"BP" How They Do It??????

BP Pledges $500 Million for Independent Research into Impact of Spill on Marine Environment

Release date: 24 May 2010

BP today announced a commitment of up to $500 million to an open research program studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident, and its associated response, on the marine and shoreline environment of the Gulf of Mexico .

"BP has made a commitment to doing everything we can to lessen the impact of this tragic incident on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast . We must make every effort to understand that impact. This will be a key part of the process of restoration, and for improving the industry response capability for the future. There is an urgent need to ensure that the scientific community has access to the samples and the raw data it needs to begin this work," said Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive.

The key questions to be addressed by this 10-year research program reflect discussions with the US government and academic scientists in Washington DC last week. BP will fund research to examine topics including:

  • Where are the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant going under the action of ocean currents?
  • How do oil, the dispersed oil and the dispersant behave on the seabed, in the water column, on the surface, and on the shoreline?
  • What are the impacts of the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant on the biota of the seabed, the water column, the surface, and the shoreline?
  • How do accidental releases of oil compare to natural seepage from the seabed?
  • What is the impact of dispersant on the oil? Does it help or hinder biodegradation?
  • How will the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant interact with tropical storms, and will this interaction impact the seabed, the water column and the shoreline?
  • What can be done to improve technology:
    • To detect oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the seabed, in the water column, and on the surface?
    • For remediating the impact of oil accidently released to the ocean?

BP already has ongoing marine research programs in the Gulf of Mexico . Building on these, BP will appoint an independent advisory panel to construct the long term research program. Where appropriate, the studies may be coordinated with the ongoing natural resources damages assessment. The program will engage some of the best marine biologists and oceanographers in the world. More immediately, a baseline of information for the long term research program is needed. A first grant to Louisiana State University will help kick start this work.

"LSU has a significant amount of experience in dealing with the oil and gas industry and deep knowledge pertaining to the Gulf of Mexico across numerous topical disciplines. The first part of the program is about obtaining and analyzing samples and assessing immediate impacts. Other areas of importance will emerge as researchers become engaged and the potential impacts from the spill are better understood," said Professor Christopher D'Elia, Dean of the School of the Coast and Environment.

Subsequent awards will be controlled by the independent advisory board.

Notes to editors:

  • BP has been collaborating with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography since 2004 in a program aimed at gaining a better understanding of the environment and hazards in oceans, including marine electromagnetic research. The focus of oceanography efforts has been loop currents in the Gulf of Mexico .
  • In 2008, as part of the Deepwater Environmental Long-term Observatory System (DELOS), BP installed the world's first system designed to monitor deep-sea marine life. DELOS is supported by Texas A&M in Galveston , Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, University of Aberdeen , National Oceanography Centre in Southampton and the University of Glasgow .


Release date: 24 May 2010

BP today provided an update on developments in the response to the MC252 oil well incident in the Gulf of Mexico .

Subsea Source Control and Containment

Subsea efforts continue to focus on progressing options to stop the flow of oil from the well through interventions via the blow out preventer (BOP) and to collect the flow of oil from the leak points. These efforts are being carried out in conjunction with governmental authorities and other industry experts.

Plans continue to develop a so called “top kill” operation where heavy drilling fluids are injected into the well to stem the flow of oil and gas and ultimately kill the well. Successfully killing the well may be followed by cement to seal the well. Most of the equipment is on site and preparations continue for this operation, with a view to deployment in a few days.

This is a complex operation requiring sophisticated diagnostic work and precise execution. As a result, it involves significant uncertainties and it is not possible to assure its success or to put a definite timescale on its deployment.

Drilling of the first relief well, which began on May 2 continues as does drilling of a second relief well, begun on May 16. Each of these wells is estimated to take some three months to complete from the commencement of drilling.

Work goes on to optimise the oil and gas collected from the damaged riser through the riser insertion tube tool (RITT). The collection rate continues to vary, primarily due to the flow parameters and physical characteristics within the riser.

In the period from May 17th to May 23rd, the daily oil rate collected by the RITT has ranged from 1,360 barrels of oil per day (b/d) to 3,000 b/d, and the daily gas rate has ranged from 4 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) to 17 MMCFD.

In the same period, the average daily rate of oil and gas collected by the RITT containment system at the end of the leaking riser has been 2,010 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) and 10 MMCFD of gas. The oil is being stored and gas is being flared on the drillship Discoverer Enterprise, on the surface 5,000 feet above.

The RITT remains a new technology and both its continued operation and its effectiveness in capturing the oil and gas remain uncertain.

The US Government has appointed a flow rate technical team (FRTT) to determine the well flow rate. The FRTT includes the US Coast Guard, NOAA, MMS, Department of Energy and the US Geological Survey. BP will continue to promptly provide all information necessary to make as accurate an assessment as possible of the rate of flow.

Surface Spill Response and Containment

Work continues to collect and disperse oil that has reached the surface of the sea. Over 1,100 vessels are involved in the response effort, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.

Intensive operations to skim oil from the surface of the water have now recovered, in total, some 243,000 barrels (10.2 million gallons) of oily liquid. The total length of boom deployed as part of efforts to prevent oil reaching the coast is now nearly 2.5 million feet, including over 730,000 feet of sorbent boom.

In total, over 22,000 personnel from BP, other companies and government agencies are currently involved in the response to this incident. So far 23,000 claims have been filed and 9,000 have already been paid.

The cost of the response to date amounts to about $760 million, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid and federal costs. It is too early to quantify other potential costs and liabilities associated with the incident.


The Riser Insertion Tube Tool involves inserting a four-inch diameter tube into the Horizon’s riser (21-inch diameter pipe) between the well and the broken end of the riser on the seafloor in 5,000 feet of water

The insertion tube would be connected to a new riser to allow hydrocarbons to flow up to the Transocean Discoverer Enterprise drillship located on the surface. The oil will be separated and then safely shipped ashore.

The insertion tube device is now on location and is in the process of being prepared for installation.


This system was designed to minimize the formation of gas hydrates at 5,000 feet below the surface. Gas hydrates – similar to ice crystals – thwarted an earlier attempt to divert the flow of oil through a larger subsea containment dome.

The riser insertion tube will also have methanol injection to prevent the formation of gas hydrates in the ultra-deepwaters. The MMS and the Unified Area Command have approved use of methanol injections in this system.

In addition, the new riser will be heated with sea water to promote the flow of oil from the ocean floor to the drillship above. This is a commonly used practice in ultra-deepwater production because the temperatures at these water depths tend to stymie the flow of oil.

The operation is complex and has not been done before at such depths.

How it works

  • The insertion tube is a five foot long steel pipe about four inches in diameter with specially designed rubber baffles. The tube will be inserted into the Horizon’s riser to provide a direct connection.
  • The direct connection, combined with the injection of methanol, will minimize the formation of hydrates that could block the flow of hydrocarbons.
  • The riser insertion tube will be installed about 600 feet from the wellhead.
  • The insertion tube will be connected to a 5,000 foot riser that will convey the hydrocarbons to the Transocean Discoverer Enterprise drillship on the surface.
  • Once in place, oil will flow up into the Enterprise ’s riser to the surface.
  • Once at the surface, the hydrocarbons will be processed and oil will be separated from water and gas. The oil will then be temporarily stored before being offloaded and shipped to a designated oil terminal onshore.
  • The Enterprise is capable of processing 15,000 barrels of oil per day and storing 139,000 barrels.
  • A support barge will also be deployed with a capacity to store 137,000 barrels of oil.

What's next

  • This riser insertion tube is on site and is being prepared for installation in the next few days.
  • ROVs will assist in the installation and connections to the riser (tubing) back to the surface.

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