The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
UPDATED July 10, 2010 7 PM
* For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.
PAST 24 HOURS
At the Administration’s Direction, BP Begins “Capping Stack” Procedure After receiving approval from National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, BP began its “capping stack” procedure—designed to capture even greater quantities of oil than the current “top hat” system. Admiral Allen issued the following statement on his decision to allow BP to move forward with this strategy:
“After reviewing Bob Dudley’s response to my July 8 letter outlining BP’s proposed plan of action for oil containment efforts, and consulting top government scientists and engineers including Secretary Chu, I approved BP’s plan to simultaneously install the Helix Producer and “capping stack” containment mechanisms, which will require temporary suspension of the current top hat containment system. I validated this plan because the capacity for oil containment when these installations are complete will be far greater than the capabilities we have achieved using current systems. In addition, favorable weather expected over the coming days will provide the working conditions necessary for these transitions to be successfully completed without delays. The transition to this new containment infrastructure could begin in the next days but will take seven to ten days to complete. I have also directed BP to provide daily briefings and regular informational updates to the media throughout this capping process.”
BP also is in the process of connecting a third vessel, the Helix Producer, which will increase collection capacity to an estimated 53,000 barrels per day by bringing up additional oil up through the kill line—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.
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. Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft Will Assume Duties as Federal On-Scene Coordinator National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen announced that Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft is scheduled to relieve Rear Adm. James Watson as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response on Monday, July 12.
Zukunft, who has been in the region for several weeks overseeing strategic planning while preparing to assume the role of Federal On Scene Coordinator, is the Coast Guard's assistant commandant for marine safety, security and stewardship.
In that role he is responsible for developing national marine safety, security and environmental protection doctrine, policy, and regulations. In addition, he oversees the important work of numerous federal advisory committees and international partnerships related to marine safety, security, and environmental protection.
Admiral Allen issued the following statement: “I commend Admiral Watson’s job as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, and he has been instrumental to key decisions in the oil collection process. As he returns to Atlantic Area to ensure the Coast Guard's long term ability to support this operation and others, I am confident that Admiral Zukunft will continue the efforts to ensure BP secures the well completely while operationally sustaining this historic response.” Successful Controlled Burn Favorable weather conditions allowed responders to conduct a successful controlled burn operation for the second 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. Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, a total of 234 personnel, 82 vessels, and five helicopters participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. The Wildlife Hotline received 66 reports of oiled/injured birds, 12 oiled/injured fish, three oiled/injured reptiles, and three oiled/injured mammals.
From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, 26 two-person teams, 14 support personnel and 12 boats participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. 70 calls were received on the Wildlife Hotline. Oil Surveys Continue Along Texas Coast U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Coast Guard are working closely with the state of Texas to identify oiled locations and test reported oil to determine its source. Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells The drilling of relief wells continues and has not been interrupted by elevated sea states. The Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of 17,780 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 14,500 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.
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, 103,013 claims have been opened, from which more than $162.6 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 999 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.