BP Removes Cap from Well

10 Jul

BP attempts to apply new cap to oil well

Today, BP removed the cap plugging the oil leak in the gulf, in an effort to gain full control over the leak.  The current cap has stopped the flow of oil considerably but has not been able to successfully close off the spill.  As an alternative, the New York Times reported that BP has developed an ambitious engineering plan.  Their new plan entails installing a new cap over the leak which would allow them to collect all the oil inside the well.  That’s an approximate 35,000 to 65,000 barrels a day.

 BP’s senior vice president who has been left in charge of the spill cleanup, announced at a press conference today that it would take 4 to 7 days for the newly designed cap to be placed back over the spill.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the previous containment cap had allowed some of the oil to be captured and funneled to a ship on the surface of the water.  After the cap was removed at about 12:30pm today however, more oil is leaking out temporarily.

The Obama administration which has voiced its dissatisfaction with BP’s speed in handling the situation in the past has now sent a letter to BP asking for details regarding BP’s plans to replace the seal.  USA Today reports that the letter from Obama administration point person Thad Allen, also request information on how the company plans to stop the spill completely.  Allen’s letter specifically stated, “I must have knowledge of the steps and decision points involved; mitigation efforts to be implemented; and contingency plans if these efforts are not successful.”

In their morning press conference today, BP has made it clear that they are not operating without a back-up plan.  Kent Wells stated, “We always have backups for our backups.  We do have other containment systems, we have another top hat that we’re prepared to put back on.”  In BP’s response to Allen’s letter, they also included plans to handle additional oil that will be released throughout the process of changing the caps.  The New York Times reports that their plan will include having more than 40 large or midsize skimmers near the well site and 14 teams ready to conduct controlled burns.

It is a good thing BP is planning ahead because the Obama administration would like to see them take care of the problem fast.  That is because weather reports aren’t looking favorable around the Gulf in the upcoming summer months, and there is the potential risk that the already spreading leak may cause more damage if hurricanes sweep through Mexico or the southern United States.

For right now, USA Today says that the Obama administration lawyers are working in a New Orleans appeals court, hoping to have the six-month moratorium on deep water oil drilling re-instated.

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The link below taken from The New York Times website shows a visual image of the current oil spill.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/01/us/20100501-oil-spill-tracker.html?ref=us

Sources:

The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/us/11spill.html?_r=1&hp

USA Today: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/07/obama-team-asks-bp-to-step-up-plan-to-cap-oil-spill/1

The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575357001470959526.html

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