Earlier today the containment cap was off the riser. Oil and gas was spewing into the gulf for a good 8 hours. One of the vents was damaged and the cap had to be removed. There were also two deaths in the oil spill recovery team. It is now back on and they are collecting and burning about 27,000 barrels of oil per day. Spill estimates currently range between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day.
Gas entered one of the lines which actually cools the containment cap. A robot arm from one of the ROVs accidentally bumped a vent, at which point gas went up the line. That line is used to heat the containment gap so the gas doesn't form hydrates (freeze).
Even more despairing, a boat captain working on the clean up, shot himself. From MSNBC:
The deaths reported Wednesday were not tied to the containment operation. The Coast Guard said the workers had been involved in cleanup operations did that their deaths did not appear to be work related.
One death was a boat captain who died of a gunshot wound, a Coast Guard spokesman said. Further details were not immediately available.
Here is the official coast guard website on the spill.
The last collection efforts resulted in a collection of 27,090 barrels of oil, with:
- approx. 16,665 barrels of oil were collected
- approx. 10,425 barrels of oil were flared
- and approx. 54.4 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared
Other events are a judge ruled against the Obama administration to lift the 6 months moratorium against deep sea oil drilling. This affects about 33 wells.
BP has replaced Tony Hayward with Mississippi native Bob Dudley:
Dudley, who had led BP's operations in the Americas and Asia, is no stranger to tough situations, having protected his company's interests in rough dealing in Russia even after he was barred from the country.
The 54-year-old spent two decades climbing the ranks at Amoco Corp., which merged with BP, and lost out to Hayward on the CEO's slot three years ago.
Looks like more politics, for Dudley reports to Hayward, who has a vested interest in making sure Dudley doesn't get his job.
The last technical update was on June 18th. As one can see, the plan to use dispersants has not changed.
Even worse, scientists are suspecting the oxygen levels, due to bacteria eating the oil, are reaching critical lows. This kills sea life and is known as a dead zone.
Consider this post an oil spill open thread.