Mexico oil slick cap holds 2.4 mn litre daily

June 10th, 2010 - 4:49 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, June 10 (DPA) The containment operation in the Gulf of Mexico was capturing up to 2.4 million litres of oil daily, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is leading the US government’s response to the disaster, said Wednesday.
“We’re only at 15 (15,000 barrels) now and we’ll be at 28 (28,000 barrels) next week. We’re building capacity,” Allen said at a press conference, and hoped that the existing dome-like containment cap put in place last week by BP Plc would soon be able to hold 1.17 million gallons daily.

But he also cautioned that at some point there would have to be a “transition” from the containment cap to a regular cap, to stop the oil gushing from the leaking pipe about 1.6 km below the surface.

US President Barack Obama will travel to the Gulf Coast region again next week to get a first-hand view of clean-up efforts. Obama has already made three visits to Louisiana since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20. Monday and Tuesday, the president will visit the three other Southern states affected by the disaster: Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that he would have fired BP Plc chief executive Tony Hayward for underestimating what has become the biggest oil spill in US history.

Obama said that Hayward’s early statements that the massive leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico would have a modest impact on the region’s ecosystem were grounds for his ouster.

Hayward provoked anger when he told Gulf Coast residents last month that “I would like my life back” - seen as insensitive to the families of the 11 workers who died in the rig explosion and for local fishermen whose livelihoods are threatened by the ongoing disaster.

Obama, too, has been criticized for his response to the disaster. Tuesday he suggested much of the disaster’s effects could be mitigated within three years, a timeline scientists consider overly optimistic.

Scientists expect the damage to last much longer. Professor Thomas Shirley of Texas A&M University said Obama’s forecast was “wildly optimistic”.

“We don’t really know how long things are going to last here,” Shirley said, noting that the spill could wipe out a number of endangered species in habitats in and around the Gulf waters.

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