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Coast Guard outlines next steps on curbing oil spill

WASHINGTON — In its briefing to Congress on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard said the first steps are to be taken today to sever the twisted riser pipe from the failed blowout preventer in preparations for the next attempt at capturing some of the leaking oil. The procedure will increase the flow of oil for three to four days, until a new containment dome is lowered over the leak.

The briefing also said that 126 miles of Louisiana shore has been soiled by oil. Twenty-five miles of that can be returned to pre-spill conditions, the Cosat Guard estimated.

This is the text of the Coast Guard briefing, which was sent Sunday night to congressional offices in Washington by the Coast Guard district office in Miiami.

The operation has transitioned over to cutting off the riser pipe and attaching either the LMRP CAP or TOP HAT containment devices. LMRP CAP is the preferred option as it will enable collection of more oil at the surface.

Situation Bullets:

Oil Stoppage

Preparations to cut the riser pipe commenced the afternoon of 29 May. The first cut is expected to take place 01 June and may take up to 48 hours. Total time for cutting, LMRP CAP installation and commencement of oil/gas collection could take 4-7 days. (MMS)

The first cut of the riser will be downstream of the kink using hydraulic sheers; the second cut will use a diamond blade saw that will cut off the riser approximately 7-9 inches above the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) flange. The cut section of the riser will be lifted off and lowered on the sea floor. (1600 Houston Update 30 May)

Once the riser pipe cut is complete, there will be a period of increased, uncontained product flow for approximately 72-96 hours. (1100 EDT, NRT Conference Call)

A second generation LMRP CAP has been built and will be arriving on site 31May. This new LMRP CAP is a more robust design with additional weight (20,000 pounds of lead) added to help hold the LMRP CAP on to the riser. (UIC Houston)

BOP – BOP KILL is not considered an option at this point. (MMS OIR)

Drill Rig DDII: DDII is testing BOPs and preparing to resume drilling operations for a second relief well. Drill depth remains at 8,650 feet below drill floor. (UAC/MMS OIR)

Drill Rig DDIII: Currently running the 16” liner. Drilling at 12,090’; starting to drill at an angle of 35 degrees. Process is currently 7 days ahead of schedule. (UIC Houston)

Environmental Impact

126 miles of Louisiana shoreline now impacted by oil. It is assessed that 25 miles can be cleaned to pre-existing conditions. Approximately 31 miles are heavily impacted marsh land. (UAC)

Air sampling continues from LA to FL at multiple sites. No crude oil vapors detected. (NIC)

Subsurface water sampling continues at loop current. Readings are still less than .05ppm. Subsurface surveillance sampling continues off MS, AL, and FL with no oil detected. (NIC)

Port/Waterway Economic Impact

All shipping channels and ports remain open in the Gulf Coast Region.

Commercial vessels requiring decontamination to date: 1. (NIC)

Response/ Clean-up

Skimming operations are underway.

2 dispersant flights were scheduled for today, weather permitting.

Controlled burns are planned.

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