Oil leaking at blast site

2010-04-25 09:00
This image provided by the US Coast Guard shows oil leaking from the drill pipe of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig after it sank on Thursday. (US Coast Guard, AP)

This image provided by the US Coast Guard shows oil leaking from the drill pipe of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig after it sank on Thursday. (US Coast Guard, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New Orleans - The Coast Guard discovered on Saturday that oil is leaking from the damaged well that fed a massive rig that exploded this week off Louisiana's coast, while bad weather halted efforts to clean up the mess that threatens the area's fragile marine ecosystem.

For days, the Coast Guard has said no oil appeared to be escaping from the well head on the ocean floor. Rear Admiral Mary Landry said the leak was a new discovery but could have begun when the rig sank on Thursday, two days after the initial explosion.

"We thought what we were dealing with as of yesterday was a surface residual (oil) from the mobile offshore drilling unit," Landry said. "In addition to that is oil emanating from the well. It is a big change from yesterday ... This is a very serious spill, absolutely."

Coast Guard and company officials estimate that as much as 1 000 barrels - or 160 000 litres) - of oil is leaking each day after studying information from remotely operated vehicles and the size of the oil slick surrounding the blast site. The rainbow-coloured sheen of oil stretched 30x30km on Saturday - about 25 times larger than it appeared to be a day earlier, Landry said.

By comparison, Exxon Valdez spilled 40 million litres in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989 - the worst oil spill in US history.

BP PLC, which leased the rig and is taking the lead in the cleanup, and the government have been using the remotely operated vehicles to try to stop the leak by closing valves on the well deep underwater. If that doesn't work, the company could drill what's called an intervention well to control the oil flow. But the intervention drilling could take months.

Bad weather

"Over the next several days, we should determine which method is the best one to follow," said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for BP Exploration and Production. "A huge number of engineers from ourselves, working with (the government) and across the industry are putting together the best technology and know-how to solve this problem."

Complicating efforts to stop the leak is well head's depth at 1500m underwater, said Lars Herbst, the regional director for the Minerals Management Service. Leaks have been fixed at similar depths before, but the process is difficult, he said.

The bad weather rolled in on Friday, bringing with it strong wind, clouds and rain that interrupted efforts to contain the oil spill. Coast Guard Petty Officer John Edwards said he was uncertain when weather conditions would improve enough for the cleanup to resume. So far, crews have retrieved about 1 052 barrels of oily water, he said.

The sunken rig may have as much as 2.6 million litres of diesel on board, and an undetermined amount of oil has spilled from the rig itself. Suttles said the rig was "intact and secure" on the seabed about 400m from the well site.

BP said it has activated an extensive oil spill response, including the remotely operated vehicles, 700 workers, four airplanes and 32 vessels to mop up the spill. The Marine Spill Response Corp, an energy industry clean-up consortium, also brought equipment.

New safety rules

Eleven oil workers are still missing, the other 115 crew members made it off the platform; several were hurt but only one remained hospitalised. The most seriously injured worker was expected to be released within about 10 days.

Federal officials had already been working on new safety rules for offshore drilling before Tuesday's blast.

The US Minerals and Management Service is developing regulations aimed at preventing human error, which it identified as a factor in many of the more than 1 400 offshore oil drilling accidents between 2001 and 2007. An MMS review published last year found 41 deaths and 302 injuries during that period.

The cause of Tuesday's blast hasn't been determined.

- AP

Read more on:    us
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Bellville - 09:57 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between the R300 Highway and the Durban Road exit
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 09:21 AM
    Road name: N2 Inbound
    Earlier ACCIDENT before Hospital Bend has been moved to the side of the carriageway - HEAVY DELAYS from Duinefontein Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Graduate Financial Advisor:

Western Cape
Persona Staff
Market Related

Brand Manager

Western Cape
Peoplefinder Career Placements
Market Related

PHP Developer

Western Cape
Progressive IT Resourcing (Pty) Ltd
Market Related

Property [change area]

APARTMENTS / FLATS FOR SALE IN Hermanus, Eastcliff

Apartments / Flats R 1 825 000

APARTMENTS / FLATS FOR SALE IN Hermanus

Apartments / Flats R 1 825 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Somerset West

Houses R 2 297 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.