06 June 2010

10,000 Barrels per day Now Claimed for LMRP Cap Oil Recovery


BP is now claiming to have increased LMRP cap oil recovery up to 420,000 gallons per day, or 10,000 barrels per day. Live feed video streams still show oil flowing around the LMRP cap and through its upper vents. The surface recovery ship Enterprise is once again flaring gas separated from the recovered oil.
BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward told the BBC Sunday that the cut-and-cap maneuver is now collecting 420,000 gallons of oil a day – 40 percent more than it was collecting Saturday.

The improvement raises hope that the containment cap now fitted atop the well might successfully collect as many as 630,000 gallons of oil daily – the highest amount that tanker vessels on the surface can collect. _CSM
Hayward said he believed the cap is likely to capture "the majority, probably the vast majority" of the oil gushing from the well.

The next step is for engineers at BP PLC to attempt to close vents on the cap that were deliberately allowing streams of oil to escape the system so water cannot get inside. When water and gas combined in an earlier containment box, it formed a frozen slush that foiled the system.
The federal government's point man for the response, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said the goal is to gradually increase the amount of the oil being captured. He compared the process to stopping the flow of water from a garden hose with a finger: "You don't want to put your finger down too quickly, or let it off too quickly." _AP(al.com)
Beyond the LMRP cap recovery operation, another near-term effort to increase the capture of oil spilling from the seafloor is through the "top kill" manifold.
As a backup, BP is working on a system that will allow it to flow oil from valves on a subsea manifold through hoses to the Q4000 service platform on the surface, Wells said.

The Q4000, which is currently operated by US offshore player Helix, could then process the production stream and offload the oil to tanker...The newly announced plan will give BP a back-up in case the LMRP cap becomes clogged with hydrates or needs other maintenance.

BP hopes to have it up and running by the end of next week, Wells said Friday.

It will also be used to catch some of the flow when BP puts on a more permanent cap and floating riser system in place, which is planned for the end of this month or early July, Wells said.

The new cap should fit more securely on top of the LMRP, while the new riser will float and only extend to about 300 feet below the surface.

The configuration will allow the Discoverer Enterprise to disconnect and reconnect quickly to the containment system if it has to move off location during a hurricane, Wells said. _UpstreamOnline
Meanwhile on a lighter note, in an ever-solipsistic New York City, New Yorkers are trying to reassure each other that they are not at risk from an out-of-control Macondo oil gusher, rushing up the Eastern US seacoast to destroy the pristine island of Manhattan and environs.

To this point, the impact on wildlife in the Gulf has been relatively modest, compared to some past oil caused eco-disasters.
...scientists say the wildlife death toll remains relatively modest, well below the tens of thousand of birds, otters and other creatures killed after the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska's Prince William Sound. The numbers have stayed comparatively low because the Deepwater Horizon rig was 50 miles off the coast and most of the oil has stayed in the open sea. The Valdez ran aground on a reef close to land, in a more enclosed setting. _al.com
Other factors helping to keep the wildlife death toll down include a lighter type of crude oil from the Gulf spill -- with more of the oil evaporating, warmer more fertile waters which helps to disperse and break down oil faster, and a greater accessibility to far greater prevention and remediation resources.

The media will focus upon whatever dead or oiled animals it can round up. So will political activists and vulture-like attorneys' groups. That is the instinct which keeps other people's resources headed their way. They have had a golden opportunity thrown into their laps, and they do not intend to waste it.

But on the bottom of the sea, engineers, technicians, and scientists are compiling a vast amount of information and experience to inform them about an environment that is still quite alien to humans. Which is a very good thing -- since humans will be sending a lot more machines of exploration and exploitation to the seafloor in the very near future.

Remember: even if Obama Pelosi spreads its doctrine of "national energy starvation" to cover all US offshore oil drilling, the rest of the world is under no compulsion to join the US in its top-down program of national energy suicide. Other nations will drill the Gulf of Mexico -- right up to US territorial water boundaries. And those nations will not be so concerned about the environmental effects of their activities.


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