- Title: USA: White House says they are keeping the pressure on BP to stop the oil leak
- Date: 22nd May 2010
- Summary: GRAPHIC (MAY 21, 2010) (REUTERS) ANIMATION SHOWING NOAA FORECAST OF OIL SPILL FROM MAY 21-23 ANIMATION PULLS OUT TO SHOW SCATTERED OIL SHEENS
- Embargoed: 6th June 2010 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVABEHF7AZQL2STBL4QDEKOWKKN5
- Story Text: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters during a briefing on Friday (May 21) in Washington, DC that the administration was doing everything possible to ensure that BP contains a month-old seabed well leak billowing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
"They are responsible and we are overseeing to ensure what they are doing is what needs to be done," Gibbs said.
U.S. lawmakers and scientists have accused BP of trying to conceal what many believe is already the worst U.S. oil spill, eclipsing the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska. It represents a potentially environmental and economic catastrophe for the U.S. Gulf coast.
The London-based energy giant, facing growing federal government and public frustration and allegations of a coverup, said its engineers were working with U.S. government scientists to determine the real size of the leak, even as they fought to control the still-gushing spill with uncertain solutions.
"We've never said it produced 5,000 barrels per day and we have complete records since this started up. So I apologize if you heard it that way. At points in time it's produced as much as that and at other times, in fact at other points in time it was producing all gas and no oil at all. And that is why the best way to look at this rate is to look at how much is being produced for a 24 hour period and 2,200 is over the last 24 hour period. So, yes at some points in time we have had rates as high as 5,000 but the average for yesterday is 2,200 and the average since we started up is 2,000 barrels per day," Suttles said.
BP said it was working with a newly created Flow Rate Technical Team to determine the exact amount of oil escaping.
BP's next planned step is a "top kill" -- pumping heavy fluids and then cement into the gushing well to plug it. That operation could start next week, perhaps on Tuesday, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said.
Suttles said BP had spent almost $700 million USD on the spill response and had "thrown absolutely everything" at the job. BP also is drilling a relief well to try to plug the leak but it probably would not be finished until August.
BP has promised to pay legitimate damages claims and faces billions of dollars in expected cleanup and damages costs.
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