Jun 16, 2010 11:06 AM by Melissa Canone
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP began burning oil siphoned from a ruptured
well in the Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday as part of its plans to
more than triple the amount of crude it can stop from reaching the
sea, the company said.
BP PLC said oil and gas siphoned from the well first reached a
semi-submersible drilling rig on the ocean surface around 1 a.m.
Once that gas reaches the rig, it will be mixed with compressed
air, shot down a specialized boom made by Schlumberger Ltd. and
ignited at sea. It's the first time this particular burner has been
deployed in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP officials previously said they believed the burner system
could incinerate anywhere from 210,000 gallons of oil to 420,000
gallons of oil daily once it's fully operational. The company did
not say how much oil the new system has burned. It said work to
optimize the new system was still ongoing.
Under pressure from the Coast Guard, the energy firm is
attempting to expand its ability to trap leaking oil before it
reaches the water. Already, oil and gas are being siphoned from a
containment cap sitting over the well head and flowing to a drill
ship sitting above it in the Gulf of Mexico.
Adding the burner is part of BP's plan to expand its containment
system so it can capture as much as 2.2 million gallons of oil a
day by late June, or nearly 90 percent of what a team of government
scientists have estimated is the maximum flow out the well.