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BP Spots Third Leak from Deepwater Horizon Riser; NOAA Estimates Oil Leaking at Up to 5,000 BPD

BP, in its monitoring of Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer (BOP) on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, has identified a third leak in the riser of the deep underwater well, according to Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for BP Exploration and Production, during a press conference on the incident response held yesterday. (Earlier post.)

US Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry, the federal on-scene coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon Response unified command, said that the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) now estimates that as much as 5,000 bpd could be flowing from the riser. Initial estimates had put the leak from the well drilled by the sunken Deepwater Horizon at 1,000 bpd.

Suttles said that BP was holding to the initial estimate of 1,000 bpd, but also said that 5,000 was within the range of uncertainty for the amount. The newly discovered leak is just beyond the top of the blowout preventer.

Admiral Landry said that the Federal government was calling on BP to supplement the current mobilization, and to “begin consulting with the Department of Defense to explore ways to use technologies that may surpass capabilities of the commercial sector”.

Workers have finished fabricating the containment chamber portion of a collection dome that will be deployed to the sea floor to collect oil as it escapes from the well.

Work will now begin on the piping system that will bring the oil to the surface for collection; this method has never been tried at this depth before.

The first rig to be used for drilling a relief or cut-off well is on site and should begin drilling approximately ½ a mile from the well head on Friday. The relief well will not be complete for several months.

Responders are still figuring out new ways to use Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to try to trigger the blowout preventer (BOP), a series of valves that sits at the well head. These efforts will continue concurrent with the collection dome and relief well(s).

A flyover on Wednesday, 28 April at 2:00 p.m. (CDT), continued to show a large, rainbow sheen with areas of emulsified crude, now approximately 16 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

On April 28 at approximately 4:45 p.m. (CDT), the response team conducted a successful, controlled in-situ burn and is evaluating conducting additional burns.

More than 174,060 feet of boom (barrier) has been assigned to contain the spill. An additional 243,260 feet is available and 265,460 feet has been ordered.

To date, the oil spill response team has recovered 18,180 barrels (763,560 gallons) of an oil-water mix. Vessels are in place and continuing recovery operations. 76 response vessels are being used including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.

98,361 gallons of dispersant have been deployed and an additional 75,000 gallons are available. Five staging areas are in place in an effort to protect sensitive shorelines.



Will next week estimates climb to 10 000 bpd or more?

Could automatic safety valves on the risers have control or reduced the volume of the spill?

There must be some safety features that could have been incorporated to avoid or limit large accidental spills such as this one.

Could a relief well have been drilled at the same time as the main well?

Something will have to be done to avoid another major spill as this one.


I totally agree HarveyD --- you would think that better safety precautions would be possible so this never happens again. As a result of this, and as ugly as it may get, some may call for a complete moratorium on offshore drilling. Yet, I would argue that in a complex world loaded with tyrants, thugs, oil wars, and middle eastern instability, we need offshore drilling to get us to energy independence. In addition, if the US banned all offshore drilling today, Russia, China, Brazil and everyone else will keep on drilling offshore and have accidents of their own.

Nick Lyons

I remember the spill off Santa Barbara back in the day. The economic and environmental impact of the spill ensured that Californians would oppose drilling ever since. This spill has that potential to change the conversation about whether offshore drilling is really worthwhile after all.


Not realy everyone knew sooner or later a rig goes boom. The odd thing is they DO have safety equipment and shutoff thingies but for some reason this didnt help.. all I can assume is either the rig landed ON the well head or ripped it up badly as it sank.



I agree but their oil spills would probably never reach the Florida Coasts.


Look out for the post peak oil accidents..


Actually although remote shutoffs are in use on other rigs this rig seems not to have one. The news report I saw said 'it wasn't required by law when operations were started.' Can we call that a grandfather rule?


drill baby drill


We can be rofl from "drill baby drill", just remember that whatever this America does, everyone else around the world will keep on drilling. If we stopped on-shore and off-shore drilling because we thought we were superior to everyone else and used that perceived moral authority to tell everyone else around the world to stop, they would be rofl & would keep on drilling. America is the world leader in natural gas reserves, developed with inland horizontal drilling & hydraulic fracturing, which has occured over just the past few years.


Obama's plan to open the Florida Gulf and Atlantic Coast to offshore drilling will face very intense criticism when the public comment period starts.

Virginia has already given its approval, but still needs a public comment hearing. It think Obama and Virginia will eat their words.

The Solar Panel companies are watching closely. The price of solar panels was $5/watt only two years ago. Now you can buy them at $1.70 retail from Sun Electronics. If you want to do some soldering, the cells go for as low as $.60/watt. My point is that the price of alternative energy is dropping fast and the oil leak will make it even more attractive.

If Nanosolar can print a few dozen gigawatts, we won't need any drilling off the coast.


Let's not forget this present disaster is courtesy of BRITISH Petroleum - not an American company - which bears full responsibility.

The present disaster in the Gulf of Mexico with BP's "Deepwater Horizon" oil rig explosion and massive spill will be a nail in big oil's coffin. The vastness of this disaster (11 men killed, billions in eco-damage) will provide more non-climate-related pressure to transition to low carbon energy.

The added cost of insuring deep water drilling will drive cost per barrel well beyond the present $85 fix. Unless oil is willing to pay for insurance out of their own pocket - which we have yet to see.

38 coal miners killed in Kentucky, and 11 on the BP oil rig - looks like an irrefutable argument against fossil monopolies.


"this rig seems not to have one."

It has a blow out valve, but it is not working and they don't know why. They say the methods that they have are not proven in 5000 feet of water. Why would you allow drilling at this depth if you have NO proven safety methods?


OPEC must be celebrating right now. If the price of oil continues to climb, they will simply open their valves some more, increase their production, and make out like bandits. Our addiction to foreign oil will only increase if we cease all domestic offshore oil production. Our federal government's lack of real leadership on energy independence will only lead to more oil wars and dependency on middle east thugs.

Stan Peterson

Further proof that government regulation did not prevent a damn thing.

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