BP today activated an extensive oil spill response in the US Gulf of Mexico following the fire and subsequent sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 130 miles south-east of New Orleans.
BP is assisting Transocean in an assessment of the well and subsea blow out preventer with remotely operated vehicles.
BP has also initiated a plan for the drilling of a relief well, if required. A nearby drilling rig will be used to drill the well. The rig is available to begin activity immediately.
BP has mobilized a flotilla of vessels and resources that includes significant mechanical recovery capacity; 32 spill response vessels including a large storage barge; skimming capacity of more than 171,000 barrels per day, with more available if needed; offshore storage capacity of 122,000 barrels and additional 175,000 barrels available and on standby; supplies of more than 100,000 gallons of dispersants and four aircraft ready to spray dispersant to the spill, and the pre-approval of the US Coast Guard to use them; 500,000 feet of boom increasing to 1,000,000 feet of boom by day's end; pre-planned forecasting of 48-hour spill trajectory which indicates spilled oil will remain well offshore during that period; pre-planned staging of resources for protection of environmentally sensitive areas.
"We are determined to do everything in our power to contain this oil spill and resolve the situation as rapidly, safely and effectively as possible," said Group Chief Executive Tony Hayward. "We have assembled and are now deploying world-class facilities, resources and expertise, and can call on more if needed. There should be no doubt of our resolve to limit the escape of oil and protect the marine and coastal environments from its effects."
As part of its planning and approval requirement prior to offshore activity, the area was evaluated for use of dispersants and the plans approved by the US Coast Guard which has now given the go-ahead for their use.