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Jul 19, 2010 9:45 AM by Sharlee Barriere

Some Oil Spill Events from Monday, July 19, 2010

A summary of events Monday, July 19, Day 90 of the Gulf of
Mexico oil spill that began with the April 20 explosion and fire on
the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd. and
leased by BP PLC, which is in charge of cleanup and containment.
The blast killed 11 workers. Since then, oil poured into the Gulf
from a blown-out undersea well until BP managed to stanch the leak
Thursday - at least temporarily - with a massive, deep-sea cap.

CAP ON
The federal government's point man for the Gulf of Mexico oil
spill says he authorized BP to keep the cap on its busted well for
another 24 hours after the company pledged to closely monitor the
seafloor for signs of a new leak. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad
Allen says federal scientists got answers they wanted about how BP
is monitoring the seabed for leaks, in a conference call Sunday
night with BP representatives. Earlier Sunday, he had demanded BP
step up monitoring because a seep had been detected a distance from
the well. On Monday, Allen said the cap may remain only if BP keeps
careful watch for signs that it could possibly worsen the
situation.

SEEP
The concern all along - since pressure readings on the cap
weren't as high as expected - was a leak elsewhere in the wellbore,
meaning the cap may have to be reopened to prevent the
environmental disaster from becoming even worse and harder to fix.
When asked about the seep and the monitoring, BP spokesman Mark
Salt would only say that "we continue to work very closely with
all government scientists on this."

COST
BP said Monday that the cost of dealing with the oil spill has
now reached nearly $4 billion. The company said it has made
payments totaling $207 million to settle individual claims for
damages from the spill along the southern coast of the United
States. To date, almost 116,000 claims have been submitted and more
than 67,500 payments have been made, totaling $207 million.

DISAGREEMENT
With the newly installed cap keeping oil from BP's busted well
out of the Gulf during a trial run, this weekend offered a chance
for the oil company and government to gloat over their shared
success - the first real victory in fighting the spill. Instead,
they spent two days disagreeing over what to with the undersea
machinery holding back the gusher. The apparent disagreement began
to sprout Saturday, when Allen said the giant stopper would
eventually be hooked up to a mile-long pipe to pump the crude to
ships on the surface. But early the next day, BP chief operating
officer Doug Suttles said the cap should shut the oil in until
relief wells are finished.

RICO
Using a law originally enacted to combat the Mafia, attorneys
are filing lawsuits accusing BP PLC and Transocean Ltd. of
committing a longterm series of crimes by concealing flaws in
deepwater drilling plans and lacking safeguards to contain a
catastrophic Gulf of Mexico spill. BP has been named in at least
three lawsuits brought under the federal law known as RICO, for
Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. Transocean,
which leased the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to BP,
has been named in two. The lawsuits accuse both companies of
committing wire and mail fraud over a number of years by filing
false documents with the U.S. government, and by misleading
investors through other documents and falsehoods. They also allege
an overall oil and gas industry effort to "infiltrate" federal
regulators through favors such as alcohol and drugs, sex, golf and
ski trips, concert and sports tickets.

FORECASTERS
Call it cloudy with a chance of tar balls. TV forecasters along
the Gulf Coast have been trying to predict the path of oil spewing
from the Deepwater Horizon rig. But that's proving more difficult
than predicting sunshine or showers. Forecasters began adding the
slick to the outlook soon after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded
in April, but their initial success was spotty. The oil didn't move
as quickly as meteorologists predicted, and residents in some areas
like the Florida Panhandle spent days anticipating oil before it
appeared. Even though BP PLC cut off the oil flow for the first
time last week, forecasting oil's landfall will remain a challenge
for months as the sticky stuff continues to wash up.

FEEDING FISHERMEN
Grow up on the water, the children of southern Louisiana learn,
and you'll never go hungry. As long as you can toss a line, a net
or a trap, you can eat - and eat well. Or you could, until now.
Millions of gallons of oil from the April 20 explosion of the
Deepwater Horizon rig have fouled some of the world's richest
fishing grounds from Florida to Texas. Even though BP stopped the
leak for the first time Thursday, more than a third of the Gulf of
Mexico remains closed. For thousands who feed their families from
the water, what once seemed like a never-ending, free buffet of
high-protein, low-fat shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish is off
limits. It's not that people are starving. With compensation checks
from BP and the help of charities such as Second Harvest Food Bank,
they're able to stock their pantries with staples - rice and beans,
grits and cereal, peanut butter and jelly. But they're forced to
pay for protein they used to get for free. And not the kind they
want.

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