Should we get our hopes again?

BP has submitted its latest plan for containing the oil spewing from its well….30,000, 60,000, 100,000 barrels a day—what don’t know what figure to believe any more. For 48 hours, the oil will flow unabated yet again as they try “Top Hat #10.”

National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen issued this statement yesterday, “”After reviewing Bob Dudley’s response to my July 8 letter outlining BP’s proposed plan of action for oil containment efforts, and consulting top government scientists and engineers including Secretary Chu, I approved BP’s plan to simultaneously install the Helix Producer and “capping stack” containment mechanisms, which will require temporary suspension of the current top hat containment system.

I validated this plan because the capacity for oil containment when these installations are complete will be far greater than the capabilities we have achieved using current systems. In addition, favorable weather expected over the coming days will provide the working conditions necessary for these transitions to be successfully completed without delays.

The transition to this new containment infrastructure could begin in the next days but will take seven to ten days to complete. I have also directed BP to provide daily briefings and regular informational updates to the media throughout this capping process.”

Helix and the new “Top Hat” will, according to BP, contain all of the spewing oil—that is if it’s only 60,000 bbls at day.

In letter to Allen, BP outlined its plan to deal with the oil flowing from the well while Helix and the Top Hat are installed: “The strategy includes 22 large OSRV skimmers, 4 barge skimmers, 14 burn teams, 18 mid sized skimmers and near shore skimmers (350 vessels). These assets will be staged at strategic points between the source areas and shore. These operations will be supported by over 50 aircraft for reconnaissance and targeting. The effectiveness of these operations are heavily weather dependant.” (I don’t know if it bothers me that BP has typos, too. “dependent”)

BP will use more dispersants to deal with the increase gas and oil: “Consistent with prior approvals obtained from the Unified Area Command subsea dispersants will be utilized at the LMRP flange during the flange removal and replacement operations. Increased Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) at the surface have the potential to impact the safe working condition for the +1400 people on vessels working near the source.”

The BP letter gives the timetable for the relief well (page 6). As I posted yesterday, while the well might get to the wellbore by the end of this month, it will not be until mid-August before it completely stops the flow of oil (Aug. 13).