Web edition: June 14, 2010
To date, 400 skimmers have retrieved some 18 million gallons of oiled water from the BP Gulf spill, according to Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen during a June 11 press briefing. After removing the entrained water, this translates to between 1.8 million and 2.7 million gallons of crude oil. Another 3.8 million gallons of oil have been burned at sea. Four million gallons more have been collected through a near-mile-long riser tube and a containment cap fitted over the broken Deepwater Horizon wellhead.
That sounds like a lot. And it is.
But federal estimates of the spill rate peg the most likely numbers at between 25,000 and 40,000 barrels per day (with 42 gallons to a barrel). So even being optimistic and assuming the low end of that spill rate, there must be at least some 33.5 million gallons of BP oil still sloshing around the Gulf. And the total continues to grow every day.
Adm. Allen reports that BP has the capacity to ramp up its collection of oil from a cap that it installed over the wellhead on June 3. As of June 10, it was retrieving a little less than 16,000 barrels per day — and has the capacity to collect up to 28.000 barrels per day, temporarily storing the oil in surface ships until it can be shuttled to refineries for processing. The arrival of additional vessels and piping should soon increase this collection capacity to between 40,000 and 50,000 barrels a day, Allen said.
Deepwater Horizon Response, the official site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command. [Go to]