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Gulf Oil Disaster: A Quick Scan from the AP

July 8, 2010

As today has gone by faster than anticipated, I’ve embedded current Gulf news from Reuters “Factbox.”  Actually, what I was truly hoping to see today were results from A Whales oil skimmer’s testing.  Judging from current news stories, it is as if we are all waiting / hoping for some good news.  And as that is not possible with the continued disaster, perhaps no news is good news.

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Factbox: Developments in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

TOP DEVELOPMENTS

* BP boss Tony Hayward met officials from an Abu Dhabi state investment fund on Wednesday, the latest stop on a global quest for money by the British-based energy giant to ward off takeovers and help pay the huge costs of the spill.

* The oil drilling industry goes head-to-head with the Obama administration in court on Thursday over the White House effort to suspend deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for six months while the blowout is investigated.

* Energy traders are watching a tropical weather system in the southern Gulf of Mexico that has the potential to disrupt BP’s clean-up. A tropical depression could form before slamming into the coast near the Texas-Mexico border on Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center forecast.

MARKET IMPACT/COMPANIES

* A Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling ban has already cost offshore jobs in a nascent U.S. economic recovery and a lengthy moratorium will put the industry at peril, sector executives said on Wednesday.

* BP shares traded in New York closed up 3.8 percent on Wednesday, while its shares in London rose 4.8 percent.

* BP shares had lost around half of their value since the spill started after an oil rig exploded in the Gulf in late April.

POLITICS/POLICY

* The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to eliminate limits on liability oil companies would face for oil spill damages. The measure now goes before the full Senate. It would also need to win passage in the House of Representatives before becoming law.

ENVIRONMENT

* Initial tests of the dispersant BP is using to break up oil in the Gulf of Mexico show it does not harm endocrine systems in aquatic life, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

* Environmental groups, BP and the U.S. Coast Guard reached tentative agreement on a plan allowing biologists or other trained wildlife observers to accompany oil-incineration vessels at sea to remove as many turtles as possible from designated areas before burning starts.

CAPTURE/CONTAINMENT/CLEANUP

* Drilling of a relief well to halt the spill is a week ahead of schedule, the U.S. official overseeing the response to the disaster said on Tuesday.

* Summer storms are pushing oil from the spill deeper into Louisiana’s wetlands and temporarily slowing efforts to contain damage.

* Tests on a supertanker adapted to skim large quantities of oily water from the Gulf are inconclusive because of high seas, ship owner TMT Shipping Offshore said on Monday.

* BP said on Wednesday its oil-capture systems at the leak collected or burned off 24,760 barrels of oil on Tuesday.

(Compiled by Alyson Zepeda in Houston)

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Giant skimmer gets another shot at Gulf oil spill

Published: Thursday, July 08, 2010, 12:08 PM     Updated: Thursday, July 08, 2010, 12:12 PM

NEW ORLEANS — The giant Taiwanese oil skimmer known as ‘A Whale’ is getting another chance to prove its value in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bob Grantham, spokesman for TMT Shipping, said Thursday the U.S. Coast Guard has approved another week of testing for the vessel, which is 10 stories high and as long as 3 1/2 football fields.

The ship is supposed to suck up to 21 million gallons of oily water per day.

It was tested last weekend, but bad weather led to inconclusive results.

Grantham says the vessel has already made significant changes, including a new conduit system for directing oily water from the ship’s intake vents to its storage tanks.

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