BP touts use of chemical dispersants in US Gulf oil spill

05 May 2010 02:25  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--BP has carried out a second trial injection of oil dispersants directly into the oil flow close to the main leak at a massive spill in the US Gulf, the company said on Tuesday.

“The technique is intended to efficiently mix the oil and dispersant, breaking up and dispersing accumulations of oil and allowing it to degrade naturally and reduce surface impact,” BP said in a statement.

The company was working on several fronts to contain and stop the spill caused when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank on 20 April, 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The explosion killed 11 rig workers.

An estimated 5,000 bbl/day of oil was gushing into the Gulf as a result of the spill.

BP said it also had hundreds of thousands of gallons of dispersants ready for surface distribution.

“On the surface, weather hampered surface operations over the weekend but is forecast to improve in coming days,” the company said. “BP currently has 230,000 gallons of dispersant available to deploy once the sea state is calm enough and a further 208,000 gallons on order.”

BP said it planned to increase the use of dispersants against the spill, according to news accounts.

An air carrier delivered more than 540,000 lbs (245 tonnes) of oil spill dispersants to Louisiana, the airline said on Tuesday.

National Airlines said six airplanes had each picked up 90,000 lbs of dispersant from Anchorage International Airport since Saturday and delivered it to New Orleans International airport.

The airline’s delivery of Nalco’s Corexit oil dispersant was expedited because over time the oil “can became too viscous or emulsified to be readily dispersed, making an expedited delivery critical to clean up efforts after time,” the company said in a statement.

"The delivery of the oil spill dispersants is extremely time critical due to the heavy environmental cost of having it arrive later - the product itself has a 'window of opportunity' where it is most effective," said Christopher Alf of National Air Cargo, the parent company of National Airlines.

BP said it had begun to drill a relief well in 5,000 feet of water to intercept the existing well around 13,000 feet below the seabed and permanently seal it.  That effort was expected to take some three months.

Meanwhile, the company said progress was being made in building a containment canopy to contain the spill.

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By: Brian Ford
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