A summary of events on Tuesday, June 8, Day 49 of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that began with the April 20 explosion and fire on the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd. and leased by BP PLC, which is in charge of cleanup and containment. The blast killed 11 workers. Since then, oil has been pouring into the Gulf from a blown-out undersea well.
While BP is capturing more oil from its blown-out well with every passing day, scientists on a team analyzing the flow said the amount of crude still escaping into the Gulf of Mexico may be considerably greater than what the government and the company have claimed. Their assertions -- combined with BP's rush to build a bigger cap and its apparent difficulty in immediately processing all the oil being collected -- have only added to the impression that the company is still floundering in dealing with the catastrophe.
BP said it will get rid of some of the oil being recaptured from a spill in the Gulf of Mexico by sending it to a burner that turns it into a combustible fog and ignites it. The rig carrying the burner will be moved away from the main leak site so flames and heat do not endanger other vessels. The company said it will also boost capacity by bringing in a floating platform it believes can process most of the flow.
President Barack Obama will return to the Gulf Coast next week for a two-day update on the Gulf oil spill, reacting to Americans' rising frustration with the government's response to the disaster, the White House said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave fellow Democrats a strict deadline to act on oil spill legislation, telling her committee chairmen to produce legislation by July 4 to cope with the spill and prevent future environmental disasters.
British officials said they would double the number of inspections carried out at oil rigs in the North Sea following the Gulf of Mexico spill. Britain's Department of Energy said the average number of annual environmental checks aboard the country's 24-odd drilling rigs would rise from eight to 16, and said it was hiring three extra inspectors to help pursue the more aggressive program. The department did not provide details of the inspections, but said they involved visits to each rig.
BP said it would donate money from selling the oil recovered in the Gulf of Mexico spill to wildlife protection in the region. It said it can't yet predict the amount of money that will go into its fund to create, restore, improve and protect wildlife habitat. Oil has washed up on shores from Louisiana to Florida, killing birds and other wildlife in numbers so far unknown.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)