The containment dome which was deployed to BPs oil well in the Gulf of Mexico last week has been parked away from the spill area on the sea bed. Efforts to place it over the main leak point were suspended when a build up of hydrates prevented a successful placement of the dome over the spill area.
A second, smaller containment dome is being readied to lower over the main leak point. The small dome will be connected by drill pipe and riser lines to a drill ship on the surface to collect and treat oil. It is designed to mitigate the formation of large hydrate volumes. This operation has never been done before in 5,000 feet of water.
In addition, further work on the blow out preventer has positioned us to attempt a top kill option aimed at stopping the flow of oil from the well. This option will be pursued in parallel with the smaller containment dome over the next two weeks.
Work continues to collect and disperse oil that has reached the surface of the sea. More than 275 vessels are being used, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.
The volume of dispersant applied to the spill on the surface amounts to over 315,000 gallons since the spill response began.
Intensive operations to skim oil from the surface of the water also continued. Some 90,000 barrels of oily liquid have now been recovered.
The total length of deployed boom is now more than 1 million feet as part of the efforts to stop oil reaching the coast.
The cost to date of the response amounts to about $350 million (275 million), including the cost of spill response, containment, relief well drilling, commitments to the Gulf Coast States, settlements and federal costs.