BP taking precautions for lightning in oil spill collection

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, June 21 -- BP PLC has started to halt operations on the Discoverer Enterprise containment system whenever lightning is a threat, National Incident Commander and retired US Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said June 21.

Collection operations on the Discoverer Enterprise are halted whenever lightning is likely in a 5-mile distance of the drillship, Allen said. This precaution was taken because a lighting strike caused a small fire on the Discoverer Enterprise last week. No one was injured during that fire.

On June 19, 11,050 bbl of oil was collected and 25.6 MMcf of natural gas was flared on the Discoverer Enterprise. This is less than recent averages because process facilities were shutdown temporarily because of the weather and also for maintenance to filters and lines, Allen said.

During the same 24-hr period, 9,990 bbl of oil and 17.8 MMcf of gas were flared on the Q4000. Oil and gas from the failed Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer stack goes through the BOP’s choke line and then is directed through a manifold and riser to the Q4000, where both the oil and gas is being burned.

The total volume of oil recovered from both the lower marine riser package cap system, which goes to the Discoverer Enterprise, and the Q4000 since they became operational is 249,500 bbl.

About 103,000 bbl of collected oil were transferred from storage on the Discoverer Enterprise to the Overseas Cascade tanker on June 17-18. The Overseas Cascade left the Mississippi Canyon Block 252 site on June 18 to deliver the collected oil to Mobile, Ala.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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