September 3, 2010

Oil Well Cap Removed; BP Confirms $8 Billion Clean-Up

One day after removing the cap from the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP announced on Friday that the cost of the environmental disaster had topped the $8 billion mark.

The disaster, which dates back to the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in late April, resulted in nearly five million barrels of crude leaking into the water until it was successfully capped on July 15. Furthermore, despite halting the flow of petroleum, the British-based company estimates it is currently spending approximately $90 billion per day, and that the cost of the catastrophe will ultimately top the $32 billion mark.

The current response cost includes "the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, static kill and cementing, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid and federal costs," BP said in a statement on Friday, while reiterating that they had committed a $20 billion compensation fund for those affected by what experts have called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

On Thursday, workers successfully removed a massive cap, which had stemmed the flow of oil into the Gulf, from the ruptured well in what officials told AFP was "a key step toward killing the well once and for all." With the cap successfully removed, officials then set to work Thursday night on removing the damaged blowout preventer, or BOP.

"Operations are now underway to replace the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) drilling rig's failed blow-out preventer (BOP) with the DDII drilling rig's BOP in order to allow operations to complete the relief well to resume," the company confirmed in a Friday morning press update.

"The capping stack on top of the DWH BOP was removed by the drillship Discoverer Enterprise on September 2. Following the removal of the capping stack, the Q4000 support vessel will connect a riser to the DWH BOP as part of ongoing operations to remove the BOP from the well. The DDII drilling rig will then be expected to move its BOP into place," BP added.

Also on Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reopened more than 5,000 square miles of previously closed-off Gulf fishing area, stretching from the far eastern coast of Louisiana to the western panhandle of Florida.

"The reopening was announced after consultation with FDA and under a re-opening protocol agreed to by NOAA, the FDA, and the Gulf states," officials from the federal agency announced in a September 2 press release, adding that sensory analysis had found "no detectable oil or dispersant odors or flavors, and results of chemical analysis well below the levels of concern."


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