Houston, Texas – BP has announced that a containment cap installed on the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is continuing to collect oil and gas and is transporting it to a ship on the surface, but it will be a few days before an assessment of the operation’s success can be made.

The cap was installed on June 3. On June 5, a total of 10,500 barrels of oil was collected, and 22 million standard cubic feet of natural gas was flared. From June 3 through June 5, a total of 16,600 barrels of oil and 32.7 million standard cubic feet of natural gas was captured or flared.

The company said that work continues on collecting and dispersing oil that has reached the surface of the sea, and on any oil that has reached shore. More than 2,600 vessels are now involved in the response effort, which has recovered approximately 368,000 barrels, or 15.5 million gallons, of oily liquid. A containment boom deployed as part of the efforts to prevent the oil from reaching the coast is now over 2.2 million feet (670,560 metres) and an additional 2.4 million feet (731,520 metres) of sorbent boom has also been deployed.

BP said that, to date, it has paid approximately US$48 million to pay out 18,000 of the 37,000 claims made against it. It has also received more than 152,000 calls into its help lines. The cost of the response, to date, is approximately $1,250 million, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the  Gulf states, claims paid and federal costs, but excluding $360 million in funds for the Louisiana barrier islands construction project.

The first planned addition to the cap will use the hoses and manifold deployed for the failed “top kill” operation to increase the overall efficiency of the containment; it is expected to be available for deployment in mid-June. A second planned addition will provide a more permanent cap system that will direct the oil and gas to a new free-floating riser extending approximately 300 feet (91 metres) below sea level. A flexible hose will then be attached to a containment vessel. This is expected to be implemented in early July. Work on two relief wells continues and is expected to take approximately three months to complete.

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