DEEPWATER HORIZON UPDATE May 6, 2010
BP plugs one of three leaks in Gulf well
BP announced Wednesday that it has stopped the flow of oil from one of the three existing leak points on the damaged MC252 oil well and riser in the Gulf of Mexico. This will reduce the complexity of the current situation on the seabed, but it is not expected to affect the rate of oil flow from the well.
From BP’s Press Release:
“At the MC252 well, using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), a valve has been installed on the end of a broken drill pipe, one of the three points from which oil was leaking. The ROVs first cut the end of the pipe to leave a clean end and the valve, weighing over half a ton, was placed in position on the seabed. Overnight the ROVs completed securely joining the valve to the broken drill pipe and then closed it, shutting off the flow from that pipe. The ROVs will continue to closely monitor the well and remaining flow points to look for any changes.”
For a video of the capping click here
Coast Guard Burns Oil
The US Coast Guard successfully completed a controlled burn of a portion of the oil slick off the Gulf Coast Wednesday.
This is only the second controlled burn to be performed at this spill; high seas and strong winds caused the delay. The Coast Guard says it will continue to burn the oil so long as air quality on shore remains unaffected and weather permits.
Loading the Cofferdam
While the Coast Guard was completing the burn, a 100 ton cofferdam was being loaded onto a barge to make its way to the leak site. The cofferdam is expected to be up and running by Monday.
Secretary Salazar Gulf Coast Visit
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar surveyed ongoing response efforts to combat the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, inspecting the four-story cofferdam that will attempt to capture the largest leak from the damaged wellhead; making an aerial survey of containment and cleanup efforts underway on Gulf waters; and visiting national wildlife refuges on the Louisiana and Alabama coast to assess on-the-ground efforts to protect sensitive areas.
NASA Satellite Assets
At NOAA’s request, NASA has agreed to use their ER-2 aircraft, equipped with a highly specialized scanner (the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) system) to provide NOAA high resolution images of the threatened Gulf shoreline. This will assist valuable NOAA’s damage assessment activities by forecasting spill trajectories and conducting mass balance calculations. Additionally, NASA has employed satellite instruments both to detect the extent of the entire oil spill, and to see the details of the extent of selected areas of the spill.
By the Numbers to Date:
* Personnel were quickly deployed and approximately 7,900 are currently
responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
* Nearly 200 vessels are 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 564,000 of feet of boom (regular and sorbent) have been
deployed to contain the spill—and 1.6 million feet are available.
* More than 1.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
* More than 190,000 gallons of dispersant have been deployed. More than
55,000 gallons are available.
* Nine staging areas have been set up to protect vital shoreline in all
potentially affected Gulf Coast states (Biloxi, Miss., Pensacola, Fla.,
Pascagoula, Miss., Dauphin Island, Ala., Port Sulphur, La., Shell Beach,
La., Slidell, La., Port Fourchon, La., Venice, La.).
Additional Staging Location
A 10th staging location was established in Panama City, Fla., joining nine others in Biloxi, Miss., Pensacola, Fla., Pascagoula, Miss., Dauphin Island, Ala., Port Sulphur, La., Shell Beach, La., Slidell, La., Port Fourchon, La., and Venice, La.
Aerial Dispersant Spray Missions
Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS) aircraft flew four missions—dispensing the same dispersant chemical being used by BP and the federal responders. These systems are capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight.
NOAA Fisheries continues to collect seafood samples and transfer those to the National Seafood Inspection Lab.
NOAA Ocean and Marsh Imaging Flights
Two NOAA turbo-prop aircraft are positioned in Mobile, Ala. One will fly
marine mammal survey missions—the second aircraft will conduct ocean
imaging missions, providing valuable information about the oil thickness
and density on the sea surface. A third NOAA aircraft is positioned in
New Orleans and staged to conduct aerial photographic flights of marsh
Ocean Exploration Mission
A NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research-sponsored mission is en
route to collect seafloor and water column data from areas near the oil
National Park Service Response Website
The National Park Service created an oil spill response website,
available at http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/oil-spill-response.htm, to
update the public about potential park closures, resources at risk, and
NPS actions to protect vital park space and wildlife.
* For information about the response effort, visit
* To contact the Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center, call (985)
* 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
* To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401. Messages will be
* For information about validated environmental air and water sampling
results, visit 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.
* 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.