Update: The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
UPDATED July 12, 2010, 7:00 PM
* For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.
PAST 24 HOURS
BP Makes Progress on “Capping Stack” Procedure; ‘Well Integrity Test’ to Begin
After approval by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, BP made significant progress on its “capping stack” procedure—designed to capture even greater quantities of oil than the current “top hat” system. As a result of that progress, BP will perform a ‘Well Integrity Test’ tomorrow morning. This test involves closing one or more of the valves on the new cap for a period of time to allow BP to measure pressures in the well.
It also requires that the Helix Producer—which has been connected—and Q4000 collection systems be ramped down and placed in standby mode during the test. The measurements that will be taken during this test will provide valuable information about the condition of the well below the sea level and help determine whether or not it is possible to shut the well for a period of time, such as during a hurricane or bad weather, between now and when the relief wells are complete.
Admiral Allen has reviewed the protocols for this test, in consultation with the government science team. It will likely last anywhere from six to 48 hours or more depending on the measurements that are observed. BP will be in regular contact with the government during the test, and the government will halt the test if the risks of doing further damage to the surrounding formation are significant. Once the test has concluded, collection of the oil will resume.
Skimming Surge Continues Around the Wellsite to Combat Expected Flow Increase
In anticipation of increased oil flow during the capping stack procedure, skimmers were surged to the well site. Currently, 46 skimmers are operating in the vicinity of the well, in addition to more than 570 skimmers deployed to protect coastlines as part of the largest oil spill response in U.S. history. Throughout this response, the federal government has directed BP to develop more detailed plans, create redundancy measures in case those plans fail, and apply additional resources to the largest response to an oil spill in our nation’s history.
The graph below, produced by the Department of Energy, demonstrates the cumulative amount of oil recovered to date, combining the Discoverer Enterprise and the Q4000.
Secretary Salazar Issues New Suspensions to Guide Safe Pause on Deepwater Drilling
In order to protect communities, coasts, and wildlife from the risks that deepwater drilling currently pose, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today issued new suspensions of deepwater drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, saying a pause is needed to ensure that oil and gas companies first implement adequate safety measures to reduce the risks associated with deepwater drilling operations and are prepared for blowouts and oil spills.
Shallow water drilling activities, which do not present the same type or level of risks as deepwater drilling operations, can continue to move forward if operators are in compliance with all safety and environmental requirements, including new safety and environmental requirements implemented through recent Notices to Lessees. Production activities in federal waters of the Gulf are not affected by the deepwater drilling suspensions. For more information, click here.
FWS Releases 33 Birds and 22 Turtle Hatchlings Back to the Wild
As part of continued efforts to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats in the Gulf of Mexico from the impacts of the BP oil spill, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released 22 brown pelicans and 11 Northern Gannets back to the wild at a city park adjacent to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel Island, Fla. The birds were transferred from the Bird Rehabilitation Centers in Fort Jackson, La., and Theodore, Ala.
At midnight last night, 22 hatchlings from the first Ridley sea turtle nest translocation project were released into the Atlantic Ocean at the Kennedy Space Center/Canaveral National Seashore in Florida. Dozens of nest relocations are expected to take place over the next several weeks.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The drilling of relief wells continues. The Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of 17,840 feet below the Gulf surface. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of approximately 15,960 feet below the surface. BP continues the “ranging” process—which involves periodically withdrawing the drill pipe and sending an electrical signal down to determine how close they are getting to the wellbore.
Successful Controlled Burn
Favorable weather conditions allowed responders to conduct a successful controlled burn operation for the fourth consecutive day. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. To date, more than 330 controlled burns have removed more than 10.3 million gallons of oil from the water.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $12 Million
SBA has approved 158 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $12.3 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 616 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $3.5 million per month in payments. For information on assistance loans for affected businesses, visit the SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance, call (800) 659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Administration Continues to Oversee BP’s Claims Process
The administration will continue to hold the responsible parties accountable for repairing the damage, and repaying Americans who’ve suffered a financial loss as a result of the BP oil spill. To date, 106,294 claims have been opened, from which more than $164.9 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,050 claims adjusters on the ground. To file a claim, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at 1-800-440-0858. Those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution can call the Coast Guard at (800) 280-7118. Additional information about the BP claims process and all available avenues of assistance can be found at www.disasterassistance.gov.
By the Numbers to Date:
- The administration has authorized the deployment of 17,500 National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states to respond to this crisis; currently, 1,525 are active.
- More than 45,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
- More than 6,700 vessels are currently responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts—in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles, and multiple mobile offshore drilling units.
- Approximately 3.12 million feet of containment boom and 6.16 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 816,000 feet of containment boom and 2.32 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- More than 31 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 1.79 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 721,000 sub-sea. Approximately 454,000 gallons are available.
- 330 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of approximately 10.3 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. Because calculations on the volume of oil burned can take more than 48 hours, the reported total volume may not reflect the most recent controlled burns.
- 17 staging areas are in place to protect sensitive shorelines.
- Approximately 553 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 313 miles in Louisiana, 99 miles in Mississippi, 66 miles in Alabama, and 75 miles in Florida. These numbers reflect a daily snapshot of shoreline currently experiencing impacts from oil so that planning and field operations can more quickly respond to new impacts; they do not include cumulative impacts to date, or shoreline that has already been cleared.
- Approximately 81,181 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 66 percent remains open.
- Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
- To date, the administration has leveraged assets and skills from numerous foreign countries and international organizations as part of this historic, all-hands-on-deck response, including Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre, and the European Maritime Safety Agency.
- For information about the response effort, visit www.restorethegulf.gov.
- For specific information about the federal-wide response, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/deepwater-bp-oil-spill.
- To contact the Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center, call (985) 902-5231.
- To volunteer, or to report oiled shoreline, call (866) 448-5816. Volunteer opportunities can also be found here.
- To submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system, or to submit alternative response technology, services, or products, call 281-366-5511.
- To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401. Messages will be checked hourly.
- For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit http://www.epa.gov/bpspill.
- For National Park Service updates about potential park closures, resources at risk, and NPS actions to protect vital park space and wildlife, visit http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/oil-spill-response.htm.
- For daily updates on fishing closures, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.
- To file a claim, or report spill-related damage, call BP’s helpline at (800) 440-0858. A BP fact sheet with additional information is available here. For those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution, can call the Coast Guard at (800) 280-7118. More information about what types of damages are eligible for compensation under the Oil Pollution Act as well as guidance on procedures to seek that compensation can be found here.
- In addition, www.disasterassistance.gov has been enhanced to provide a one-stop shop for information on how to file a claim with BP and access additional assistance—available in English and Spanish.
- Any members of the press who encounter response personnel restricting their access or violating the media access policy set forth by Admiral Allen should contact the Joint Information Center. Click here for more information, including a list of regular embed opportunities.
- For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.