BP boss: Oil cleanup will be scaled back

BP
chief executive Bob Dudley has said it is time to scale back some parts of the
oil spill clean-up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Virtually
no oil has been released into the Gulf since a new cap was closed on 15 July.

And
skimming crews have reported only tiny quantities of oil out at sea.

But
Mr Dudley insisted BP’s commitment to tackling the environmental damage would
continue, saying: “We’ll be here for years.”

“You
will see the evidence of a pullback because we have booms across the shores all
the way from Florida to Louisiana. Those only last for a certain number of tide
cycles,” Mr Dudley told reporters in Biloxi, Mississippi.

“And
where there is no oil on the beaches you probably don’t need people walking up
and down in Hazmat suits. So you’ll probably see that kind of a pullback. But
commitment, absolutely no pullback.”

Mr
Dudley also provided an update on efforts to permanently seal the well.

The
“static kill” procedure is likely to be done on Tuesday. Mud will be
pumped into the top of the well, followed by cement.

This
procedure will help with the permanent “kill”, again using mud and
cement, that will be done once a relief well is finished. This will happen by
the end of August, Mr Dudley said.

The
government’s incident commander, Adm Thad Allen, said the “static
kill” was being delayed by the presence of debris in the relief well after
the recent storm-induced break in operations.

BP
has just reported a record $17bn (£11bn) loss, having set aside $32bn to cover
the costs of the spill.

On
20 April, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico,
killing 11 workers and causing an oil spill that soon became the worst
environmental disaster in US history.

For
three months, a massive slick has threatened the shores of Louisiana and other
southern Gulf Coast states.

Meanwhile,
BP has appointed the crisis management consulting firm Witt Associates to help
in its efforts. The firm is run by former Federal Emergency Management Agency
boss James Lee Witt.

BP
has also announced more details about its $100m charitable fund to support rig
workers left unemployed because of the federal government’s deepwater drilling
moratorium.

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BP chief executive Bob Dudley
Photo: File
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