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How do you see the decision to open up more U.S. offshore acreage for exploration

Too little, too late
Sensible compromise
Environmental disaster

April 29 2010

Deepwater Horizon spill now said to be 5,000 barrels a day

BP has discovered a further leak in the riser of the well at the Deepwater Horizon site

"Remotely-operated vehicles are monitoring the well and riser. Monitoring has detected an additional leak on the riser closer to the well," said a BP statement issued this morning.

The Coast Guard has raised its estimate of the magnitude of the spill from 1,000 to 5,000 barrels a day.That figure is not based on news of the newly discovered leak but on NOAA assessments of aerial surveys, study of the trajectory of the oil slick and other factors.

Doug Suttles, Chief Operating Officer of BP, says that the leak is not expected to produce any more new oil and that "what we observing at the sea bed is the same what we were observing when we first reported the two locations."

The well is on the MC252 lease, in which BP has a 65 percent interest. BP said this morning that preliminary estimates indicate that current efforts to contain the spill and secure the well are costing the MC252 owners about $6 million per day.

"We are attacking this spill on all fronts, bringing into play all and any resources and advanced technologies we believe can help," said Tony Hayward, BP Group Chief Executive. "Our action plan is safety-focused, multi-layered and has the full resources of the BP Group behind it."

"The scale of the surface response is truly unprecedented, both for BP and for the oil industry," Hayward added. "At the seabed, we are applying all the resources available to us and also developing and adapting advanced technology to address this complex problem."

BP said that Improved weather for vessels and aircraft is aiding in the dispersion of the sheen that comprises the vast majority of the spill and is enabling skimming vessels to operate far offshore and aircraft to fly multiple dispersant sorties. Weathering and dispersion tactics are breaking down the oil into a frothy emulsion. Fire boom has also been deployed to contain and burn heavier pockets of oil. The latest response numbers are:

More than 100,000 feet of boom (barrier) has been assigned to contain the spill. An additional 286,760 feet is available and 320,460 feet has been ordered.

To date, the oil spill response team has recovered 16,311 barrels (685,062 gallons) of an oil-water mix. Vessels are in place and continuing recovery operations.

69 response vessels are being used including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.

76,104 gallons of dispersant have been deployed and an additional 89,746 gallons are available.

BP says it is working closely with Gulf Coast state environmental officials to implement an extensive shoreline protection plan. This includes deployment of more than 100,000 feet of boom over the last two days to minimize impact to sensitive areas in the Mississippi River Delta area. Staging areas are also in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines. These areas include: Biloxi, Miss., Pensacola, Fla. Venice, La., Pascagoula, Miss., and Theodore, Ala.

BP says that ROVs also continue to methodically work through procedures aimed at subsea activation of the blow-out preventer on the MC252 well.

In parallel with these offshore efforts, advanced engineering design and fabrication of a subsea oil collection system has started onshore. This will be the first time this proven shallow water technology has been adapted for the deepwater. It is expected to be ready for deployment within the next four weeks.

BP also today began preparations to drill a relief well into the MC252 exploration well following the arrival on site of the Transocean Development Driller III. Drilling plans have been approved by the U.S. Minerals Management Service. A second drilling ship, TransoceanŐs Discoverer Enterprise, is also on its way to the site with plans being developed for a second relief well should it be necessary.

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