Update: Deepwater BP Oil Spill Response

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Image courtesy Deepwater Horizon Unified Command

Past 24 Hours:

Federal Scientists Oversee BP Preparations for Well Integrity Test
Following significant progress made by BP on its “capping stack” procedure—designed to capture even greater quantities of oil than the previous containment system—Admiral Allen released the following statement on the preparations for the well integrity test, which involves closing one or more of the valves on the new cap for a period of time to take pressure readings inside the well:

"Today I met with Secretary Chu, Marcia McNutt and other scientists and geologists as well as officials from BP and other industry representatives as we continue to prepare and review protocols for the well integrity test - including the seismic mapping run that was made around the well site this morning. As a result of these discussions, we decided that the process may benefit from additional analysis that will be performed tonight and tomorrow.

“Both the Helix Producer and the Q4000 collection systems are currently on line with the potential to exceed the containment capability that existed before the sealing cap was installed, and skimmers continue to be surged to the well site in anticipation of any increased oil flow as part of the transition. The drilling of relief wells also continues- the first relief has been drilled to a depth of 17,840 feet below the Gulf surface, and the second to a depth of approximately 15,963 feet below the surface."

The graph below, produced by the Department of Energy, demonstrates the cumulative amount of oil recovered to date, combining the Helix Producer 1, Discoverer Enterprise and Q4000 vessels. 

Obama Administration Sends a Fourth Bill to BP
In an effort to provide transparency and ensure that the American public is not held accountable for the costs of the BP oil spill, the Obama Administration today sent a fourth bill for $99.7 million to BP and other responsible parties for response and recovery operations relating to the spill. The Administration will continue to bill BP regularly for all associated costs to ensure the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund is reimbursed on an ongoing basis.

As a responsible party, BP is financially responsible for all costs associated with the response to the spill. This is the fourth bill the Administration has sent to date. BP and other responsible parties have paid the first three bills in full—totaling $122.3 million.

Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, a total of 284 personnel, 85 vessels, five helicopters and two air planes participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. The Wildlife Hotline received 60 reports of oiled/injured birds, 10 oiled/injured fish, seven oiled/injured reptiles, and one oiled/injured mammals. 

From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, 36 two-person teams, 21 support personnel and 13 boats participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. 38 calls were received on the Wildlife Hotline. 

NOAA Expands Fishing Restriction in the Gulf; 65 Percent Remains Open
As a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers, NOAA has expanded the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico. The closed area now represents 83,927 square miles—approximately 35 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves 65 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/. 

Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $12M
SBA has approved 161 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $12.6 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 631 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $3.6 million per month in payments. For information on assistance loans for affected businesses, visit the SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance, call (800) 659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. 

Administration Continues to Oversee BP’s Claims Process
The administration will continue to hold the responsible parties accountable for repairing the damage, and repaying Americans who’ve suffered a financial loss as a result of the BP oil spill. To date, 108,045 claims have been opened, from which more than $177 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,047 claims adjusters on the ground. To file a claim, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at 1-800-440-0858. Those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution can call the Coast Guard at (800) 280-7118. Additional information about the BP claims process and all available avenues of assistance can be found at www.disasterassistance.gov. 
 
By the Numbers to Date:
•    The administration has authorized the deployment of 17,500 National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states to respond to this crisis; currently, 1,564 are active.
 
•    More than 45,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
 
•    More than 6,800 vessels are currently responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts—in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles, and multiple mobile offshore drilling units.
•    More than 3.15 million feet of containment boom and 6.34 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 892,000 feet of containment boom and 2.66 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
 
•    More than 31.4 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
 
•    Approximately 1.81 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 735,000 sub-sea. Approximately 502,000 gallons are available.
 
•    330 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 10.3 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. Because calculations on the volume of oil burned can take more than 48 hours, the reported total volume may not reflect the most recent controlled burns. 
 
•    17 staging areas are in place to protect sensitive shorelines.
 
•    Approximately 550 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 311 miles in Louisiana, 102 miles in Mississippi, 66 miles in Alabama, and 71 miles in Florida. These numbers reflect a daily snapshot of shoreline currently experiencing impacts from oil so that planning and field operations can more quickly respond to new impacts; they do not include cumulative impacts to date, or shoreline that has already been cleared.
 
•    Approximately 83,927 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 66 percent remains open. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
 
•    To date, the administration has leveraged assets and skills from numerous foreign countries and international organizations as part of this historic, all-hands-on-deck response, including Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre, and the European Maritime Safety Agency.

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