16 June 2010 15:43 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--BP has begun Gulf of Mexico oil spill siphoning operations with its second containment system, the company said on Wednesday.
Oil and gas began flowing through the system at 1:00 hours Louisiana time (6:00 GMT), according to BP. Overall siphoning capacity was expected to jump to 28,000 bbl/day.
The system uses tubes from the company’s failed top kill operations in reverse, BP said. The tubes are connected directly to the well’s failed blow-out preventer (BOP) and carry oil and gas to the Q4000 vessel on the surface, where they are burned.
The company said operations to stabilise and optimise the performance of the system were ongoing.
The Q4000 vessel would have an overall processing capacity of 10,000 bbl/day, added to the 18,000 bbl/day capacity of the nearby Discoverer Enterprise.
BP had been siphoning upwards of 15,000 bbl/day and 30m cubic feet/day of natural gas via the first system - which utilises BP’s lower marine riser package (LMRP) cap over the BOP.
However, siphoning dropped to 10,440 bbl and 25.1m cubic feet on Tuesday when a small ship fire from a lightning strike forced operations to stop for several hours.
Those figures were only a small percentage of the new US estimates for the Gulf oil leak - which ranged from 35,000-60,000 bbl/day.
As a result, BP was still planning to bring additional capacity to the scene. The company said it expected a capacity of up to 53,000 bbl/day by the end of June and 80,000 bbl/day by mid-July, following demands from US officials for BP to expedite its timetable.
In addition, upcoming siphoning structures - including a pair of riser pipes to be inserted into the BOP - would be hurricane-resistant, the company said.
Oil began spewing from the bottom of the Gulf after a 20 April explosion sank the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon offshore rig.
BP said Monday that cleanup costs had reached $1.6bn (€1.3bn), with long-term estimates in the range of $3bn-$6bn. Fitch has cut the company’s credit ratings on multiple occasions since the spill.
($1 = €0.81)
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