We’ve admittedly gone a bit heavy on the BP coverage in the last day or so, but since we aren’t having a financial crisis weekend, this is one of the few major stories that is having meaningful developments.
Bloomberg reports that the Coast Guard has ordered the oil producer to increase its recovery efforts. The oil producer had put forward a plan to do that by mid-July, and is now being directed to accelerate implementation:
The U.S. Coast Guard gave BP Plc 48 hours to find more capacity to contain its leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico after scientists and researchers doubled their estimates of the spill’s size.
BP’s efforts don’t “provide the needed collection capacity consistent with the revised flow estimates,” said Rear Admiral James A. Watson, the federal on-scene coordinator, in a letter dated June 11. It was sent to Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, and was released today.
BP plans to almost triple its capacity to capture oil from its leaking well to as much as 50,000 barrels a day by mid-July, the Coast Guard said yesterday. The plan calls for two pairs of production ships and shuttle tankers to replace a cluster of vessels at the site, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the government’s national incident commander for the spill, said yesterday at a press conference in Washington…..
Based on government estimates, the drillship isn’t capturing as much of the spill as BP predicted earlier this month. In a June 4 interview with CBS, Suttles said the system would be capable of capturing as much as 90 percent of the flow.
If BP does not comply with this order, and cannot give a satisfactory reason why, this will put them further on the back foot in their meeting with Obama next week. Readers are correctly cynical as to whether the Administration will live up to its tough words, but the groundwork is being laid, which would make failure to follow through even harder to defend.