May 10, 2010
BP to try to contain leak with smaller dome
BP is to again attempt to put a collection dome over the main leak at the Deepwater Horizon site. A second, smaller containment device is being readied as the cofferdam deployed last week remains parked on the sea bed, away from the spill area. Efforts to place it over the leak were stymied by a build up of methane hydrate crystals.
BP says the smaller dome is "designed to mitigate the formation of large hydrate volumes." The small dome will be connected by drill pipe and riser lines to a drill ship on the surface to collect and treat oil. This operation has never been done before in 5,000 feet of water.
Further work on the blow out preventer has positioned BP to attempt what it is calling a "top kill" option aimed at stopping the flow of oil from the well. This option will be pursued in parallel with the smaller containment dome over the next two weeks.
"All of the techniques being attempted or evaluated to contain the flow of oil on the seabed involve significant uncertainties because they have not been tested in these conditions before," cautions BP.
Meantime, work on the first relief well, which began on Sunday May 2, continues. It is expected to take some three months to complete.
Surface Spill Response and Containment
Work continues to collect and disperse oil that has reached the surface of the sea. More than 275 vessels are being used, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.
The volume of dispersant applied to the spill on the surface amounts to over 315,000 gallons since the spill response began.
Intensive operations to skim oil from the surface of the water also continued. Some 90,000 barrels of oily liquid has now been recovered.
The total length of deployed boom is now more than 1 million feet as part of the efforts to stop oil reaching the coast.
The cost to date of the response amounts to about $350 million, including the cost of spill response, containment, relief well drilling, commitments to the Gulf Coast States, settlements and federal costs.