It is now day 63 of the Deepwater Horizon / BP oil spill. Progress is being made in some respects but the overall situation remains little changed. Crude oil still is flowing from the well despite increased collection efforts. The oil slick continues to spread north and east.
The well is estimated to be leaking between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels of crude per day, according to the latest work by the Unified Incident Command’s (UIC) Flow Rate Technical Group. Collection efforts, according to BP, yielded (on June 21st), total oil recovered was approx. 25,830 barrels, approx. 15,560 barrels of oil were collected, approx. 10,270 barrels of oil were flared and approx. 52.2 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.
The UIC reports that “275 burns have been conducted to remove more than 9.32 million gallons of oil from the water” (221,904 barrels). “Approximately 25 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered” (2.5 to 3.75 million gallons of oil or 59,520 to 89,280 barrels). “2.54 million feet of containment boom and 4.14 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill” (481 miles of containment boom and 784 miles of sorbent boom).
The UIC is also reporting that “171 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled – approximately 34 miles in Louisiana, 41 miles in Mississippi, 42 miles in Alabama, and 54 miles in Florida.”
BP is reporting total outlays related to the spill of over $2 billion dollars. The UIC has submitted its third bill to BP in the amount of $51.4 million. A UIC update for June 22 states that “69,872 claims have been opened, from which more than $118 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 730 claims adjusters on the ground.”
The NOAA Fisheries Service has closed nearly 87,000 square miles of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico to fishing. That number varies, sometimes daily. At this time 64.1% of federal waters in the Gulf are open for fishing. The Coast Guard has intercepted several vessels working in the closed zone. Their catches have been returned to the sea and they have been ticketed.
The $20 billion dollar agreement between the Administration and BP can be found at this link. BP has agreed to set aside assets worth $20 billion at this time as surety for the cash to come. The cash will be paid over the next four years with $5 billion to be paid in calendar 2010. Kenneth Feinberg has been appointed to administer the escrow fund. A three judge panel will be established to review appeals from his decisions.