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10-12-2010 @ 16:00:38
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; BP oil-capturing vessel restarts after vent problem, stormÂ Â By Allen Johnson, AFPJune 19, 2010Â Â BP CEO Tony Hayward listens to opening statements from members of Congress as he waits to deliver his opening remarks before a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "The Role Of BP In The Deepwater Horizon Explosion And Oil Spill", in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill inPhotograph by: Rod Lamkey Jr., AFP/Getty Images
NEW ORLEANS - BP said its main vessel capturing oil from the huge Gulf of Mexico spill restarted early Saturday after a 10-hour shutdown due to a blocked vent and a looming lightning storm.
The Discoverer Enterprise, a ship siphoning 15,000 to 18,000 barrels of oil per day directly from the containment cap atop the ruptured well, was restarted at 6:30 am (1130 GMT) and "has been building up to stable rates since," BP said.
A blocked flame arrester, a crucial device intended to stop the crude from combusting by extinguishing the flame, had been the main concern.
"That vent was partially blocked. It was blocking the amount of oil that we could get into the storage tanks," BP spokesman Robert Wine told AFP.
"They shut it down to clear that out and then the weather was turning bad and there was a risk of lightning, so rather than restart during a lightning storm, they decided to wait it out."
On Friday, BP recovered a total of some 24,500 barrels of oil, a slightly lower figure than the 25,290 barrels captured the day before, but officials said the change was due to the Discoverer Enterprise being forced to halt its operations.
BP said it had collected its largest volume so far â nearly 30,000 barrels of oil â in a 24-hour period ending late Friday, marginally exceeding their maximum projected production capacity.
A second vessel, the Q4000, joined the effort on Tuesday and is now collecting close to 10,000 barrels of oil each day, which it burns onboard. The ship also flares natural gas escaping from the ruptured wellhead.
By the end of this month, BP hopes to implement a third containment option, a free-standing riser known as the Helix Producer placed on the seafloor some 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) below the surface.
Together, all three methods are expected to process or burn off upwards of 50,000 barrels per day.
In mid-July, the firm also plans to place a new cap over the blowout preventer, a towering set of valves that were supposed to stop the leak and prevent the huge explosion April 20 aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that led to the massive spill.
The Discoverer Enterprise would then be connected to the well through another riser, while other processing vessels would also collect oil, for a total containment capacity of 60,000 to 80,000 barrels a day.Â© Copyright (c) BP CEO Tony Hayward listens to opening statements from members of Congress as he waits to deliver his opening remarks before a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "The Role Of BP In The Deepwater Horizon Explosion And Oil Spill", in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill inPhotograph by: Rod Lamkey Jr., AFP/Getty ImagesÂ
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10-12-2010 @ 16:00:38