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BP to start burning captured Gulf oil at sea

June 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
By early next week BP plans to boost its ability to directly capture hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil gushing from a well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. A second ship is expected to arrive within days to help increase the amount of oil being captured from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico.

The containment cap on the well is capturing 630,000 gallons a day and pumping it to a ship on the surface. According to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, that amount could double by next week to roughly 1.17 million gallons.

Once on board, the oil and gas collected from the well would be sent down a boom and burned at sea.

In Grand Isle, Louisiana, crews are using a giant vacuum to suck up oil on the beach that has brought work to a standstill for local fishermen.

The Obama administration says BP has agreed to expedite the payment of claims to businesses and individuals whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the oil spill.

While the cleanup continues lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to get to the bottom of what went wrong.

Obama was briefed with the latest details of the spill Thursday morning. He then met with Senate and House leaders to discuss clean up and response.

Later in the day Obama held a closed door meeting with relatives and loved ones of the 11 workers who were killed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded.

Family members of the victims say they're satisfied Obama and lawmakers will help them get just compensation for their loss.

Widows, parents and other relatives spoke at a news conference Thursday with senators who want to change ancient laws that limit their compensation.

Latest developments:

  • Researchers studying the flow of oil from the blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf said Thursday that as much as twice the amount of oil than previously thought may have been spewing into the sea since an oil rig exploded nearly two months ago.
  • The head of the group analyzing data and images said Thursday that as many as 50,000 barrels - or 2.1 million gallons - of oil may have been flowing daily from the well before the riser was cut on June 3 as part of BP's latest containment effort.
  • BP shares dropped as much as 11 percent to a 13-year low at the open in London on Thursday, then recovered some ground by early afternoon, trading 6.1 percent lower at $5.39. In New York, the stock opened 9.8 percent higher at $32.05.
  • BP has lost around half its market value since the spill began with the April 20 rig explosion that killed 11 workers and set off the spill in the Gulf. In the seven weeks since then, the company has lost half its market value. In a federal filing Thursday, the company said the cost of its response to the oil spill has grown to $1.43 billion.
  • The latest slide came after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar promised a Senate energy panel to ask BP to compensate energy companies for losses if they have to lay off workers or suffer economically because of the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling. In an interview Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu reiterated her call to end the moratorium, saying it will cause economic hardship in the region.
  • In Orange Beach, Ala., reddish-brown globs of oil the size of credit cards littered the beach at the tide line as a blue farm tractor loaded with shovels and other cleanup equipment chugged down the beach. Dozens of workers in orange vests and blue jeans prepared to start their day combing the beach for oil.
  • Shrimpers, oystermen, seafood businesses, out-of-work drilling crews and the tourism industry who have filed damage claims with BP also are angrily complaining of delays, excessive paperwork and skimpy payments that have put them on the verge of going under as the financial and environmental toll of the seven-week-old disaster grows.

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