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May 14, 2010

BP says will deploy small dome in next few days

HOUSTON/PORT FOURCHON, Louisiana (Reuters) – BP on Thursday geared up for its latest attempt to control a gushing undersea well as environmentalists complained they were being kept in the dark about the oil spill’s potential ecological impact.

BP Plc, the British energy giant, said it would deploy a small containment dome, known as a “top hat,” soon to trap the oil at the site of the leak a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico.

May 13, 2010

BP delays dome action as spill threatens U.S. coast

HOUSTON/PORT FOURCHON, Louisiana (Reuters) – A small containment dome won’t begin trapping oil from BP’s leaking oil well until at least next week instead of later on Thursday, a spokesman for BP Plc said, a fresh setback in efforts to contain what could become the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

London-based BP has changed its timing for placing the undersea dome meant to pump oil from the mile-deep leak to a vessel on the surface, after a company executive on Wednesday told reporters the device could be in place by late Thursday.

May 8, 2010

US rig survivors recall gas cloud and deadly blast

HOUSTON, May 8 (Reuters) – A natural gas cloud enveloped a
Gulf of Mexico offshore oil rig leased by BP Plc <BP.L> and
exploded just as visiting BP officials were celebrating seven
accident-free years in the rig’s crew quarters, according to
accounts by survivors of the accident.

Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering
professor, said on Saturday he obtained transcripts of
interviews from three rig workers familiar with the explosion,
including two who were in the rig’s crew quarters at the time.

May 5, 2010

For Louisiana governor, spill another chance to shine

HOUSTON (Reuters) – For Louisiana’s young Republican governor, a massive oil spill lurking off his state’s fragile coast is another chance to show his skills as a detail-oriented manager and position himself for the national political stage.

State political experts say Bobby Jindal, the 38-year-old son of Indian immigrants, is maneuvering for a possible run against Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu in 2014. Jindal has dismissed such speculation and insists he is focused on getting re-elected in 2011.

Apr 30, 2010

Massive oil spill in Gulf of Mexico closes in to shore

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The outer edge of a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico washed up to wildlife refuges and seafood grounds on the Louisiana coast on Friday, as efforts redoubled to avert what could become one of the worst U.S. ecological disasters.

The last flight by a Coast Guard plane on Thursday had situated the thin surface “rainbow sheen” of the slick just 10 metres (33 feet) from the Pass-a-Loutre wildlife reserve in Louisiana. It seemed inevitable that some of the oil would reach shore, although the Coast Guard was awaiting information from its first Friday morning flight, a spokesman said.

Apr 30, 2010

U.S. government intensifies effort to contain oil spill

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government intensified its response to a spreading oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, mobilizing the military to try to avert an environmental disaster along the fragile coastline of Louisiana and three other Gulf states.

President Barack Obama pledged on Thursday to “use every single available resource” and the U.S. military ratcheted up preparations to help contain the oil slick.

Apr 30, 2010

U.S. escalates response as oil spill nears coast

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government ratcheted up efforts to avert an environmental disaster as a massive oil slick leaking from a ruptured well moved closer to the mouth of the Mississippi River on Thursday, menacing the delicate coastline of Louisiana and three other Gulf states.

President Barack Obama pledged to “use every single available resource” and the U.S. military was mobilizing to help contain the spreading spill from the deepwater leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Apr 30, 2010

Oil slick expected to hit coast reserve Thursday

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A massive oil slick from a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to reach a wildlife reserve at the mouth of the Mississippi River on Thursday as it threatens the environmentally delicate coastline of Louisiana and three other Southern U.S. states.

President Barack Obama pledged to “use every single available resource” — including the U.S. military — to help the London-based energy giant BP Plc fight the crude oil spill, which was about 3 miles from the marshes of the Mississippi Delta and spreading faster than expected toward the shoreline, according to the Coast Guard.

Apr 29, 2010

Shipping, US coast at risk from huge oil slick

HOUSTON, April 29 (Reuters) – A massive oil spill expected to hit the southern U.S. coast on Friday could affect petroleum shipments and delay plans to open up coastal waters to more drilling, government officials said on Thursday.

The spill — from a BP Plc <BP.L> rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last week — is spewing five times more oil than previously estimated and raising fears of severe damage to fisheries, wildlife refuges and beaches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

"This is a spill of national significance," Janet Napolitano, the secretary of Homeland Security, told a news conference at the White House. "We will continue to push BP to engage in the strongest response possible."

The governor of Louisiana, which is still recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, declared a state of emergency and the U.S. military said it was reviewing how it might help the efforts to contain the growing slick.

Shares in London-based BP and Swiss-based rig company Transocean Ltd <RIGN.S><RIG.N> fell by more than 6 percent on Thursday as investors feared a significantly higher cleanup cost. BP is down more than 10 percent and Transocean is down nearly 14 percent since the rig explosion on April 20.

Shares of oilfield services companies Cameron International Corp <CAM.N> and Halliburton Co <HAL.N> tumbled on fears about their ties to the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Cameron, which supplied the blowout preventer for the rig, said on Thursday it was insured for $500 million of liability, if needed. Halliburton said it did a variety of work on the rig and was assisting with the investigation.

SHIPPING AND DRILLING

The slick will hit the coast in the Mississippi Delta "sometime later tomorrow," Sally Brice O’Hare, rear admiral of the Coast Guard, said at the news conference with Napolitano.

President Barack Obama said BP was ultimately responsible for the cost of the cleanup and that his government would use every resource to address the spill.

The White House said Obama has been briefed on how the slick may interfere with shipping channels, which could affect tankers delivering petroleum to the U.S. market.

It may also have ramifications for proposals in Congress and by Obama to issue new offshore drilling permits.

Initial indications were that the spill would be worse than one in the Pacific Ocean off Santa Barbara in 1969 which prompted a moratorium on oil and gas drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, a ban Obama has said he wants to modify.

The Obama administration did not rule out imposing a pause in new deepwater drilling until oil companies can show they can control any spills that may happen.

"Everything is on the table," Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes told reporters, adding it could take 90 days to install a relief valve to stop the leak.

Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead after the rig disaster, the worst in the United States in almost a decade.

Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon rig sank on April 22, two days after it exploded and caught fire while the company was finishing a well for BP about 40 miles (64 km) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

The daily leak from the well blowout is now estimated at 5,000 barrels or about 210,000 gallons (795,000 litres).

The Navy said it was supplying the Coast Guard with inflatable booms and seven skimming systems.

BP and the Coast Guard have mounted what the company calls the largest oil spill containment operation in history, involving dozens of ships and aircraft. But they are struggling to control the slick from the leaking well 5,000 feet (1,525 metres) under the sea off Louisiana’s coast.

After underwater robots failed to activate a cutoff valve to stop the leak, BP and the Coast Guard set a "controlled burn" on Wednesday to try to prevent the slick from growing.

"We will not rest until we have done everything to bring this under control," said Andrew Gowers, head of group media for BP, likening the spill’s consistency to "iced tea" with the thickness of a human hair. (Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria in Washington; Editing by John O’Callaghan)




Apr 29, 2010

Oil slick to hit coast on Friday

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A huge oil spill will hit the southern coast on Friday, the Coast Guard said on Thursday, and the military offered to help BP Plc contain the slick that threatens four states.

The spill was “of national significance,” Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told a news conference, adding the government will push BP to conduct the strongest possible effort to clean it up.

    • About Chris

      "Chris has been a journalist for Reuters since 2001, when he joined the Washington DC bureau as a summer intern. As a correspondent in Washington, Chris covered energy policy, reported on Congress, the Supreme Court and federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. As Houston Bureau Chief, Chris oversees a team of five reporters and covers general news topics like the BP oil spill, hurricanes, NASA, and national politics. In addition, Chris oversees a team of Power and Gas reporters in New York and Houston."
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