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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

If BP was capping well, surely flow was known: A letter to the editor

May 5th Letter to Editor

Re: "Leaking crude 'has the potential to be a major spill'," Page 1, April 23.

Reported in The Times-Picayune: "'Immediately before the fire, the rig's crew was cementing a cap on an 18,000-foot-deep well that was to be abandoned and later tied into production facilities,' said Adrian Rose, Transocean vice president."

If this is true, BP should have hard estimates as to what the test flow rates were before the capping began. BP should also know what the anticipated flow rates on the production well would have been and how long they could expect to produce from the reservoir. Drilling an 18,000-foot well in 5,000 feet of water means that BP had lots of detail on what to expect.

BP should also have samples of oil from the reservoir that could provide detail on the type of oil in the spill. Why aren't these numbers and data on oil samples from well test reports out in the public and being used to inform recovery activities?

I'm sure BP is telling the truth in a "letter of the law" fashion when their spokespersons say they don't know how much oil is spilling out of the well. But if they were in the stage The Times-Picayune reported, then there is the opportunity to be more specific about the volume and potential risks.

Not sharing this kind of information tells me there is the chance that BP is more concerned about proprietary information on the reservoir then they are about recovery and cleanup efforts.

Jenel Hazlett
New Orleans

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