Coast Guard tells BP to speed up containment pace

In this Monday, June 7, 2010 photo, APTN photographer Rich Matthews takes a closer look at oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, in the Gulf of Mexico south of Venice, La.. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

June 12, 2010 10:41:13 AM PDT
The federal government has become irritated with BP over its prolonged efforts to contain the huge amounts of well gushing from a ruptured well into the Gulf of Mexico, telling company officials in a letter released Saturday that they need to "speed up the process" and quickly identify new ways to improve the effort in the coming days.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. James A. Watson sent a letter to BP officials on Friday expressing frustration with the overall pace of the effort and ordered the company to identify ways to expedite the process in the next 48 hours.

"Recognizing the complexity of this challenge, every effort must be expended to speed up the process," Watson wrote in the letter, sent to Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer.

BP has struggled with several efforts to contain the oil. The latest cap installed on the blown-out well is capturing about 650,000 gallons of oil a day, but large quantities are still spilling into the sea.

Scientists have estimated that anywhere between about 40 million gallons to 109 million gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf since a drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The Coast Guard initially sent a letter to BP on Wednesday asking for more details on its plans to contain the oil.

BP responded, saying a new system to trap oil gushing from a well in the Gulf of Mexico should be complete by mid-July. BP officials said Saturday the new design meant to better withstand the force of hurricanes could capture nearly 2.9 million gallons of oil daily when fully built.

But Watson said he was concerned that BP's plans didn't maximize resources or "go far enough to mobilize redundant resources" in the event of an equipment failure or another problem.


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