BP today provided an update on developments in the response to the MC252 oil well incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
The lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap, installed on June 3, continues to collect oil and gas flowing from the MC252 well and transport them to the Discoverer Enterprise drillship on the surface.
In the first 12 hours of June 9 (midnight to noon), approximately 7,920 barrels of oil were collected and 15.7 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared. On June 8, a total of approximately 15,000 barrels of oil were collected and 29.4 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.
Lightering - the transfer of crude oil from one vessel to another - from storage on the Discoverer Enterprise to the barge Massachussetts began on the morning of June 9 and continues. When the process is complete, the barge will transport the oil for discharge at an onshore terminal.
The volume of oil captured and gas flared is being updated twice daily on BP’s website, www.bp.com. 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.
Preparations for additional planned enhancements to the LMRP 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 potentially increasing the amount of oil and gas that can be captured from the well and is currently expected to be available for operation in mid-June.
The second planned addition is intended to 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. It is then proposed that a flexible hose 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. It 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 13,978 feet. The second relief well, which started May 16, is at 8,576 feet, and preparing to drill ahead. 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.
Almost 3,600 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 383,000 barrels (16.1 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 2.3 million feet, and almost 2.7 million feet of sorbent boom also has been deployed.
To date, almost 42,000 claims have been submitted and more than 20,000 payments already have been made, totalling over $53 million. BP has received more than 173,000 calls into its help lines.
The cost of the response to date is approximately $1.43 billion, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid, and federal costs. This also includes the first $60 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.