BP says it will pay for Gulf spill’s cleanup
Associated Press Writers
Vail, CO Colorado
VENICE, Louisiana – BP PLC said Monday that it will pay for all the cleanup costs from a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that could continue spewing crude for at least another week.
The company posted a fact sheet on its website saying it took responsibility for the response to the Deepwater Horizon spill and would pay compensation for legitimate claims for property damage, personal injury and commercial losses.
“We are responsible, not for the accident, but we are responsible for the oil and for dealing with it and cleaning the situation up,” chief executive Tony Hayward said Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He said the equipment that failed on the rig and led to the spill belonged to owner Transocean Ltd., not BP, which operated the rig.
Guy Cantwell, a Transocean spokesman, responded by reading a statement without elaborating.
“We will await all the facts before drawing conclusions and we will not speculate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hayward said chemical dispersants seem to be having a significant impact in keeping oil from flowing to the surface, though he did not elaborate.
The update on the dispersants came as BP was preparing a system never tried nearly a mile (1.6 kilometers) under water to siphon away the geyser of crude from a blown-out well. However, the plan to lower 74-ton, concrete-and-metal boxes being built to capture the oil and siphon it to a barge waiting at the surface will need at least another six to eight days to get it in place.
That could spill at least another million gallons (3.8 million liters) into the Gulf, on top of the roughly 2.6 million gallons (9.8 million liters) already estimated to have spilled since the April 20 blast.
Those numbers are based on the Coast Guard’s estimates that 200,000 gallons (757,060 liters) a day are spilling out, though officials have cautioned it’s impossible to know exactly how much is leaking.
By comparison, the tanker Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons (42 million liters) off the Alaska coast in 1989.
Officials also were trying to cap one of three leaks to make it easier to place the first box on the sea floor.
Crews continued to lay boom to try to keep the spill from reaching the shore, though choppy seas have made that difficult and rendered much of the oil-corraling gear useless.
A board investigating the explosion and oil leak plans to hold its first public hearing in roughly two weeks. The cause of the April 20 explosion, which killed 11 workers, has not been determined.
Coast Guard Capt. David Fish, chief of the Washington-based Office of Investigations and Analysis, said the six-member board – three from the Coast Guard and three from the U.S. Minerals and Management Service – will likely meet in the New Orleans area and take testimony from experts and workers who survived the disaster.
“We want to get it public because that’s just what our rules are and while everything is fresh in everyone’s mind, particularly with the witnesses,” he said.
Fishermen from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Florida Panhandle got the news that more than 6,800 square miles (17,612 squre kilometers) of federal fishing areas were closed, fracturing their livelihood for at least 10 days and likely more just as the prime spring season was kicking in.
The slick also was precariously close to a key shipping lane that feeds goods and materials to the interior of the U.S. by the Mississippi River.
Besides the immediate impact on Gulf industries, shipping along the Mississippi River could soon be limited. Ships carrying food, oil, rubber and much more come through the Southwest Pass to enter the vital waterway.
Associated Press writers Harry R. Weber, Jay Reeves, Mike Graczyk, Tamara Lush, Brian Skoloff, Melissa Nelson, Mary Foster, Chris Kahn, Vicki Smith, John Flesher, Holbrook Mohr and AP Photographer Dave Martin contributed to this report.