BP today continued to ramp up its response to the oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico. Over 2,500 personnel are now involved in the response effort and well-advanced preparations are being made for a major protection and cleaning effort on the shorelines of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. A fourth onshore command centre, in Mobile, Alabama, opened yesterday.
"In the past few days I have seen the full extent of BP's global resources and capability being brought to bear on this problem, and welcome the offers of further assistance we have had from government agencies, oil companies and members of the public to defend the shoreline and fight this spill," said Tony Hayward, BP Group Chief Executive. "We will be judged by the success we have in dealing with this incident and we are determined to succeed."
Work is progressing to install marine protection booms along the coast. As well as almost 220,000 feet of boom already in the water, an additional 300,000 feet is staged or in the process of being deployed, with more on the way.
The onshore activity is focused on five locations in the potentially affected states: Venice, Louisiana; Pascagoula and Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida. Staging posts are in place stocked with people and material, including about 100,000 feet of boom, to protect the shoreline in each area. In addition, a sixth staging post is now being set up in Port Sulphur, Louisiana.
Hayward added: "BP is fully committed to taking all possible steps to contain the spread of the oil spill. We are taking full responsibility for the spill and we will clean it up, and where people can present legitimate claims for damages we will honour them."
The oil spill follows the sinking of Transocean's drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Mississippi Canyon 252 block.
BP continues to attack the spill on many fronts – making continuing attempts to prevent oil escaping from the subsea well, 5,000 feet below the surface; collecting and separating the oil which enters the water; deploying innovative technology to disperse the oil at its seabed source; and drilling a relief well to permanently isolate and secure the leaking well.
In parallel, at the surface, BP's response is expanding to mobilise shoreline protection teams and equipment, and numbers of community liaison staff, while planning for in-situ burning several miles offshore. BP has called on expertise from other companies including Exxon, Shell, Chevron and Anadarko to help it activate the blow out preventer, and to offer technical support on other aspects of the response.
Preliminary estimates indicate that current efforts to contain the spill and secure the well are costing the MC252 owners about $6 million per day. This figure is expected to rise as activity increases.