap as in interim measure. The well is expected to continue leaking until it is sealed by a relief well. Two relief wells are being drilled concurrently, but their work isn't expected to be completed until August.

"The spill will not be contained until that happens," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said on CBS's "Face the Nation" yesterday. Allen also explained that the spill is not "monolithic," but rather broken and widely dispersed by the Gulf's waves and wind. He predicted that the spill cleanup will continue for months, as he put it, "well into the fall." (The New York Times)

Meanwhile, engineers are moving forward with enhancements to the LMRP containment cap. BP reports that the manifold and hoses used for the "top kill" procedure will be connected to a separate riser in hopes of collecting still more oil and gas and sending to the surface.

A second planned addition will involve a free-floating riser that ends about 300 feet below sea level. The riser will be connected to a flexible hose feeding the oil and gas to a containment vessel. This option, which is to be implemented in July, will allow the hose to be disconnected in case operations are interrupted by a hurricane.

To fully understand the scale of the response efforts, it's helpful to see photos of the people who are working around the clock to stop the oil spill and mitigate its effects. BP is making photographs available here.

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.