BP plc has removed the cap that was collecting some of the oil gushing from its busted Macondo well a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said Wednesday.
Crews were checking to see if natural gas hydrates had formed in the cap before it is replaced, which could happen Wednesday. The cap was removed after an underwater robot bumped into the apparatus’ venting system, according to USCG Adm. Thad Allen, who spoke at a press briefing in Washington, DC, as reported by Reuters.
The news service also reported that Allen said two workers involved with the spill response had died. An investigation is under way, he said.
Separately, BP reported that at about 8:45 a.m. CDT Wednesday a discharge of liquids was observed from a diverter valve on the drillship Discoverer Enterprise, which is on station at the well site.
“As a precautionary measure, the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap system, attached to the Discoverer Enterprise, has been moved off the Deepwater Horizon’s failed blowout preventer (BOP) to ensure the safety of operations and allow the unexpected release of liquids to be analyzed.
“Capture of oil and gas through the LMRP cap is therefore temporarily suspended until such time that the cap can be reinstalled. Capture of oil and gas through the BOP’s choke line via a manifold to the Q4000 vessel on the surface continues.”
According to the latest estimates, the well could be spewing as much as 2.5 million gallons (59,523 bbl) of oil per day into the Gulf.
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