You have probably heard that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been capped and we are now all saved. Well, the good news is that it has been capped, but we must be smart and not get ahead of ourselves. We are not out of the woods yet. As a matter of fact, the good news may only be short-lived as things develop. Here is the reality of what Mike Sorrentino would call “The Situation”:
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1 – Testing of Capped Well Continues
Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is coordinating the spill response, said Friday that pressure readings from the capped undersea well were not ideal and that they had not reached the level that would show there were no other leaks in the well. The tests on the cap will continue, he said. He said the developments were “generally good news” but needed close monitoring. However, officials on Saturday said that pressure readings in the well were rising steadily since the valves were closed on a cap at the top of the well on Thursday afternoon, an indication that the well was in good shape.
Rising pressure is a good sign, and falling pressure would indicate a new leak.
“We’re encouraged at this point,” Mr. Wells said. But he said extensive monitoring was continuing, and no decision had yet been made to stop the test or extend it. “We‘re being very, very cautious.”
Pressure stood at 6, 745 pounds per square inch in the well and was rising steadily at approximately 2 psi per hour, he said.
2 – Obama Urges Caution
President Obama hailed the capping of the well but cautioned against concluding that the corner had been turned, noting that it was still possible for there to be complications that “could be even more catastrophic” than the original leak. Earlier yesterday, Obama cautiously welcomed word from BP executives that there was no obvious sign that the well had been breached again. “We won’t be done until we actually know that we’ve killed the well and that we have a permanent solution in place,” Obama said. “We’re moving in that direction, but I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
3 – ‘Super Skimmer’ Fails in Tests
A “super skimmer” ship sent to help with the cleanup has collected virtually no oil in two weeks of tests, Rear Adm. Paul Zunkunft of the Coast Guard said Friday. The 1,100-foot ship, named A Whale, an ore and oil carrier refitted for skimming, was sent to help this month by TMT Shipping Offshore of Taiwan.The giant “super skimmer” sent to help BP’s efforts at cleaning up its Gulf of Mexico disaster has turned out to be a bust, US Coast Guard officials announced late on Friday.
After giving the Taiwanese-owned supertanker an “extended trial period” for providing help in BP’s Gulf of Mexico debacle, Zukunft announced late Friday the vessel would not be deployed as a part of the oil spill response. “While its stature is impressive, ‘A Whale’ is not ideally suited to the needs of this response.” “We appreciate the ingenuity of the TMT team to try to make this innovative system work under these unique conditions. This is the largest oil spill response in our nation’s history and we will continue to attack the oil as far offshore as possible with our fleet of hundreds of skimmers, controlled burns, and effective use of dispersant.”
At a news briefing earlier on Friday, Zukunft said: “The results are the amount of oil recovered by the A Whale is nil.”
Because the leaking oil on the Gulf’s surface is found in a high number of small patches and numerous ribbons, smaller skimmers with more agility have been found to be better suited for the recovery efforts.
4 – BP Reports $201 Million in Claims Paid
BP said it had paid out $201 million so far to individuals and businesses for economic losses from the spill. More than 32,000 claimants got one or more payments in the past 10 weeks. BP said the largest groups included fishermen, who have received $32 million, and shrimpers, who have received $18 million.
Overall, 114,000 claims have been submitted, but more than 61,000 claims lack sufficient information for BP to make a payment, or claimants have been unreachable after filing. BP has begun sending letters to the 48,000 people that submitted claims but have not provided the required documentation.
Currently, 17,000 claims are in the process of being evaluated. In addition, 4,000 requests were denied after determining they were duplicates, erroneous or withdrawn.
“We strongly encourage those who have not yet sent in their supporting documents to do so. BP is committed to paying all legitimate claims. As soon as we have the information, we will process them,” said Darryl Willis, of the BP claims team.prma