A summary of events on Thursday, June 10, Day 51 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 has been pouring into the Gulf from a blown-out undersea well.
BP plans to boost its ability to directly capture oil leaking from the well in the Gulf of Mexico by early next week. Kent Wells, BP's senior vice president of exploration and production, said a semi-submersible drilling rig should be set up early next week to capture and burn about 420,000 gallons of oil a day. Once on board, the oil and gas collected from the well will be sent down a boom and burned at sea. A drill ship already at the scene can process a maximum of 756,000 gallons of oil daily that's sucked up through a containment cap sitting on the well head.
The Obama administration said BP has agreed to expedite the payment of claims to businesses and individuals whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Tracy Wareing, of the National Incident Command office, said administration officials raised a "pressing concern" with BP executives during a meeting Wednesday about the time BP has been taking to provide relief payment. She said the company will change the way it processes such claims. Among other things, it will drop the current practice of waiting to make such payments until businesses have closed their books for each month.
A 134-year-old New Orleans oyster house shucked its last batch of oysters on Thursday. The BP oil spill has forced closure of the oyster beds that are the main source for the family-owned P&J Oyster Co. in the French Quarter. Co-owner Al Sunseri said he'll buy pre-shucked oysters from an Alabama supplier but he doesn't expect that to last long. Then, he said, he'll have to shut down indefinitely. Other Louisiana oyster companies said their supplies are dwindling, prices are rising and they aren't sure how long they'll be able to stay in business.
Volunteers on the Gulf Coast have been rescuing and washing as many oil-soaked birds and other animals as they can. But hundreds more are turning up every day, and scientists can't agree on whether it's worth the effort. Critics of animal-cleanup missions said the creatures have been through so much by the time they're released that they usually don't live long after. Workers at an animal rehab center near Fort Jackson, La., said people are morally obligated to the other oil-covered animals, and some scientists said that treated animals may produce offspring.
BP SHARE PRICES
U.S. threats to have BP fork out billions more for the oil spill has caused a precipitous plunge in the blue-chip's stock. The share slide has almost halved BP's market value since April to $101 billion, costing it the spot as Britain's biggest company — and some worry it could become a takeover target for upstart firms in Asia. BP said there was no reason for the stock drop, stressing its strong finances.
Congressional leaders stepped up pressure on BP to fully compensate economic victims of the oil spill, and President Barack Obama offered condolences to the relatives of the 11 rig workers killed in the April 20 explosion. Obama has yet to talk with BP PLC's CEO Tony Hayward about the response to the oil spill, but White House spokesman Robert Gibbs did not rule out the possibility of Obama meeting with Hayward next week. Hayward is scheduled to testify June 17 at a House Energy subcommittee hearing into the spill.