Estimates of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Grow, As Slick Reaches Mississippi Delta

The news regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill just keeps getting worse. The federal government now says as much as 25,000 barrels of oil per day could be leaking from the well in the Gulf of Mexico. The massive spill is now washing up on shore, and has reached the mouth of the Mississippi Delta.

It’s likely that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will turn out to be one of the worst in U.S history. According to The Wall Street Journal, if it turns out that the 25,000 barrel estimate is correct, it may already rival the historic 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., and 1989 Exxon Valdez disasters.

Best estimates right now is that it will take 90 days to cap the leaking well, which sits 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. Crews will face difficulties this weekend, the Journal said, as predicted storms could push tide waters higher than normal. The potential for storms is already hampering efforts to position containment booms in the Gulf. Winds and waves kept oil skimming boats from operating today. is reporting that the first oil-coated bird has been found offshore in Louisiana. Workers with Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, which is based in Delaware, used Dawn blue dishwashing soap to scrub the oil off the animal. Rescuers expect more such animals will start being found as the day goes on.

BP, which leased Deepwater Horizon from TransOcean LTD, is responsible for the cleanup of the spill. The company has asked the Department of Defense for help activating the rig’s blowout preventer, a system of valves that is designed to seal off the well when it surges out of control. BP’s previous efforts to activate the valves with underwater remote control vehicles have failed thus far. It is asking the military for better imaging technology and more advanced remotely operated vehicles, according to The New York Times said.

The Navy at Gulfport, Miss., is preparing to deploy seven oil skimmers, and two Air Force C-130s have been sent to Mississippi and were awaiting orders to start dumping chemicals on the oil spill. The U.S. Northern Command, which was created in 2002 specifically to help civilian authorities, is expecting orders to activate assets, said.

Louisiana has declared a state of emergency, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has called up 6,000 National Guard troops.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has declared a state of emergency in several Panhandle coastal counties, including Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf Counties. The Florida order designates the director of the Division of Emergency Management as state coordinating officer and orders activation of the Florida National Guard.

Federal officials say they plan to investigate every possible cause of last week’s massive explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that left 11 men missing and presumed dead. President Obama said Friday that his administration is doing “everything possible” to respond to the explosion of the BP PLC-operated rig. An advisor to the president also said no new drilling will be authorized until the cause of the explosion. Obama also ordered Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to report within 30 days on what new technologies will be needed to prevent future oil spills.

This entry was posted in Accident, Oil Spills. Bookmark the permalink.

© 2005-2019 Parker Waichman LLP ®. All Rights Reserved.