Some are saying the worst has now passed in the Gulf oil spill disaster though that is certainly not true for many Floridians. BP is capturing more oil than before, and is promising to capture about 90% of the leak by the end of the month. The relief wells, which will ultimately plug the entire leak, are ahead of schedule and may be done before August under the most optimistic projections. Still, oil can be seen spewing out on the live stream of the leak underwater, and the oil spill continues to impact new areas along the Gulf Coast. Here are the latest updates from the Gulf oil spill. Pictures from the disaster can be seen below.
– BP is capturing about 25,000 barrels of oil day out of the 35,000-60,000 barrels leaking in the Gulf. The company has increased the capture rate by attaching new hoses to the containment device 5,000 feet beneath the ocean surface, and burning off some of the oil brought to the surface. The company still states it can capture about 90% of the leaking oil by the end of the month, and about 60,000-80,000 barrels by mid-July.
UPDATE: BP just announced on their website that they were forced to shut down the containment effort late last night as a result of a blocked flame arrestor. They hope to restart the operation today after a lightning storm leaves the area.
– In addition to the thousands of birds, turtles, and dolphin carcasses found along the Gulf Coast, scientists have now also found a dead blue sperm whale. The carcass was not covered in oil, but the experts do call the beached carcass a rare occurrence and are concerned it may be connected to the oil spill.
– As containment efforts increase, there is also concern that too much pressures on the oil well could cause more ruptures. This would be the sort of nightmare scenario for the operation as oil would start gushing out of multiple fissures in the sea floor. At that point, the leak would be much harder, if not impossible, to stop.
– The latest 48-hour projection map has the oil spill impacting Alabama and much more of the Florida panhandle in the next two days. It seems as if the oil spill is making a making a shift to the east after devastating areas of Louisiana to the west.
– BP is sending mixed signals about who is in charge of the spill response. Yesterday, the company’s Chairman said CEO Tony Hayward would be replaced in his role overseeing the U.S. operation by the company’s Managing Director Bob Dudley. However, other officials have said that switch is not immediate and that Hayward will still be in charge until the leak is stopped.
– Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for not accepting foreign aid, but it turns out the offered help is not really “aid.” Instead, the help from foreign countries is actually be offered with a price tag. Of all the “aid” offered to the United States, only Mexico has said that it will give out equipment or services free of charge.