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CURRENT ISSUE

DEEPWATER HORIZON SPILL
How long will the political fall out from the spill delay plans to expand U.S. offshore drilling

Hardly at all
For 1-2 years
For longer than 2 years

April 30, 2010

Spill reaches Louisiana shoreline

As oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident started to reach the Louisiana shoreline, two kinds of response kicked in: knee-jerking in Washington, DC and an added emphasis on laying protective boom in threatened areas.

Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod told ABC TV's Good Morning America that there would be no new drilling until the cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident was determined.

At the disaster scene, the latest technique being evaluated is to apply dispersants to oil at the source - 5000 ft below the surface. If successful, says NOAA, this would keep plumes and sheens from forming.

Yesterday, the incident was declared a Spill of National Significance (SONS). A SONS is defined as, "a spill that, due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, is so complex that it requires extraordinary coordination of federal, state, local, and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge" and allows greater federal involvement.

President Obama despatched three members of his cabinet -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson -- to the Gulf Coast "to ensure that BP and the entire government is doing everything possible to respond to this incident."

NOAA reported last night that efforts to pre-boom sensitive shorelines had seen over 180,000 feet of boom deployed, with another 300,000 feet forward staged.

BP said that, in addition to those quantities of boom, there was "more on the way."

BP said that onshore activity is focused on five locations in the potentially affected states: Venice, Louisiana; Pascagoula and Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida. It said staging posts were in place stocked with people and material, including about 100,000 feet of boom, to protect the shoreline in each area.

This morning the unified command issued the following statistics:

More than 217,000 feet of boom (barrier) has been assigned to contain the spill. An additional 305,760 feet is available.

To date, the oil spill response team has recovered 20,313 barrels (853,146 gallons) of an oil-water mix. Vessels are in place and continuing recovery operations.

75 response vessels are being used including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.

139,459 gallons of dispersant have been deployed and an additional 51,000 gallons are available.

Five staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines. These areas include:

Biloxi, Miss., Pensacola, Fla. Venice, La., Pascagoula, Miss., and Theodore, Ala.

A sixth staging area is being set up in Port Sulphur, La.

Weather conditions for April 30 - Winds from the southeast at 20 knots, 5 - 7 seas with slight chance of afternoon showers.

Meantime, efforts to stem the flow of oil from the well, currently estimated at up to 5,000 barrels a day, are continuing with six remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) continuing to attempt to activate the blow out preventer (BOP) on the sea bed.

By this weekend the Transocean Development Driller III is scheduled to spud a relief well intended to secure the existing well. Drilling of this well is expected to take two to three months.

Work is also continuing to produce a subsea collection system capable of operating in deep water to funnel leaking oil to the surface for treatment. This is expected to be ready for deployment in the next few weeks.


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