BP continues to respond to the MC252 oil well incident in the Gulf of Mexico, using a lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap, installed on June 3, to collect oil and gas flowing from the well and transport them to the Discoverer Enterprise drillship on the surface. On June 5, a total of 10,500 barrels of oil was collected and 22 million standard cubic feet of natural gas was flared. From June 3-5, 16,600 barrels of oil were collected and 32.7 million standard cubic feet of natural gas were flared.
Optimization continues and improvement in oil collection is expected over the next several days. Still, It will be a few days before an assessment can be made as to the success of this containment effort.
This is a complex operation, involving risks and uncertainties, being carried out 5,000 feet under water, BP noted. The LMRP containment cap never before has been deployed at these depths and conditions, and its efficiency and ability to contain the oil and gas cannot be assured.
The volume of oil captured and gas flared is being updated daily on BP’s Web site, www.bp.com.
Meanwhile, preparations for additional planned enhancements to the LMRP cap containment system continue to progress.
The first planned addition will use the hoses and manifold that were deployed for the “top kill” operation to take oil and gas from the failed Deepwater Horizon blow-out preventer (BOP) through a separate riser to the Q4000 vessel on the surface, in addition to the LMRP cap system. This system is intended to increase the overall efficiency of the containment operation by possibly increasing the amount of oil and gas that can be captured from the well and is currently expected to be available for deployment in mid-June.
The second planned addition would provide a more permanent LMRP containment cap system by directing the oil and gas to a new free-floating riser ending approximately 300 feet below sea level. A flexible hose then would be attached to a containment vessel. This long-term containment option is designed to permit more effective disconnection and reconnection of the riser to provide the greatest flexibility for operations during a hurricane and is expected to be implemented in early July.
In the meantime, work on the first relief well, which started May 2, continues and has currently reached a depth of 12,956 feet. The second relief well, which started May 16, is at 8,576 feet, and testing of the BOP is continuing. Both wells are still estimated to take approximately three months to complete from commencement of drilling.
Work continues to collect and disperse oil that has reached the surface of the sea, to protect the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, and to collect and clean up any oil that has reached shore.
More than 2,600 vessels are now involved in the response effort, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels. Operations to skim oil from the surface of the water now have recovered, in total, approximately 368,000 barrels (15.5 million gallons) of oily liquid.
The total length of containment boom deployed as part of efforts to prevent oil from reaching the coast is now over 2.2 million feet, and an additional 2.4 million feet of sorbent boom also has been deployed.
To date, approximately 37,000 claims have been submitted and more than 18,000 payments already have been made, totaling approximately $48 million. BP has received more than 152,000 calls into its help lines.
The cost of the response to date is about $1,250 million, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid and federal costs. This excludes the $360 million in funds for the Louisiana barrier islands construction project. It is too early to quantify other potential costs and liabilities associated with the incident, BP noted.