Oil Caps Not Reaching Capacity

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HOUSTON (AP) _ The two containment devices capturing oil from BP’s busted well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico haven’t been collecting the maximum daily amount possible since both were in place, according to an Associated Press analysis of company data.

Since June 16, the oil giant has been using a cap over the gusher to contain some of the oil and a vessel on the surface that is bringing up oil through undersea lines.

Together, the two devices can recover 840,000 gallons to nearly 1.2 million gallons of oil per day.

An AP review of data obtained from the company shows the closest BP has gotten was 1,137,780 gallons on June 22, the day before an undersea camera bumped the cap and forced BP to remove it for more than 10 hours.

Since the cap was put back on, the highest amount of oil collected on any single day was 1,059,240 gallons on Tuesday.

BP insists there is nothing wrong with the two devices. Spokesman Toby Odone said Friday the volumes vary from day to day depending on various factors, including the proportion of gas and oil in the hydrocarbons coming out of the well, the sea state and the stability of the processing plant aboard the vessels.

A third system BP has been looking to bring online to raise capacity to between 1,680,000 gallons and 2,226,000 gallons per day was supposed to be in place by the end of June. However, bad weather put it behind schedule, and it is now due on line around the middle of next week, according to the company.

As the massive spill has dragged on for 2{ months, BP and the government have made several predictions about when the oil would be contained or when it would be reduced to a small amount. The predictions haven’t panned out.

On June 8, BP chief operating office Doug Suttles said the spill should be reduced to a “relative trickle” in less than a week. BP later said it would take more time for the spill to reach a trickle. President Barack Obama told the country around the middle of last month that as much as 90 percent of the oil would soon be captured, saying the company had informed him that was how much of the oil could be kept out of the water within weeks.

Up to 2.1 million gallons of oil a day were believed to be flowing from the busted well until June 3, when a cut to the well pipe increased the flow.

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