Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not Another Gulf Coast Update!- A Whale A Bust?; Undersea Gusher Capped...Sort Of; Michelle Obama "Come Visit the Gulf While I Fly off to Maine"

*TMT's A Whale has suspended testing in the Gulf, claiming that BP used too many dispersants in the area for it pick up oil effectively. The tanker-turned-super-skimmer had undergone testing on rough seas through Independence day with inconclusive results before officially being declared a bust last week.

The owner of TMT, Nobu Su, emphasised that his company absorbed the US$160,000 cost of re-fitting and testing the vessel. Su said he plans on continuing to test and develop the A Whale so it could be used in future oil spills (remember- the A Whale wasn't refitted until a few weeks after the Deepwater Horizon sunk).

*Scene commander and Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said that the cap BP had placed on the undersea oil well late last week was holding up well and that traces of oil were actually coming from seepage at a pair of dormant oil wells about two miles away.
Over the past few days, since a 75-ton cap was placed over the mile-deep well to keep the oil bottled up inside, BP and government engineers have been watching closely to see whether the well would hold tight or show signs of rupturing under the pressure. A rupture could cause a bigger and harder-to-control disaster.

Allen has granted BP repeated 24-hour extensions to keep the cap in place, as long as the company monitors the well scrupulously.
*BP announced that it was selling oilfields and other major assets in the USA, Canada and Egypt to Houston-based Apache Corporation [NYSE: APA] for US$7 billion to put towards a $20 compensation fund the Obama Administration pressured them into creating.

*First Lady Michelle Obama paid a three hour visit to the Gulf Coast region at Pensacola, FL last week, urging people to visit some of the unaffected regions who's economy depends on tourism. She then got an ice cream cone and promptly took off for Acadia National Park in Maine where she and the First Family were spending the weekend.

A second visit, this time along Mississippi's gulf coast to christen a Coast Guard Cutter, is in the works.

* A Louisiana State University study indicates that President Obama's moratorium on drilling could cost the reigon an estimated 8,000 jobs, $500 million in wages and $2.1 billion in economic activity over 6 months if the moratorium is to stay in place. The US 5th Circut Court of Appeals overturned the Interior Department's moratorium on offshore drilling before a second one was issued earlier this month.

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