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Friday, June 04, 2010

BP and USCG Officials Say Cap is Currently Allowing the Collection of 1,000 BPD of Oil

Officials are saying they're getting about 1,000 barrels per day from the well as a result of the recently installed riser cap. This capture of oil, they hope, will increase as they slowly and methodically close valves in the lower portion of the Blow Out Preventer (BOP). The valves had been opened to vent and release pressure out of the bottom of the BOP so that the riser pipe could be cut and then fitted with the cap. One BP official said it was possible to get better than 90% of the oil through the newly fitted riser. This may be overly optimistic as the cap fitting is only a temporary arrangement. Picture an O-ring type compression fitting on a sink tap. Everything's fine as long as nothing moves and the rubber O-ring holds. But at the Deepwater Horizon well head there's nearly a mile of pipe leading to the surface, and it's the Gulf and the sometimes volatile waters of the Caribbean Sea, and hurricane season is here, and even without a hurricane there's still all kinds of wind, weather and wave action; in this environment, the idea of having something that doesn't move is the stuff of fantasy.

Hopefully, this "fix" will suffice for days and maybe weeks. And, hopefully, during this time, BP will work on a better, more permanent fix and not just wait for their relief wells to be finished in late August.

Let's also hope and pray the government response has a chance to get ahead of the spill and double the recovery effort.

If the Deepwater Horizon oil spill can remain at at level below that which was spilled by the Mexican Ixtoc I well in 1979 (132 million gallons) I'm hopeful the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Western Atlantic can clean itself without catastrophic consequences.

To date, 35 to 40 million gallons of oil is a reasonable estimate of the total amount of oil that has been spilled by the Deepwater Horizon well.


UPDATE: Oil still escaping from riser pipe cap according to CNN. No comment yet fro BP or CG officials. 1,800 gallons retrieved topside.

UPDATE 6/7/10: BP reports they currently can collect about 10,500 bpd. Their maximum throughput is about 15,000 bpd. New estimates say the well is spewing between 19,000 and 25,000 bpd. If true, it would mean a total of over 1 million gallons of oil a day.

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