BP collects more than 1,000 barrels of oil a day from insertion tool, expects to ramp up collection

By Phaedra Friend Troy

In an interview Monday morning with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show, BP COO Doug Suttles expounded on the successes of the riser insertion tube tool that has been installed on the broken riser of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Inserted over the weekend, the 4-inch tool has successfully been diverting some of the oil and natural gas leaking from the well to the drillship Deepwater Enterprise 5,000 feet above.

“We’re really pleased that we’ve had some success here to capture some of the flow,” Suttles told Lauer. “I just checked just before joining you this morning what the estimated rate is, and we’re measuring over 1,000 barrels a day that we’re now capturing on the surface in the drillship Enterprise.”

While the oil well is leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, the insertion tool effort has been able to curb 20 percent of the leak, and BP plans to slowly increase the amount of oil diverted by the riser insertion tool.

“We’ll be ramping this thing up over the course of the next 24 hours,” Suttles continued. “We should be able to get more than 1,000 barrels of oil a day -- we won’t get all of it, but we should get more than we’re getting now.”

Although the insertion tool only measures 4 inches in diameter, Suttles assured that the tool is capable of mitigating much of the oil flowing from the damaged drill pipe.

“We can get quite a bit of flow up that pipe,” Suttles said. “We can actually get 5,000 barrels a day up that pipe if we could capture all of it and keep the water out.”

Nontheless, the BP executive stressed that this is not the solution to the oil spill, but a mitigation tool. The company continues to work toward activating the blowout preventer (BOP) on the well through a variety of subsea solutions that will allow a “top kill” stop of the oil flow.

“This is just containing the flow,” Suttles added. “Later this week, hopefully before the end of the week, we’ll make our next attempt to actually fully stop the flow. Of course, that’s what everyone wants to do.”

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