Oil spill from BP rig explosion at 5,000 barrels a day  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , ,

CNN reports the volume of oil spilling into the gulf of Mexico from BP's Horizon disaster has risen to 5000 barrels per day - Oil spill from rig explosion at 5,000 barrels a day.

The oil spill from last week's deadly rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has increased to 5,000 barrels a day -- five times more than the original estimate, said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry.

A third underwater oil leak has been located in the pipeline that connected the rig to the oil well, said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for BP.

The head of BP Groups said the explosion could have been prevented, and he is focusing blame on rig owner Transocean Ltd.

CEO Tony Hayward told CNN's Brian Todd in an exclusive interview that Transocean's "blowout preventer" failed to operate before the explosion. A blowout preventer is a large valve at the top of a well, and activating it will stop the flow of oil. The valve may be closed during drilling if underground pressure drives up oil or natural gas, threatening the rig.

"That is the ultimate fail-safe mechanism," Hayward said. "And for whatever reason -- and we don't understand that yet, but we clearly will as a consequence of both our investigation and federal investigations -- it failed to operate. ...

BP owns the oil well. Before the explosion, Hayward had announced a significant discovery of at least 50 million barrels of oil. "Of course, all of that is completely irrelevant in the context of what we're now dealing with."

The Australian reports that attempts are being made to brun the oil slick on the surface - Controlled burn of Gulf of Mexico oil slick begins .
EMERGENCY crews have begun controlled burns of a giant oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, but a cruel wind shift raised fears the spill could hit Louisiana's fragile shores by the weekend. ...

Two skimming vessels dispatched by the US Coast Guard and energy giant BP swept the thickest concentrations of oil into a 150m fire-resistant boom. They then towed it to a 8km “burn zone” set up inside the slick roughly 80km south of the mouth of the Mississippi where it was set alight a few hours before nightfall. “They lit it with a little float that has a fuel source on it that floats into the oil and ignites. It did successfully ignite,” Coast Guard petty officer Cory Mendenhall told AFP. ...

As a back-up, engineers are frantically building a giant dome that could be placed over the leaks to trap the oil, allowing it to be pumped up to container ships on the surface.

Another Transocean drilling rig is also on stand-by to drill two relief wells that could divert the oil flow to new pipes and storage vessels.

But that would take up to three months and the dome is seen as a better interim bet even though engineers need two to four weeks to build it.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry, who is leading the government's response to the disaster, warned on Tuesday that if BP fails to secure the well it could end up being “one of the most significant oil spills in US history.”

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